No change school start times in St. Paul. Tim Nelson at MPR says, “St. Paul Public School officials aren’t recommending a shift in start times for older students, despite more than a year of study. Jackie Statum Allen, the district’s assistant director of strategic planning and policy, told the St. Paul School Board Tuesday that Metro Transit doesn’t have the capacity to add enough bus service to get students to schools in an acceptable amount of time. She said that it would be equally impractical to rearrange conventional school bus service and change start times for younger students.”
The Strib goes very light on ID-ing the partisans most at fault for our transportation inadequacies. In an editorial, it does say, “An unfortunate split in the business community has helped to keep Minnesota on the sidelines. Outstate businesses, along with the influential state chamber, are convinced that Minnesota competes mainly with rural, low-tax states like North and South Dakota and that big urban transportation investments aren’t needed. Larger companies and metro chambers see the state mainly competing against high-value regions such as Seattle, Denver and Phoenix — places that are pumping big money into new freeways and rail transit. The metro viewpoint is the right one in this case.”
Proof again that you can sue anyone for anything. Says Brian Bakst of the AP, “A former senior executive at the Minnesota State Lottery who was fired amid a bout with alcohol abuse is suing her ex-boss and the state on claims she was discriminated against because of her gender and her chemical dependency. Johnene Canfield filed a lawsuit Friday in Ramsey County District Court that seeks reinstatement to the $100,000-a-year assistant lottery director post. She is also seeking damages for lost wages and emotional distress since being put on leave in December following her arrest in a suspected drunken driving crash.”
Come on, nothing’s happened yet. Dave Shaffer and Eric Roper of the Strib say, “More Bakken oil trains are entering the Twin Cities via the western suburbs, a route that sends an increasing amount of the hazardous cargo through downtown Minneapolis. BNSF Railway, in reports filed with state officials, said the number of trains carrying at least 1 million gallons of crude oil is increasing through this rail corridor, starting with a modest gain in July followed by a larger bump in September. Now, 11 to 23 oil trains each week pass through the western suburbs of Wayzata and St. Louis Park on their way to Minneapolis, up from a nominal number a year ago.”
Speaking of fuel, Yousef Rddad of the PiPress writes, “CenterPoint Energy’s Minnesota heating customers will see their gas rates increase 5.65 percent, starting this month and lasting through the coming heating season. For residential users, that comes to an average $3 per month, per household, a CenterPoint spokeswoman said. The interim statewide increase, both for residents and businesses, was approved by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission last month and it will be reviewed next year to establish a fixed rate sometime next summer.” That’s because of Obamacare, right?
People, settle down. WCCO-TV’s John Lauritsen, proud son of beautiful Montevideo, Minnesota says, “A popular Minnesota candy store took some heat for putting up a sign that some thought was offensive towards Black Lives Matter. Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store, located near Jordan on Highway 169, put up a sign that read, ‘Join the Movement.’ Below it read, ‘#caramelapplesmatter.’ The store took heat on its Facebook page with some people accusing them of being distasteful and racist.” The store really needs to understand the importance of giving sensitive customers trigger warnings.
So good luck getting in for the all-day breakfast. The AP says, “Activists plan to gather at 11 McDonald’s restaurants around Minnesota on Tuesday to protest the use of pesticides on potato fields in Minnesota owned by a major supplier to the fast-food chain. The action is being organized by the Pesticide Action Network and the Toxic Taters Coalition and includes about two-dozen events nationwide. Organizer Lex Horan says the protests are timed to coincide with McDonald’s all-day breakfast menu launch but is targeted at Fargo, N.D.-based R.D. Offut Co. Horan says Offutt sprays too much pesticide on its crops and that the chemicals sometimes drift over residential areas in central Minnesota.” But aren’t the pesticides killed off by the trans fats?
On her Bluestem Prairie blog Sally Jo Sorensen adds this, “In a statement, the Toxic Taters group noted: The McDonald’s Corporation buys more than 3.4 billion pounds of U.S. potatoes annually, making it the largest potato purchaser in the country — and thus the largest influence on the agricultural practices of our nation’s potato growers. The company has not made any meaningful progress since making its 2009 pesticide use reduction promise. McDonald’s has surveyed its growers about their practices, but has taken no other steps to ensure significant reductions in pesticide use.”
Who else is bored with the noise over this thing? Pat Kessler at WCCO-TV says, “The controversial new Minnesota Senate Office Building at the State Capitol is nearing completion. Republicans made the $90 million project an example of wasteful spending in the 2014 campaign. … Capitol Investment Committee Chairman Paul Torkelson, (R-Hanska), issued this statement: ‘In 2013, House and Senate Democrats supported an unnecessary $90 million office building for politicians while the Capitol Restoration project, approved by the Legislature and the governor in 2012, already included plans to keep the House and Senate in their Capitol chambers at no added cost.’” Duly noted. Now how about fixing some more roads?
Speaking of striped orange barrels, DeeDee Stiepan at KIMT-TV says, “The Highway 14 expansion east of Owatonna is another highly anticipated project which will be wrapping at the end of the week. On Friday, Governor Mark Dayton will be in town for a celebration of that project being complete. Of the around 20 road projects that are still underway in our area, MnDOT officials say they are in ‘crunch mode’ to finish before the weather no longer cooperates. Mid-November is usually the cut off date for road projects.”
Paid vacation … excuse me, “leave.” MPR’s story says, “Richfield police say an officer shown in a video apparently slapping a Somali teen on the back of the head during a stop has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation. Richfield Police Chief Jay Henthorne also met Tuesday with Omar Jamal, head of the Somali Human Rights Commission, the department said, adding that it takes the complaint seriously.” Anyone want to bet on this one?