Laurel Druley Feature Archive

While several school districts around the state are spending a lot of energy right now tightening belts, charter schools are unfazed. They're already working with modest budgets. In the last year, a handful of charter schools have been shut down because of criticism over how they spend their money. But administrators at a Rochester charter school say their school should be a role model to others. (12/28/2001)
Only 30 percent of suburban districts got more money from local taxpayers in November's referenda. As a result, some metro schools may have to close their doors. But not in Lyle. One of the state's smallest school districts - it has only one school - gets big support from local residents. (12/14/2001)
When Rochester voters go to the polls November 6, they'll be voting on one item - money for schools. Last year people in Rochester refused, and the school board cut the district's budget by $9 million. This year, district officials are asking for less and getting the word out. Even so, educators worry predictions of an economic recession, world events and property tax reform will distract voters. (10/31/2001)
When opening a menu or strolling through the produce aisle at the grocery store, you may notice a new word on the vegetable price tags - heirloom. About 26 years ago when an Iowa couple became pioneers of seed preservation, they didn't think they'd get such an enthusiastic response. (10/09/2001)
In the wake of the recent events, state and union leaders are under public pressure to come to a contract agreement. The September 11 terrorist attacks have brought a changed perspective to the negotiating table. Still, more than half of Minnesota's government work force could walk off the job Monday if no agreement is made. State agency officials say they have contingency plans in place to compensate for the void a strike could leave. (09/26/2001)
In the wake of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C, Muslims and Arab-Americans across the country report being harassed and discriminated against. In Rochester, some Arab-Americans have been the victims of verbal threats. We talked to one family about their experiences. (09/24/2001)
Amid widespread speculation of an Islamic link to Tuesday's attacks, U.S. Muslim groups condemned the terrorism and warned the 7 million Muslims in the United States to take precautions against harassment or abuse. About 3,000 Muslim people live in Rochester. Many local Muslims became concerned for their own safety. (09/13/2001)
North America, Australia and New Zealand are the only areas that remain untouched by foot-and-mouth disease. Officials at Minnesota's county fairs, and soon the Minnesota State Fair, would like to keep it that way. This summer, many county fairs have posted signs and reminded folks about the danger of foot-and-mouth disease. (08/20/2001)
For four months out of the year Plainview - population 3,190 - grows by more than 200 residents. Migrant workers come to town to can peas and corn at Lakeside Foods. But while the work is there, housing is not, leaving many temporary workers searching for a place to call home. Part of MPR's 'Life on the Bottom Rung' online project. (08/14/2001)
About 125 sows died at a large confinement hog operation in North Dakota this week due to hot and humid conditions. Minnesota dairy farmers have seen a drop in milk production as a result of the weather. (08/08/2001)
As Albert Lea recovers from a devastating fire that damaged a large portion of the Farmland Foods plant, the town braces for another hit to its economy. Another major employer may be preparing to lay off a few workers. It's an unsettling time for the town's manufacturing employees. (07/24/2001)
County and state officials discussed relief options for employees who are currently out of work at the Farmland Foods plant in Albert Lea Wednesday. The meat-packaging plant, the second largest employer in Albert Lea, is assessing damages and may announce plans for the facility later this week. (07/11/2001)
Farmers typically like to see corn hip-high by the Fourth of July. But this was not a typical year. On July 1st, Minnesota corn height averaged 21 inches - a foot shorter than this time last year. Across the state, farmers are now trying to predict their crop yields. (07/06/2001)
La Crosse Footwear, a major employer for more than 100 years, in western Wisconsin, closed Friday. The Footwear plant has hit a financial slowdown and for the last few years, has gradually moved production overseas. At one time, the La Crosse plant employed more than 1,500 people, putting out a sturdy line of boots, raincoats and shoes. When it closed, only 139 were left. (06/29/2001)