Social media is everywhere. And many people use Twitter or Facebook or Instagram to navigate entire portions of their lives.

But what about health care? Would you accept (or prompt) a friend request from your doctor, dentist or medical center? If you’re a health professional: How do you navigate social media?

Liz Baier’s dentist, in Rochester, operates much of his business through social media. Liz reports:

“To be honest, there’s a set of patients that prefer to contact you about appointments and things just through Facebook, rather than call, rather than e-mail,” [dentist Kevin] Kopper said.

The couple’s practice has a business page, kind of like an ad, with office hours, and general business information. But most of the real interaction — the private messages, the liking, the scheduling — all that happens from their personal accounts.

Kopper says because they’re a private practice, those online conversations are extensions of the small talk that happens inside the office. He emphasizes that it’s all small talk — and nothing that reveals private patient information.

“I think people like the personal contact. And we’re a small practice. It’s just my wife and I, and one employee. And you could say there’s private things you should keep private,” Kopper said. “But honestly, here, when we’re working, we generally talk about our lives anyway, so we don’t really have anything to hide that way. So I guess it’s okay.”

Today’s question: Is there a place for social media in health care?

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Blue Plate Restaurant Group’s new eatery at the Minnesota State Fair. (Tim Nelson/MPR News)

The Blue Plate Restaurant Company drew fire for reducing its employees’ tips to make up for a hike in the minimum wage, but it’s now walking back on that decision.

Tim Nelson reports:

Owner David Burley says Blue Plate has dropped the controversial charge, and will also raise the pay for non-tipped staff to $9.69 an hour starting Sept. 1. That’s a premium above the state’s current $8 an hour minimum wage, which went into effect Aug. 1.

Today’s Question: Should waiters have to depend on tips? What is the fairest way to compensate waitstaff?

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The Fond-du-Luth Casino in downtown Duluth, Minn., pictured here in a 2011 file photo, was the state’s first jointly run gambling operation.

The Duluth City Council is scheduled to take up a resolution Monday evening seeking state permission to open a city-run casino. The move would require a change to the Minnesota Constitution.

Since the Fond du Lac Ojibwe band stopped sharing casino revenue with the city, Duluth has been trying to figure out how to fill that budget hole and fix its deteriorating streets.

“There is no silver bullet, no one’s going to come in and fix our roads for us, and yet you have to find the balance between the need to invest in this infrastructure, and our community’s ability to pay for that,” Duluth Mayor Don Ness said earlier this year. Duluth has considered raising property taxes or adding a new monthly fee to utility bills. Now, the City Council is looking at opening a city-run casino, which is currently not allowed.

Today’s Question: Should the state allow city-run casinos?

More: Duluth’s roads need work, but city needs money first

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Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson defeated three challengers to win the Republican Party’s nomination for governor. In two of the most hotly contested political races in the state, longtime Democratic legislator Phyllis Kahn and veteran Republican state Rep. Jenifer Loon both survived strong challenges. Sunfish Lake business executive Mike McFadden won an easy victory Tuesday Read more