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ST. PAUL - A state gasoline tax increase for transportation means Minnesota could reap more federal dollars for road and bridge projects, a key congressman said. U.S. Rep.
A state senator representing thousands of Minnesotans who were flooded earlier this year wants Pawlenty to help. "I am asking the governor do what he can to strip away the red tape," Sen. Sharon Erickson Ropes, DFL-Winona, said. "It is Christmas season, so I would simply ask that he do what he can." The first-year senator was not so kind in everything she said. "I wish he would show concern about our families who fall through the cracks, our farmers who have not gotten any help, who have thousands and thousands of dollars of fence line washed down the creek," she said.
Every month state officials appoint dozens of Minnesotans to boards and commissions. Now, for instance, openings are on boards ranging from one that advises officials on hearing aid distribution to a veterans advisory group, the State Arts Board and a commission that picks candidates for the University of Minnesota Board of Regents. A list of openings may be found at www.sos.state.mn.us/ home/index.asp?page308. Applications are available through the secretary of state's office.
Amy Klobuchar appears to be the go-to freshman senator when The Washington Post wants a good quote. The Post already named the Minnesotan the funniest freshman. Now one of its reporters asked about her holiday gift-giving. The Post called Klobuchar the most practical gift-giver in Congress, "whose main motivation was finding peace with her directionally challenged hubby, John.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is on the offensive about a legislative investigation into the Aug. 1 Minneapolis bridge collapse. "I think, frankly, that somebody's concerned that somebody else's conclusion doesn't fit into their story line," Pawlenty said. The GOP governor said he would not name names, but it was clear he referred to Sen. Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, who last week claimed the federal bridge investigation is being tainted because its investigators are working with a private firm the state hired to run its own investigation.
After 39 years, Brian Eidsvold felt he was finally able to give something worthwhile back to his mother - her life. And it was a gift he never imagined he could give her. In 2000, Joan Eidsvold's routine physical revealed that she had chronic kidney disorder. As her kidney function declined over the next few years, doctors told her that she was heading toward dialysis quickly, and that a kidney transplant would eventually be necessary. She was put on the National Kidney Donor List (a cadaver situation), but the wait could be up to five years.
BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The U.S. State Department plans to open a passport processing office in the Twin Cities area, U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman announced late Wednesday. The move comes nearly three weeks after the State Department began taking applications for its new passport card, which will be valid for people traveling across the Canadian border. "I am thrilled that the State Department will be opening a passport office in the Twin Cities," Coleman, R-Minn, said in a statement.
WILLMAR -- When Sen. Steve Dille was a member of the House of Representatives, he was one of just five Republicans to vote in favor of a gas tax increase. The year was 1988 -- the last time Minnesota raised its gas tax. The Republican leadership didn't favor the increase at the time, said the Dassel legislator, who is proud of the vote he took 20 years ago. "History has shown that was the right thing to do," Dille said. Now a senator, Dille said he intends to vote for a 7½-cent gas tax increase that is expected to be proposed during this legislative session, which begins Tuesday.
Rep. Ken Tschumper, DFL-La Crescent, announced plans to introduce legislation requiring environmental impact statements for new ethanol plants. His proposal was released at about the same time a University of Minnesota study showed the growing of plants for fuels increases the amount of carbon dumped into the air. Air pollution and use of water are two ethanol concerns expressed by environmentalists. Ethanol sold in the Upper Midwest is made from corn.
The Healthy Legacy organization warns parents about dangerous plastic baby bottles, and some state legislators plan to propose action. The problem is bisphenol A, which is used in food and beverage containers, the organization says. "Leaching of bisphenol A from baby bottles, especially one purchased in Minnesota, is particularly alarming," Lindsay Dahl of Healthy Legacy said. "The last thing a busy parent needs to worry about is finding a baby bottle that doesn't leach toxic additives.