The end of the Andrews Sisters, the cold hard facts of being cold in Minnesota, goodbye to Saint Paul's 'popover palace,' another stab at 'stand your ground' laws, and why do we think we're different?
Patty Andrews, the last living member of the Andrews sisters, died yesterday at 94. She and her sisters helped win a war and could make a tough Marine cry with a few notes of music.
They were born in Minnesota to Peter and Olga. Patty got the first big break when she won a talent competition (at age 12) at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis. LaVerne played the piano there for silent films.
Peter didn't like the idea of the girls going into showbiz, but mother did. When their father's business collapsed, they hit the road, leaving Minnesota in the rear-view mirror.
For all the power their music had on others, it didn't do much for themselves. The two remaining sisters didn't talk to each other, and saw each other only twice since 1974.
Here. Pour yourself some more coffee and get to work an hour late.
I know how this is going to go. I'm going to post this video made by the Salvation Army, and someone will post in the comments the disagreement they have with the Salvation Army on social issues.
And that's fine. Everyone has a right to an opinion.
But I worry that in that sort of debate, the stories like this get lost...
It may well be that disagreements over social issues is part of the reason donations to the "Heat Share" Program have fallen 16 percent in the last two years. If so, where is that money going instead?
If you worked in downtown Saint Paul and the boss took you to the River Room for lunch, you were either going to get a raise or get fired.
The River Room, part of Macy's that actually was a success, will close at the end of the week, destined to become another locked and boarded-up "opportunity" downtown.
Within a few hours of Macy's announcing earlier this month that it was closing the store, all of the available reservations for lunch were booked.
The Pioneer Press offers a touching "goodbye" today.
(Bob) Johnston also was responsible for the Valentine's Day dinners that eventually faded when the restaurant stopped serving after the lunch hour.
"We'd hire a trio and have a dinner dance," Johnston said. "People would look forward to that dinner. They had to write a Valentine note to each other. My son and his wife sat in a corner and evaluated them and chose a winner. The winner would get up and sing their note to their spouse to the tune of 'You Are My Sunshine.' "
On this occasion, we remember Lydia Lunney, who died in 2008 at 93. For 74 years, she worked at the River Room, and -- MPR's Dan Olson reported in 2007 -- changed her colleagues' view of retirement.
City Pages reports on "stand your ground" gun laws, which are being used across the country in ways lawmakers never intended, it says. People who aren't assaulting property owners are being killed and the shooters are going free.
In April, 22-year-old Cordell Jude shot and killed Daniel Adkins Jr., a mentally disabled pedestrian who walked in front of Jude's car as he was pulling up to the window of a Taco Bell drive-thru in Arizona, which passed Stand Your Ground in 2010. Jude thought he saw Adkins wield a metal pipe in the air, but it was actually a dog leash. No arrest was made.
In June, a judge in Miami dismissed a second-degree murder charge against Greyston Garcia after he chased a suspected burglar and stabbed him to death. The judge decided the stabbing was justified because the burglar had swung a bag of stolen car radios at Garcia. The judge found Garcia was "well within his rights to pursue the victim and demand the return of his property."
In October, citing the state's newly strengthened castle doctrine law, Montana prosecutor Ed Corrigan declined to indict Brice Harper, who had shot and killed Dan Fredenberg, the husband of the woman with whom Harper was having an affair. Harper killed an unarmed Fredenberg when he walked into Harper's garage.
Minnesota lawmakers may pursue a stand-your-ground law for the state again this session, City Pages says. Gov. Dayton vetoed a bill last year.
Today's Star Tribune Letter of the Day leads to an interesting question of human behavior: Why don't we think things that are happening to other people won't happen to us when all evidence points to the contrary?
On Tuesday, in my job driving a truck for the city of Minneapolis, I treated city streets with a mixture of salt and sand. One of the streets on my route has four hill streets on it, and on Tuesday there were cars stuck on every one of them.
I put sand around each vehicle, and they were on their way. What puzzled me was that cars were still trying to come up the hills after seeing the others stuck.
RON BOHAN, ANOKA
Bonus I: Why don't we still drive steam cars? (BBC)
Bonus II: What was it like for a Minnesotan at last week's Crashed Ice in Saint Paul?
Bonus III: A man who fell through the ice while fishing is rescued, then gets a $5,400 bill for the help. (The Star)
The Mayo Clinic is seeking more than $500 million from the state as part of a $6 billion growth plan for the clinic. Part of the funding would be used to make Rochester a more desirable destination. Today's Question: Is an investment in the Mayo Clinic project a good use of state money?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) - First hour: Sara Rosenbaum, the lead author of 'Law and the American Health Care System," discusses the Affordable Care Act.
Second hour: Diabetes research update.
Third hour: How to read in 2013.
MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): --Minneapolis native Arthur Phillips, speaking at the Pen Pals Lecture series about William Shakespeare, and Phillips' new book, "The Tragedy of Arthur."
Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) - The coming fight over immigration policy.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - -- For an elderly person living with chronic medical problems, taking numerous medications each day can be a way of life. Prescription drugs can keep serious illnesses in check, if they're taken as prescribed and managed effectively. For some seniors, getting out to see a pharmacist can be difficult in good weather, and treacherous during Minnesota winters. Some health systems are offering an alternative -- virtual visits with pharmacists. MPR's Elizabeth Stawicki reports, it's an approach that may become more common under the federal health care overhaul.
Dan Olson visits with Mel Dickie, 91, a substitute teacher in the Rochester school district who also makes one of a kind collector fishing rods.
#4 "Minnesota lawmakers may pursue a stand-your-ground law for the state again this session, City Pages says. Gov. Dayton vetoed a bill last year."
There is no possibility of this happening in Minnesota this session, or the next. Zero.
Re Today's Question: If we invest in sports stadiums, I think we can find some dollars for the Mayo Clinic, too.
It seems like you just popped a commercial in the middle of your blog, Paul Harvey style. What is it about Red Bull's marketing that gets by journalists' defenses against treating advertising as news?
First time here, JL? Welcome
The gentleman who was helped by the rescuers chose to go out on an ice-covered lake that was declared "extremely dangerous" two days prior. He chooses to engage in a risky/dangerous activity. He gets in trouble, calls 911 for help which means he asks 15 firefighters to come to his aid. Some of them risk their lives to help him. If there was a house fire, these 15 firefighters would have been delayed getting to that emergency. And now the gentleman is unhappy that he received a bill for the services of these 15 people and their equipment. Had he gotten himself out of the water and then gone to the ER would he expect to receive free medical help? I don't think so. So why should he get free rescue help after he chooses to do something very dangerous that put other people in grave danger? And he suggests that people won't call for help if they need it because they might get a bill. Perhaps, sir, they will not do something dangerous because they might get a bill, potentially saving their own life, the lives of others who risk them, and the lives of others who need the help of the responders who are helping someone who put them self in harm's way.
My son once stopped breathing. I called 911. Before the paramedics arrived my son's breathing resumed. They looked at him and recommended that they give him a ride to the hospital...for a charge. They don't charge people to come to your home (so as not to discourage people from calling when they need help, such as when they think they are having a heart attack but aren't certain) but will charge for some of their services. That makes sense, otherwise people will call them when they need a free ride to the hospital. (In my son's case they recommend that he go with them because it wasn't known why he stopped breathing and they didn't want it to happen again when he was in my car since I couldn't help him but they could if it happened in the ambulance.) That seems fair to me. My guess is that the gentleman who fell through the ice wouldn't have been charged if he called for help but didn't need much help. (We weren't charged for the paramedics to examine my son.)
My wife called 911 once for a medical problem I had (heart). The paramedics -- as paramedics usually are -- were spectacular.
They took me to the hospital. And then we got a bill for $900, which we paid, of course.
If we didn't go to the hospital, there would have been no charge.
It's an odd arrangement.
I think the system is set up like that, Bob, because we, as a society, have decided that it is better to make it risk-free (charge-free) to call for help but not cost-free to get help. So we spread the cost of the paramedics to everyone if someone calls for help, but charge the person who needs the help if they really need it. (Of course, if you have insurance the cost to get help gets passed along to many people, too.) We, as a society, would rather have paramedics go to help someone even when they don't need it instead of having someone die because they were more scared about a bill than death.
The Andrews sisters completely permeate our culture, it's amazing how many songs are re-done even now, with many people having no idea where the song came from. That said, I always found it interesting/ironic that one of their greatest hits was a remake (more appropriately, ripoff) of the song Rum and Coca-Cola. They softened the lyrics and made it quite a bit nicer for the American image too. The original version doesn't cast the GI's in quite as glossy a light.
In my neck of the woods, the ambulance service is usually part of the fire department. But I don't think the fire department bills people for responding to a fire, or a kitty in the tree, as the case may be. Which seems odd because I believe most fire department calls are for medical emergencies and I've never understood why they need to send fire trucks to those.
Re: Bonus #3
It not quite the same situation, but that story reminds me of the Tennessee fire department that would only respond to houses that had paid a fee to be part of their coverage area. They would respond and rescue anyone in danger, but would not make any attempt to snuff out the fire.
The many games we play when it comes to assigning responsibility for others . . .
So I'm not sure I'm clear on the lines in Minnesota between castle doctrine and duty to retreat. From an article in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel online:
"Current [Minnesota, I assume] law allows a homeowner to use deadly force only if a reasonable person would believe they were in danger of harm."
So that's in the home, and sounds very reasonable to me. Are castle doctrine laws such as those in the article predicated on the idea that you can just kill anyone on your property regardless of the perceived threat? How is that not a license to murder?
Then on the flip side, what is your legal responsibility here if you're not on your property and you believe you are in danger of harm? Are you obligated to flee first? What if you believe that, for some reason, you will not be able to flee the person threatening you?
This might help. It's a piece I wrote last year explaining the nuances of the law and proposed legislation.
One of the mantras of SAR training is that more rescuers are injured or killed than rescuees. Bob, you may remember the 1982 story of Albert Dow, the New Hampshire native who was killed in an avalanche during the search for lost climbers Hugh Herr and Jeff Blatzer in the White Mountain National Forest. (Herr lost parts of both legs to frostbite, and has become quite a bit more famous for inventing the first robotic ankle during his time at MIT.) Dow’s death was the catalyst for more training & equipment for the volunteer search teams in WMNF: people will do stupid things and others will come to their aid but an avalanche doesn’t discern.
The truism is still born out three decades later. In fact, two trends have contributed to a gravely concerning pattern:
(1) People are venturing into remote areas with the assumption that they’re not really remote, that help is a cell phone call away. As a result, they take more risks than a situation warrants.
(2) People are treating the wilderness as a fully accessible adventure, where money or technology or the deep conviction of our own strength/smarts/above-averageness entitles them to success & safety. They are getting into trouble because they don’t respect that nature is the boss. (See also, J. Krakauer’s “Into Thin Air”.)
It doesn’t have to be far from home to be the same situation. Neil Robbescheuten claims he’s been ice-fishing all his life and was never in any danger until the fog came in. He’s smarter than the warnings, smarter than the lake, so smart that he planned for fog just as he’d plan for pink farting unicorns. He’s got a strong fellowship with all those individuals who zip on home from work in the leftmost lane of traffic, passing all the slow cars in the first snow of the winter … only to meet the ditch a half mile down the road because 4-wheel drive helps a car go, not stop.
Once the people get into trouble, some do hold off on calling for help because they fear having to pay for rescue. (Many don’t realize it’s another version of 911 service.) Quite often, the situation deteriorates over time: darkness, cold, impending weather, worsening illness. Rescues just get more difficult, dangerous and expensive than if they had not waited to call.
They’re out there – the reckless, the witless and, oh so rarely, the simply luckless. But they shouldn’t be tempted to further endanger themselves or others by refusing to seek help promptly.
Awesome comment, KTFoley. Very enlightening.
RE: Today's question
My interpretation may be wrong but after hearing the conversation last night between Tom Crann and Dr. Noseworthy, I got the impression that what the Mayo is basically asking for is a promise from the state that should the Mayo bring in the projected revenues and growth, that the State will be there with $500M to help the city of Rochester with infrastructure improvements to help (or continue to spur) that growth.
Thanks Bob! Long time reader, first time poster. The whole Red Bull phenomenon intrigues me. Maybe it's just the evolution of sports sponsorship, but when they went into space, it got weird. What's next? Red Bull hospitals where you grab a bunch of pills and just see what happens? Red Bull light rail lines that have a gap in the track where the train gets major air? Red Bull news casts where you try to broadcast while being attacked by bees? Something's changing and I don't know what I think of it.
JL is on to something - some teacher friends and I were just speculating on a Red Bull Extreme Ed Charter School. Dirt bikes instead of iPads, filling out injury waivers instead of standardized test bubble sheets. The teachers will need to negotiate extremely good health care benefits.