On the chutzpah front: Rep. John Kline has no time for the President’s free community college idea. Allison Sherry of the Strib says, “Less than 12 hours after President Barack Obama touted an idea to provide free community college to some students, the chairman of the House Education Committee had a message: No new federal programs. Republican Rep. John Kline, who represents Minnesota’s Second Congressional District and is at the helm of the Education Committee, said he wasn’t interested in taking on the president’s proposal to make community college free. Kline said he didn’t agree with the how the White House planned to pay for it — by increasing capital gains taxes — and he didn’t think a new federal program was the way to move forward.” No mention in the story of any close association with for-profit colleges.
On second thought. At Canada’s TSN.com they’re saying, “According to TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie, the NHL is set to announce the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild will be hosting outdoor games next season. The league is expected to make it official during All-Star Game festivities this weekend in Columbus. The Avalanche are expected to host the Detroit Red Wings while the Wild will likely entertain the Chicago Blackhawks.” Probably not on Lake Calhoun.
New York seems to have noticed that we are a land of LumberSexuals. In The Wall Street Journal, Christina Binkley writes, “‘North’ has a special meaning in Minnesota these days, and it is gradually gaining a stronger following. Though most Americans consider the state part of the Midwest, a number of local influencers are proposing to redefine Minnesota as a region that the U.S., officially at least, currently lacks: the North. They want their region to be recognized for its innovative, sturdy character, honed by long, cold winters. … Well-made utilitarian items—long an important part of Minnesotan culture—are fashionable all over these days. Suddenly, many longtime Minnesota products are showing up not in farm stores but in fashion boutiques.” And at sturdy boutique prices.
The death of little Eric Dean has created a ripple at the legislature. Don Davis of the Forum News Service says, “The goal of the bipartisan legislation, Sen. Kathy Sheran said, ‘is to place stronger protections for children facing possible maltreatment.’ The Mankato Democrat and Rep. Ron Kresha, R-Little Falls, wrote the bill after the death of 4-year-old Eric Dean in 2013 in west-central Minnesota. News stories indicated that multiple reports of child abuse had been ignored. Kresha said that the bottom line of the bill is finding ways that courts, law enforcement officers and child protection workers can better coordinate efforts to protect children.”
In the annals of bad boyfriends. The Duluth News Tribune reports, “Two Solon Springs men escaped a car that broke through the ice on Upper St. Croix Lake on Monday morning — and were arrested for allegedly breaking in to several ice shacks. … After additional questioning and investigation, however, the men confessed to breaking into several ice shacks at the southern end of the lake prior to the car breaking through the ice. They admitted to stealing a TV, ice auger and liquor, among other items, the sheriff’s office reported. ‘Judging from the tire tracks in the area, it appears as if they became lost or disoriented as to their location and ended up in the river flowing out the south end of the lake where they broke through the thin ice’, the sheriff’s office reported. The car, a 2014 Ford Focus owned by Hale’s girlfriend, was found submerged in 6 feet of water. It was not insured, authorities said.”
The Governor gets an “accurate” on his recent assessment of child care costs. Says Catherine Richert at MPR, “ … Dayton’s administration said in a press release that Minnesota’s child care costs are unusually expensive. ‘Right now in Minnesota, child care costs $901 per month, on average – totaling $10,812 per year just to provide quality care for one child. These high costs make Minnesota the 3rd-most expensive state in the nation for child care, based on the cost of infant care as a share of median income (15.5 percent).’ There are a lot of rankings and a lot of ways to measure the cost of care, but any way you look at it, Minnesota is among the most expensive places in the country to send children to day care.” Above average costs for above average children.
Another upside to low gas prices? A leveling off of train traffic. The AP says, “Lower gas prices have had an added bonus in Minnesota beyond fatter wallets: Train traffic is leveling off, giving regulators space to refocus on safety issues, a state railroad official told lawmakers Wednesday. … That number likely won’t decrease as North Dakota oil producers see slimmer profits from falling oil prices, Christianson said, but the traffic levels should hold as prices remain low.”
Whatever you build, it’s in someone’s backyard. MPR says, “Chuck Muller and his family have lived on about eight acres of land for more than 20 years. During that time, they’ve seen big changes, mainly the construction of energy installations near his home. The latest to hit the drawing board is the Marshall Solar Energy Project, a 500-acre solar panel complex planned for a nearby farm. It’s part of a major solar energy push state lawmakers enacted in 2013.”
Officially: murder-suicide in Apple Valley. The Strib’s Pat Pheifer writes, “David Crowley, an independent filmmaker and screenwriter, shot his wife, Komel, and their 5-year-old daughter Rani in the head before shooting himself, according to a report from the Hennepin County medical examiner’s office released Wednesday. Yet Jason Allen, a producer based in Los Angeles, also said Wednesday that Crowley’s words and actions when the two met in September and in an e-mail Crowley sent him on Dec. 17, seem contradictory to a man who was about to kill his family and himself. … Allen was out of town over the holidays and didn’t respond to Crowley’s e-mail until Jan. 8. By then the family was dead.” 22 days to return a business e-mail?
In a Strib commentary, Mitch Leetsma of Wayzata encourages readers to see “American Sniper.” “[Clint] Eastwood shows how Kyle dehumanized the enemy and how he almost completely ignored the larger picture involving all of the issues surrounding the war in Iraq. Yes, we dehumanize the enemy. How can we not? The average American has no idea the mental toll it takes on their soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines just to be ready to pull the trigger with another human in your sights, let alone to actually do it. Engage the target. Eliminate the threat. These are the sanitized phrases we use to keep ourselves sane as we turn off the emotion that would come from actually killing another human being (the emotions come later).”