Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
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ST. PAUL -- Operators are standing by to answer calls from feverish, coughing and achy Minnesotans. What Minnesota health officials call the country's first statewide flu help line that can prescribe medicine launched Wednesday at (866) 259-4655. Minnesota FluLine, open 24 hours every day indefinitely, was established to give Minnesotans who think they have the flu a place to call for advice. Operators working 50 telephone lines will transfer sick Minnesotans to their own insurance companies or doctors' clinic nurse lines or provide a state-funded nurse.
ST. PAUL -- Republican Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Type "Google Voice rural" in a Google search box and a computer user quickly will discover that one of the oldest high-tech companies is taking on one of the new ones, with the rural Upper Midwest as battleground. The country's oldest telephone company, AT&T, claims Internet search giant Google's new telephone service violates federal law by blocking some calls to rural Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa. Google counters that all it is trying to do is avoid some specific overly expensive rural telephone numbers. Federal officials will be left to settle the dispute.
ST. PAUL -- A trio of Minnesota legislators returned from Washington impressed with the enthusiasm of the state's congressional delegation about passing a healthcare reform bill. At least Democrats were enthused. The Democratic legislators did not talk to congressional Republicans. Rep. Tom Huntley of Duluth said lots of work remains on the measure, which has two versions in the Senate and three in the House. "It is very much a work in progress." Huntley, Sen. Linda Berglin of Minneapolis and Rep. Erin Murphy of St.
ST. PAUL -- A Minnesota family could save up to 7 percent of its health insurance costs a year if allowed to buy insurance in other states, Gov.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Paul Strain says his family supports his college career, emotionally at least. But when it comes to money, he needs to look for federally supported programs. In his third year at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus, the future medical school student said, he already has $30,000 of debt. Strain, a former International Falls resident whose parents live in Duluth, relayed his story Monday to U.S. Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Two of Minnesota' most military-oriented politicians went different ways when the U.S. House approved the defense authorization bill. John Kline, a Republican serving an area mostly south of the Twin Cities, voted against the military funding bill for the first time in his seven years as congressman because it contained what he described as divisive social policies. Prime among those policies is a provision that has little to do with defense.