Cue the cries of “Overpaid!” Josh Verges at the Pioneer Press says, “The starting salary isn’t eye-popping, but a teacher who spends a full career with St. Paul Public Schools can take home more money than almost anywhere in the country. A typical teacher can make $2.24 million over 30 years in St. Paul, according to a new report from the National Council on Teacher Quality. That beats the Minneapolis district by $190,000 and the Anoka-Hennepin district by $253,000, and exceeds the lifetime earnings at all but 11 large public school districts in the country.”
Kind of related … a by-now-familiar problem. Says Don Davis for the Forum News service, “Stories of Minnesota manufacturers finding it difficult to fill jobs abound around rural Minnesota, and some state senators are looking at ways to help. … Democratic Minnesota Sen. Tom Saxhaug of Grand Rapids, the task force chairman, said that there already are some parts of the state doing what [is needed], but task force members said they may suggest at least two steps to improve trade education in the state:
— Taking an inventory of all manufacturing education programs and equipment in Minnesota high schools and colleges.
— Hiring a state coordinator for trade education to make sure it is available where needed.
‘We may have to spend some money,’ Saxhaug said, quickly adding that ‘it will be in the thousands, not millions’ of dollars.”
Another big storm about to smack the West Coast will, says Paul Huttner at MPR, bring … warmth … to you and me. “The western storm pushes a gush of Pacific air east into the Midwest by Thursday. Take a look at the forecast temperature anomalies by Saturday morning in the central United States. Temps 10 to 20 degrees warmer than seasonal averages gush into the Plains. … The weekend numbers continue to come up mild for Minnesota. Temps in the 40s are a lock, and we may push close to 50 degrees in the metro and southern Minnesota by Saturday and Sunday.”
You don’t want to know what I’d put in a stadium time capsule. But the AP says, “A time capsule will be placed in the St. Paul Saints’ new Lowertown ballpark. Representatives from the city of St. Paul, the Saints and the amateur baseball community gather Wednesday to seal memorabilia in the time capsule, which will be placed at CHS Field. Among the items are memorabilia signed by St. Paul baseball greats Paul Molitor, Dave Winfield, Jack Morris and Joe Mauer; a sampling of St. Paul Saints giveaways; and a ceremonial baseball bat sledgehammer used to kick off demolition of the former Gillette factory where the new ballpark is located.” I sure hope they’re planning one in Minneapolis for “The People’s Stadium.”
The reverse of the boom in luxury housing? A lack of affordable housing. Says Sasha Aslanian at MPR, “ … in the Twin Cities, the shortage of affordable housing is projected to grow, and through the end of the decade the region is far from meeting the expected demand, according to a draft of a housing plan by the Metropolitan Council. … The Met Council is expected to vote Wednesday to adopt the 139-page plan, which has stirred controversy about which communities are doing their fair share to provide low-income housing. The Met Council defines housing as ‘affordable’ if it costs no more than 30 percent of a household’s income. To accommodate everyone who needs housing, the region would need 51,000 new affordable housing units through 2020 … .”
Also from MPR, Mark Zdechlik reports, “A new report from the Commonwealth Fund says U.S. workers’ portion of health insurance costs increased 93 percent over the past 10 years. The amount that workers contribute toward premiums climbed from $606 in 2003 to $1,170 in 2013, the nonprofit health care research group reported Tuesday. The average amount of a deductible soared almost 150 percent, from $518 in 2003 to almost $1,300 $1,273 in 2013 and the portion of workers with deductibles on their plans grew from 52 percent to 81 percent last year, the group said.” On the bright side, that shift of costs translates to greater worker productivity and enhanced shareholder value. So stop yer mewling.
The Packers appear to be the real deal this season. But their fans … well, it ain’t so pretty. At the sports site Deadspin, Barry Petchesky writes, “Thirty-six people were ejected from Lambeau Field during last night’s win over the Falcons, and 11 more were arrested. Those are both the second-highest marks on the season, trailing only the 44 ejections at the Jets game in September and the 16 arrests when the Bears came to town last month. How do we know those figures? The invaluable Doug Schneider, reporter for the Green Bay Press-Gazette, was once again monitoring the police scanner. … [A couple samples:] … “Female who is passed out in the women’s bathroom in Section 126.” … “Section 108-106. Fighting … she’s combative. We have her on the ground.” … Can’t make this up: “They’re covered in vomit now. I’ll get you a ticket number later.”
Simultaneously, Scott Bauer of The AP reports, “Wisconsin’s most powerful business lobbying group is calling on the Legislature to pass a right-to-work law, something Republican Gov. Scott Walker has repeatedly said distracts from his agenda. Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce president and CEO Kurt Bauer said in a column on the group’s website dated Monday that a right-to-work law is needed to make the state competitive with 24 others that already have one. … Other WMC priorities include reducing workers compensation costs, boosting worker training programs, aligning the state and federal versions of the Family Medical Leave Act, and enacting frack sand mining regulations that benefit the industry.” I strongly suspect a connection between this group and the Lambeau crowd.
It has to be better than another Christmas album. City Pages’ Reed Fischer discusses Bob Dylan’s new forthcoming CD. “Bob Dylan’s 36th studio album is completely immersed in Frank Sinatra lore. The Jack Frost-produced Shadows in the Night, which will be released on February 3, 2015, takes a trip into the catalog of songs popularized by Ol’ Blue Eyes dating from Dylan’s childhood and young adulthood. … ‘It was a real privilege to make this album,’ he said in a statement. ‘I’ve wanted to do something like this for a long time but was never brave enough to approach 30-piece complicated arrangements and refine them down for a 5-piece band. That’s the key to all these performances. We knew these songs extremely well. It was all done live. Maybe one or two takes. No overdubbing. No vocal booths. No headphones. No separate tracking, and, for the most part, mixed as it was recorded. I don’t see myself as covering these songs in any way. They’ve been covered enough. Buried, as a matter a fact. What me and my band are basically doing is uncovering them. Lifting them out of the grave and bringing them into the light of day.’ “