North Mankato And Mankato Area Planning Organization Hold Open House, Discuss …

An open house is underway to help local residents learn more about the areas longrange transportation plan.

The year 2045 may seem pretty far off into the future, but for the North Mankato and Mankato Planning Organization, thats only the beginning of hundreds of improvements they plan to make in the area.

On October 2, The Metropolitan Planning Organization released its first draft of its $200 million plan for future improvements to the Greater Mankato area.

Mankato/North Mankato Area Planning Organization Executive Director Paul Vogel said, Working with our partners in Mankato, North Mankato, Eagle Lake, Blue Earth County, Nicollet County and the surrounding townships started in June of 2014. We started working on this plan which includes financial forecast, a list of projects.

280 projects make up the plan, a majority of which are federally funded. Major projects include over 60 on and off street bike paths and the expansion of Highway 14 to six lanes from Highway 22 to Highway 169.

Vogel said, Everybody uses transportation in one form or the other and I think its important for people to have that basic understanding of what the transportation plans are, but also to learn about some of the issues of fiscal constraints.

And members of the planning organization say there will always be room for change within the plan.

Transportation Planner JakeHuebsch said, This is our first longrange transportation plan, so in five years, well be coming back and looking at the list of projects and crossing ones that have been accomplished and identifying new projects.

And local residents can still come out here to the Mankato Room of the Intergovernmental Center until 7 this evening to learn more about whats in store for the future of Greater Mankato.

Those who cant attend the meeting can still offer input to the planning organization through November 3.

Public comments can be emailed to Paul Vogel at or mailed to Paul Vogelwith the Mankato/North Mankato Area Planning Organization at the Intergovernmental Center on 10 Civic Center Plaza in Mankato.

Maryland insurance commissioner wraps up statewide tour in Hagerstown

Al Redmer can probably tell you more about property and casualty insurance than you thought anybody could know.

But this week the Maryland insurance commissioner and his staff were in Hagerstown to listen to others. He wrapped up a series of meetings across the state with a “town hall” Thursday at Hagerstown Community College, hearing from an audience of mainly Western Maryland insurance agents about their concerns regarding regulations pertaining to homeowners and auto insurance.

They use various tools to aid learning

THE three teachers would each come to class with various tools – be it mind mapping, videos and debates. They wanted to inspire students and develop a love for the English language.

On Oct 14, Madam Shagun, Ms Yogeswari Elangovan and Ms Ilavarasi Sekaran were rewarded for their efforts. They were among 10 primary, secondary and junior college teachers who received Inspiring Teacher of English Awards in a ceremony held at the National Museum of Singapore.

The awards, which began in 2008, were given to outstanding teachers of the English language, English literature and the General Paper this year. They are presented jointly by the Speak Good English Movement and The Straits Times, and are supported by the Ministry of Education.

The teachers each received a trophy, certificate and $2,000 from the guest of honour, Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Social and Family Development.

Madam Shagun, 43, who has been teaching for the past five years at Mayflower Secondary, believes in using mind mapping in her classes as it is fun and gives the students a chance to doodle while thinking and sorting their thoughts. Her students were able to then develop ideas and opinions while enlarging their vocabulary.

She also uses the newspaper to teach English. She said: Every week a student was selected from my class who had to pick a news article of his or her choice and had to frame two questions related to it. The condition was it had to be thought-provoking so that the other students would have to think out of the box for the answer. The students had to write the answer in their journal. I would then read each answer and comment.

Ms Yogeswari, 29, who teaches English to Secondary 3 students at Tanjong Katong Girls School, uses another approach called videotelling in which the audio of a film is played to students, who are later asked to imagine what the characters look like or predict the events that follow.

She said: Students are not allowed to be passive viewers but are required to actively create and recreate the storyline along with the teacher. Such activities can then be extended into a speaking, writing or reading activity.

Ms Ilavarasi, 29, who is the English language subject head at Cantonment Primary, believes that children learn best when they are having fun so she enjoys using debates to provide students with opportunities to speak and present their arguments, and to train them to be eloquent speakers.

I remember a student of mine who was very quiet and shy in class. To help build his confidence, I created many opportunities for him to present his ideas to the class and take on the role of a leader during group discussions, so he could voice his opinions and thoughts during discussions. It was amazing to see his transformation into a more confident learner and an effective communicator.

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Nonprofit Organization Asking for Cigarette Tax

A nonprofit arts organization is asking for a cigarette tax that would help sustain the arts in Hamilton County.

Arts Build President Dan Bowers tells us they proposed to commissioners that they allow voters to decide on the tax.

The money would go towards a broad spectrum of arts from paintings to sculptures to music.

Bowers says they came up with the idea after studying other communities that have tax-based support for the arts.

The money will not go towards Arts Build.

It will go to a separate entity that would decide how to distribute the funds.
Nonprofit Organization Asking for Cigarette Tax

USPS Denies It Has Missing Damaged Package, Still Turns Down Customer’s …

Its always a good idea to purchase insurance for your packages, especially if youre mailing something valuable. But even having that protection didnt keep one USPS customer from ending up with broken equipment and no insurance payment to cover the cost of replacing or fixing it.

A woman living in Salt Lake City sold a portable power supply online to a buyer in New York and shipped it with USPS. She wanted to make sure the item got to its destination intact, reports

I went and actually bought a very sturdy box, extra packaging, since this is a heavy item, I took great care in packaging it, she said.

As a fail-safe, she also paid $22 to purchase a $1,600 policy against loss or damage. And wouldnt you know the package arrived at its destination damaged.

She contacted the USPS, who told her to ask the buyer to return the package to the local post office for inspection, which he did. He received a stamped letter confirming that hed left it with a clerk. But when the woman submitted her insurance claim, USPS denied it, saying the package hadnt been dropped off at the post office.

So she appealed the denial, sending in the stamped letter as proof, but her efforts were rebuffed twice more. The USPS kept telling her they didnt have her package.

Theyve damaged my item. Theyve lost my item. But theyre not willing to pay, she said.

Finally when KUTVs Get Gephardt reached out to USPS to ask how a package that was lost while in the hands of the USPS could lead to a denied insurance claim, the power supply was miraculously discovered at the post office and shipped back to her.

But despite the fact that the power supply is bent and some of its pieces are shattered, USPS wont approve her claim: she was told that she only gets three chances to appeal, and shed used them all up trying to chase down her package which USPS kept insisting it didnt have.

Get Gephardt reached out again to USPS to ask why it wouldnt let her appeal since it was their fault the box was misplaced, which resulted in the denials, but did not receive an answer.

USPS bizarre reason for denying insurance claim []

Simple Things Festival at various Bristol venues this weekend


Simple Things is back for its third year with another impressive line-up of acts. Taking place in venues across the city, the festival endeavours to showcase the best in contemporary music, and 2015 will be the biggest to date with headliners including experimental rock trio Battles, grime artists Skepta (pictured) amp; JME and post-punk band Savages.

The pioneering, multi-venue festival features a wide range of acts appearing at a number of locations including the Colston Hall and the O2 Academy.

This years standalone opening party will be headlined by legendary Montreal post-rock band Godspeed You! Black Emperor, who appear at Colston Hall on Friday night. Initially formed in 1994, the nine-piece band has become revered among the greatest purveyors of their widescreen, orchestral strain of rock music, with 2000s Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven regarded as one of the genres definitive landmarks.

Other highlights over the weekend include reggae innovator Lee Scratch Perry, revered grime collective Ruff Sqwad amp; J-Cush, Newcastle-based Slime, Arial Pink producer Mild High Club, cacophonous Bristol outfit Spectres and menacing noise-punk band Sex Swing. Visit

Howard Stern: "America’s Got Talent" Was "Torturous" — WATCH VIDEO

Howard Stern says Americas Got Talent was torturous for him, but it may be more an issue of vanity than anything else. Check out the video below.

Speaking on Fridays Jimmy Kimmel Live, Stern said, I was doing that lsquo;Americas Got Talent for four years. I had to quit. It was enough. When Kimmel remarked he was surprised his guest lasted that long because he complained about it so very, very much, Stern responded, Well, I thought it would be funny to go on a network television show.

You know, here I am, Fart Man, and I would be on lsquo;Americas Got Talent, and suddenly it would be interesting to see me juxtapose with a family show, explained the shock jock. And that was fun. But it was torturous. I hated every bit of it.

But the only thing Stern really copped to hating was how he looked on TV. He recalled, I thought, lsquo;Well, Im going on network television. What Im going to do is dress up. I went and bought $100,00 worth of wardrobe from John Varvatos. I really did. I invested in my wardrobe, I got a person to do my hairhellip; I worked out, I decided to diet down to get thin.

And then I turn on the TV each week and I wanna throw up, confessed Stern. Because Im putting in all of this work for my look, to look good, and after all of that work, I still look like a nightmare. I just didnt like it. He went on to say of colleague Howie Mandel, Heres a guy, he has no hair, hes in his 60s, and hes better looking than I am after my $100,000 wardrobe. So the whole thing was rather depressing.

As Gossip Cop reported, Stern said farewell to Americas Got Talent during the season finale last month. On Thursday, it was revealed Simon Cowell, who co-created the NBC competition and serves as its executive producer, will replace him at the judges table. Watch Sterns full rant about the show below, and tell us what you think.

ICD-10 Codes and Various Types of Quackery

Regarding RJ Petrella’s “Medical Query: Were You Struck by a Duck?” (op-ed, Oct. 14): I, an inexperienced hunter, shot a duck which by some unfortunate happenstance fell right on my head. My wife lunged at me in a panic and inadvertently stuck her knitting needle through the duck and into my scalp. You can imagine the ER doctor’s astonishment when he saw the mallard pinned to my head. His first comment was: “What a bizarre occurrence! Struck by a duck, plus an accident while knitting.” While I waited, he went to the ICD-9 code book but could find no codes for my condition. I am not sure how he eventually coded it…