Tricounty News

May 9 Update

Students of Excellence recognized

The 27th Annual Students of Excellence Banquet and Recognition Ceremony was held Wednesday, April 30, at the River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud with close to 600 attending the event. The evening was dedicated to honoring the top 150 high school seniors from 38 area high schools located in Region 7. The honorees were nominated by their school and received a plaque recognizing their accomplishment and a certificate from Governor Dayton.

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Living room hockey

For more years than I’d like to admit, there have been two mainstays inhabiting my living room floor: mini-hockey sticks and nets. (Dust bunnies are a third, but they don’t go with my theme.)

Bright orange floor hockey nets serve as near-permanent fixtures, flanking either side of the room. I step over them to readjust the coffee table, which was displaced to make space for the boys’ game. Returning the furniture to its rightful spot is often a twice-daily ritual, completed in the morning and then again before dinner. It’s a real bicep builder, but I don’t like to brag.

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U of M May 2014 Starwatch

Last month Earth caught up to Mars in the orbital race. In May, it’s Saturn’s turn to be overtaken.

We lap the ringed planet on the 10th, when the sun, Earth and Saturn line up and Saturn is at opposition, or opposite the sun from our point of view. Like a full moon, the planet will rise in the southeast at sunset and be up all night, shining from the rather dim constellation Libra.

In mid-evening, after skies darken, we’ll be treated to the sight of all three of the outer planets visible to the naked eye, and all will be bright. Jupiter, the brightest, will be up in the west-northwest; Mars in the south, just northwest of the bright star Spica, in Virgo; and Saturn in the east. If you have any trouble spotting Saturn, it’ll be the bright object above the rising moon on the 14th.

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May 2 Update

Legislative Update and Financial Targets

The legislature continues to move towards the mandatory May 19 end date. As I write this Thursday afternoon, financial targets for the various components of the budget have not been made public. The Minnesota Association of School Administrators (MASA) continues to support the House target of $75 million dollars for education. The largest piece of the allocation goes to an additional 1 percent increase in the general education funding formula. As previously stated, the Senate bill has $41 million for education. Of that, $10 million goes toward the training associated with the implementation of the new teacher evaluation mandates that will go into effect statewide next fall. The governor has allocated $3.5 million that the state will pay toward reduced price lunch for those students qualifying. If you have the opportunity, please contact your local legislators, Senator Bakk, Speaker Thissen, and Governor Dayton to encourage their support of the 1 percent increase in the general education funding formula. The additional 1 percent funding is truly needed by our school district to support the new policies and provisions for implementation of the Safe and Supportive School Act, teacher evaluations, and World’s Best Workforce initiatives.

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Pet talk

Yesterday, I accidently stepped on the cat’s tail, and she let me know I’d committed an error of a horrendous nature. I apologized profusely, of course, but she wasn’t in the mood to forgive. She doesn’t take kindly to tail endangerment.

This isn’t the first time I’ve apologized to my pets – or conversed with them. Far from it. When my dog is lying on the stairway landing and I have to step over her, I say, “Excuse me,” like I owe her that. I also speak platitudes to my animals. They are so pretty. So darling. The nicest kitty – or puppy – ever.

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