Tricounty News

Backside bling

I grew up in an era where cool jeans came outfitted with a tiny red rectangular tag and a number somewhere in the 500s. The choices were straightforward – boot-cut or straight leg, stonewashed or regular. Mom jeans hadn’t been invented, because those of us wearing them weren’t moms yet.

It was a simpler time – when jeans were jeans. They covered what they needed to cover and served as a practical staple in one’s wardrobe. Times have changed. Hip, fashion-forward folks make statements with their derrieres by way of fancy stitching, rhinestones and other gaudy adornments. Bling, baby – it’s hit our rear ends and it’s hit them hard.

I’m not merely talking about the attire of twentyish trendsetters – although they also follow the fad. I’m referring to moms, like me, bedazzling their backsides in ostentatious splendor – no ifs, ands or buts about it.

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April 11 Update

Road construction

As you are aware, the City of Eden Valley moves into another phase of improvements to city streets, sanitary and storm sewers, and waterlines. Beginning Monday, April 14, 2014, you will notice detour and road-closed signs on Hwy. 22 heading North from Stearns Avenue to McCarthy Avenue. In the interest of safety, the streets under construction will be closed to traffic. When coming to school from the North, be sure to use the designated Hwy. 22 detour located along Co. Rd. 9, or the Vails Lake Rd. when coming from the Northwest.

Education Finance Bill

The current session is moving along quickly and legislators are working to complete some significant Bills in order to get back to their home districts for Easter Break. By the time you read this update, some Bills may already be signed and set for implementation into the 2014-15 school year.

The House Finance Bill has a target of 75 million, which includes a 1-percent improvement to the current student funding formula. The Senate Finance Bill has a target of 41 million and experienced some modifications this week. One major amendment to the Senate Finance Bill approved 10 million to be used for training and implementation of the mandated Teacher Development and Evaluation process set for the 2014-15 school year. You can be sure that a lot of bargaining and negotiating will be taking place throughout the week, and the current finance bills may undergo additional revisions.

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April 4 Update

Legislative Updates

The legislative session continues to heat up as various bills face debates on the House and Senate floors. The most notable is the Safe and Supportive Schools Act which is up for consideration, and we’ll be hearing results in the next few days. If passed at the Senate level, the bill would then go to the House for their approval.

In the meantime, the House will be discussing their finance package today. It includes
$75 million new dollars for schools. A portion of the House version will provide an additional 1 percent to the general education formula. These are dollars that will benefit every district in this state. Once approved by the House, it will be debated with the Senate which has $41 million budgeted for education. The majority of Senate proposed dollars is earmarked for early childhood education and scholarships.

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Rules of the road

I do not consider myself an excellent driver. I am good, or maybe just okay – around a B-minus to a C-plus if I were giving out grades. I am not great at maneuvering into tight parking spaces or knowing when it is my turn at a four-way stop. I am unsure of the direction to rotate my steering wheel when parking on a hill. Despite my shortfalls, I do understand roadway etiquette, or the unwritten standards of protocol every license-wielding driver should abide by. Trouble is, lots of them don’t.

And we all know who they are. (Certainly not us, not ever.)

Based on my near-death-due-to-frustration driving experiences over the past week, I decided to lay it out here. To put the pedal to the metal and tell it like it is. To provide the rules of the road, which aren’t rules, exactly, because most of them aren’t in any driving manual or rulebook, but they should be.

First, let’s talk texting. We understand we aren’t supposed to text and drive. We’ve taken the pledge. Still, I observe people doing it all the time. This is because the windows in your vehicle are transparent. I can see right through them. Being inside your car does not shield you in a cloak of invisibility. I can see when you pick your nose. I can see when you sing to the radio. I can see when you are texting; even if your phone is on your lap, your head is bent downward in the universal gesture of distraction. Stop it. Now. (Please.)

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Week in Review: March 28, 2014

No Bonding Bill yet

The Senate Capital Investment committee is not scheduled to meet until April 8 and 9, when they will discuss transportation, Department of Human Resources and Department of Corrections bonding priorities. The Governor’s proposal spends $990 million and The House proposal spends $1.340 billion. Sen. Stumpf, Chair of the Capital Investment Committee hasn’t introduced a bill yet.

Gov. Dayton and legislative leaders have informally agreed to keep this year’s bonding bill in the range of $850 million.

Minimum Wage in the Constitution?

Last Friday the Jobs, Ag and Rural Development Committee heard a bill that would allow for a constitutional question on November’s ballot. The question would ask voters if they would support a minimum wage of $10 by Jan. 1, 2015, indexed with inflation each year. The bill had broad bipartisan opposition from testimony in Committee but passed on a party-line vote, and was re-referred to the Rules Committee. The House has indicated that they have no intention of taking up this bill.

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