Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Paul Strain says his family supports his college career, emotionally at least. But when it comes to money, he needs to look for federally supported programs. In his third year at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus, the future medical school student said, he already has $30,000 of debt. Strain, a former International Falls resident whose parents live in Duluth, relayed his story Monday to U.S. Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Two of Minnesota' most military-oriented politicians went different ways when the U.S. House approved the defense authorization bill. John Kline, a Republican serving an area mostly south of the Twin Cities, voted against the military funding bill for the first time in his seven years as congressman because it contained what he described as divisive social policies. Prime among those policies is a provision that has little to do with defense.
ST. PAUL -- Regulators are working with 71 of 426 Minnesota-based banks to make sure they do not fail, but bank and credit union officials say they are not risking customers' money. "It's just a matter of prudent lending and risk management," Noah Wilcox Tuesday told the state Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee. Wilcox and other bankers told senators that the media is feeding a frenzy by reporting about "risking loans" being made by American banks.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota legislators face a dilemma: Can they spend money from a tight budget to eliminate poverty by 2020? If they spend money now, Rep. Carlos Mariani, DFL-St. Paul, said, more people would go to work and the state's economy would improve. But since lawmakers are not likely to start many new spending programs in light of a several-billion budget deficit, Rep.
ST. LOUIS PARK -- Amy Klobuchar needed to outfit her apartment when she moved to Washington as a U.S. senator. So the Minnesota Democrat headed to a nearby store "looking for cheap furniture" and bought an assemble-it-yourself "fake antique" cabinet. "It smelled weird" when she removed it from the box, she said. However, it began to become pungent as her first Washington summer began to heat up.
ST. PAUL -- There is a political buzz this fall unlike any ever heard around Minnesota. Fourteen months before the next election, the state's political establishment is talking about the governor's race, talk that started the afternoon of June 2 when Tim Pawlenty announced he would not run for a third term.
ST. PAUL -- National economists say the recession technically is over, but Minnesota economic leaders say workers have not felt an improvement. A report released Thursday showed 10,300 Minnesota jobs disappeared last month, for a total of 120,300 in the past year. The August job loss wiped out a 7,700 job gain reported a month earlier. At the same time, the Department of Employment and Economic Development reported unemployment fell 0.1 percent to 8 percent in August, the second straight month joblessness dropped. The national jobless rate was 9.7 percent.
ST. PAUL -- More than 30 Minnesota schools report significant flu outbreaks, little more than a week after most districts began classes. The outbreak is spotty around the state, with some districts reporting few problems. The same is true for colleges. "Novel H1N1 has continued to cause illness in Minnesota all through the summer, and we have been anticipating a possible second wave of this illness," state Health Commissioner Dr.
ST. PAUL - More than 30 Minnesota schools report significant flu outbreaks, little more than a week after most districts began classes. The flu outbreak is spotty around the state, with some districts reporting few problems. The same is true for colleges. "Novel H1N1 has continued to cause illness in Minnesota all through the summer, and we have been anticipating a possible second wave of this illness," state Health Commissioner Dr. Sanne Magnan said Wednesday.
FALCON HEIGHTS -- The magic ended five days early for Liberty BayBridge and about 120 of her fellow 4-H'ers. A performer in a 4-H arts troupe putting on a show entitled "Magic," BayBridge found herself leaving the Minnesota State Fair 4-H Building dormitory Thursday, a precaution after four of her colleagues and a staff member came down with the H1N1 flu, originally called swine flu. "I don't like leaving at all," the 18-year-old Ortonville youth said as the Twin Cities media crowded around her following word of the fair flu outbreak. On the other hand, she added, fair and 4-H officials did