Archive for the ‘Savage’


What Makes You Attached to the MSP Metro?

According to this MinnPost article which discusses what makes people attached to a particular city. The article discusses with Katherine Loflin, a placemaking expert and lead consultant for a Gallup and Knight Foundation study on what drives attachment to a city. While the results of this study are interesting, most people may disagree with the findings.

From the article:

If people can find jobs and reasonable places to live, they’ll be attached enough. Worrying about quality of life, amenities, public spirit and all that squishy stuff seems a bit trivial in an economy that still recovering from one of the worst recessions ever.

But Loflin makes a business case for love of a place. These days, those people most likely to drive the growth of a city, namely young people between the ages of 25 and 34, have reprioritized. Quality of life registers high on their list of necessities. Corporations are finding that increasingly they have to sell talented recruits on the place where they would be relocating as well as the job.

As a hiring manager working in a field which is showing rapid growth and high competition during the turned down economy, I have been fighting to both recruit and retain people for my teams. While my experience is limited and certainly not as wide as the number of people looked at by this study, my experience in no way mirrors what Loflin has said. Talented recruits just out of school or with less than 10 years experience have just as much desire for high salary, regardless of their current location in our outside Minnesota, as anyone else I have talked to recently. You can sell them all you like on the greatness of the MSP metro but they know two things: money talks and it’s freakishly frigid here. When recent grad students are requesting six figure salaries without more than a few months of relevant real-world experience and getting offers from elsewhere with it, I can give you a 99.999% guarantee that this study is bunk.

What do you think about this one? Would you pass over a much higher income elsewhere just so you could stay where the people are? Are you surprised that recently minted masters-level students without much relevant experience are receiving such high offers when you hear in the news that this group is so hard pressed for cash lately? What attaches you to the MSP metro? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Savage Removes Hoops to Avoid Violence

According to this Savage Pacer article, the City of Savage had to take down basketball hoops at a park due to violence in the area which may have spilled into the modified lockdown at Burnsville High School last week. According to the City of Savage this has happened before due to violence in their parks and is an effective way to keep youth from the parks when there is a related public safety issue to the basketball hoops.

From the article:

Savage police received a call on Tuesday, April 30 about a possible fight that was going to occur at River Bend Park, 14347 Joppa Ave. Officers arrived at the park at about 6 p.m. and spoke with some of the teenagers who were gathered there. The teenagers denied the report of an impending fight, and the officers reminded them that they would take the basketball hoops down if criminal activity occurred. “We’ve told them before that if problems occurred out there, we’d take [the hoops] down,” Seurer said.

[…]

Seurer said that the city took down the basketball hoops at River Bend Park about two years ago because of a history of altercations at the park, but that the hoops had since been put back up. In the previous period that the hoops were down, there were “dramatically” fewer altercations at the park, Seurer said. “We’ve got kids out there practicing ball, out there on the playground, and we don’t want anyone to get hurt,” Seurer said of the decision to take down the hoops. “It’s a public safety issue.”

Seurer said the hoops have made the park a popular place for lots of kids to congregate, which can sometimes cause problems. When asked if the hoops might be put back up at some point, Seurer said that “it won’t be anytime soon.”

Are you surprised that limiting public safety calls is as simple as removing a set of basketball hoops from a park? Do you think the basketball hoops should ever go back up? Do you believe the fights planned for this park are related to the one that occurred at BHS causing a modified lockdown (which really isn’t a lockdown at all and should be how every day is handled at the high school)? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.

District 191 to Self-Insure Employees

According to this article in SunThisweek, the Burnsville/Eagan/Savage school district plans to move to self-insurance to help limit rapidly rising premiums. While this may seem like a good idea on the face of things, depending on the age and health status of the district’s employees this could be a real disaster for both the district and especially employees who have health problems.

From the article:

Officials hope that self-insurance – in which the district, not an insurer, collects premiums, pays claims and maintains its own reserve – will help them get a handle on ever-spiraling health care costs.

Under Medica, the district’s premium was capped at a 12 percent increase next school year, but was projected to skyrocket by 50 percent the following year, Schmid said.

Over the last decade, premium hikes have averaged 11 to 14 percent a year, Board Member Ron Hill said.

The school district believes it will be able to better control the associated costs by managing its own health insurance; however, a recent New York Times article notes how these sorts of plans are attractive to employers because it limits premium hikes but these sorts of arrangements could really drive up the costs associated with the healthcare system setup by the federal government:

When companies are self-insured, they assume most of the financial risk of providing health benefits to employees. Instead of paying premiums to insurers, they pay claims filed by employees and health care providers. To avoid huge losses, they often sign up for a special kind of “stop loss” insurance that protects them against very large or unexpected claims, say $50,000 or $100,000 a person.

Such insurance serves as a financial backstop for the employer if, for example, an employee is found to have cancer, needs an organ transplant or has a premature baby requiring intensive care.

[…]

Stop-loss insurers can and do limit the coverage they provide to employers for selected employees with medical problems. As a result, companies with less healthy work forces may find self-insuring more difficult.

[…]

Insurance regulators worry that commercial insurers — and the insurance exchanges being set up in every state to offer a range of plan options to consumers — will be left with disproportionate numbers of older, sicker people who are more expensive to insure.

That, in turn, could drive up premiums for uninsured people seeking coverage in the exchanges. Since the federal government will subsidize that coverage, it, too, could face higher costs, as would some employees and employers in the traditional insurance market.

So while this could help with limiting local taxes and associated levies, if more districts (and other businesses) opt for self-insurance, our federal tax rates could begin to soar in order to cover healthcare for more people.

What do you think about this one? Are you concerned this plan may backfire on the district or do you see it as an excellent opportunity to save tax dollars? If lots of companies begin to offer self-insurance do you see the federal government working to limit their availability if it begins to seriously rise associated costs with the government plan? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Should All Lights Be Right Turn on Red?


A couple of red traffic lights against a blue sky originally uploaded by Horia Varlan

According to a recent SunThisweek Letter to the Editor from a Burnsville resident, the lack of a modern traffic signal coupled with a sign forbidding right turns on red has created a situation where lengthy delays for no good reason are frequent. One has to wonder whether most, if not all, traffic signals should be upgraded and have right turn restrictions eliminated.

From the Letter to the Editor:

Isn’t it time to rethink the no-right-turn sign at the foot of the southbound exit of I-35E as it controls traffic entering County Road 42?

[…]

Currently, I estimate that one out of every five drivers disregards the no-right-turn sign and I can completely understand their frustration after waiting, in some instances, as long as a minute and a half, while no westbound cars are even visible at this intersection.

How many times are you sitting at a light about to turn right and realize you’re forbidden to do so by the tiny little sign that mocks you as no traffic approaches? This is often the case at many lights in the state, especially those that ignore or simply do not support detection of cars at an intersection with no cross traffic. It’s not only frustrating but increasingly irrelevant now that we have the ability and, in many cases, the built-in support for smart signals which simply are not doing their jobs. For once I agree with a Letter to the Editor writer entirely. This, and most other SOTR signals, need to be reevaluated for right turns on red and have the smart technology installed or utilized as intended.

What do you think about this one? Do you agree that forbidden right turns on red is generally useless? How often do you see people ignore the tiny signs suggesting they do otherwise? Do you think more often than not signals should be detecting cross traffic presence and changing the light to alleviate stacked traffic in the other direction? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you have to say.