FFM News Update 3/9/11

This week from Minnesota State News

Late last month the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota launched our Capitol news bureau: Minnesota State News- a non-profit, non-partisan media entity aimed at creating a more well-informed citizenry by providing quality, real-time news to Minnesotans. Reporter Jon Miltimore has launched this web-based news site, already covering numerous stories from the Capitol.  Read some of highlights from this past week:

  • Dayton’s top economist says tax cut responsible for improved forecast
    Gov. Mark Dayton credited President Obama this week for the state’s improved economic forecast, but the state's chief economist suggests credit might lay elsewhere. Read more…
  • Dayton signs alternative teaching bill, seeks compromise
    Though lawmakers remain sharply divided on the budget, a chord of bipartisanship was struck for the second time in a week Monday as Gov. Mark Dayton signed into law a bill providing an alternative pathway for public school teachers. Read more…
  • Report: State faces billions in unfunded pension liabilities
    Lawrence Martin, Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirements Executive Director, says he doesn’t lose sleep over the state’s $15 billion unfunded pension liability, but he cautions lawmakers not to take it too lightly. Read more…

FFM in the news

The St. Cloud Times featured an op-ed from FFM Investigative Director Tom Steward on rail projects (like the Northstar Commuter Rail) being imposed on states by federal transit officials. President Obama has proposed $53 billion over the next six years to connect more taxpayers to these one-size-fit-all rail projects. But as Steward asks: How much should taxpayers be asked to subsidize?
FFM was featured in a 5 Eyewitness News investigation into potential capital projects financed through the Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund. In 2008 Minnesota voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment aimed at providing constitutionally mandated funding for the outdoors and arts. Legacy Amendment funds have become a controversial and highly sought after source of funds for environmental, land stewardship and arts groups from across the state. The fund is not meant for “bricks and mortar” projects, as one lawmaker explained. Said FFM’s Tom Steward, “It’s absolutely outrageous that all of these are on the table.”
Last week, FFM CEO Annette Meeks was featured on Fox 9 News for a segment on proposed gambling expansion in the failed Block-E development in downtown Minneapolis. The discussion also featured Frank Ball from Profit Minnesota, a group that lobbies for slot machines in bars and restaurants. The entire video can be seen on our website.

Top Obama official leaves Administration

In case you missed our last Special Edition E-update, the White House announced that Cathy Zoi, President Obama’s number two official at the Department of Energy, abruptly resigned last week. Zoi was the subject of an extensive investigation by the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota that began in 2009 for a potential conflict of interest.

Zoi’s resignation marks a victory for a more transparent and accountable government. Thanks to all who assisted in bringing this story, and FFM’s, investigation to light.

Read more on Zoi’s resignation on John Stossel’s blog, and view ouroriginal video on Cathy Zoi.

FFM announces semi-finalists for A Legacy of Leadership: The Ronald Reagan Essay Contest

The Freedom Foundation of Minnesota (FFM) announced the semi-finalists of this year’s A Legacy of Leadership essay contest.  This contest encouraged high school students to research the leadership, policies and values of America’s 40th President, Ronald Wilson Reagan.
The 100 semi-finalists were chosen from 100 different schools across the state by a panel of judges and will move on to the next round of judging. Semi-finalists will be invited to the Award Banquet later this spring where the Grand Prize, and second and third place winners will be announced. The Grand Prize winner will receive a $5000 scholarship and the two runners up will receive $1000 and $500, respectively.
“We are excited that so many high school students from across the state entered the contest and explored the legacy of one of our nation’s greatest leaders,” said Annette Meeks, CEO of the Freedom Foundation.  “President Reagan is still considered a bold and unwavering champion of freedom and liberty. It’s great to see so many Minnesota high school students interested and passionate about the lasting effects of his presidential policies.”

Below are all semi-finalists (in alphabetical order) and their respective high schools:

Courtney Arnquist - Armstrong High School
Luke Baker - Yellow Medicine East High School
Bryant Baker - Jordan High School
KaLeigh Berg - Minnesota Virtual High School
Amy Berning - Springfield Public School
Matthew Beutz - Albany High School
Grace Brennan - Home School
Ben Brogard - Pine Island High School
Charles Butterworth - Saint Paul Academy and Summit School
Beau Buysse - Minneota High School
Kammi Casci - Stillwater Area High School
Laura Crabb - Benson High School
Chelsea Dale - Blake School
Caitlin Daley - Rochester Mayo High School
Holly Mae Drewelow - St. Michael-Albertville High School
Kyle Evans - Park High School
Scott Foley - Schaeffer Academy
Justine Gelineau - Home School
Samuel Gesko - Minnetonka Senior High School
Christopher Giuffre - Proctor High School
Nicholas Greatens - Brainerd High School
Christopher Greenwood - Grand Meadow High School
Andrea Gruver - Roseville Area High School
Jordan Hanson - Lakeville North High School
Angela  Hasek - Fairmont Senior High School
Joseph  Heimerl - New Prague High School
Jadelyn Hoang - Totino Grace High School
Emily Hodgell - Lincoln High School
Rebekah Holten - Minnesota Valley Lutheran High School
Thomas Holton - Mounds Park Academy
Hannah Houle - Home School
Renee Hubner - Pipestone Area High School
Jackson Jaro - Home School
Alyssa Jensen - La Crescent High School
Brian Klein - United South Central High School
Joel Klein - Northfield High School
Hillary Kletscher -  Wabasso High School
Jacob Klingensmith - Irondale High School
Martha Koehl - Morris Area High School
Patrick Krieger - Benilde-St. Margaret's High School
Taylor Leick - Legacy Christian Academy
Stacie Lewis - BlueSky Charter School
Christian Lopac - Home School
Catherine Lovrien - Jefferson Senior High School
Carol Luedeman - Orono High School
Spencer Lund - Prior Lake High School
Brandon Madner - Lakeville South High School
Timothy Madzey - Eveleth-Gilbert Sr. High School
Conner Mars - Mahtomedi High School
Nicholas McIntyre - Coon Rapids High School
Karissa Meyer - Caledonia High School
Grace Miner - Belle Plaine High School
Elizabeth Minneman - Lakeville North High School
Sarah Moechnig - East Ridge High School
Brady Morgan - Pelican Rapids High School
Sophie Morris - Cambridge Christian School
Jack Mullaney - East View High School
Mitchell Nelson - Becker High School
Tri Nguyen - Cooper High School
Natalia Nguyen - Eagan High School
Alexander Nicol - St. Paul Central High School
Kayla Nyegaard - Clearbrook Gonvick
Jenna Petersen - MACCRAY High School
Alisha Peterson - Chisago Lakes High School
Brooke Powell - Riverway Learning Community
Eric Rauvola - Hermantown High School
Jessica Reagan - Apple Valley High School
Kelly Reller - Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa High School
Brian Reuland - John Marshall High School
Stacey Rhyner - Grand Rapids High School
Rebecca Rieland - Century High School
Eva Rodriguez - Shakopee High School
Trevor Rohloff - Pillager High School
Matthew Runck - Red Rock Central
Meghan Schaumberg - Beacon of Hope
Josie Schmit - AFSA
Paul Schmitt - Sebeka High School
Isabella Sewart - Academy of Holy Angels
Robert Sexton - Plainview Elgin Millville High School
Thomas Shellum - Mayo High School
Nathan Shrader - Wayzata High School
Katie Sibbet - Blaine High School
Jordan Slaughter - Moorhead Senior High School
Nathan Stanelle - Greenbush Middle River High School
Mariah Steenerson - Lincoln Senior High School
Mitchell Stendal - Chanhassen High School
Caitlyn Stenerson - Home School
Corey Stephan - Marshall College Preparatory School
Sarah Stevens - Denfeld High School
Josephine Stracek - Esko High School
Matthew Terhaar - Stewartville High School
Emma Thofson - Medford High School
Meredith Turner - Underwood High School
Katya Vant Hof - Lafayette High School
Nick Voight - Mankato West High School
Amy Waananen - Maple Grove High School
Ashley Wright - Schaeffer Academy


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