This is Sally Jo Sorensen's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Sally Jo Sorensen's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Sally Jo Sorensen
Sally Sorensen, an independent blogger, lives and works in rural Minnesota.
Recent Activity
Image
All Minnesotans are equal, but some are more equal than others when it comes to water quality discussions. In Dayton's water-quality meeting draws 200, veteran Mankato Free Press reporter Mark Fischenich reports: Mapleton corn and soybean farmer Steve Trio spoke of his decision to take individual responsibility for how his agricultural production impacted the Cobb River. Working with his son Aaron, Trio has ensured there's protective cover between his farmland and the tributary streams leading to the river, works to be diligent in soil testing to minimize chemical use, and even added a containment system around his fuel tanks long... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Bluestem Prairie
Image
Thursday, we posted Don't hate with your food: Willmar anti-Muslim pig foot harassment tale hits Washington Post which examined an incidence at the Willmar Farmers Market in which an angry white man used a pig's foot to verbally and physically assault a young Somali vendor. A letter in the West Central Tribune fills in some details about the incident and offers an invitation to the pork slinger. Ben Larson writes in An invitation to set aside hate: My friends and I started a gardening program for minority youth in Willmar where they learn how to grow fresh food and run... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
Image
UPDATE 8/17: There's more to the story. Check out our new post, Don't hate with your food, part 2: youth garden organizer speaks up on Willmar Farmers Market, after reading the article below. [end update] A bumper crop of vegetables and thistles prompted by heavy rains has put us behind the curve on a distressing story from Willmar, where many residents have worked hard for years to establish their city's reputation as an inclusive place. Joe F. Fernkes, who cursed at, then tossed a pig's foot at a young adult male Somali-American selling vegetables at a stand at Willmar's Farmers... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
Image
On Monday, Minnesota Seventh District Congressman Collin Peterson released a statement on the recent events in Charlottesville: Congressman Collin C. Peterson made the following statement today in response to the recent tragedy in Charlottesville, VA. “Hatred and bigotry associated with the white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK has no place in our society,” Peterson said. “The tragedy in Charlottesville is another example of the struggles our country faces to unite and confront hate. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.” That's concise, clear and specific language that calls out those responsible for the violence--and the destructive... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
Image
Pesticide reduces bumblebee colony initiation and increases probability of population extinction, a study published Monday in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution sounds a dire warning that a major neonicotinoid found in crops around the world, thiamethoxam, is bad news for bumblebees. At the Toronto Star, Liam Casey reports in Bumblebees at risk of extinction after exposure to pesticide, Ontario study says: A widely used pesticide is placing bumblebee populations at an increased risk of extinction, a new study from an Ontario researcher suggests. Nigel Raine, an environmental science professor at the University of Guelph, discovered that thiamethoxam, a major... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
Image
Amid the hullabaloo about a protest at Second District Congressman Jason Lewis's home in Woodbury--considered Friday in our post, Not so instant karma: Lewis once thought targeting homes of people "in public arena" A-Ok--a reader and local Le Sueur County DFL activist quipped on Bluestem's Facebook page: I would think he might appreciate them saving him the gas money needed to actually drive from his home into the district he (purportedly) represents! This observation prompted Bluestem to wonder why Lewis's non-residence in his district isn't more of an issue. Though perfectly legal under , the behavior might be expected to... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
Image
In an exclusive report, Imagine 2050 reports that one of the staple speakers in Minnesota's anti-Muslim speaking circuit is the subject of a restraining order obtained by Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek. The Imagine2050 staff reports in EXCLUSIVE — Anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist Guandolo assaults Minn. sheriff at NSA conference, per court documents: John Guandolo’s anti-Muslim paranoia and ill temper appear to have landed him in a heap of trouble. Guandolo, a disgraced former FBI agent, travels the country giving anti-Muslim workshops to law enforcement agencies under the guise of counter-terrorism training seminars. His presentations are riddled with anti-Muslim conspiracy theories... Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie
Image
A reader with a long memory brought an episode from Jason Lewis's career to Bluestem's attention following the Minnesota Second District Congressman's cries that protests in front of his home were a “dangerous ramping up of rhetoric.” The St. Paul Press reports in Minnesota’s Rep. Jason Lewis calls protest at his Woodbury home dangerous: Minnesota Rep. Jason Lewis is taking issue with protesters who showed up outside his Woodbury home. The Wednesday morning protest at the first-term Republican congressman’s house was organized by Take Action Minnesota, a liberal advocacy group. Video footage posted on Lewis’ Facebook page shows more than... Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie
Image
A press release from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture: In conjunction with Governor Mark Dayton’s 25 by ‘25 water town hall meetings around the state, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) will be hosting a series of agriculture-focused listening sessions. “We will give a brief overview of a few MDA programs and initiatives, including the draft Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule, and low cost loan programs offered by the Rural Finance Authority followed by an open conversation period,” said MDA Commissioner Dave Frederickson. “It’s important for us to hear from farmers about their current challenges and successes, and I encourage them, along... Continue reading
Posted Aug 10, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie
Image
In an eye-opening examination of the agri-chemical review process and Monsanto's corporate culture, Reuters Media reports in Scant oversight, corporate secrecy preceded weed killer crisis: As the U.S. growing season entered its peak this summer, farmers began posting startling pictures on social media: fields of beans, peach orchards and vegetable gardens withering away. The photographs served as early warnings of a crisis that has damaged millions of acres of farmland. New versions of the herbicide dicamba developed by Monsanto and BASF, according to farmers, have drifted across fields to crops unable to withstand it, a charge authorities are investigating. .... Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie
Image
Shahram Hadian and Bill French, who writes under the pen name Bill Warner, will appear in cities in Greater Minnesota during August and September, demonstrating that the anti-Muslim speaking circuit described by the Star Tribune's Matt McKinney in Anti-Muslim speaking circuit runs through rural Minnesota and Minnesota Public Radio's (MPR) John Enger in Anti-Islam speakers urge rural MN crowds to prepare for Muslim attack remains active. Shahram Hadian Hadrian's schedule of speaking engagements is listening on the photo at the top of this post, including events in Bagley (August 10); Little Falls (August 11); Browerville (September 12); Freeport (September 13)... Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie
Image
The Park Rapids Enterprise reports in Operation Pollinator wildflowers in bloom that potato giant R.D. Offutt (RDO) is on the offensive in the pesticide giant Syngenta's pollinator public relations effort with 675 acres planted in Hubbard County, which includes 116,941 acres of farmland according to the 2012 Census of Agriculture. Given that R.D. Offutt farms over 60,000 acres of potatoes across the country, according to the Fargo, ND based company's website, we're a bit cynical here, based on scale alone. There's also these passages in Nicole Vik's article (the photo of "wildflowers" seems to be mostly cosmos, a garden flower... Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie
Image
Over the years, Bluestem has been examining the involvement of the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) in Minnesota politics. The RSLC is "a political organization designed to assist Republicans in capturing and holding control of state legislatures across the United States," according to Wikipedia. In June 2016, we posted Control of #mnleg is on Republican State Leadership Committee's list: what's in Q1 report. That worked out: RSLC dollars helped the MN Jobs Coalition pay for independent expenditures that helped Minnesota House Republicans retain the lower chamber, while the Republicans gained control of the state senate. According to the second amended... Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie
Image
In July, Minnesota Public Radio's Solvejg Wastvedt reported in Transgender student guidelines for Minn. schools draws impassioned crowd: State education officials have approved a set of optional guidelines for transgender students to be distributed to Minnesota school districts, but they also heard strongly worded views on both sides in a meeting Wednesday. The "toolkit" has suggestions for district professionals on topics like field trips, sports and restrooms. It summarizes state and federal non-discrimination laws and advises schools on how they apply to transgender students. For example, the toolkit says transgender students should have access to restrooms and locker rooms consistent... Continue reading
Posted Aug 6, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie
Image
On Thursday, a few members of the U.S. House Ag Committee and Sixth District Congressman Tom Emmer, formerly a member of the committee, listened to public testimony about the next Farm Bill. News Digest The New Ulm Journal's Fritz Busch reports in U.S. House Ag Committee hears from farmers: Dozens of farmers, ranchers and organizational leaders voiced their opinion on what should be in the next Farm Bill to U.S. House Agricultural Committee members, drawing a big crowd to the Farmfest Forum building for 2 and 1/2 hours Thursday. “We’re under a lot of financial stress in agriculture now with... Continue reading
Posted Aug 5, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie
Image
UPDATE AUGUST 5: Rachel Stassen Berger reports Challenger emerges to run against U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar — GOP state Rep. Jim Newberger. Our dream race as a blogger. Please, Republicans, pick the Becker conservative as your man in 2018![end update] While we read Rachel Stassen Berger's article, Minnesota Rep. Jim Newberger considering running against U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, we regretted the bargeloads of zucchini and pole beans waiting to be picked in garden--and we're only now getting a chance to review the case for Newberger after a million-dollar rain deprived us of watering chores. A Newberger campaign for the United... Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie
Image
On Wednesday, Minnesota Seventh District Republican congressional hopeful Dave Hughes aired his thoughts about Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant, sometimes called ESRD). The comments were in a headnote above an article shared by Daily Wire editor Ben Shapiro, Bernie Sanders Wants 'Medicare For All.' Here Are 5 Things You Need To Know About Medicare. Hughes wrote: Some important points about Medicare. It's unsustainable, wasteful, ineffective, and it's time to begin the work of... Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie
Image
While the Change.org petition site tends to be associated in many minds with the progressive side of the innertubes, anyone and any organization can do use the service. Witness the City of Appleton. It's started a petition to the Federal Bureau of Prisons asking the agency to give a grant to those poor paupers at CoreCivic (the for-profit, human-traffickers formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America) so that they may lock up criminal aliens at the long-shuttered Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton. Because jobs. Here's the petition, Support CoreCivic receiving a federal grant to reopen the Prairie Correctional Facility: This... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie
Image
In Can Carmen Fernholz save MN's agricultural landscape by growing perennial grain Kernza?, we noted that we'll be attending the Kernza field day slated Aug. 10. Bluestem hoped to be there, as farm field days are proving to be a great way to learn about advances in Minnesota agriculture and energy. We're happy to say that we'll be there indeed, and will be looking forward to sampling a Kernza product. Via Bluestem's Facebook page, we've learned: Constance Fernholz Carlson Thank you, thank you, thank you for this. Looking forward to seeing you at the tour.(Just confirmed: will have Kernza beer... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie
Image
Looking over the Winona Daily News this morning, we read this item in Rep. Gene Pelowski, Jr.: Minnesota’s Disaster Assistance delivers for Minnesotans during summer storm emergencies: Each year as the summer storm season sweeps across Minnesota, we see the need for emergency assistance from state government. In the last two years alone, we’ve seen nearly 50 counties, communities, and several tribal nations receive emergency assistance from Governor Dayton. This year alone numerous counties including Winona, Freeborn, Kittson, and many others have and will receive aid. It’s worth noting that the governor was only recently empowered with the ability to... Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie
Image
Minnesota Republican lawmakers have been bragging on a yuge increase to public education, but that's not the real story. Down column in Philip Weyhe's article in the latest Northfield News online, Sen. Little and Rep. Bly team up for town hall in Northfield, we read this: Both Bly and Little spoke about the difficulties they faced in making an impact this session as members of the minority party. Little, who voiced a passion for education issues, said he voted against two major education bills this year, because he felt they didn’t provide the funding public schools are needing. The Legislature’s... Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie
Image
In a week filled with woeful and discouraging news--good Lord, Reince Priebus just lost his job this Friday afternoon--it's wonderful to read a story like Tom Cherveny's piece in the West Central Tribune, Western Minn. farmer a pioneer in raising perennial grain Kernza: Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak needed only a garage to develop Apple computers and change the world forever. Carmen Fernholz is hoping a two-acre parcel of his Lac qui Parle County farmland will be what it takes to launch a change in Minnesota's agricultural landscape for a long time to come as well. At the request of... Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie
Image
Last week, Minnesota Public Radio's Mark Steil reported in Mankato focuses on aquifer's health as water worries grow: . . . While there's no danger of the aquifer going dry, and a recent analysis showed water levels have stabilized, officials worry pressures on the aquifer are intensifying, from above ground and below. Mankato relies on water from Mt. Simon to mix with river water that is contaminated with nitrates from nearby cropland, said city manager Pat Hentges. Blending the aquifer water with river sources keeps city drinking water within safe nitrate limits, he said. The nitrate problems could lead the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 27, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie
Image
Our friends at the Pesticide Action Network sent this press release our way: Last night, Minnesota resident Bonnie Wirtz returned to her home in St. Paul from Washington, D.C., where she was speaking out in favor of a bill to protect children from chlorpyrifos, a brain-harming pesticide. Chlorpyrifos is a widely-used agricultural insecticide that EPA’s scientists have acknowledged has neurotoxic effects, especially in children. However, in March, in one of his first moves as head of EPA, Administrator Scott Pruitt reneged on the Agency’s plans to phase out the chemical. This week, Senators introduced a bill calling for a ban... Continue reading
Posted Jul 26, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie
Image
In legislative updates to their constituents, Republicans in the Minnesota legislature have been touting the transportation bill that shifted money from the general fund to pay for project, but didn't raise the state gas tax. That's nice. The Le Sueur News Herald reported on Tuesday in State highways projected to get worse before improvements are made: Local state-funded road projects may be underfunded for the next decade. During a Le Sueur County Board of Commissioners meeting, Minnesota Department of Transportation representatives gave a presentation on their 10-year plan for road projects in the county and District 7. According to the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 26, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie