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Minnesota to allow taking federal standard deduction while itemizing state taxes for 2018

Plus: heavy rains near Mankato; Edina parents caught off-guard by early school-start time; new State Fair attendance record; and more.

For MPR, Brian Bakst says, “The Minnesota Department of Revenue is granting some flexibility for 2018 income tax filers when it comes to the deductions they opt for on state and federal forms. In a newly published notice, the tax department said it won’t require people to match up deductions for 2018. That means they can claim the standard deduction on a federal form but still itemize for their state taxes. The decision matters because of significant changes to the federal tax code from last year’s Republican-led tax bill that might lead more people to take the standard deduction rather than itemize on their federal forms. That could have cost them on the state side, where the standard deduction might produce less savings than itemized deductions.”

For the Strib, Karen Zamora and Dan Browning report, “Mankato and surrounding areas in south-central Minnesota were bracing for possible flooding Tuesday night, while counties in the southeast corner of the state were on the lookout for tornadoes. … A possible tornado was reported near Albert Lea at 6:38 p.m., the service said. Someone driving in the area called it in; the NWS will do a damage report to see if it was a confirmed tornado. Meanwhile areas from south-central Minnesota into west-central Wisconsin have the potential for flash flooding.”

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Says a KSTP-TV story, “Thousands of students went back to school this morning, kicking off the new school year. In Edina, five elementary schools and two middle schools have new start times this year. Last year kids got out of school at 4 p.m. Then, many kids would head to an after-school program called ‘Kids Club.’ However, earlier this year, the Edina School Board approved new school start and end times meaning some children will now be getting out as early as 2:25 p.m. Once start times changed, a number of parents were scrambling to register for the program who didn’t think they would need to be in the program.”

Kirsti Marohn of MPR writes, “The Apostle Islands, the collection of 21 rocky, windswept islands scattered across 250 square miles in northern Wisconsin, are considered among the jewels of Lake Superior. … But the deaths of four members of a Wisconsin family who died after their kayak capsized off the coast of Michigan Island were a harsh reminder of the hazards of paddling the unpredictable waters of Lake Superior, where wind and weather conditions can change without warning. ‘It’s a gorgeous, wonderful place, and it’s a very scenic area, but it also has a lot of dangers,’ said Julie Van Stappen, chief of resource management for the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. ‘It is an inland sea. Often times people may be familiar with inland waters and it’s just a totally different place.’ ”

Says the AP, “Minnesota State Fair organizers say this year’s event attracted a record number of people. More than 2 million people visited the Great Minnesota Get Together which concluded its 12-day run on Labor Day. The fair set an all-time single day attendance record on Saturday with more than 270,000 visitors. The number of 2018 visitors broke record attendance of about 1,997,000 set last year.”

Another AP story says, “A 24-year-old man is charged with criminal vehicular homicide in a hit-and-run crash with an Amish buggy in southeastern Minnesota that killed one man and injured two others. Connor Keene of Canton was charged Tuesday with four felony counts, including causing a traffic death while under the influence of alcohol and leaving the scene of a fatal crash. Authorities identified the man who died as 21-year-old William Stutzman, of rural Harmony. Two of Stutzman’s brothers, ages 17 and 19, were hurt when the driver hit the buggy on a road in Fillmore County Friday. Authorities say Keene abandoned his car and was found in a nearby hayfield. According to the complaint, a breath sample indicated Keene’s blood-alcohol content was 0.184 percent … .”

In his annual NFL rundown of “Why Your Team Sucks”, Minnesota native (and Vikings fan) Drew Magary writes for Deadspin, “There’s a phenomenon that occurs in sports that I have witnessed firsthand, and it occurs when a traditionally snakebitten team casts off its demons and becomes a behemoth even BEFORE they’ve consummated a championship. There’s an air of dominance and irrational confidence that happens during a run where everything begins to feel preordained. It infects the team, the fans, the opposition, everyone. This air … this collective FEELING … so completely dispels historic failure, it’s like those failures never even happened. It happened for the Boston Red Sox. It happened for the Washington Capitals. And for one week—ONE MEASLY GODDAMN WEEK—I could have sworn it was happening for my team. My poor, [bleep]head Vikings. They had a dominant defense, a charmed quarterback, and the touch of Jesus after finding themselves the beneficiaries of this play: They didn’t deserve to win that game, but they did. I could have sworn to you after that game that it was finally the Vikings’ time. My fatalism vanished. This team was one game away from playing the Super Bowl AT HOME, and all they had to do was beat Nick Foles to get there. Nick Foles. Nick [bleeping] Foles. They were going to do it. It was destiny. I believed. I truly did.”