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Avian flu: Public forum at 3 p.m. Saturday in Willmar with Dayton, other lawmakers

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As Pawlenty travels country touting Republicans, new book highlights his political career

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news Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty must be a serious presidential candidate: The first book about him is out.

"Governor Tim Pawlenty: The Sam's Club Republican" is for sale at Amazon.com. The $9.95 book written by a man who bills himself as a New Hampshire political analyst is 100 pages long and a news release about it says it tells "the story of Pawlenty's humble beginnings in South St. Paul, his action-packed political campaigns and his accomplished tenures in the Minnesota House and governor's office."

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Author J.A. McClure analyzes Pawlenty's prospect for a "national career," the news release says.

The governor is traveling the country in support of other Republicans and building his own reputation. While he refuses to say whether he is running for president, political observers say all signs point to that. Pawlenty said he knew nothing about the book until he heard about it from the press.

Dome to get fixed

The state is spending $4 million to repair the Capitol dome.

Marble domes are not good at keeping out water, so architect Cass Gilbert designed the Minnesota Capitol more than 100 years ago with three domes. Besides the most famous outer, marble one, there is an unseen middle dome that catches water that gets past the marble and drains it away. An interior dome provides the fancy decorations Capitol visitors see from the rotunda. All domes, and other areas nearby, are getting fixed. Key to the repair is working on the marble dome so less water seeps through, as well as replacing the membrane on the middle dome to better drain water.

The chandelier, lit once a year on statehood day, will be removed for cleaning and repair, to be replaced in the upper reaches of the inside dome before the 2011 Legislature convenes in January.

Money for the work comes from the 2008 public works finance bill, which is funded by selling bonds.

'Remember rural areas'

Congress has passed health-care reform legislation, but rural senators now are asking that rural areas be included in on-going decisions.

"Rural Minnesota faces many obstacles when it comes to providing quality health care," said Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. "Shortages of doctors and nurses as well as long distances between providers create distinct obstacles for rural communities. Giving a voice to individuals with firsthand knowledge of how to overcome these problems needs to be a priority when executing health reform."

He, fellow Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and 30 other senators sent a letter to Obama administration officials pointing out the need to include rural residents on boards that will make health care decisions.

Mark Schoenbaum, director of the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care at Minnesota Department of Health, said that the type of people who lives in rural areas and distances they must travel make their needs different than their urban cousins.

Pentel runs again

Ken Pentel is launching his fourth governor campaign, but this time with a new party.

The three-time Green Party candidate and party lobbyist, and former Greenpeace worker, now is running under the Ecology Democracy Party banner. The new party sprouts from the Ecology Democracy Network, established by Pentel in the past two years.

The Ecology Democracy Party was formed "to transition the thinking and action in our culture from a human to an ecologically centered approach," its mission statement reads.

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