November 2009 Archives

The New York Times reported Tuesday that President Barack Obama plans to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan as part of a plan to end the war there. 

            Members of the Democratic party are not all in support of this military proposal, including White House Budget Director Peter R. Orszag. 

            The White House said Obama is to present his decision on the number of troops to be sent in a national address Tuesday. 

            Obama and his advisors have also devised benchmarks for the Afghan government to meet, in order to ensure progress. 

            The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Obama's address will give a tentative time frame for ending the war. 

            Obama will be addressing NATO allies as well, emphasizing their role in achieving the goals he presents.  

Alaskan schools shut down due to a dwindling rural population

The New York Times reported Wednesday that several schools in rural Alaska are closing down due to a decreasing rural population and a minimum enrollment requirement imposed by the State Legislature. 

Schools identified as having fewer than 10 students enrolled "face severe funding cuts," according to a State Legislature decision made in 1998. 

Some supporters of the higher enrollment requirement say the closing of these rural schools is inevitable.  "Schools may close, but the fact of the matter is, we're in the education business," said Gary Wilken, a former Republican state senator from Fairbanks.

Reluctance to provide funding for schools, like the Nikolski School in the Aleutian Islands, stems from standardized test scores indicating poor performance among rural and native students. 

Others view the closing of these native schools as a loss of culture and tradition.  A school being shut down is the "death of the community," according to Georgianna Lincoln, a former Democratic state senator.

Schools employ any methods available, such as advertising on Craigslist, to evade the annual statewide student counting period.  

The Star Tribune reported Wednesday that the Northstar commuter-rail line will be making some changes including an extra trip Sunday after the Vikings game and earlier departure times.

            The Vikings-Bears game at the Metrodome Sunday afternoon is the reason for an extra departure time on Sunday. 

Starting Monday, trains from downtown Minneapolis will depart five minutes earlier than the times listed on the original schedule, according to transportation officials. 

The change was made in an effort to better serve customers who were feeling rushed.  "The extra five minutes will give customers a reliable connection to their homebound trains," said Adam Harrington, assistant director of route and system planning.

The Minnesota Daily reported Nov. 15 that Metrotransit's Northstar rail line serves the north metropolitan area including Anoka, Big Lake, Coon Rapids/Riverdale, Elk River, and Target Field.  

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