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News briefs — Aug. 23

■ Nolan’s interactive forum

addresses deficit issue

Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., will host a real time federal budget exercise at a forum set for 6-8 p.m. Sept. 4 at the Central Lakes College cafeteria in Brainerd.

Sara Imhof of the Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan organization advocating generationally responsible fiscal policy, will serve as facilitator.

Participants will work in small groups and discuss policy alternatives to reduce projected deficits. Discretionary and defense spending, Medicare, taxes and Social Security proposals will be discussed.

■ Brainerd parks panel meets Monday

The Brainerd Parks and Recreation Board meets at 4:30 p.m. Monday in the conference room at Brainerd City Hall.

Any individual needing special accommodations should call 828-2320.

■ Scholarship pageant

slated Aug. 24 in Brainerd

The Miss Brainerd Lakes and Miss Central Lakes scholarship pageants and the Miss Brainerd Lakes/Central Lakes Outstanding Teen pageants will be at 4 p.m. Aug. 24, in the Chalberg Theatre at Central Lakes College, Brainerd.

Four new queens will be crowned.

Current title holders are 2012 Miss Brainerd Lakes Heather Erickson, 2012 Miss Baxter Maren Goff, 2013 Miss Brainerd Lakes Outstanding Teen Serena Schreifels and 2013 Miss Central Lakes Outstanding Teen Lizzy Thurlow.

Tickets to the pageant are $15 and are available at the door and online at

■ Study: Online glitches

didn’t affect test scores

ST. PAUL (AP) — Recurring problems with an online system for administering proficiency tests had minimal impact on students’ scores this spring, Minnesota education officials said.

A state-commissioned review concluded that while students experienced computer slowdowns, freezes and other disruptions on April 16 and 23, “there is no statistical evidence to suggest that the disruption, on average, adversely impacted students and schools.”

Thousands of students across Minnesota experienced slow loading times and other problems in April that interfered with their beginning or completing math and reading Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment tests.

The state is set to release the results of the MCAs next week.

“Rest assured, I am doing everything within my power to ensure Minnesota’s testing vendor, American Institutes for Research, is fully prepared for future online assessments in Minnesota,” Cassellius wrote in a letter to school leaders posted on her department’s website, along with the analysis and a letter to parents.

The state has a $61 million contract with AIR to administer the MCAs and other assessments.

AIR representatives have said slow test load times and other problems on April 16 were the result of an equipment problem, but no problems were found in the company’s system April 23.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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