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Sally Jo Sorensen
Sally Sorensen, an independent blogger, lives and works in rural Minnesota.
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Joint legislative meeting on Minnesota CWD action October 29 From South St. Paul state representative Rick Hansen's September 12 legislative update: Chronic wasting disease (CWD), a fatal neurological disease that impacts deer and similar species, is a long-term threat to the health of our state. My House DFL colleagues and I took significant steps to address CWD this year, but there’s more work to be done. The House Environment and Natural Resources Finance Committee, which I chair, has agreed to host a joint public hearing with our counterparts in the Senate. We’ll hear updates on efforts to stop the spread... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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Yesterday, Minnesota state representative Steve Drazkowski shared the meme at the top of this posts with his friends on Facebook and the world at large. While the meme claims "you will never see these kinds of stories from liberal media, the fact is that this heart-warming tale of businessman Trump's largesse actually has been shared by the American press-- and debunked by some. It's never been confirmed. Polifact, a project of the Poynter Institute, asked the question, Did Donald Trump pay hundreds of workers to help in search-and-rescue efforts days after 9/11?: By Samantha Putterman on Wednesday, March 13th, 2019... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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At its 2018 annual meeting, keynote speaker, Fox News commentator Tomi Lahren told the Lignite industry: Get Louder, according to the website of the Williston Basin Chapter of the American Petroleum Industry. In recent commentary published as Lignite coal is unique (Minot Daily News) and North Dakota’s lignite industry leads to the way (Wahpeton Daily News), Lignite Energy Council Vice President of Research and Development Mike Holmes takes her advice and gets loud about North Dakota's coal industry. Not that we want to throw cold water on the op-ed piece, but we thought one paragraph in the piece--stressing sequestered C02... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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It is a fact universally reported that former state senator and accidental Minnesota lieutenant governor Michelle Fischbach is seeking the Republican nomination in Minnesota's Seventh Congressional District. Moreover, the entry of the high-profile pro-life attorney has prompted the Cook Political Report to slide the seat in a pro-Trump congressional district to a new rating, as David Wasserman reported in MN-07: Peterson Moves from Lean Democratic to Toss Up. All of this is stale news. Wasserman did note: Enter Fischbach, who launched her bid calling Peterson an enabler of "the socialist agenda of Nancy Pelosi, Ilhan Omar and the rest of... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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In a story picked up across the Gannett chain, Cary Spivack of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports in A nonprofit that's supposed to promote dairy pays its leaders millions — while the farmers who fund it are going out of business: Dairy Management Inc. spends $160 million a year from farmers' milk checks on promotions and partnerships, but sales continue to fall. As the number of dairy farms nationwide has plummeted by nearly 20,000 over the past decade, there's one corner of the industry doing just fine: The top executives at Dairy Management Inc., who are paid from farmers' milk... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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One of Governor Kristi Noem's objections to the industrial hemp industry may fall to the wayside. South Dakota Public Broadcasting Radio reported in Virginia Trying Field Test To Differentiate Hemp And Marijuana: Governor Kristi Noem says she’s concerned legalizing industrial hemp production will put law enforcement at a disadvantage. She says police officers are unable to distinguish between hemp and marijuana on the road. However, the Commonwealth of Virginia says it’s in the process of validating a field test to distinguish between the two. . . . . . . Virginia’s Department of Forensic Science says its found a field... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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At the Bismarck Tribune, Forum News Service staff John Hageman reports in Study: North Dakota, Minn. could see largest drops in food stamp beneficiaries: North Dakota and Minnesota would see some of the largest percentage decreases in households receiving food stamp benefits under a proposed federal rule tightening eligibility requirements, according to a study released Thursday. The study performed by Mathematica, a policy research firm, said 9% of households receiving benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program across the country would lose eligibility under the U.S. Department of Agriculture proposal. That number would be higher in North Dakota and Minnesota,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Last week, the Associated Press reported in DNR tweaks Minnesota deer hunt rules to check chronic wasting: Minnesota is taking a three-pronged approach to curbing the spread of a fatal brain disease among the state's estimated 1 million wild deer, the state Department of Natural Resources said Tuesday. The agency has taken an aggressive approach to combating chronic wasting disease, which is incurable, said Lou Cornicelli, the DNR's wildlife research manager. "In the case of this disease, we know doing nothing is not an option," Cornicelli said in a teleconference. The agency plans to expand hunting opportunities and bag limits... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Bluestem's been pretty critical of South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem's approach to industrial hemp. Turns out we're not alone. In the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Forum Communications capitol reporter Dana Ferguson reported Friday in Walz tours Hastings hemp farm to tout crop’s potential — and ding South Dakota: Gov. Tim Walz walked through rows of hemp and lifted customized gardening shears emblazoned with the phrase “chief hemp inspector.” Surrounded by state lawmakers, industrial hemp stakeholders and reporters, he snipped off the top of the stem and placed it in a paper bag. “For us to continue to find and expand... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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The Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources wants to know which issues West Central Minnesotans need funding most from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF) and will hold two listening sessions in Morris (Stevens County) on September 11 and 12. As readers may recall, per the LCCMR website: In 1988, 77% of Minnesota voters approved a constitutional amendment establishing the ENRTF (Article XI, Sec. 14) - a constitutionally dedicated fund that originates from a combination of Minnesota State Lottery proceeds and investment income. The purpose of the ENRTF is to provide a long-term, consistent, and stable source of funding... Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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We first learned about Jim Denomie's splendid paintings via critic Sheila Regan's overview, An Indigenous Artist Captures the Racial Violence at Standing Rock. Bluestem was please to learn McKnight Names Painter Jim Denomie 2019 Distinguished Artist: The McKnight Foundation has selected visual artist Jim Denomie to receive the 2019 Distinguished Artist Award, a $50,000 gift created to honor a Minnesota artist who has made significant contributions to the state’s cultural life. Denomie, a member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Ojibwe, combines vivid hues and disarming humor in powerful narrative paintings that invite new perspectives on historical and contemporary... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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After reading the headline for the Strib's frontpage profile of Mazeppa House New Republican Steve Drazkowski, Minnesota lawmaker goes from GOP backbencher to leading critic of U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, we thought the topic of Draz might come up in a post. Sure enough, a kind reader sent us a link to a YouTube created from audio of Monday's Steve Drazkowski and Barb Haley Town Hall at the Red Wing American Legion, sponsored by the local Toastmasters' chapter. It's a remarkable, target-rich environment, but our favorite moment comes when Haley and the Draz condemn new wage theft legislation. Here's what... Continue reading
Posted Aug 27, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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In Freedom Club running internet ad for Munson, we wondered whether an online ad that showed up in one of the Lake Crystal New Republican state representative's constituent was an independent expenditure by the west metro conservative organization's state-level political action committee. Apparently not. The reader got back to us with the link underneath the graphic, and it's to a page that asks readers to "Stand with Jeremy Munson Sign this petition and give support to Senator Anderson." We've posted a screenshot at the top of the post. Tweaking the URL a slight bit, we discover that the Senator Anderson... Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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In the Duluth News Tribune, Brady Slater reports in Diabetes advocate first glimpse at DFL's 8th District maneuvering: A lifelong diabetes advocate fighting now to lower insulin costs is considering a run for the DFL nomination in the 8th Congressional District, where no one so far has come forward to challenge incumbent Rep. Pete Stauber in 2020. Quinn Nystrom, 33, spoke with the News Tribune from her hometown in Baxter, Minn., over the weekend to confirm she'd been recruited to run for Congress by a number of people within the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. She's treating it as one of the biggest... Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Randal Thom of Lakefield, joined in State Representative Jeremy Munson's Facebook picture(above), first came to our attention when Lakefield's "Front Row Joe" arrested for disorderly conduct at Elizabeth Warren event in early January. Following that episode, Thom gained national attention in mid-February, when he implied his dog, Donald Trump, was shot and killed because of the dog's name. As we reported in Warren rally disorderly conduct guy from Lakefield in news again for livestock-chasing dog, the at-large dog was shot by neighbors' defending their livestock. In April, we posted "Front Row Joe" arraigned after his dogs slaughter cats, goats &... Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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While we were gathering eggs and picking tomatoes on Friday, a couple of developments transpired in the case of Tennessee-based private prison corporation CoreCivic's efforts to gain a contract with ICE to detain immigrants in the shuttered Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton. As we posted earlier in Land Stewardship Project: LSP member leaders oppose ICE detention facility at Appleton prison and West Central Tribune coverage of opposition to possible use of Appleton CoreCivic prison by ICE, citizens in West Central Minnesota opposed to the plan are organizing, and it appears they've gotten the attention of DFL lawmakers. As for the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Bluestem looked at South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem's heel-dragging on industrial hemp agriculture on August 19 in Knowns & unknowns: SD Gov. Kristi Noem goes full-bore Donald Rumsfeld on industrial hemp. Since then, news has broken about a driver arrested for transporting hemp from Colorado to Minnesota, a Dakotafest panel considered the debate over growing the benign weed, and editorial boards across the state have grown snarky toward Noem's position. The pull-over and arrest In USDA said states can't block hemp drivers. So what happened in South Dakota?, Forum communications capitol reporter Dana Ferguson reported: Colorado driver hauling nearly 300... Continue reading
Posted Aug 23, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Last week, we posted about former state representative Tony Cornish's consideration of another run for his office in Rosen's July 4th parade unit driver may seek old #mnleg seat; or the sorrows of young Munson. Cornish had retired after accounts of his sexual harassment of a fellow representative and a lobbyist emerged. Jeremy Munson, New Republican-Lake Crystal, gained in a February 2018 special election for the seat. At the Mankato Free Press, Trey Mewes reported in Cornish considering run for former House seat: Former Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Vernon Center, is mulling a return to St. Paul. Cornish confirmed Wednesday he... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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A phrase in the KSFY report, Noem urged caution on industrial hemp ahead of committee meeting,"Noem . . . [asked] lawmakers to consider the "unknowns" surrounding industrial hemp," reminded us of an unforgettable moment in former United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's discourse. In 2002, Rumsfeld said: Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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On Thursday, we noted a post by Land Stewardship Project: LSP member leaders oppose ICE detention facility at Appleton prison. We overlooked Tom Cherveny's typically fine reportage in the West Central Tribune, Opposition forms to possible use of Appleton prison by ICE: Opposition is forming to stop a bid by CoreCivic to open a portion of its former Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton as a detention center for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. More than 160 people attended a meeting Tuesday evening in Appleton called by an informal network of people who oppose the former prison's possible use as an... Continue reading
Posted Aug 17, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Earlier this week, we posted Opposition to CoreCivic bid to re-open Appleton Prison as ICE detention center meet to Tuesday. On Wednesday, Land Stewardship Project posted this account of the meeting, LSP Member Leaders in Opposition to ICE Detention Facility, on its website. Note that over 170 people attended: The Coalition of Concerned Residents of Western Minnesota held a meeting on Tuesday, August 13, to lift-up and grow the opposition to CoreCivic’s plan to open the Appleton prison as an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center. Many Land Stewardship Project (LSP) members are deeply involved in this grassroots coalition... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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In the Worthington Globe, Julie Buntjer reports in Area counties report thousands of unplanted acres in 2019: More than 19.4 million acres of farmland across the country didn’t get planted this year due to flooding and frequent spring rains, according to a new report issued Monday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Just in the six counties of far southwest Minnesota, nearly 224,000 acres did not get planted this spring. Farmers in northwest Iowa fared a bit better, but still had between 7,000 and 8,000 acres unplanted in each of Lyon, Osceola and Dickinson counties. Murray County had the highest... Continue reading
Posted Aug 14, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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As longtime watchers of Minnesota's right (the circuit runs through urban and rural areas alike), Bluestem has been deeply impressed by the deep flavor of the KoolAid shared by the THEE Book Club in the Willmar Area. The group's Patriot Day speaker is up to par. Patriot Day Event: Honoring and Remembering with William Federer will take place at Willmar's City Auditorium, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Here's how THEE Book Club describes the event: On September 11, 2001 the United States experienced a tragedy that hadn't been encountered since the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. With this... Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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On Sunday, we posted about a meeting this evening in Opposition to CoreCivic bid to re-open Appleton Prison as ICE detention center meet to Tuesday. Here's the place and time: If you would like to learn what you can do to discourage CoreCivic from opening an ICE Detention Center in our region, you are invited to come to the meeting from 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesday at Shooter’s bar in Appleton. We've been looking in Federal Election Commission and Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board data to see where CoreCivic, the private prison corporation that owns the Prairie Correction Facility, puts... Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Bluestem has covered the efforts to keep the closed private Prairie Correctional Facility shuttered. Owned by CoreCivic, as Corrections Corporation of American rebranded itself, the facility sits idle in Appleton. In a letter to the editor of the Marshall Independent, Darwin Dyce of Ghent writes in Appleton meeting targets detention center proposals: We are living in a time when we face many challenges and need to nurture understanding and compassion to transform hateful divisiveness that turns us against each other. CoreCivic, a private company, has submitted two proposals to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to re-open the Appleton Prison as... Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie