A new BWCA fire-control tactic: Explosives?!

MORNING EDITION

Like you, the BWCA fire got wet Sunday, and is now 19 percent contained, although the rains were too little to douse the blaze, says the Strib’s Josephine Marcotty. Still, that was enough to stop grass and leaf kindling from flaring. And now the fire line makers may get to use explosives! Good thing those aren’t flammable.The fire is still at 146 square miles, about 10 percent of the Boundary Waters. Clearing and windier weather today, though.

The Strib’s Brad Schrade reports that nursing home managers and law enforcement are using hidden cameras to catch mistreatment of the elderly and vulnerable. Using a 2009 state law allowing overnight monitoring in adult foster-care facilities only, regulators have approved nine “granny cam” requests. It’s not 100 percent clear if the watched need to sign off, or how the watchers avoid mistreatment-unrelated violations of personal privacy. Schrade highlights a Chanhassen case of an assisted-living aide caught “forcefully dragging” a resident, resulting in an out-of-court settlement. Nursing homes say there’s not a big demand for the cams.

The PiPress did this last week, but the Strib’s explainer on why state action means our collective local property taxes will go up $261 million a year is also worth reading, if only so you can aim your torches and pitchforks at the right people.

On a fundamental level, I’m not sure editorial-board approbation will slow down school-referenda-hating Republicans, but the New Ulm Journal takes a whack at Farmington state Rep. Pat Garofalo and Mazeppa colleague Steve Drazkowski: “To freeze school funding levels year after year, to withhold school funding payments session after session to balance the state’s budget, to force schools to cut millions from their budgets and programs to stay solvent, and then to criticize districts for going to the taxpayer to ask for an additional levy to avoid more cuts? That’s chutzpah!” Any ed boards support these guys? Let me know in the comments. Anyway, even if opinionators don’t matter, maybe other Republicans might? The Marshall Independent quotes Redwood Falls GOP Sen. Gary Dahms saying: “Of all the schools I visited in the 21st District I can’t say that I know of any of them that aren’t doing a good job in running their finances. For me to say anything about their finances, that’s not my position.” [Hat tip: Bluesteam Prairie.]

I’m guessing fewer of you read the Sunday PiPress than the Strib, so check out this excellent feature from the Tad Vezner on Hispanics boosting the population and fortunes of Worthington, Minn. The worth of stories like this? Read the part about rumors of thugs (presumably Latinos from the context of the piece) hiding under cars and slashing ankles. Utter b.s., say the cops. Worthington, which is now 35 percent Hispanic, has a lower number of serious crimes than comparably sized (and less Latin) Marshall and Fairmont. The Facebook-required comment section disputes Vezner’s reporting, but there are plenty of defenders. Meanwhile Ruben Rosario staples the Minneapolis cops for allegedly blowing off victims; the last names here are Lopez and Rivera.

Congrats, hunters! You have only shot one of 35 radio-collared bears. The Strib’s Doug Smith says the usual rate is four. The DNR asks hunters not to kill the tracked ursines, but it’s not illegal to put a bullet in ’em.

Because it’s Monday: A cool treehouse, from the Brainerd Dispatch. Sleeps five, winterized. But I’ll need a ruling from you, readers: Is a house “supported by full logs that are buried six-feet into the ground surrounded by cement” really a treehouse? Bonus: Abe Lincoln corn maze.

Nort spews: It’s a Triple Crown of loserdom! Vikings and Twins come from ahead to lose 24-20 to Tampa Bay and 6-5 to Cleveland, respectively, while the Lynx never lead, knotting their three-game playoff series with San Antonio at one apiece. Since the women are the only ones not out of it, we’ll remind you that the tie-breaker is Tuesday night at Target Center. No time has been set. Meanwhile, even though the Gopher gridders won, PiPress columnist Tom Powers says the U crossed a line in reporting Jerry Kill’s condition. Powers doesn’t say the U lied, but notes “we won’t receive honest information from university officials with regard to Kill’s health.” Generally in these cases, journos might accept (grudgingly) some sort of privacy here, but asserting “all is well” when the guy is having seizures speaking to his assistants qualifies as deceit.

Glean creator David Brauer returns to fill in for vacationing Brian Lambert.

Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Robley Henry on 09/19/2011 - 06:19 am.

    Steve Drazkowski has accomplished a nearly impossible feat; I am now nostalgic for the days when Steve Sviggum (Draz’s predecessor) was my district’s legislator.

  2. Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 09/19/2011 - 09:05 am.

    “The DNR asks hunters not to kill the tracked ursines, but it’s not illegal to put a bullet in ’em.”

    Just to clarify: you mean the bears, right?

    I thing that bear hunting should be legal, as long as the hunters can only use a stick, a piece of twine and a pocket knife. That seems fair. Our big brains vs. their big teeeth and claws.

  3. Submitted by David Greene on 09/19/2011 - 11:13 am.

    The property tax shift was deliberate political maneuvering. The message from the Republicans will be, “blame your local officials who run such inefficient governments.” It’s sickening to see.

    The same thing is happening with our school funding. Borrow from the schools and then publicly state that no school levies should pass, when those very levies are providing the basics the legislature cut and borrowed.

  4. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/19/2011 - 12:53 pm.

    When my neighbors and I went down to our city hall two years ago to ask for a detailed explaination from our council of why they needed an increase of 8%, we all discovered that a 4% increase was actually more appropriate.

    We’ll be back there again this year, and I’m betting that we’ll find that we don’t really need 6% more.

    When taxpayers have the opportunity to step right up in front of the tax spenders and ask for explainations, no pitchforks are needed. It’s one of the beauties of local control.

    As to school excess levy referenda, it’s a much harder cat to skin. Public school financing is a deliberately planned mess; with so many funding cubby-holes available all but the most dim-witted board member will find ample room to dance around even the most pointed question. Heck, now they’ve managed to turn an increase into a “cut”.

    Probably, a pitchfork and torch would be useful there.

  5. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 09/19/2011 - 03:59 pm.

    I just started a service where my neighbor and I evenly divide driving all the neighborhood kids to school. We charge all the other parents. A while back, rather than sharing, I decided to keep all the revenue collected from those parents, while still driving only half the time. When my driving partner went back to those parents to ask for his share, I scolded him for raising the driving fees while I held mine with no increase. The downside is I’m a pariah in my neighborhood. On the plus side, the GOP asked if I’d consider running for the legislature.

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