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The great irony is that to truly appreciate the works of Roberta Jensen, they have to be seen to be believed. Intricate thread work, interwoven patterns of colors and carefully constructed images of Western sunrises in forms of afghans, along with multi-colored headbands, baby blankets, bedspreads and decorative pieces—all, painstakingly created by the hands of a woman who's been blind since the age of 2.
Miniscule wood chips flit through the air, dust so fine it's almost mist—all that's left of towering trees that existed as giants for decades, then vanished in an instant. Watching an industrial-sized woodchipper process entire trees, it's something of a microcosm for an industry experiencing a similar vanishing act—more than half of the state's paper mills have closed down since 2008, said Scott Dane, the executive director of Associated Contract Loggers & Truckers Inc., a Minnesota association representing these industries.
LITTLE FALLS—Sometimes, it takes nothing short of a bona fide crisis to bring people of disparate views and backgrounds together, even if they agree on little else. Green Party hopefuls, red Republican stalwarts, true blue DFLers—and that's just the politicos, to say nothing of the doctors, law enforcement officers, social workers and pharmacists who joined them Tuesday, July 31, at St. Gabriel's Hospital in Little Falls.
Republican Senate candidate Karin Housley isn't a fan of Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn. While campaigning across the state, Housley stopped by the Dispatch Monday, July 30, to expound on her candidacy—a candidacy that's one part pro-Housley and one part anti-Smith; a bid for the U.S. Senate in many ways shaped and framed by her opposition to the senator who currently occupies former Sen. Al Franken's seat.
ISLE—Gubernatorial hopeful Jeff Johnson may have his eyes fixed on 2018, but if a stop by Mille Lacs Lake is any indication, he'll have to keep an eye on 1999 if he's elected. That's the year the Supreme Court, in a split 5-4 ruling, upheld an 1837 treaty recognizing Ojibwe rights to hunt, fish and gather under their own rules. While the treaty covers a swath of traditional Ojibwe territories in Minnesota and Wisconsin, Mille Lacs Lake has remained a focal point—particularly since state and tribal authorities agreed to co-manage its resources.
Representatives of the Republican National Committee are touting the prowess of their voter data analytics program—they say it could turn Minnesota red as it has Wisconsin, Michigan and other former Democratic strongholds, and they've got results to show for it. Since 2014, the GOP has invested more than $250 million and counting into their National Voter Scores Program—a behemoth of data gathering and analysis, dealing in 260 million voters and billions of data points.
In case anyone missed the memo, it's construction season in Minnesota—a painful reality for Brainerd-Baxter drivers forced to navigate a maze of streets coned, taped and barricaded in shades of neon orange. Some initiatives are nearing completion, most are at about the midway point, while one is just getting started. Here's a quick update, Friday, July 27, on the major construction projects in the conjoined towns. South Sixth Street reconstruction project
The plot thickens. Previously unidentified in Brainerd City Council meetings, the petitioner for an ordinance change that would allow miniature pigs in city limits has stepped forward and his name is Daniel Wahl. During the council meeting July 16, City Planner Mark Ostgarden told the council he had not heard from the petitioner since July 1 and, thus, couldn't confirm if the city still had a pressing reason to consider a change.
Rep. Keith Ellison is no stranger to high-profile roles and offices of influence. In his sixth term as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Ellison may be the most widely known member of the Minnesota congressional delegation—a reputation cemented, in part, by his place in history as the first Muslim elected to Congress and his ascendancy to deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, as well as appearances with prominent figures like Sen. Bernie Sanders in recent months.
BAXTER—Crews are making the first steps toward transforming the Cypress Drive project into reality. Although, as a result of external factors—including nearby construction, a late winter and uncooperative weather patterns this summer, to say little of the high influx of tourist traffic—the inevitable congestion of its construction looks to be compounded manyfold. City staffers and community members said as much during the fourth open house of the project the evening of Thursday, July 19.