- 5/24/13;Reminder that the Forest City CSD will have a one (1) hour early dismissal on Friday, May 24th.:
- 5/25/13, ANNOUNCEMENT; Family Fun ride has been rerouted: from Waldorf College, down J Street to Golf Course Road, to the Golf Course. At the Golf Course, families will enjoy the build-your-own Trail Mix station and compete in put-put golf then return for the pasta feed and games at Waldorf College. :
HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGE Minn. House passes health exchange proposal ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – The Minnesota House has passed a bill establishing Minnesota’s health insurance exchange, with its sponsor calling it the most substantial changes to state healthcare policy in 50 years. The House approved the bill 72 to 58 on Monday after a debate of more than five hours. The bill establishes a new state board to oversee an online marketplace where uninsured individuals and others can shop for and purchase private coverage. It’s a centerpiece of the Obama administration’s health care overhaul. The vote was nearly party-line, with just one Republican joining Democrats to pass it. The goal is to cover 1.3 million Minnesotans, including about 300,000 who don’t currently have insurance. The House approved an amendment to prohibit abortions from being covered in plans sold on the exchange.
VIKINGS STADIUM-GAMBLING Minn. budget chief faces backlash on Vikings bill ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Minnesota’s budget chief says he will likely wait until summer before deciding whether to activate so-called blink-on revenue options for the new Vikings football stadium. Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter encountered sharp questions Monday from lawmakers who are worried that general tax dollars will be needed to compensate for poor results from expanded gambling. Finance officials said last week that the electronic pull-tabs are producing only a tiny fraction of anticipated revenue to pay off future state debt on the stadium. Last year’s stadium law gives Schowalter power to initiate a sport-themed lottery game and impose a luxury suite tax to make up for shortages in e-pull tab revenue. Bonds for the stadium won’t be sold until August and major construction is even further away.
SEX OFFENDERS-TASK FORCE AP Interview: Sex offender program under scrutiny MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – A state task force head says a federal court considering a lawsuit challenging the Minnesota Sex Offender Program expects the state to address continuing concerns about its constitutionality. In an interview with The Associated Press, former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson says the state has already moved to implement some of the changes his task force proposed in December for creating less-restrictive alternatives to the state’s high-security treatment facilities in St. Peter and Moose Lake. More proposals will come later this year. Magnuson says lawmakers shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking the federal court will step in and fix everything, so they don’t need to act. He says the last thing a state should want is for a federal judge to take control over one of its operations.
SMOKING ON STAGE To smoke, or not? In Minn., that is the question MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Theater employees in Minnesota are pushing back against a call to ban smoking on stage. Bain Boehlke, the artistic director at a theater in Minneapolis, worries that alternatives like electronic or herbal cigarettes will pull audiences out of the action of a performance. Boehlke says the smell and feel of a real cigarette is essential to portraying a play, especially those set in the past. Minnesota is one of 11 states, plus Washington, D.C., with smoking bans that allow actors to light up on stage. Lawmakers included the exemption for theaters in a 2007 statewide ban. The Democratic state senator who wrote the bill says there’s no reason theaters need to use tobacco cigarettes. She introduced the bill on behalf of a constituent with a severe tobacco smoke allergy.
AGING MINNESOTA Minn.’s aging population poses budget challenges ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Minnesota is headed toward a significant milestone in which more of its residents are senior citizens than school-aged. State Demographer Susan Brower told a panel of top legislators on Monday that Minnesota is on course to reach that point in 2020. It represents the point when those older than 65 years are a bigger share of the state population than those between 5 and 17 years old. The demographic trends are important because they suggest where future budget pressures lie. Medical and long-term care costs the state subsidizes are already rising fast, crowding out available money for other things. And more retirees mean fewer income tax dollars will be coming in.
SOMALIA-LAW ENFORCEMENT TRAINING CAIR-MN calls on Waite Park to reject training (Information in the following story is from: St. Cloud Times, http://www.sctimes.com ) WAITE PARK, Minn. (AP) – A Muslim rights group is calling on police in Waite Park to reject a training program about Somalis. The program “Understanding the People of Somalia” will be held Tuesday. According to the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the event flier lists Somalia’s al-Shabaab as an “Islamic” organization. The U.S. Department of State designated al-Shabaab a terrorist group in 2008. CAIR-MN spokeswoman Lori Saroya says the training flier unfairly suggests the activities of al-Shabaab, which is affiliated with al-Qaeda, are supported by most Muslims. Waite Park Police Chief Dave Bentrud tells the St. Cloud Times he doesn’t expect any Waite Park police officers will attend Tuesday’s training. He says the city is hosting the event for Catholic Charities workers and other social-service groups.
PUPPY-NAPPING-MINNESOTA Man snatches $2,500 puppy from Minn. pet store (Information in the following story is from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com ) SHAKOPEE, Minn. (AP) – A puppy-snatching in Shakopee (SHAHK’-uh-pee) was caught on video surveillance. The pet store owner says a man carried the $2,500 male puppy like “a football” and fled with his getaway driver Monday. Store owner Heather Latko tells the Star Tribune the store has video surveillance of the man with the 9-week-old longhair Chihuahua. Latko says the dog also has a tracking microchip, and the store has a description of the vehicle that took the puppy away. The video shows the man entering a puppy room and an employee bringing him the dog to hold. About a minute later, the man takes off with the puppy out of the Petland Shakopee’s front door. Witnesses saw him get into a late-1990s, dark-blue Volkswagen Passat with an accomplice behind the wheel.
CHILDREN FILMED-MINNESOTA Man, 53, accused of videotaping kids at Minn. YMCA ANDOVER, Minn. (AP) – A 53-year-old Coon Rapids man is accused of videotaping and taking photographs of boys at a Twin Cities YMCA. Anoka County sheriff’s officials say a 12-year-old boy told his parents last month that a man held a watch over a partition as the boy was getting dressed in the Andover YMCA. Authorities say the boy identified the suspect from video surveillance inside the health club. Officers executed a search warrant at the suspect’s home Saturday and found a wrist watch that can take digital video and photos near a computer. A separate search of the computer found numerous files of boys undressing at the Andover and Coon Rapids YMCAs and at least one other athletic facility. The suspect was arrested and is in jail. Charges have not been filed.