Tag Archive: Minneapolis

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Food Safety News

General Mills is recalling 60,000 bags of its Cascadian Farm frozen green beans after one package tested positive for Listeria. It is the second time this year that the bacteria were found in the company’s green beans.

Cascadian-green-beans_406x250The Minneapolis-based food company says no illnesses have been reported in either case. Listeria can cause fever, muscle aches, and even death.


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The American Dream

22 Signs That Global Weather Patterns Are Going Absolutely Crazy

Global weather patterns seem to get stranger and stranger with each passing year.  Almost every day now, the news is telling us about some bizarre weather event that hasn’t happened “in 100 years” going on in some area of the globe.  All over the planet, we are seeing torrential rainfalls, unprecedented flooding, extreme drought, nightmarish wildfires, record setting tornadoes and very unusual blizzards.  Record high temperatures and record low temperatures are set so frequently now that nobody really seems to even notice anymore.  So exactly what in the world is going on here?  Why does our weather seem to be going absolutely crazy?  Perhaps even more important – can we expect our weather patterns to become even more erratic?  Some meteorologists are suggesting that these unusual weather events are just an “anomaly” and that things will get back to normal soon.  But what if they don’t?

I noted that natural disasters seem to be increasing in both frequency and severity in my recent article entitled “Are We Entering The Worst Period For Natural Disasters In U.S. History?“  But it isn’t just the ground under our feet that seems to be becoming more unstable.  The weather patterns that we all take for granted and that society depends upon seem to be rapidly changing.

The following are 22 signs that global weather patterns are going absolutely crazy…

1. Right now, central Europe is experiencing the worst flooding that it has seen in at least 70 years.

2. On Memorial Day weekend, a vicious winter storm dumped up to 36 inches of snow on parts of upstate New York.

3. Back in mid-May, on one single day some parts of the UK had a couple of inches of snow, some parts of the UK had a month’s worth of rainfall on a single day, and some parts of the UK were hammered by winds of up to 65 miles per hour.

4. The month of April was so cold across the northern United States that one meteorologist said that it was “like something out of the Twilight Zone“…

April has been a freakishly cold month across much of the northern USA, bringing misery to millions of sun-starved and winter-weary residents from the Rockies to the Midwest. “The weather map … looks like something out of The Twilight Zone,” Minneapolis meteorologist Paul Douglas of WeatherNation TV wrote on his blog last week. Record cold and snow has been reported in dozens of cities, with the worst of the chill in the Rockies, upper Midwest and northern Plains. Several baseball games have been snowed out in both Denver and Minneapolis. Cities such as Rapid City, S.D.; Duluth, Minn.; and Boulder, Colo., have all endured their snowiest month ever recorded. (In all three locations, weather records go back more than 100 years.) In fact, more than 1,100 snowfall records and 3,400 cold records have been set across the nation so far in April, according to the National Climatic Data Center.

5. This year Saskatchewan had the coolest spring that it has experienced in 100 years.

6. Moscow just experienced the snowiest winter that it has seen in 100 years.

7. Snow is falling in Russia in places where it should not be falling this time of the year.  On Sunday, residents of Kemerovo were stunned to see that a thin layer of snow had fallen on their city overnight.

8. This spring, there was a record amount of ice on the Baltic Sea due to very cold weather…

“Since record keeping began in the sixties, we’ve never encountered anything like this before,” ice breaker Ulf Gulldne told the local newspaper Örnsköldsviks Allehanda.

On March 29th, 176,000 square kilometers of the Baltic Sea was covered in ice, a record for the time of year. On a map, it means about half of the central and northern parts are frozen over. Far north, the ice is both thick and difficult to break through.

9. The city of Anchorage, Alaska set a record for the longest snow season that it has ever experienced this year.

10. In February, hail the size of “boulders” pounded one poor city in southern India

Hailstones the size of boulders have rained down on villages in southern India.

At least nine people were killed when the violent weather hit several villages in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

The hailstorm which lasted for almost 20 minutes, destroyed crops, houses and live stock, causing devastating financial implications for residents.

11. The tornado that touched down near Oklahoma City on Friday was the widest tornado ever recorded.  It was an EF5 tornado that was 2.6 miles wide at one point with winds of up to 295 miles an hour.

12. The tornado that did such devastating damage to Moore, Oklahoma recently was about 2 miles wide and it sat on the ground for an astounding 40 minutes.

13. During the month of February, Peru, Chile and Bolivia were all hit by unprecedented flooding.

14. At the end of May, more than a foot of rainfall in 24 hours caused nightmarish flooding in San Antonio, Texas.

15. A few weeks ago, unusual levels of rainfall caused the Mississippi River to rise to near record levels.

16. This year the state of Georgia experienced the wettest February ever recorded.



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Eric Miller / Reuters file

Steve Tannen wears heavy clothing to protect himself against freezing wind chills as he practices for an upcoming bike race in Minneapolis. His city ranks No. 1 for fitness, according to the American College of Sports Medicine

Minneapolis, with its many parks, playgrounds and recreation centers, ranks No. 1 in the U.S. for fitness and Washington D.C. ranks a close second, according to a survey released on Wednesday.

Detroit and Oklahoma City come in at 49th and 50th according to the American College of Sports Medicine.  And a second survey released Wednesday finds Minnesota also leads in senior health. The two studies show Americans sure can’t blame climate for their couch potato tendencies – and they point to a fairly simple solution for living a long and healthy life: exercise.

“We asked if we have a built environment that supports exercise, does the population exercise? And the answer is yes,” says Walter Thompson, a professor at Georgia State University who chairs the advisory board for the College’s  American Fitness Index.

The findings demonstrate that Americans can’t use weather as an excuse to be couch potatoes. “Minnesotans sure could use that as an excuse, but they don’t,” Thompson said in a telephone interview. It’s the third year in a row that Minneapolis has ranked No. 1 in the survey.

“What Minneapolis does so well – they are firm believers in the ‘if you build it, they will come’ attitude,” Thompson says. “They spend a lot of money on their parks. They spend $227 per capita on their parks.”

And that’s even knowing that snow is going to put the parks out of commission for many days of the year.

“They have five baseball diamonds per 10,000 inhabitants,” Thompson added. There are many dog parks, golf courses and playgrounds, as well as indoor recrreation centers with running tracks, basketball courts and gyms. “They make their parks inviting, they make their parks safe,” he added.

“So you can see they put their money where it needs to be to create the healthy environment.”

In contrast, Oklahoma City spends just $62 per capita on its parks. “That translates to fewer baseball diamonds, (fewer) parks, (fewer) playgrounds,” Thompson says.

“If you don’t provide the environment for people to exercise in, that is going to translate to lower personal health indicators,” Thompson said. And the states with lowest fitness levels have more people with diabetes, with obesity, and a higher percentage who smoke, he said.

For the study, the ACSM worked with the Indiana University School of Family Medicine using U.S. Census data, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, The Trust for the Public Land City Park Facts and data.

The CDC survey asked people how much they had exercised in the past month – the best way there is to estimate fitness without actually watching people, Thompson says.

Public policies are vital, says Thompson, who lives in Atlanta, ranked 21st in the survey. In 2008, Atlanta’s city government closed 22 recreation centers to save money. In 2010, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed started to reopen them. “He’s just about done it,” Thompson says. Atlanta ranked 14th in the index in 2008, fell to 15th in 2009 and 18th by 2011.

The findings fit right in with another survey – this one looking at senior health.  Again, Minnesota ranks at the top.

“Minnesota ranks first for senior health, followed by Vermont (2), New Hampshire (3), Massachusetts (4) and Iowa (5),” the  United Health Foundation says in its America’s Health Rankings Senior Report.

“The five least healthy states for senior health include Mississippi (50), followed by Oklahoma (49), Louisiana (48), West Virginia (47) and Arkansas (46).

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Published on Mar 4, 2013

Winter watches and warnings are in effect in 19 states.

In Minneapolis, Obama Presses Case for Tougher Gun Laws


The New York Times

Published: February 4, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS — President Obama traveled to the nation’s heartland to press his case for tougher gun laws on Monday, even as evidence mounted in Washington that expanded background checks on gun sales may emerge as a legislative compromise in the bitterly divisive cultural debate.

In a city once called “Murder-apolis” because of its homicide rate in the 1990s, the president cited its successful gun violence prevention efforts as evidence that new national laws are needed to reduce the number of shootings across the country.

“The only way we can reduce gun violence in this country is if the American people decide it’s important,” Mr. Obama said, standing in front of a sea of police officers and sheriff’s deputies at the Minneapolis Police Department Special Operations Center.

Mr. Obama has called for Congress to pass a series of measures, including a ban on the manufacture and sale of new assault weapons, limits on high-capacity ammunition magazines and an expansion of the system of criminal background checks that currently covers only about 60 percent of gun sales.

At the event, Mr. Obama declared “universal background checks” to be supported by the “vast majority of Americans” and called for quick passage in Congress of legislation expanding their reach. “There’s no reason why we can’t get that done,” he told the gathering of law enforcement officials.

But the president set a different political standard for a potential assault weapons ban, saying only that it “deserves a vote in Congress because weapons of war have no place on our streets.”

White House aides again said Monday that the president was pushing for all three measures, along with changes to the nation’s mental health system. But top lawmakers in Congress and gun control advocacy organizations appear nervous about the political chances of an assault weapons ban and eager to push for a better background check system.


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by: David Gumpert Fri, 02/01/2013 – 08:23 posted in:

The Complete Patient

An unlicensed organization like a food club is not only distributing “contraband,” but a “controlled substance,” in the view of a Minnesota prosecutor fighting to prevent dismissal of three misdemeanor food allegations against farmer Alvin Schlangen. In other words, if licenses aren’t purchased and regulators involved, food is no longer just food, it is in the same realm as oxycontin or morphine.

Schlangen’s lawyer, Nathan Hansen, had petitioned a court in Stearns County to dismiss three of six misdemeanor counts against Schlangen because they are very similar to the three counts a Minneapolis jury acquitted him of last September–relating to illegal sale of raw milk and selling food without a retail license. Hansen labeled the Stearns County campaign against Schlangen “serialized prosecution.” As evidence of the state’s intent to charge Schlangen repeatedly for the same alleged crimes, he included a memo from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture about Schangen that listed possible charges against the farmer and stated  the “violations…are chargeable as misdemeanor crimes in Stearns, Hennepin [where Schlangen was acquitted], and Ramsey counties of the state of Minnesota.” Hansen used as legal precedent a case in which an individual charged with several acts of reckless driving had multiple cases thrown out because they were part of the same overall incident.

In building on an allusion he made in a court hearing early last month that raw milk was “a controlled substance,” Stearns County prosecutor, William MacPhail, has expanded his argument, applying it to all unregulated food. He argues in a brief in opposition that the best way to examine Schlangen’s request is to compare it to “crimes involving sex, controlled substances and thefts.” MacPhail’s technical argument is that double jeopardy of the sort prohibited by the U.S. and Minnesota Constitutions applies only when a single episode of the same crime is involved. When separate incidents occur at different times and at different places, legal precedent doesn’t protect the defendant.

But repeatedly, the prosecutor makes a comparison between food and drugs, pornography, and theft. “In drug cases (and situations involving similar contraband as here) generally the possession of two controlled substances at the same time and place is treated as a single incident,” he states at one point.


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