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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.
ST. PAUL -- Sex offenders who don't live by the rules may find their mug on a Minnesota Web site, allowing the public to help police catch them. "Finally, sex offenders are being held accountable," Linda Walker said Wednesday as the new site was announced. Walker is mother of Dru Sjodin, killed in 2003 after convicted sex offender Alfonso Rodriquez Jr. kidnapped her from a Grand Forks, N.D., mall parking lot. She has become a strong supporter of programs established to catch sex offenders. She helped Gov. Tim Pawlenty and law enforcement officials announce the new Web site.
Poetry lost a treasure in August with the death of John R. Mitchell, age 66, just retired from the English Department at Augsburg College, where he taught for 37 years. Poetry bubbled out of Mitchell's fertile mind in great abundance. Many poems were published in Minneapolis's venerable North Stone Review. Still others appeared in Murphy Square, the college's literary magazine. And thousands -- yes thousands -- showed up in friends' mail and later e-mail. Many of Mitchell's students succeeded spectacularly, including the late John Engman, a poet.
ELK RIVER, Minn. -- It may have been blustery outside, but it was calm inside restaurants Tim Pawlenty visited a few days ago. A man wearing a cowboy hat said: "You have a tough job." Then, Pawlenty tried to talk to a very shy girl who wanted nothing of the conversation. "You don't know who the governor is -- just some strange, big guy," the Republican governor said in a comforting tone. While he was talking to some workers on break, a Mike Hatch commercial attacking Pawlenty's public safety record played a couple of feet away.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Mike Hatch showed up at the union hall pig roast wearing a business suit and purple tie. The state attorney general and DFL candidate for governor didn't appear dressed appropriately for the blue-collar event, but tradesmen of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers embraced him as one of their own. "Hey, Mike," they shouted as Hatch exited his Buick Century and started chatting with union members. That Hatch received an enthusiastic welcome from a labor union is not unexpected, as his gubernatorial campaign is backed by those groups heavily.
Driving deer is a good technique for deer hunters, but it is also can be pretty dangerous according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and they are urging hunters to plan ahead to ensure safety. The DNR gave some examples of deer drive mishaps during last year's gun-deer hunt. A St. Francis man was wounded at Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge while retrieving a deer shot by his daughter. A group of nine hunters was making a drive nearby when a deer stood up and started running toward the man and his daughter. One of the hunters opened fire.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota governor's race apparently hinges on two issues -- education and health care. Major-party candidates Tim Pawlenty, Mike Hatch and Peter Hutchinson have spent lots of time discussing those issues. However, they don't always lay out specifics. When Republican Gov. Pawlenty and Democratic Attorney General Hatch sat next to each other talking to Forum Communications journalists recently, they avoided talking directly about the other's education proposals. "Funding for schools has gone up well into double digits on my watch," Pawlenty said.
As the nation continues its battle against terrorism, no one Monday night questioned whether the U.S. Coast Guard needs to have mounted machine guns on its Great Lakes vessels. But several wondered if live-fire training on the lakes was necessary, considering the potential hazards to the environment and wayward boaters. Conversely, a nearly equal number who spoke at the first hearing in Duluth on the Coast Guard training exercises endorsed the plan and said more details can be worked out to make it safer.
United Taconite hopes by the end of the week to re-fire one of its two iron ore pellet production lines, days after an explosion on Thursday killed a salaried electrical coordinator, sent two other employees to the hospital, and knocked out electrical power to the plant. Andrew Reed, 24, of LaPrairie, died when an electrical panel exploded in a motor control center. A Mine Safety and Health Administration investigation into the cause is ongoing, said Steve Richetta, MSHA district manager in Duluth.