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Macalester students kick MPIRG off campus

Plus: Target earnings are up; no vaping in Olmsted County; West End plan involves five new buildings; state anti-bullying director resigns; and more.

Macalester College
MinnPost photo by Corey Anderson

Macalester students bounce MPIRG off campus. Josh Verges at the PiPress reports, “Macalester College students have voted to end their relationship with Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, the student advocacy organization active on six other Minnesota college campuses. Student activities fees pay for the organizing staff MPIRG installs at each supporting campus. … That revenue structure drove much of the opposition in the run-up to student voting Monday and Tuesday, when 59.2 percent of voters said the school should not renegotiate its MPIRG contract. Turnout was 63 percent. MPIRG is nonpartisan but historically has taken politically liberal positions. It has worked to protect same-sex marriage, increase the minimum wage and make it easy to vote, and it consistently advocates for environmental protection. But that didn’t stop the predominantly liberal student body at Macalester from effectively kicking them out.”

This stuff has to be written by some Park Slope hipster who ran into a Minnesotan at one of those absurd West Village restaurants. A New York Times piece purports to give readers an example of classic Thanksgiving-themed dishes from every state. For Minnesota? “This grape salad, which falls into the same category of old-fashioned party dishes as molded Jell-O salad, comes from a Minnesota-born heiress, who tells me it was always part of the holiday buffet in her family. It couldn’t be simpler to prepare and has only three ingredients: grapes, sour cream and brown sugar.” “Heiress” cuisine. The next hot trend, I’m sure.

One more, or one last, vote of confidence for MnSCU’s leader? Alex Friedrich of MPR says, “The chairman of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system board made a renewed call for mediation between faculty unions and MnSCU leaders in their dispute over how to revamp the system. Tom Renier told a packed boardroom that trustees still support Chancellor Steven Rosenstone and his overhaul plan, called ‘Charting the Future.’ But he said he would like a third-party mediator to meet with Rosenstone and the unions … .”

Target. Better. MPR’s Jon Collins says, “Target Corp. reported on Wednesday that earnings are up at the company, which has struggled in recent financial quarters. Target reported on Wednesday morning that third quarter earnings rose 3.1 percent to $352 million, compared to $341 million during the same period the previous year. The company saw sales in the U.S. market increase in the third quarter to $17.3 billion, a 1.9 percent increase from the same time last year.”  

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The gypsy moths had a rough winter. The AP says, “The Minnesota Department of Agriculture says its traps captured around 500 gypsy moths around the state this year. That’s a major drop from last year’s trap count of over 71,000 of the destructive forest pests. Brian Aukema of the forest insect laboratory at the University of Minnesota says the decrease in moths is good news, but the pests will bounce back quickly. He says a single surviving egg mass will produce more than 500 hungry caterpillars.” Kind of like how the deep cold only kills off the wussier ash borers.

No vaping in Olmsted County. Says Elizabeth Baier at MPR, “Olmsted County commissioners have voted unanimously to add e-cigarettes to the county’s smoking ban. What that means: E-cigarette use will be banned in restaurants, businesses, government buildings and other public places where conventional cigarettes are prohibited. … Beltrami and Houston counties have passed similar bans. Cities including Edina, Mankato and Duluth already ban the indoor use of e-cigarettes … .”

Someone medicate Joe Soucheray. Bill Salisbury of the Pioneer Press says, “Minnesotans could see as much as a 4 percent overall increase in property taxes in 2015, based on figures released Tuesday by the state Revenue Department. The preliminary maximum 2015 levies for local governments total $7.93 billion, up from $7.62 billion this year. The coming increases for cities, counties and school districts are about twice as large as they were last year, state Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans said. … But now, he said, local officials are under growing pressure to spend more on roads and other infrastructure and salary increases.”

Did someone give him the stink eye? The Strib’s Kim McGuire says, “The head of the new state initiative aimed at helping school combat bullying has resigned after less than three months on the job. Bill Mack, a retired Rosemount-Apple Valley Eagan administrator, recently resigned as the director of the School Safety and Technical Assistance Center, citing personal reasons.”

The last big parcel of land in the West End development in St. Louis Park and Golden Valley … now has a plan. Kristen Leigh Painter of the Strib writes, “The West End development in St. Louis Park may soon undergo a significant growth spurt if a five-building proposal by Florida-based DLC Residential is approved.  The developer is presenting its plans for two 11-story office buildings, a hotel, parking ramp and two multi-tenant residential buildings at the city’s planning commission meeting Wednesday night.  … If DLC gains both cities’ approval, the site would see an additional 363 apartment units, 2,600 parking stalls, 150 hotel rooms and 706,000 square feet of office space.”

Are you ready to buy? John Ewoldt of the Strib says, “Twin Cities’ shoppers will spend the most money this holiday season than any year since the University of St. Thomas started its annual Holiday Sentiment Survey 13 years ago. The survey, released Wednesday, found Twin Cities’ households will spend $868 on holiday gifts, up $31 or 3.7 percent from 2013. This year’s amount is also $231 higher than the lowest figure found by the annual survey, which was $637 in 2009.” Bah! How much is a lump of coal?