On the school levy front, MPR’s story, by Tim Post, says: “Property tax levies for school construction and operating expenses had passed in at least 50 districts. Voters in six districts had turned the measures down as of early Wednesday morning. Seventy-six of Minnesota’s 333 school districts had property tax levy requests on Tuesday’s ballot — a typical number for an off-year election. School districts asked for local taxpayer support on Tuesday, even after Minnesota lawmakers approved $485 million in new education funding last session. … Several school districts are adding capacity to make room for more students next fall when the state begins to fully support all day kindergarten. Among the districts where voters passed school bonding measures were Inver Grove Heights, Pelican Rapids and St. Louis Park.”
Heather Carlson of The Rochester Post-Bulletin reports: “Sen. Carla Nelson has decided not to challenge DFL 1st District Rep. Tim Walz next fall. In an interview, the Rochester Republican said she decided Monday that she wanted to continue serving residents in the Minnesota Senate. … Nelson had been aggressively courted by Republicans at the national and state level to run for the seat. She said she became convinced it is a winnable seat for a Republican, which required her to do some soul searching whether she wanted to run for it. … So far, three Republicans have announced bids against Walz. They are Rochester state Rep. Mike Benson, Blue Earth businessman Jim Hagedorn and Byron Army veteran Aaron Miller.”
Thanks, I’ll pass on Pipestone for a few days … . MPR’s Tim Nelson reports: “The first winter storm of the season has moved on through Minnesota, leaving a wide swath of the state covered in snow. The heaviest amount — 10 inches — fell in Pipestone. Marshall reported 8.5 inches of snow, just over 6 inches fell in Sioux Falls, S.D. … Roads were listed in fair condition in a band stretching from Cambridge to Montevideo, and the rest of the state’s roads are listed in good winter driving condition.”
We’re so proud … . Bill Ward of the Strib says: “Wisconsin proclaims itself ‘America’s Dairyland,’ but a new museum exhibit might just bring that title into question. ‘Butterworld,’ a travelling exhibition that opens Nov. 8 at the Wise Traditions Conference in Atlanta, includes more items from Minnesota than any other state, said curator Sandeep Agarwal. Among the bottles, cream separators, churns, crates, molds, advertising and what Agarwal calls ‘one of the largest collection of hydrogenated vegetable shortening containers in the world’ are no fewer than nine items from Minnesota creameries.”
Next up for the morning show bookers … Shereen Siewert of the Daily Herald Media reports: “A Wausau woman who was 16 when she disappeared more than nine years ago is alive and living outside the U.S., and volunteers at an Athens church are determined to raise the funds necessary to bring the woman home.Connie McCallister, now 26, disappeared with her boyfriend Aug. 15, 2004, when she was an honor-roll student at Athens High School, where she also was involved in track and cross country and worked at a bakery. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children displayed McCallister’s name and photo on its website until three months ago. That’s when a church missionary who met McCallister and learned she was a missing person contacted officials at the national organization and said McCallister, who now has three young children, was safe and wanted to come home.”
“We” are in the Top 10! Jim Buchta of the Strib tells us: “What does Orono, with its abundant Lake Minnetonka shoreline, have in common with the sandy ocean beaches of Malibu, California? They’re both among the top 10 most expensive real estate markets in the country. Well, at least according to a survey by Coldwell Banker, which tracks the average list price of a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house in 1,900 markets across the country. By that measure, Malibu was the most expensive with an average list price of $2.1 million and Orono was the ninth-most expensive at $1.2 million. Among all 1,900 markets, the average list price for that four-bedroom house was about $300,000.”
Sign-ups for MNsure have tripled in the past two weeks. The AP says: “MNsure released new enrollment data Wednesday. In addition to 10,940 people who completed the sign-up process, an additional 4,300 people completed the application process but haven’t picked an insurer. Signups nearly tripled in MNsure’s second two weeks compared to its first two. Because many of the plans purchased will cover more than one person, the nearly 11,000 people who signed up represent an estimated 31,447 people who will be covered.”
Also at MPR, Bob Collins covers the state Supreme Court’s reversal of a Court of Appeals ruling. “The Minnesota Supreme Court today reversed a Court of Appeals ruling that granted a new trial for a St. Paul priest who said religious doctrine was used in his prosecution in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Christopher Wenthe was convicted in 2011 of having sex with a young woman he was counseling. … The priest was prosecuted under a Minnesota law that prohibits a clergy member from having sexual contact with a parishioner when the parishioner is seeking or receiving ‘religious or spiritual advice, aid, or comfort’, in private. He argued that the law unconstitutionally singles out clergy, which fails a test for determining whether it violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. He also argued that the statute ‘inhibits’ religion. But today the Minnesota Supreme Court rejected the argument, saying ‘it covers only those clergy who choose to use their position as a clergy member, or who hold themselves out as a clergy member, to enter into sexual relationships with vulnerable individuals.’ ” The way things are going more, not fewer, religious inhibitions would seem to be in order.