A Thief River Falls Company renown for going the extra mile, stepped into the State Activity spotlight this past week, as sponsor of the Second Annual Minnesota State High School League State Robotics Competition …
Digi-Key – international supplier of electronics components and expertise – sponsored the event Saturday at Williams Arena on the Campus of the University of Minnesota.
It was only the second annual state competition for the activity, drawing 30 qualifying teams from across the state, including High School Teams from Thief River Falls and Crookston.
Digi-Key President, Mark Larson, says encouraging students to engage in engineering fields is one way to support Minnesota’s next generation of engineers.
Robotics as a competion involves a complex challenge called the Ultimate Assent, and it was an alliance of three schools; New Brighton, Woodbury and Becker, who won the competition; climbing a pyramid with remote controlled robots throwing and blocking discs with points scored for every goal.
Thief River Falls ended their season in the top 15 of teams statewide, while Crookston ended the year in the top 10 after both teams advanced from the FIRST Region Competition.by ndmuscle
The U.S. State Department is sending a Minnesota hip-hop artist to Africa as part of a cultural exchange program.
Toki (TOH’-kee) Wright will be in Sierra Leone for two weeks, starting Tuesday.
Wright heads the hip-hop studies program at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul. While in Africa he’ll work with aspiring young artists in the cities of Kenema and Freetown and perform with Sierra Leonean afro-pop and reggae star Emerson Bockarie.
Wright’s trip is organized by the State Department’s Arts Envoy Program. The program sends American arts professionals abroad to foster cross-cultural understanding.
The state agency in charge of protecting Minnesota’s vulnerable adults and children says it’s struggling with a growing backlog of maltreatment allegations and needs more investigators to cope.
One measure of that workload — the number of reports assigned by the Department of Human Services for field investigations or death reviews — rose 10 percent, to 1,053, in the year ending last July 1. There were 883 such cases in the year before, the Star Tribune reported Tuesday.
In a report released Monday, the department asked the Legislature for additional investigators to help tackle a backlog that has nearly doubled to 724 cases in the last 18 months.
DHS Inspector General Jerry Kerber said the governor’s budget proposal would add about a dozen positions, including eight investigators. The new jobs would come primarily from higher fees on businesses regulated by the DHS. That proposal has run into resistance at the Capitol.
“It’s a reasonable expectation of the public that we do these investigations of alleged maltreatment . and that we do it in a reasonable time frame,” Kerber said. “We have that expectation of ourselves. We can’t do it with magic. We need resources to do that work. We are hopeful the Legislature will recognize that.”
The agency receives 4,500 to 5,000 maltreatment allegations and other licensing reports each year. About 1,000 are assigned for field investigations or death reviews. Last year, the number of assigned cases grew, adding to a backlog that had been growing for several years.
Some 60 percent of the allegations involve adult foster care homes and programs that serve people with disabilities, including mental illness and mental retardation, as well as some physical challenges. About 17 percent involve child-care centers or adolescent treatment programs.
The agency is required to report its backlog, as well as other trends that affect the safety of vulnerable adults in DHS programs, to the Legislature annually. But the last report was issued more than two years ago. The agency vowed to correct that reporting problem after the Star Tribune identified it in a story earlier this month. Kerber said his office will begin issuing the maltreatment report annually, probably each August.
The report issued Monday showed more than 1,100 substantiated reports of maltreatment in the past five years, or about 225 per year. The report said the number of neglect cases is increasing, while cases of abuse are generally decreasing.