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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FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. -- Minnesota leads the country in its Beyond Yellow Ribbon program to help military personnel, veterans and their families, and state leaders used the State Fair to celebrate. "Companies and communities have shown immense support," Maj. Gen. Rick Nash, Minnesota National Guard's adjutant general, told hundreds gathered at the Minnesota State Fair Tuesday to celebrate the military.
FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. -- Gov. Mark Dayton paused Tuesday before making an announcement. "Good Minnesota clean water..." he declared after drinking from a blue bottle at the Minnesota State Fair. "May we always keep it available." Dayton then asked every Minnesotan to take a pledge to care for the state's water. "It is something we can no longer take for granted," he said in front of the Department of Natural Resources' fair fish pond.
FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. -- First it was an effort to keep agriculture runoff out of the state's waters by the use of plant buffers, then last week it was a restriction on the use of some pesticides. Many of Minnesota's farmers and farm organizations are not happy with Gov. Mark Dayton, who began both efforts without what farmers say was adequate consultation. Many say they agree with Dayton's desire to clean up pollution and protect bees, but disagree with how he approaches agriculture-related issues.
FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. -- Abby Fleming may have spoken for Minnesota's poultry industry. "It is good," she said in the middle of the Minnesota State Fair poultry exhibit. "It feels like home again." The clucking, crowing, quacking, honking and peeping heard in the barn when the fair opened Thursday was music to poultry producers' ears.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota will not appeal a federal court ruling that called unconstitutional a Minnesota law restricting importing electricity from coal-fired electric generating plants. North Dakota filed the suit against the Minnesota Next Generation Energy Act, passed in 2007, and won in a federal district court. A federal appeals court panel in June agreed with the district court, leaving the U.S. Supreme Court the only opportunity for Minnesota to win.
NORTH OAKS, Minn. -- John W. Vessey Jr. started at the bottom in the Minnesota National Guard and rose to become the country's top military officer. The Minneapolis native died at 94 of natural causes Thursday night, surrounded by family at his North Oaks home in the northern Twin Cities.
ST. PAUL -- Erica Bodell still cannot talk without crying about an accident that injured her three children, but said it is important to urge people not to drink and drive. "We could all have easily died that day," Bodell said Thursday as she joined the Minnesota Public Safety Department in urging drivers not to drink. "Someone else's choice to drink and drive changed my life."
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans will not get tax cuts and will not see road and other public construction projects begin after the governor and legislative leaders failed to agree on a special session agenda. "I've concluded ... I am not going to call a special session," Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton said Thursday afternoon following a negotiations session that produced no agreement on a divisive Twin Cities light rail construction proposal.
REDWOOD FALLS, Minn. -- Bruce Tiffany stood along a county ditch, corn well over shoulder high on each side. It was a clear summer late afternoon, with a hot breeze blowing, and Tiffany pointed to the 60 feet of grass separating the ditch from his corn field. "Every generation has to leave something for the next to work with," Tiffany said of why he devotes so much land to protecting water from cropland runoff.
ST. PAUL -- Turnout in Tuesday's Minnesota primary election likely will be spotty, as there are relatively few contests this year. The only statewide race will pare three Supreme Court candidates down to two, although six U.S. House primary races are on the ballot along with contests for 28 of the 201 legislative seats. Statewide officials such as governor and attorney general are not up for election in 2016. And neither U.S. senator is on the ballot.