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School funding measures win widespread support across Minnesota

For MPR, Solvejg Wastvedt reports, “School funding measures won strong support at the polls Tuesday. Districts seeking to raise taxes were much more likely this year than last to win voter approval. Forty-four of 53 districts passed operating referendums, according to the Minnesota School Boards Association. ‘In an odd year when you can get the message out for why you need the money ... I think it has a lot better chance of getting approved’, communications director Greg Abbott said. Districts seeking building and technology money had more mixed results, with 28 of 41 levies approved.”  

TrashedThe Pioneer Press’ Frederick Melo reports: “After more than 40 years on hiatus, organized trash collection is coming back to St. Paul. The St. Paul City Council voted 5-2 on Wednesday to accept a five-year agreement for residential trash collection with a coalition of 15 trash haulers, painstakingly hammered out by city staff over the course of 14 months of negotiations, seven contract proposals and 10 drafts. ‘It’s been quite a process,’ St. Paul City Council President Russ Stark said before the vote. ‘It hasn’t been easy. No new system is going to be perfect.’”

But it's not all fun and garbage in the Capitol city, the PiPress’ Tad Vezner reports: “Former St. Paul mayoral candidate Dai Thao is under investigation for a potential election violation relating to him allegedly trying to ‘help’ a person vote at a voting station. St. Paul police took a report from Ramsey County elections manager Joe Mansky on Monday afternoon, relating to an incident that took place between 9:05 and 9:30 a.m. at the Martin Luther King Recreation Center, which had early voting on Monday. ‘The Saint Paul Police Department took a report related to an alleged violation of voter rules,” police spokesman Steve Linders said. ‘To avoid any conflict of interest, the case has been sent to the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, which will conduct the investigation.’”

Minneapolis is getting some national attention for Tuesday's election: Kyle Potter of the AP reports: “Minneapolis has elected two black transgender representatives to its City Council, adding to what advocacy groups have described as a banner election for transgender people in public office. Andrea Jenkins easily won the race Tuesday night for an open seat in south Minneapolis, with roughly 73 percent of the vote. …  Phillipe Cunningham’s victory took longer because of Minneapolis’ instant-runoff voting system. But by Wednesday afternoon, the city announced Cunningham — a 29-year old transgender man who had worked in the mayor’s office — had unseated the seat’s longtime incumbent and current council president, Barb Johnson.”

In the Washington Post, Marwa Eltagouri writes, “Advocates say Jenkins will be the first openly transgender black woman elected to public office in the United States. Althea Garrison, a black woman, became the first transgender person elected to a state legislature in 1992 but did not campaign as openly transgender, according to the Advocate. The first openly transgender woman of color voted into public office is Kim Coco Iwamoto, who in 2006 was elected to Hawaii’s Board of Education, gender advocates say.”

Still unsolved. MPR’s Kristi Marohn looks back at a strange case: “Brian Guimond says Thursday is ‘just another day.’ But for him, ‘just another day’ means 24 hours filled with anger and sadness over the disappearance of his son. Thursday marks 15 years since the disappearance of Joshua Guimond, a St. John's University student who went missing after leaving a party on campus. … On Nov. 9, 2002, Josh Guimond left a small card party at the Metten Court dormitory around midnight. His friends assumed he'd walked back to his on-campus apartment. The walk across the St. John's campus should have only taken him a few minutes. But he never made it.”

Wait, what? Stribber Jim Buchta reports, “Though thousands of new apartments hit the market in the Twin Cities this year, the vacancy rate has barely budged — and that means renters are paying more. The vacancy rate for apartments across the Twin Cities metro during the third quarter was 2.5 percent, unchanged from last year and up slightly from the previous quarter, according to a quarterly survey released Wednesday by Marquette Advisors.”

Finally, two words you don’t normally see together: 'Vikings' and 'miracle.' But the PiPress’ Chris Tomasson reports: “Vikings receiver Jarius Wright saw one improbable comeback from an injury five years ago. Now he’s seen another. Wright was a rookie in 2012 when running back Adrian Peterson returned from a torn ACL suffered in December 2011 and rushed for 2,097 yards while being named NFL MVP. On Wednesday, Wright was there to see quarterback Teddy Bridgewater back on the active roster 15 months after suffering a torn left ACL and dislocated knee. … ‘Just to see how hard (Bridgewater has been) working, and I know he’s going to be great when he gets his opportunity, so we all witnessed a miracle.’”

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School referendums

In Winona, ninety percent disapproval of a bonding proposal to close a couple of elementary schools and consolidate the students into one remodeled and one mostly new building. Improvement plans for middle and senior schools also, but opposition mainly to losing neighborhood schools and long term cost of repaying the bonding. Much communication efforts by the district. Is this amount of referendum rejection unusual?