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Sally Jo Sorensen
Sally Sorensen, an independent blogger, lives and works in rural Minnesota.
Recent Activity
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In Daudt elaborates on comment that Dayton 'caved', Talks mental health care at Baxter clinic, Zach Kayser reports that the Speaker of the Minnesota House didn't really believe that the governor had caved to Republican demands and besides, he wasn't talking to you anyway, Minnesotans and the press. The explanation came after Daudt, R-Crown, and Rep. Josh Heintzeman, R-Nisswa, met with the Nystrom family, executives at Nystrom & Associates, Ltd, a for-profit mental health care provider. Nystrom & Associates feel low payments from the state discourage them from caring for poor people. Kayser reports in the Brainerd Dispatch: . .... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Bluestem Prairie
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After losing the Republican endorsement in Minnesota's Sixth Congressional District to sitting Representative Tom Emmer, rabid anti-refugee ranter AJ Kern continues to fight toward the primary. Sixth District residents should probably be happy that she's running for Congress, rather than running a travel agency. Exhibit A: her most recent post on the AJ Kern for Congress Facebook page, in which she writes: Did you know you can vacation in Somalia? I believe it's time to rethink the refugee situation... and make our veterans the priority. http://www.cheapflights.com/flights-to-somalia/minneapolis Cheap flights from Minneapolis (Minneapolis) to Somalia (Somalia) Minneapolis to Somalia flights. Book cheap... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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On Sunday, Cody Benjamin reported in the Faribault County Register article, Bus service hits pothole, that Fairlakes Transportation, owned and operated by Representative Bob Gunther and his wife Nancy, seeks to terminate a two-year contract with the Faribault and Martin County Transit Board to operate Prairie Lakes Transit "as a result of its own underbidding." Gunther, R-Fairmont, chairs the Minnesota House Greater Minnesota Economic and Workforce Development Policy committee, a leadership position and committee that was created when the Republican caucus took control of the House following the 2014 elections. Gunther to break contract In Bus service hits pothole, Benjamin... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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Bluestem Prairie grows increasing impressed by the ability of many in Minnesota's conservative movement to discard facts when convenient. We especially admire this rhetorical quality in Tea Party adherent, George Zimmerman fan boy, and Superior Mayor Hagen apologist Jim Gerdes of Sturgeon Lake, Minnesota. In Sunday's Duluth News Tribune, Gerdes writes in Newspaper gives bias slant by telling readers who to vote for: I am taking issue with the News Tribune’s need to tell people who to vote for via endorsement editorials. In this country, in a pure sense, people are supposed to sort out the facts and make their... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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Is the Minnesota House Republican caucus losing its direction and message discipline? Two recent articles suggest that the caucus isn't united on transportation funding. In Saturday's J. Patrick Coolican article in the Star Tribune, Minn. House Speaker Kurt Daudt faces primary challenge from within GOP, there's this: For Duff and his backers, however, Daudt is just another Republican gone soft in St. Paul. . . . Duff cites the Daudt proposal to raise car tab fees as a prime example. “I don’t understand a Republican asking for that increase,” he said. Daudt replied that his 18-month campaign against Dayton’s gas... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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The consideration of a proposed Winona County ordinance that would impose a county-wide frac sand mining ban continues to move forward. At the Winona Daily News, Glen Olson reports in Planning commission sets dates for future frac sand meetings: The county-wide frac sand ban debate took a few small steps forward Thursday night, but will be the subject of several more meetings. The Winona County Planning Commission will continue discussion on a proposed county ban on industrial sand mining, particularly as it relates to silica sand for fracking, on Aug. 8, Aug. 11 and Aug. 15. Questions of what information... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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From the looks of the letters to the editor flowing into the local papers in House District 12A, Backer backers just can't help themselves when it comes to place-baiting. Backer backers are the supporters of Minnesota state representative Jeff Backer, R-Browns Valley, who won the seat in the 2014 Republican wave, defeating Elbow Lake's Jay McNamar by a mere 660 votes. Consider the latest missive, Wolverton excavator William Nichol's Watch what Jay does, not what he says. While Nichol hits the usual 'phobe notes about marriage equality and the dignity of transgender people ("forcing girls and boys to shower together"),... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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In his most recent column in the Fergus Falls Daily Journal, Politicians at fault for attacks on police, Otter Tail County Republican activist Bill Schulz sees a motive in Governor Mark Dayton's observation that had Philando Castile been white, he might still be alive. What is the Governor really after? Slave labor camps for those who don't agree with him. Schulz writes: “A day after a St. Anthony police officer shot and killed 32-year-old Philando Castile, a black man, on July 6, Dayton said, ‘Would this have happened if those passengers, the driver and the passengers, were white? I don’t... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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In the Mankato Free Press article, Hagedorn fundraising edges up; Walz challenger still faces cash disadvantage, Mark Fischenich reports: Republican congressional candidate Jim Hagedorn is seeing the fundraising advantages of being the endorsed candidate rather than the insurgent. Two years ago, Hagedorn had raised just $75,000 through the first half of 2014 when he was hoping to win a primary election and snatch the Republican nomination from endorsed candidate Aaron Miller. Hagedorn succeeded in beating Miller, but he was in a fundraising hole throughout the general election campaign and lost to Democratic Congressman Tim Walz by 8 percentage points. In... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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As we noted in Backer backer blames Rep. Wagenius for buffer legislation she voted against 2 years running, then Donnelly native attends McNamar fundraiser, catches up with MAHS & W. Central MN friends and finally Another letter responds to Backer backer's placebaiting attack in MN12 newspapers, there's a MN Jobs Coalition-spawned strategy to scold rural Democrats for holding fundraisers in the metro-area. The notion is that a metro address will mean "metro values," or whatever. Never mind that it's a standard practice by both parties--and some, perhaps more than others--feed the influence industry's cultivation of--well-influence. Witness the fundraiser being held... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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Winona County is in the process of considering an ordinance banning frac sand mining; mining opponents worry about the consequences of the boom-and-bust industry on the county's natural beauty, farmland, safety, economy and health. In Winona County commission must make frac sand decision based on legal authority, a letter to the editors of the Winona Daily News, La Crescent attorney Ed Walsh writes: I have been a practicing municipal and trial lawyer for 43 years, and my wife and I have been stewards of our sustainable, solar-powered 355-acre farm in Winona County's New Hartford Township since 1996. I applaud the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2016 at Bluestem Prairie
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One of the assets listed in the January 27, 2016 Financial Disclosure Report filed by Minnesota Second Congressional District Candidate Jason Lewis--a Galt.io, LLC Convertible Debt Note (described as "Loan to Galt.io, LLC due in stock or P & I in 2016 if firm solvent" in the January report) was later reported as "$25,000 unsecured loan to start-up company Galt.io, LLC due in 2016. Note defaulted; written off" in a later May 29, 2016 Financial Disclosure Report, required for the August 9 primary. Here's a screengrab of the line item from page 2 of the January filing: Here's a screengrab... Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2016 at Bluestem Prairie
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On Thursday,July 14, 2016, one day before congressional candidates' July Quarterly fundraising reports were due, Bluestem Prairie reported that MN02: Jason Lewis received $1000 from USIRPAC, managed by white nationalist activist. According to Jason Lewis's Q2 report, filed electronically the next day, this contribution was "refunded July 14, 2016." To recap: Lewis's fundraising report was filed on July 15, 2016; our post was published on July 14, 2016 and is based on the July 13, 2016 filing by US Immigration Reform PAC (see page 10 here). While the PAC's FEC report lists the contribution was made on June 2, 2016,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2016 at Bluestem Prairie
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Earlier this month, Bluestem Prairie looked at a place-baiting letter that flogged DFLers for a metro bias; the writer scolded a Minneapolis representative for the state's new buffer law. But as we pointed on in Backer backer blames Rep. Wagenius for buffer legislation she voted against 2 years running, Rep. Wagenius didn't write, co-author or vote for that legislation, while Jeff Backer, R-Browns Valley, played a role in crafting the 2015 law. He voted for it and the 2015 tweak--and has held a fundraiser in the metro as well. Now another voters who grew up in the district, but moved... Continue reading
Posted Jul 16, 2016 at Bluestem Prairie
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The July quarterly fundraising reports for the two Republican congressional candidates in Minnesota's Seventh Congressional District reveal that challenger Amanda Hinson has raised just slightly more than twice that gathered by David Hughes, the endorsed Republican candidate. However, Hinson's $11,831.78 dollars and Hughes' $5543.77 are dwarfed by veteran Blue Dog Congressman Collin Peterson's own paltry haul of $182,324.21. Even more daunting for whichever Republican wins the August 9 primary? Peterson's cash on hand of $580,552.61. Hughes had $807.64 in the bank at the close of June 30, while Hinson's bank account was down to $176.96. Peterson's unitemized small contributions--$15135.20--came close... Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2016 at Bluestem Prairie
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The North American Meat Institute's DC National Hot Dog Day weinerfest, co-sponsored by Minnesota's Seventh District Congressman Collin Peterson ,was met with a PETA protest, Roll Call's Alex Gangitano reports in Meat vs. Veggie Showdown on National Hot Dog Day: With only the front security entrance to Rayburn separating them, traditional hot dogs and veggie dogs were handed out for lunch simultaneously. So which do you choose? Several hot dog companies passed out the classic summer chow in the 97-degree heat. Another perk was that former Major League Baseball players were signing balls and bats for attendees. On the other... Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2016 at Bluestem Prairie
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UPDATE July 18, 2016, 12:16 a.m. : According to Jason Lewis's Q2 report, this contribution was "refunded July 14, 2016." Lewis's fundraising report was filed on July 15, 2016; our post was published on July 14, 2016 and is based on the July 13, 2016 filing by US Immigration Reform PAC (see page 10 here). While the PAC's FEC report lists the contribution was made on June 2, 2016, Lewis's report has the check being received on May 31, 2016. Thus, the campaign held on to the check for nearly a month and a half, only to be refunded the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2016 at Bluestem Prairie
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After filing for re-election in May, state representative Denny McNamara, R-Hastings, suddenly withdrew from the race on June 1. The last-minute filing on May 31 of Cottage Grove insurance agent Tony Jurgens guaranteed that a Republican would be on the ballot without all that messy endorsement and primary stuff. While McNamara said last month that he was "done working," we're wondering if he'll abruptly change his mind yet again, since the Minnesota Nursery and Landscaping Association is looking for a new Government Affairs Director, according to a posting on the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits' job board. The association was instrumental... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2016 at Bluestem Prairie
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Back in August 2015, Bluestem Prairie reported in Swift Co hires Goff Public to work on reopening CCA private prison to solve state's inmate binge that the job-hungry county in west central Minnesota would pony up an initial allocation $10,000 for the lobbying firm's services (pdf of Request for Board Action here): . . .Additionally staff requests that the board approve an initial allocation of $10,000 from County Board Discretionary Funds for this work. We are also requesting that both the RDA and City of Appleton participate in this work. Finally, we anticipate bring back a budget with a proposed... Continue reading
Posted Jul 12, 2016 at Bluestem Prairie
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The last time we spotted Gene Rechtizigel, he was running for the Republican endorsement for the open seat in Minnesota's Second Congressional District, as we reported in What's the buzz in MN02: Gene Rechtzigel shares Zika mosquito conspiracy theory in GOP debate. Republicans in the second slapped Gene off their sleeves and went on to endorse radio talk show host Jason Lewis, who holds slightly less outlandish ideas. Rechtizigel resurfaces in Jonathan Young's report in the Stillwater Gazette, 3 area Republicans seek place on November ballot for U.S. House: Three candidates want to represent the Republican Party in the race... Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2016 at Bluestem Prairie
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Last week in our post, Backer backer blames Rep. Wagenius for buffer legislation she voted against 2 years running, we looked closely a metro fundraiser that Jeff Backer held at the Downtowner Woodfire Grill in St. Paul. The HRCC footed the room rental, and Trisha Hamm, a metro-based political fundraiser from North St. Paul who was paid $95,697.84 for her services in 2015 (page 60 of amended report), collected the RSVPs and took calls about the event (see invite above). While Bennett Smith is a bit off about the sponsors of the fundraiser in his recent letter in the Morris... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2016 at Bluestem Prairie
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Willmar residents are working together on another thoughtful response to last week's tragic drownings of 10-year-old Idris Hussein and 11-year-old Ahmed Hashi in Foot Lake. Water safety training and swimming lessons. In the West Central Tribune article, Preventing another tragedy, Gretchen Brown reports: "These two young children have to be the last, last, last, last," one man had said at their June 28 burial, yelling louder with each word. Area groups like Willmar Community Education and Recreation and the YMCA have provided traditional swimming lessons to the Willmar community for years. Pam Vruwink of WCER says there's a gap between... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2016 at Bluestem Prairie
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In Morrison County Record editor Tom West's latest column, One GOP delegate’s torturous road to Cleveland, we learn that former DFL state representative Steve Wenzel, who resigned from the legislature to become Dubya's Minnesota state director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program from 2001 through 2008, then: Republican presidential nominees John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012. . . . This January, he decided to support Jeb Bush’s candidacy for the Republican nomination. His motivation was to find the best candidate to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House. He attended a Republican precinct... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2016 at Bluestem Prairie
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In today's West Central Tribune article by Tom Cherveny, 'Appleton option' to reopen western Minn. private prison stays the course: Miller said the opposition continued to ignore the fact that the corporation had offered the state an option to purchase or lease to own, and that the state would have operated the prison with union employees. Corrections Corporation of America had offered to lease the facility for $6 million to $8 million a year, and to sell it for $99 million. The lease payments could be used toward the purchase price, according to Miller. Appleton attorney Brian Wojtalewicz questioned the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2016 at Bluestem Prairie
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A recent letter to the editor published in two Minnesota House District 12A area newspapers damning former state representative Jay McNamar for a metro-area fundraiser raises more interesting questions than those created by hypocritical place-baiting. The writer, Cindy Solvie, does not appear to have checked the voting records on recent buffer legislation on the part Minneapolis DFL state representative Jean Wagenius, at whose home the fundraiser took place, nor that of Representative Jeff Backer, R-Browns Valley, whom the letter writer supports over McNamar. As Hancock-area resident Cindy Solvie's letter is nearly identical in the Fergus Falls Journal and the Morris... Continue reading
Posted Jul 5, 2016 at Bluestem Prairie