Statewide: June 15, 2011 Archive
Homelessness rose last year in Minnesota by 2 percent. Given the negative trajectory of the economy, the state of the housing market and the cost of consumer goods the news of an increase isn't surprising. Wisconsin saw a slight decline. According to the Saint Cloud Times, Minnesota's homeless population is up 9 percent since 2007.
Across the nation there is an increase in homelessness in rural areas and among veterans.
"We've seen a decline in the annual number of people using homeless shelters in principal cities of about 17 percent since 2007," HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said. "One the other hand, we've seen a significant increase in the number of people using homeless shelters in suburban and rural areas -- an increase of 57 percent."
Donovan said HUD is targeting rural homelessness by giving $16.4 million to 87 programs it had not previously funded.
Efforts also are being focused on homelessness among veterans, more than 40 percent of whom are from rural communities, Donovan said.
"It is a national tragedy that veterans in this country are 50 percent more likely to be homeless than the average person," he said. "We do see a significant level of homelessness among recently returned veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan."
In a national context the changes in Minnesota and Wisconsin are considered to be stable.
Also clicking on MN Today
Bachmann's Re-Election Options Open
Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Tony Sutton said he wouldn't be too hasty in considering Bachmann's district an open seat.
"I respect the fact that Congresswoman Bachmann is running for president, but I think it would be premature until we see how the presidential campaign goes," he said Tuesday in an interview. "She may, depending on how things go, decide she wants to run for Congress if things don't go as she plans" (Roll Call).
Can Bachmann serve her district while running for president?
Bachmann's new role as a declared presidential candidate means she will be spending even more time in states like Iowa and New Hampshire, and less in Minnesota and Washington, DC (Minnesota Public Radio).
Grand Rapids audience shows support for wolf delisting
For the third time, the federal government is trying to remove gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region from the Endangered Species List. The last two times, conservation groups challenged the idea in court, and won (Minnesota Public Radio).
Minnesota West prepares for shutdown
Minnesota West Community and Technical College sent layoff notices to some employees last week in preparation for a possible state government shutdown (Worthington Daily Globe).
Small fire in BWCAW being monitored near Gaskin Lake
Fire personnel completed a reconnaissance flight early Tuesday morning to determine the agency's response to the fire. According to the Forest Service the fire is currently about three acres and smoldering in a mix of white pine cedar and hardwoods and is not expanding (WTIP).
Spirit of Iron Range captured in upcoming photo exhibit
I quickly realized that even in the face of serious economic change, life goes on. The communities of the Iron Range embrace their traditions and celebrate their history with events that are wonderfully photographable (Minnesota Brown).
Enger Tower awaits coming of the King
The views from the our skyline are everything you'll ever want from a great view. Whether by day or by night, morning or evening, the ever shifting angles of light and even temperature changes make the view something new every day.Of all the views on the skyline, Enger Tower offers the most enriching of all (Pioneer Productions).
MPR News' Facebook fans are having strong reactions to the possible shutdown of the state government.
Jill: I will be very upset if it interferes with using the state parks! I completely agree with whoever said they want to know how the legislators decided they had time to haggle over marriage when they should've been working on the budget.
Tom: IMHO they should shut down in January instead of the summer. Gosh, we spend the whole winter waiting for the beautiful summer here in Minnesota, and then they shut down our wonderful state parks. If I was their boss, they'd be fired. It would be interesting to see how they'd feel if they were unemployed!
A second round of rebuttals are generating new arguments this morning. The Assertion: If the private sector can perform a service or make a product, then government should get out of that business. What do you think?
On Wednesday morning Todd Foster and Scott Miller set out from the Sinclair Lewis Campground in Sauk Centre.
The duo are continuing their 150 mile trip down the Sauk River mapping obstructions as they go.
Although the pair say they haven't encountered many fences on their journey so far, those remaining do violate state law.
In order to find a solution to the fences, the Sauk River Watershed District began offering a cost-share program a few years ago that funds up to 50 percent of landowners' costs to come into compliance.
Funds may be dedicated to both alternate watering systems and fencing that runs parallel to the bank and extends about 25 feet into the water. These measures allow cattle to drink from the river without entering it.
According to Holly Kovarik, SRWD's administrator, the organization has received grants and loans that make this possible.
For more information on the fencing issue, see Sunday's coverage.
"The watershed district is a cost share and we have pursued grants specifically for exclusion fencing that [landowners] can put along [the river] and keep the cattle off the river," she said.
Kovarik said the group has a number of reasons they are looking for a new solution.
In part, she said, one of the SRWD's primary purposes is to monitor water quality. She said removing cattle from it would be a step in the right direction as the water currently tests positive for E. coli.
In addition, according to Kovarik, a number of canoeists and kayakers have gotten caught in the fences, many of which are made from barbed wire.
Tell us about Minnesota's rivers and streams We want to know about the rivers and streams that you know best. Which are in the best condition? Which ones have problem spots? Share your observations here.
"You're moving down the river pretty quickly, come around a corner and there's a fence there," Adam Hjelm, SRWD's public outreach coordinator, said. "You don't have time to react."
Hjelm was part of a group that canoed a portion of the Sauk River in 2008 in order to catalogue bank erosion in addition to logs and fences blocking the river.
But ultimately, Kovarik said, the cost share program is entirely voluntary and SRWD cannot force landowners to participate. However, she added that "more than I can count" have taken them up on the offer since the program began.