St. Paul teachers set Feb. 13 for strike if no settlement reached

Saint Paul Federation of Teachers

KSTP-TV reports: “Feb. 13. That’s the date on which St. Paul educators plan to strike if no settlement is reached in ongoing contract talks with St. Paul Public Schools. The St. Paul Federation of Teachers announced Wednesday night that the union’s executive board had voted to set next Tuesday as the strike date. …Union members voted last week to strike, citing a lack of progress at the bargaining table ‘on the most important issues for SPFT’s members.’”

On trial. Brandt Williams of MPR says, “This is not a ‘whodunnit,’ but a ‘whydunnit,’ said defense attorney Fred Bruno during his opening statement in front of a jury in Hennepin County court Wednesday. Bruno told the jury of nine men and five women that [Minneapolis police] officer Efrem Hamilton, 44, acted reasonably when he fired a bullet into the back of a BMW during the early morning hours of Nov. 19, 2016. And he asked jurors to consider the circumstances which led up to Hamilton’s use of deadly force. … assistant Hennepin County Attorney Tara Ferguson-Lopez said Hamilton’s use of force was ‘excessive.’”

The check’s in the mail. James MacPherson of the AP writes, “North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said Wednesday he will repay a Minnesota electric utility $37,000 for tickets the company provided him and his wife for Sunday’s Super Bowl in Minneapolis. The Republican governor said he would reimburse Xcel Energy ‘to eliminate even the perception of any conflict.’ Burgum and first lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum watched the game from a suite provided by Xcel, which serves more than 90,000 customers in Grand Forks, Fargo and Minot. He said before going that he planned to use the opportunity to talk with Xcel officials about their service and infrastructure in North Dakota.” The guess would be he decided everything Xcel is doing is terrific.

Federal charges. Says Amy Forliti at the AP, “A Minnesota woman accused of encouraging two fellow college students to join a jihad months before she allegedly set several fires on campus was charged Wednesday with a federal terrorism count. Tnuza Jamal Hassan, 19, of Minneapolis was charged with one count of attempting to provide material support to al-Qaida, one count of lying to the FBI and one federal arson count. She also faces a state arson charge in connection with the Jan. 17 fires on the campus of St. Catherine University in St. Paul.”

Our cat is No. 1! Says a WCCO-TV story, “She has 28 toes, three extra on each forepaw and one extra on each back paw. The 3-year-old is tied with another cat for the Guinness World Record for feline with the most toes. Owner Jeanne Martin, of Northfield, says Paws’ genetic trait comes in handy. ‘It almost looks like a catcher’s mitt,’ Martin said, adding that the extra digits on her front paws help her grip narrow surfaces.”

What about beautiful clean coal? In the Strib, Mike Hughlett says, “Minnesota bucked the national trend in solar energy employment in 2017, posting the second highest job growth by state. Nationwide, U.S. solar energy industry employment fell by 4 percent or 9,800 jobs, according to a report released Wednesday by The Solar Foundation. It was the first decline since The Solar Foundation began tracking jobs in 2010. Total U.S. solar employment was 250,271 last year, with the majority of those jobs in installation. In Minnesota last year, solar employment grew 48 percent, hitting 4,256 jobs, according to The Solar Foundation.  Only Delaware had a larger growth rate: 51 percent.”

There’s a lot going on here. KSTP-TV reports: “A Lakeville middle school principal who was on leave during a law enforcement investigation was arrested Tuesday, according to Dakota County jail records. Chris Endicott was booked in the Dakota County Jail, on suspicion of harassment, the records show. Jail records state he was arrested by Apple Valley police. Charges are still pending, but Endicott is expected to appear in court Thursday. Endicott was being investigated by the Apple Valley police due to alleged unauthorized computer access at an Apple Valley middle school, where his wife works. It was unclear if Endicott’s arrest was related to the investigation.”

Start collecting your loose changeThe AP’s Scott Bauer reports: “Allowing open-road tolling on Wisconsin’s interstates is the only viable way to raise state money to match whatever federal funding could be coming for transportation, Republican state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald told county officials Wednesday. President Donald Trump last month called on Congress to approve a $1.5 trillion federal infrastructure plan that likely would require states to put up some money to receive the federal funds. Trump’s plan would rely on state and local governments working with private investors to come up with much of the cash.”

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