Good piece by the Strib’s Baird Helgeson on the money stream flowing into the pro-marriage amendment campaign: “A report by the Human Rights Campaign on Thursday said that the Catholic Church has contributed more than half of the funding into efforts to pass a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Minnesota. Minnesota Catholic Conference Marriage Defense Fund, a political committee created solely to raise money for the effort, has contributed half of the $1.2 million raised to support the measure, the report said. That group has collected $180,000 from dioceses around [the state] and the nation, along with more than $130,000 from the Knights of Columbus, the nation’s largest Catholic fraternal organization. The group’s fundraising includes $150,000 combined from dioceses in Crookston, St. Cloud and Winona.”
They missed peak color season, but Jay Cooke Park is opening again. Steve Kuchera of the Duluth News Tribune reports: “Park visitors, however, will be restricted to driving into the park from the west, and only as far as park headquarters and the campground. It will be next year — or even 2014 — before Minnesota Highway 210 reopens to the public for its entire length through the park. While getting into the park will be more difficult for the foreseeable future, on Monday the park will reopen its office, interpretive center, campground and camper cabins to the public. Campsites and cabins will be available first-come, first-served through the end of the month. On Nov. 1, the state will begin accepting lodging reservations. The park will offer its first post-flooding naturalist program on Nov. 3. Perhaps most surprisingly, the park will reopen the bulk of its hiking trail system Monday.”
Co-ed bathrooms … in Moorhead. Ryan Johnson of the Forum papers writes: “The gender divide found in most bathrooms will soon be a thing of the past in one of Minnesota State University Moorhead’s residence halls. … Phillips said the idea for coed bathrooms goes back to 2009, when the housing department completed a housing master plan that set a goal of catching up to deferred maintenance on its aging buildings while offering students more options. She’s met with students since spring to discuss the different proposals from architects and said many liked the idea of upgrading to coed bathrooms that offer more privacy, including fully-enclosed toilet rooms and shower areas instead of the traditional stall walls. ‘The idea here was to increase privacy, making it much more private than you have in a community bath with stalls,’ she said.” Never mind privacy — have these people ever seen a college-age guy clean up after himself?
There are 23 … or 32 … Minnesota men mentioned in the Boy Scouts release of “perversion files.” The AP story says: “Thousands of pages from the Boy Scouts’ so-called ‘perversion files’ have been made public, and the files identify 23 Minnesota men from 13 communities. The files stretch from 1960 to 1984. They detail allegations in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington, Eagan, Mounds View, St. Louis Park, Apple Valley, Maplewood, International Falls, Chisholm, Faribault, Rochester and Moorhead.”
WCCO-TV’s story says: “The list includes hundreds of names, including 32 Minnesotans. Of those 32 men, 17 were convicted or pled guilty of child sex abuse or child pornography charges. Officials said 15 of the men were investigated, but no charges were filed. In all, the documents name more than 1,200 scout leaders and volunteers.”
This guy has already had a long run through the legal system. Now the Minnesota Supreme Court will hear his case. The AP says: “The Minnesota Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a former nurse convicted of searching out suicidal people in online chat rooms and encouraging them to commit suicide. William Melchert-Dinkel of Faribault was convicted in 2011 on two counts of aiding suicide. The Minnesota Court of Appeals in July rejected his argument that he was merely practicing free speech. In an order Tuesday, the state Supreme Court agreed to review the case. A date for oral arguments has not been set.”
St. Paul attorney Eric Nilsson offers his thoughts on our local classical music labor issues. In an MPR commentary, he writes: “There are three realities that all sides — musicians, managers and audiences — need to address. All three are fastballs with a nasty curve:
The first reality is this: However much it takes to become a top-flight classical musician, the performer can expect to earn only what the market is able and willing to pay. …
The first reality points to a second: to increase significantly society’s value perception of live, world-class classical music, greater exposure and appreciation (in that order) would need to occur in our schools, starting at kindergarten and continuing through college. The exposure would have to be via the core curriculum, not simply by casual, extracurricular band, choral, orchestra and individual instruction. …
The timeframe associated with the second reality — the links between exposure and appreciation; appreciation and support — leads to a third reality. To keep live, top-flight performances of classical music afloat today, we need to devise new approaches to how music-making by the Minnesota Orchestra and the SPCO is presented, marketed and financed.” Fine, but I’m not interested in listening to the SPCO play “The Music of ‘Glee.’ “
According to Frederick Melo of the PiPress, St. Paul’s city parking ramps will lose $800,000 in revenue if the NHL lockout lasts all season: “St. Paul’s nine municipal parking ramps are generating cash at a stable clip. But they haven’t generated money for additional city projects other than the upscale Penfield housing development, as some city council members would like them to. As a result of the ongoing NHL labor strife, the city’s municipal parking ramp system is expected to lose $400,000 in projected revenue by the end of the year. If it lasts the entire season, the lockout could cost the city’s parking ramp and surface lot system as much as 10 percent, or $800,000, of its annual revenue.”
Aaron Klemz at leftmn.com notes the obvious irony in Minnesota cracking down on free online college courses: “[T]he Chronicle of Higher Education reported that the Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE) has banned Coursera, an online platform for free massive open online courses (MOOC’s) from operating in Minnesota. Coursera was sent a cease and desist letter from the OHE for failing to register as a higher education provider. Other MOOC platforms like edX and Udacity have yet to say if they’ve been sent similar letters. Keep in mind, Coursera’s courses do not lead to a degree or a credential (although it’s fair to say that several MOOC platforms are exploring the possibilities of doing that). This action has come in for some much deserved mockery around the nation. … But to my mind, the real reason that the OHE’s action is suspect is that they’ve done little to regulate the bricks-and-mortar (and online) for-profit colleges that operate in the state. … Rather than going after MOOC’s that provide free access to information, perhaps the OHE could direct its attention to the folks who are charging way too much for it.” Call Congressman John Kline. I’m sure he’s prepared to help.