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Metro Transit faces driver shortage

MinnPost photo by Corey Anderson
Green Line stop at Snelling and University in St. Paul.

Now hiring. MPR’s Tim Nelson reports: “The Twin Cities’ biggest transit agency says it’s working on new ways to fill its employee ranks as a tight labor market makes it difficult to fill job vacancies. … Aaron Koski, who heads Metro Transit’s workforce development department, said the agency typically needs to hire about 300 transit operators a year. … ‘We are currently around 50 operators short and we do not see that number moving the right direction without any additional programming or assistance,’ Koski said. ‘We are also looking at, ideally, significant system expansion which will put more pressure on the need to have a full complement of operators to deliver service.’ ”

Debating density. The Star Tribune’s Adam Belz writes: “A dozen people sat at a table in a rec center in south Minneapolis, debating the city’s comprehensive plan as a giant fan roared nearby. … A city staffer explained the rising burden of rental prices on poor residents, and gently pushed a central theme of the draft plan — that the city must build more homes in more places — to a group peppered with skeptics. … ‘If you just let the market promote density, that doesn’t necessarily trickle down to affordable housing,’ said Lara Norkus-Crampton, a south Minneapolis resident. ‘If it was just density that provided affordable housing, then Hong Kong and New York City would be the most affordable places on the planet, and they’re not.’ ”

Sounds bad. KSTP’s Matt Belanger reports: “A veteran of the Minnesota Air National Guard is part of what’s being called a ‘hidden epidemic.’ … Shawn Bolf, of Duluth, said he was ordered to take the antimalarial drug, mefloquine, during his deployment to Afghanistan in 2010 with the 148th Fighter Wing. Now, eight years after he stopped taking the drug, he’s living with serious and permanent health problems as a result.”

An in-depth look at the Legacy Amendment’s effect on the arts. The Star Tribune’s Jerry Holt writes: “New London, like small cities across Minnesota, has felt the influx of dollars from the Legacy Amendment, passed a decade ago. Since 2009, Legacy funding has provided more than $440 million to historical, artistic and cultural projects and events, with about $200 million going specifically to artists and arts organizations across the state. In 2009, before that funding began, Minnesota ranked ninth in the nation for per capita public funding for the arts. Today, it ranks first. The state spends about $6 per person on the arts, according to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, pulling well ahead of states such as Hawaii and New York.”

In other news…

Campaign news:First all-female governor’s ticket? Otto picks a running mate” [MPR]

Rockin’:Prince’s Yellow Cloud Guitar Sells for $225,000 at Auction” [Rolling Stone]

World record set:Watch thousands of Christians pillow fighting inside U.S. Bank Stadium” [City Pages]

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