Statewide: October 5, 2011 Archive
Posted at 1:12 PM on October 5, 2011
by Julie Siple
Filed under: Hunger
Yvonne Estey, manager of the tiny food shelf on the White Earth Reservation, tries not to worry about how little the food shelf has.
"The shelves are pretty bare," she said recently, glancing at the sparse selection. There are beans, some canned fruit and vegetables, some dry milk and cereal. There are crackers and juice.
Fresh fruits and vegetables?
"No, we don't get too many of those."
Ever run out?
"Well, pretty close."
The Helping Hands Food Shelf in Mahnomen serves about 80 families a month on the reservation, where tribal officials estimate up to 50 percent of people live below the poverty line. This is a place where even the food shelf manager struggles to get by.
Last month, while encouraging clients to sign up for food stamps, Estey realized she might qualify, too.
"So I thought, well, I'll fill out the application and take it up to the courthouse," she recalled.
Estey grew up near Hibbing, Minnesota and worked much of her adult life in the mines. She drove a fork lift, ran a cherry picker. She belongs to the White Earth Nation and spent childhood summers visiting her grandparents in Naytahwaush. After many years, she returned to the reservation and worked in the Shooting Star Casino in Mahnomen. She now lives on her Social Security check and wages from part-time work at the food shelf. It's not much.
Estey lives with her adult son, and eats enough healthy food. But making ends meet is tough, and she expects she'll qualify for food stamps.
That first-hand knowledge of what it's like to struggle with food gives her a deep empathy for people walking through the door, Estey said.
"I understand why they struggle," she said. "I understand why they're coming in."
Posted at 7:56 AM on October 5, 2011
by Michael Olson
Filed under: Around MN
Report says mussels, nutrients damage Great Lakes
A one-two punch of excessive nutrients and ravenous mussels is causing a sharp drop-off in Great Lakes fish populations and the worst outbreak of algae blooms in decades, says a report released Tuesday.
A group of scientists warned in 2005 that Great Lakes ecosystems were on the verge of collapse because of a dangerous set of problems, including species invasions and degraded water quality. The wildlife federation report said the scientists' predictions are coming true (Wall Street Journal).
Also on MN Today
Tax-forfeit properties on the rise in St. Louis County
Unpaid taxes exceed $11.1 million in the county. That amounts to 10 percent of the annual county tax levy, "and that's a pretty significant number," said Bob Krepps, St. Louis County land commissioner. "It's enough to make us stand up and take notice" (Duluth News Tribune).
Bauer back home in Minnesota
Bauer and his fiance, Sarah Shourd, were spending time this week at his mother's rural Minnesota home, taking long walks, singing songs around a fire and cooking meals together. They aren't spending a lot of time talking about the time Shane lost to prison, Shane's mother, Cindy Hickey, said (AP).
Ron Paul leads Rochester button primary
A Rochester button maker says that the candidate that sells the most buttons wins the election. That's been the case every year they've been in business. So far this year the leader is Ron Paul (KAAL).
'We've just built more than we can maintain'
A Brainerd engineer argues cities need new priorities. Put simply, his message is that the growth communities have built on and counted on is not sustainable and, in fact, has generated a set of road, sewer and other built-in infrastructure costs that will become increasingly difficult to pay (Ground Level).
City of Truman being sued by U.S. Department of Justice
The DoJ has filed a lawsuit against the city of Truman, accusing the city of violating the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act in its dealings with U.S. Army Reservist Michael Schutz. Shultz returned from deployment and got only part of his job back. The city says it is due to budget cuts (Fairmont Sentinel).
Twenty percent of the 2,800 Iowa National Guard soldiers who returned from Afghanistan earlier this year don't have jobs waiting for them. (AP)
North Mankato City Council explores cuts, fees
Needing to trim spending or boost fees by $225,000 in the proposed 2012 budget, the North Mankato City Council Monday night discussed everything from street light surcharges for property owners to eliminating school crossing guards (Mankato Free Press).
Repeated police calls now come with a fee
A system of fees Rochester will charge to property owners for repeated police calls to their premises was adopted Monday by the city council (Rochester Post Bulletin).
Cargill lays off 130 at Arkansas production plant
Cargill Inc. has laid off 130 people at its Springdale plant because the company hasnt been able to produce ground turkey since a recall last month (Pioneer Press).
Iron Range may get new taconite plant
Magnetation Inc. on Tuesday sealed a $297 million deal with Ohio-based steelmaker AK Steel to expand operations on the Iron Range, including a potential new taconite production plant in Itasca County (Duluth News Tribune).
Prosecutor: women knew group involved in terrorism
Two women accused of going door-to-door to raise money for al-Shabab knew the Somali-based group engaged in terrorism and "rejoiced" when they heard about its victories in their war-torn homeland, a prosecutor said Tuesday (AP).
Officers prepare for 'Occupy Minnesota' protest (MPR News)
Winona State presidential search begins (Winona Daily News)
Not too long ago, U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack was on the defensive in the 8th Drisrtict for not holding a public town hall meeting in Duluth, his district's largest city, while hosting meetings in the tiny rural communities of Deer River and Grand Portage.
Cravack, a freshman Republican in Congress, eventually relented after being confronted by protestors outside a lunch meeting, and held a spur of the moment meeting at the Duluth airport on Aug. 25.
But lately, Cravaack has been spending a lot of time in Duluth. On Oct. 7, he's hosting a third "roundtable" with interested stakeholders in Polymet, the controversial proposed copper-nickel open pit mine in Hoyt Lakes, to get an update on the permitting process. Last week, he held separate meetings with doctors, seniors, and even middle school students.
The event at Woodland Middle School was closed to the media, but afterwards I asked him, "why all the love for Duluth?"
Cravaack said he was in Duluth a lot even before the town hall. And again he laid out how accessible he's been to his constituents, saying he's held 13 town halls and over 100 "mobile offices" where members of his staff meet with people in communities across the district.
"If someone has a bigger plan," he said, "I'd like to hear it."
The AP suggested Cravaack is increasing his face-time in Duluth to gear up for what's expected to be a tough re-election campaign. With Daniel Fanning, a former staffer for U.S. Sen. Al Franken entering the race yesterday, four Democrats are now vying for the right to challenge him in 2012.
But Cravaack denied that, saying he's just doing his job. "I serve at the discretion of the people in the 8th District," he said. "If they think I've done a good job, then they'll re-elect me. If they don't, then good luck to the next person."