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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GRAND RAPIDS, Minn.—The Blandin Foundation surveyed Minnesotans earlier this year to get their feelings on rural issues. Here is a sample: -- 49 percent of rural Minnesotans think the local economy is about the same as a year ago, while 31 percent said it is better and 18 percent said it is worse. -- The number of people who think there are adequate rural Minnesota wages has increased, with 32 percent saying that in 2010, 38 percent in 2013 and 47 percent this year.
MINNEAPOLIS—An oil pipeline protester was recovering in a Minneapolis hospital Tuesday, Nov. 22, after her arm was seriously injured during a confrontation between pipeline opponents and law enforcement officers. Injuries sustained by Sophia Wilansky, 21, of New York prompted thousands of people to donate money for her recovery, which was underway at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. Within 19 hours of a gofundme site being established, 8,000 people had combined to give more than $220,000.
ST. PAUL — Turkey talk turned thoughtful Monday as a hunger fighter said she worries about feeding Minnesotans. Colleen Moriarty of Hunger Solutions Minnesota said the number of people in the state using food shelves has reached an all-time high, and now she is concerned about discussion in Washington to remove funding from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. "I am very worried," she said during the governor's office annual ceremony denoting Thanksgiving week and honoring the state's 450 turkey farmers.
ST. PAUL—A northern Minnesota mother says she wants the federal courts to restore her parental rights so she can help her son, who is undergoing a sex-change procedure. "Not only was I robbed of the opportunity to help my son make good decisions, but I also feel he was robbed of a key advocate in his life, his mother," a teary-eyed Anmarie Calgaro told reporters Wednesday, Nov. 16, in announcing she is suing St. Louis County, two health-care providers and the St. Louis County School District.
ST. PAUL — Count former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty out as Trump administration Treasury secretary. The New York Times floated his name as a possible pick by president-elect Donald Trump. But on Tuesday, Nov. 15, one of Pawlenty's former top aides said that would not happen. "Gov. Pawlenty told me he is not being considered for treasury secretary and the New York Times story was just speculation," Brian McClung said. That probably is no surprise to people who know Pawlenty.
ST. PAUL — Chronically ill Minnesotans are driving up health insurance premiums so much that state officials are rushing to deal with the problem. Commerce Department officials on Monday told a task force studying how to contain soaring health insurance costs that 2.2 percent of people who bought individual policies last year caused 50 percent of claims. That forced up prices for healthier people. As the task force looks at ways to reduce insurance costs, the Commerce Department advice was that any solution has to address that disparity.
ST. PAUL—Minnesotans looking to buy new Medica individual insurance policies, but have not already made the purchase for 2017, are out of luck. The state Commerce Department announced early Friday, Nov. 11, that Medica of Wisconsin and Medica Insurance Co. reached a cap on the number of new policies they are willing to sell. That means for most of the state, the companies stop selling policies to people who are not already customers.
ST. PAUL—The election did not appear to clarify whether the governor and lawmakers will agree on how to lower health insurance premiums.
ST. PAUL—Election day may be Tuesday, but 568,196 Minnesotans already have voted. That is the word this morning from the secretary of state's office and represents the most early voters ever. This is the first presidential election in which a state no-excuse, early-voting law is in effect. The figure represents the absentee vote count plus mail-in ballots used in some rural predicts.