Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Walz to propose upping state aid for local governments

Plus: many schools to remain closed Thursday; trial in case against Children’s Theater Company wraps up; legislator looks to end lawmakers’ per diem payments; and more.

Gov. Tim Walz
Gov. Tim Walz
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

The Star Tribune’s Jessie Van Berkel writes: “Gov. Tim Walz wants to raise state aid to local governments by about $30 million, a proposal drawing praise from city leaders across Minnesota who are relying more on property taxes as state funding has diminished. … Cities have been advocating for more aid for nearly two decades, particularly after former Gov. Tim Pawlenty cut the assistance as the state faced back-to-back budget shortfalls.”

Says Josh Verges in the Pioneer Press, “Minnesota schools will not be punished if they fall short of the state’s instruction time laws because of this week’s dangerous weather, Gov. Tim Walz’s office said Wednesday. ‘The Governor has assured local school districts that they will not be penalized for keeping their students safe,’ a spokesman for the governor said. Classes are canceled across the metro Thursday for a fourth consecutive day due to snow and cold. By statute, Minnesota schools must meet minimum thresholds for instruction time each school year.Minneapolis Superintendent Ed Graff on Monday wrote a letter asking Walz if he can waive those statutes.”

MPR puts up an album of people and stuff freezing.

Also from MPR: “Minnesota’s biggest school districts have called off Thursday classes; others are also eying closures or delays. Xcel Energy asked all its Minnesota customers to conserve natural gas and set thermostats to 63 degrees through Thursday morning. The request came as the utility struggled to restore gas service in some communities north of the metro area, including around Princeton, where Xcel booked hotels for people who’d lost service. … The Twin Cities weather service office reported that frigid temperature readings from a weather balloon were so extreme, the numbers were literally off the chart.”

And one more. This from Kirsti Marohn at MPR. “Another positive benefit of this intense cold: It might help to slow lakes’ loss of water due to evaporation, a phenomenon happening on the Great Lakes thanks to warmer winters and the lack of ice cover. … Of course, the benefits of this cold could evaporate if warmer weather comes early this year and melts that ice cover off the lakes.”

In the Star Tribune, Laine Bergeson Becco writes, “For her entire adult life, Allyson Sensenbaugh has loved going shopping for cute clothes. … More than two years later, Sensenbaugh’s company is making a name for itself. AliMadi clothes are available direct-to-consumer through and, through Saturday, at a pop-up shop at Macy’s in Los Angeles. Sensenbaugh landed the coveted spot after winning a design contest through Poshmark, one of the world’s largest online marketplaces specifically geared to buying and selling fashion.”

Article continues after advertisement

MPR’s Brandt Williams writes: “The Children’s Theatre Company is defending itself against charges it failed to protect a teenager of sexual assault by an employee. The trial wrapped up Wednesday. The main plaintiff in the lawsuit alleges she was sexually assaulted in 1983 by Jason McLean, who was an instructor at the Minneapolis school at the time. McLean didn’t testify during the trial and has denied the charge.”

Also in the Strib, this from Jessie Van Berkel, “Most Minnesota state legislators receive thousands of dollars each year in per diem payments in addition to their salaries and expense reimbursements — a practice one legislator is pushing to end. The pay subsidies are a ‘loophole’ to bolster lawmakers’ salaries, said Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, who wants to end per diem payments, but only during the months the Legislature is in session.”