--Following a week filled with frigid lows coupled with dangerous winds, Little Falls Community Schools followed suit with districts across the state by canceling classes last Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Currently, the district will be accepting Governor Walz' statement that the three days of cold weather closure do not need to be made up by students. Even with the lost instructional days, students at Little Falls Community School still considerably exceed the state mandated requirements for hours of instruction. It is necessary to be mindful that much of winter remains, so possible weather-related days in February, March, and April could impact their district. In the event of future full-day school cancellations, those days would be made up as student contact days. Possible future make-up dates could include March 25th or April 22nd or other dates to be determined. The school calendar has been extended for staff, and various opportunities have been provided to district personnel so they can make up their contracted days over the remainder of the academic year.
--State Representative Jamie Long (DFL—Minneapolis) and State Senator Nick Frentz (DFL—North Mankato) have introduced legislation to move Minnesota toward 100 percent clean energy. This proposal would prompt the state to transition away from power sources that rely on fossil fuels in favor of renewable sources like wind and solar. Thanks to advances in clean energy technology, Minnesota met its 25% renewable energy goal last year, seven years ahead of the schedule set in the 2007 Next Generation Energy Act. However, the state has failed to hit its targets for reducing greenhouse gases. This bill is facing some opposition though including from State Rep. Shane Mekeland, R-Clear Lake who stated: “This bill could cost our area hundreds of jobs and significantly damage the local tax base by preventing the construction of a new, natural gas-fired power plant in Becker”. “Those are losses we can’t afford to suffer and the bill doesn’t include compensation for taking away local jobs and property tax revenue. The economic impacts to families and cities in our area would be devastating and we simply can’t sit back and allow extreme environmentalists to push their agenda on us. I will continue opposing this bill and any others like it that come through the House. We need to be focusing on a more sensible, all-of-the-above energy approach to help guarantee our needs are met at all times.”
--A 25-year-old Motley woman faces criminal charges after allegedly damaging property in the emergency room at Essentia Health-St. Joseph's Medical Center in Brainerd. Sierra Cassandra Riggs was charged in Crow Wing County District Court in Brainerd with felony first-degree property damage of more than $1,000 and misdemeanor disorderly conduct. According to the statement of probable cause, Riggs was brought to the emergency room Jan. 23 by staff from a group home in Motley. While she was evaluated by a doctor, she was informed she would be placed on a 72-hour emergency hold. She became enraged and began ripping hospital equipment off of the wall and damaging it. Hospital security was called to try to calm her down. Riggs was restrained by security and staff and law enforcement was called. While security and staff were trying to calm Riggs she bit a security officer's hand and caused scratching to a second officer. Court documents state Riggs caused in excess of $1,000 damage to the medical center equipment.
--Morrison County Soil and Water Conservation District's Shannon Wettstein stated that applications for the tree sale are underway and now is the time to get your order in for 2019. Some trees and shrubs are already sold out and many others go fast. To order your trees for 2019 contact Shannon at Soil and Water at 631-3551.
--State Representative Ron Kresha R-Little Falls, has authored a bill which provides additional grant funding and resources to improve safety for students and staff at Minnesota’s schools. Kresha’s bill (H.F. 579) provides an additional $18 per pupil for school districts, and $18 per pupil in new funding for charter schools. The bill also provides $7.50 per pupil for school district cooperatives in Greater Minnesota. “We owe it to our children to ensure our schools provide a safe environment in which they can learn and grow,” Kresha said. “The bill I have authored is multi-faceted to help us make improvements in a wide range of areas, from enhancing security at school buildings to expanding suicide-prevention efforts. The bill I have authored is a comprehensive plan that helps us meet challenges our schools face that have not been fully addressed and I look forward to working with members from both sides to bring this legislation through the process this session.” Some components in Kresha’s bill are similar to measures the Legislature approved in an education package last year, only to be vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton. For example, the bill provides school districts with the flexibility to use facilities maintenance revenue for physical security upgrades, and communications. Safe Schools Revenue is $43 million for the 2020-21 biennium, plus $2 million for physical security audit grants, $400,000 for school resource officer training grants, and $273,000 for suicide prevention teacher training. A hearing is not yet scheduled for the bill.
--Brainerd and Baxter police were kept busy Monday with multiple accidents in their cities including five accidents on College Road Monday morning due to the icy roads. No injuries were reported.
--Cecilia Terese (Maus) Nieman, of Freedhem.
WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY STARTS AT 6PM TONIGHT
TODAY= light snow at times, highs near 20.
TONIGHT= snow, some freezing drizzle, 2-4 inches, low 11.
THURSDAY= snow likely, 2-4 inches, temps drop, winds get gusty.
FRIDAY= sunny and very cold, high -3, low around -25.
WNBA= Minnesota Lynx star Maya Moore has decided to skip the upcoming WNBA season. She already took the fall and winter off from international competition. The five-time first-team All-WNBA honoree has helped the Lynx win four championships since her rookie year, 2011. The Lynx announced that Moore's decision was family based and to work in ministries. Moore was to be an unrestricted free agent after this coming season in Minnesota.
TWINS= Twins Hot Stove tonight at 6pm on Q92 WYRQ.
COL BB= Gophers vs. Wisconsin tonight 7:30pm on AM960 KLTF.
VONN= not the way she wanted her career to end but Lindsay Vonn crashed at the Super G in Sweden on Tuesday. Vonn did manage to get to her feet and walk of the slopes after being tended to by medical personnel. Vonn announced her retirement last week.