Minneapolis losing 17,000 students to charters, private and neighboring districts’ schools

Hiawatha Academies

Seventeen thousand, says Alejandra Matos in the Strib. That’s the number of Minneapolis school kids not taking classes in Minneapolis Public Schools. “Sam Aragon is one of more than 17,000 students missing from the Minneapolis Public Schools system. Every day, Aragon, a first-grade student who lives in southeast Minneapolis, leaves the city to attend public school in Bloomington. The number of Minneapolis students who don’t attend the city’s public schools has grown by 20 percent in five years, causing a $5 million budget shortfall this year and creating a growing sense of urgency among school administrators trying to stem the losses.”

The state’s ethnic councils might be heading for an overhaul. Frederick Melo of the PiPress says, “Minnesota’s ethnic councils, chartered by the state, are virtually invisible at the Legislature and need to be restructured, according to a group of lawmakers. Several lawmakers are proposing bills to turn the four boards into legislative advisory groups, rather than independent organizations. The legislation emerged after a 2014 report from the Legislative Auditor said the councils — set up to represent minority communities and recommend policy — have been ineffective and should be eliminated or significantly revamped. The organizations are the Council on Black Minnesotans, the Chicano Latino Affairs Council, the Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans and the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council.”

Today may be the day we hear if this Stones thing is real. Jon Bream at the Strib writes, “The Rolling Stones are coming. We suspect you’ve heard the rumors by now. Expect an announcement of an outdoor-oriented tour on Thursday morning. Look for the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium to be in the itinerary. Rumors suggest June 3, according to a source close to the Stones, but a U of M football source heard possibly May 30. … Rumors say that the Stones, who don’t have a new album, might perform the 1971 ‘Sticky Fingers’ album in its entirety. But Stones guitarist Ron Wood told a friend that it depends on how rehearsals go.” I’d rather hear “Exile on Main Street.”

Ol’ Sooch is pro-Stones. Says Joe Soucheray in the PiPress, “Like McCartney, the Stones have long since matured into a positive force, not really a sinister bone left in their bodies. Unfortunately, unlike McCartney, or U2, the Stones have rarely, if ever, in their dotage, been able to whip something up spontaneously. Oh, I am sure they have when they have played a small club or when they are noodling about amongst themselves. But as an example, when U2 christened TCF Bank for big concerts in 2011, it started raining, and the Irish boys broke into the song ‘Rain’ by the Beatles, a B-side to ‘Paperback Writer,’ released in 1966. The crowd roared its appreciation for such quick thinking on their feet. I am afraid if it starts raining the night the Stones play, somebody will have to run out and shelter the teleprompter with an umbrella.” But what do Mick and Keef think about the damn property tax rates in St.Paul?

A Minnesota connection, with a mobster to boot. Robert Durst, all over the news after that HBO series where he appears to have confessed to several murders, spurs this via Paul Walsh at the Strib, “Susan Berman, a onetime confidante of Robert Durst, the real estate heir suspected of killing her and others, started her life in Minnesota. She was the only child of a mobster who married a Twin Cities showgirl and settled for a time in St. Paul before striking out for felonious fame in Las Vegas. Berman was fatally shot in 2000 in her Los Angeles area home. Charged in her death this week was the central figure in the HBO documentary ‘The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.’”

Also in the news and connected to us, Aaron Schock the high-living Illinois Congressman who just resigned. Reuters reports, “The Illinois congressman who resigned Tuesday after allegations that he misused taxpayer money is a Morris, Minn., native. Aaron Schock was born and lived in Morris through fourth grade and was in the area last October campaigning for congressional candidate Torrey Westrom. Schock still has relatives living in the Morris area in western Minnesota. The congressman is a Republican whose Downton Abbey-styled office launched a series of media reports questioning his use of taxpayer dollars.” Stuff like that plays havoc with my Wisconsin jokes.  

MPR’s Catharine Richert gives GOP Speaker Kurt Daudt an “accurate” on his assertion that the Governor is pushing “the largest gasoline tax increase in state history.” “In a few instances, it’s a different story when the charges are adjusted for inflation. That first 2 cents per gallon gas tax enacted in 1925 amounts to 27 cents today. And in 1937, a 1 cent increase in the gas tax translates to exactly 16 cents today. … Aside from two gas tax bumps decades ago that have been adjusted for inflation, the 16 cents per gallon increase and the new total of 44.5 cents per gallon tax on gasoline would be the highest in state history. Daudt’s claim earns an accurate.” I say give the money back to the taxpayers and we can all buy new shocks and struts for our road-damaged vehicles.

Speaking of your tax dollars. John Myers up at the Duluth News-Tribune says, “The federal government and state of Minnesota will split the $220,000 cost of a renewed wolf-trapping program for 2015. The program uses federal trappers to trap and kill wolves near where livestock and pets have been killed. It was used for decades in Minnesota to help relieve concerns of farmers and ranchers, and reduce tensions over wolf populations in the state.”

North Dakota’s glow is definitely fading. The Strib’s Jennifer Brooks says, “When the price of oil dropped by half, North Dakota cut its budget in half. But even that grim forecast might be off by $1 billion. On Wednesday, the state Office of Management and Budget issued a revised revenue forecast that concluded that North Dakota will likely lose an additional $1 billion in oil tax revenue over the next two years.”

In Second Amendment news today, Rachel Stassen-Berger of the PiPress writes, “Gun rights supporters rolled out this year’s version of the ‘Castle Doctrine’ in the Minnesota House on Wednesday, but House leaders said the measure is unlikely to win focus in 2015. The ‘Castle Doctrine’ would give Minnesotans greater rights to use their guns to defend their property. Expanding that ability has long been a goal for supporters, but the expansion also has long been thwarted. … The Minnesota House has pushed more quickly on three other gun-related measures. Bills to allow the use of silencers, reduce the notifications gun-permit holders would have to give and liberalize Minnesotans’ ability to buy weapons in other states won committee approval earlier this month.” And what about the freedom-to-trailer-a-howitzer bill?

There’s never an end to this stuff. Cory Zurowski at City Pages reports, “Last year was unkind to Imation Corp., the Oakdale global data storage and information security company. The firm reported an operating loss of more than $100 million. Its revenue tanked by 15 percent. But in the rarefied air of the executive wing at Minnesota’s 35th largest public company, that only meant CEO Mark Lucas was worthy of a whopping raise. While his company was taking a dive, Lucas’s pay nearly doubled to $4.8 million. Most of that came courtesy of $1.6 million in stock awards. He pocketed a mere $235,000 the previous year.”

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Comments (14)

  1. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 03/19/2015 - 07:47 am.

    Agree with his political views or no, surrounded by and juxtaposed with the mob of untalented graffiti writers marking up pages in the metro, Souchery’s writing skills are a joy to behold.

    • Submitted by Mike Sarenpa on 03/19/2015 - 08:59 am.

      I agree that Souchery has good writing skills. I enjoyed them three decades ago. He’s become such a right wing grump though (thank you talk radio) I can only picture him in a rocking chair in front of his garage yelling at kids to pull up their pants. And then writing about it. With skill.

      • Submitted by Steve Vigoren on 03/19/2015 - 06:23 pm.

        And here,

        I didn’t think Sooch and I had anything in common any more, but it seems we each had a copy of the 45 Paperback Writer!

  2. Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 03/19/2015 - 09:02 am.

    Re; Aaron Schock,

    it appears that he has adapted to political life in the state of Illinois well.

  3. Submitted by ALAN BELISLE on 03/19/2015 - 09:46 am.

    Gun control????

    Would somebody please tell me why a silencer is a valid requirement for somebody who is either hunting or defending themselves against the boogeyman invading their castle? The only reason I can think of to have a silencer is that you want to assassinate somebody and slip away undetected.

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 03/19/2015 - 02:14 pm.


      A man should be able to blindly fire at anyone in his home without disturbing his neighbors, of course!

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 03/19/2015 - 02:52 pm.


      I was listening to a discussion about this on the radio the other day, and the point being made was that – like so many other things – this is $$$ driven by special interests. Apparently a silencer is a rather pricey purchase, but if they are illegal to buy, that cuts into the profits of the companies which make them in the states where they remain illegal.

      So the more states they can get to allow them, the more money the silencer makers can rake in.

      Makes sense to me!

    • Submitted by Robert Owen on 03/19/2015 - 03:07 pm.

      A guy protecting himself in his castle may still want to be able to hear afterwards. Have you ever heard a gunshot inside a building? It’s painfully loud. If you are fortunate it only hurts for a while; otherwise it may permanently damage your hearing. All those cops and bad guys in the movies shooting guns inside houses and cars and still being able to hear? Patently silly.

      Hunters or target shooters, who have time to apply hearing protection before firing a shot, still may want to keep the noise down out of respect for others.

      • Submitted by jason myron on 03/19/2015 - 08:16 pm.

        Sure, Robert….

        because home intrusion is so epidemic in this country, that homeowners need hearing protection from all of the suppression fire they’re forced to lay down in order to protect themselves. Thanks for the chuckle.

      • Submitted by Dennis Litfin on 03/19/2015 - 08:17 pm.

        Now it’s getting funny…..

        Now the gun lobby is concerned about the health of the public….well, not death of course.

      • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 03/20/2015 - 09:23 am.


        Guns are loud. Particularly in enclosed spaces. That being said, any gun appropriate for self defense inside the home will not blow your eardrums out for the (hopefully) 1 or 2 shots you might need to use. For target practice and other regular use, hearing protection is a must. But your ears can handle a single shot from a reasonable calibur within your home without serious hearing issues. Honestly, if I had an intruder in the house where I needed to use lethal force, I WANT my neighbors to hear it. I can handle some minor ringing in the ears in such a situation.

        Man, I can’t help but have my mind blown about justifying the need for a silencer on your gun. Egad.

        For what it’s worth, I grew up with guns. I own guns. I am a believer in the 2nd amendment right to bear arms. However, I am NOT convinced that everyone should retain that right in the face of crippling stupidity. If the right to vote can be taken away for certain reasons, so can the right to bear arms. I am also a firm believer that any crime committed with a gun is a murder charge. Period. That includes neglectful exposure of a loaded gun to children.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 03/19/2015 - 03:35 pm.

      Suppressors aren’t a requirement

      In a free society, that’s kind of the point. And FYI, they don’t “silence” anything. They simply reduce the amount of noise and muzzle flash that a shooter would experience otherwise. Why do you people feel the need to ban everything?

      • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 03/19/2015 - 03:45 pm.

        Should I be able to purchase and own mustard gas, and a delivery system for it? It IS a free society, after all.

  4. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 03/19/2015 - 12:29 pm.

    Can’t go home again but you can observe its slow demise…

    So what else is new with Dakota North beyond the glow of oil and big bucks fading…

    There is of course the fracking process which may be a success in ‘breeding’ sinkholes …not just a coulee where wild things grow but a giant hole where all things glow?

    Toxic land never more to be free of pollution, where even now in the northwest corner the water is undrinkable…could say the local environmental guard dogs have lost their bark maybe, but consider the water…as in Minot of “Prepare to meet your god” an old tourist come-on…for Minot and its neighboring towns have warnings again…don’t drink the water?

    Wind farms aren’t the greatest thing god’s scientists invented either because birds, bats meadowlarks are victims in the process and even ground creatures; prairie dogs and prairie chickens are thinning out?

    Maybe it should not be the land, initially, to worry about if all the minds of the ‘ statesmen’ and the developers; big oil and transient investors…the people themselves who seemed to have toxic runoffs mindfully so… feckless souls who to have lost, forgotten; sold out their populist roots when black gold comes to town?

    Even a wee, small article back a ways asks the question…who owns the oil rights under the missile base…answer of course, the Nuke base owns it.

    So my great aunt Berta says…”Consider this…how long before some big man at the base who wants to be bigger and wants to retire royally is sitting scheming in Brady’s Bar one cool night with a local Chamber of Commerce buddy and they, tongue-in cheek initially, contemplate how-to-sell -the-mineral-rights under the missile base as oil exploration commences again; spigot turns back on again…these two looking for their ‘making point’?”

    “That’s a crazy idea Bert!a” I say.

    “Just wait and see” she says, her common response

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