MPR’s Solvejg Wastvedt reports: “The St. Paul school district is projecting a $17 million budget gap for next year. The budget projection presented at a board meeting Tuesday is preliminary because it simply rolls over the current year’s spending with adjustments for inflation and expected changes in revenue. Marie Schrul, the chief financial officer for St. Paul schools, said the estimated gap will likely shrink with one-time spending from the current year removed. Still, filling the projected gap will likely require cuts. … Schrul told board members the district expects a $6.6 million increase in revenue from higher per-student state funds and a tax levy. Expenses are projected to go up by nearly $24 million, driven mainly by inflation costs for salaries and benefits.”
Speaking of schools. For the Star Tribune, Faiza Mahamed writes: “Hundreds of teachers, community members and parents rallied outside Minneapolis Public Schools’ headquarters Tuesday afternoon chanting and carrying signs. More than 200 teachers and supporters turned out to demonstrate what they called the district’s ‘mishandling’ of the teachers’ labor contract, which expired in June. … The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers is pressing the district for pay increases, smaller class sizes and a $15 minimum wage for all employees.”
Boom time for weed. Dan Gunderson at MPR reports, “A Minnesota state trooper last week stopped a car on Interstate 94 in Otter Tail County near Fergus Falls and found a passenger sitting on 300 pounds of marijuana. Last month, also in Otter Tail County, a trooper at a traffic stop confiscated 200 pounds of marijuana, worth about $600,000. Farther west in North Dakota, a sheriff’s deputy also found nearly 500 pounds of pot in a vehicle stopped on I-94 near Jamestown. Officials in Minnesota and North Dakota say nationally, drugs have become more readily available, leading to the increasing drug traffic they’re seeing on the region’s roads.” Wait, “sitting on” 300 pounds of pot?
Let’s just hope the city can pull through. Says Adam Belz of the Strib, “The chief resilience officer of Minneapolis, Kate Knuth, has stepped down after seven months on the job. Hired for the grant-funded position in June, Knuth was responsible for responding to ‘challenges’ facing the city, which ranged from low graduation rates for black students to the risks of spills from trains hauling hazardous materials to severe weather stoked by climate change.”
Also, starting Wednesday: the mad dash to tell people you have ‘Hamilton’ tickets. Stribber Rohan Preston says, “The mad dash for ‘Hamilton’ seats begins Wednesday. Starting at 10 a.m., Minnesotans can buy season packages that include tickets for the hotly anticipated hip-hop musical, which finally comes to Minneapolis Aug. 29, three years after becoming the hottest ticket on Broadway. Crowds are expected to gather outside the State Theatre ticket office before the building opens at 5 a.m.”
MPR’s Tim Nelson says, “A Department of Natural Resources conservation officer says authorities had little choice but to shoot an injured wolf making its way through Duluth over the weekend. The wolf had a steel snare wrapped around its muzzle and was first spotted by state park employees near Tettegouche State Park the middle of last week, DNR Officer Don Murray said. The wolf made its way along the shore of Lake Superior and eventually turned up on the edge of the city of Duluth on Saturday.”
Some guys just know how to draw attention. A Forum News Service story says, “A longtime Detroit Lakes police sergeant has been charged with disorderly conduct-brawling or fighting after an off-duty run-in with a notorious local resident. That resident, Blake Sundvor, 35, of rural Detroit Lakes, has been charged with exactly the same thing. … Sundvor (also known as Blake Mastin) has been convicted of several scams in Becker County and also duped Twin Cities TV stations into doing stories on him after he falsely claimed to be the one who figured out how to cap the massive 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf Coast.”
Finally, from our neighbors to the east: For MPR, Emily Sullivan writes: “Twitter has banned Paul Nehlen, a Republican challenging House Speaker Paul Ryan for a congressional seat, for a racist tweet targeting American actress Meghan Markle, the fiancée of Prince Harry. … The tweet is hardly Nehlen’s first instance of controversy. The politician has made waves for racist and anti-Semitic tweets in the past and proclaimed that ‘Jews control the media’ on former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke’s podcast last month.”