Legislators pressure Minnesota board to license out-of-state teachers

By   /  July 7, 2015  /  Accountability, Education, Legislature, Minnesota, News, State Government  /  No Comments

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It’s been 10 years since Kirstin Rogers moved to Minnesota in hopes of continuing her 12-year teaching career, but state regulations forced her out of the classroom.

Now, new legislation requires the Minnesota Board of Teaching to overhaul the arbitrary licensing process that too often keeps qualified, out-of-state educators like Rogers out of the schoolroom.

“I asked them, explain to me how I could have this many credits and not be qualified to teach? And their response was, ‘It doesn’t work like that in Minnesota.’ I was angry,” said Rogers, who earned a master’s degree and held endorsements from Utah to teach history, English, geography and reading.

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Data breach victimizes veteran; questions whether gov’t has his back

By   /  July 3, 2015  /  Accountability, Federal Government, Minnesota, Technology, Transparency  /  No Comments

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Staff Sgt. Dave Thul thought his days in harm’s way ended when he retired from the Minnesota Army National Guard. But on Independence Day 2015, the 22-year military veteran is on the front lines of a cybersecurity war, a fight for which he never volunteered.

The Owatonna vet ranks among at least 4.2 million current and former federal employees whose personal data was compromised in a massive online attack, which some have linked to Chinese hackers.

He questions whether the government has his back.

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American patriotism is at 28 percent, study shows

By   /  July 3, 2015  /  Alaska, Arizona, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, National, New Jersey, New York, Wisconsin  /  No Comments

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While Americans show their patriotism this weekend by flying Old Glory and watching fireworks, only 28 percent of the nation thinks the United States is the best place in the world to live, according to recent study.

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Paperless trail costs Minnesota taxpayers dearly

By   /  June 29, 2015  /  Accountability, Budget and Spending, Local Government, Minnesota, News  /  No Comments

Steve Jacob photo

On paper, going paperless in government makes sense. Staff armed with iPads can significantly reduce the time spent entering duplicative data for participants in government programs and increase efficiency in providing services, theoretically saving taxpayers.

Yet Winona County is paying dearly for being on the cutting edge of implementing an electronic data management system. What started out as a promised profit center based on selling EDMS software and services to other counties turned into a money pit that may never break even.

“We’re into it for multiple millions, and it was supposed to not be a burden on our taxpayers. It was supposed to be a blessing to our taxpayers,” said Steve Jacob, Winona County Board chair.

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Legislators sunset once powerful environmental board

By   /  June 24, 2015  /  Energy and Environment, Government Regulation, Legislature, Minnesota, State Government, Uncategorized  /  No Comments

MPCA photo

The ink has hardly dried on lethal legislation eliminating a powerful state pollution panel dating to the activist ‘60s.

But after having the final say on contentious environmental issues for nearly 50 years, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Citizens’ Board has already, essentially, gone dark.

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Residents trash city plan to end choice in garbage haulers

By   /  June 22, 2015  /  Energy and Environment, Government Regulation, Local Government, Minnesota, News  /  No Comments

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A group of residents have gone to court for the right to decide who dumps their trash.

“We want the people to have a voice in the process,” said Joel Jennissen, a day trader who founded the citizen-led Hands Off Our Cans campaign. “Every step of the process, where they’ve had citizen input, the majority says they don’t want this. The city keeps going down this path, ignoring that voice.”

The controversy amounts to nothing more —or less — than a bunch of garbage, as the city moves to trash the current system and discard that option for residents.

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