Gov. Pawlenty travels around the state Thursday to announce the locations of new tax-free enterprise zones. Starting next month, new development on thousands of parcels of land outside the metro area will be free from property, income, and sales taxes. Economically-stressed rural communities are waiting to see if this will spark the turnaround they need. Critics say Minnesota is about to land the latest blow in a battle nobody wins.
A man described by authorities as a
predatory sex offender faced a kidnapping charge in the
disappearance of a University of North Dakota student, and the
girl's family said the arrest gave them new hope that she would be
A shortage of live cattle is driving prices to all time highs. For 7 years, ranchers in cattle country have struggled to survive a drought. Some ranchers can't afford feed. They've culled their herds. Others have gone out of business. But those who have managed to survive are cashing in.
Over the past four years the Environmental Protection Agency and North Dakota's Health Department have debated whether the state's air is clean enough. Regulators can't agree on whose monitoring methods are most accurate.
Harvest equipment is rolling through the region's farm fields. It's a critical time for farmers, because their income is dependent on this time of year. Farmers hope market conditions are ripe for a good price. So far this year in the Red River Valley, harvest has been going smoothly and it appears the price may be right.
Railroads opened up the Great Plains, and played a big role in the history of the Fargo-Moorhead area. The old Great Northern and Northern Pacific lines sliced through the two towns. Today, the piercing sound of a locomotive's horn is still common, but a new plan recently approved by the Federal Railroad Administration will silence the horns.
The wheat harvest in the Northern Plains is complete and the crop is out of the field. Farmers have started to move the harvest from the farm to the elevator. But the next step will be more difficult. That is, finding enough railroad cars to move crops from elevators to markets around the country.
Building - or rebuilding - a healthy economy is a tough job, especially in rural Minnesota. This year, small towns across the state are hoping to use a new tool for economic development, provided by the legislature. Minnesota's new Job Opportunity Building Zones, or JOBZ, allows cities to offer lucrative incentives to developing businesses in the designated areas.
An anti-tobacco coalition in the Fargo-Moorhead area wants local bars and restaurants to go smoke-free. They've proposed an ordinance to local city officials, and hope it's approved by the end of the year.
The United States and Canada share 4,000 miles of border, and along that stretch, the U.S. Border Patrol has an agent every 16 miles. The border between the U.S. and Mexico is half as long, but there's an agent every 1,000 feet. That's about to change. Officials say the agency will be shifting personnel to shore up the northern patrol.
Cuts in the state's budget took affect July first. Minnesotans who receive aid are starting to feel the difference. People who need state assistance for child care got a case of sticker shock this month. Lawmakers increased fees and co-payments along with cuts in some services to balance the state's budget.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Garrison Dam. The fifth-largest earthen dam in the world, Garrison is located in central North Dakota. The dam on the Missouri River created Lake Sakakawea. The reservoir is 178 miles long and in some places, six miles wide. When the dam was built, many people were forced to sell their land and move.
When the MnSCU Board of Trustees meets in July, tuition increases will be on the agenda. All 33 institutions of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system are asking for tuition hikes. If approved, MnSCU's full-time students will see their average costs rise about $400 a year. Students would pay more than $3,500 a year in tuition and fees.
A coalition of grassroots organizations have launched a
campaign to gain support for country-of-origin labeling laws. The groups have targeted county commissions in seven states to sign a resolution supporting country of origin labeling.
Vanessa, 28, grew up in rural South Dakota. Weight has
always been a problem. Two years ago she decided to
do something about it.