Dayton outlines flood disaster plans

Governor Mark Dayton toured Minnesota cities to reassure city leaders and citizens that the state is prepared to respond to potentially widespread flooding. In Winona, which is expected to reach flood stage March 27, KAAL reports that12,000 guard troops are on hand to respond and help should their assistance be needed. Flooding concerns in Winona are based in part on the fact that many of the rivers expected to flood upstate including the St. Croix, Minnesota and Chippewa drain into the Mississippi before it flows by Winona.

Even with it’s support, the state can only do so much in a disaster. Dayton stressed the state is there to support the lead undertaken by local communities.

“We will support you … as you deal with what is about to happen” — state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Kris Eide (Mankato Free Press)

Additional counties and municipalities are joining a growing list of emergency declarations. Washington County declared a state of emergency — the city of Afton expected to follow suit.

The flood threat inspired Audrey Kletscher Helbling to write a retrospective and post a series of photos of last year’s flash flood in southeastern Minnesota.

Also clicking on MN Today:

Keeping wood duck boxes predator-free

Wood ducks will soon return to Minnesota. Now is the time to clean out nesting boxes and plan on keeping predators at bay (Star Tribune).

Putting the brakes on the Northern Lights Express?

A Minnesota House committee that usually approves spending money to build government facilities voted Tuesday to call back $59 million already approved from as far back as 1994 (Duluth News Tribune).

Committee OKs tougher sex offender sentences

A proposal that would force many of the worst offenders to spend 60 years in prison, followed by a decade of supervised release, is advancing in the legislature. Those “worst of the worst” sex offenders would serve twice the current sentences under the bill (Bemidji Pioneer)

3 charged in Swift bonfire blast

A fiery explosion that severely burned three people in September at a party near Swift, Minn., has led prosecutors to bring criminal charges against three men, including one of the burn victims (Grand Forks Herald).

Being 1st to jump into 2012 race may benefit Pawlenty

Now that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has rescheduled his announcement, it looks as if former Gov. Tim Pawlenty could be the first major potential candidate to break from the starting blocks of the 2012 presidential race (St. Cloud Times).

Bachmann edges out Pawlenty in 2012 GOP Gallup poll

A new poll from the Gallup organization indicates that Rep. Michele Bachmann is enjoying greater intensity among Republican voters than former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (Gallup).

Strange bedfellows, Sens. Franken and Paul cross the partisan divide with friendship

When Republican Rand Paul was elected to the Senate in November, he received a congratulatory call from an unexpected source: U.S. Sen. Al Franken (Star Tribune).

Insight Now-Common Cents Conversations

State Budget – Taxes and Spending

For months dozens of Minnesotans have gathered together to talk about the values and priorities that should dictate making a state budget. The Citizens League, through its Common Cents initiative held forums from Grand Rapids to Bemidji to Rochester to the Twin Cities. Now Minnesota Public Radio News and Insight Now get to play a role in deepening that discussion.

Join our ongoing state budget discussions with civic-minded Minnesotans as we open our doors to the Common Cents Conversations.

For the next week, we focus on taxes and spending. The question today: Would you be willing to make across-the-board cuts if that approach was a short-term fix? Why or why not? If you like the visual approach… have a look at our two-minute presentation, then have your say by clicking the button below.

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