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Sally Jo Sorensen
Sally Sorensen, an independent blogger, lives and works in rural Minnesota.
Recent Activity
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Bluestem Prairie has opposed private prisons for many years and reopening the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton in particular. When we read All quiet on the western front concerning the Appleton prison facility in the West Central Trubine on Monday, we were not particularly pleased. Tom Cherveny reported: . . . Don’t mistake the lack of activity for a lack of interest. The reopening of the vacant, 1,600-bed private prison remains a priority for the Appleton community as well as area legislators. The facility has not held inmates since 2010. State Sen. Andrew Lang, R-Olivia, and Rep. Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg,... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Bluestem Prairie
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We've been impressed with the work of the Forever Green Initiative , from the kernza propagation we saw on a field day in 2017to its work on new perenial oilseeds like winter camelina and pennycress. HF661, sponsored by Rep. Ginny Klevorn (DFL-Plymouth), would dedicate $5 million in fiscal years 2022 and 2023 from the Clean Water Fund to the Forever Green Initiative, Session Daily reports. Nate Gotlieb writes in Crop development program would get $10 million under approved bill: Legislators are considering whether to provide extra funding to a University of Minnesota program that develops new crops, cropping systems and... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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There's a raft of headlines similar to those on Paul Blumenthal's article for Huffpo, Republicans Are Pushing A Wave Of Voter Restrictions. Democrats’ Top Priority Would Stop Them. HR1, the "For the People Act" passed on Wednesday on a 220-210 roll call vote. Read more in Alana Wise's report in House Approves Major Election Reform And Voting Rights Bill. Those Minnesotans who consider such legislation to be a threat to "election integrity" can look to Minnesota House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, and Deputy Minority Leader Anne Neu Brindley, R-North Branch, who are working with a national group to make... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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Back in February's Oh the rewards of place-baiting: Rosen's return to Fairmont makes for a pretty swell data point, we picked up on Forum News Services columnist Mike McFeely commentary. In You know the metro area subsidizes rural Minnesota, right? he observes: Punishing Minneapolis, including its businesses, makes for good politics in outstate Minnesota. Republicans, interested more in obtaining power than actual governing, are more than willing to play the game. There's a fight in the Legislature over whether state aid should be doled out to Minneapolis to help local businesses recover from last year's riots inspired by the killing... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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We grew up on the shores of Lake Emily in Le Sueur County, so learning to swim was easy. Unfortunately, now many Minnesota children--especially Black and other children of color--don't have that opportunity. It's a tragic distinction, as children who don't know how to swim are more likely to drown. Should HF1166,sponsored by Rep. Ami Wazlawik Dfl-Whitebear Township, be included in the final version of the Legacy bill, that sometimes fatal gap would be addressed. In Legacy funds could help close the swimming gap, Rob Hubbard reports for Session Daily: “The world is 71% water and children are 100% curious.”... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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Since moving to South Dakota, we've learned more about the tragedy of Native American boarding schools. Our beau's father shared many stories with his son about his experience and the tales are of injustices to a Dakota boy. His experience came later than that covered by the resolution, in the late 1920s and the 1930s, but it still brutalized the boy and his spirit. In House acknowledges survivors of Native American boarding schools, Dana Hess reports for the Rapid City Journal: Tuesday afternoon the House acknowledged and honored the Native American children who were forced into boarding schools and denied... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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Earlier this morning, we posted Would #mnleg change to Board of Animal Health structure short circuit regulatory capture? a heads-up about the hearing HF1137 would receive at 1:00 p.m. in the House Agriculture Finance and Policy Committee. What happened? Here's the Minnesota House Information Services YouTube of the HF1137 discussion: For Session Daily, Nate Gotlieb reports in Board of Animal Health could be restructured after CWD criticism: The board overseeing Minnesota's livestock- and domestic animal-health agency, which has been criticized for lax oversight of deer and elk farms — the main known source of chronic wasting disease in the state... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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Back in March 2019, we posted Study shows endocrine-disrupting imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid, messes up does and fawns. Later that year, n October, we posted South Dakota News Watch: study shows neonics a danger to deer, pheasant study results soon and South Dakota study on neonicotinoids' effects on whitetails prompts MNDNR deer spleen request Going back even more, we find that some Minnesota house members were concerned about deer and neonics two years earlier: #mnleg HF170 Studying neonics in wild deer; intro by @reprickhansen , Lee, Ecklund and @peggyflanagan https://t.co/nGxsTPtz0q — Sally Jo Sorensen (@sallyjos) January 11, 2017 It's a good... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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Bluestem Prairie makes no apology for our admiration of Roseville DFLer Jamie Becker-Finn. A new story in the Minnesota Reformer makes us disappointed in her colleague's action and we hope he is held accountable. And that he figures out that he should mention bill numbers for bills he wants heard in committee. First-term lawmaker Erik Mortensen is also no stranger our readers. Shakopee GOP lawmaker doxxes DFL colleague in Facebook post, could face ethics complaint By Ricardo Lopez March 1, 2021 A Shakopee GOP lawmaker on Sunday night posted the personal cell phone number of a DFL colleague, encouraging his... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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UPDATE March 1, 7:05 p.m: to learn what happened in committee, read our latest post, Board of Animal Health could be restructured. [end update] In mid-February, we posted in Minnesota Deer Farmers Association ignorant about tribal membership as legal designation about a response to HF138, a bill authored by Minnesota House Agriculture committee chair Mike Sundin, D-Esko, to add a tribal member to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health. Compelling testimony by Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa tribal chair Kevin DuPuis addressed the genesis of the bill. The bill's hearing in the video here begins at the... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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We're trying to catch up on a busy week of hearings in the Minnesota legislature. Some of the most moving testimony came in the Minnesota House Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee when it heard testimony on Maplewood DFLer Peter Fischer's HF157, which would prohibit lead tackle sale, manufacture, and use. Greg Stanley covered the hearing and background in-depth in As trumpeter swans die, Minnesota lawmakers consider banning lead jigs and fishing tackle. Buried at the end, there's this: The ban proposal comes as a number of trumpeter swans have been found dead of lead poisoning on Sucker... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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From Session Daily: Environment panel approves update to motorboat, recreational vehicle DUI provisions By Nate Gotlieb A bill ensuring motorboat and recreational vehicle DUI provisions are the same as motor vehicle DUI provisions has been approved by a House panel. HF695, sponsored by Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn (DFL-Roseville), on Friday was approved 17-0 by the House Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee and referred to the House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance and Policy Committee. Its companion, SF703, sponsored by Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria), awaits action by the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2021 at Bluestem Prairie
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We're a bit late on posting this one, as the bill was heard in committee on Tuesday, but believe our readers appreciate pollinator news. From Session Daily: Control over pesticide bans could be returned to local governments By Nate Gotlieb Minnesota cities could prevent residents and businesses from using certain pesticides, a move environmental advocates say could help protect pollinators. Sponsored by Rep. Samantha Vang (DFL-Brooklyn Center), HF718 would allow cities to pass ordinances banning pesticides that are lethal to bees, butterflies and other pollinators. State law has preempted cities from enacting such bans for over 30 years. Cities couldn't... Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2021 at Bluestem Prairie
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It's been a pleasure watching Erik Hatlestad, who grew up in rural Kandiyohi County, mature into a leader in crafting rural power policy. Hatlestad, who serves on the New London City Council, works for CURE (Clean Up the River Environment), a rural peoples’ organization with offices in Montevideo, Minnesota. CURE’s Energy Democracy Program has been critical of certain rural electric cooperative governance practices and has recently released reports such as The Rural Electric Cooperative Scorecard and Rural Electrification 2.0. Hatlestad has played a key role in those efforts. But his leadership doesn't stop at CURE's doors. He's also been a... Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2021 at Bluestem Prairie
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Since we posted Justice for Joe Boever: Governor Noem calls for AG Ravnsborg's resignation; articles of impeachment filed in South Dakota House yesterday afternoon, two videos of South Dakota Attorney General being interviewed about the crash that killed Joe Boever have been posted by the state of South Dakota. The videos are at the bottom of this post. Update: At the request of AG Ravnsborg's lawyer, a judge ordered the Youtubes made private. We've updated the post with the story in the place below where we'd embedded the Youtube. [end update] First a news digest. Perhaps the most vivid lede?... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2021 at Bluestem Prairie
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While we were watching Minnesota House committees, the pendulum swung against South Dakota Jason Ravnsborg, who was charged last last week with 3 misdemeanors in crash that killed Joe Boever. This tweet by Forum News Services South Dakota bureau chief Jeremy Fugelburg popped up in our feed: INBOX: SD Gov. Kristi Noem calls on AG Jason Ravnsborg to resign, after he was charged in deadly crash. pic.twitter.com/64oEnrXOvU — Jeremy Fugleberg (@jayfug) February 23, 2021 Not long after that, South Dakota AP reporter Steve Groves tweeted: The scene in the South Dakota House as we await word whether AG Jason Ravnsborg... Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2021 at Bluestem Prairie
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Via South Dakota News Watch: Legalization of marijuana could provide economic boost for S.D. Native American tribes By: Bart Pfankuch Legalization of marijuana in South Dakota could provide a new, lucrative economic-development opportunity for Native American tribes and tribal members who have historically struggled to find prosperity and stability in the state economy. Voter-approved measures to legalize marijuana in South Dakota may be on hold or stalled for the time being, but planning and research into creating a regulatory framework and business opportunities surrounding legal pot are continuing. As those discussions and proposed legislation move slowly forward, it is becoming... Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2021 at Bluestem Prairie
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Last March, the Land Stewardship Project announced it had named Jess Anna Glover as Executive Director of both LSP and Land Stewardship Action Fund (LSAF). In an email that was sent yesterday and was forwarded to Bluestem Prairie, the organization announced that the Stewartville native had resigned on February 12. The email: We, as members of the Land Stewardship Project (LSP) and Land Stewardship Action Fund (LSAF) boards of directors, are writing to inform you that on Friday, Feb. 12th, Jess Anna Glover resigned as the executive director of LSP and LSAF. We have accepted her resignation and have proposed... Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2021 at Bluestem Prairie
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Just in from the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, which regulates farmed cervidae in the state: St. Paul, Minn. - Test results following the late-January depopulation of a Houston County white-tailed deer farm confirm nine additional cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD). Results from the National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed the detection of CWD in five does and four bucks. The farm first detected CWD in a 2-½-year-old white-tailed deer in October 2020 (read the 2020 press release here). “This herd was in good standing in our farmed cervid program and was double-fenced since 2017,” said Board Assistant Director, Dr.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2021 at Bluestem Prairie
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We've been poky about posting about the proposed Minnesota Clean Car rules and the opposition to them. We recommend readers begin at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) About Clean Cars Minnesota webpage to begin, then visit the agency's broader website Clean Cars Minnesota. Want the weigh in? Our rural environmental friends at CURE urge participation in the Clean Cars Public Hearings | Feb 22 & 23: The Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings is hosting two virtual hearings on the MN Clean Car rule. These hearings are another opportunity to make your voice heard in the rulemaking process by oral... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2021 at Bluestem Prairie
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Early on in Minnesota's pandemic restrictions, Lynd, Minnesota, gym and restaurant owner, anti-vaxxer, anti-masker and anti-shutdown order citizen Larvita McFarquhar invited pastors to use her space at Haven's Garden for worship, but she recently said no one took her up on it (discussion with California anti-masker Peggy Hall begins at the 8:14 mark). Her blessings seem to have improved, as the screenshot at the top of this post illustrates. Who is Darryl Knappen? He recently earned headlines around the state of Minnesota with a now-deleted YouTube posted on the Cornerstone Church's channel. In January, Forum News Service newspapers reported in... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2021 at Bluestem Prairie
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The teaser at the top of Forum News Service outdoors columnist Brad Dokken's Wildlife managers pinpoint a numbers problem with chronic wasting disease testing forecasts what's going to come in the article: Convincing hunters that a deer can look perfectly healthy but still have CWD is an ongoing challenge when it comes to testing. Typically, infected deer don’t display the classic emaciated, listless symptoms until the last four months or so before they die. While the numbers are down in North Dakota, the dropoff in sampling was even more striking in Minnesota. Fifteen paragraphs down column, there's this: The dropoff... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2021 at Bluestem Prairie
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We've been asleep at the wheel on a story about the influence of anti-vaxxers in Minnesota's Republican party. Torey Van Oot tweeted on February 12: Outgoing treasurer to be replaced by Mark Blaxill, who was confirmed by party exec board: pic.twitter.com/WPFsF1nTyx — Torey Van Oot (@toreyvanoot) February 12, 2021 Star Tribune editorial board writer Jill Burcum pointed out in a tweet on Friday: Further evidence of how entrenched vaccine conspiracy theorists are: Anti-vax author Mark Blaxill is the Minnesota Republican party's new treasurer. https://t.co/zkBQr9R4Be https://t.co/Hh5oqP0BUr — jburcum (@jburcum) February 19, 2021 To read critiques of Blaxill's scribblings, start with this... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2021 at Bluestem Prairie
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A bill promoted by the Land Stewardship Project has passed out of the Minnesota Agriculture Finance and Policy Committee. In Sign the 100% Soil Healthy Farming Petition Today, LSP wrote: Farmers are on the front lines of the climate crisis – battling extreme weather and changing seasons while also building soil health to sequester carbon and soak up excess water. In developing LSP's Soil Health and Climate Campaign, LSP members were clear: now is the time for landscape-scale transformation. Our bill, built by farmers from the ground-up, will set a goal to incentivize and provide the resources needed to achieve... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2021 at Bluestem Prairie
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We've written about the No Child Left Inside grant program in posts like Aitkin Co Land Commish: local conservation center would benefit from Becker-Finn bill and Strib readers must go 10 paragraphs down to learn whose "good idea" No Child Left Indoors is. The program is part of Roseville DFLer Jamie Becker-Finn's forward thinking about conservation and outdoor policy. Now the program is on its way for renewed funding. At Session Daily, Nate Gotlieb reports in No Child Left Inside grant program could get $2 million: A popular, two-year-old grant program that has funded dozens of environmental and natural resources... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2021 at Bluestem Prairie