St. Paul Pioneer Press
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ST. PAUL -- MNsure wants to spend an additional $12.5 million this year to continue repairs to its website and call center, officials said Wednesday, as they unveiled plans for a balanced budget in 2015. During a meeting Wednesday in St. Paul, the MNsure board approved a $39.8 million budget for next year that will be balanced if the federal government lets MNsure change the timing for when it can spend $5 million in grants.
ST. PAUL - Legislation to strengthen Minnesota’s anti-bullying law continues to be controversial despite the latest efforts to amend the bill to satisfy school administrators’ concerns. The latest version of state Sen. Scott Dibble’s “Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act” drew hundreds of supporters and opponents to the state Capitol on Tuesday for its first hearing of this legislative session. The measure began in the Senate Education Finance Committee. It stalled in the Senate last legislative session after the threat of a Republican filibuster.
Minnesota’s roads may be going on a low-salt diet. After a brutal winter, supplies are running so low that many cities are starting to cut their salt use by mixing in sand. If March brings another snowstorm or two, salt supplies could run out — and cities will be forced to buy salt that is almost four times more expensive. That and mounting overtime costs are making this winter a contender for yet another record — most expensive.
ST. PAUL – There’s no one view among doctors about whether Minnesota should legalize medical marijuana. In one camp, there are physicians like Dr. Jacob Mirman, a primary care doctor in St. Louis Park who says a few patients have told him they use marijuana to cope with medical conditions. Mirman hasn’t personally recommended that patients use it, and doesn’t take a position on the specifics of a bill currently advancing at the Capitol. But he supports the idea of making medical marijuana legal – in part because the risks seem small compared to those with some prescription painkillers.
ST. PAUL -- Ely bear researcher Lynn Rogers on Thursday said the bears he studies, despite being habituated to people from feeding, aren’t more dangerous. “Emphatically no,” he said when asked. “The opposite is true, as we know from many studies. There is nothing in the literature that suggests habituation increases likelihood of attack.”
NORTHFIELD, Minn. – Although the accident remains under investigation, it seems that drugs and alcohol weren’t factors in the Dakota County crash that killed three Carleton College students Friday. James Adams, 20, of St. Paul; Michael Goodgame, 20, of Westport, Conn.; and Paxton Harvieux, 21, of Stillwater, all died in the collision about a mile north of Northfield on Minnesota Highway 3.
ST. PAUL -- Ely bear researcher Lynn Rogers’ practice of hand-feeding wild bears is “a terrible idea” that is “very dangerous” and increases the risk of bear attacks on the general public, a federal government bear scientist said Thursday. Stewart Breck, a wildlife ecologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Wildlife Research Center in Fort Collins, Colo., testified Wednesday and Thursday in what is essentially a trial for Rogers’ research methods.
ST. PAUL -- House Democratic-Farmer-Labor leaders took a first big step Thursday toward rushing through a package of tax cuts that would save middle-class Minnesotans and businesses an estimated $500 million in this election year. The House Tax Committee cobbled together and passed the massive bill on what sounded like a unanimous voice vote.
ST. PAUL -- State lawmakers promised to act quickly this session to raise the minimum wage, and they started the ball rolling Thursday evening with the first meeting of the House-Senate conference committee. The committee heard public testimony for more than three hours Thursday but did not vote.
ST. PAUL -- A St. Paul student in a wet swimsuit spent 10 bone-chilling minutes outside her school Wednesday when a false fire alarm interrupted her class in the school’s swimming pool. When smoke from a science project triggered a fire alarm at Como Park Senior High School, freshman Kayona Tietz ended up outside barefoot in her wet bathing suit and a towel. Her mother, Eva Tietz, took to the district’s Facebook page to criticize the district’s handling of the incident, saying the girl suffered minor frostbite to her feet.