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Story No. 126: Alison from Minnesota

In 1985, I was college student in Minneapolis, MN. Planned Parenthood was the only source that I was aware of that provided checkups and birth control on a sliding fee scale. I had no health insurance and would not have been able to afford yearly exams or the cost of birth control pills without Planned Parenthood. Everyone I knew at the time went to Planned Parenthood for affordable health care and birth control. Planned Parenthood needs to be fully funded to provide women across the country access to quality, affordable access to health care and family planning.

Voices of Courage is a project by Physicians for Reproductive Health

Here’s something you don’t see everyday. Three Canada geese flying through a rainbow at Morris Wetland Management District in Minnesota. Made up of 245 small parcels of wetlands and grasslands scattered throughout an eight-county area, the Morris District restores and protects enough wetland and grassland habitat to meet the needs of prairie wildlife and breeding waterfowl, as well as providing places for public recreation. Photo by Alex Galt, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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The cars were piled on top of each other and bleeding onto the curb of the highway as they inched west and north towards the Lake Ann Park parking lot, each blasting their favorite from the windows; families walked down the trail and under the tunnel beneath the highway they’d just come from, holding the strings of the purple balloons floating just behind them; families walking back to their cars had no balloons and little expression. Altars of brown paper lanterns, unlit during the overcast day, peppered the path towards the off-white, square-paneled compound.

I had gone past Paisley Park innumerable times growing up but, even with an aunt living less than two miles away, had never been this close before. The black chain link fence that surrounded Prince’s home was a mecca and an altar. Within two days it was already dense, thick with families’ shiny purple balloons, potted violets laid at its base, signs made of purple construction paper carrying messages of love and grief, all with a subtext of shock. And so much Bisquick. Inside, a memorial was rumored to be taking place. Outside, it was quiet. People paced and observed, took portraits, laughed, shared their sightings — at the airport, downtown, at the Fetus — and cried. The fence was the focal point, at least in this solar system, of confronting the sudden loss of an artist we’d come to assume would be shrieking and riffing into old age, while those much younger worked on indenting their living room recliners. Fifty or so feet behind the fence a line of media tents, dripping with tired-eyed reporters and their beaten-up lanyards, looked on bored, waiting for something to happen. When a member of Prince’s inner circle came out offering flowers, they descended and edged their way to the front of the crowd for better shots.

Imagining what had happened inside Paisley through all the years Prince had lived there was an exercise for another day. The fence was what we had.

In The Wake Of Prince’s Death

Photos: Steven Cohen, Adam Bettcher (2), Scott Olson (2), Mark Ralston/AFP (2)/Getty Images, Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images, Scott Olson/Getty Images

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Satanists are putting up the first public Satanic monument in the US

  • Satanists in the United States are finally getting their very first public monument — in the small city of Belle Plaine, Minnesota.
  • The Satanic Temple won the right to erect a monument in Belle Plaine’s Veterans Memorial Park after the city put up a memorial statue featuring a cross, the Star Tribune reported in April. 
  • Some residents complained about having a religious symbol on public property, so city officials decided to remove the cross from the statue.
  • That removal, though, launched a slew of other complaints — so, as a compromise, officials reinstated the cross but also decided to open up a “free speech zone” in the park which will accommodate up to ten “temporary memorials” provided they honor veterans.
  • That’s when the Satanic Temple, headquartered in Salem, Massachusetts, decided to get in on the action and erect their own veterans memorial. Read more (5/5/17)

Health officials in Minnesota have been scrambling to contain a measles outbreak that has sickened primarily Somali-American children in the state. So far health officials have identified 34 cases, still mostly in Hennepin County, and they’re worried there will be more.

In Minnesota, the vast majority of kids under two get vaccinated against measles. But state health officials say most Somali-American 2-year-olds have not had the vaccine — about six out of ten. As the outbreak spreads, that statistic worries health officials, including Michael Osterholm, who directs the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.

“It is a highly concentrated number of unvaccinated people,” he says. “It is a potential kind of gas-and-match situation.”

Unfounded Autism Fears Are Fueling Minnesota’s Measles Outbreak

Photo: Mark Zdechlik/MPR
Caption: Khadra Abdulle, a resident of St. Paul, stops to shop at the Riverside Market in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis. It’s the inaccurate information about a link between vaccines and autism, she says, that’s keeping some well-meaning parents from getting their kids vaccinated against measles.

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Victorian house on Summit Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota by Paul McClure