August is upon us! Lots of fun summer activities going on all over our area this week. The Crow Wing County Fair goes through this Saturday. I spent Tuesday and Thursday evening at the fair visiting with folks and taking in the many display booths and fair projects. I expect to be there again this evening. Stop by Industrial Building #1 for a chat if you are out at the Crow Wing County Fair this evening.
There is a lot happening in both Aitkin and Tamarack this weekend. In Tamarack, the Hey Days parade kicks off at 11 a.m. Saturday and I look forward to that event and any number of other festivities throughout the rest of the day at Tamarack’s Hey Days.
In Aitkin on Saturday (starting at 11 a.m.) the Street Fair opens in downtown Aitkin. The Fun Float down the Ripple River to the Mississippi River Landing also kicks off at 11 a.m. Saturday. The float trip starts at the Ripple River landing in the Aitkin City Park and ends at the Mississippi River Public Landing.
The Riverboat Days Parade will commence at 3 p.m. Saturday, again if you are up for a parade come join us. Parade line up is near the Ripple River Elementary School and City Ball Park.
As for legislative news, unfortunately this week we learned of yet another problem within the Minnesota Department of Health and Human Services. I am pleased that Gov. Tim Walz has requested the assistance of the legislative auditor to investigate what is believed to involve an overpayment of $25 million or more in Medicaid payments to two of Minnesota’s Native American tribes.
It appears this has been going on for about five years. It is a bit early to fully understand the full magnitude of the problem and what exactly caused this issue. With the state’s HHS Inspector General’s Office empty and an internal investigation going on there, as well as the resignation of the previous HHS Commissioner and other high ranking officials within this agency, it makes sense that the Gov. has requested outside assistance in getting to the bottom of this.
I will keep you posted as this situation unfolds. This agency accounts for over 1/3 of Minnesota’s annual budget every year. We must have competence there at all levels.