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Ely bans social media*

Ely gets some national pub for its April Fool’s prank announcing a mandatory curb on social media. At The Huffington Post, they write: “ ‘The only thing online here is a fish. And why would anyone need Pinterest?’ Ross Petersen, Mayor of Ely, said in a statement. ‘We have a big bulletin board over at the grocery store for that sort of thing. Or the Twitter? We have at least 140 characters right here, living in Ely. And don’t even get me started on the kids listening to their Zunes.’ Petersen explained that the town's April Fool's Day prank is meant to raise awareness about how much time people spend online and the importance of appreciating nature and face-to-face communication. ‘We’ve got a million acres of exclusive content, and hundreds of sites you can visit — in person.’ Petersen added.” Nature? Is there an app for that?

A couple of business-connected heavyweights make their argument for basic skills testing in a Strib commentary. David Olson and Charlie Weaver write: “It’s not money, it’s not unfunded mandates, it’s not tenure, it’s not public vs. private and it’s not class size. There are two major challenges that Minnesota’s K-12 education system must deal with if our students are to be prepared to compete for jobs in the 21st century. The first is making sure that a high school diploma means a student is prepared for a postsecondary education. The second is closing the nation-leading academic achievement gap that persists between our white and nonwhite students.” Have either of the two ever tried to “teach to the test” to five classes of 40 kids each?

Across the page, the Strib itself argues for adequate labeling of all foods: “Lawmakers in Minnesota and nearly two dozen other states are considering whether to require labels on genetically engineered foods and seeds — also known as genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. … A California referendum requiring GMO labeling lost last year, in part because the $9.2 million raised by proponents was no match for the $46 million spent by opponents Monsanto, Hershey, Coke, Pepsi and other companies, including Minnesota-based Cargill, General Mills, Hormel Foods and Land O’Lakes. Some companies argue that GMO labels will hurt sales and raise suspicions about their products.”

The AP reports on a couple of walk-away/escapees from a Duluth prison. “The inmates are Michael Krzyzaniak, 64, who is serving a 12-year sentence for bilking investors out of nearly $26 million, and Gerald Greenfield, 67, who is serving four years for conspiracy to commit money laundering in a $2.5 million mortgage fraud scheme.” Given their backgrounds, I’d park a squad car outside the main e-pulltab office.

The AP interviews Gov. Dayton and talks re-election: “In an interview last week with The Associated Press, Dayton promised no surprises when it comes to his intention to seek reelection next year. The reelection bid would be a first in his long political career. In his two previous stints in elected office, as state auditor and U.S. senator, Dayton twice surprised Minnesota political watchers by bowing out after one term. Not this time, he said. … Dayton has the advantage of a state Republican Party that’s on a serious statewide losing streak, and still trying to climb back from several years of financial and organizational disarray.”

The GleanIt’ll be Friday when the Legislature focuses on what the federal sequestration cuts are doing to Minnesota. At MPR, Tom Scheck says: “The Legislative Commission on Planning and Fiscal Policy will hold a hearing next Friday on the impact of the federal budget cuts on the state of Minnesota. Rep. Lyndon Carlson, DFL-Crystal, says they're holding the hearings because legislators are concerned that the automatic, across the board spending cuts could have an impact on the state's budget. He says the hearing will help lawmakers determine the scope of the cuts. … Those most likely to be hit hardest include the health department, employment assistance, higher education and local governments. ‘The sequestration phases in over the next few months so how rapidly some of those reductions may hit state agencies or local school districts and higher education would be one of the key questions,’ Carlson said.”

Also at MPR, Tim Nelson asks about the forgotten stadium project, the one to renovate the Target Center: “At one point the project looked like it might start in May of this year. But [Mayor R.T.] Rybak wasn’t sounding sure it’ll happen this year.

‘There is absolutely no clock on this. We’d obviously love to get it done for this construction season, but I think I have been telling you since the beginning, that this isn’t about getting it done fast. It’s about getting it right, and I think as we proved with negotiations with the football stadium, with the financial projection that is proving to be strong, that getting it right is more important.’

Recently, the city reported hospitality taxes raised $4 million more than expected last year. That money currently goes to help pay Minneapolis Convention Center debt, but would eventually pay the city’s share of the Vikings stadium and Target Center renovations.”

Andy Rathbun of the PiPress previews today’s start of the Aaron Schaffhausen sanity trial: “Several mental health experts have interviewed Schaffhausen, and testimony is expected from three — one appointed by the court and one each for the defense and prosecution. The defense has not specified what mental issue suffered by Schaffhausen should absolve him of responsibility for the crimes, but defense attorney John Kucinski said last week that the ‘proof will come out at trial.’ … A majority of at least 10 members of the 12-member jury will be needed to decide if Schaffhausen should be held responsible for killing Amara, 11, Sophie, 8, and Cecilia, 5. Some of the evidence and testimony that would have been presented in the first phase of the trial will be heard in the second phase.”

In the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Jason Stein covers Gov. Scott Walker’s presidential flirtations: “In a few weeks, Scott Walker will head to a Sheraton hotel just outside Des Moines, following a path already traveled by Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann. … Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, said that he rates Walker as one of just three Republicans nationally as a "lean yes" on a 2016 run. The other two leaders are the better known [Marco] Rubio and his fellow GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. … More than 900 people turned up to hear Walker deliver the keynote a week ago at the Dallas County GOP's annual Ronald Reagan Day dinner. That was a great deal more than turned out during the presidential election run-up in 2012 to hear Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, another potential presidential contender. The fundraiser ‘was the largest one in our history and the biggest one in the state of Texas this year,’ said Wade Emmert, a Dallas attorney who chairs the county party. ‘National Republicans are looking around for bright spots, and Walker is a bright spot.’ "

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Comments (4)

2016 Election

If Walker is the best and brightest the GOP can put forth for the 2016 presidential election, then we've got another shoe-in for the Democratic candidate.

How sad it must be

…when one of the few "bright spots" for your political party is Scott Walker, and how frightening for everyone else.

It is April 1st, after all...

It is April 1st, after all...

I would agree

that Ely has at least 140 characters, and I mean that in the best way...