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ST. PAUL -- The state's highest court probably will decide if voters get to weigh in on the only proposed constitutional amendment in the Nov. 7 election. Minnesota Supreme Court justices heard arguments Wednesday over a petition brought by mostly rural elected officials who want a transportation funding ballot question stripped from the election. Attorney Doug Peine told the seven justices that the ballot question should be removed because the wording will confuse voters and does not adequately explain the amendment's potential ramifications.
"Is this the face that launched a thousand ships And toppled the towers of Ilium?" That's what the hero asks in Christopher Marlowe's Renaissance play, "Dr. Faustus" when he gets a glimpse of Helen of Troy. Madison, Wis., author Margaret George has just published "Helen of Troy." (Viking, $27.95). She is the author of "The Autobiography of Henry VIII" and "The Memoirs of Cleopatra." These books are not dry historical accounts of Tudor England or Ancient Rome, but novels told in the voice of the titular character. The same goes for her new book.
ST. PAUL -- The race for Minnesota attorney general appears to be as much about the legacy of the current officeholder as about the candidates wanting to replace him. Republican candidate Jeff Johnson said he would shift priorities in the office and end the "partisanship" that has defined Attorney General Mike Hatch's tenure. "We have seen that office in the last seven-and-a-half years become overtly partisan and political," Johnson said.
ST. PAUL -- A central issue in the Minnesota attorney general's race involves whether the office should continue its pursuit of consumer fraud, mainly in the health care industry, or make public safety a top priority. On that issue and most others, leading candidates Democrat Lori Swanson and Republican Jeff Johnson propose differing visions for the state's top legal office. Swanson, the solicitor general and a top assistant to Attorney General Mike Hatch, said if elected she will keep the office focused on protecting Minnesotans against fraud in the health care system.
HIBBING -- Three Hibbing Community College football players and a former teammate appeared in St. Louis County District Court Monday accused of taking part in the gang rape of an 18-year-old Iron Range high school student on the college campus. Daily Whitten, 19, of Darlington, S.C., Talon Deante Jackson, 20, and Terrance Dominque Laverity, 20, both of Miami, are each charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Former teammate Andrew Jonathan Williams, 20, of Milwaukee, is charged with two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.
DULUTH -- Three of four Minnesota state auditor candidates said they would not use the office as a political stepping stone, but the incumbent is leaving open that possibility. State Auditor Pat Anderson said she would not rule out running for another office, such as governor, but is focused on winning Nov. 7. "I'm running for re-election and that's my intention," she said Saturday. The issue arose during a debate among auditor candidates Republican Anderson, DFLer Rebecca Otto, Independence Party candidate Lucy Gerold and Dave Berger of the Green Party.
Minnesota's first industrial copper mine appears headed to reality over the next 24 months with the potential of hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in economic growth for the Iron Range. The mine also has the potential to send acidic runoff into waterways for decades -- even centuries -- to come. PolyMet Co.
DULUTH -- Gov. Tim Pawlenty paid a quick visit to Duluth Sunday afternoon to blast Attorney General Mike Hatch's public safety record. "He has failed miserably" in protecting Minnesotans from crime, Pawlenty said of his Democratic gubernatorial opponent. At the news conference, Pawlenty's campaign released numbers it says shows a 36 percent reduction in Hatch's crime-fighting budget and staffing requests to the Legislature from fiscal year 2000 to the present. "Much of that was before the recession and state budget crunch," the Republican governor said.
ST. PAUL -- Northeastern Minnesota would be the big winner if the state House returns to Democratic-Farmer-Labor control in the Nov. 7 election. But other rural lawmakers also would be in line for promotion. Few want to predict what the House will look like after the election, but it is hard to talk to Democratic lawmakers and not see their enthusiasm. And it is not just candidates; volunteers also are turning out in big numbers, Rep. Al Juhnke, DFL-Willmar, said.
ST. PAUL -- Northern Minnesota legislators would return to power they enjoyed before 1999 if the state House falls under Democratic-Farmer-Labor control in the Nov. 7 election. "In the glory days, we had senior people on most committees," Rep. Mary Murphy, DFL-Hermantown, said. While she and other Northland lawmakers would like to see their party take over, they are hesitant to predict it. "Honestly, I try not to think about it," said Rep. Tony Sertich, DFL-Chisholm, among the Democrats' key leaders.