Editors note: Welcome to the Rundown, MN Today’s daily morning roundup of Greater Minnesota news, compiled by Michael Olson, online editor for Minnesota Today.
MOOSE RESEARCH FUNDING ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK
The shrinking population of moose in Minnesota is a growing concern among hunters, scientists, conservationists and outdoor enthusiasts. The state Department of Natural Resources’ 2010 aerial survey shows a continuing decline in the moose population. As a result, the department has reduced this year’s hunting permits by half from last year. The drop in population remains a mystery. Researchers are hoping to find some answers with funding from the state’s Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.
The moose funding request is one of 17 up for discussion today before the Legislative committee that makes funding recommendations to lawmakers on environmental projects. The new Republican leadership wants to steer the funding priorities away from research projects. Funding for moose research could join a list of research projects that were approved last year, but have been revisited and denied this year.
“I think the last few years, the [funds have become more focused on funding research projects and educational things. … as opposed to more on-the-ground, emerging issues” — Denny McNamara, R-Hastings (Fargo Forum).
As the population continues to drop, scenes like this one will become increasingly rare.
BUYING AMERICAN ISN’T EASY
Minnesota’s buy-American law says public agencies’ uniforms and protective gear must be U.S.-made. That’s easier to do in concept than in reality (Strib).
TEACHER CUTS PROPOSED IN FARMINGTON
A proposed budget before the Farmington School Board includes would eliminate a night custodian position at Farmington High School, and cut five to nine teaching positions. The budget proposal also would impose a $10 fee increase for all co-curricular programs (Farmington Independent).
INSURANCE EXCHANGE BILL DIVIDES CONSERVATIVES
State Rep. Steve Gottwalt, R-St. Cloud, authored a bill to create a federally mandated health insurance exchange. Gottwalt says he opposes the federal health law, but would rather see Minnesota design its own exchange than cede the task to the federal government (St Cloud Times).
UNIONS UPSET OVER ALTERNATIVE LICENSURE BILL
Minnesota teachers’ union officials say they’re disappointed Gov. Mark Dayton plans to sign a bill allowing alternative teacher certification programs (MPR).
STUDY: WEATHERIZATION BRINGS MORE WARMTH FOR LESS, FUELS ECONOMY
A federally funded program to weatherize 17,000 Minnesota homes is on pace to be completed by June. An Extension study concluded the effort so far has increased local economic activity and lowered energy consumption through out the state (Echo Press).
TEMP JOBS BECOMING PERMANENT
“It’s starting to really pick up,” said a worker at a Minneapolis temp agency as more temporary gigs become permanent jobs. Still, the pace of gains concerns economists (Strib).
GYPSY MOTHS PUT ON NOTICE IN NORTHLAND
With more gypsy moths found in Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin last year, including in Duluth, state agriculture experts in both states are expanding aerial spraying this year to keep the tree-destroying bugs in check (Duluth News Tribune).