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On the regional front this week we have a lovely book, "Little Heathens," by Mildred Armstrong Kalish (Bantam, $22). The little heathens are what the author's grandparents call her and her brothers and sisters when they come to live with the old folks in Garrison, Iowa, just as the Great Depression begins. It's a heartwarming story about the extended family, their mores and folkways, even their recipes, their surviving the dreadful economic situation and even the weather that brought famine and pestilence to the once rich countryside. The little heathens arrive in Iowa in 1930 with their mo
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.
State Rep. Frank Moe, DFL-Bemidji, went on a self-described "rant" Monday night, which also served to rally a Beltrami DFL Party fund-raiser. A week ago, speaking to Bemidji Rotarians, state Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Dan McElroy's response to what's the role of state government was to "stay out of the way." Then, in a Sunday Opinion page column in the Pioneer, Rep.
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.
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.
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.
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.