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 - 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.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota leaders are bracing for a fiscal fallout as federal policymakers debate health-care reform proposals costing $1 trillion. Most state governments, including Minnesota, faced huge deficits as they wrote new budgets this year.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Tim Pawlenty has asked federal authorities to help the pork industry, mostly encouraging them to work out better international trade deals. The Minnesota Republican stopped short of what nine of his colleagues, including those from Iowa and Wisconsin, asked: increasing spending on pork for federal community programs.