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Sunday, December 9, 2018

Dakota County Public Health offers immunization clinics

Flu shot, other vaccines available in December at Northern, Western service centers
Residents who are uninsured or whose insurance does not cover vaccines can receive immunizations at upcoming Dakota County Public Health immunization clinics. The flu vaccine is available along with other recommended adult and child immunizations. In addition to the uninsured or underinsured, immunization clinics are also open to children enrolled on a Minnesota health care program (Medical Assistance, MinnesotaCare or Prepaid Medical Assistance Program) or are American Indian or Alaskan Native.
An appointment clinic will be 1–3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11 at the Dakota County Western Service Center, 14955 Galaxie Ave., Apple Valley. Go to suite 286, second floor. Call 952-891-7528 to schedule an appointment.
The walk-in clinic will be 4–6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13 at the Dakota County Northern Service Center, 1 Mendota Road W., West St. Paul. Go to suite 410, fourth floor. No appointment is needed.
A donation of $20 for each vaccination is suggested, but people who qualify for reduced-fee immunizations will not be turned away if they cannot donate. Cash and checks are accepted; no credit or debit cards.
Minors under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian or have a signed authorization for another adult to accompany them. Forms and eligibility information are available online at; search immunization clinics. Please bring all immunization records with you to the clinic.
For more information, call the Immunization Hotline at 952-891-7999.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

911 OUTAGE INVESTIGATION COMPLETE; HUMAN ERROR IDENTIFIED: 693 Calls to 911 Failed to Route to Minnesota Dispatch Centers

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Emergency Communication Networks division (DPS-ECN) has received information from the state's 911 provider regarding a statewide outage that occurred on August 1. 
CenturyLink is Minnesota's contracted 911 service provider and says human error by an employee of a third party vendor is to blame. CenturyLink says that an employee of West Safety Services made a mistake while making a network configuration change. This error prevented 911 calls from being accepted in Minnesota, North Carolina and North Dakota.
CenturyLink provided a timeline for the event:
·         3:47 p.m. - The outage began. 
·         3:58 p.m. - 911 dispatch centers alerted CenturyLink to the call failures.
·         4:02 p.m. - CenturyLink contacted West Safety Services about the issue. West noted they were aware of the problem and attempting to correct it. 
·         4:24 p.m. - CenturyLink notified all 911 dispatch centers in Minnesota, North Carolina and North Dakota of the outage.
·         4:52 p.m. - West Safety Services rolled back the configuration change which restored 911 service.
CenturyLink says 693 calls to more than 50 Minnesota 911 dispatch centers failed to be routed during the outage. During that same time, 356 calls to 911 were successfully routed to Minnesota 911 dispatch centers through a redundant router.
Minnesota's 102 dispatch centers statewide have received an average of 7,817 calls per day this year. 
CenturyLink says West Safety Services has agreed to stop work on its network through the end of August while it reviews the reason for the outage. They are also looking into changing processes and procedures along with enhancing software and safety mechanisms to prevent future errors from occurring.
DPS-ECN oversees the 911 program and is in the second year of a five-year $29.5 million contract with CenturyLink.
"We are committed to holding all service providers and their vendors accountable for any failures of the system," said DPS-ECN Director Dana Wahlberg. "We will continue to work towards providing dependable, state-of-the-art 911 services for all Minnesotans in an emergency."
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is the regulatory authority over CenturyLink and West. The Federal Communications Commission will conduct its own investigation into the outage which could result in fines for both companies.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

New DWI law goes into effect Aug. 1st.

Little Alan's Law provides consistent application of DWI laws

A new law that goes into effect Aug. 1 means people convicted of driving while intoxicated – regardless of the vehicle they're driving – will lose their driver's license and be prohibited from operating motor vehicles, including all-terrain vehicles, motorboats and snowmobiles. The state Legislature passed the law following the death of 8-year-old Alan Geisenkoetter Jr., who died in January after being struck by a snowmobile driven by a man whose driver's license was revoked after multiple DWI offenses.

Before the law change, people convicted of DWI in a highway-licensed vehicle still could legally operate ATVs, motorboats and snowmobiles. The changes apply to violations that occur on or after Aug. 1.

"We have zero tolerance for people who endanger themselves and other people by operating a motor vehicle or recreational vehicle while they're intoxicated," said Col. Rodmen Smith, director of the Minnesota DNR Enforcement Division. "This new law should send the message that drinking and driving – no matter what the vehicle – isn't acceptable and the consequences are severe."

As an example, a person convicted of DWI in a motorboat, or who refuses testing for a motorboat DWI, would have their driver's license suspended and be prohibited from operating ATVs, motorboats and snowmobiles for one year. Additionally, first-time DWI offenders operating off-road recreational vehicles or motorboats also will be subject to chemical use assessments, conditional release and plate impoundment – the same as a DWI in a highway-licensed vehicle.

The Minnesota DNR and other law enforcement agencies in the state, along with ATV and snowmobile groups, supported the law change, which passed the Legislature with bipartisan support and was signed into law in May by Gov. Mark Dayton.