Minnesota native and All-American professional middle distance runner Gabrielle Grunewald died from cancer on Tuesday, June 11, according to her husband, Justin. In an Instagram post, her husband said, "At 7:52 I said, 'I can’t wait until I get to see you again' to my hero, my best friend, my inspiration, my wife. @gigrunewald I always felt like the Robin to your Batman and I know I will never be able to fill this gaping hole in my heart or fill the shoes you have left behind. Your family loves you dearly as do your friends." Grunewald had battled cancer four times in her life, including liver cancer, which doctors found in 2016. According to an Instagram post, Grunewald's liver function took a turn for the worst late Saturday night. Grunewald’s husband says they decided to check her into “comfort care” Sunday afternoon, prior to her death on Tuesday.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz says he's considering a couple of options to address an emergency insulin bill that will help Minnesota Type I diabetics who find themselves unable to afford their life-saving medication. Walz says he is exploring an executive order to address the issue or the possibility of calling a special session, but first he made a call to the local mother who is the driving force behind the bill. In less than two years, Nicole Smith-Holt has become a leading advocate for affordable insulin across the country. Her son, Alec Smith, died at 26 while rationing the insulin he needed to treat his Type I diabetes. After Alec's death, Smith-Holt learned that he had struggled to afford insurance after aging out of her family plan. The Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act is her answer to that tragic discovery. Smith-Holt helped inspire legislation that would provide up to a three month supply of free or low-cost insulin for Type I diabetics who are in similar circumstances. The money for the program would come from a fee charged to pharmaceutical companies who sell insulin, and would help those who struggle to pay but don't qualify for the current low-income programs. Now, Governor Walz is promising not to let it go. He called Smith-Holt on Monday, inviting her to a round table discussion about emergency insulin on Wednesday morning at the Capitol.
Minneapolis Public Schools employees and their supporters are holding a rally Wednesday afternoon to demand the district make changes to their pay. Education support specialists, or ESPs, are school employees who do things like de-escalate fights in the hallways and make sure students get breakfast. They are special education adn classroom assistants, translators, and family liaisons. They're also the lowest paid district employees, according to Shaun Laden, president of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers Local 59 Education Support Professionals. Laden said in a previous contract, the ESPs had a pay freeze, and the following year got only a one percent raise. This time, he says that won't be good enough. Time is ticking as the union and school district negotiate a new contact that will be good for the next two years. The current contract expires in a couple of weeks. The rally will begin at Union Hall in northeast Minneapolis at 1 p.m.,