Powerline Blues Part 6: If Alice Tripp's surprise showing that September in her race for governor against Rudy Perpich was the faint rumble of thunder in the countryside, lightning had struck just a few weeks earlier.
Powerline Blues Part 5: In an April 1978 poll, the Minneapolis Tribune asked Minnesotans whether they sided with the farmers or the utilities. Sixty-three percent said they sided with the farmers. Among rural Minnesotans, support for the farmers ran at 70 percent. That spring, Alice Tripp decided to run for governor.
Although faced with a situation in which law enforcement officials were reluctant to use force against their own neighbors, Gov. Wendell Anderson declined to intervene. But when the fall of 1976 turned to winter, a new governor took office: a former Iron Range dentist named Rudy Perpich.
In June 1976 the state of Minnesota issued a construction permit for the transmission line. Three days later, utility company surveyors arrived at Virgil and Jane Fuchs' farm. By the end of the day, Fuchs was under arrest.
In the late 1970s, a mass protest swept through the normally conservative farm country of west central Minnesota. Farmers tried to stop construction of a 400- mile-long transmission line that would cross their land on the way from North Dakota to the Twin Cities.
Powerline Blues looks back at the conflict through the eyes of people who lived it. It's a story of how a system they didn't think was fair turned ordinary people into radicals.
Sen.-elect Norm Coleman gave his first policy speech since the election on Tuesday night. The topic was agriculture. Coleman offered few specifics but received a standing ovation from members of the Minnesota Agri-Growth Council.
Ethanol supporters, such the nation's corn farmers, say it's a way to reduce this country's dependence on foreign oil and benefit the environment at the same time. Ethanol opponents doubt those arguments, but they're fighting a losing battle.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will require ethanol plants in Minnesota to install millions of dollars worth of pollution control equipment, under a settlement announced Wednesday in St. Paul. The agreement is expected to be a model for the ethanol industry nationwide.
The Environmental Protection Agency is negotiating with ethanol plants across the nation to cut back air pollution. Testing at Gopher State Ethanol, a converted St. Paul brewery, showed levels of pollutants far higher than the industry had claimed. Those results triggered an EPA crackdown on ethanol plants nationwide.
Minnesota is home to one of the nation's largest Somali populations. As Muslim immigrants, they felt the shadow of suspicion fall on them after Sept. 11. Now, the after-effects still ripple through their community.
Farmers vote soon on whether to sell the state's largest ethanol plant to Archer Daniels Midland.
Law enforcement agencies across Minnesota are on alert;the FBI has issued a general warning for the Fourth of July holiday. The agency says terrorists may chose Independence Day because of its "political and cultural significance."
Not far from Northern Minnesota's Boundary Waters canoe country lies another wilderness where almost no one goes. It's called the peatlands, and it covers one third of Northern Minnesota. If the world's vast peatlands flourish in warmer temperatures, they could help put the brakes on global warming. If they wither, they could greatly aggravate the problem. No one knows what will happen, but in northern Minnesota, scientists are seven years into some of the first experiments to find out.
At an EPA workshop in Bloomington, one of the discussions about global climate change involves the fate of the region's birds in an artificially warmed world.
For most of the year, a peculiar little bird known as the American Woodcock lives hidden on the forest floor, camouflaged among dry leaves. But for a few weeks in the springtime, the male woodcock emerges from obscurity. As dark falls, he gives an odd, buzzing call, then launches himself skyward for a spectacular courting flight.