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DULUTH — Robert Feyen's lanky frame was half in and half out of the small, brightly lit, plastic-enclosed space, his knees on the hard floor, his face peering at a cage-like device inside. "Zing!" The sharp, metallic sound was heard throughout the University of Minnesota Duluth's Motion + Media Across Disciplines Lab, aka the MMAD Lab. "Ah!" Feyen called out, the satisfaction evident in his voice. "There he went!"
VIRGINIA, Minn. — When the idea of mental health counseling via video was first suggested to her, Mary Carpenter wasn't exactly enthusiastic. "I was absolutely going: 'What!? No way!'" recalled Carpenter, a psychologist who is CEO of the Range Mental Health Center in Virginia and Hibbing. Three years in — but only two years in terms of regular use — Carpenter is a convert. "I had to be pulled along kicking and screaming, but as I've seen the results ... I'm absolutely a believer," she said.
DULUTH, Minn.—Four-year-old Ina Halfkann walked over to Merissa Edwards, giving her a plastic Easter egg from a display in the lobby of the Edgewater Hotel. It was Thursday afternoon, and the little girl from near Cologne, Germany, and the 40-year-old Duluth woman had known each other for less than 24 hours. But it was obvious that Edwards already had bonded with Ina and her little sister Mila. They were together because the girls' mother had given Edwards a much greater gift: the gift of life.
As a nurse, Heather Miller had talked to patients who had seen themselves approaching a light as they went through near-death experiences. The Iron River woman had no reason to suspect it would happen to her. And then it did. Three times on May 26 of last year, as her colleagues at St. Luke's hospital in Duluth labored furiously to save her life, the unconscious Miller saw herself in darkness, being drawn toward a warm, comforting light. It has changed her perspective, Miller said, on her work, on her family, on life and on life after death.
DULUTH, Minn.—When people suggest to Kevin Rodlund that his job must be depressing, he disagrees. "It's not sad," Rodlund said. "There's a lot of smiles and jokes up here at Solvay." That would be Solvay Hospice House, a homelike building on wooded property in Duluth Heights where residents may be infants or very old, male or female, rich or poor — but all, at least in the opinion of their doctors, are in the very last stages of life. For the past couple of years, Rodlund has been nurse manager at Solvay, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
DULUTH — Drug overdoses are contributing to a disturbing increase in premature deaths nationwide, according to an annual county-by-county report released today. Authors of the 2017 County Health Rankings Report, which uses the most recent available data, define a premature death as any death from any cause before the age of 75. The rate consists of the years of potential life lost in a county per 100,000 population. In St. Louis County, for instance, that rate was 6,500 in 2015; in Douglas County it was 6,700. Both are higher than the average for their respective states.
DULUTH, Minn.—Identical twins Jana and Sara Healy share more than petite builds, reddish-blond hair, a love of artistic expression and careers as cooks. The 33-year-old sisters also share an organ-destroying disease that they have in common with only about 500 people in the United States. It's a lonely thing to share.
ST. PAUL — A move to connect Minnesota to the federal health exchange would cost the state millions of dollars and jeopardize health coverage for Minnesotans, state Rep. Jennifer Schultz said on Friday. "We had consultants come in and estimate the cost of going to the federal exchange," Schultz said of a bipartisan panel on the idea of abandoning the state's version of the exchange, which is known as MNsure. "It was going to cost the state more than $5 million a year."
DULUTH, Minn. — Each is a Midwestern city, serving a large region, with a metropolitan area straddling two or more states. In each, health care plays a large and growing role in the economy. But one of these four is not like the others. Davenport, Iowa; Evansville, Ind.; and Fargo, each boast of large, gleaming new medical facilities, either about to open or in progress.
Gale Fredrickson was sitting at a small table at the Valentini's cafe in the second floor St. Luke's hospital, wearing a light blue smock emblazoned with the word "Volunteer," talking about another eating place from many decades earlier. The place was Cal's Sweet Shop in Cass Lake, Minn. Cal was her father. The family lived above the store, so Gale spent a lot of time in the eatery as she was growing up.