Students, U of M pleased with Biden loan cancellation

For the Strib John Reinan and Ryan Faircloth report, “Some 63% of people graduating from Minnesota schools with a bachelor’s degree in 2021 had loans, with a median debt of just under $24,000. For those getting associate degrees from Minnesota schools, 52% graduated with loans, carrying a median debt of just over $15,000. Mari Sitner, who graduated in 2021 from Emerson College in Boston, received a Pell Grant and left school with about $17,000 in debt. The program will wipe out her debt, a blessing for Sitner, who is working as a barista in Uptown Minneapolis and managing a fledgling theater company she founded, Bad Mouth Theatre Co. of St. Paul. … University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel said in a statement the student debt decision was ‘great news’ and ‘lines up with the university’s work’, noting the U’s new tuition-free programs for enrolled tribal members and students whose families make less than $50,000 annually.”

A WCCO-TV story says, “The Native American traditional practice of smudging is now allowed at St. Paul Public Schools. The district announced that its board of education approved the smudging policy Tuesday evening. Smudging is the cultural practice of burning sage or other sacred herbs for healing and to cleanse the soul of negative thoughts. In part, the policy recognizes tobacco, sage, sweetgrass and cedar as traditional Native American medicines.”

At KSTP-TV Brittney Ermon says, “Some Minnesota State Fair vendors are increasing prices to combat inflation and rising food costs. … another fan favorite— deep-fried pickles. Last year, a regular order was $8, but this year it is $9. The beloved bucket of Sweet Martha’s cookies also costs an extra buck. Last year it was $18, this year it is $19.”

For Willamette Week in Oregon Anthony Effinger reports, “The Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability released a climate emergency plan last month outlining all the steps the city had to take to curb the effects of climate change before it’s too late: ditch coal-fired power plants, promote bicycles, retrofit buildings, and plant trees, among other things. Special efforts must be made in communities of color in ‘outer east,’ the plan says, where the impacts of urban heat islands are greater. To help there, BPS proposes to convert the East Portland Community Center into an energy-efficient ‘resilience center’ where people can go during extreme heat, smoke, ice and cold. The residents of Argay Terrace, one of those ‘outer east’ neighborhoods, have a question. If doom is truly impending — to the point the city must build some kind of climate refugee center — why is Portland letting the mega-rich owner of the Minnesota Vikings build a 260,000-square-foot freight warehouse that would draw even more diesel-powered trucks into a neighborhood that’s already blighted by them?”

Article continues after advertisement

A story at The Racket says, “Bad news for fans of mechanical bull-riding and public intoxication: Wild Greg’s has closed. ‘For 2 and a half years we have fought through endless mandates and lockdowns issued by Gov. Tim Walz, as well as riots and unchecked crime’, owner Greg Urban writes, on Wild Greg’s letterhead, in a press release posted Tuesday to Facebook. ‘We made the tough decision that the road to a prosperous Minneapolis longer than we hoped and that closing this location was in our best interest.’  (Urban joins fellow disgruntled Minneapolis restaurateur Rob Dubnecay, the owner of Chicago’s Taste Authority who fumed on Monday via our town’s ‘third-rate, off-brand Breitbart’ news site.) Wild Greg’s has had a complicated relationship with downtown Minneapolis; the bar was part of a group of downtown restaurants that sued the city over vax mandates, and Urban went as far as to ban ‘Dictator Walz’ from his establishment. (We emailed Urban asking if the ban remained enforced until the end, but didn’t hear back.) Before making the closing announcement, Urban went on Fox News in a segment titled ‘Blue city biz owners struggle to make comeback’ to shit on Minneapolis. ‘Minneapolis is not the place to be right now, unfortunately’, he said, as footage of violent crime in NYC plays on the screen.”

Says Alex Chhith at the Strib, “The mother of a baby found at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport has been located and police have canceled an alert issued Tuesday night. Airport police gave few details, but overnight thanked everybody who shared the alert and provided information that allowed investigators to locate her relatives. … At the time of the alert asking for the public’s help, no children matching the girl’s description had been reported missing or abducted, according to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.”

Also in the Strib, Joy Summers and Sharyn Jackson write, “As thrilling as the ever-growing list of new State Fair foods is, we all know that the first bite inside the fairgrounds has to be an old favorite. Because our time with the fair is blissful but brief, each moment should be spent remembering why we fell in love with it in the first place. That means braving the elements, weaving through crowds and standing in line to greet these homegrown friends, our icons of the Minnesota State Fair. … Giant Egg Roll from Que Viet The massive egg rolls from this family-owned stand are a complete meal on a skewer and hit differently than the average wrapped-and-fried appetizer. The crispy wrapper is overflowing with pork and vegetable fillings, making it impossible to eat without losing just a little along the way. That’s OK — there are plenty more. Cooper Street and Dan Patch Avenue.”

At KSTP-TV Richard Reeve says, “Andrew Voge says he’s lucky to be alive. The Maple Grove man is taking each day, one at a time. ‘I was told I have about six months to live’, Voge says quietly. ‘The realization that while I’m riding that, like, two years ago, I stopped doing this because I didn’t have the energy. I almost sold my bike before we left because I was expecting to die.’ … while at home, Voge learned his Mayo doctors had connected with the Cleveland Clinic. He and his wife Rachel learned about multi-organ transplants as a way to potentially treat patients with PMP — by substituting cancerous organs for healthy ones from a donor. Voge would receive five healthy digestive organs: a liver, stomach, pancreas, and two sections of small intestine.”