(Fosston) City leaders in Fosston are prepared to take back control of their hospital if Essentia Health follows through on plans to permanently end scheduled baby deliveries.

Mayor Jim Offerdahl said the loss of baby deliveries would be profound. The shutdown of labor and delivery units in small hospitals across Minnesota has led to an erosion of other medical services. According to Offerdahl, Essentia recently stopped providing dermatology and started sending blood samples out of town for blood sugar tests, delaying results. The Star Tribune reports that a local nonprofit retained ownership of the hospital in 2009 when it hired Essentia to run it. Offerdahl said the city plans to return operation of the hospital to First Care Medical Services if it can’t reach an agreement to restore labor and delivery services through arbitration. The Fosston hospital has a history of financial strength, and could affiliate with other health care systems in the region besides Essentia. (Star Tribune)

>>Three New Veterans Homes Opening Across Minnesota

(St. Paul, MN)    The state is opening three new veterans homes.  The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs announced yesterday that the facilities are in Bemidji, Preston, and Montevideo.  One hundred and-98 veterans will be moving in over the next several weeks.  Minnesota Governor Tim Walz says the state has close to 300 thousand veterans and more homes are going to be needed in the coming years. (24/7 News Source)

(Brainerd) The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has confirmed emerald ash borer in Crow Wing County for the first time. There are now 48 counties in the state, including Crow Wing, with EAB. A suspected EAB infestation was discovered near Brainerd in Crow Wing County. Federal identification confirmed the samples as emerald ash borer. The insect was first discovered in Minnesota in 2009. The insect larvae kill ash trees by tunneling under the bark and feeding on the part of the tree that moves nutrients up and down the trunk.  Because this is the first time EAB has been identified in Crow Wing County, the MDA is enacting an emergency quarantine of the county. The quarantine limits the movement of firewood and ash material out of the area.

>>Retired Navy Commander To Challenge Klobuchar For MN Senate Seat

(Duluth, MN)    A retired Navy commander is running for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Minnesota.  Fifty-year-old Joe Fraser of Minnetrista is kicking off his campaign this week with a series of trips designed to introduce him to voters.  Fraser spent 26 years working in naval intelligence and has worked in the business and banking sectors since leaving the Navy.  He plans to make border security, inflation and the national debt key issues in his campaign. (24/7 News Source)

>>Minnesota Makes Historic Investment To Market State To Tourist And New Residents

(St. Paul, MN)    Minnesota tourist officials are investing two million dollars to attract tourist and new residents to the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes.  The campaign includes ads run on television, radio and social media that will target communities in Chicago, Kansas City, Denver, and St. Louis.  The initiative will launch in March.  Last year, the Minnesota Legislature approved more than 25 million dollars in new funding for Explore Minnesota over the next two years.  (24/7 News Source)

>>DFL Lawmakers Propose Change To Law Affecting School Resource Officers

(St. Paul, MN)    State lawmakers plan to start this year’s session of the legislature with a move to fix a law that led to problems putting police officers in some Minnesota schools.  DFL lawmakers have put together a draft measure to repeal portions of the education bill passed by the legislature last year.  The bill would exempt school resource officers and security guards from a ban on using holds that impair breathing, such as choke and prone holds.  It would also ask the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training to create policy and training for using such holds and require peace officers to receive that training beginning next year.   (24/7 News Source)

>>Governor Announces $6M In Childcare Grants

(St. Paul, MN)    The state of Minnesota is ready to accept applications for six-million dollars in child care economic development grants.   The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development will accept proposals for using the money to create new childcare openings around the state.  A virtual information session for those interested in the grants will be held on February 8th.  A second round of grants is also expected to be available later this year.  (24/7 News Source)

[>>Reservations For Trips Into BWCA Open Today

(Duluth, MN)    The U.S. Forest Service will begin taking applications for trips into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness today.  The Forest Service limits the number of people allowed to enter the area to prevent overcrowding and damage to the natural habitat.  Permits are also limited by entry point, which sometimes makes reservations or overnight trips even more difficult to get.  Permits can be obtained online at recreation-dot-gov.  (24/7 News Source)

>>Over 40 Million Dollars Given To Minnesota To Help Homelessness People

(Minneapolis, MN)    Minnesota will be getting 43 point five million dollars to help the homeless population.  It’s from of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s expansion of housing and service projects.  Funding will be given to over seven thousand total projects.   (24/7 News Source)

>>Winners In State Snowplow Naming Contest Announced

(St. Paul, MN)    The votes have been counted and eight winners have been named in the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s “Name a Snowplow” contest.  “Taylor Drift” received the most votes in the contest with just over 12-thousand and will be represented on a snowplow in northwest Minnesota.  “Clark W. Blizzwald” was the second-leading vote-getter and will be put on a Mn-DOT plow in central Minnesota.  Also among the winners was the Dakota word for snowplow”Waipahinte” , ”Dolly Plowton,” “Beyonsleigh,” “You’re Killing Me Squalls,” “Fast and Flurrious” and “Barbie’s Dream Plow” will also be placed plows around the state.  (24/7 News Source)

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