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ST. PAUL -- Farmers who suffered crop losses due to the July 30 wind storm that struck west central Minnesota will be eligible for low-interest emergency loans from the federal Farm Service Agency. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Edward Schafer designated Lac qui Parle, Big Stone, Chippewa, Swift and Yellow Medicine counties as agricultural disaster areas, Gov. Tim Pawlenty's office announced Monday. A loss assessment report provided by Lac qui Parle County documented the extensive damage to corn and soybean crops by the storm.
Minnesota Power's Taconite Ridge wind farm isn't producing nearly as much electricity as anticipated in recent months, with seven of the 10 wind turbines shut off for repairs. The $50 million project, built on 450 acres of land overlooking U.S. Steel's Minntac mine, came fully online early this summer. But this fall, inspectors with the turbine manufacturer discovered defects in seven of the wind turbines' blades.
ST. PAUL - Al Franken won an interim victory Wednesday, and hopes that provides him enough votes to win the U.S. Senate race. As election officials started recounting Minnesota's 2.9 million U.S. Senate ballots, a judge granted the Democrat's request that Ramsey County release controversial absentee ballot information. The county must divulge the names of absentee-ballot voters and any written information about why the ballots were rejected, Ramsey County District Court Judge Dale Lindman decided.
The Marine Corps is a funny breed, all its own. I first realized that when I arrived at boot camp in San Diego before my service in the Vietnam War. Our drill instructor pounded it into our heads that we were no longer white, black or Latino; we were Marine green. That was the only color we should care about, he said. Approaching Veterans Day this year, I realized being "Marine green" was what led me on an unexpected journey to California, where I attended the funeral of a Marine who was a member of my unit, the 1st Battalion, 4th Marines.
ST. PAUL - The country's costliest U.S. Senate campaign left those at the candidates' final debate Sunday thinking it could be the nastiest, too. The sharp campaign attacks that dominated the past week continued in the hour-long Minnesota Public Radio debate, with the two leading Minnesota U.S. Senate candidates trading frequent barbs about campaign accusations and policy positions. It started with a question to Republican Sen. Norm Coleman about allegations that a friend of his tried to use a business transaction to funnel money to the senator.
ST. PAUL - The October surprise came with not a day to spare. On the final day of the month known for election-year bombshells, U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman Friday staunchly refuted a lawsuit alleging that a wealthy supporter funneled money to the senator through his wife's employer. Coleman called it "a false and malicious political attack." Entering the final weekend of a nasty Senate battle, Coleman accused challenger Al Franken's Democratic allies of engaging in a "sleazy" smear campaign.
MINNEAPOLIS - Former President Bill Clinton and top Minnesota Democrats warned supporters not to get comfortable as they near a promising Election Day. The former president, campaigning in Minnesota for the first time since earlier this year, said Thursday Democrat Barack Obama is well-positioned to take the country in a new direction. But, he added, to be effective Obama will need more Democrats in the U.S. Senate. "You got a lot riding on your shoulders," Clinton told the enthusiastic crowd gathered at the Minneapolis Convention Center. "Minnesota's led this country in a lot of ways.
I guess I'm showing my age. I got all excited when I received for review "Goodbye, Wisconsin," by Glenway Wescott (Borderland Books, $28). Borderland is an imprint of the University of Wisconsin Press, which for years has published a series of books by gay writers, most of whom were not from Wisconsin, like Christopher Isherwood. But Wescott -- he was a Wisconsin guy, who grew up in Kewaskum. So I told several friends, mostly literature teachers, mostly younger than I am.
ST. PAUL - Al Franken was in the Mideast when he decided to run for Senate in the Midwest. In late 2006, the comedian-satirist-writer-talk show host was on his fourth trip to visit U.S. soldiers in Iraq. Upset at the Bush administration and Republicans such as Sen. Norm Coleman, Franken said he had been considering running for office but had reservations because of the time commitment and personal and family sacrifices. The Democrat made up his mind after witnessing troops on that visit. "They're in danger, putting themselves at tremendous risk and away from home..." Franken recalled.
MINNEAPOLIS - Sen. Hillary Clinton told Minnesota Democrats that if Al Franken is not elected to the Senate, ambitious plans of a Barack Obama presidency could hit a Republican road block. Clinton, who challenged Obama in a historic run for their party's presidential nomination, urged supporters at a Minneapolis rally Tuesday to work extra hard in the campaign's final 13 days to send Franken to the Senate. "I believe that with your help and your hard work in the next two weeks, we're going to elect Al Franken," Clinton told a crowd packed into the university's McNamara Alumni Center.