Black Lives Matter protestors march following removal from 4th Precinct

MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
Protesters attending the demonstration in the Minneapolis City Hall rotunda.

Black Lives Matter protestors keep at it. Jon Collins, Tim Nelson and Matt Sepic at MPR say: “A few hundred protesters reacted by occupying the rotunda of Minneapolis City Hall for a couple of hours in the afternoon. The peaceful demonstration at City Hall moved into the street with around 100 marchers heading up Hennepin Avenue and across the river. Several groups of protesters including Black Lives Matter converged on a restaurant and bowling alley in northeast Minneapolis. Protesters had planned to disrupt what they described as a fundraiser for the Minneapolis police union.”

More on the $1.9 billion surplus. In the Christian Science Monitor, Lucy Schouten says, “It is a sign of a full economic recovery, and deciding what to do with the extra cash should provide a welcome challenge. Few states have faced this type of budget problem in recent years, as many states scrambled to balance their budgets after the Great Recession. … Lest other states with less rosy budgetary prospects cry foul, consider this: Minnesota is the fourth ‘least dependent’ state in the nation, according to WalletHub, which compiled financial data from 2013. The state has taken care of its own and is a net contributor to other state’s citizens, meaning Minnesotans received an average of 54 cents back for every dollar they sent to Washington for federal programs.” I could speculate on who isn’t carrying their weight. But it’s the holiday season.

At MPR, Tim Pugmire and Tom Scheck write: “While the budget numbers look bright, the state’s economists cautioned that Minnesota employment and wage income growth will likely lag the nation in 2016 and 2017 after several years of post-recession strength and that the state faces a long-term labor problem as Minnesota’s population ages. State finance officials say the projected available surplus will actually run about $1.2 billion, after $665 million is moved into budget reserve accounts and repayments. Under state law, one-third of the surplus must be used for those purposes.”

OK, this is getting confusing. In the latest in the Great Minnesota Sex Offender Program Court Fight, Don Davis writes: “A federal appeals court is allowing Minnesota to not follow a lower court order to change its sex offender treatment program, at least for the time being. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted the state a ‘stay’ following U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank’s ruling, Gov. Mark Dayton said Thursday.”

Really? “Banned from the internet”? Elizabeth Mohr of the PiPress says, “A 30-year-old St. Paul man who posed as a 16-year-old boy online and engaged in sexually explicit conversations with young girls pleaded guilty to some of the charges against him and was sentenced this week. … Ramsey County District Judge Judith Tilsen ordered [Peter] Ripka to 90 days of jail time, but agreed to let him serve it as electronic home monitoring, community service or work release, if eligible. Ripka was placed on probation for three years, ordered to undergo counseling and to keep away from places where kids are known to congregate, and is barred from accessing the Internet without permission.” 

Lisa Laczke of the Forum News Service reports, “The small community of Remer is reeling after its mayor and a teacher were killed in separate vehicle crashes on the same stretch of highway Wednesday. … Northland Community Schools sixth-grade teacher Timothy L. Budrow, 60, of Bovey, died in a collision on Minnesota 6 between Remer and Cohasset at 6:56 a.m. Wednesday, the Minnesota State Patrol reported. Then Remer Mayor Howard Prushek, 76, died when he was struck by a car while changing a flat tire along Highway 6 at 3:36 p.m. The crashes occurred about 5 miles apart.”

$1.50 brats for Woodbury! Says Bob Shaw in the PiPress, “Costco, the national warehouse giant, is hoping to move into Woodbury. The company has announced plans to build a store at the northeast corner of Tamarack Road and Weir Drive, near Interstate 494. Costco is expected to bring a proposal to the city Planning Commission early next year; the city council would vote on the plan after that.”

Oh yeah, I need something bigger standing in the middle of the highway on a snowy night. The AP says, “Wildlife managers say Minnesota could use more elk. So they’re seeking input on a draft management plan that calls for growing the state’s small wild elk population and increasing its range. John Williams, the Department of Natural Resources’ northwest region wildlife manager, says one of main changes for 2016-2020 is to raise the target population for one of the state’s three elk herds, one near Lancaster in Kittson County.”

Veteran journalist Steve Dornfeld takes a shot at U of M spending in a Strib commentary. “As a university alumnus, former adjunct instructor and a frequent (albeit modest) contributor, I have great affection for the U. … But it is an institution that seems increasingly arrogant, out of control and insensitive to the needs of students. The latest evidence comes in published reports of the lavish, almost laughable expenses of administrators and coaches in the athletic department that were reimbursed by the university. … . ” It doesn’t get any better for the U after that.

Comments (11)

  1. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 12/04/2015 - 08:47 am.

    As We Consider the Budget Surplus

    Let us not forget that there are very important things our State Government does,…

    that we, ourselves, cannot (or will not) do.

    Many of our vital infrastructures have been underfunded since the days of Ventura/Pawlenty governorships.

    Many small businesses have suffered, for instance by the underfunding of the agencies which provide the inspections necessary for their certification,…

    part of the “you can’t tell me what to do” resentment so many of our “conservative” friends and lawmakers feel toward government regulation,…

    but the effect has not been to reduce regulation, but to make it nearly impossible for those seeking to start small business enterprises to get the inspections required to gain certification,…

    small meat and other food processors, for instance.

    Although everyone wants to blame our state’s colleges and universities for the increases in tuition of recent years,…

    MOST of those increases are the direct result of MASSIVE DECREASES in inflation-adjusted funding from the state government.

    Because a well-educated work force is VITAL to our state’s economic future,…

    this funding MUST be restored to inflation-adjusted, pre-Ventura, pre-Pawlenty levels.

    Ways must also be found to finance road maintenance, repair, and construction,…

    especially in rural areas where many road surfaces are close to or even past the end of their useful life,…

    ways which correct the previous funding deficits, short term, and provide longer-term dedicated funding to make sure things do NOT get this bad again.

    Urban mass transit (i.e. light rail) must be included in this,…

    since it is so attractive and vital to the types of young people we will need to move INTO Minnesota to help correct our coming labor shortage,…

    and, of course the North Star Rail line MUST be extended to St. Cloud,…

    it’s current termination in Big Lake having been a decision so stupid as to force me to conclude,…

    that it was hoped such a stupid choice would ensure that the North Star would be an utter failure.

    Finally, excellent high speed internet access must be provided throughout the state,…

    to ensure that those seeking to start new business and education ventures are not limited in their consideration of where to do so.

    Unlike the massive lies contained in the scripts provided for “President” Ronnie Raygun to act out,…

    government is the ONLY viable solution to these problems that have been allowed to develop, fester, and endanger our future.

    Before we consider refunding taxes and/or providing permanent tax cuts let us, first and foremost,…

    remember that the vast majority of those tax benefits would NOT go to average folk but to those in the top 1% (which is the way our “conservative” friends always arrange such things,…

    and make sure we have funded the correction of these problems,…

    and build up of new infrastructures,…

    in ways that help ensure Minnesota continues to be one of the most economically prosperous and successful states in the nation.

    In these things, the false promises of tax cuts and tax give backs have long since been proven to be a huge problem,…

    hollowing out, as they ALWAYS do, our state’s future economic prospects,…

    and impoverishing ourselves, our children and our grandchildren.

    Making sure the government has sufficient money to spend is the clear and badly needed SOLUTION to each and every one of these problems.

  2. Submitted by Russ Hilbert on 12/04/2015 - 11:59 am.

    The U

    Maybe they should consider the amount the department brings in as well. Most of what he pointed out was not uncommon for expenses to be reimbursed especially for administrators and coaches which are in a highly paid and professional position.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 12/04/2015 - 01:10 pm.

      Profit motive

      What the department brings in?

      Is this an institution of higher learning or a profit-oriented business?

      I think some of the problems we’re seeing lately come from an inability of the U’s leadership to know what the appropriate answer to that question should be.

      • Submitted by Russ Hilbert on 12/04/2015 - 02:15 pm.

        profit

        It isn’t so much about the profit as it is about the fact that the athletics department brings in much more than enough to pay these paltry expenses. It’s needless nitpicking. They paid for Pitino’s dog to be moved here from florida. You or I may put it in a kennel and load it in with the rest of the luggage but it really isn’t out of the question for an executive or head basketball coach of a major university to have a service move the dog here so it doesn’t have to sit with the rest of the luggage. Coach Stallings hair styling may have been a little extravagant but again, it was pretty small when compared to what the department brings in. The larger good is served but someone just needs to nitpick and make themselves feel good.

        • Submitted by Pat Berg on 12/05/2015 - 07:37 am.

          Money buys privilege?

          I understand that that’s a concept that is well established in the outside world, but that concept should have no place in an institution of higher learning whose priorities should be centered around the education of our youth and not what rewards can be showered on those who bring profit and glory to the institution through activities that have only a tenuous connection at best to the provision of that education.

          If monies are brought in through those activities, then those monies should be directed back into the educational mission, not towards making those activities ever larger, more grandiose, and increasingly profitable.

          • Submitted by Russ Hilbert on 12/07/2015 - 08:35 am.

            where money goes

            I understand that’s how you feel but that isn’t how it works and it isn’t how any other university does it either.

            • Submitted by Pat Berg on 12/15/2015 - 10:37 am.

              And that makes it right?

              “But Billy’s parents let HIM do it!” didn’t fly when I was a kid, and there’s no reason that argument should gain any credibility just because Billy is now a grown-up.

  3. Submitted by Hal Davis on 12/04/2015 - 12:11 pm.

    “But economists warned…”

    This, or a variant, is always the second paragraph in such stories:

    “But while the budget numbers look bright, the state’s economists cautioned…”

  4. Submitted by Jim Million on 12/04/2015 - 06:53 pm.

    Elk?

    Brian, wait until we restore the moose population. Then you should worry.

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