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Mayor Herb Bergson sent a letter to Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Tuesday, requesting he convene a special session of the Minnesota Legislature to get more tax money to Duluth and communities across the state. "I am writing to you today to ask for your empathy regarding a tax bill for the state of Minnesota," Bergson wrote. He said the failure of the tax bill meant a loss of $3.7 million in cash for Duluth, which would have offset a potential $5.4 million projected shortfall for 2008. "Governor, we have been good about cutting where we could cut over my four budget years.
A dozen people are temporarily homeless, in the aftermath of a July 31 fire at a siux-unit apartment complex in northeast Perham. Among those forced out of the six-unit building is the 85-year-old landlord, Esther Witzke, who lived in one of the units. "Those apartments were like a home...there was nothing skimpy about them," said Witzke proudly. She was being comforted by tenants and family members as dozens of firefighters from Perham, Dent and New York Mills worked to extinguish the fire.
APPLETON -- Fewer than 10 years ago, Brent Olson and a group of farmers in western Minnesota and eastern South Dakota sold $13 million worth of shares and built an ethanol plant in Big Stone City, S.D. Today those shares are worth $140 million and the plant has paid more than $40 million in dividends to its owners, most of whom are farmers, small business owners and others who live where the corn for the plant is grown. If the plant was owned by an outside corporation, "all that money would still have been made," said Olson.
As the summer winds down, prospects for a special legislative session dim, says Assistant House Majority Leader Frank Moe. Legislative leaders and Gov. Tim Pawlenty continue to negotiate circumstances for a special session, Moe, DFL-Bemidji, told the Bemidji Sunrise Rotary Club on Tuesday morning. He called August the indicator month. "If there is no agreement in August, I don't think it will happen," he said.
You'd think a book reviewer would be loath to drag more books along when he takes a vacation. But no, I always bring books along on trips with my wife. You can't spend entire weeks looking at ancient cathedrals and landscapes, no matter how magnificent, get pretty boring after five minutes or so, to quote William F. Buckley Jr.: "So on our travels we always take books along and we try to bring titles that have something to do with where we'll be located." Years ago, we rented a property in the West Country from Britain's Landmark Trust.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota will seek a federal drought disaster declaration later this week, Gov. Tim Pawlenty predicted Tuesday as unusually dry conditions are jeopardizing crop yields. A swath of Minnesota - from the southwest corner to the far northeastern region - is experiencing a moderate to severe drought, according to state agriculture statistics. Federal officials have been assessing drought conditions on a county-by-county basis and are expected to report their findings Thursday.
Notes of interest to outdoorsman across Minnesota. New walleye regs set for Mille Lacs Lake Beginning Monday , new walleye fishing regulations will take effect on Mille Lacs Lake, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The regulations will be implemented in hopes of keeping the walleye harvest within the safe harvest limit. Starting Monday, anglers on Mille Lacs may keep only walleyes that are from 14 to 16 inches long, plus one 28 inches or longer, according to a DNR news release. The four-fish bag limit remains the same.
Al Mitchell looked approvingly at the posts reinforced by rebar that are rising in a central meeting spot at the Disabled Veterans Rest Camp in northern Washington County. The posts are rising from an excavated area in the commons of the camp, which is on 70-plus acres on the south side of Big Marine Lake off Manning Avenue. The camp, designed to welcome U.S. veterans of military conflicts, is embarking on major renovation projects.
Fierce winds throughout the Duluth area left as many as 20,000 homes without power Tuesday night and the prospects for restoration could be a day or more away, Minnesota Power spokesman Paul Brissett said. The outages occurred all across Duluth, but the continuing outages were mostly in eastern Duluth. London Road, Lakeside and Kenwood were all still dark at 10 p.m. Proctor, Lakewood and Island Lake also were without power. "We didn't make much progress against those winds today," Brissett said Tuesday night.
MINNEAPOLIS - Proposed commuter rail projects north and south of the Twin Cities face many stops before receiving construction funding. U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters, joined by Gov. Tim Pawlenty and other transportation officials, on Tuesday toured the southern point of the planned Northstar commuter rail project, running from Minneapolis northwest through a growing suburban area.