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DULUTH—Joe and Dorothy Sayers disagree, slightly, on what their monthly health insurance premium had risen to six or seven years back. It was either $1,600 and slated to rise to $2,300, or it already was $2,300 for themselves and their three daughters. Either way, $2,300 was the breaking point for the couple, who live in Duluth's Lakeside neighborhood. "That's when I said, 'This is enough,'" Dorothy Sayers said during a recent interview.
DULUTH—Shawn Bolf works at his family's garage-door company, as he has for 25 years, but these days the work is mostly at a desk, preparing bids and ordering supplies. He doesn't hunt anymore, either. He wouldn't be able to climb into a deer stand without wearing a harness.
A recent conversation between philanthropist Bill Gates and President Donald Trump is lending hope to those who want the federal government to spend more on the search for a better flu vaccine. But although $100 million already has been earmarked for that search, it's not anywhere near enough, says a Minnesota infectious disease researcher.
DULUTH—An overdose involving fentanyl is even more terrifying than other opioid overdoses, experts say. "When someone describes an overdose to us, if they say the person injected and they immediately hit the dirt ... then you know it's fentanyl-involved," said Maggie Kazel, director of the Rural AIDS Action Network in Duluth, which operates a needle exchange for drug addicts.
WASHINGTON—More knowledge about the cancer risks facing firefighters is sought from legislation that passed the U.S. Senate this week with unanimous support. "With cancer becoming the leading cause of death for firefighters, we need to learn more about the cancer risks our firefighters face so we can support them if they get sick," said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, R-Minn., in a statement about the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, which she co-sponsored. "Right now we don't know enough to protect the people protecting us."
DULUTH—Benjamin Clarke's bank doesn't make loans, and it doesn't have a drive-through window. He does want deposits, although he's a bit picky about what he'll take. "I really prefer the deer tick," said Clarke, in his office on the third floor of the University of Minnesota Medical School's Duluth campus. "I'm after Lyme disease. It's very particular about what tick it's in."
The rate of "deaths of despair" has risen dramatically over the past decade in the United States, says an annual report released today. Why that's the case is a vexing question. "Alcohol (abuse) is going up, suicide is going up, drug overdose is going up," said Jon Roesler, epidemiological supervisor with the Minnesota Department of Health. "We're changing as a society. Something is going on, which is bigger than I can wrap my head around."
DULUTH—On the forehead I put the statement, "But you look OK." ... Because it just makes you feel crazy, like, "Is it me? Am I just crazy? Why can't I override whatever's happening in my brain?" My particular mask is unequally divided into two sides. ... I literally feel sensory-wise like I have two halves of a body that don't feel the same. I had one side that was a bright, happy side. ... The other side was a darker side with tears. I had an out-of-order sign put on me, so people would understand that I'm still not the same person.
DULUTH — Disparities in health outcomes between Minnesota's "haves" and "have-nots" takes a $2.26 billion yearly toll on the state's economy, contends a leading health insurer. Although the state prides itself in being one of the leaders in national health statistics, people of color and low-income residents are left behind, said Janelle Waldock of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, which commissioned "The Cost of Health Inequities in Minnesota."
ST. PAUL—The perception that most high school kids drink alcoholic beverages isn't true, the Minnesota Department of Health reports. And it's less true now — much less true — than it was at the beginning of the century.