What is this, France? Says Don Davis for the Forum News Service, “Gov. Mark Dayton wants to give six weeks parental leave to Minnesota state employees, while some Democratic lawmakers want to require private businesses also to offer paid leave and for more than just when a new child arrives. The Democratic governor Tuesday said he would include the plan in changes he soon will propose for the two-year state budget enacted last year. It would cost $6 million for a year and the Legislature would need to approve the spending. More than 35,000 employees would be eligible for the new benefit, with 500 a year likely to take advantage of it.”
Spending money to save money. Jeremy Olson of the Star Tribune says, “Clinics that take more responsibility for their patients’ health and health habits outperformed other primary care clinics in Minnesota and saved government programs more than $1 billion over five years, a University of Minnesota analysis concluded. The analysis, released Tuesday, validated Minnesota’s decision in 2008 to offer additional funding to clinics that become certified ‘health care homes,’ meaning they manage patients’ overall care and provide counseling and resources to chronically ill patients needing extra help.”
And sometimes you get a number that already is real money. Stribber Jean Hopfensperger reports, “Minnesota’s philanthropic foundations and corporations gave away more than $1.3 billion in 2014, according to a new analysis by the Minnesota Council on Foundations. The biggest grantmaker was the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, which paid out $150 million. It was followed by the Target Foundation and Corp., which gave away $105 million, and the General Mills Foundation and Corp., which donated $102 million.”
Dr. McGuire wants the Euro look for his stadium. In the Pioneer Press, Frederick Melo writes, “ … for inspiration as to what kind of stadium aesthetic to bring to St. Paul’s Midway, Dr. Bill McGuire is looking to the more intricate, rounded-bowl styles of Johannesburg, South Africa; Munich, Germany; and Lyon, France — not to forget professional stadiums in Romania, Ireland and Canada. … creating an eye-catching attraction for travelers along Interstate 94 that complements but doesn’t overwhelm the neighborhood is a key concern, said McGuire.” You pay for it, Doc, and you can build anything you want.
So who these folks go for? Bernie? Hillary? The Donald? Also in the Strib, Jennifer Bjorhus says, “An estimated 700 people packed Coffman Memorial Union at the University of Minnesota on Tuesday to oppose draconian retirement cuts proposed by the Teamsters’ Central States Pension Plan. One by one the Teamsters, many of them retired, stepped to the microphone to ask the U.S. Treasury to reject the cuts and find a different solution to the sea of red ink threatening to swallow the giant retirement fund.”
Ol’ Sooch agrees with Black Lives Matter … up to a point. Says Joe Soucheray in the PiPress, “A cop cannot advocate using a car to run somebody over. And the same cop cannot then provide instructions for how to avoid criminal charges. Those remarks were unconscionable, and made all the more so with police behavior already under a microscope. He didn’t do his department nor the rest of us any favors and handed BLM more ammunition than they know what to do with. BLM cannot be blamed for pointing to this guy as an example of what they have been talking about. Not to protect Crashed Ice — that will take care of itself — but there is something [Jeffrey] Rothecker should do. He should stop enjoying the process that apparently either prevents or delays his firing. He should resign.”
Proof that someone will protest anything. For WDIO-TV up in Duluth Baihly Warfield says, “A de-escalation room used to calm children having mental breakdowns in a Superior elementary school has had one man protesting since the end of January. Northern Lights Elementary School officials say the ‘calming room’ or ‘blue room’s’ purpose is to help children relax and process what is going on during an emotional breakdown. But Damon Hicks, a Superior man, said the room shouldn’t exist at all. Hicks has been protesting outside the school for more than a week. ‘All around, the room is just a bad idea,’ Hicks said. … Hicks is not a parent and has no connection with Northern Lights Elementary, but he said he’s concerned the de-escalation room does more harm than good.”
Is Harold Stassen still on there, too? In the PiPress, David Montgomery says, “Martin O’Malley ended his presidential campaign on Feb. 1, but if the former Maryland governor has any remaining Minnesota supporters they’ll still be able to caucus for him next month. That’s because the ballots for the March 1 Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party caucuses were printed and distributed to local counties before a poor showing in the Iowa caucuses led O’Malley to drop out of the race.”
Trending in the wrong direction. Rohan Preston of the Strib says, “A fourth lawsuit has been filed against Twin Cities restaurateur Jason McLean, alleging unlawful sexual battery of a minor in the 1980s. In a departure from the earlier cases, this woman — identified only as a ‘Jane Doe’ — is suing only McLean and not the Children’s Theatre Company, which employed him from the late 1970s to mid-’80s as a teacher and actor. The complaint alleges that ‘in multiple instances’ from August to November 1983, McLean ‘inflicted harmful, offensive and unpermitted sexual contact’ on the plaintiff … .”
What’s the betting that it’ll be warmer than that Vikings-Seattle game? WCCO-TV says, “We’re a little more than a week away from the return of professional hockey to the great outdoors in Minnesota. The Minnesota Wild will host the Chicago Blackhawks for an outdoor game at TCF Bank Stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota. It’s part of the NHL’s Stadium Series. The NHL released an image Tuesday of what the experience should look like for fans who have tickets to the game. Crews began transforming TCF Bank Stadium into a hockey arena on Tuesday by laying a protective floor on the field.”
Hey, you there with the earbuds rocking out to The Ozark Mountain Daredevils, here’s a story for you from KMSP-TV. “This month, the Plymouth Police Department is going to target drivers wearing both headphones – it’s illegal in Minnesota to have earbuds in both ears while operating a motor vehicle. … That means drivers can use one earbud but must make sure one ear is able to listen to noises on the road, like a siren, horn or screeching brakes.”
Keep that in mind if you’re roadtripping to Iowa. Alison Gowans of the Cedar Rapids Gazette reports, “The Dude abides in Robin, Iowa. At least, a restaurant in his honor does. Lebowski’s Bar & Grill, a ‘Big Lebowski’-themed restaurant, opened this week. It has the distinction of being the only restaurant in Robins, a town of about 3,200 people just north of Cedar Rapids. … A big fan of the movie for which he named his restaurant, Bodensteiner arrived at the eatery’s ribbon-cutting Monday in the same sweater worn by the film’s main character ‘the Dude,’ played by Jeff Bridges.” And you gotta know there won’t be any [bleeping] Eagles music.
Speaking of The Dude, there’s this just in from Jon Gettman at High Times. “Legal Marijuana Now is both a campaign slogan and the name of a political party in Minnesota advancing another model for getting the legalization issue before state legislatures. A member of the party, Zach Phelps, is seeking election in a February 9 special election for a vacant District 35 State Senate seat in the Minnesota legislature. Minnesota does not utilize voter-initiated ballot measures and cannot enact legalization by popular vote. Minnesota voters can nominate candidates for the legislature by way of petition, and this is how Phelps secured a place on the ballot. … Minnesota should be a receptive state to the legalization of cannabis. About 12.3 percent of Minnesota’s voters (those 18 and older) use marijuana on a monthly basis. The state’s voters are generally liberal, frequently voting Democratic in presidential elections.”