School-bus driver shortage has districts scrambling

MinnPost file photo by Bill Kelley

As far as excuses for being late to class go, this one seems pretty rock-solid. MPR’s Mark Zdechlik reports: “A shortage of school bus drivers has busing companies and school administrators scrambling to get students where they need to be. … Tom Burr is one of those scrambling administrators. He’s in charge of transportation for the St. Paul school district — and he seems remarkably composed considering the workplace challenges he faces every weekday at the crack of dawn. … ‘For instance, Friday we received a call from one of our contractors saying that they were three drivers short. This was at 6:15,’ he said. ‘We’re struggling trying to get everybody to where they want to go on time.’ ”

Not forgetting. KSTP’s Rebecca Omastiak on 9/11 remembrances in Minnesota:Gatherings and services are planned Tuesday in remembrance of Sept. 11, 2001, when hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. … A group of Minnesotans called Our Ground Zero honored the victims and first responders killed 17 years ago by placing flags at the Stagecoach Bridge near Woodbury. … Additionally, Gov. Mark Dayton ordered flags be flown at half staff from sunrise to sunset Tuesday. Dayton proclaimed Tuesday ‘Patriot Day and A Day of Service and Remembrance’ out of respect for the victims. Dayton encouraged Minnesotans to observe a national moment of silence at 7:46 a.m. CT (8:45 EDT) — the time the first plane crashed.”

But his emails? The Duluth News Tribune’s Brady Slater reports: “Using the hashtag #Pete4Jobs, Pete Stauber tweeted about the economy on Monday. His campaign also issued a new weekly newsletter documenting Stauber’s travels. And within the past few days, Stauber’s camp released a 5-minute YouTube video of campaign highlights. … But the St. Louis County commissioner and Republican candidate for Congress in the 8th District continued to avoid a Star Tribune report from last week which outlined correspondence using his county email address and an outside political group. … The campaign did not respond to the News Tribune’s latest inquiries on Monday. The county said last week through a spokesperson it would not pursue the issue further, concluding it reviewed the emails and was satisfied that no further actions were warranted. St. Louis County policy prohibits officials from using government equipment on a political campaign.”

New York Times food writer Kim Severson checks in from Wayzata with a profile of Andrew Zimmern. She writes: “On a warm August evening at an outdoor charity rock concert not far from Minneapolis, restlessness overtook Andrew Zimmern. … So he pushed through a cloud of cigar smoke, dodged a waiter handing out tuna tartare on edible spoons and charmed his way past a guard at the backstage fence. Somehow, he ended up on stage with Cheap Trick, screaming the group’s 1978 hit ‘Surrender’ into a microphone, a Hamer ‘Gonna Raise Hell’ Explorer guitar slung over his shoulder. … His deep need to stay in motion is apparent whether you’re a fan of his long-running Travel Channel show ‘Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern,’ one of his two million followers on Twitter and Instagram, or just a reporter along for the ride.

In other news…

Men, do better:Investigators warn of ‘creepshots’ at stores” [KARE]

Welcome paint job:Fence mural in NE Minneapolis serves as canvas for inspiration after recovery” [KMSP]

Unwelcome paint job:Red Wing council votes to end graffiti on side of bluff” [Rochester Post Bulletin]

Mostly training for hikes:Why are people going uphill at Bloomington’s Hyland Hills Ski Area all summer long?” [Star Tribune]

Which, maybe reconsider?Twin Cities man ‘severely’ mauled in encounter with 2 bears in Wyoming” [Star Tribune]

A real plié to the rear of management:Entire St. Paul Ballet troupe follows fired artistic director to new company” [Star Tribune]

Impressive play:Video of blooper-turned-touchdown by Minnesota high school team makes national splash” [Pioneer Press]

Just impressive:Sepak takraw courts bring popular SE Asian sport to St. Paul parks” [MPR]

Article featuring Minneapolis’ own former-Sears/current-Midtown-Global-Market:Ghost Plants: Reusing Huge Abandoned Sears Buildings Across Urban America” [99 Percent Invisible]

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 09/11/2018 - 02:36 pm.

    Indeed, men should do better, and the one featured in the story in particular, but the KARE 11 story’s reporter fails to make an important distinction.

    To begin, photography is a form of free expression protected by the 1st Amendment. In this country, as established by a fairly lengthy record of court decisions, photographers may legally photograph virtually anyone, or anything, in a public setting. Public settings include streets, sidewalks and public parks. The legal precedents also allow, as a general rule, photography in private settings such as the Walmart featured in the KARE 11 story – unless the property owner has posted a request or instructions to patrons and visitors that photography is not permitted inside the store.

    There are exceptions, as you might expect, all along the spectrum from public to private. Privacy is a reasonable expectation, for example, when using the bathroom – even the bathroom in a public facility – and obviously any business owner – or homeowner – could request that someone not take photographs inside their business or home.

    That said, it’s perfectly legal for party “A” to take photos of party “B” in a public park, whether party “B” likes it or not, or to photograph the police or other first responders – as long as they’re not interfering with the first responders’ ability to do their job. In general, the public has been well-served by “street photographers” who just happen to have a camera or their camera-equipped smart phone with them when something happens.

    What the KARE 11story (and the County Sheriff’s office) end up promoting is a form of fear-mongering, the clear implication being that women and girls may be surrounded by creepy guys with cameras, trying to catch an unguarded salacious moment. They’re promoting a hysterical response to a rare occurrence. Yes, there are legitimate creeps out there, and we should all pay attention to our surroundings, but just because someone is carrying a camera and taking photos doesn’t automatically make their behavior criminal, or even suspicious. Plenty of parents, grandparents, family friends, aunts and uncles routinely take photos of relatives, their friends, and other children, without any sort of nefarious motive or intent at all.

    And I repeat: Photography is constitutionally-protected free expression. Without it, TV stations would go off the air and newspapers would be in even worse trouble than they already are. Journalism of all kinds and media platforms relies on visual images produced by photography. It’s a form of expression recognized around the world as valuable, and often beautiful. The KARE 11 story serves neither the public nor photographers well by painting with such a broad brush.

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