Statewide: April 15, 2011 Archive
Posted at 10:15 AM on April 15, 2011
by Mark Steil
Filed under: Flooding
With the flood waters receding in southern Minnesota, the damage assessment can begin. Federal Emergency Management Agency personnel, along with state and local officials, are looking first at damage along the Minnesota River.
Three assessment teams are looking at flood damage this week in 15 counties stretching from the South Dakota border to the Twin Cities, said Doug Nevile, a spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
Neville said the surveys will begin in northern Minnesota, possibly next week, as the Red River recedes. Eventually the survey teams will come up with a statewide dollar figure for 2011 flood damage/costs.
"That will give us an indication as to whether or not the governor will request a presidential disaster declaration," Neville said.
In Chippewa County, which includes the city of Montevideo, flood costs could be as much as $500,000, Emergency Management Director Marvin Garbe said.
Garbe, who joined the assessment team surveying damage in the southwestern Minnesota county, said that includes both protective measures like sandbagging, as well as damage to roads, culverts and other public infrastructure.
Neville said the damage assessment teams like to get into the field as soon as possible, but they have to wait for the water to start going down.
"If it's underwater they can't see the damage", he said.
Posted at 8:09 AM on April 15, 2011
by Michael Olson
Filed under: Around MN
The Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board is expected to vote today on whether to grant a $4 million loan to PolyMet Mining Corp. The money would be used to help PolyMet develop a copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota.
The vote comes as Iron Rangers try to hold lawmakers back from dipping into a regional fund derived from mining production taxes.
Yesterday MN Today compiled a series of maps that identified existing and planned mining projects throughout the Iron Range. We fell short of the "hundreds" of projects as described in a report by the Northland News Center quoting IRRRB commissioner Tony Sertich.
Sertich tells MPR News that he was describing the number of leads for new business opportunities in the range that includes mining and non-mining activity. He adds that the maps linked to yesterday is a reliable count of of active and proposed mining projects.
There are five new mining projects proposed in the Superior National Forest. The Forest Service will hold public comment periods for each project before they can advance.
Also clicking on MN TodayRed River at Grand Forks appears to have crested It looks like the Red River at Grand Forks and East Grand Forks crested Thursday at a level of 49.67 ft. That would make it the third highest crest ever recorded on the river (WDAY).
The Red River flood in 41 Seconds
Relive each day of winter and early spring of 2011 on the Red River in downtown Grand Forks - in a mere 41 seconds. Watch this video collection of once-a-day still photos from Jan. 1 to Thursday, April 14, taken by the U.S. Geological Service with a Sorlie Bridge-mounted camera (Grand Forks Herald).
Court hears arguments in cell phone tower dispute
Both sides in the dispute over a 450-foot cell phone tower on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness had a chance to state their case to a Hennepin County District Court judge this week (Timber Jay).
During Capitol visit, Minnesota Vikings owner says he's 'very optimistic' about stadium deal
Acknowledging the clock is ticking, Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said Thursday that he's "very optimistic" a deal can be struck on a site for a new stadium and the Legislature will approve a construction plan before it adjourns next month (Pioneer Press)
Carlson flies at snowboarding nationals
Alexandria's Cody Carlson proved you do not need to be from the big mountains of Colorado to turn yourself into one of the top snowboarders in the country (Echo Press).
Insight NowIssue of the day
On fairness and taxing Internet salesThe discussion on whether Minnesota ought to depend more on sales taxes has raised an interest view of fairness when it comes to taxing policy.
The brick-and-morter merchants want parity with those who sell the same products via the web.
This is what Ward Einess, a representative for the Minnesota-based Best Buy electronic stores told state legislators on a hearing over whether to tax Internet sales:
"This is not the imposition of a new tax. The general law as we sit here today is that if you go into a bricks-and-mortar, Minnesota-based retail establishment and you make the purchase of an item that's taxable, that same item is going to be taxable if you purchase it via the Internet, if you purchase it via a catalog or purchase it via any other remote vender."Critics say that any attempt to tax Internet sales would violate the Constitution's interstate commerce clause - a battle still being waged in the courts. As we told you, Governor Mark Dayton's budget proposal includes a provision to tax sales by websites based in Minnesota, such as PocketYourDollars.com. Other states are looking at Internet sales and are finding their own ways around the legalities.
But the fairness of taxing sales by computer has come up more than once in our discussion about sales taxes. And it's not just a website vs. bricks-and-morter divide. It's also one where you have to balance the large corporations and the mom-and-pop-sized establishments.
As we continue our discussion on consumption taxes in Minnesota, let's pursue this: Should Minnesota look to raise sales tax money through Internet sales? If so, how should the state do this?
Posted at 11:59 AM on April 15, 2011
by David Cazares
Filed under: Arts
We all love stories.
For centuries, we've turned to the storytellers among us, counting on them to recount history, share experiences and entertain.
In telling stories, writers remind of us our brief moment in this time and place, and tell us something about the shared human condition, in all its imperfections.
Today at noon, Minnesota Public Radio will air Writing Minnesota, a special program on how the state's writers approach their craft.
MPR News reporter Annie Baxter, who writes fiction, opens a window interviews several writers about their lives and creative works. The writers she interviews include Charles Baxter, Steve Healey, Robet Hedlin, Philip Bryant, Kao Kalia Yang, Nicole Helget, Katrina Vandenberg and Matt Rasmussen.
The show also will air at 6 p.m. Sunday.
Don't miss it.