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Sally Jo Sorensen
Sally Sorensen, an independent blogger, lives and works in rural Minnesota.
Recent Activity
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Back on February 6, Bluestem reported in Dominant culture: Lueck gets in a huff about proposal aimed at getting kids into the outdoors that the Aitken County Republican state representative was offended on the part of local environmental education center: The day after the [House Environment and Natural Resources Policy] committee meeting, Lueck said in an interview that he took offense on behalf of the people at his local outdoors outfit, the Long Lake Conservation Center near Palisade. He perceived that Becker-Finn attacked the ability of those organizations to conduct diverse outreach. Interestingly enough, Aitkin County Land Commissioner Rich Courtemanche... Continue reading
Posted 4 hours ago at Bluestem Prairie
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The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced Friday that a dead wild doe found January 23 northeast of Merrifield tested positive for CWD on February 14. Not unlike the CWD found in wild deer in Southeastern Minnesota, the discovery follows an earlier incidence of the prion-based disorder in a captive herd of farmed deer: The DNR began surveillance around a CWD-positive captive cervid facility near Merrifield starting in the 2017 hunting season. With outstanding cooperation from hunters, the DNR has sampled more than 8,600 deer in its north-central surveillance zone during the past two years. None of those deer tested... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Bluestem Prairie
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In early January, Bluestem posted about how Lakefield's "Front Row Joe" [was] arrested for disorderly conduct at Elizabeth Warren event. We noted that Randall/Randal (it shows up either version in the registry of court records that can be searched at the Minnesota Trial Court Public Access (MPA) Remote View) had something of a record. He's back on social media and in the news following the fatal shooting of his dog, Donald Trump. As much as Thom tried to milk the situation, the dog's death had nothing to do with its name, but rather its activity: attacking a neighbor's livestock. As... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Bluestem Prairie
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This morning, the Office of the Legislative Auditor released its report on the State of Minnesota's disastrous roll-out of MNLARS, its new driver's license and vehicle registration system. While the Legislative Audit Commission will meet Thursday at 5:15 p.m. to review the report, the hearing won't be streamed on video and audio. However, headlines about the report suggest that readers don't have to use much imagination about how things will go down. There's Report blames 2 state agencies for botched MNLARS launch at KTSP 5. There's Legislative auditor: Agency leaders fell short launching MNLARS at Minnesota Public Radio. Our favorite... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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We had just read a powerful editorial by the ECM Editorial Board that was published in the Morrison County Record on February 1, Legislators must correct the trust fund raid, when we stumbled across a special Steve Drazkowski moment in the Minnesota House Ways and Means Committee on Monday, February 11. The committee was hearing Hermantown DFL Mary Murphy's HF80, which would fix the trust fund raid. The Leader of the New House Republican Caucus, Drazkowski spoke out against the fix, essentially saying that DFLers who want to follow the Minnesota Constitution, state laws and fiscal sanity just want to... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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Bluestem Prairie had predicted at mid-day on Monday in Turn in a poacher: after years of pro-captive deer & elk inaction on CWD, Daudt tries to own policy that a couple of Minnesota House Republicans try to poach a bill that Jamie Becker-Finn tweeted about on Thursday. Unfortunately for Greg Davids, R-Preston, and Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, the origin stories for their bills don't match up. The Daudt creation story In Fatal deer disease poses 'beast' of a problem for Minnesota lawmakers, Forum Communications capitol writer Dana Ferguson reports: House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, last year asked scientists at the... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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We're still waiting for video and other materials from the press conference we mentioned in our earlier post today Turn in a poacher: after years of pro-captive deer & elk inaction on CWD, Daudt tries to own policy, but a reader was kind enough to send two items handed out at the event this afternoon. The plan itself is at the top of the post, and there's this map: Just as we typed the paragraph above, we received audio of the press conference: Photos: The plan and a map of where purchasers of Minnesota resident deer hunting licenses live. If... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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A reader forwarded an email from Charles Peterson at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). The relevant part: You are receiving this update because you commented previously on the permit or Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) for a project proposal from Catalpa Ag LLP for an Individual NPDES Permit. The Project Proposer has notified the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) that he has withdrawn his application. This decision terminates both the EAW and feedlot permit application processes and this matter is concluded. Because there is no longer a project to consider, we will not be responding to the comments that were... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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Last Thursday, Roseville Democrat Jamie Becker-Finn, a hunter and recognized leader in the discussion to establish policy and funding for the state's efforts against chronic wasting disease (CWD), tweeted: “CWD Super Group” team of scientists from University of Minnesota ready to get to work on chronic wasting disease. Time for us to give them the tools to make real progress. #CWD #mnleg pic.twitter.com/7OusPLLsbS — Jamie Becker-Finn (@jbeckerfinn) February 7, 2019 It's our understanding that the Becker-Finn bill--which will be introduced today just before the Minnesota House meets this afternoon--has bipartisan support. That night, a news report appeared on Rochester television... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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In Sunday's New Ulm Journal, Fritz Busch reports in Hagedorn, Torkelson address county Republicans: . . .Hagedorn said. “You have great leaders here in Southern Minnesota with Rep. Paul Torkelson and Sen. Gary Dahms. Paul worked hard on Highway 14 and everything else. Gary stands between you and a more socialist Minnesota. Gov. Tim Walz wants a gas tax, legal recreational marijuana, single-payer healthcare and 50 percent renewable energy, which isn’t feasible because we don’t have the technology.” Bluestem is a bit baffled by the "socialist" ingredients in Hagedorn's dread stew. After all, cannabis prohibition is used by the defenders... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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Bluestem Prairie last wrote about Minnesota Gun Rights January 12 in Berserk fundraising letter from Minnesota Gun Rights aims to scare you out of your money. Our lede: Over the years, Bluestem Prairie has covered the peculiar saga of the Minnesota Gun Rights organization in posts such as Sixteen pro-Second Amendment MN House members disavow Minnesota Gun Rights and A field guide to 2018 MN 2nd Amendment rallies. . . . Over at Fox 9, Theo Keith reported in Minnesota gun group says it's a nonprofit, but was revoked on the Thursday evening news that there's more sketchiness in MGR's... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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One indication that Americans are taking the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) more seriously? In Thursday's Fencepost, a press release appeared from U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., office, announcing the reintroduction of bipartisan legislation, the Chronic Wasting Disease Transmission in Cervidae Study Act. In St. Paul, members of the Minnesota House Environment and Natural Resource Finance Division heard University of Minnesota researchers discuss their research and search for a quick test for the disease. Session Daily's Erin Martin reports in Researchers seeking fast, accurate test to halt spread of chronic wasting disease: Experts stressed the need Thursday for a... Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Once again, Swift County's commissioners are hoping to win state support for reopening the Prairie Correctional Facility private prison in Appleton, Minnesota. Given Governor Tim Walz's strong opposition to private prisons, as well as opposition to them among key House DFLers, the notion is not likely to go anywhere. At the West Central Tribune, Tom Cherveny reported Thursday in Swift County wants to revive effort to reopen prison: The Swift County Board of Commissioners is taking another try at winning state support for reopening the Appleton prison. The commissioners informally agreed at their meeting on Tuesday that they would seek... Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
While recent news reports proclaimed A benefit of extreme cold: It kills the dreaded emerald ash borer, those listening to multi-agency and expert testimony in the Minnesota House Environment and Natural Resources Policy Committee learned that even a polar vortex is no match for the horrible borers. One committee member tweeted: “One thing to remember is the cold is not a cure. EAB populations can and will rebound”. Says Angie Ambourn, MN Dept of Agriculture, Minnesota responds to #EAB 🌳🌳🌳#mnleg pic.twitter.com/mJvosmyOUA — Rep. Rick Hansen (@reprickhansen) February 6, 2019 Here's the hearing: Photo: The Minnesota Shade Tree Advisory Committee tweeted... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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In Questions of equal access, outdoors outreach come out of bill debate, Lillie News staff writer Matt Hudson reports on a remarkable moment last week in the Minnesota House Environment and Natural Resources Committee: The proposed bill was straightforward. It would create a grant program aimed at getting kids into the outdoors. The bill’s author, state Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn, DFL-Roseville, gave the bill the title No Child Left Inside. She introduced it to the House Environment and Natural Resources Policy Committee on Jan. 30. Becker-Finn told the committee that to maximize reach, the grants in the bill should focus on... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Scott Van Binsbergen, a Montevideo property management business owner and former Vin Weber congressional aide, thought about running against Collin Peterson in 2014 and 2018, Roll Call reported in Minnesota Businessman Taking Another Look at Challenging Peterson. But it was not to be either time. Nonetheless, in a new column in Alpha News--Van Binsbergen's only contribution so far to the online conservative news source--the Chippewa County Republican suggests that Peterson better get on the stick about supporting Trump's wall, or somebody just might run against him in the 2020 election. Van Binsbergen writes in Commentary: Rep. Collin Peterson should now... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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At the Minneapolis-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy website, Ben Lilliston reports in The state of the USDA: A quiet dismantling: As President Trump prepares the State of the Union address at the midpoint of his term, fights over the U.S.-Mexico border wall, the Russia investigation, and his latest tweet are dominating headlines. But beneath the noise lies a remarkable, relentless, and often secretive two-year effort to structurally weaken and starve the Department of Agriculture. The 35-day government shutdown highlighted the critical role USDA offices and programs play for farmers and rural communities—a role that the new Congress will... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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In the special election to fill the empty seat in Minnesota State Senate District 11, the Duluth News Tribune has endorsed the Republican candidate, noting in Rep. Rarick has better background: Rarick is a union-endorsed master electrician and small-business owner — in addition to already being an effective and respected representative in the Minnesota House. Nowhere in the piece does the editorial board mention the union-endorsements of his opponent, Stu Lourey, even though it's easy to find them on Lourey's endorsement page: AFSCME Council 5 AFSCME Council 65 Duluth Building Trades Education Minnesota Minnesota AFL-CIO Northeast Area Labor Council Minnesota... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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The Murray County Sheriff's Office Facebook page is like nearly every other law enforcement social media page in Minnesota this winter, sharing information about winter school and government office closings, road conditions, admonishments to bring pets in from the bitter cold, lost, found and homeless pets, anti-suicide efforts, current road conditions and law enforcement social media posts. In short, public safety and law enforcement content. On Ground Hog's Day, however, the page got into some generational politics, sharing a meme from the Man Page critical of the politics of young Americans. The Man Page shares a certain unstoic flavor of... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Via Dakota Rural Action's Weekly Legislative Update, Bluestem learns that three bills related to Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) have been introduced in the South Dakota Legislature: Recognizing the high rates of Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW), and sharing information, resources and training on this epidemic came into the national spotlight with the introduction of Savanna’s Act in Congress last year. While that bill became mired in political maneuvering, it has been re-introduced this year on the national level. On the state level, bills have been introduced in both houses in an effort to address the problems with... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
In the latest edition of Agrinews, the Post Bulletin's farm publication, Brownton horse-dealer Keith Tongen compares the proposed wall along the United States Mexican border with fences that farmers use to control livestock--while suggesting that there's "DFL logic" about fences. Indeed, we have to wonder why the Agrinews editors chose to run this letter, since it's about border policy, not farming in Minnesota. In Letter: Farmer's logic says build the wall Tongen tells the editors and readers: Having grown up and currently living in an agricultural area with livestock (farm animals), I can relate to “the wall.” In my world,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
A business call took us away from the committee hearing on HF70 (and its "clone HF111; both bills to create and fund a Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women Task Force). We had written about the legislation on Tuesday in Public Safety hears MMIW bill today; yesterday, House GOP games would have stopped it. The bill's author, Mary Kunesh-Podein, DFL-New Brighton, and other committee members discussed how it should be passed as a stand alone bill in both houses and sent to Governor Tim Walz. The hearing for the bill: Session Daily's Tim Walker reports in 'Minnesota will not let indigenous... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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On Tuesday, City Pages' Hannah Jones noted Anoka Republican state senator Jim Abeler's appreciation of anti-vaxxers in Two members of the new MN Autism Council are vaccine skeptics: Members Wayne Rohde and Patti Carroll are both part of the Vaccine Safety Council of Minnesota and Health Choice, organizations that have argued that vaccines can be harmful (they can, in extremely rare cases) and that they may cause autism (they do not). Republican Senator Jim Abeler, who formed the MN Autism Council, says Rohde and Carroll are both “remarkably useful” members of the group. They both have children on the autism... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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This afternoon at 12:45, the Minnesota House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance and Policy Division will hear HF70, Mary Kunesh-Podein's bipartisan bill to create and fund a task force to address the national disgrace of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women. Readers can watch the hearing here and read the committee documents here: Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Reservation Business Committee Letter of Support - 1/28/2019 Shelley Buck, President of Prairie Island Indian Community, Letter of Support - 1/28/2019 Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls Report - 1/28/2019 But had Republicans had their way yesterday,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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At Session Daily, Erin Martin reports in House panel learns of current challenges to state’s waters: Minnesota’s waters face mounting challenges. Pollution lingering from the past is being joined by new pollutants, creating an evolving balance between the growth of society and preservation of an irreplaceable natural resource. “One of the things grey hair brings to you is that we are doing things a whole lot better than we did when I started in 1974. We have made progress; we have a long way to go,” Calvin Alexander Jr. , professor emeritus of earth science with the University of Minnesota,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 28, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie