When a community needs a new school but doesn't want to pay for a new school, what then?
That, depending on whom you talk to, is the situation in Rushford-Peterson, where voters have rejected -- fairly handily -- a $15 million referendum to pay for part of a new school to replace the one built in 1906.
Rushford, you may recall, is the school district that tried to get the new school included in the state's bonding bill because the locals wouldn't pay for it. But the state didn't want to pay for it, either.
"You can't use the urinal, you know why?" district superintendent Chuck Ehler told MPR News last February. "The sewer pipe is completely rusted... The urine has been running into the sand base below the building... Those are surprises I find almost on a daily basis."
The original pricetag for a new school -- $29 million -- would've forced property taxes up 48 percent. But the economy is terrible in Rushford-Peterson, especially after a flood devastated the area five years ago. Rushford only has about 1,700 residents.
It's a scenario that portends the future of education in rural parts of Minnesota. As communities age and economies decline, how will towns educate their children?
Perhaps you're familiar with the PS22 chorus on Staten Island. The 5th graders became famous after some of their YouTube videos went viral.
This week they recorded a tribute to Sandy Hook Elementary by singing the school song.
Here's a little background on the kids:
Related Connecticut: An Edina man, a member of the Bush White House, takes on the gun lobby in the pages of the New York Times:
Gun violence in particular frightens voters in middle- and upper-income suburbs across the country, places like my hometown, Edina, Minn. These areas, once Republican strongholds, still have many voters who are sympathetic to the economic platform of the Republican Party but are increasingly worried about their own safety in a country with millions of unregistered and unregulated guns. Some suburban voters may keep a hunting rifle locked away in a safe place, but few want people bringing semiautomatic weapons into their neighborhoods. They also believe that insane people should not have access to guns.
Related Music: The Mayo flash mob (Post Bulletin).
It's funny how things work out sometimes.
"In the wake of a horrific act of random violence against children, you can't help but find comfort in Danh's (Ngo) very intentional acts of kindness toward the kids at St. Joseph's, and the path that brought him there," Jessie Sorensen of Catholic Charities tells us via email.
Mr. Ngo was honored recently for 37 years of service in the building maintenance department at St. Joseph's Home for Children.
The journey to Minnesota started on a battlefield in South Vietnam...
Related goodbyes: Andy Sommer didn't consider teaching in Woodbury to be a job, his colleagues say. It was a commitment. (Woodbury Bulletin)
4) JUST ANOTHER DAY ON TWIN CITIES HIGHWAYS
Your daily dose of road rage, courtesy of Sun News.
The incident began just before 6 p.m. Saturday when the victim, who was driving a small black car, honked his horn at a dark-colored SUV while driving on Cliff Road toward Pilot Knob, police say.
While they were stopped, an argument started between the man in the car and the man in the SUV. Both vehicles turned onto Pilot Knob Road and drove aggressively until reaching Diffley Road, where the man in the small car pulled into a gas station.
The SUV pulled up near the car, and both men got out of their vehicles. The man in the SUV allegedly threw the other man, a Vietnam veteran, into the car, smashed his head into the vehicle and knocked him unconscious. Police say the man sustained a broken wrist and nose.
The suspect fled as passersby approached the victim.
Would a rush hour in a snowstorm with bicycles be much different than a rush hour in a snowstorm with cars. What say you, Netherlands?
After its initial silence following the Connecticut school shootings, the National Rifle Association has announced that it will hold a press conference on Friday and "offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again." Today's Question: What would you like to hear from the NRA?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) - First hour: The grim economic outlook for working-class men.
Second hour: The binge drinking gene.
Third hour: How the fiscal cliff might impact charitable organizations.
MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): On the day of the public congressional hearing on the Benghazi attack, from the America Abroad series, a program about Islamism in Africa.
Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) - The emerging security risks.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - The story of Miss Subways. For 35 years, an unusual beauty pageant was part of New York City life. Each month, the public would crown Miss Subways, a title that celebrated the everyday working woman. NPR will have the story.
MPR's Tom Crann will talk to former Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra director Hugh Wolff, who is in town to direct performances of ''The Messiah'' with musicians from the locked-out SPCO.(6 Comments)
I see absolutely no reason not to make this a regular NewsCut category.
From this week's Woodbury Bulletin police blotter, a police call that gives new meaning to the classic line, "Come and get me, copper!"
Police responded Dec. 10 to a Woodbury residence for a report of children refusing to go to school. The complainant said his high school-age children refused to go to school because driving was unsafe and they should have a snow day. An officer declined the complainant's request to drive the students to school. The officer learned the children had been taken to school by their mother.
There are no grand gestures that could make things better in Newtown, Connecticut, but perhaps it's the little gestures that mean the most.
Andy Froemke of Lindstrom, MN., writes to call attention to Paper Hearts Across America, which he says was started by a friend in Montana.
"Our goal is to raise awareness, discuss prevention, and help heal our communities. Please take a minute to cut out a Paper Heart and write your wishes for the families in Newtown, CT. We hope to get enough paper hearts to stretch from our hometown of Billings, MT to Newtown, CT," according to a Facebook page set up by the Thompson family of Billings.
Mr. Froemke says his family has gotten permission to set up tables at the Rosedale Mall from 9 to 5.(1 Comments)
A lot of doors are about to close for one of Wisconsin's onetime favorite athletes.
Suzy Favor Hamilton is a three-time Olympian in distance running, works with Wisconsin school kids to get them more involved in physical education and, together with her husband, gives motivational speeches.
This recent Wisconsin TV segment revealed a more difficult side. She suffered from mental illness.
Today, she fell from grace, at least in the world of marketing.
The Smoking Gun revealed she's been working as a Las Vegas hooker.(6 Comments)
MPR's Tim Pugmire reports today several House GOPers are urging Gov. Mark Dayton to reject new Department of Education social studies standards because they do not stress the value of American patriotism.
Pugmire writes on MPR's Capitol View blog...
In their letter, Daudt and Woodard complained that the standards de-emphasize the contributions of the United States and its economic and political ideals.
"Throughout the entire set of civic and history standards there is virtually no mention of the values of American patriotism," they wrote.
The GOP leaders also noted that there are no mentions of Osama Bin Laden, the war on terrorism or the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
This sounds like an invitation to propose what would constitute standards that "emphasize the value of American patriotism."
But first, you'll want to read the proposed standards. They are 146 pages long. Read them here.
Then, come back and propose what you think isn't in there that should be, and what's in there that shouldn't be.
If you don't want to do the reading, perhaps we can start with a more basic question. What exactly is American patriotism?(7 Comments)