Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
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ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Pawlenty wants the federal government to provide low-interest loans to farmers in six northern Minnesota counties affected by wet weather in 2008 and 2009. Pawlenty sent a letter asking U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to declare Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Marshall, Pennington, Roseau and Koochiching counties as disaster areas, opening the way for the loans. "During the fall of 2008, the region experienced above-average precipitation, leaving saturated soils," Pawlenty wrote.
ST. PAUL - A group fighting sexual abuse by Catholic clergy wants people who have been abused as far back as the 1960s to contact law enforcement officials as more allegations surface about a brother who taught in several Upper Midwest schools. Bob Schwiderski of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests on Tuesday called on anyone who may have been abused at a church retreat along the St. Croix River north of the Twin Cities to contact law enforcement authorities and his organization.
ST. PAUL - It was a strange Minnesota State Fair this year, politically at least. There generally is not much political activity in a non-election year, like 2009. But with a couple dozen candidates in or getting ready to jump into the 2010 governor's race, many were interested in getting face time with fair-goers. Candidates and potential candidates found plenty of reasons to be at the fair. Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau was one of them, although the farmer always spends a lot of time there.
FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. - Two Minnesota state commissioners put on their best wild west sheriff impersonations, complete with cowboy hats, to show how to prevent flu from spreading. Lt. Gov.
FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. - Minnesota 4-H officials sent 120 youths to their homes across the state from the State Fair today after some came down with the H1N1 swine flu. Four 4-H members and one staffer early today were confirmed as having the new flu.
FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. - Karen Dvergsten reflected on the meaning of 4-H amid noisy sheep at the Minnesota State Fair. It is more than the literal meaning of 4-H: head, heart, hands and health. "It is very important for building a work ethic," the Roseau County woman said.
FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. - Most Minnesota State Fair visitors smile, but Laura Olson beamed. Olson stood outside a glass-enclosed, refrigerated booth containing one of her three daughters and a sculptor. It was a first-day-of-the-fair tradition Thursday, sculpting in a 90-pound butter block the likeness of Princess Kay of the Milky Way. For the Olsons, the fair itself is a tradition.
ST. PAUL - So far, Minnesota pandemic flu cases have centered on the Twin Cities, they typically have affected younger people and most cases have not been severe. But state health officials warn that the H1N1 "swine" flu outbreak expected this fall may be different and anyone could be affected. "We want the citizens to be motivated, but not frantic..." Health Commissioner Dr. Sanne Magnan said.
ST. PAUL - Minnesotans can go to a Web site to get an idea about how much health-care providers charge for some services. A hundred of the most common health services are priced on the Minnesota Community Measurement Web site. The average prices are in addition to some quality ratings that have been on the site since 2004. Gov. Tim Pawlenty said the information will help Minnesotans be better health consumers, and thus will force down health-care prices. Not knowing how much a service will cost "is a great frustration," the governor said.