President Obama’s call for scrutinizing federal aid and college costs is setting off alarms with Congressman John Kline a longtime friend of the for-profit college system. In the Strib, Corey Mitchell writes: “Obama on Thursday unveiled plans for a system that would rate colleges based on their value for the money students spend on tuition — then tie those ratings to disbursement of federal student aid. … A report released this summer by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education showed that 2010 graduates racked up $29,800 in debt, on average. … “While I am pleased the president’s new plan recognizes the importance of promoting innovation and competition in higher education, I remain concerned that imposing an arbitrary college ranking system could curtail the very innovation we hope to encourage — and even lead to federal price controls,” said Kline, chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee.”
So much for local responsibility … Peter Bodley of the ECM papers writes: “The Coon Rapids Police Department is seeking a federal grant to hire two new police officers. Specifically, the city is proposing to add two new community oriented policing services officers. The grant request is for $435,000 over three years through the U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) office. Under the federal program, the grant would fund 75 percent of the cost of the two positions with the city picking up the balance.”
Trust us … Christopher Magan of the PiPress says: “Repeated problems in April with an online system for administering state proficiency tests had minimal impact on students’ scores, an analysis commissioned by the Minnesota Department of Education found. The review concluded that while students experienced computer slowdowns, freezes and other disruptions on April 16 and 23, ‘there is no statistical evidence to suggest that the disruption, on average, adversely impacted students and schools.’ The state is set to release the results of the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment next week.”
Just another artisanal Ma and Pa operation … Jim Hammerand of the Business Journal says: “The Minnesota Twins will debut the Taste of Target Field food truck in downtown Minneapolis over the lunch hour Monday. Taste of Target Field’s menu will feature ballpark fare including Kramarczuk’s sausages, nachos, Schweigert hot dogs, The Loon Café chili, a BBQ brisket sandwich, cheese curds and daily specials. The truck will also feature a large screen showing televised Twins games, as the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal first reported back in July.” Are those games really all that appetizing?
Thanks, but I’ll have the pork chop on a stick … Alejandra Matos of the Strib says: “At least 81 people fell ill from suspected salmonella poisoning after eating guinea pig meat and other foods from a vendor at a Minneapolis street festival earlier this month, health officials said. The vendor had a city permit but sold unapproved food and handled it improperly, according to a city spokesman. The outbreak happened at the Ecuadorean Independence Day celebration at the New York Plaza Produce grocery, 1304 E. Lake St., on Aug. 11.”
Related … . Several tweets from Strib foodie Rick Nelson, eating his way through Day 1 at the Fair:
“Candied Bacon Cannoli at Ole’s Cannoli ($6, $7, Heritage Sq. All the basic food groups. … Chop Dog at Blue Moon ($5, $6, Carnes/Chambers). Best hot dog at the fair, chopped. … English Toffee Fudge Puppy at Granny’s Kitchen ($5, Food Bldg). Sugar rush! Tasty, too.”
You get the idea.
Also related … we’re No. 26 and No. 31! Michael Olson at MPR writes: “Two of Surly Brewing’s seasonal beers go over quite well with the beer reviewing geeks at Beer Advocate. Surly’s Abrasive Ale came in at 26 and Surly’s Darkness rode in at 31. No other Minnesota beers made the top 50.”
And if only we could get these things on a stick … . Holy leaping carp! Paul Walsh of the Strib reports: “A dead silver carp, the species infamously known for furiously leaping out of the water, has been found just north of Winona, the farthest point yet the unwanted fish has been detected in the Mississippi River, state conservation officials said Thursday. A worker with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service discovered the 30-inch-long carcass on Aug. 9 atop a concrete abutment just below Lock and Dam 5, about 20 miles farther upstream than the previous northernmost instance of a silver carp on the river, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said. The dam is about 110 miles south of St. Paul. ‘Finding this carp on the sill of the dam suggests that it was attempting to jump over it; it wasn’t just leaping due to a disturbance,’ said Nick Frohnauer, the DNR’s invasive fish coordinator.”
The reliably status-quo Wall Street Journal opinion page Wednesday had a good one … albeit unsigned: “Washington finally declared a truce on the death tax this year, with estates now taxed at 40% with an exemption of $5 million. … Four states — Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee — have reacted wisely by eliminating or phasing out their estate taxes. This leaves 18 states plus the District of Columbia that still impose a gift or estate levy. … The grand prize for self-abuse goes to Minnesota, which this year enacted a new 10% gift tax with a $1 million exemption. … This tax is in addition to Minnesota’s 16% estate tax. The new law is all the more punitive because it applies the 16% estate tax (6% on top of the earlier 10% gift tax) to any gift within three years of death. This is essentially a clawback tax, or more taxation without respiration. … Thousands of Minnesota snow birds move to Florida during the winter months already, and so the new tax adds an extra financial incentive not to return. The Center for the American Experiment, a Minnesota research group, found that $3 billion of income has been lost to the state since 1995 after Minnesotans relocated to Florida and Arizona.” And I’m sure that is an objective, hard number …