I have to say, this is a story you don’t expect to hear from MPR. But Dan Kraker tells the cultural tale of men having sex with much younger girls in and around Grand Marais. “Some are upset that people in the community didn’t do enough to protect girls. Beth Kennedy has felt that way since the late 1970s, when her daughter approached high school age. ‘It wasn’t that it was acceptable with all of society,’ she said of the relationships older men had with teenage girls. ‘It’s just that nothing was done about it. People knew about it, and nothing was done.’ But some men of that generation say people in the community did know that older men pursued teenage girls, and tolerated it. ‘Back in them days, it was acceptable,’ said Perry Wilson, who is quick to defend his friend Schlienz. ‘That’s the way it was — 16-, 17-year-old girls; that was their boyfriends back then was a 25-year-old guy.’ In Grand Marais, most people know Wilson by his nickname, ‘Proof,’ short for ‘Hundred Proof’. … The issue has divided people in Grand Marais, said Jane Howard, associate editor at the Cook County News-Herald. The split, she said, is ‘between people who are appalled that statutory rape takes place, and between people who knew [Cook County court house shooter] Dan Schlienz, and others who have engaged in that kind of relationship with minors.’ Howard said it’s also been hard for the town to deal with an issue that no one has really talked about much. ‘That has been sort of swept under the rug by the community,’ she said. [Steve] Borud, the probation officer, said another factor may have helped preserve a culture of silence. ‘When these guys say that these young gals were eager, I believe that,’ he said. But even though the sex may be consensual, Borud said, that doesn’t make it legal.”
Pretty much party line again … on that tenure-eroding bill revising how school districts can handle teacher layoffs. Says Jennifer Brooks at the Strib, “The bill passed the state Senate Monday on an almost party-line vote of 36-26. It aims to create a new system for teacher layoffs that puts more weight on job performance evaluations than on tenure. Supporters say it’s a way to keep good teachers regardless of how long they’ve been at the job, rather than the old standard of last hired, first fired.
“In the event of a layoff, teachers would be laid off based on their effectiveness,” said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Pam Wolf, R-Spring Lake Park – a middle school teacher herself. Right now, she said, a teacher could have decades of seniority and lose it all if they transfer to a new school – and end up at the front of the line for layoffs. ‘Seniority does not mean experience. … Experience does not necessarily mean effectiveness.’ The legislation, which passed the House earlier this month, brought cries of protest from teachers and teacher unions. Opponents see it as an attack on the teacher unions and a blow to what little job security teachers now enjoy. ‘Basically, it guts tenure,’ said Sen. David Tomassoni, DFL-Chisholm … .”
Good story by MPR’s Jon Collins on prescription opiate abuse. “Ed Yaekle’s road to heroin abuse started with long drives across the Upper Midwest to find doctors and pharmacists he could scam for pain pills. Yaekle was first prescribed drugs like Tylenol 3 and Vicodin after a 40-foot fall at a construction site in the early 1990s. Eventually, he started injecting ground prescription opiates into his veins to get a stronger kick. ‘It got to the point where I was doing an incredible amount of those, and it was getting so cost prohibitive that I found it better to just turn around and sell the pills and buy heroin,’ Yaekle said. ‘somewhere in the middle there, the line became blurred between pain relief and addiction.’ Rates of prescription opiate abuse have steadily risen in Minnesota, like in many places across the country. But Minnesota is unique because it’s also seeing a large jump in heroin abuse, partly due to users like Yaekle, whose prescription opiate addictions lead them to some of the cheapest and highest-quality heroin in the country.”
An agreement is closer with the Cheeseheadistanis. Jim Ragsdale of the Strib says, “Border-area legislators and tax officials from the two states came together at the Minnesota state Capitol on Monday and expressed hopes that an agreement can be reached this year, in time for it to take effect for the 2013 tax year. At issue is tax reciprocity — the idea that workers who live in one state and work in another can file a single state tax return, rather than paying taxes in each state. Such an arrangement existed for more than four decades before Minnesota ended the agreement in 2009. Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty ended the agreement over concerns about delays in receiving payments from Wisconsin.
Because far more residents of Wisconsin cross the border to work than do Minnesota residents, Wisconsin had to reimburse Minnesota for income taxes collected from Minnesota workers.”
Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk says he has 12 DFL votes for the Vikings stadium. Mike Kaszuba of the Strib writes, “Bakk said he would tentatively pledge 12 Senate DFL votes – he does not know exactly who yet – toward passing a Vikings stadium deal at the Legislature. The rest of the needed votes, said Bakk, would have to come from the Senate Republican majority. There are 67 state senators, meaning a stadium bill would need at least 34 votes to pass. Republicans hold a 37 to 30 majority in the Senate. Why 12? Bakk said that is the number of Republican senators who voted for a new Minnesota Twins stadium in 2006, when DFLers controlled the Senate. He is just returning the favor, he said. But Bakk said there are a few caveats: If the state’s financial contribution to a new Vikings stadium comes from allowing electronic pull tabs – a choice Gov. Mark Dayton, a DFLer, seems to prefer – he could “probably” provide 12 votes. If the state’s financial contribution comes from racino – allowing slot machines at the state’s horse racing tracks – there probably will not be 12 votes. ‘I have to agree on the revenue [source],’ said Bakk, DFL-Cook. ‘I’m not going to vote just for anything for 12 votes.’ ” The killing is in the caveat.
A footnote to American iconography has passed away. The AP reports, “The artist who hand-colored ‘Grace,’ a photo showing a white-bearded man bowed in prayer before a simple meal, has died at age 95. Eric Enstrom took the photo, displayed in homes and churches nationwide, at his studio in Bovey, Minn., in 1918. Enstrom’s daughter, Rhoda Nyberg, brought the photo to life and widespread distribution with her colorization. Nyberg died Tuesday at a nursing home near Proctor. … Nyberg’s daughter, Kris Mayerle, said her mother’s painting preceded the introduction of color photography. ‘She brought color into the photos before there was color photography,’ said Mayerle, who remembers her mother having photos strewn across the dining room table during her childhood. … Nyberg’s coloring was used on the prints by Augsburg Publishing, which bought the rights to ‘Grace’ in the early 1950s, according to her son, Kent Nyberg.
The colored version of the photo was designated the official picture of the state of Minnesota in 2002.”
Dry Goods … is coming to Rosedale. Tom Webb’s PiPress story says, “A women’s clothing store called Dry Goods will open its first Minnesota location in May, an official at Rosedale Center said today. Dry Goods is a relatively new retail concept created by Von Maur, the Iowa-based department store chain. This will be the fifth Dry Goods locations, and the first outside of Illinois or Wisconsin. At Rosedale, Dry Goods will occupy a 4,500-square-foot space on the center court, formerly occupied by Abercrombie Kids, said Rosedale spokesperson Liz Ostrander.”
Listen up! There are new rules to stop the emerald ash borer. The AP reports, “The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has issued new rules meant to stop the spread of the emerald ash borer. The quarantine covers Hennepin and Ramsey counties in the Twin Cities and Winona and Houston counties in the southeast. The rules announced Monday formalize and update an emergency quarantine imposed last year. Any material that might harbor emerald ash borers — such as firewood, ash logs, ash bark and chips — cannot be moved out of the quarantine area without authorization from the agriculture department, and the material must be treated so there’s no risk of spreading the invasive insects.”
Death from above. The latest on tomorrow’s end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it, from Paul Douglas … .
- “Northward trend in the storm track pulling dry air (dry tongue) into southern Minnesota faster on Wednesday, limiting amounts from the metro on south to the Iowa border. I’m thinking 5-8″ for the immediate metro area, with well over a foot for central Minnesota by midday Wednesday.
- Timing: snow arrives midday tomorrow, gets heavier by afternoon, mixes with sleet/freezing rain Tuesday evening and night before changing back to snow Wednesday morning before tapering off by midday Wednesday.
- Blizzard Watch posted for western Minnesota. I still expect the local NWS to upgrade the Winter Storm Watch to a Winter Storm Warning later today. The farther north/west you travel, away from the metro area tomorrow PM and Wednesday, the worse travel conditions will be.” Maybe now is the time to sell outstate to the Dakotas.