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Sally Jo Sorensen
Sally Sorensen, an independent blogger, lives and works in rural Minnesota.
Recent Activity
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After reading about the latest round of press conferences about legislative efforts to secure affordable emergency insulin for Minnesota's diabetics, we welcomed a Tuesday editorial in the New Ulm Journal, Insulin excuses should be made in public. Some background from a WCCO 4 News story, Gov. Walz Seeks Public Hearings Over Emergency Insulin Impasse: Gov. Tim Walz wants public hearings for Republicans and Democrats to reach a deal free emergency insulin for patients. The Democratic House and Republican Senate passed proposals last spring to provide emergency supplies of the life sustaining medication for those who can’t afford it, but a... Continue reading
Posted 6 hours ago at Bluestem Prairie
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A headline in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader says it all: South Dakota says, ‘Meth. We’re On It,’ and Twitter asks, ‘Are you guys OK?’ South Dakota's new anti-meth campaign is catching a lot of attention nationwide, and people are now asking "Hey, what's up with South Dakota?" Gov. Kristi Noem launched her new anti-meth campaign on Monday to bring awareness to the meth epidemic in South Dakota that will include a new TV ad, billboards, posters and website. South Dakota's meth crisis is "growing at an alarming rate" and impacts every community in the state, Noem said in the... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Bluestem Prairie
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We were scrolling through the New House Republican Caucus Facebook page and came across the post we've captured in the screenshot above. Bluestem certainly hopes no deer hunter used the graphic image as a field guide. That's not a whitetail deer. We thought it might be an elk (different dates and very limited Minnesota season). However, a knowledgeable source believes it might be a European Red Deer. "The Queen's Stag" is the English version of this creature. Whatever the case, that cervidae sports neither the right rack nor the namesake white tail of Minnesota's honest whitetail deer. The image also... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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We're not able to attend the Pesticide Action Network's Toxic Taters Community Health Summit on Saturday, but share this notice for those who are able to make it. Toxic Taters Community Health Summit with Sandra Steingraber in Perham Saturday Nov. 16 uploaded by Sally Jo Sorensen on Scribd Bill Moyers described guest speaker Sandra Steingraber: Ecologist and author Sandra Steingraber is an internationally-recognized authority on environmental links to cancer and human health. Called “a poet with a knife” by Sojourner magazine, Steingraber has received many honors for her work as a science writer. She was named a Ms. Magazine Woman... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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Yesterday was Give to the Max day in Minnesota, an effort described by GiveMN on its website: GiveMN launched in 2009 as a collaborative venture led by Minnesota Community Foundation and many other organizations committed to helping make our state a better place. To generate excitement for our launch, we organized a little something called Give to the Max Day. That spark touched off a outpouring of generosity — $14 million in 24 hours. Since that trial run in 2009, Give to the Max Day has become an annual tradition. Every year thousands of organizations raise money to improve the... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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On Halloween, the Park Rapids Enterprise published a letter-to-the-editor by Fosston Republican Steve Green, Let's not limit our options on CWD. The letter centered on a theory by neurologist Frank Bastian that chronic wasting disease, mad cow disease, and othe transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) disorders are caused by bacterial infections, rather than misfolded proteins called prions. We had been researching the claims, but a letter from University of Minnesota Regents professor Michael Osterholm, Rep. Green references debunked CWD research, sums up the case against Bastian's theory: Rep. Steve Green, in the Oct. 31 online edition of the Park Rapids Enterprise,... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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Last Thursday, the Austin Herald's Eric Johnson reported in Hagedorn town hall meeting turns contentious: It was clear early on that Wednesday night’s town hall meeting, hosted by Minnesota 1st District Rep. Jim Hagedorn at the Hormel Historic Home, was going to be lively. The meeting, which ran a little over an hour, covered a number of different subjects ranging from health care to climate change, was often times rife with contention from an evenly split room. . . . For most of the night, things went back and forth drawing both applause and condemnation throughout. Towards the end, talk... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Buried in deep In northwest Minnesota, farmers and environmentalists clash over possible contamination, other issues, a Forum News Service report by Barry Amundson: Unsafe nitrate levels The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has been collecting data from a voluntary private well check in the area, as well as statewide, to see if nitrate levels are climbing above the safe level. State agriculture department hydrologist Kim Kaiser, who visited with Park Rapids area residents at a meeting in late October, said in an interview that up to 13% of private wells tested in some townships in Becker, Wadena and Hubbard counties during... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
Kandiyohi County resident Hatlestad summed up the impact of great organizing in the Facebook post embedded above about the overwhelming public response to THEE Book Club's hosting of anti-Muslim speaker Usama Dakdok on Thursday. We had mentioned the meeting in an earlier post, Kandiyohi Co Commish Steve Ahmann was the only MN elected official to sign Say No to Interfaith Dialogue declaration. But Minnesota's media stepped up to cover the event and neighborly prayer vigil. The West Central Tribune's Tom Cherveny reports in Controversial anti-Islam speaker attracts twice the crowd in Willmar with protest and prayer vigil outside: Usama Dakdok’s... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Back in March, we posted about a South Dakota Study [that showed] endocrine-disrupting imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid, messes up does and fawns. Earlier this fall, South Dakota News Watch reported study shows neonics a danger to deer, pheasant study results soon. Now the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wants hunters' help in seeing if the study results resonate among Minnesota's whitetails. The St. Paul Pioneer Press's Dave Orrick reports in Are pesticides poisoning Minnesota’s deer? Hunters will offer up deer spleens as part of study: Minnesota wildlife researchers have a thing for deer spleens this fall. Starting this weekend with the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Back in September, we'd posted Worthington anti-government school group leader has a sad about Washington Post article. It's not a pretty story, but Minnesotans have been pushing back on narrative and the frame. The referendum vote in tomorrow, and the Worthington Globe's Leah Ward reported Sunday in Referendum spurs canvassing efforts: A coalition of community organizations facilitated weekend canvassing efforts in advance of Tuesday's Independent School District 518 referendum, and four Minnesota state representatives came to encourage the advocates and lend their support. "We have to support each other, because there aren't that many of us," said Aida Simon. She... Continue reading
Posted Nov 4, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Within a week of South Dakota, ACLU settling a lawsuit over ‘riot-boosting’ laws (the ACLU and plaintiffs got much of what they wanted), TC Energy's existing Keystone pipeline sprang a leak in northeast North Dakota. James McPherson of the Assoociated Press reports in Keystone oil pipeline leaks 383,000 gallons in North Dakota: BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — TC Energy’s Keystone pipeline leaked an estimated 383,000 gallons (1.4 million liters) of oil in northeastern North Dakota, state regulators said Thursday. Crews on Tuesday shut down the pipeline that carries tar sands oil from Canada through seven states after the leak was discovered... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Minnesota Public Radio's John Enger report focuses on Chronic wasting fears rise as deer disposal plan unravels in his coverage of Tuesday's joint meeting of the House and Senate Environment committee meeting to hear updates on troublesome deer diseases: A hauler contracted to empty dumpsters filled with deer carcasses during this year’s rifle hunting season is backing out over fears of chronic wasting disease. The state placed special dumpsters in parts of central and southeastern Minnesota where chronic wasting has been found. The plan was to use them to safely dispose of thousands of potentially infected deer carcasses. But Waste... Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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In September 2018, Bluestem posted about how the Southeast Minnesota community of Chatfield was growing kernza for wellhead protection. A friend who grew up in Chatfield sent us a recent article in the Bluff Country News/Chatfield News, Wheatgrass helping to keep Chatfield’s water clean, reporting on the progress of the project: City officials are finding that perennial crop cover wheatgrass may just be the way to improve water quality in Chatfield. “We have nitrate levels of 0.4 to 0, and it’s showing that the roots are using up the nitrates, doing their job. We’ve got a ways to go yet,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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The longer we read Tony Kennedy's story, 'No Child Left Inside' grant program opens with a bang, Applications gush in for $1.2M in program money, the more we felt we'd entered into an alternative universe of Minnesota legislative history: Minnesota’s “No Child Left Inside” legislation had its detractors earlier this year, including lawmakers who disliked the naming similarity to “No Child Left Behind,” the signature education reform of President George W. Bush. But the $1.2 million grant program opened last week with an explosion of interest from around the state. “Call it Merry Christmas if you want … it was... Continue reading
Posted Oct 28, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Saturday's post on potential drinking water problems near a southeastern Minnesota fish kill, MNWOO Director: Garvin Creek water that kills fish not good for human drinking water supplies, reminded us of the latest report from the excellent South Dakota News Watch. Contaminants are common in S.D. drinking water, but most within legal limits is a fascinating examination of contrasting standards. Bart Pfankuch reports: State testing data show that several contaminants — all of which can be harmful to human health — are commonly found in the drinking water provided to residents of South Dakota, but whether the contaminants are present... Continue reading
Posted Oct 27, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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A late September fish kill on a trout stream in Southeastern Minnesota has an angler and geologist concerned about the lack of inquiry into the effects the incident may have on the area's drinking water. Back in September, Chris Rogers reported in the Winona Post article, Fish kill decimates upper Garvin Brook: Hundreds, likely thousands, of fish have died after a fish kill in Garvin Brook near Farmers Park outside Stockton, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The Minnesota Duty Officer received a report of the fish kill last Thursday morning. The cause is still unknown. State... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Seventeen years ago, Senator Paul Wellstone died in a fiery plane crash near the Eveleth airport. A passage in Rob Perez's Paul Wellstone, in retrospect, published today in MinnPost, along with a Minnesota Public Radio report related to the plight of farmers, Closing the farm gate: Struggling farmers take emotional step to forge new career paths, has made us wonder: What would Wellstone do? When I think about Paul Wellstone today — the activist, the student, the listener, the partner — I cannot help but think about how he would fare in times like these. And that’s when the yard... Continue reading
Posted Oct 25, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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On Wednesday, we posted that Kandiyohi Co Commish Steve Ahmann was the only MN elected official to sign Say No to Interfaith Dialogue declaration circulated by Washington State anti-Muslim preacher Shahram Hadian. As we reported in Like Branson for Islamophobes: Shahram Hadian brings shows back to central Minnesota, the THEE Book Club hosted Hadian from November 27 through November 30, 2018. Ahmann's wife is a central figure in organizing the group, which frequently hosts anti-Muslim speakers from outside the Willmar and West Central Minnesota area. Over 400 people have signed the anti-dialogue declaration, according to the initial list of signatories.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 24, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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UPDATE November 5, 2019: We learned today that Kandiyohi County Commissioner Steve Ahmann has removed his name from the Say No to Interfaith Dialogue declaration. Fortunately, we saved a screenshot of his signature on the page: [End update]. We recently learned a reader that the Thee Book Club in the Willmar area is hosting a Straight Way of Grace Ministry Event featuring anti-Muslim preacher Usama Dakdok. Readers may remember learning about Dakdok in our earlier posts, beginning in 2014: Three-day Bagley Islamophobe event turns nasty as crowd harasses Muslim woman at high school Anti-Islam speaker Usama Dakdok will appear at... Continue reading
Posted Oct 23, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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On Sunday, Minnesota Public Radio's Elisabeth Dunbar reported in Minnesota begins to explore climate solutions in corn, soybean farming: Growing corn, soybeans and other crops contributes significantly to Minnesota’s overall emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases associated with climate change, but a new analysis shows a range of practices can reduce those emissions — and help improve water quality at the same time. “Many farmers are already engaging in these practices for other reasons,” said Peter Ciborowski, an environmental research scientist at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the author of a new report exploring the impact of various agricultural practices... Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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In a July post, Welcome to Historic Fort Snelling at Bdote, or maybe not under Christian right's Project Blitz, we wrote about the politics behind Minnesota Senate Republican threats to cut funding for the Minnesota State Historical Society. Earlier this month, the Minnesota Historical Society seeks name to tell Historic Fort Snelling's entire story, Forum News Service's Shelby Lindrud reported: Opinions differ on whether a new name is in order for the site where Fort Snelling is located, but those who attended public meetings seem to agree on one important issue: The Historic Fort Snelling site has a long, complicated... Continue reading
Posted Oct 21, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Back in late July, we posted U.S. Senate bid buzz? Jason Lewis headliner at Alexandria-area state rep's fundraiser. Since then, Lewis indeed stepped in as a Republican senate contender hoping to challenge Minnesota's junior U.S. Senator Tina Smith. Franson critic and constituent Esther Mehrer thinks Franson stepped into it with the choice of the August headliner. In Franson has some 'splaining to do about Lewis, a letter to the Alexandria Echo Press, Mehrer writes: We recently learned that four Minnesota Republicans have received political donations by two of Rudy Giuliani's associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. Both were arrested recently... Continue reading
Posted Oct 20, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Back in March, we posted Study shows endocrine-disrupting imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid, messes up does and fawns. On Wednesday, the ever-excellent South Dakota News Watch delved into the study and its implications in SDSU study shows world’s most common pesticide a danger to deer: A groundbreaking study conducted by scientists in South Dakota has found that the world’s most widely used family of pesticides — neonicotinoids — is likely causing serious birth defects in white-tailed deer, deepening concerns over the chemical’s potential to harm large mammals, including humans. A subsequent study by the wildlife scientists and ecologists at South Dakota State... Continue reading
Posted Oct 17, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
While South Dakota groaned under our first snow of the fall, Governor Kristi Noem was in Miami, Florida, dipping into the American Priority Conference, where the New York Times reported a Macabre Video of Fake Trump Shooting Media and Critics Is Shown at His Resort. To her credit, Gov. Kristi Noem 'strongly condemns' fake video of Trump shooting media, opponents, Lisa Kaczke reported Monday in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Gov. Kristi Noem said she "strongly condemns" a violent video depicting President Donald Trump carrying out a massacre of news organizations and political opponents. The video has been thrust into... Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie