Minnesota education officials to focus on summer ‘nutrition gap’

It’s not good when school lunches are a kid’s nutritional high point. Says Christopher Magan in the Pioneer Press, “Minnesota education officials are setting their sights this year squarely on the summer break ‘nutrition gap’ suffered many low-income students. The Department of Education hopes to enlist schools and nonprofit groups to help ensure the students continue to get the free and reduced-price meals available during the school year once classes end for the summer.”

Semi-related, Don Davis of the Forum News Service has a story up saying, “Sen. Al Franken is taking on rural health care in his second term. The Minnesota Democrat is co-chairman of the U.S. Senate Rural Health Caucus and has traveled the state discussing the topic. … A recent Minnesota high-speed Internet report fits right in with Franken’s discoveries. It says that remote medical care is one of the needs the Internet can fulfil. For instance, a rural Minnesotan may not be able to travel to a big city to see a doctor, but can consult with one via a video connection.”

Jennifer Brooks of the Star Tribuine has a good piece on the first six months of our highly regulated, heavily bureaucratized medicinal marijuana program. “The first months of medical marijuana in Minnesota have seen quiet success stories: the chemotherapy and AIDS patients who regained their appetites; the hospice patients offered ease in their final days; the moms with debilitating illnesses who were able to show up again for their kids’ hockey games. … The cost of a month’s supply of cannabis — oil, pills or liquids only, since state law bans the smokable forms of the plant — ranges from less than $200 to well over $1,000. Some patients skip doses, trying to stretch their supply longer to save money. Others drop out of the program entirely, unable to afford medicine that no insurance program will cover.”

Yet another story on North Dakota’s boom-to-bust oil economy. Jack Healey of the New York Times says, “… laid-off oil-field workers are piecing together new jobs, and some have left town altogether. Hotels that were once booked solid for months are about half-occupied. Some of the new luxury apartments built to handle the surge of arrivals are dark. Business is down by 40 percent at a new brewery that once boasted two-hour dinner lines for cowboy-cut rib-eyes and Williston brownies (which come a la mode). And many of the camps built to house a flood of workers, the vast majority of them male, are emptying out like a bar after last call.”

Someone had a hot hand. The AP story on U of M basketball player Rachel Banham’s big night says, “Banham tied a NCAA record with 60 points — with 10 coming in the first overtime and eight in the second — to lead Minnesota to a 112-106 win over Northwestern on Sunday. In matching the 60 points put up by Cindy Brown of Long Beach State against San Jose State on Feb. 16, 1987, the 5-foot-9 guard made 19 of 32 shots, including 8 of 15 from 3-point range, and hit 14 of 16 free throws. She also had eight rebounds, four assists and two steals for the Golden Gophers (16-7, 8-4 Big Ten). Along the way, the senior from Lakeville, Minnesota, shattered the school (44) and Big Ten records (49). She moved within 47 points of breaking Lindsay Whalen’s school record of 2,285 points.”

Says WCCO-TV, “Beyonce starred along with Bruno Mars and Coldplay for the halftime show at Super Bowl 50 Sunday night, and now at least one of them is coming to Minneapolis later this year. The University of Minnesota announced Sunday night that Beyonce is bringing her Formation World Tour to TCF Bank Stadium. She’ll perform a concert on Monday, May 23.”

You knew Breitbart wasn’t going to miss news of surging gun sales in Minnesota. Awr Hawkins writes, “There are currently ‘221,712 active permit holders’ in Minnesota. The Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance (GOCRA) says this means ‘the number of active carry permits in the state has grown by more than 20,000 in six months’ so that ‘about one in 19 eligible Minnesota adults have a permit to carry.’ According the Tribune, the numbers have historically spiked after high profile shootings or terrorist attacks, but it appears the current surge is a response to Obama’s unilateral gun control push. GOCRA’s Andrew Rothman observed, ‘It’s not always a reaction to mass shootings, although there is some of that. But probably the bigger part is the reaction when people hear about the political rhetoric following a horrible murder … that’s what gets people very interested in exercising their rights.’” Uh, that’s their precious rights to you, pal.

Speaking of the unfettered exercise of those precious rights, the AP says, “More than a dozen states have strengthened laws over the past two years to keep firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers, a rare area of consensus in the nation’s highly polarized debate over guns. Lawmakers and governors of both parties have supported bills stripping gun rights from those who have been convicted of domestic violence-related crimes or are subject to protective orders. … the NRA has fought provisions that would require people to surrender their guns before they have a chance to contest allegations made in a request for an emergency protective order. ‘There is no evidence that simply taking away people’s guns without a fair hearing makes the victims any safer,’ NRA spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen said.” 

Good year for the Northwest Minnesota Foundation. Brandi Jewett of the Bemidji Pioneer says, “The numbers are in and donations were up this past year for the Northwest Minnesota Foundation. The Bemidji-based organization saw a $2.1 million bump in donations from the previous year, according to its 2015 annual report for the fiscal year spanning July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015. Much of that increase is from a large bequest, but it still reflects the foundation’s continued growth. … The Northwest Minnesota Foundation serves a 12-county region. Part of its mission is to provide asset management services for nonprofits, cities and other groups.”

On, Wisconsin. WCCO-TV says, “A Wisconsin woman was arrested this weekend on her seventh drunk driving offense. The Wisconsin State Patrol says that 56-year-old Stephanie Bogat was stopped for probable cause Saturday night after she swerved into on-coming traffic on USH 63 in Washburn County. … Troopers say Bogat was also arrested for failing to install an ignition interlock device on her car and for driving with a revoked license.”

Hey, everyone speaks ‘Murican, right? Stribber Maura Lerner reports, “At the small college in northwestern Minnesota, officials couldn’t help noticing that fewer and fewer students were majoring in foreign languages like French and German. So last week, Concordia College in Moorhead announced plans to stop offering those majors, as well as Latin, classics and Scandinavian studies, to help balance its budget. The decision has set off a firestorm on and off campus, with some students and alumni accusing the college of turning its back on one of the core elements of a liberal arts education.”

More parking on University Ave. in St. Paul. Says Jessie Van Berkel in the Strib, “After about 975 parking spaces were removed from University Avenue to accommodate the Green Line light rail — sparking outrage among some local business owners — St. Paul may add half of the eliminated spots back. Planning Commission members approved a plan Friday to keep the current two lanes of traffic in each direction open during busy daytime hours, then turn one of the lanes on each side into parking from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. in certain areas. Officials estimate it will cost $79,375 to add the 451 planned parking spots … .” Shoot, they can get that back in tickets in a couple weeks.

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