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October 20, 2003 // UPDATED 11:06 am - April 30, 2007
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

Center helps neighbors use census, GIS The Urban Coalition has opened a new walk-in center to help people find and understand information from the 2000 U.S. census and Geographic Information System (GIS) maps.

The center, 2610 University Ave., Suite 201, St. Paul, opened Oct. 1. Its initial hours are Tuesdays 3-8 p.m. and Thursdays 12-3 p.m. Go to www.urbancoalition.org for future hours.

The center can help with grant proposals, school research projects, community organizing and other projects. The service is free, unless patrons request substantive maps and graphs. -- Scott Russell

Minneapolis union head rejects 'superteacher' concept Gov. Tim Pawlenty's proposal to create a cadre of $100,000 a year "super teachers," which he announced at a Sept. 30 press conference in Minneapolis, has Minneapolis Teacher Federation President Louise Sundin puzzled.

The Republican governor said he will seek legislative approval next year to create "super teacher" positions in a few Minnesota elementary schools with high concentrations of poor and disadvantaged students. The governor hopes the high salaries would lure top-notch teachers into unenviable classrooms.

Pawlenty's assertion that teachers shy away from the most challenging schools is untrue, Sundin said.

"We have school sites in Minneapolis like North Star and Lincoln which are in some of the poorest neighborhoods of the city and have children with the most challenges," she said. "Teachers have spend their whole careers at those sites because they have made commitment to those children and those communities."

It's her contention that what keeps great teachers out of troubled schools is not bad students, but bad principals.

Would paying certain teachers $100,000 work?

"No," said Sundin. "It's a scheme based on a business model where a few people will get rewards and most won't. Teachers work together as teams, and there is no way that model will work if you are only going to reward a few teachers and a few sites. If he wants to do something positive, he should restore the budget cuts." -- Bob Gilbert

City Council actions 10/10/03 meeting Absent: Barbara Johnson (4th Ward) Master plan: Council voted 12-0 to approve the Downtown East/North Loop Master Plan, a guiding document for redevelopment. It directed staff to propose necessary changes in city codes and ordinances and analyze infrastructure needs to make the plan work. Shubert: Council voted 11-0 to extend Artspace Project's lease on a parcel of city-owned land at 516 Hennepin Ave. S. from Oct. 31, 2003 to Oct. 31, 2005. The Shubert Theater sits on this and a second parcel, owned by Artspace. False alarms: Council passed 12-0 a motion to increase false burglar alarm penalties and shortened the number of violations before the police will discontinue automatic response. Barfly: Council passed 11-0 an on-sale liquor license with Sunday sales, subject to a prohibition on adult entertainment, for Barfly, 711 Hennepin Ave. S. Scott Benson (11th Ward) abstained. American Trio: Council voted 12-0 to approve recommendation that an environmental assessment worksheet is not needed to the convert the American Trio Building, 616 S. 3rd St., to condominiums and commercial uses. Wireless: Gary Schiff (9th Ward) introduced an ordinance directing the City Coordinator to begin working with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board on a citywide wireless initiative and to report back as negotiations proceed. It was referred to the Zoning and Planning, as well as the Ways and Means committees.No-honk zone: Schiff introduced an ordinance to prohibit LRT trains from honking their horns, except for emergencies. It was referred to the council's Transportation and Public Works Committee. -- Scott Russell