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Minnesota homelessness declines by 9 percent in latest count

Plus: U faculty take vote provisionally supporting free speech; extended history of First Avenue in the ’80s; why we have daylight saving time; and more.

MinnPost file photo by Paul Walsh

Homelessness is down sharply. Steve Brandt at the Strib has the Wilder Foundation’s latest numbers: “Homelessness was down 9 percent in Minnesota during a triennial count in October, the first sharp drop since the Wilder Foundation began its one-night survey of homeless people more than 20 years ago. … The drop was greater in the Twin Cities metro area than in the rest of the state, which recorded a 7.6 percent drop. However, Hennepin County numbers were down 15 percent.”

Ah, well, if she says so. MPR’s Tim Nelson reports: “St. Paul schools have been the scene of a number of violent incidents this school year. One left a Central High teacher unconscious and another last week injured a Como Park High teacher. A loaded gun was found in a student’s backpack at Harding High School in October. … The incidents come in the wake of a change in discipline policy aimed at curbing suspensions in the schools. … In an interview with MPR News’ Cathy Wurzer, Superintendent Valeria Silva said she doesn’t think the district is an outlier for school violence.”

U faculty committee considers strong statement of support for free speech. Professor Dale Carpenter writes over at the Washington Post: “Yesterday, by a 7-2 vote, the University of Minnesota’s top faculty committee voted to ‘provisionally support’ a strong statement backing the freedom of speech on campus as the University’s ‘paramount value’–more important than even the university’s commitment to creating a ‘climate’ conducive to equity and diversity. … The move comes after several recent campus controversies over free speech ….”

Pitchfork has a (really long) history of First Avenue in the 1980s. Michaelangelo Matos writes: “You didn’t have to play music to be in the business in the Twin Cities of the ’60s and ’70s. Minneapolis-St. Paul was the record-distribution capital of the U.S., handling roughly one-third of the nation’s vinyl and cassette trade, and local musicians made regular, if fleeting, appearances on the Billboard charts, from ’60s garage-rockers the Trashmen and the Castaways (‘Liar, Liar’), to Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks (half-recorded in Minneapolis), to Lipps Inc.’s 1980 #1 hit ‘Funkytown.’ … But a music scene was something else. For most of the ’70s, cover bands were the rule in Twin Cities clubs. That began to change mid-decade, when groups like the Suicide Commandos, the Suburbs, and Curtiss A found places to play. In particular, Jay’s Longhorn opened in 1977 and immediately became Minneapolis’ pit stop for new wave touring acts, from Elvis Costello to the B-52’s. Peter Jesperson was that club’s DJ—a lightning rod for all things punk.”

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Still feeling that daylight saving time drag? National Geographic’s Brian Handwerk has a piece about the origins of the practice of adjusting our clocks by an hour twice each year — it may have all started as a joke — that includes this fun tidbit about our capital city: “ ‘In 1965 somebody wandered into an 18-story office building in St. Paul, Minnesota, and discovered that it housed 9 floors of city employees who did observe [daylight saving time] and 9 floors of county employees who did not,’ [Tufts University professor Michael] Downing says.”

In other news…

Looks like Northshore Mining in Babbitt and Silver Bay will re-open in May. [Minnesota Brown]

Washington Post reporter Aaron Blake compares Sid Hartman to Donald Trump. But let’s not get worked up over this one, or he might move here.

The status of a California venture capitalist and Memphis Grizzlies minority owner’s bid to buy the Timberwolves is anything but clear. [ESPN]

Mankato, Minnesota, has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. [24/7 Wall Street]

Prince played at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres on Saturday. No big deal. [Star Tribune]