Local DFLers, believing it the only way to get relief to property taxpayers this year, supported one-time property tax rebate checks approved Tuesday by the GOP-held Minnesota House. "Rising property taxes is the No. 1 issue that I heard about from those who responded to my constituent survey," said Rep. Frank Moe, DFL-Bemidji. "I don't like the idea of sending out rebate checks just before the election; it just smells fishy.
The Minnesota House late last week unanimously approved legislation clearing the way for a Cass County hospital. "Cass County has worked for many years on having a hospital," said Rep. Larry Howes, R-Walker, the bill's author. "The people of this region need such a facility because too often crucial medical cases are shipped to other hospitals, and unfortunately, precious time is lost in that transfer." The House bill provides an exception to the state's hospital construction moratorium to allow a facility in Cass County.
Fearing that Congress may back off on blended fuels in order to lessen pressure on gasoline prices, U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman plans measures to protect Minnesota ethanol and biodiesel fuels. The Minnesota Republican has also co-authored legislation to require that 10 percent of the nation's fuel be blended with ethanol or biodiesel in 10 years. And to gain support and input, an aide to Coleman will be in Bemidji today. "I am continuing to push for a national commitment to renewable fuels as a way to grow energy here at home," Coleman said late last week in announcing the legislation.
Beltrami County moves a step closer to certifying sustainable forest practices today when commissioners consider policy to do so. The new sustainable forest management policy and a statement of operational commitment to establish the framework to certify the county's practices are on the County Board's regular agenda when it meets at 5 p.m. today. First, however, commissioners at their 3 p.m.
Ask Mike Diekmann what's the most dangerous drug in north-central Minnesota, and he won't say methamphetamine. New state laws which tightened the availability of pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in making meth, has allowed a marked decrease in "meth labs" in rural Minnesota, although the drug is still entering the state from other sources. No, Diekmann will say that prescription drugs -- notably OxyContin, a powerful painkiller -- are becoming the drug of choice -- and the first step in the chain is usually a legal one starting with a doctor. "The prescription drug problem is becoming the
Public pressure and newfound savings convinced the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to keep open two of the four recreation areas it planned to close, including Leech Lake. "Public feedback along with cost-savings initiatives in day-to-day operations and other measures" mean that the Corps will provide day-use access at Leech Lake Recreation Area near Federal Dam and Big Sandy Recreation Area near McGregor, the Corps said Tuesday. Day-use access includes boat-launching facilities, picnics and beach use at Big Sandy, it said. Leech Lake has no authorized beach access for swimming.
From a blooming federal deficit to a horrific trade imbalance, U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson said Saturday he feels change in the air this fall. "We need a change of direction in this country," the 7th District DFLer said. "We have got a mess ... this budget deficit is completely, totally out of control." Peterson accepted party endorsement to run for a ninth U.S. House term as 7th District DFLers gave their nod by acclamation during their convention Saturday at the Northern Inn.
The Republicans broke their own decade-old pledge to the American people, so they must be replaced, says political satirist Al Franken. Not only that, President Bush squandered the worldwide unity of the day after 9/11, all of it for political gain, he said. Franken, the keynote speaker Saturday night to the 7th Congressional District DFL Convention's banquet at the Northern Inn, warmed up the partisan crowd first with humor, but then switched to a scathing attack on Republicans. Why is our political dialogue so divisive?
Three candidates seeking the DFL endorsement for governor all say they want to take Minnesota in a new direction. And that direction is away from Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty. State Sens.
In a rare joint meeting, county commissioners from Beltrami and Cass counties plan to hold a work session Tuesday in Bemidji. The two boards haven't held a joint session for at least 15 years, and it's a signal of more to come, says Beltrami County Board Chairman Joe Vene. At last week's board meeting, Vene issued his desire to also meet with county boards from contiguous Hubbard, Clearwater and Itasca counties, as well as tribal councils from Red Lake and Leech Lake bands of Chippewa. Tuesday's meeting is slated to begin at 9 a.m.