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It was gorilla warfare on the House floor Thursday. House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, unsuccessfully tried to remove $11 million destined for a zoo's gorilla display from the state public works funding bill, transferring it to a school program. "I have not heard a member stand up yet and say that the needs of the gorillas outweigh the needs of the school kids," Seifert said. Several attempts to switch the money failed, but it made for some interesting debate. "There is absolutely no reason to pick this project over your children," Seifert said.
A conference about how local food producers can sell globally, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, is planned for Crookston, Minn., March 30 and 31. Called Home Grown Economy 2008: Connecting Local Foods and Economic Opportunity, the conference will be at the University of Minnesota campus. "My goal in sponsoring this conference again is to explore ways in which local foods can become an economic development engine for farmers, rural communities and development organizations, and how we can all work together to meet growing market demands," Peterson said.
Minnesota Republicans have begun their television pre-election attacks on Democrats. A commercial called "Stop DFL" is critical of a $6.6 billion transportation funding bill. "In 2006, Democrats promised Minnesotans that they would govern as 'fiscal moderates,'" GOP Chairman Ron Carey said. "But today all of Minnesota knows those were just empty words. By raising the gas tax, the metro wide sales tax and license tab fees by $6.6 billion, Democrats have broken their word and Minnesotans are taking notice." Besides being broadcast, the commercial will be spread on the Internet.
An explosion and fire caused Xcel Energy officials to shut down production at the Allen S. King plant in Bayport Monday morning. Xcel Energy spokesman Patti Nystuen said no one was injured in the incident that started in the crusher building on the plant's property. There were 18 employees working at the plant at the time of the fire, Nystuen said, and none were in the vicinity of the crusher building at the time. Coal brought to the plant for energy production is crushed in the crusher building before being taken into the plant, Nystuen said.
The Feb. 5 caucus may have marked the end of campaigning by Democratic presidential candidates in Minnesota for their party's nomination, but it was just the first hurdle in the race to gain the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party's endorsement for U.S. Senate. The next leg comes in the months leading up to the party's state convention in June, when county units and state Senate districts hold conventions of their own.
ST. PAUL - The Minnesota Department of Transportation lacks funding to keep up with routine state highway and bridge maintenance and has paid for new projects while existing highway pavement has deteriorated, an audit concluded. A report released Tuesday by the independent legislative auditor's office found MnDOT in recent years borrowed funds to pay for highway expansion projects, while neglecting to fund routine repairs on existing highways. Gov.
Here's a potpourri of books to get you through the shortest month of the year. "The Expeditions," by Karl Iagnemma (Dial, $4) is an intensely crafted historical novel that begins in the Detroit of the 1840s and moves on to the Upper Peninsula as our hero Elisha Stone goes on an expedition of discovery. Before he leaves Detroit, he writes to his mother back in Massachusetts. Unbeknownst to Elisha his mother has died, so his estranged father, a preacher, reads the letter and sets out to find his son.
Minnesota's Judicial Branch is trying to make sure that he who represents himself in court has a tool for his client. The state is installing self-help workstations in 57 counties, including Becker, Clay, Mahnomen, Norman, Otter Tail and Polk. The workstations consist of a computer, printer and a phone connected to a call center.
ST. PAUL - Democrats last year said that when Minnesota lawmakers meet Tuesday it will begin the health care legislative session. After a Minneapolis bridge fell into the Mississippi River Aug. 1, it appeared it could turn into the transportation session. In recent weeks, talk has turned to a bum economy and accompanying job losses, setting up the possibility that lawmakers will make it the economy session. Lack of money to spend, when combined with generally rocky relations between Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party-controlled Legislature, leads to Sen.
Officials at the Bayport prison foiled an attempted escape shortly before noon on Wednesday, after a correctional officer discovered an underground tunnel leading from the basement of one of the facility's industrial-manufacturing buildings. No inmates escaped. It was the first attempt of its kind in the institution's memory, officials said. "I want to assure the public that no one escaped, that they are not in any danger as a result of this," said Joan Fabian, commission for the Minnesota Department of Corrections at a press conference held at department headquarters Thursday afternoon.