911 system finally smartphone-ready

The 911 system is smartphone-ready, says a WCCO-TV report: “All emergency call centers across Minnesota have switched over to the Next Generation 911 network, otherwise known as NG911, reports CBS Minnesota. NG911, which was first implemented in the state in Carver County in November 2011, will reportedly help call centers handle data transmitted from smartphones. … [911 program manager Dana] Wahlberg says that to this day many people in Minnesota still think they can text to 911, but unfortunately they can’t.”

Q-Comp is under the microscope today … Christopher Magan at the PiPress says: “State lawmakers will discuss Friday how the state’s existing bonus program for teachers and a new system to evaluate their work may co-exist. The House Education Policy committee is expected to review several bills dealing with the existing Quality Compensation program, or Q-Comp, and a new teacher evaluation system set to begin across the state in the fall.”

Don’t hold your breath for Sunday liquor sales. Don Davis of the Forum News Service says,:“Sen. Roger Reinert, D-Duluth, has introduced seven bills that to varying degrees allow Sunday sales, including some that make minor changes in existing state law that bans liquor store sales. House Speaker Paul Thissen, D-Minneapolis, has said he does not see how the House goes from the repeal receiving 20 votes in the past to a repeal passing this year. Reinert agreed. ‘We are not there yet,’ Reinert said of a full repeal of current law.” Doug Grow has MinnPost coverage here.

Unlike the captain of the hockey team, they may not date cheerleaders, but as a group they’ve got mojo … A trio of Duluth News Tribune writers say: “Robotics has been popping up all over Minnesota high schools and taking the state by storm, growing from two to 207 teams in 11 years. So why this fascination with a sport — or a sport for the mind, as some call it — that, over the past school year, fielded more teams than varsity hockey? … In 2006, the first Minnesota robotics teams, the Green Machine of Edina and the Robosabres (since disbanded) from Faribault were formed. … The excitement of FIRST Robotics caught on in the state and 13 teams were formed in 2007, followed by 33 the next year.”

At 62, his foot speed might not be what it once was … Gretchen Schlosser of the Forum folks says: “A former professional wrestler has been found guilty of 12 charges of criminal sexual conduct, and a district judge will weigh several factors in determining the severity of the sentence. The guilty verdicts were returned Wednesday afternoon against Eugene Otto Zumhofe, 62, of Cyrus, in Kandiyohi County District Court. … Zumhofe, a former pro wrestler known as ‘Buck Rock ‘N’ Roll Zumhofe’ in the 1980s and early 1990s, was taken into custody after the verdicts were read. He tried to run from the courthouse before being subdued by court security officers.”

At Watchdog.org, Mary Tillotson looks at the bill to tighten control of under-performing charter schools and says: “Charter school authorizers in Minnesota whose schools fall in the lowest 25 percent of public schools could be required to close those schools or submit an explanation to the state. A Minnesota bill would increase charter school accountability — but some say it would overregulate schools that need to be independent. That’s if state Senate Bill 836 passes. Charter school supporters are split over whether the legislation from state Sen. Terri Bonoff would strengthen or weaken charter schools in the state where the movement began.”

The Glean If it weren’t for the snow, the spray of filthy slush, the temperature, the potholes, the absence of sunlight and the insulated clothing, it looks a lot like the east end of the L.A. basin out there today. Again from the Forum News Service: “People in the eastern two-thirds of Minnesota are under an air pollution health alert Friday. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued the alert this morning, saying air quality is unhealthy for groups of people … . Pollution problems are blamed on a strong temperature inversion accompanied by melting snow and morning fog. The combination is trapping fine particles near the ground.”

If you don’t stop that damned grunting … Richard Chin of the PiPress says: “Three men got into a fight at a Roseville, Minn., gym in which weight plates and barbells were tossed around, according to criminal complaints filed in Ramsey County District Court. Police were called to the LA Fitness, 2420 Cleveland Ave. in the Twin Cities suburb, on Sunday to respond to a call of 10 to 15 people fighting, according to the complaints alleging gross misdemeanor charges of third-degree participation in a riot.” OK, I’ll bite. What’s “second-degree participation”?

The Kings of Leon rock band got a couple of rough reviews for their work at Target Center last night. The Strib’s Jon Bream, who may get out too much, grumped: “[L]ike the Eagles last year in front of a full house at the same venue, Kings of Leon sounded pristine — just like their albums. But, like the Eagles, they had all the stage presence of the animatronic band at Chuck E. Cheese.”

Meanwhile, Emily Eveland at City Pages rips away, saying: “At their Target Center stop on the Mechanical Bull tour last night, the Followill brothers and cousin stayed on their respective sides of the stage, made little effort to engage the crowd (or one another, for that matter), and Caleb sort of looked like he wanted to die,” before concluding with: “It’s not that they played poorly. Quite the contrary, actually. Their musicianship was flawless and Caleb clearly has a gift for live singing, he just doesn’t appear to care about, well, anything.” Tough crowd. If you weren’t expecting a cross between Springsteen and Kanye West, it was a very entertaining show … and Gary Clark Jr., the opening act, will be a big deal real soon.

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