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SAUK CENTRE -- The three ears of corn picked by Rep. Al Juhnke, DFL-Willmar, from a Kandiyohi County field on his way to Sauk Centre served as a focal point Monday for frustrated farmers dealing with this year's drought. The ears, dotted with only a few kernels along with spots of mold, are what's really out in the fields, according to Belgrade farmer Neil Spanier. "That is real -- that's not candy coating the situation," Spanier told the joint meeting of the Minnesota House and Senate agriculture committees.
WILLMAR -- Members of the House Transportation Finance Committee were told repeatedly Monday night in Willmar to pass a transportation bill with a gas tax increase. The committee, which is made up primarily of metro legislators, listened to testimony for more than two hours about the need for additional transportation funding in rural regions, like Kandiyohi County. Nearly all who testified expressed disappointment that the transportation bill was vetoed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty this spring, and nearly all asked the committee to try again to get the bill and gas tax increase approved.
Education officials use several methods to gauge students' academic progress and schools' compliance with education standards. They include: Adequate Yearly Progress: A compilation of student test scores and graduation and attendance rates that determines whether school districts and individual schools meet federal education requirements. Recent results showed an increase in the number of Minnesota schools not making adequate yearly progress in 2006-07 compared to the prior year.
Four influential Minnesota Republicans signed on as co-chairmen of Mitt Romney's state presidential effort. Long-standing GOP leader Jack Meeks is joined in the Romney camp by Republican National Committeeman Brian Sullivan, National Committeewoman Evie Axdahl and state GOP secretary-treasurer Tony Sutton.
Minnesota House transportation committees hit the road this month to hear about transportation needs and how to fund them. Planned before the Minneapolis bridge collapse, and subject to change if there is a special legislative session, the committees will stop in Willmar Sept. 17, Mankato Sept. 24 and Anoka Sept. 25.
This week, Midwest Airlines trimmed its air service between Duluth and Milwaukee from three daily round-trip flights to two.
An Alexandria nonprofit development organization is asking 14 western Minnesota counties that it serves, including Becker County, to reimburse two clients whose money was stolen by the agency's one-time director. WesMin Resource Conservation and Development Council is seeking a special assessment from the counties after a court ordered the organization to repay $58,000 to the theft victims, according to WCCO Radio. Sheila Marie Barsness, 37, the former Wesmin executive director, was charged earlier this year with three counts of felony theft by false representation.
A rural Mahnomen County man shot his wife and then himself Monday night, according to Mahnomen County Sheriff Doug Krier. Paul William Warren, 86, called 911 at 8:15 p.m.
An in-depth inspection of the Highway 61 bridge over the Mississippi River at Hastings, was completed at noon Friday. The work had been underway since Monday, Aug. 20 and was completed ahead of schedule. Preliminary findings from the inspection indicate no need for immediate corrective action for the structure. The Minnesota Department of Transportation expects to receive a final inspection report within two-and-a-half months.
The hit ABC show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" is now camped out at the home of Erik and Vicki Swenson. Vicki Seliger Swenson is the sister of Teri Lee, who was killed last September by her ex-boyfriend. Seliger Swenson and her husband, who have three kids of their own with another on the way, adopted Lee's four children. The family has been living in a too-small home in Minnetonka. Several months ago, the family was nominated as candidates for "Extreme Makeover" and at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug.