You know what is in good supply in St. Paul? Disappointment. Says Christopher Magan of the Pioneer Press, “Educators had high hopes this would be the year the Minnesota Legislature would begin to address what many consider to be longstanding unfairness in the way public schools are funded. Yet, despite lawmakers having a $900 million budget surplus to work with, most education advocates are watching the final legislative deal-making with growing disappointment. The final education bill is still being decided, but proposals now on the table do little to address what school leaders say are funding inequities in the areas of special education costs and residential property taxes.”
Likewise, forget about fantasy sports. Says Tim Blotz for KMSP-TV, “A bill to legalize fantasy sports play in Minnesota was tabled in a key Minnesota Senate committee over concerns that it would promote the growth of online gambling. Sensing that her bill was heading for defeat in the tax committee, Sen. Sandy Pappas moved to lay it over which essentially ends the bill for this year’s legislative session. The bill which formally recognizes fantasy sports gaming successfully passed the House in April.” Oddly, some people think this stuff is actually gambling.
But hey! We might get a primary! Says Rachel Stassen-Berger for the PiPress, “After two decades of complaints about the Minnesota presidential caucus system, the state is moving swiftly to adopt a presidential primary. The state Senate overwhelmingly approved a presidential primary measure, which would negate the need for a presidential caucus in 2020. The House is following in the same vein and may give the measure a final vote on Friday.” Next … better candidates?
Think of this as a large-ish rounding error. For MPR, Solvejg Wastvedt says, “Minneapolis Public Schools are facing an unexpected budget deficit of nearly $17 million for the current school year. The problem came from budgeting errors, district officials say, but they’re confident new financial practices mean it won’t happen again. School board chair Jenny Arneson says the error came partly from accounting that wasn’t specific enough.” So the line item for staplers was somewhere between $0 and $17 million?
A shortage few are all that broken up about. In The New York Times Elizabeth Olson writes, “The number of law school applicants nationwide has plummeted, to 51,000 as of April from 88,700 in 2006, according to the Law School Admissions Council. The Great Lakes region has been hit particularly hard, catching respected institutions like Minnesota by surprise when applicant numbers went into a tailspin. It is the reverse of a trend that began during the enrollment boom of the early 2000s, when law schools were doing so well that some began moving to become self-financing entities supported by tuition and private donations. Now, as student enthusiasm for the law wanes, financially pinched schools need to decide whether sagging applications are a temporary blip or a fundamental course correction.”
It’s the Most Popular Baby Names List time of the year. WCCO-TV’s story says, “Minnesota bucked the national trend for most popular baby names in 2015. Last week, the Social Security Administration announced Noah and Emma as the top boy and girl names in the U.S. The top most popular name for girls in Minnesota was Olivia, followed by Emma, Evelyn, Ava and Nora. Olivia was actually the second most popular girl’s name in the U.S., but Evelyn and Nora weren’t in the top 10 nationally. The most popular boy’s name in Minnesota was Henry … with Oliver, William, Liam and Mason rounding out the top five.” No Igor?
You’d think someone would notice. Nick Ferraro of the PiPress says, “Authorities recovered a decomposed human leg from the Mississippi River in Inver Grove Heights on Wednesday and are investigating whether it belonged to a boater missing since late last month. A group of kids discovered the leg floating in the water along the shoreline just south of the Rock Island Swing Bridge recreational pier, said Dan Bianconi, a captain with the Dakota County sheriff’s office.”
VICE News gets on local revolutionaries. Says Kayla Ruble, “Four American citizens accused of helping to plan a failed coup in the Gambia against President Yahya Jammeh more than a year ago have been sentenced by a Minnesota judge, who has carried out the first prosecution using the country’s Neutrality Act in 35 years. The individuals include Texas businessman Cherno Njie, who allegedly funded the operation; Minnesota resident Papa Faal; and 41-year-old Alagie Barrow. All three individuals were charged last January with conspiring to violate the Neutrality Act, a law enacted in 1974 that prevents US citizens from taking action against a friendly nation.” The only thing that would make this story more perfect for VICE would be a weed connection.
The cops did not tread lightly. The WCCO-TV story says, “The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minnesota says the DEA and local authorities in Brooklyn Park made the largest seizure of methamphetamine in Minnesota’s history. Dolores Ludmilla Castillo, 40, and Francisco Silvestre-Martinez, 27, are each charged with possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute on Wednesday. According to the criminal complaint, authorities seized more than 140 pounds of the illegal narcotic on Monday.”
Damn regulations! Tom Cherveny in the Grand Forks Herald writes, “The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the federal Environmental Protection Agency have reached a settlement with the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative over water and air quality pollution violations. The cooperative has agreed to correct the violations and will pay more than $1.5 million in penalties. The violations, which occurred over a period of years at the co-op’s processing plant near Renville, included excessive hydrogen sulfide emissions, which cause odors and can be harmful to human health, and wastewater discharges, which resulted in a fish kill in Beaver Creek.” Come on! We’re trying to run a business here!