News, Uncategorized

On the BEAT: What’s happening around campus and the region

MINNEAPOLIS

Minneapolis residents support bike lane expansion

The Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition delivered over 3,400 postcards to the Minneapolis City Council on Tuesday to pressure the city leaders to keep on track to fund protected bike lanes. Mayor Betsy Hodges had previously proposed $790,000 to create protected bike lanes in 2015 and maintain them in the future.

Residents from each ward in Minneapolis expressed their support for the protected lanes, which are between the curb and parked cars. They offer cyclists, especially those commuting on busy streets, a greater level of safety.

Minneapolis’ bike plan revision will lay out where these lanes would go, and will be ready in the first few months of 2015. Only the protected lane project is currently on track for 2015, adding bike and foot lanes to a portion of NE Broadway.

Leading biking advocates in the Twin Cities have recently suggested that Minneapolis is falling behind peer cities in not creating the new lanes more quickly. The city has a goal of laying out 30 miles of these lanes, meant to increase the already high biking rate in the city, by 2020.

Ethan Fawley, executive director of the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, said the mayor’s money could create two to five miles of protected lanes, depending on the degree of protection involved. Options include plastic tubes, stronger bollards, curbs, planters or raised lanes.

Hodges’ funding proposal has already made it through the first round of City Council budget evaluation, and is expected to be approved next week.

TWIN CITIES

Protestors rally in Minneapolis after Darren Wilson cleared

Last Monday, after a grand jury in St. Louis County, Missouri, cleared Darren Wilson of all charges related to the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson in August, protestors turned out around the country to oppose the jury’s decision and march in solidarity.

On Tuesday, thousands of protestors gathered outside the Minneapolis Police Department at Lake Street and Minnehaha Avenue. They rallied for a few hours and shut down Highway 55 at rush hour. The gatherings were mostly peaceful, aside from two cars that drove through a crowd and dragged a woman underneath. Police are investigating the incident.

ST. PAUL

Redevelopment proposals in downtown St. Paul

The Kellogg Boulevard river bluff area in downtown St. Paul will undergo a large alteration beginning next summer when the six-building former West Publishing complex and adjacent former adult detention center are demolished.

The Ramsey County Board of Commissioners approved $11.5 million for the demolition and an additional $5 million for a retaining wall to stabilize the bluff area.

For almost a decade, and with no success, the county has attempted to sell the vacant behemoths which loom over the Mississippi next to the Wabasha Street Bridge. Developers were scared off by the arduous and expensive task of removing two city blocks worth of buildings totaling over 600,000 square feet. A plan by United Properties and the Opus Group to build two 50-story office buildings next to high-end retail and housing died with the 2008 recession, and the county was eager to dispense of the downtown eyesore.

County officials are excited to draw developers and bring the property back onto the tax rolls for the first time since 1992. Development projections for the site, which features a lucrative downtown location and Mississippi River views, are thought to be about $150 million, which would yield about $7 million in annual tax revenue.

Work on the site should be finished and ready for redevelopment by April of 2016, by when developers are expected to have an array of proposals for the site.

MCSG

Mental health liaison, training for first-years discussed

SSRC discussed that their meeting with Ted Rueff, Associate Director of the Health and Wellness. The meeting went well and there was conversation about creating a work study position within Health Promotions that served as a mental health liaison to answer students’ questions about where and how to get help when they needed it. There was also discussion about having mental health trainers go around to first year floors, similar to the sexy training that currently exists.

Mac Catholics received $505 to screen the film Band of Sisters. SOC introduced their idea to require that orgs complete community agreements before they were able to receive funding.

A member of the Social Responsibility Committee visited to discuss their work this semester on keeping the clothing in the Highlander Sweatshop free. AAC received 28 applications for the textbook reserve program for next semester and will review them in the coming weeks.

SUSTAINABILITY

Talking about Teaching on Sustainability Ambassadors

A panel discussion, “Talking About Teaching,” will be held today at noon for faculty and staff, sponsored by the Educating Sustainability Ambassadors program. Three faculty members—Susan Fox of the math and computer science departments, Erik Davis of the religious studies department, and Roopali Phadke of the environmental studies department will discuss their diverse views on teaching sustainability.

HEALTH POLICY

Medical marijuana steps closer to legalization

Minnesota is advancing closer to a market for legalized medical marijuana. After passing a limited medical marijuana bill in the last legislative sesion, the Department of Health has begun ordering a few labs around the state to begin producing medical marijuana.

LeafLine Labs and Minnesota Medical Solutions, respectively located in Cottage Grove and Otsego, are responsible for producing Minnesota’s medical marijuana supply. Beginning July 1, marijuana will be legal for medical uses, and individuals will be able to receive marijuana products with a doctors’ note from four dispensaries around the state.

Under the law passed this year, marijuana cannot be legally smoked in Minnesota, yet patients suffering from a few designated conditions will be able to receive cannabis products in pill or liquid forms. Minnesota is the 22nd state to legalize marijuana for medical use.

CENTER FOR RELIGIOUS AND SPIRITUAL LIFE

Sleepytime Stories next Thursday in the Chapel

The event “Sleepytime Stories” will be held on Thursday, Dec. 11 in the Chapel. Chaplains will be reading children’s stories as an opportunity for students to take a study break.

December 5, 2014

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