Minnesota News Roundup: Sand mining to be discussed today in St. PaulMinnesota News
-- Senator Matt Schmit of Red Wing is introducing legislation today that addresses issues related to silica sand mining in southeastern Minnesota (mon 11am).
ST. PAUL -- Senator Matt Schmit of Red Wing is introducing legislation today that addresses issues related to silica sand mining in southeastern Minnesota (mon 11am). Supporters and opponents of the industry voiced their concerns in a Capitol hearing last week. Schmit's bill doesn't call for a statewide moratorium, but admits a moratorium might be the right approach. Schmit says his bill would create the Southeast Minnesota Sand Mining Board which would bring together local leaders to work on model ordinances. Critics of silica sand mining are concerned about air and water quality and truck traffic through small towns.
Congress returns from recess today and Minnesota's delegation will be busy trying to avoid the upcoming sequester. The deadline is Friday and lawmakers don't seem to be any closer to reaching a deal. If a compromise isn't reached, then automatic across-the-board cuts of 10-percent will go into effect. So what does this mean for Minnesota? If the sequester hits, it could cost Minnesota 117 million dollars in aid and grants, wipe out hundreds of millions more in lost business and put an estimated 16-thousand Minnesotans out of work. Flight towers at regional airports in Anoka, Crystal, Eden Prairie, and St. Cloud could be forced to close. Furloughs of meat and poultry inspectors could slow production at meat packing plants in such places as Austin and Albert Lea, possibly triggering shortages.
Debate continues on Governor Dayton's proposal to broaden the sales tax base to services while lowering the overall rate to 5.5 percent. Bruce Nustad is president of the Minnesota Retailers Association and says obviously lowering the overall sales tax rate is a great goal. He says his group is not convinced that the expansion along with the lowering will spur economic growth. Members of the Minnesota Retailers Association will be at the Capitol Thursday for Retail Day.
The body found on a walking trail in a Maplewood Park is that of a 16-year-old North St. Paul High School student. Maplewood police say they got a call early Saturday morning, saying that a woman needed medical attention at Hillside Park, and Anna Hurd's body was found on a trail there. The medical examiner says she was stabbed several times. Police had issued a description of a person of interest, but now say he's no longer suspect. Maplewood detectives, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agents, and crime lab workers continue to interview witnesses and analyze evidence found at the scene.
The St. Paul teenager found dead in a towed car 10 days after she went missing has been identified. St. Paul police say 18-year-old Brittany Clardy last was seen February 11, and her body was found in a car at a Columbia Heights impound lot after it had been towed from a Brooklyn Park apartment complex. Investigators say the killer took efforts to conceal her body in the car, and the tow truck driver didn't see it. The private towing company doesn't routinely search the vehicles they tow. The Anoka County Sheriff's Department is awaiting the results of an autopsy.
The Select Committee on Living Wage Jobs heard presentations on workforce and employment trends in Minnesota and the impact of research and development investments on economic growth. Committee chair Representative Ryan Winkler says the goal is to move toward more secure and sustainable employment for Minnesotans in the future. He says we have to figure out how to align the state's education with the jobs of the future, rather than just sending people out there to get more education. Winkler says rather than just pushing education on it's own as a path to future success, the state needs to devise a plan to steer learners toward career paths poised for growth.
Several students at a Minnesota high school have been suspended over the latest craze sweeping the internet, the Harlem Shake. Mound Westonka High School Principal Keith Randklev says students in a TV production course got the go ahead to replicate the dance as an assignment, but didn't get permission to have the sudent body participate in the video, in the high school cafeteria. Some students were suspended, and others were ticketed by police for disorderly conduct. Parents of some of the students involved say the punishment is too harsh, and that administrators have overreacted.
The Morrison County Sheriff's Department says two people were found dead in their Little Falls Township home, when officers went there to check on their welfare. More details are expected today, but Sheriff Michel Wetzel does say they aren't searching for any suspects and there is no danger to the public. The bodies were taken to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office for identification and to determine the cause of death.
>>Twin Cities Janitors Reach Contract Agreement
(Minneapolis, MN) -- A group of Twin Cities janitors have reached a contract agreement with the office cleaning companies they work for, but security guards who are members of the same union have not and have agreed to strike. The janitors who belong to the Service Employees International Union will get raises of $1.20 an hour over three years. Employers scrapped a plan to move about a thousand full-time janitors to part time. The janitors will vote on the agreement later this week. Meanwhile, talks between 2,000 security guards and their employers have broken down, and preparations are being made for a strike.
>>Fire Causes Water Damage At Senior Living Facility
(Cottage Grove, MN) -- Fire damaged a retirement home in Cottage Grove yesterday morning. The blaze broke out in an unoccupied apartment at the Norris Square senior living facility. No one was injured and a sprinkler system extinguished the fire, but about 20 residential units suffered water damage. The cause of the blaze is under investigation.