Around MN: unexpected costs

Posted at 7:30 AM on July 6, 2011 by Michael Olson (3 Comments)
Filed under: Parks and Outdoors

Vandals ran amok over the weekend at unattended state parks.

Afton State Park sustained the most damage from vandals over the weekend. Law enforcement scoured the park, just east of the Twin Cities along the St. Croix River, and took 12 people into custody after a burglary and vandalism spree.

MPR's Madeleine Baran reports that Sheriff Bill Hutton said a group of vandals broke into the on Sunday night and caused about $35,000 in damages to park buildings, including burning one of the cabins and partially removing the roof.

Hutton said the damage was among the worst he's seen.

"It's not common at all," he said. "I would suspect or highly suspect that this would've not occurred if the park would've been open because they would've had personnel there."

The Star Tribune reports that more of this behavior is expected as the shutdown drags on.

"This is just exactly the type of thing we're going to be seeing repeatedly as the shutdown goes forward," said Steve Morse, former lawmaker and DNR deputy commissioner who is now executive director of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership. "It shows once again how difficult it is to extricate the state from our lives, and the problems that are going to come to light once something like this happens."

The paper also notes that vandalism wasn't limited to parks near the Twin Cities.

"Someone took spray paint and added a body part to the Smokey Bear sign" at the DNR area office in Grand Marais, Konrad said.

"It's sad," he said. "[But] when you tell people that there will be no one around, they will take advantage [of the shutdown]. ... This is going to cost the taxpayers money to fix."

Most of the people who entered parks over the weekend did so with the intention to enjoy the public space just as they would any other day. The Duluth News Tribune reports that you'd be hard-pressed to find a sign of the shutdown at the pool below the falls on the Goose Berry River.

Tales of personal struggle emerge
"In day six, the reality of shutdown settles in" -- the St Cloud Times reports on the challenges facing one of the many state workers who are out of a job.

Bob Pogatchnik has spent 25 years in the workforce. Now, Minnesota's state-government shutdown puts him in an unfamiliar place: the unemployment line.

How much longer can it last?
MN Daily is reporting the shutdown could last weeks, or longer.

Larry Jacobs, a professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, said if the two parties can't reach a budget agreement within the week, the shutdown may stretch into August or further.

Passing the shutdown deadline may take some heat off the legislators -- to the detriment of negotiations, said David Schultz, a professor of public policy at Hamline University.

"A lot of the fear is gone now that we're actually in the shutdown," he said. "[The shutdown] doesn't, in and of itself, provide the political incentive to reach agreement."

Meanwhile former Gov. Tim Pawlenty attacked the bi-partisan efforts to reach a compromise and applauded state GOP leaders for "sticking to their guns" reports the Daily Caller.

Comments (3)

The Minnesota I know, love, and grew up in has been polarized by an extremist agenda. Cultural riders were thrown into the budget bill; which have no place in a STATE BUDGET. Voters need to stop the "throw the bums out" mentality, become more informed and show up at caucuses and primaries to avoid having elected officials that do not represent a more moderate view. Extremist agendas may help shape the debate but have no place in actual governance. It is my understanding that taxes have not been so low since 1950 as a proportion of income. However, most incomes have remained flat for several decades.Millionaires pay far less in taxes as a proportion of their incomes. I am not advocating class warfare , rather real social justice. After all those millionaires did not earn their money in isolation of those who work for them.

Posted by Colleen Michaelson | July 6, 2011 9:12 AM

This is the harsh reality of deficit spending that has finally caught up with a state that borrows and spends beyond its means. This state budget issue is a reflection of what's bound to happen on a federal level as long as government is allowed to spend however it pleases and the Fed is allowed to print the money as it wishes.

I realize many people think taxing the rich is the answer, but it's against a free market principle of individual rights where all are created equal. It's not the millionaires' fault we're in this crisis, and their confidence to invest, expand, and spend is a huge factor in climbing out of this recession. Taxing them to make them pay for a problem they didn't cause is unfair and unjust.

Solution: Cut the fat. The spending and the programs have gotten out of control. Get the government out of markets that they have only driven up the costs for and let the market become free and private. Regulations and bureaucracy are what's driving up the costs and impoverishing the middle class. Make the government accountable to only spend within their means.

Posted by C W | July 6, 2011 12:01 PM

I believe that the DNR should be willing to fight for us out-of-staters, that come to enjoy fishing in this great state. That I still call home after moving away. I come back to see family and go fishing. I didnt no that if I came back I couldnt get a fishin licence due to the shutdown. Why cant u guys do something so we can go fishing and not get in trouble. We didnt do this we came to enjoy and now we cant. At least let us go fishing!!!!!!!!!

Posted by amanda | July 9, 2011 4:06 PM

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