Good on the governor for his cathartic rant. At City Pages, Ben Johnson writes, “Governor Dayton called out anti-transgender protesters for their ‘hate-mongering’ at the end of a press conference about Minnesota’s budget surplus yesterday. After talking about the budget surplus for roughly 15 minutes, Dayton asked if there were any other questions. A reporter asked about the Minnesota State High School League’s decision yesterday to allow students who were born male but identify as female to participate in female sports. Dayton responded with a strongly worded two-minute speech. Some excerpts: ‘I think some of the hate-mongering that was going on was despicable. The idea that Clay Matthews is going to change gender status to go tromple [sic] young girls on a basketball court, I mean, it’s just so … it’s ludicrous but it’s not funny because it’s so hurtful’. … the embellishment it would take for that far-fetched, absurd, not even hypothetical possibility and turn that into an attack on trying to help some kids who need a chance to be like every other kid in terms of their school activities.’ “
Mother Strib is urging sensibility and caution. In an editorial the paper admonishes spendthrifts, “Some Minnesotans were humming ‘Happy Days Are Here Again’ Thursday after hearing word that state revenues will exceed expected expenditures by slightly more than $1 billion through June 30, 2017. The tune we’d prefer they sing is ‘Take It Easy.’ ” Who knew? An Eagles fan in the Strib board room.
How many of these makes a trend? Jennifer Bjorhus of the Strib says, “A technology organization funded by Minnesota school districts misspent millions of dollars on a headquarters renovation, mismanaged a State Fair parking lot and had such lax financial controls it paid for nonexistent services, according to a private audit obtained by the Star Tribune. TIES, a St. Paul-based nonprofit founded in 1967, has an annual operating budget of about $30 million, nearly all of which comes from member school districts, who tap the organization for training and technology such as the popular FeePay online system for lunch and activity payments.”
Unrelated, but in that vein … . Eric Roper of the Strib says, “Mayor Betsy Hodges‘ plans to expand a minority leadership program, analyze neighborhood funding and spend previously restricted tax money in new ways were halted by the City Council this week. In a series of votes Monday, the City Council made dramatic changes to the mayor’s plans for the city’s Neighborhood and Community Relations department. Funding for the city’s 71 neighborhood groups themselves — slated to rise by 3 percent — remained untouched, however. Among the largest cuts was $180,000 from the mayor’s proposal for the One Minneapolis Fund, which doles out small grants to non-profit organizations to encourage leadership among minority communities.”
The Russian “Nutcracker” is in the state this weekend. Elizabeth Baier at MPR says, “When the Moscow Ballet brings the ‘Great Russian Nutcracker’ to Minnesota tonight, the famed company will bring the classic holiday tale to life with a lot of Russian flair. But in a show tonight at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester and three in Minneapolis on Saturday, the production also will include some Minnesota spirit. The production allows a couple dozen young local dancers to perform with the professional touring company, giving them a chance of a lifetime. The company selects different young dancers for each city.”
Both the feds and the state are investigating the death of that Winona State student in a restaurant dumbwaiter. Abby Eisenberg at The Winona Daily News says, “Buffalo County Sheriff Mike Schmidtknecht described it as a’ freak, horrible accident,’ and said it appeared Baures was alone in an upstairs section when she may have pushed the elevator’s button to send it to the first floor, then ‘noticed something and may have reached for it.’ The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have each launched independent investigations, though such investigations are standard and do not necessarily imply any wrongdoing.”
Among the president’s tasks today. The AP says, “A bill that would rename the Cold Spring post office after slain Officer Tommy Decker has passed the U.S. Senate and is heading to President Barack Obama’s desk to be signed into law. Decker was killed in the line of duty on Nov. 29, 2012, in Cold Spring. No one has been charged with the crime. A man whom police were prepared to arrest committed suicide during a standoff with authorities in January 2013.”
Trick question: How do you get to Pedro Park? Frederick Melo of the PiPress says, “At Tin Whiskers Brewing Co., neighborhood organizers will drink a toast Friday to a downtown St. Paul park that isn’t quite a park but someday could be. Featuring appetizers from Lowertown restaurants, plenty of optimism and perhaps a hint of irony, the CapitolRiver Council’s ‘A Taste of Pedro’ celebration will recognize the grassy plot of land where the Pedro Luggage and Briefcase Center once stood at 10th and Robert streets. The timeline for the development of Pedro Park remains unclear. In 2009, the city promised the Pedro family that the downtown plot would become a park within five years.” A couple of benches and a few trees is that tough?
There’s always someone like this. Pat O’Brien in City Pages grouses about why he won’t miss Nye’s. “When the lights are extinguished for the last time at Nye’s I won’t shed a tear about it. Where others saw a throwback to a golden age, I saw kitsch. Where others saw class, I saw a privileged sort of surliness. The staff was never friendly, always acting like we were too young or underdressed or who knows what, but I never felt welcome there. The World’s Most Dangerous Polka Band was always a big draw (and legitimately fun as hell) but it seemed the staff only wanted the older folks to dance — I was asked to ‘go sit in your seat’ more than once in that narrow back bar.” Pal, the Hard Rock Cafe is still open at the Mall.