Around MN: No smoking in public housing

At Orness Plaza, a 101-unit public housing complex in Mankato, smoking damage in some units was so bad workers are replacing the sheet rock walls during a large-scale renovation.

That's the most dramatic example, but smoking is proving costly enough to local governments that Blue Earth County agreed in principle Tuesday to ban smoking in its 84 public housing units. The Mankato City Council is expected to take up the issue for its 179 units at some point (Mankato Free Press).

Also on MN Today

Grow the Future of Public Media

MPR's budget year comes to a close on June 30. Help us close the gap by becoming a Sustainer today. When you make a recurring monthly gift, your gift will be matched by the MPR Member Fund for a whole year!

State cuts honor guard funds

As the American Legion hosts its national convention in Minneapolis this week, veterans groups in Minnesota learned that the state has eliminated funding to help pay for honor guards at veterans funerals.

That means groups like the American Legion will have to come up with more of their own money to give final honors to veterans who have died (MPR News).

To levy or not to levy, that is the question before local governments

Talk of levies abound in greater Minnesota papers this morning and over the past couple of days. The Brainerd Dispatch has a comprehensive rundown of levy requests from around the state.

Winona proposes levy decrease

City manager Larry Thompson said the levy decrease is due to a variety of factors, but particularly a significant reduction in the amount the city needs to put into an employee health-insurance fund in 2012 (Winona Daily News).

Cass County Board holding the line

Cass County commissioners voted Tuesday to set the preliminary 2012 levy at the same dollar amount as they have levied since 2009 (Brainerd Dispatch).

Faribault City Council floats up to 5 percent levy hike

The Faribault City Council agreed to a 5 percent levy increase for the 2012 budget Tuesday night, pledging to bridge the city's budget gap with a mixture of revenue increases and budget cuts (Faribault Daily News).

Blue Earth County set for 3 percent levy hike limit

The Blue Earth County Board appears ready to approve a levy increase for next year's taxes of no more than 3 percent. The amount of taxes that taxpayers would actually pay would rise 9.2 percent, for reasons that come mostly from changes in state law (Mankato Free Press).

South metro districts seek 'yes' on tax levies

Seven south-metro school districts are among an unusually large number statewide that will ask voters to consider renewing or increasing local taxes for education this fall (Star Tribune).

The Austin mayor defends his city's 14% increase.

The Great Minnesota Get Together

News Cut: So there it is, then. August 31. The last of the summer months. Gone in just a few hours. "Meteorological fall" starts tomorrow.

Our summers. They grow up so fast. It seems like only yesterday we were bringing this one home from May. After today, the only remnant of summer will be this:

The Bachmann Files

Targeted Web ads: The next frontier

If you're a Republican primary voter living within 100 miles of Ames, Iowa, there's a pretty good chance that Michele Bachmann spent the summer talking to you out of your computer (Politico).

(h/t Daily Digest)

Blog Box

Minnesota Brown: Range boondoggle now poses test of character, leadership

The only Iron Range legislator who has not voted for Excelsior language, who also hasn't taken any money from Excelsior, its officers or lobbyists and who has clearly stated the numerous problems with the Excelsior project at every turn has been Rep. Tom Anzelc (DFL-Balsam Township).

Bird Chick: Common nighthawk medical exam

Nighthawks are migrating like crazy through the Twin Cities right now. I've seen them when we've been grilling this week and on Saturday we were on the St Croix River with some friends and a steady stream passed over the boat all afternoon and well into the night (I'm not ready to face fall migration).

MN Scenes

MN State Fair 2011 Sunset by MJIphotos, via MPR's Flickr pool


MJIphotos: This year I brought my tripod. As much of an annoyance it was to carry it around, I knew it would pay off to get the sunset and night shots I wanted.

I also made a disappointing discovery. My Nikon D90 has sensor dust, even worse than I knew. With just about all of these night shots I had to clean it out with Photoshop. Fortunately it is not a difficult process. It just takes an extra step and takes me a few minutes longer to get the photo upload ready.

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