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More than half of Minnesota’s licensed teachers not working as teachers

Plus: lawsuits filed against PolyMet land exchange allowed to move forward; Minneapolis 2040 plan goes before a judge; Minnesota readies for wild temperature swings; and more.

MinnPost file photo by Bill Kelley

In the Star Tribune, Rochelle Olson reports, “Fewer than half of Minnesota’s state’s licensed teachers actually work in public schools, according to a report issued this week by the teacher licensing board. The publicly funded Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board researched the biennial ‘supply and demand’ report last fall with the Wilder Foundation. … Those studies have found a high percentage of young teachers leaving classrooms within the first couple of years. According to the report released Wednesday, some 70,000 licensed Minnesota teachers are not working in classrooms. That’s 52.5 percent of licensed teachers in the 2017-18 school year.”

Says Dan Kraker at MPR, “Several lawsuits filed in an effort to block an exchange of land for the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine can now move forward, after a federal judge lifted a hold on them this week. Last March, U.S. District Judge Joan Ericksen put a stay on four lawsuits that several environmental groups filed in early 2017. Those suits seek to overturn a land exchange between PolyMet and the U.S. Forest Service. The company needs the exchange to be able to dig its proposed open pit copper-nickel mine near Babbitt in northeastern Minnesota.”

The Pioneer Press reports: “A viral experiment where boiling water thrown into the freezing air turns into snow may look fun, but it can also be dangerous. The emergency department at St. Paul’s Regions Hospital said it’s treated two patients this week with injuries from doing just that. Whenever air temperatures fall well below zero, as in these past few days, the phenomenon becomes a regular feature on YouTube and TV newscasts.”

Also from MPR, Brian Bakst writes, “[Mazel] McCoy-Anderson told her story to the state House Labor Committee, which began examining a DFL proposal to provide caregivers like her at least partial wage replacement for up to 12 weeks. The same benefit would be extended to parents upon the birth or adoption of a child. To pay for it, employers would face assessments toward a new state fund similar to unemployment insurance. And they would be barred from firing or demoting an employee who applies for leave. All of it has major players in the business community on edge, including among companies that voluntarily offer such leave already.”

Stribber John Reinan writes, “The manager of a small-town Minnesota grain elevator who allegedly treated himself to exotic hunting safaris with millions of dollars stolen from farmers plans to plead guilty to federal criminal charges, his lawyer said Thursday. Jerry Hennessey, who managed the Ashby Farmers Cooperative Elevator Co. for nearly 30 years, plans to plead to charges of mail fraud and tax evasion at a hearing in U.S. District Court on Feb. 14, said Thomas Kelly, his attorney. Hennessey could face up to 20 years in prison on the mail fraud charge and five years for tax evasion, although his actual sentence will be based on complex federal guidelines.

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Also in the Strib, Miguel Otarola reports, “Attorneys on opposite sides of a lawsuit that seeks to outlaw the recently approved Minneapolis 2040 comprehensive plan stated their cases before a judge Thursday. Hennepin County District Judge Joseph Klein heard arguments over whether to dismiss the lawsuit, which was raised by three groups claiming the plan would damage the environment. He did not issue a decision, saying it would come ‘in the near future.’

For Bring Me the News, Adam Uren says, “A brewery owner who said he intends to move his business out of North Minneapolis due to neighborhood crime is eyeing a new location in Minnetonka. The Minnetonka Planning Commission will consider a proposal from Boom Island Brewing to set up shop in a unit of the Baker Technology Plaza, at 5959 Baker Road just off of I-494. Boom Island is currently found at 2014 Washington Ave. N. in Minneapolis, but its owner Kevin Welch revealed in September that he was looking to move out of the city to somewhere in the western suburbs. It came after four people were shot just yards away from his brewery on Sept. 7 last year, with one of the victims dying.”

Via MPR and the AP: “The Twin Cities fell to about 25 below zero Thursday morning but could rocket up to 45 degrees above zero by Sunday — and then plummet again to about 10 below by Wednesday night, the National Weather Service office in Chanhassen said Thursday. That works out to a temperature swing of about 125 degrees within seven days.