Rob Schmitz Feature Archive

The Minnesota Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against Freeborn County for its rule that enables county board members to ban certain members of the public from speaking at county board meetings. (07/17/2003)
Lots of people have fishing lures. But Ken Bachman has hundreds -- possibly thousands -- of lures collected over the past 25 years. Minnesota Public Radio's Rob Schmitz talks with Ken Bachman in the basement of his Owatonna residence, home to nothing less than a fishing lure archive. (07/09/2003)
A new law will make it easier to build feedlots in rural Minnesota. Critics say the law will lead to more groundwater contamination and less public input into the feelot permit process. Supporters say it saves the government and the agriculture industry time and money. (06/24/2003)
Minnesota's concealed carry law has been in effect for a little over a week. In that time, private establishments across the state have put up signs banning guns on their premises. Now, Minnesota counties and cities are following suit. However, the law may not be on their side. (06/06/2003)
La Crosse archaeologists say they've discovered evidence of the origin of the Oneota tribe. It was an ancient indigenous people and the ancestor of many Midwestern Native American tribes including the Ho-Chunk and the Dakota. The find has spurred an energetic debate in the archaeology community that has led to more questions than answers. (06/05/2003)
For years, scientists have looked for the causes behind obesity, and they've found many possibilities. Here's a look at the brain's important role in the equation through the eyes of a Rochester man battling both obesity and depression. (06/02/2003)
The Patriot Act was designed make it easier to track down and stop potential terrorists. Some librarians say it threatens the privacy of people who visit the library. (05/18/2003)
A group that wants to reduce the number of immigrants coming to the U.S. has emerged in Owatonna, attracting the criticism of local immigration advocates. Critics point out the groups' cofounders are connected to organizations supporting the largely discredited eugenics movement. (05/08/2003)
Last fall, the state forced a group of Amish families in southeastern Minnesota to stop selling their baked goods to tourists. The move was a blow to an increasing number of Amish businesses in the area. It was also a blow to the town of Harmony, which depends on the Amish for business. Now, both communities are joining efforts to fight back. (04/30/2003)
Governor Pawlenty says biotechnology will cause an economic revolution in the US. In order to get Minnesota involved, he's working with officials at the University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic to join a partnership to lead the way in biotech development. All that's missing in Pawlenty's plan is state money. (03/31/2003)
It's a popular notion that war is good for the economy. But as U.S. troops mass on the border of Iraq, Minnesota experts doubt war will help the state's struggling economy. Over the last two years, Minnesota has lost 57,000 jobs. Three-quarters of those jobs have been in the manufacturing sector. Traditionally, manufacturers have benefited the most from military spending. However, state economists say a war in Iraq is unlikely to help them. (03/16/2003)
In addition to losing nurses to the nation's ramp-up for war, state health care providers have to compete with the military's attractive signing bonuses and other benefits for nurses. (03/10/2003)
One of the world's largest magnets has arrived at Rochester's Mayo Clinic. Researchers will use the 8,000 lb. 2 million dollar beheamoth to study the proteins in cells. (02/28/2003)
President Bush's request to increase funding for the Army Corps of Engineers' Mississippi River environmental restoration program is encouraging to environmental groups. But some are wary of the Corps' intentions. (02/07/2003)
Project Bioshield is the name of President Bush's plan to invest $6 billion into biodefense research. Only one thing stands in the way: there aren't enough researchers trained in biodefense to meet the nation's needs. (01/30/2003)