Duluth News Tribune
If it wasn't for the copper-nickel mine that could result in the end, even the most hardened PolyMet opponent could find something to cheer in the proposed land exchange between the federal government and the mining company.
The drumbeat of speculation that the Russians somehow hacked, disrupted, or even altered the U.S. presidential election culminated in recommendations last week to prevent what only may have happened from ever happening again. As odd as that sentence may sound, its stated goal may be even more baffling in states like Minnesota where election tampering just isn't an issue.
In a letter to the editor in 2014, Duluth's Roger Morris suggested we all should be singing the fourth verse of "The Star-Spangled Banner" as our national anthem rather than the first verse — which is what we all mumble along to before every baseball game and at other patriotic, hats-off, hands-over-hearts moments. The better-known first verse ends weakly with a question and an unfinished story, Morris argued. The fourth verse ends with a strong exclamation.
With elected state leaders only able to blow smoke this legislative session, cities are taking needed steps to improve health, clear the air, and prevent young Minnesotans from being ensnared by the deadly dangers of cigarettes and tobacco use. In May, Edina became the first city in Minnesota to raise the legal age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21. This week, the Minnesota cities of St. Louis Park and Mankato publicly initiated city council action to follow suit.
The sensors in the brain that cause a smoker to not just want a cigarette but to crave one and to have to have one are the same sensors that go off when we hear our cell phones chime, notifying us of new messages, emails, or phone calls. "People are literally addicted to their cell phones," Holly Kostrzewski, the Northeastern Minnesota director of Toward Zero Deaths, a program to reduce traffic accidents and fatalities, explained during a Pressroom Podcast show at duluthnewstribune.com last week.
After yet another legislative session in which there were calls to do away with MNsure in favor of Minnesota joining the federal health exchange, MNsure CEO Allison O'Toole and its public-affairs director Jeremy Drucker traveled the state this week to deliver a clear message.
During a press conference in Duluth last week, DFL Gov. Mark Dayton accused the Republican majority in the Minnesota House and Senate of "once again (putting) the priorities of corporations and wealthy individuals over the priorities of real Minnesotans." It was political posturing, to be sure, in the wake of a 2017 legislative session now destined for the courts after Dayton defunded the Legislature and after Republicans snuck in a last-minute provision to financially cripple the state Revenue Department if their tax cuts weren't signed into law.
In just under three months, the news has gone from superbad to devastatingly worse for a federal program that actually has been making real progress in cleaning up—finally—the St. Louis River and other heavily polluted "areas of concern" around the Great Lakes. In March, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative was listed among potential federal budget cuts under new President Donald Trump. The initiative's $300 million annual appropriation faced a slash to just $10 million, a whopping 97 percent reduction.
A News Tribune editorial first sounded the alarm two months ago. Now, with less than a week left in the legislative session, and with the Republican majority and DFL Gov. Mark Dayton seemingly no closer to compromise or agreement, there's a growing need to scream again. All Minnesotans can join: No special session! Get your work done — on time!
Whether you're a supporter of Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, you can agree: The guy is a bit of a bulldog, not shy about boldly stating where he stands on everything from early-childhood education to spending the state surplus to carbon emissions. His staff is quick to pump out statements and releases packed with numbers that support his positions. His department directors even routinely travel the state to push for his priorities.