Walz to let local districts in Minnesota decide on school closings

Washburn High School
MinnPost file photo by Erin Hinrichs
Washburn High School

At MPR Brian Bakst reports, “Gov. Tim Walz said Monday he will not call for a statewide closure of Minnesota schools due to the bitter subzero temperatures coming the next few days. He said he’ll defer instead to local school districts on decisions to open or close ‘because they know best the conditions in their area and how to keep their students safe.’”

But Tim Harlow of the Star Tribune tells us, “The polar air mass bringing the coldest readings in more than 20 years has the Minneapolis and St. Paul schools, along with many suburban districts, calling off classes on Tuesday and Wednesday, and other districts may follow suit. Scores of districts closed Monday, including St. Paul and Anoka-Hennepin. … Now that the snow has ended, temperatures will start to plunge, ushering in at least three days of predicted below-zero weather, something that has not occurred at MSP since Jan. 13-15, 2009, according to accuweather.com.”

The Star Tribune’s James Walsh writes: “Jason Sole, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter’s public safety adviser and a longtime advocate for criminal justice reform, is stepping down after telling the mayor that his ideas were ignored. … Sole did not respond to a request for comment Monday, but in a letter sent to Carter this month, Sole said he would not seek to renew his contract when it expired in March. Sole wrote that he was “disillusioned” over the past year, complaining of being “ostracized” by a mayor who disregarded his recommendations and didn’t give “a dollar” to support Sole’s initiatives.”

Says Eric Holthaus for Grist: “Grand Rapids is the heart of the coldest part of Minnesota, and one of the coldest inhabited places in the continental United States. From 1950 to 2000, there were 45 days with actual temperatures below -35 degrees F. This century, there have only been two. Wednesday could be the third. In Minneapolis, Wednesday’s forecasted low temperature of -28 degrees F doesn’t even rank among the city’s top 10 historical all-time lows. And the bulk of this month was much warmer than normal, so even with these few days of cold weather, January 2019 will likely rank warmer than the long-term average.”

For MPR, Marianne Combs says, “Minneapolis animal control officials are warning people not to leave their pets in their vehicles during the coming subzero cold snap, and they’re warning that the city will be aggressive in rescuing animals. Pet owners should not leave their animals in a vehicle for any length of time, and pets found left in the coming days will be taken into ‘protective custody,’ said Caroline Hairfield, director of Minneapolis Animal Care and Control.”

For the Pioneer Press, Bill Salisbury writes: “Duane Benson, a southeastern Minnesota farm boy who grew up to become a state legislative leader, business executive and professional football player but whose first love was his family and their farm, died Saturday after a lengthy battle with cancer.… During nearly 40 years on the public stage, Benson was widely regarded as a charming, articulate and intelligent character with a big heart and quick wit. He served in the Minnesota Senate from 1981 through 1994, the last six of those years as the Republican minority leader.”

Also in the Strib, this from Jim Buchta. “A Twin Cities developer wants to build a 10-story apartment building in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis that’s expected to test the scope of the city’s recently adopted comprehensive plan. The proposal comes from Twin Cities-based Oak Management and Development, a company that owns and manages mini-storage and rental apartments. An entity associated with the company recently submitted plans to build a 10-story building with 127 rental units, including more than two dozen that would be affordable to people who earn 60 to 80 percent of the area median income. There would also be 3,500 square feet of ground-level retail space along Lake Street. The company already owns the nearly half-acre site at 1711 W. Lake St., close to the corner of James and Lake about a block east of Bde Maka Ska.”

For MPR, Dan Kraker writes: “The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is moving to legally bar Essar Global from doing business in the state, after more than 10 years of missed deadlines and payments in the company’s long bid to build a new taconite iron ore mine and processing plant on the Iron Range. In 2008, India-based Essar Steel broke ground outside Nashwauk, Minn., on a new taconite iron ore mine and what was supposed to be the region’s first steel mill. More than a decade later, after nearly $2 billion in investment, the project is less than half finished. Essar declared bankruptcy three years ago, and a new company called Mesabi Metallics took over the project. … But in a letter sent to Mesabi’s CEO Gary Heasley Monday, DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen said the state has begun the process of legally barring Essar from doing business in Minnesota.”

Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Pat Terry on 01/29/2019 - 10:37 am.

    One of Sole’s complaints was that Carter supported Keith Ellison for attorney general. At that point, nothing else Sole had to say should be taken seriously.

  2. Submitted by Dennis Litfin on 01/29/2019 - 11:29 am.

    Waltz is correct. School closing decisions should be left to the locality….people who live/work in the area. Governmental officials should not play the political enhancement game with decisions that belong to local officials. That has been done by certain past Governors.

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