Tentative contract deal for St. Paul teachers

There’s a deal in the St. Paul teachers’ contract fight. Says Tim Post at MPR: “The St. Paul Federation of Teachers and St. Paul School District have reached a tentative contract agreement Friday after 24 hours of negotiations with a state mediator. A Monday strike vote by teachers union has been canceled. … In a joint statement, both sides say the tentative agreement includes measures that ensure consistent and predictable class sizes, guidelines for the use of standardized testing and expansion of pre-K classes in the district. The two-year deal also includes an agreement on a teacher wage and benefits.” MinnPost’s Joe Kimball has coverage here.

The anti-Obamacare crowd is getting mileage out of a town hall appearance by Democrats Collin Peterson, Tim Walz and Amy Klobuchar. At Mediaite, Noah Rathman writes: “Given the level of public anxiety surrounding the rocky implementation of the Affordable Care Act, it’s a forgivable to assume that Democratic members of Congress would be prepared to address those concerns when they speak with their constituents about the law’s effects. That presumption proved incorrect recently when North Star State Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Minnesota Reps. Tim Walz and Collin Peterson could muster only a shrug and a chuckle when confronted about the health care reform law.”

On the (conservative) PJ Tatler website, the author says: “Four years after passing that bill into law, the Democrats still don’t have good answers for it. A constituent asks why, despite Democrat promises that premiums would go down $2500 per family, that hasn’t happened. The Democrats laugh. Then the two men at the table hand off the mic to Sen. Klobuchar. … At the end of the clip, Walz pushes the old Democrat line that while things are bad now, the old system was worse. That’s not true, though. Before Obamacare, about 85% of Americans were happy with their healthcare. Even about 50% of the uninsured were find [sic] with where they were.” I gotta find out where he got that one.

And therefore you knew with absolute certainty that John Hinderaker at Power Line would jump on it: “The premise of the audience member’s question, as well as the audience’s response (not to mention Peterson’s) is that everyone knows Obamacare isn’t saving American families money, like it was supposed to. That’s just another broken promise. The Democrats can bob and weave all they want between now and November, but they can’t forever hide from the truth.” Yeah! Because I just know we were promised $2,500, if not four years ago when the thing was signed, then right now, this winter.

Why bother digging out? Paul Walsh, Tim Harlow and Susan Hogan at the Strib write: “[T]he eastern half of Minnesota and a large swath of neighboring western Wisconsin were buried in anywhere from 8 to 17 inches of snow, kicking in the full menu of consequences: treacherous driving conditions, snow emergencies, downed power lines and schools closing or at least delaying classes. … Xcel Energy blamed the heavy snow, sleet and high winds for roughly 58,000 customers in Minnesota and Wisconsin losing electricity since Thursday night.” Wake me when it’s June.

In the PiPress, Joseph Lindberg says: “In St. Paul, crews had to re-plow all night routes late Thursday and early Friday because of the duration and intensity of the storm. As a result, day plow routes will be plowed beginning at 10 a.m., which is later than normal. Ticketing and towing on those day plow routes will not begin until then.”

The GleanFrom Dr. Jeff Masters at The Weather Underground: “[I]t appears that their earlier [computer modeling] runs seriously underestimated the strength of a ridge of high pressure forecast to build over the Western U.S. 6 – 10 days from now. This ridge will be accompanied by a return of the cold ‘Polar Vortex’ over the Midwest and Northeast U.S. … Temperatures 20°F below normal will likely invade the Upper Midwest on Sunday, and gradually spread southeastwards during the week. … As a result of these new model runs, the natural gas market has been soaring ever since early this morning, and is now approaching a five-year high of $6.”

And just because I was looking at The Weather Channel site … “Think we’re having a brutal winter? Winter temperatures in Oymyakon, Russia, average minus 50 C ( minus 58 F). The remote village is generally considered the coldest inhabited area on Earth. Oymyakon is a two-day drive from Yakutsk, the regional capital which has the lowest winter temperatures of any city in the world. … The frozen ground makes it difficult for working indoor plumbing, so most toilets are outhouses. The bitter cold also makes it difficult to dig graves. The ground  has to be warmed with a bonfire before a funeral.”

I would be astonished if this “not sure” number were lower. Josephine Marcotty of the Strib explains the latest Minnesota Poll: “Among Minnesotans who have an opinion on the issue, the largest group supports approval for a controversial copper mine proposed for the northeast corner of the state, according to a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll. It found that 46 percent of Minnesotans who were polled want PolyMet Mining Corp.’s proposal to be approved; 21 percent say it should be rejected. But a whopping one-third say they’re not sure.”

Baird Helgeson of the Strib has piece on GOP Rep. David FitzSimmons of Albertville:. “The fight over allowing same-sex marriage last year could claim its first political casualty as a GOP legislator faces an insurgent challenger from his own party over his support for the legalization effort. Rep. David FitzSimmons, R-Albert­ville, is immersed in a bitter and increasingly personal battle with newcomer Eric Lucero, a technology manager and Dayton City Council member who has made FitzSimmons’ support for same-sex marriage the centerpiece of his campaign.”

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