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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MORGAN, Minn.—Ruth Meirick was like most members of most farm families: There was too much work to do to worry about safety. Then, "it just happened." Her brother-in-law was moving a bale of hay and the tractor he was driving on a northeastern Iowa farm flipped over, killing him. "It only takes a second to make a bad decision and another second to have a consequence of that bad decision," Meirick said. "We have dealt with the consequences of having a death in my own family."
RED LAKE FALLS, Minn.—John Proulx learned his lesson, without a fireball. He was tipping over a tree while clearing land on his northwestern Minnesota farm when he heard a scraping sound. He knew he did not hit a rock with his end loader, and the thought crossed his mind that he may have hit an oil pipeline. He did. But he was lucky because it was just dented, not sliced open, which could have caused an explosion or spill. The Enbridge pipeline had to be shut down and fixed. "We thought we knew where it was," Proulx said.
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. "It is a sign that things are back to normal, about as normal as they can be," said Steve Olson, executive director of Minnesota chicken and turkey producer organizations.
ST. PAUL—Some headlines and social media posts made it sound like Donald Trump's name might not be on the Minnesota ballot on Nov. 8. That remains a possibility, but only...
WASHINGTON—Federal officials plan to buy cheese to help poor Americans who need food assistance and dairy farmers who are suffering from low prices. Tuesday's announcement that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will spend $20 million to buy 11 million pounds of cheese from private companies comes as the dairy industry experienced a 35 percent revenue drop in the past two years.
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. But on Monday, the Minnesota Commerce Department and Public Utilities Commission announced the state will not appeal.
ST. PAUL -- Farmers can forget about tax breaks to lighten their burden in funding new schools. Drivers on some of Minnesota's most dangerous highways will not see immediate safety...
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." She was injured, as were her two sons, but her 3-year-old daughter suffered the most. Havana's neck was broken, and at first could not move, talk or breathe.
ST. PAUL—The man who often speaks for the Dayton administration is headed to the Obama administration. Matt Swenson, 32, will be press secretary for the U.S. trade representative in the Executive Office of the President for the next five months. He plans to resume working for Gov. Mark Dayton after President Barack Obama's term ends on Jan. 20.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota's three top political leaders walked out to talk to reporters, wearing big smiles and delivering an occasional laugh. However, it did not take reporters long Friday to figure out that Gov. Mark Dayton, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk and House Speaker Kurt Daudt had made little progress toward calling a special legislative session to pass a tax bill and fund public works projects.