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.