MNsure trying to fix 'life event' changes backlog
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota's new health insurance exchange is struggling with a backlog caused by changes to coverage through the online marketplace.
State, county and health exchange officials tell the St. Paul Pioneer Press the MNsure system has made recording of "life events," including births, marriages and address changes, a slow and difficult process. In Dakota County, it took months for nearly 80 new moms to get their infants added to their insurance.
MNsure plans to hire 15 additional employees to help address a backlog of thousands of changes.
Officials said only a few of those backlog cases are thought to involve babies, and they say exchange and state officials have been getting life events into the system in emergency situations. But they say the system isn't where they want it.
GAS STATION SHOOTING
Search resumes in Blaine for homicide suspect
BLAINE, Minn. (AP) - Law enforcement officers are continuing to search in Blaine for a man accused of killing his former boyfriend.
All gates to the Anoka County-Blaine Airport are closed as authorities look for Lyle "Ty" Hoffman. Officials say a possible sighting was reported early Tuesday in the area of the airport. The search involves multiple agencies and local SWAT officers.
Officials inspected each hangar at the airport Monday following a bank robbery at the TCF Bank in Blaine on Sunday. Authorities said the man who robbed the bank looked a lot like Hoffman. The 44-year-old Hoffman is wanted for the Aug. 11 shooting death of his former romantic and business partner Kelly Phillips at an Arden Hills gas station.
A car linked to the Phillips' homicide was earlier found parked near the airport.
Football players cited for underage drinking
DULUTH, Minn. (AP) - About two dozen University of Minnesota Duluth football players have been cited for underage drinking at a weekend party.
Bulldogs coach Curt Wiese confirmed the citations Monday and said the university is dealing with the matter internally. It's not yet clear what disciplinary action may be in store for the players.
Police were called to a large house party overnight Sunday where the players were cited.
WDIO-TV says the Bulldogs first game is Saturday against Concordia St. Paul in Duluth.
Minnesota offers free all-day kindergarten
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The state of Minnesota is providing free all-day kindergarten for the first time this school year.
The Star Tribune reports most school districts are now offering all-day classes as thousands of Minnesota youngsters start kindergarten this week. Educators hope the $134 million initiative will improve early education across the state. Roughly 54,000 kindergartners will participate.
About half of Minnesota schools offered free full-day kindergarten previously. Others offered it at a cost of $2,000-$4,000 a year for parents.
Minnesota's director of early learning services says the extra class time will help ensure that every student is a proficient reader by third grade. Teachers say some new kindergarteners don't know the alphabet or how to write their names.
Education experts say all-day kindergarten improves students' learning through at least first grade.
SKYWAY ARREST DISPUTE
St. Paul community leaders review skyway arrest
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Black community leaders have met with the St. Paul Police Department to discuss the January arrest and use of a stun gun against a man in a downtown skyway.
Representatives from groups including the NAACP met with city officials Monday. The St. Paul Black Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance president called the meeting productive and said community leaders will work together to review the incident.
Chris Lollie says he was in the skyway waiting to pick up his children when security guards called police and said he'd been sitting in a private area. The 28-year-old recorded the encounter, in which police used a stun gun on him despite his protests that he'd done nothing wrong. He posted the video online.
The Police Federation president has said Lollie refused "numerous lawful orders."
Report: Midwest economic index inched up in August
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A monthly economic survey index for nine Midwestern and Plains states rose slightly in August, suggesting growth is ahead.
A survey report issued Tuesday says the overall Mid-America Business Conditions Index inched up to 57.2 last month from 57.0 in July. The index had reached a three-year high of 60.6 in June.
Looking six months ahead, the business confidence portion of the overall index climbed to 60.4 from 60.0 in July. It had hit 63.6 in June.
The survey results from supply managers are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers at Creighton University say any score above 50 suggests economic growth, while a score below that suggests decline.
The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
STATE FAIR ATTENDANCE
Minnesota State Fair on pace for attendance record
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The Minnesota State Fair has finished with an all-time attendance record within reach.
Officials will weigh fairgoers' tickets on Tuesday to determine the total attendance for the 12-day Great Minnesota Get-Together. Crowds totaled around 1.67 million through Sunday. That's just 125,000 short of the 1.79 million overall record from 2009.
Fair spokeswoman Brienna Schuette says the final fair day usually draws 125,000 to 150,000 people.
About 164,000 attended Day 12 last year.
The fair set at least two one-day attendance records on Tuesday and Saturday.
Schuette says a new total record is very feasible, especially due to mild weather on Monday. She says a new transit hub and dining and entertainment complex might have contributed to higher visitor numbers.
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