Category Archives: State

Seat belt law goes primary: an anniversary to remember for Northfielder Kathy Cooper

Minnesota’s new primary seatbelt law took effect on Tuesday.  Police can now pull over a car and ticket the driver ($25) if anyone in the car isn’t wearing a seatbelt. (See the Minnesota Department of Public Safety press release for details.)

Nobody’s worked harder to get this upgrade to Minnesota’s seatbelt law passed than Northfielder Kathy Cooper (Rice County Safe Communities Coalition) whose daughter Meghan Cooper-Murphey was ejected and killed in a car accident exactly ten years ago.

Seatbelt law billboardThis graphic is now appearing on an electronic billboard in Faribault on Hwy. 21 by KFC.

Some of the media coverage:

Court-ordered medical interventions: where’s the line?

Daniel Hauser (MPR photo) As the Daniel Hauser saga continues (MPR story today), it raises the question of when is it appropriate for the state to intervene in the treatment of a child’s illness. “… Colleen Hauser favors the natural healing methods of a religious group known as the Nemenhah Band, which is inspired by American Indian traditions.” Jon Tevlin wrote in this Strib column last week (and more here) that the family has likely been duped by an internet sham artist. I think that’s relevant and justifies intervention.

The pros and cons of the dueling education proposals at the Capitol

418px-The_Three_Bears_-_Project_Gutenberg_etext_19993On MPR yesterday: Minn. House DFLers release education proposal: “The plan is the latest in a series of dueling education proposals at the Capitol that are playing out as a kind of ‘Three Bears’ scenario. The Senate education bill cuts funding for schools, the governor’s proposal increases funding and the House version keeps funding flat. “

It’s not clear yet where our Northfield-area legislators stand on these education proposals, as neither David Bly nor Kevin Dahle has blogged anything specific about them. (continued)

Continue reading The pros and cons of the dueling education proposals at the Capitol

Guest blogger Bill Ostrem: The American streets renaissance

bend_roundaboutIn a February 6 post Tracy Davis referred to a short essay by the Project for Public Spaces titled “A Revolution in Transportation Planning.” It’s an excellent piece that discusses the history of transportation planning in the United States – how planners and leaders focused almost solely  on the automobile for most of the twentieth century, often to the detriment of our cities and neighborhoods and our own health, and how they have recently begun to consider all modes of transportation, including transit, walking, and biking. (continued)
Continue reading Guest blogger Bill Ostrem: The American streets renaissance

Stimulus package could affect schools, unemployment rate

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Federal dollars might soon funnel into communities across the nation if the Senate passes the $789 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and many people are already speculating about how the bill might affect their communities. This week, State Senator Kevin Dahle (D-Northfield), Christopher Richardson, superintendent of Northfield’s public schools, and Michael Hemesath, chairman of Carleton College’s Economics Department, talked about their understanding of the bill and what Northfield citizens might expect if it becomes law, which could happen as early as Friday night (update 2/14/09 8:15 a.m. the Senate did pass the bill).
Continue reading Stimulus package could affect schools, unemployment rate

Podcast: Rep. David Bly and Sen. Kevin Dahle on the state budget crisis

David Bly, Kevin Dahle, Ross Currier Our guests this week, Rep. David Bly and Sen. Kevin Dahle, discussing Minnesota’s state budget crisis.

We spent an hour on the topic, so we’ve divided it into two shows. The first half-hour airs today at 5:30 pm and the second half-hour airs next Wed.

Ross did the solo host heavy lifting for the first show, as Tracy was panic shopping and I was stricken with an unexpectedly long nap.  I showed up for the second show, refreshed!

  • For the state budget, join the ongoing discussion on the blog post How would you balance the State’s short- and long-term budget problem?
  • For the big picture, defined by Ross as “Meshing Federal, State and Municipal Spending to Maximize Tax Payers’ Investment Leverage”, attach comments here.
  • Show 1:

    Show 2:

    Click play to listen. Each show is 30 minutes. You can also subscribe to the podcast feed, or subscribe directly with iTunes.

    Our radio show/podcast, Locally Grown, usually airs Wednesdays at 5:30 PM on KYMN 1080 AM and on Fridays at 4 PM on KRLX 88.1 FM.

    How would you balance the State’s short- and long-term budget problem?

    capitol
    Gov. Pawlenty announced his short-term budget cuts yesterday (MPR). Local impact? Nlfd News says: Northfield to lose $356,000

    Figures released today by Gov. Tim Pawlenty show Northfield’s anticipated Dec. 26 aid payment will be $356,000 short of what city leaders expected… The governor’s decision reduces the amount Northfield will receive next week by a little more than 4 percent — from $1.56 million to $1.21 million. It’s unclear how the city will deal with the unallotment. The city is required by law to balance its annual budget.

    Today’s editorial in the Nfld News: Gov. Pawlenty, give back our money

    Taxpayers are not legally allowed to tell the state that they didn’t make enough money this year to pay their taxes, so why should the governor be allowed to use essentially the same argument? …  And while they’re at it, perhaps legislators should consider ending the governor’s authority to unilaterally take money away from our communities through unallotment.

    Sen. Kevin Dahle blogged about the impending LGA cuts earlier this week:

    dahleIf the Governor is set on using LGA to fill that gap, I hope he makes proportional cuts that will allow cities and counties to still receive badly needed checks this December instead of a blindsided approach that leaves our local governments reeling.

    charlie kyte Seems to me that Pawlenty handled it reasonably well, especially in his sparing small towns and small counties from the short-term LGA axe… as well as military, veterans, K-12 education, and public safety (press release). I saw Northfield resident and Minnesota Association of School Administrators (MASA) Executive Director (and blogger) Charlie Kyte at GBM this morning and he agreed.

    Besides, we’re not in such bad shape here in Northfield. City Finance Director Kathleen McBride commented here on Locally Grown back in early Dec when I asked her about City’s vulnerability to further cuts:

    kathleenmacmcbride-thumb1We have already received notice of our 2009 state aid amounts. The dilemma is what the potential cuts could be and when they would be made. It is possible that the governor – and the legislature could “un-allot” 2009 aid in 2009. This would cause local governments to have to make mid-year budget reductions.

    The City does have a $722,000 “revenue stabilization” reserve for this very purpose. This at least allows us some wiggle room should the cuts occur suddenly.

    Rep. David Bly blogged about the State’s BIG budget problem earlier this month. He alerted me to it via email:

    blyIn my most recent post I talked a bit about the budget crunch we are facing at the State level, I encourage constituents to weigh in on suggestions for the resolving the budget problem.  It occurred to me that Locally Grown might be a place to generate some discussion.  I do genuinely want to hear ideas from those who are interested in offering them.  The $5.2 billion short fall will not be made up by using one approach or by a simplistic solution and the more ideas we have to work with the better.

    Sen. Dahle makes a similar plea in his Thursday blog post.

    We’re planning to have both Rep. Bly and Sen. Dahle on our radio show/podcast in the next two weeks, so now’s a good time to start the discussion.

    How would you balance the State’s short- and long term budget problem?