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Poetry lost a treasure in August with the death of John R. Mitchell, age 66, just retired from the English Department at Augsburg College, where he taught for 37 years. Poetry bubbled out of Mitchell's fertile mind in great abundance. Many poems were published in Minneapolis's venerable North Stone Review. Still others appeared in Murphy Square, the college's literary magazine. And thousands -- yes thousands -- showed up in friends' mail and later e-mail. Many of Mitchell's students succeeded spectacularly, including the late John Engman, a poet.
As the nation continues its battle against terrorism, no one Monday night questioned whether the U.S. Coast Guard needs to have mounted machine guns on its Great Lakes vessels. But several wondered if live-fire training on the lakes was necessary, considering the potential hazards to the environment and wayward boaters. Conversely, a nearly equal number who spoke at the first hearing in Duluth on the Coast Guard training exercises endorsed the plan and said more details can be worked out to make it safer.
United Taconite hopes by the end of the week to re-fire one of its two iron ore pellet production lines, days after an explosion on Thursday killed a salaried electrical coordinator, sent two other employees to the hospital, and knocked out electrical power to the plant. Andrew Reed, 24, of LaPrairie, died when an electrical panel exploded in a motor control center. A Mine Safety and Health Administration investigation into the cause is ongoing, said Steve Richetta, MSHA district manager in Duluth.
HASTINGS, Minn. -- Peter Hutchinson crawled out of his press secretary's black Volkswagen Jetta, walked around the little brick building and walked through the front door. He greeted a few people inside, then headed for the studio of KDWA, a radio station serving the Hastings area on the southeastern tip of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The "on the air light" lit at 11:12 a.m. and the Independence Party candidate began answering questions similar to ones he has heard since he got into the Minnesota governor's race early this year.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota governor's race apparently hinges on two issues -- education and health care. Major-party candidates Tim Pawlenty, Mike Hatch and Peter Hutchinson have spent lots of time discussing those issues. However, they don't always lay out specifics. When Republican Gov. Pawlenty and Democratic Attorney General Hatch sat next to each other talking to Forum Communications journalists recently, they avoided talking directly about the other's education proposals. "Funding for schools has gone up well into double digits on my watch," Pawlenty said.
ST. PAUL -- The first time U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar and challenger Rod Grams faced off this campaign season, it was not so much of a debate as an argument about who knows the most about the 8th Congressional District. Their appearance on Twin Cities Public Television's "Almanac" was so heated that the two continued to argue as they walked off the set.
ST. PAUL -- There is precious little agreement between the two main candidates for Minnesota's open U.S. Senate seat. And even when Mark Kennedy and Amy Klobuchar agree, it is hard to tell from their rhetoric. Take, for instance, their agreement on the need for conservation funding. Kennedy claims to be a conservation-minded congressman, while Klobuchar attacks him and his Republican allies for hurting the environment.
ST. PAUL -- Publishers of the widely distributed Politics in Minnesota newsletter speculate on some commissioners Mike Hatch might appoint if he is elected governor, including making former Rep. Doug Peterson the agriculture commissioner. If not Peterson, a Madison resident, maybe former Rep. Ted Winter of Fulda would be the choice, the newsletter suggested. Retiring Rep. Connie Bernardy of Fridley heads the speculation list to be education commissioner, but Sen. Larry Pogemiller, a controversial figure, also is on the newsletter's list. Former Hatch challenger Sen.
MINNETONKA, Minn. -- Mark Kennedy grabbed a cookie from a plate of treats and started working his way through the room. "Good to see you. Good to see you," he said to the 30-some residents of RidgePointe senior center gathered to hear from the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate. Kennedy, who represents Minnesota's 6th Congressional District, found himself among a mostly supportive elderly crowd in this Twin Cities suburb. "I think he's not out to mislead you," retired Dr. Vincent Winter said after talking with the candidate.
Lock and load: Come Monday, Duluth will become the first community to host a public hearing on the Coast Guard's controversial plans to conduct live-fire arms training on the Great Lakes. Odds are that the Coast Guard will face some pointed questions. Duluth Mayor Herb Bergson has been one of the most outspoken critics of the Coast Guard's proposal to designate training areas where crews can take target practice on the water with machine guns. He has voiced concerns that lead in the spent ammunition could pose an environmental hazard. "Do they need training? Sure they do," Bergson said.