It didn’t take long … Emily Gurnon of the PiPress writes, “A judge has cleared the way for attorneys in a sexual abuse case to take the depositions of Archbishop John Nienstedt, former Vicar General Kevin McDonough and the Rev. John Brown. Ramsey County District Judge John Van de North also ruled during a hearing Tuesday that the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona must disclose the names and other information regarding priests accused of sexual abuse of children since 2004. The information is due to the court by Feb. 18.”
Madeleine Baran of MPR says, “Nienstedt will be questioned on the policies and practices of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in handling abuse allegations, including whether the archdiocese followed its own policies. The judge repeatedly noted that retired Archbishop Harry Flynn led the national committee that drafted the church’s standards for clergy sexual abuse cases. He said he didn’t know why those policies would not therefore be followed by the archdiocese.”
The state’s achievment gap may be abating. Kim McGuire and Glenn Howatt of the Strib say, “Slightly less than half of Minnesota’s public schools appear to be on track to cutting the achievement gap in half by 2017, according to new data released Tuesday by the state Department of Education. Most Minnesota schools still have a lot of work to do to reduce the achievement gap between white and minority students by 50 percent in three years, the department’s analysis shows. That ambitious goal is laid out in the state’s waiver to the federal No Child Left Behind law. Nonetheless, Minnesota education officials say the data give them hope that the state’s persistent achievement gap may be relenting.”
Steve Karnowski of the AP says, “The family of an exchange student from Pakistan who has been comatose since a November crash is trying to prevent a Minnesota hospital from sending him back to his home country. Muhammad Shahzaib Bajwa, 20, was spending a semester in an exchange program at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. On Nov. 13, he and his friends were driving back there from Minneapolis when their car struck a deer … .”
And again … Kia Farhang of The Minnesota Daily reports, “A University of Minnesota student was robbed at gunpoint in the Southeast Como neighborhood around 9 p.m. Monday night, according to a University crime alert. The victim was walking home near the intersection of 17th and Como avenues southeast, the alert said. Two male suspects called to her from across the street and asked for directions. The suspects crossed the street when the victim stopped to respond. One pulled out a handgun and pointed it at the victim while the other grabbed her backpack and wallet and told her to empty her pockets, the alert said.”
The editorial page of the Duluth News Tribune doesn’t like the huffing and puffing over “financial assurance” re: PolyMet. “No, of course it’s not known yet how much money PolyMet should set aside to cover cleanup costs related to its plans to mine copper and other precious metals in Northeastern Minnesota. Never was that dollar figure supposed to have been determined by this point. … It’s hard to see today’s hearing of a Minnesota House committee as anything but an attempt to pollute the pool of public opinion at a time when copper mining is a sensitive and controversial subject and its approval is far from assured, never mind the financial boon it promises if the environmental review determines it can be done without polluting.” I think I know where they’re coming from.
January was another good month for revenue … . The Forum News Service story says, “Minnesota’s January revenue was $83 million more than expected. That is a 4.4 percent increase and good news for lawmakers who want to spend money when they come back to St. Paul for the 2014 legislative session Feb. 25. Minnesota Management and Budget reported Monday that individual income tax payments were up $53 million … .” Where’s my rebate check!
Hooo boy … From the Morrison County Record: “Jon Noyes, District Manager of the Social Security office in St. Cloud, wants to alert area residents that we recently became aware of a scam going on in Central Minnesota. Residents have reported getting a call from a man who alleges that he works for the Social Security Administration. The caller tells people he will come to their house to increase the amount of benefits they receive. He asks for the person’s Social Security Number and bank information. Residents should know this caller is not a Social Security employee.”
At long, long last … Janet Moore of the Strib tells us, “The sale of five blocks owned by the Star Tribune Co. in eastern downtown Minneapolis was finalized Tuesday, clearing the way for a $400 million development of new housing, offices, parking, retail shops and a park next to the new Vikings stadium. Four blocks were sold to the Minneapolis-based developer, Ryan Cos. The fifth block was sold to the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, the public body overseeing the construction of the stadium, which will use the lot for a parking garage. Terms weren’t disclosed.” Nor was anything else by Moore’s bosses, judging by the lack of quotes.