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State running out of money set aside to fix MNLARS

Plus: raccoon makes it to the top of St. Paul’s UBS tower, captures world’s attention; lawsuit looks to stop cuts to Medicaid waiver program; developer wants to convert Minneapolis’ old Suburban World theater into concert venue; and more.

The GleanYep, MNLARS is still a mess. Says Christopher Magan for the PiPress, “Money is running short to fix the state’s troubled system for registering and licensing vehicles. That’s the key takeaway from a recent quarterly report from state officials to a legislative oversight committee monitoring work to fix the Minnesota Licensing and Registration System, or MNLARS. ‘Spending limitations’ will force officials at the state departments of I.T. and Public Safety to make ‘very difficult decisions’ about staffing and continued improvements to the licensing system that has had problems since its launch roughly a year ago.”

The racoon has made it. BuzzFeed’s Blake Montgomery picks up on the raccoon climbing St. Paul’s UBS tower. “If you just woke up, it’s time to catch up on the most important news story of the week. That’s right, the raccoon who was scaling a skyscraper in St. Paul, Minnesota, MADE IT TO THE TOP.” Yes, there are plenty of pictures. 

Also in critter news. KVLY-TV in Fargo has this: “A 5-year-old Minnesota boy is recovering from an unknown animal attack that left him with 16 stitches. Xavier Garza of Detroit Lakes was in his front yard Friday when he tried to pick up what he calls ‘a kitty.’ … Detroit Lakes Chief of Police, Steve Todd, says officers showed pictures of Xavier’s wounds to a local vet and other animal conservationists who ventured it was no ordinary cat.

Just another stab to the heart of beautiful clean coal. Says Mike Hughlett in the Strib, “Minnesota’s solar market grew significantly in the first quarter, adding 105 megawatts of power, the fifth most among states during that time, according to data released Tuesday. Minnesota has total of 849.5 megawatts of solar production, enough power for 116,670 homes, according to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), a trade group. …Minnesota now ranks 14th among states for total solar power, considerably higher than a couple of years ago.”

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Medicaid fight. Says Chris Serres for the Strib, “A plan to cut state funding for disability services threatens to disrupt the lives of thousands of vulnerable Minnesotans who depend on state services to live and work in the community, according to a class-action lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court. Two large organizations that represent hundreds of nonprofit disability service providers are seeking an emergency court order to prevent a 7 percent cut to the rates paid through the state’s Medicaid “waiver” program, which helps people with disabilities pay for transportation, personal caregiving and other support services that help them live more independently.” 

Even sex offenders have rights. An AP story says, “A registered sex offender who sued a Twin Cities suburb over its restrictions on where he could live will receive $84,000 as part of a settlement agreement. U.S. District Court Chief Judge John Tunheim’s order dismissed Thomas Wayne Evenstad’s lawsuit against West St. Paul on Monday …Evenstad filed the lawsuit in August after authorities told him he couldn’t live in a West St. Paul home because of his first-degree criminal sexual conduct conviction. … The 52-year-old argued the city’s 2016 ordinance restricting residency for sex offenders was too broad and unconstitutional because it imposed retroactive punishment that banned him from most of the city.” 

On the comeback trail. Says Nicole Norfleet of the Strib, “The marquee at the Suburban World theater in south Minneapolis may soon shine again as a developer plans to convert the former movie theater into an event hall and concert venue.  … The Suburban World’s auditorium, which is the only surviving example of an atmospheric auditorium in the city and one of the last remaining in the state, was designed to look like the viewers were watching a movie outside under the stars with artificial trees and a curved midnight-blue ceiling with twinkling star lights and projected clouds. Originally, there was also a moon that ‘rose’ and ‘set’ during a movie screening.” Trust me, it was trippy back in the day.