Nonprofit, independent journalism. Supported by readers.


Minnesota colleges and universities continue to see enrollment declines

Plus: in-person Holidazzle back in downtown Minneapolis; Minnesota woman launches legal battle with Wisconsin officials over plans to start bottled water company near Lake Superior; search warrants probing email accounts of South Dakota billionaire T. Denny Sanford unsealed; and more.

college graduate
Photo by MD Duran on Unsplash

Josh Verges writes in the Pioneer Press: “Defying hopes of stabilization, the enrollment decline at Minnesota colleges and universities appears to be even greater this fall than it was last school year. The public Minnesota State system has lost students for 10 straight years since peaking in 2011, but the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated that trend. Last fall, system colleges lost 5.3 percent of their headcount and universities 2.6 percent. This fall, the decline is 6.8 percent at colleges and 6 percent at universities, according to preliminary figures reported to the state Office of Higher Education. … “Our fall 2021 numbers show no sign of recovery,” Minnesota Higher Education Commissioner Dennis Olson said Wednesday during a meeting of the Minnesota State Board of Trustees.”

Says Tim Harlow for the Star Tribune, “Holidazzle is back live and in person this year, and organizers are primed to welcome revelers back to downtown Minneapolis for festivities that begin the day after Thanksgiving and culminate with a party in Loring Park the weekend before Christmas.”

For Bring Me The News, Melissa Turtinen reports, “The Minnesota Attorney General has won a lawsuit against a Minneapolis landlord accused of an eviction for-profit scheme whose rental units had infestations of ‘Biblical plague proportions,’ court documents state. After an eight-day trial, Hennepin County Court Judge Patrick Robben ruled Monday that Steven Meldahl, and his business S.J.M. Properties, ‘knowingly and in bad faith’ violated the rights of 267 families who rented from him, Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office said in a news release.”

Tom Olson writes in the Duluth News Tribune: “A man who allegedly stole multiple guns and vehicles, attempted to rob a Superior bank and barricaded himself inside a West Duluth apartment building for several hours in October has been indicted by a federal grand jury. Cody Lee Walker-Nelson, 30, is charged with attempted bank robbery, brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and being a felon in possession of firearms. The indictment was handed down Wednesday by a federal grand jury in Madison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Wisconsin. Walker-Nelson already was facing 26 charges, including 24 felonies, in state courts in Minnesota and Wisconsin following the alleged Oct. 1 crime spree.”

David Schuman reports for WCCO-TV: “A Minnesota woman is launching a legal battle with Wisconsin officials over her plans to start a bottled water company near Lake Superior.… In the town of Clover, better known as Herbster, signs declaring the lake ‘not for sale’ are ubiquitous. The signs are a response to Kristle Majchrzak and her intention to sell bottled water from a well on her family’s property. …  Majchrzak’s plan includes trucking the water to Superior, Wisconsin, near Duluth, where she lives. There, the watered will be bottled in environmentally-friendly packaging. The Bayfield County’s Zoning and Planning Commission unanimously denied her permit, however, citing zoning issues and the proposal not being aligned with Herbster’s long-term goals.”

Article continues after advertisement

At KSTP-TV Joe Mazan reports, “A new program in Edina aims to help close the housing disparity gap. It’s called the First-Generation Homebuyer Program and it helps qualified buyers secure additional mortgage help. The city says the program is open to those who have never bought a home and whose parents or guardians did not own their home. … The First-Generation Homebuyer Program is an offshoot of the Come Home 2 Edina initiative and provides up to $75,000 in mortgage assistance. The money is from the nonprofit Edina Housing Foundation.”

A CNBC story by Melissa Repko says, “Target shares closed down about 5% Wednesday. Walmart closed down nearly 3% on Tuesday, after its earnings report. Shares continued to drop Wednesday, erasing all its gains year-to-date. The two sides are at odds on the retailers’ strategy of absorbing some of the rising costs of shipping, labor and materials rather than passing them on to customers with higher prices. Both Walmart CEO Doug McMillon and Target CEO Brian Cornell have drawn a clear line. Their strategy: Keep prices low in a bid for customer loyalty — even if it means a hit to profits. The pushback they’re hearing is: Why not charge shoppers more? Americans have had a ravenous appetite for shopping. They socked away money during the pandemic and the holiday forecasts are rosy.”

Another KSTP story says, “Broadway Bar and Pizza along West River Road in north Minneapolis is closing soon for a new development — and it may be the start of a new journey for the historic caboose that sits outside. Last year, the pizza shop’s owner announced plans to sell the land to a developer to build a seven-story affordable housing apartment building. The caboose was built in 1911 and sits at the corner of the intersection near the restaurant. It will be moved to the Ironhorse Central Railroad Museum in Chisago City where there are plans to restore it.”

Stephen Groves writes for the AP: “South Dakota investigators probed an email account belonging to billionaire banker-turned philanthropist T. Denny Sanford, as well as his cellular and internet service providers, for possible possession of child pornography, according to search warrants unsealed Wednesday. The investigation into Sanford was reported last year by ProPublica and the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. Both news outlets went to court for access to the search warrants. The state Supreme Court ruled last month, in a case that only publicly named an ‘implicated individual,’  to unseal the warrants and the corresponding lists of what investigators found. The unsealing of the legal documents Wednesday was the first time investigative documents have been released that name Sanford.”