Coyotes, cops and sidelined voices

Citizen voice sidelined by big money in redistricting battle

The Democratic strategy is funded by a trial lawyer PAC and powerful unions. And as ProPublica has previously reported, the Republican effort is being funded by an opaque group with ties to the Koch brothers, the billionaire energy magnates and powerful backers of conservative politics (ProPublica).

Foley suspends plan to hire private security guards

Foley has offered the sheriff’s department $263,000 dollars to provide police service next year. That’s $18,000 dollars less than the sheriff’s last offer. But it’s far more than the private security patrols would have cost (MPR News). Earlier this month the city and council met in mediation with the representatives of the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office to discuss options for coverage, at the urging of Attorney General Lori Swanson. In her letter, Swanson raised concern about the possible legal ramifications for the city if it relies on a private security company for its public safety needs. The sheriff’s office would still respond to all 911 calls (Saint Cloud Times).

Farmers cheer Chippewa Co. decision to pay bounty for coyotes

The county board voted Tuesday to pay $10 for every coyote trapped or shot in the western Minnesota county and brought to the sheriff’s department. Those that kill a coyote will be able to sell its pelt, worth about $15. Commissioners set no limit on how many bounties the county will pay (MPR News). Although the first to act, the commissioners at their meeting Tuesday said they expect neighboring counties to adopt the same bounty program and reduce the likelihood of coyotes being brought in for bounties when harvested elsewhere. Commissioners from the counties of Big Stone, Chippewa, Lac qui Parle, Kandiyohi, Swift and Yellow Medicine had met on Oct. 28 in Olivia and voiced support for implementing coyote bounties (West Central Tribune).

Gov. Dayton wants faster environmental reviews

Gov. Mark Dayton says the state has greatly streamlined the permitting process for businesses — while preserving environmental protections, he adds — and is now looking for even ways to “improve Minnesota’s complex environmental review process” (MinnPost).

US House OKs creating new ballast water standard

The U.S. House passed a bill Tuesday that would create a national standard for cleaning ballast water in ships. The new standard wouldn’t go far enough if were to pass into law, said National Wildlife Federation senior policy manager Marc Smith. “Most troubling is that it prevents states and the Environmental Protection Agency from setting protective and effective standards, basically it preempts the states from going more stringent than what this standard is,” Smith said (MPR News).

Study: Port of Duluth-Superior support over 11,500 jobs

Cargo shipments in and out of the Port of Duluth-Superior support over 11,500 jobs in Minnesota and Wisconsin; generate $1.5 billion in direct business revenue; produce $156 million in state and federal taxes; and contribute over $545 million in wages and salaries in the Great Lakes regional economy (WDIO). About 40 million tons of iron ore, coal, limestone, salt, cement, grain, steel, wind turbines and heavy machinery move through the Twin Ports each year (Duluth News Tribune).

Bachmann calls for raising eligibility age for Social Security

Michele Bachmann called for raising the eligibility age for Social Security on currently middle aged people in a town-hall meeting here this afternoon.”People like me will have to wait longer to get our benefits because we have to make the math work,” said Bachmann, who is 55 (Des Moines Register).

Adding to a national debate that pits privacy concerns against medical researchers, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a lower court must reconsider a challenge to the state Health Department’s practice of storing blood samples from newborns indefinitely (Pioneer Press).

Move over pat-downs here come the metal detectors

As part of the NFL’s ongoing efforts to increase fan safety and security, the Vikings will begin using handheld metal detectors for entrance to the Vikings-Raiders game at Mall of America Field this Sunday (Vikings blog).

Coon Rapids students suspended for Facebook comments

Ten students are not welcome in their Coon Rapids High School this week after they were suspended for doing something that has become all too common in modern teenage society.The students were allegedly posting threatening and harassing statements on classmates’ Facebook pages (KARE11).

Township taxes on the rise

Property taxes have gone up substantially in Minnesota’s rural townships over the last decade, a new report shows. The tax money filled the gap left by declining state aid (Ground Level).

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