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Posted at 11:18 AM on January 19, 2011
by Bob Collins
KSAX TV in Alexandria has an update in the case of a teenager in Central Minnesota who died over the weekend.
Lance Lundsten, 18, initially was reported to have died by suicide, with his friends saying it was the result of being bullied for being gay. Then his father said his son had an enlarged heart, and claimed the county coroner said so.
Today, the county coroner says the teen had a slightly enlarged heart, but that doesn't appear to be how Lundsten died, the TV station report.
So what did? That will depend on toxicology results, the station says.
A University of Colorado at Boulder student wanted to make a point, so he paid his college tuition in cash -- more than $14,000 in one-dollar bills:
Nic Ramos might be onto something, showing kids what the parents (much of the time) have to pony up for a semester at college.
"The sacrifices that my family is willing to make for me to go to school and be happy," said in the video. "I know that I always appreciated it and all those things but this just put it into a whole new perspective when i could physically see that sacrifice."
So what does that money -- or more accurately, twice that amount -- buy? For many students: Nothing, a new study says.
In a book released this week (Academically Adrift) sociologists Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, found that in a study of 2,000 students' performances standardized test three times during their college careers, almost half showed no gains after two years and only a little over a third showed nothing gained after four years.
Update 2:54 p.m. - MPR's Midmorning will discuss the issue with the book's authors next Monday morning.(5 Comments)
Despite claims it will result in less protection for victims of child abuse and trauma, House Republicans this afternoon passed a bill to make cuts in human services in Minnesota permanent.
"We are faced with a challenge that's bigger than we've ever had, with less resources than we've ever had. I've been a party to it in the past," Rep. Jim Abeler,the chair of the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee, said.
But Democrat Larry Hosch said Abeler's bill was only introduced at 3 yesterday afternoon, and guessed that many of the new lawmakers don't even know the acronyms in the bill.
"These are the most vulnerable children; children who have experienced neglect, physical abuse, and sexual abuse. Only 60 percent of reports investigated in a timely fashion. Will this bill help that? Probably not," Hosch said.
Still, with only 45 minutes of debate over the bill, House Republicans probably knew what was at stake because Mary Regan, the executive director of the Minnesota Council of Child Caring Agencies, spelled it out for them.
"These are the only state dollars in Minnesota's child protection system," she said. "Minnesota puts fewer state dollars in child protection than any other state in the country. The grant is reduced by 30%. Investing allegations of abuse and neglect is a core function of our society. Nobody else can take on this essential task."
"When childhood goes wrong, adulthood goes wrong and the sad story of abuse repeats itself from one troubled generation to the next," she said.
Jessica Webster, a staff attorney for Legal Aid, said the bill will hurt more than just children. "One of the things that's frustrating, when we get these pieces of legislation, there's nothing here that shows the people who receive these services," she said. "Low-income people who are sick, who have serious injuries, poor people who have ill or injured children, battered women in battered women's shelters, people living in homeless shelters, homeless youth, displaced homemakers, the developmentally disabled, people with low IQ, people who are mentally ill. All of these people are unable to work."
But Republicans said they were not cutting the programs, since the programs had already been cut by lawmakers in their last-minute deal with then Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
"These folks having genuine needs, but over the last year or so, what this bill does just maintains... so what was done in the last year would be continuing," Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer said. "You hear some of these phrases .... what we do is we make spending permanent. It's not that needs don't get met, but that they may be met in a different way."
Rep. Tom Huntley, DFL-Duluth, also failed in a bid to remove a cut in provider reimbursements for primary care doctors. "There's been a 60-percent drop in Minnesota in the number of medical students going into primary care medicine. "If you vote against this, you are voting for a specific cut on primary care docs, and no other physicians.
"This is how we budget sometimes around here," Abeler said. "This is a drop in the ocean." Abeler said he's received no phone calls opposing the extension of the cuts.
The committee passed the bill on a 11-to-7 party-line vote.