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Capitol Chatter: From Las Vegas bulls to rough stadium debate

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Capitol Chatter: From Las Vegas bulls to rough stadium debate
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

ST. PAUL - Julie Rosen helped produce a winner in a Las Vegas sports competition and now is back in St. Paul trying to work that same magic on another sports issue.

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It was about a week ago that the Minnesota state senator from Fairmont watched as a bull, in which she owns a 50 percent share, provided a packed Vegas arena a spectacular bucking show. Yellow Jacket Jr. helped Brazilian Silvano Alves maintain his Professional Bull Riders' point lead with a 92.25 ride, giving him the 2011 title and $1 million after the Vegas world finals title round.

A couple of days later, Rosen was in St. Paul trying to not be bucked off the Vikings football stadium bull. She is chief Senate sponsor of the bill, the counterpart of state Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead.

Rosen, who owns a half share in about 16 bucking bulls, has the fourth-ranked PBR bull, Smackdown. But Yellow Jacket Jr., whose father died in September after being world champion three times, took the spotlight on the final day of the finals.

"That was a really hard bucking bull," Alves said. "He bucked away from my hand to make it more difficult to ride him. It took everything that I know how to do, all my knowledge, to stay on his back. I knew that I had to ride him today."

Rosen, who has owned bulls since 2005, was thrilled to see the Alves-Yellow Jacket Jr. combination.

"He rode the bull fabulously and the bull performed fabulously," she said.

Rosen's bulls are based along the Missouri River near Mandan, N.D., on Chad Berger's Dakota Rodeo ranch.

A Denver, Colo., native, Rosen admitted that owning bulls helps fulfill a childhood dream. "I always have wanted to be a rancher since I was a little girl."

Rodeo fits right in with that dream, and provides a diversion from the hectic and stressful life of a senator. "It just the most clean and fun. ... Go and watch one of those events sometime, you will be just amazed how enjoyable it will be."

Back at the Capitol a few days after Yellow Jacket Jr.'s nationally televised performance, Rosen met with Gov. Mark Dayton about stadiums and she settled in to the less exciting political work of forging a stadium compromise.

Emergency testing

Minnesota media will take part in the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System on Wednesday.

The test should be on nearly every radio and television channel, but outdoor sirens are not scheduled to sound.

"This test is crucial to make sure that, in the event of a national terrorist attack or other wide-ranging disaster, public safety officials and the president have the immediate ability to address the nation," said Kris Eide, director of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

The test will be approximately three minutes long, which is longer than the regularly scheduled weekly and monthly tests.

Congressmen don't return

Minnesota congressmen who leave Washington seldom go back to the U.S. House.

Eric Ostermeier reports in his Smart Politics blog (http://blog.lib.umn.edu/cspg/smartpolitics) that while nine of Minnesota's 134 congressmen have served nonconsecutive terms, none has been re-elected since 1938.

Former U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan is running for Minnesota's 8th Congressional District seat against several other Democrats for the right to face rookie U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack.

Ostermeier points out that Nolan served three two-year House terms, retiring in 1981. Never has a Minnesotan returned to the House after that long an absence.

Learning bison

People interested in learning to raise bison may do so on Nov. 25.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture and the Minnesota Buffalo Association (www.mnbison.org) plan to offer the free class in Albany, near St. Cloud.

Seeking ex-students

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities officials are looking for former college students who have not completed their degrees.

An initiative called "Graduate Minnesota: Complete your degree. Anytime. Anywhere" is designed to encourage Minnesotans to head back to class.

"We must leverage the talents of the state's 800,000 or so adults who have completed some college but have no degree," said MnSCU Chancellor Steven Rosenstone. "Many former students have earned a significant number of credits and may be closer than they think to earning a degree."

Venison wanted

Minnesota is seeking deer meat to help feed hungry Minnesotans.

A venison donation program is being brought back to coincide with this weekend's deer hunting opener.

To be eligible to donate venison to the program, hunters must have their deer processed at a state-registered meat processing plant that has agreed to participate in the program. Those processors are listed "In The Spotlight" section of www.mda.state.mn.us.

Find your poll

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie's Web site can help Minnesotans find their polling places during off-year elections Tuesday.

School district elections like this year often have different polling places than during larger general elections.

The poll locator is at www.mnvotes.org.

Don Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.

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Pioneer staff reports
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