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Sally Jo Sorensen
Sally Sorensen, an independent blogger, lives and works in rural Minnesota.
Recent Activity
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Amid the hoopla over Minnesota's new state bee, the endangered rusty-patched bumble bee, we found a bit of bragging about defeating pollinator protection legislation, via a Minnesota Corn Growers' tweet yesterday: Legislative Update has been keeping you in the know throughout Minnesota's legislative session. Our final report provides what corn farmers need to know from the not-yet-covered budget bills: https://t.co/RunCFudJ89 — MN Corn Growers (@mncorn) June 13, 2019 In the blog post, Legislative Update: Remaining bills impacting corn farmers, we came across this fascinating paragraph: There were three policy provisions not included in the final environment and natural resources compromise... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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A friend and neighbor posted a 2017 story by KSTP on Facebook this morning, Family Feels Race is Factor in Lack of Coverage About Missing Minneapolis Woman. It told an all-too-common story: When young people disappear, their families are left with broken hearts and unanswered questions. It's even more frustrating for families who feel their missing children don't get enough attention. JoJo Boswell is a young Native American woman who vanished in 2005. Boswell's family believes her disappearance failed to make the headlines because of her race. An Internet search for information on Boswell produces her picture on all kinds... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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Tony Kennedy's article about commercial turtle harvesting, posted online of Saturday at the Star Tribune, is a good read as far as it goes. In Commercial turtle harvesting in Minnesota remains a worry for some, Kennedy reports: A movement to abolish commercial turtle harvesting in Minnesota will continue to inch along despite a setback at the Legislature this year. A measure to revoke the licenses of trappers who still target the animals passed the Minnesota House this year but got dropped in conference committee for the 2019 Fish & Game bill. Supporters are concerned that the turtle trade will further... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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In Wednesday's Alexandria EchoPress, there's news of another Republican candidate signing up to run against long-serving DFL Blue Dog U.S. Representative Collin Peterson, now the chair of the House Ag Committee. Al Edenloff reports in Novak runs for Congress in 7th District: A candidate with an extensive military background, Joel A. Novak of Alexandria, recently announced that he will be running as a Republican for U.S. representative in Minnesota's 7th Congressional District in 2020. The incumbent is Collin Peterson, DFL-Detroit Lakes, who has held the office since his election in 1990. Novak has lived in western Minnesota his whole life,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 5, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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In Heftier bonding bill could be in store after Minnesota lawmakers miss window in 2019, Forum Communications capitol report Dana Ferguson closes with a curious statement by Republican Lino Lakes state senator Roger Chamberlain,: "There has to be a balance. You have to be able to negotiate, have some leverage, some ability to hold things close to the vest in negotiations," Chamberlain said. "Anybody who thinks we're going to come through these things and just all be singing kumbaya and dancing in the street is living in a fantasy land and ought to go get medicated because it never will... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Early Saturday morning, Mankato-area DFL state representative Jack Considine tweet a bit of information at his area media: During the session the DFL controlled Bonding Committee heard 165 Bills many of them emergency bills. How many did the republican Senate Bonding Committee hear?..It was a trick question, in 5 months they did not meet ONCE. #MNLEG @greatermankato @mnhouseDFL @Mankatonews @ktoenews — Jack Considine (@jackconsidineMN) June 1, 2019 A Bluestem source had pointed out this fact in a call yesterday, and as we check it out, it's indeed true. A visit to the Minnesota Senate Capital Investment Committee "Meetings" page, where... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
Back in the day when Roseau Republican Dan Fabian chaired the Minnesota House Environment and Natural Resource Finance and Policy Committee, committee members heard a bill on the burning issue of allowing hunters to keep feral swine they might encounter and shoot while out hunting. The bill (HF3874), apparently crafted by Fosston Republican Steve Green's grandson for a grade school project, made it into the 2018 Omnibus Environment budget bill, according to Session Daily. Never mind the fact no breeding population of feral swine lives in the state of Minnesota, the Pioneer Press reported. Thus we find it interesting for... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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At the splendid South Dakota News Watch, Nick Lowery has dug into the details of CWD in Further spread of Chronic Wasting Disease alarms hunters, wildlife officials: The discovery in March that a rocky mountain elk tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease in Clark County — the easternmost case ever found in South Dakota — has provided scientists further evidence that the deadly disease is continuing to spread across the state. The diagnosis comes as new research shows that CWD may be causing some North American deer and elk herds to shrink and has heightened concerns the disease could jump... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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We're slowly reading through the consequences of the special session that executed the budget agreement crafted in closed negotiations between Governor Walz, House speaker Melissa Hortman and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka. So far, we have no particularly fresh insights on the product or the process, and so we present this news digest about both. At MinnPost on Wednesday, the indispensable Peter Callaghan provides an overview of the entire session in Well, that happened: Making sense of Minnesota’s 2019 legislative session. Nice headline. From the copy: . . .Walz agreed that the provider tax concession was key in the budget... Continue reading
Posted May 29, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Bluestem apologizes to our readers for an unanticipated Memorial Day hiatus, a holiday that's particularly embarrassing given Friday's special session of the Minnesota legislature. We'll be back this evening with some reflections on that and the results of the regular session, along with news of our new favorite Republican politician, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem. According to the latest news report, State asking for interest in fencing S.D. Governor's mansion, concerns about her safety exist. We will investigate whether the concern is over pipeline protesters and out-of-state "riot boosters," lawyers serving papers, or angry badgers. Our weekend was spent visiting... Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Session Daily and other venues report Walz calls for special session Friday. Readers who want to know what is in the omnibus budget bills are advised to visit the MNHouse Info YouTube channel for Uploads of committee and division walk throughs of the bills, and the committee/division homepages, as well as checking out coverage in the state's newspapers and other media. Here's the video of Thursday's Special Session Omnibus Environment & Natural Resources bill informational hearing by the Minnesota House Environment and Natural Resources Division, via the Minnesota House Information Services YouTube channel: Here are the documents about the hearing... Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Back in 2017, Bluestem posted about central Minnesota beekeeper Steve Ellis's role as lead plaintiff in a lawsuit charging EPA approved neonics with little thought to bees. The post was built on Minnesota Public Radio reporter Dan Gunderson's Judge: EPA violated law in approving products dangerous to bees, butterflies: A Minnesota beekeeper is claiming a partial victory in a federal lawsuit over the regulation of a common insecticide. Last week, a federal judge in California ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency violated the federal Endangered Species Act when it approved dozens of neonicotinoid insecticide products. Steve Ellis of central Minnesota... Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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UPDATE #3: The new draft of the bill, tracking sheet and the The new Omnibuzz Environment and Natural Resources Budget Bill here. The tracking sheet for the budget here. The Omnibus LCCMR Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund here. Watch the hearing at noon, via the Combined Legislative Meeting Calendar: HTV1 MN House Information Services will be streaming on Facebook Live. Now we're going to read the bill. [End Update #3] UPDATE #2: Just in by email from Peter Strohmeier, the House Environment and Natural Resources Division Committee Administrator: Thursday, May 23, 2019 , 12:00 PM Environment and Natural Resources... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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In an updated post published Monday, UPDATED: Lights out for Bambi in Senate GOP lights-on bill; could look better in budget deal, Bluestem noted a tweet by Roseville DFLer and Minnesota wild deer defender Jamie Becker-Finn about the Omnibus Environment and Natural Resource conference committee "large policy compromise in #mnleg Enviro conference committee! Includes CWD plan and #NoChildLeftInside." The conference committee kicked decisions on language the Wild Rice Stewardship Council, naming a public space to honor Walter Mondale, and the wolf hunt to leadership. and so the omnibus environmental and natural resources bill didn't make the deadline for the final... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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UPDATE 5/20/2019: A tweet by CWD action leader, state representative Jamie Becker-Finn, DFL-Roseville, from the Omnibus Environment and Natural Resources Conference Committee suggests that matters might be looking up as the committee works under the targets and guidelines set by Sunday's budget agreement. She tweeted: Passed large policy compromise in #mnleg Enviro conference committee! Includes CWD plan and #NoChildLeftInside 🦌🎣 pic.twitter.com/vDA0W7LEEC — Jamie Becker-Finn (@jbeckerfinn) May 20, 2019 A clearer view of the House Policy Offer--adopted on a voice vote--from the Minnesota Center for Environmental Action: Here is the language that is currently being discussed for adoption in the Environment... Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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From Saturday morning's Legislative Update from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources: Chronic wasting disease sampling has wrapped up, with just over 8,000 samples collected and tested from November 2018 through April 2019, which will inform CWD surveillance zones and boundaries for the 2019 hunting season. Across the state, 34 wild deer tested positive for the disease: 27 in deer permit area 603 in southeastern Minnesota; six in southeastern Minnesota, outside of DPA 603; and one in north central Minnesota. (No wild deer tested positive for CWD in central Minnesota.) Since 2016, a total of 51 CWD positive wild deer... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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In Agriculture policy set to finish first as conferees reach agreement, Session Daily's Erin Martin reports: One down and many others to go. Approved Wednesday morning, the omnibus agriculture policy bill is the first omnibus bill to be wrapped up by its conference committee. Sponsored by Rep. Jeanne Poppe (DFL-Austin) and Sen. Bill Weber (R-Luverne), HF1733 next needs to repassed by the House and Senate before going to the governor for his signature. The process was sped significantly by the removal of some provisions that are included in the omnibus agriculture, food and housing finance bill. That measure awaits conference... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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by Paul Sobocinski Originally published by the Land Stewardship Project Minnesota's state leaders have the power and responsibility to act in the best interest of all Minnesotans, as well as our water and land. We rely on our state to ensure we have safe water to drink, clean air to breathe, and healthy land to pass down to the next generation. But right now, Big Ag interests are working hard to write special laws for themselves at the expense of the rest of us. I know that family livestock farmers like me respect the inherent value of our land. We... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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In a recent editorial, Our View: Place names Choose the parts of history to honor, the Mankato Free Press editorial board noted local state representative Jeremy Munson's tasteless Bde Maka Ska/bidet crack on Almanac: In that context, let us note that Rep. Jeremy Munson, R-Lake Crystal, went on TPT’s “Almanac” on Friday to defend the Calhoun name and apparently thought it advanced the discussion to make a smirking bathroom pun off the Bde Maka Ska name. That’s an approach befitting a third grader, not a state representative. There's that. Bluestem observed in Random white guy with an opinion on PBS... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Once again, the Minnesota House has passed a bill to create a task force to address the brutal facts of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. At Session Daily, Tim Walker reports in House OKs bill to address ‘historic epidemic’ of violence against indigenous women: On the House floor Thursday, lawmakers heard stories of violence, rape, death, injustice and other trauma affecting Native American women and girls at rates far above other populations. Murder is the third-leading cause of death for 10- to 24-year-old indigenous girls and women, said Rep. Mary Kunesh-Podein (DFL-New Brighton). “This is a real historic... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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News digest update May 9: At the Duluth News Tribune, John Myers reports on the story in CWD confirmed in seven more deer from Brainerd-area game farm. John Enger reports at Minnesota Public Radio in Chronic wasting found in 7 deer on Crow Wing Co. farm. On social media, we learned that the news was taken up in the Omnibuzz Environment and Natural Resources budget bills conference committee: Dr. Beth Thompson from Board of Animal Health is testifying. She describes a depopulated cervid farm where some of the specimens were unable to be tested due to decomposition. i.e. Dead deer... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Update: See the May 6, 2019 Republican Protest and Dissent directed toward Rep. Becker Finn and Speaker Melissa Hortman, posted below. [end update]. While the Star Tribune reported in April that Lawmakers, lobbyists describe cautious Capitol in wake of #MeToo, a recent item in the Journal of the House suggests that not every lawmaker is being cautious about his behavior while the House is conducting business. State representative Tony Jurgens, R-Cottage Grove, was called out for "aggressive, inappropriate behavior following a vote on the House floor on April 29, 2019" in a protest and dissent letter signed by a long... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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UPDATE, May 9: In Additional citation filed against Minnesota lawmaker arrested over weekend, published Tuesday in the Pioneer Press, Mara Gottfried and Dave Orrick report: A state lawmaker is now charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly scuffling with a security guard at a St. Paul bar, hours before he was cited for refusing to leave a nearby hospital. Rep. Matt Grossell, who was arrested Saturday, pushed a security guard several times before pulling him to the ground, according to the misdemeanor charged filed in Ramsey County District Court Tuesday. “Rep. Grossell is remorseful about his conduct that night; it does... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Maybe state representative Jeremy Munson wasn't the best guest for an Almanac segment on the Bde Maka Ska controversy. We have to wonder--and not for the first time--what goes through the producers and hosts minds when guests are booked. On Friday night, TPT's Almanac featured Lake Crystal New House Republican Jeremy Munson, of whom host Erik Eskola said was "skeptical of changing names of historic places." Given Munson's basic historical illiteracy about the names of Minnesota's indigenous people, we wonder just why the hell this fellow was paired with Roseville DFL state representative Jamie Becker-Finn, who is Leech Lake Band... Continue reading
Posted May 4, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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"Rural communities may be on a path to higher electric rates if they fail to restructure over $7 billion in debt tied to coal production, according to findings in a new fact sheet. 'Rural Electrification 2.0—a Clean Energy Economy,' was released Tuesday by Lyle, Nebraska-based Center for Rural Affairs, in partnership with Clean Up the River Environment (CURE) Minnesota and We Own It. CURE's home is Montevideo, Minnesota, with a mission for Energy Democracy, as well as grassroots environmental action in the Minnesota River Basin. CURE's Energy Democracy Organizer tweeted about the report: We put a lot of work into... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie