The issue of too much student testing has recently come under a spotlight, both in Minnesota and across the country. We know that testing is important, but there are several issues under fire in the current discussion. First, how much time should be dedicated to preparing for and taking tests. Secondly, what kind of learning is being assessed. This column lays out the issues under consideration in Minnesota, and how decisions being made on the federal level have a direct impact on our students here at home.
More and more people are quickly becoming comfortable completing purchases on their smartphones. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), one in five consumers who own smartphones will use them to make an online purchase this holiday season. Though it might be convenient, there are risks with sharing financial information in this manner. Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) offers tips for those who use or are considering using their smartphones to shop online.
On a gray, drizzly Saturday afternoon one December long ago, I was cramming for college finals when a jangling phone interrupted the quiet of my dorm room.
The caller, my 10-year-old brother, Jim, breathlessly said he had just finished the difficult task of going door-to-door collecting money from the subscribers on his newspaper route.
After setting aside the amount he owed our hometown paper, he announced with pride that his earnings were just over a dollar in coins. He intended to spend "the whole wad" on a surprise Christmas gift for Mom.
Now that we are in the holiday season, that is, the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, it’s probably time to, once again, make some comments on child holiday visitation or “parenting time.” Many children of divorced parents will be happily splitting the holidays between their loving and cooperating parents. Other children become the focus of the annual ritual, that is, the “fight” over which parent is entitled to have the child with them for Christmas. One would think rational parents could resolve these issues, but unfortunately during the two weeks before Christmas our court will likely see several such disputes make it on the court calendar. Some parents go so far as to retain a lawyer and bring an “emergency motion” to resolve the issue.
Ten years ago, Andy Erickson was struggling with the challenge of how to protect lakes and rivers from stormwater pollution. When it rains, water hits rooftops, parking lots and streets, picking up dirt, nutrients, heavy metals and other pollutants along the way. By the time the runoff flows into wetlands, lakes and streams, it is filthy and contaminated. Fish and other wildlife suffer, algae grows thick during the summer, and people can no longer swim, fish and recreate. Stormwater management has improved over the years, but Erickson, a research fellow with the University of MN, St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, felt certain that innovative technologies were needed to help cities and watershed organizations better fight the problem. So, he set up an experiment in which he mixed a variety of common materials with sand and measured how well these enhancements helped the sand to filter dirty water. Surprisingly, he discovered that he could remove up to 85% of the phosphorus (the nutrient that feeds algae in lakes) from a water sample, simply by chopping up steel wool and mixing it in with the sand.
Recently, I was on my way to conduct a psychological evaluation for someone in Stillwater. I left my office in St. Paul about a half hour earlier than necessary, so I had some time to kill. Instead of staying on Hwy. 36, I turned right at McKnight, and then a left onto Seventh Ave. toward downtown, North St. Paul. Having grown up in North St. Paul, I remembered most of the buildings and business. Most of the buildings are still there, but almost all of the businesses within them have changed. Here are just a few of my memories of people and former businesses that crossed my mind of the North St. Paul that helped shape my life.
Winter is upon us, the days are shorter and often darker, and evening falls earlier. Sometimes drivers fail to remove snow from their windshields or allow them to fog up, driving with less vision than perhaps in summer. Under all of these circumstances drivers still need to be aware of pedestrians and follow the law regarding yielding to them.
As people try to screen unwanted phone calls, unscrupulous telemarketers and scam artists have looked for new ways to lure people to answer calls. One increasingly common technique scam artists use is to falsify or “spoof” their caller ID information with local phone numbers or information to make it look like the calls are from a nearby person or business. While the caller’s information may appear local, the calls are often placed by scam artists who are located outside the state or country.
After Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, many shoppers go online to check out Cyber Monday specials. According to the National Retail Federation, shoppers expect to do almost half of their holiday shopping online this year. Cyber Monday, the Monday after Black Friday, has grown popular among consumers in recent years, as they look to take advantage of post-holiday sales some retailers offer. Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota ® (BBB) offers their top ten tips for people looking to shop online, be it on Cyber Monday — November 30 — or throughout the busy holiday season: