Minnesota Gov.-elect Tim Walz on Tuesday named Maplewood Mayor and former state lawmaker Nora Slawik to head the Metropolitan Council, bringing an east metro face to head the regional transit and planning agency. Slawik, 56, a Democrat who served seven terms in the state House, brings an obvious resume of suburban planning issues, including serving in leadership roles for two bus rapid transit lines. The Met Council has the authority to tax and has overseen controversial projects like the expansion of light rail, and has been made up entirely of board members appointed by the governor — all of which has drawn perennial criticism, especially from Republicans. In announcing Slawik, Walz defended the core philosophy behind the Met Council, which was created by the Legislature in 1967: that only a regional body can overcome provincial differences and accomplish what is best for the entire metro. And that, Walz said, is good for the entire state. “Greater Minnesota thrives when … [Read more...] about Next Met Council chair: Maplewood Mayor Nora Slawik is pick of Gov.-elect Tim Walz. Other appointments also named.
Harrison Smith, The Washington Post Published 4:43 pm PST, Tuesday, December 18, 2018 Galt MacDermot, a composer who gave the Age of Aquarius its rock and roll soundtrack in the Broadway musical "Hair," wrote the score to a Tony-winning adaptation of "Two Gentlemen of Verona" and became a widely sampled staple of 1990s hip-hop, died Dec. 17 at his home on Staten Island, one day before his 90th birthday. The precise cause was not immediately known, said his daughter Elizabeth MacDermot. A onetime church organist and choirmaster in Montreal, MacDermot was perhaps an unlikely choice to compose the music for "Hair," which opened on Broadway on April 29, 1968 - a date chosen by the producer's astrologer - and featured hallucinogenic drug use, draft-card burning, frank discussions of homosexuality and an infamous nude sequence at the close of the first act. Then 39, living in a quiet Staten Island neighborhood with his wife and children, he had received two Grammy Awards as a … [Read more...] about Galt MacDermot, composer of ‘Hair’ and ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona,’ dies at 89
Lisa Rein, The Washington Post Published 4:39 pm PST, Tuesday, December 18, 2018 The Trump administration said from its first days that preventing suicide was its top clinical priority for veterans. The performance of its national outreach campaign shows otherwise, though, because of a leadership vacuum at the Department of Veterans Affairs and nonexistent means to measure effectiveness, a new report by the Government Accountability Office found. As the number of veterans taking their own lives climbed, the VA's media outreach plunged in fiscal years 2017 and 2018 - with fewer social media posts, public service announcements and paid advertisements compared with the agency's efforts during the Obama administration, auditors said. About 20 veterans die by suicide every day, VA data shows. That's nearly twice the suicide rate among Americans who did not serve in the military. The VA set aside $6.2 million this year to advertise its crisis hotline - the centerpiece of its … [Read more...] about VA lacked outreach amid surge in suicides, according to federal report
News / UK and world by Press Association December 19, 2018, 12:52 am FacebookTwitterLinkedInWhatsAppEmail Send us a story Sign up to our Daily newsletter Preparations for a no-deal Brexit dominate the front pages on Wednesday. Theresa May is to start culling key Tory manifesto pledges after her Cabinet decided to accelerate planning for a no-deal scenario, The Times reports. The Daily Telegraph leads on comments by former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, who said businesses must be given tax breaks to help them weather a no-deal departure with the £39 billion Britain would no longer have to give the EU. The Guardian says British business has warned MPs they risk plunging an ill-prepared economy into chaos unless they back Mrs May’s Brexit deal. The Daily Mail brands it “no deal mayhem”, and reports that TV adverts and mail shots may be used to warn families of possible travel disruption while urging them not to stockpile food. The i … [Read more...] about What the papers say – December 19
By The Associated Press | PUBLISHED: December 18, 2018 at 4:52 pm | UPDATED: December 18, 2018 at 4:52 pm By ELLIOT SPAGAT and COLLEEN LONG | The Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — Large numbers of Guatemalan families and unaccompanied children are surrendering to U.S. immigration agents in an extremely remote and dangerous stretch of New Mexico desert, a new smuggling route that has baffled authorities. It is where 7-year-old Jakelin Caal and her father were found Dec. 6 with 161 others near a border crossing in Antelope Wells. Caal started vomiting on the bus ride to the nearest Border Patrol station 94 miles away and had stopped breathing by the time she arrived. She died at a hospital in El Paso, Texas. U.S. authorities this week encountered groups of 257 and 239 people consisting of families and unaccompanied children, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said Tuesday. The Border Patrol found groups of more than 100 people along the entire U.S. … [Read more...] about US baffled by large migrant groups at remote New Mexico crossing