Press Releases as unfiltered news

I read this in the DNT a week ago. A friend sent me the exact same thing from the Minneapolis Star Trib. Both read like carbon copies of a Duluth School Press release that begs for some serious questioning. None is provided of course.

Here it is with some good questions inserted:

DULUTH (AP) – Two groundbreaking ceremonies will be held by the Duluth school district next week.

One for the new eastern middle school, at the current East High School site, is at 11:15 a.m. Monday. The school will open as the eastern middle school in September 2012.

This summer, an eight-lane pool with locker rooms for both school and community use will be installed. A parking lot and bus loading zone will be added in the fall. Also planned for this summer is the addition of a secure entry leading to administrative offices, a remodeled media center and renovation of six classrooms. Next summer, there will be a major renovation of the rest of the school.

A groundbreaking for the new Piedmont/Lincoln elementary school is at 10 a.m. Tuesday. That project is expected to be complete by September 2011. Classrooms for the new school are designed in clusters and located close to the media center. Classrooms will have new instructional technology and are to be naturally lit and well-ventilated. Spaces for music, art, physical education and special-needs programs are included.

The school district’s June report broke the contracts for building projects into three categories: contracts with companies located in and next to Duluth; contracts with companies in other northern Minnesota communities; and contracts with companies based in the Twin Cities and beyond.

Perhaps those of us who have commented how the regressive property taxes of Duluth are being used to hire out-of-town contractors and prime other region’s economy have persuaded the District to show how much local spending is taking place. If so………

Of the 336 construction contracts awarded by the end of May, 148, or 44 percent, were awarded to companies in and next to Duluth, for about $66.4 million. About 90 percent of all consulting agreements have been awarded to firms in and next to Duluth.

……then how much of the spending for previous projects was given to local vs. outside firms?

And “consulting agreements?” What the heck are those? Construction contracts or architectural services or some other miscellaneous spending like for legal consulting needed to fight the people of Duluth?

For the eastern middle school, 21 percent of work so far has gone to contractors in and next to Duluth. For the Piedmont/Lincoln school, 42.5 percent has gone to companies in and next to Duluth.

42.5 percent! Whoo hooo! How much local spending for all those earlier projects or maybe they really would prefer not to publicize that figure.

A person might lament the passing of newspapers but little death rattles like this almost make one wish some papers would hurry up and die and just get it over with.

About the author