Hey, what do you want them to do? Raise taxes on hard-working job creators? Tony Kennedy of the Strib reports, “With their methodical spacing, uniform height and cookie-cutter shapes, the Norway pine stands planted across 85,000 acres in Minnesota are sometimes disparaged as the forest equivalents of cornfields. Even so, state foresters have spent years thinning the oldest of these groves so they might evolve gracefully into habitat for recreation and wildlife. But now the Department of Natural Resources has rescinded a plan that would have allowed these pine stands to grow old, and instead will auction them to timber companies for clear-cutting. DNR officials in St. Paul describe the change as a prudent response to criticism from the Legislature that their management of public parcels known as school trust lands hasn’t produced enough revenue for the state.” While we’re at it, can’t we drain a few lakes and sell off some of the damn water?
A bizarre accident in Bemidji: Dave Aeikens for KSTP-TV says, “A Bemidji youth baseball player was killed Sunday after he was hit by a baseball, Bemidji police said. The president of the Bemidji Youth Baseball League, Bruce Dahlin, confirmed that 15-year-old Zacharie Schaubhut was killed. … The boy’s grandfather Steve Schaubhut told KSTP’s Steve Tellier that the boy showed no signs of trauma such as bruising or markings on the head. He said the boy might not have been hit in the head. Schaubhut said the doctor said the boy might have died from a medical condition.”
Here’s hoping for that building maintenance money. Says Christopher Magan in the PiPress, “Minnesota school leaders hope part of the education bill vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton, giving them dedicated money for building maintenance, won’t be a casualty of a $17 billion budget fight. It’s been a top priority for years of suburban and rural school districts where limited resources often force administrators to pick students’ needs over routine maintenance. They hope it will be included when lawmakers reconvene.”
The FAIR School is plunging ahead. Stribber Kim McGuire says, “The Minneapolis and Robbinsdale school districts are forging ahead with plans for the FAIR School even though legislators failed to pass a measure that would formally transfer management of the fine-arts magnet school. The agreement was a casualty of the session ending without the Legislature approving the bonding bill, which contained a proposal to transfer management of the FAIR (Fine Arts Interdisciplinary Resource) School. It is possible that the measure could be taken up during a special session likely in June, but it is unclear whether that will happen given the narrow focus of the session.”
Here’s Don Davis of the Forum News Service on what the legislative session did (or didn’t do) for Greater Minnesota. “The session has ended and rural Republicans think things went well. ‘I’m happy,’ Republican Mary Franson of Alexandria said. … many Republicans said their biggest accomplishment was killing the gas tax plan. ‘Minnesotans won by not having more money taken out of their wallet by gas tax,’ Franson said. Added suburban Rep. Kelly Fenton, R-Woodbury: ‘Minnesotans do not want a gas tax.’” Which implies what? That there is a tax that Minnesotans do “want”? (Read MinnPost’s Briana Bierschbach on the same topic here.)
The Adrian Peterson saga rolls on toward The Great Vikings Minicamp Will He or Won’t He? Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports writes, “ … the source, who has been a longtime Peterson confidant, told Yahoo Sports that the running back intends to sit out all of the team’s offseason workouts, an act that would cause him to forfeit a $250,000 workout bonus. The longtime confidant said Peterson has not yet made a decision about sitting out of the team’s mandatory minicamp in June or training camp in late July.”
Emily Welker of the Forum News Service says, “The family of slain North Dakota State University freshman Thomas Bearson is launching a foundation in his memory and to promote youth sports and campus safety. It’s a move his father calls ‘therapeutic’. … The Sartell High School basketball standout’s body was discovered in a south Moorhead RV lot three days after he was reported missing after a Sept. 20 house party near NDSU.”
If you’re nice I’ll even let you try on my official Superior Meats hat; it’s that good. Says Maria Lockwood for the Forum News Service, “If you’re looking for the best sausage in Wisconsin, come to Superior. A coarse ring bologna made by Superior Meats won the title last month during the Wisconsin Association of Meat Processors annual convention. The Superior-based shop raked in seven awards at the event, essentially an Olympics for meat processors. Because of a state fondness for sausage, ‘the show in Wisconsin is bigger than the national show,’ Superior Meats manager Mike Cragin said. ‘You think Wisconsin, you think sausage.’”
Home-schoolers got game? Also next door, Dana Ferguson of the AP says, “Critics are blasting Wisconsin legislators after the state’s budget committee passed a surprise motion last week that would allow private, home-schooled and online charter students to participate in public school district athletics and activities. The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee passed a motion early Wednesday that included the plan. The plan wasn’t addressed in the meeting. ‘For that to be done in a sneaky, behind-the-scenes fashion and passed at 1:30 in the morning without any discussion … that’s a problem,’ said Larry Kaseman, executive director of the Wisconsin Parents Association.”
Rep. Kline has a friend across the river. Says Dan Simmons of the Wisconsin State Journal. “The Legislature’s budget committee has rejected Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to do away with a small state agency that approves and regulates for-profit colleges. It’s a sign the Educational Approval Board will continue unchanged after being targeted for elimination since February. … Walker introduced the controversial measure in his budget proposal in early February, arguing that it would lift unnecessary financial and regulatory burdens on the schools and that some of its consumer protection functions could be handled by other state agencies.” Or, you know, not at all.