Dayton: No child should be denied a healthy lunch

Star Tribune | February 11, 2014

Gov. Mark Dayton is putting his full political weight behind a new proposal that would pay for hot lunches for students who can not pay.

Dayton's move comes after a new report showed that many Minnesota school districts deny a hot lunch to students if they can’t pay for the meal.

“No child in Minnesota should be denied a healthy lunch,” said Dayton, who is at Mayo Clinic recuperating from hip surgery. “We cannot expect our students to succeed on an empty stomach. I look forward to working with the legislature to make this issue a priority in the upcoming legislative session.”

A majority of public school districts in this state deny hot lunch — or any lunch at all in some cases — to children who can’t pay for them, according to a Star Tribune story on a new report by Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid. Some schools take the meals from students in the lunch line and dump them in the trash when the computer shows their account is empty. [Read More]



St. Cloud Times | February 10, 2014

Economic-development officials in Central Minnesota are praising the state’s new program of financial incentives for job creation, calling it an improvement from its predecessor.

State officials last month announced the launch of the new Minnesota Job Creation Fund. It replaces the state’s JOBZ program, which expires in 2015.

JOBZ, initiated under former Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, gave tax breaks to certain businesses that promised to create or retain jobs and located in specified zones in outstate Minnesota.

The Job Creation Fund, established through a law passed by legislators and DFL Gov. Mark Dayton in 2013, follows a different model. The program will pay annual benefits to qualifying businesses that locate anywhere in Minnesota. Lawmakers and Dayton set aside $24 million for the program during this two-year budget cycle.

“It’s based on proven performance, not on projected performance. I think that’s a good thing,” said Carol Anderson, executive director of Community Development of Morrison County. [Read More]

Half of Minnesota schools on track to cut learning gap in half by 2017

Star Tribune |  February 11, 2014

Most Minnesota schools still have a lot of work to do to cut the disparity between white and minority students’ proficiency in reading and math in half by 2017, according to new data released Tuesday by the state Department of Education.

Nonetheless, Minnesota education officials say the data give them hope that the state’s persistent achievement gap may be relenting. “For the first time, we have concrete goals around gaps, and are letting our school leaders know exactly how far they need to go to be fully on track to close these gaps,” said Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius. “When you look at the numbers, you begin to realize not only how far we’ve come, but that our goal of reducing these disparities is actually within our reach and very doable.”

The department will release 2013 graduation data later this month that show “dramatic acceleration of improvement across the state,” Cassellius said. In 2012, about 83 percent of white students, 51 percent of black students and 53 percent of Hispanic students graduated from high school in Minnesota.

“Every child deserves the opportunity to succeed,” the commissioner said. “But for too long, achievement gaps in Minnesota not only persisted, they grew until they were some of the worst in the nation.

“That is no longer the case. We are reclaiming Minnesota as a leader in education.” [Read More


Cable 12 | February 10, 2014

Low-income workers and Minnesota employers stand to benefit from a state grant that aims to close the skills gap.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) awarded a $145,000 grant to Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners (IOCP) of Plymouth to train dozens of lower-income residents from western Hennepin County with skills needed by Minnesota employers. 

Johnson said six people have already gained their certificates through the program and five of them already have jobs. [Read More]

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Bob McDonald Day in Minnesota

Mesabi Daily News | February 11, 2014

In honor of the lifelong coach — 59 total years, 53 at Chisholm — who won three state titles and amassed more than 1,000 career wins, Governor Mark Dayton proclaimed Feb. 11, 2014, as “Bob McDonald Day.”

Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board Commissioner Tony Sertich presented the proclamation to McDonald in Gov. Dayton’s absence due to recent hip surgery. Sertich, a Chisholm native, played for McDonald in the ’90s.

With a backdrop of rousing applause and echoing whistles, Sertich announced “Bob McDonald Day” and handed the framed proclamation to its namesake who humbly thanked everyone.

“I’m grateful, and I had a ball,” he began, adding that he hoped his teams have entertained fans over the years.

McDonald is the first Minnesota coach to reach 1,000 victories and to date, is the only coach to do so. [Read More]

Featured Video | Chisholm Wins in Triple OT on 'Bob McDonald Day'

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New state funding to help homeless youth will help kids in St. Cloud

Saint Cloud Times | February 11, 2014

St. Cloud’s Catholic Charities is one of 30 community organizations throughout Minnesota to receive grants offered by the Minnesota Department of Human Services to combat youth homelessness.

Catholic Charities’ Supportive Housing for Youth program has received $215,000 for shelter and transitional housing, according to information provided by the department. Catholic Charities plans to add a transition house near St. Cloud State University that offers services to people ages 18-21. The transition house will have five long-term beds, where youth can stay for up to 24 months, and two emergency beds.

Funding comes from a $4.2 million allocated under the Homeless Youth Act approved last year by the Minnesota Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton.

Catholic Charities Supportive Housing for Youth Program offers housing counseling and financial assistance for people ages 16-24 who are experiencing homelessness, near-homelessness or aging-out of foster care, according to the organization. The program is offered at no cost to participants. Last year 183 young people contacted the program. [Read More]

State grant will help Northern Engraving

The Caledonia Argus | February 11, 2014

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development has awarded a $235,000 grant under its Minnesota Job Skills Partnership (MJSP) to Minnesota State College–Southeast Technical to train more than 200 employees of Northern Engraving in Spring Grove.

“The customized training provided by the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Program creates an opportunity for workers to advance their careers and allows Northern Engraving to expand their Spring Grove operations,” DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben said.

Northern Engraving, founded in 1908, is a supplier of nameplates and decorative trim to a variety of markets. The company has five U.S. production facilities and is headquartered in Sparta, Wis.

The MJSP works strategically with both businesses and educational institutions to train or retrain workers, expand work opportunities and keep high-quality jobs in the state. A total of $8.4 million in funding was proposed by Gov. Mark Dayton and allocated from the 2013 legislative session for the program.

Since the program’s inception in 1983, the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Program has awarded $131,837,515 and trained 261,192 workers. [Read More]


Minn. Services for Homeless Youth Get $4M in Grants

KSTP |  February 11, 2014

Dozens of Minnesota organizations are receiving grants so they can reach out and help homeless youth. 

The funding comes from the Homeless Youth Act created by Governor Dayton and passed by the legislature last year. 

The Minnesota Department of Human Services is giving $4 million to 30 organizations. The organizations are from all over the state and include everything from emergency shelters to transitional housing. [Read More]

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