Statewide: November 3, 2011 Archive
Posted at 8:00 AM on November 3, 2011
by Michael Olson
Filed under: Around MN
Minnesota's biological capacity for deer greater than social tolerance
Deer numbers have dropped to about 1 million statewide, and the DNR expects hunters to shoot about 175,000 deer this month. Archery and muzzleloader hunters will take another 30,000 deer through December. "We're kind of where we want to be," said Lou Cornicelli, the DNR's wildlife research manager, during a teleconference with reporters Wednesday. "That's about our sweet spot for deer harvest," Cornicelli said, adding that the state's social capacity for deer, for many reasons, is lower than the biological capacity (Duluth News Tribune).
Last minute referendum push
The last-minute push has begun. Voters around Minnesota go to the polls one week from today to decide more than 130 school referendums (KAAL).
Duluth schools' tax request challenged
While grass-roots campaigns promoting levies have been common around the state, the Duluth school district has been confronted by an unusual campaign against the levy -- from two of its own School Board members (Duluth News Tribune).
Austin school board candidates sound off
With less than one week before this year's election, Austin Public School board candidates are sounding off on important current and future district issues (Austin Daily Herald).
Funding for schools is long overdue
The Austin Public Schools Facility Referendum is an affordable option that gives back to our students by giving them a 21st-century education, while providing our schools with more classroom space, which is long overdue (Rochester Post Bulletin).
Schools remind voters of Legislature's role in budget cuts
School boards note that the Minnesota Legislature has not provided enough state aid to keep up with school district costs. Lawmakers have delayed paying $2.1 billion in school aid the last two budget cycles. State payment delays have forced school boards to borrow money (Fergus Falls Journal).
Sec. of State poll finder is now live online.
The Big Story Blog dives deep on the school referendums all day today.
Ellison foe releases graphic Anti-Islam ad
DFL challenger Gary Boisclair's first ad against 5th District Rep. Keith Ellison shows graphic images of murdered non-Muslims and slams Ellison for swearing an oath on the Koran, which Boisclair argues promotes violence against Christians and Jews (Hopkins Patch).
State continues push to be exempted from parts of No Child Left Behind act
The Minnesota Department of Education remains committed to applying for a waiver later this month from the U.S. Department of Education to portions of the controversial federal No Child Left Behind law (KSTC).
Deal reached to sell Selma's, historic ice cream parlor in Afton
Selma's, a landmark eatery in Afton that makes an undisputed claim of being Minnesota's oldest purveyor of ice cream, is changing hands again and will reopen once a makeover is complete (Star Tribune).
By Stephanie Hemphill
North Dakota has made good on its threat to sue Minnesota over the Next Generation Energy Act passed by the Legislature in 2007 and signed by then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
The law prohibits Minnesota utilities from building any new power plants that would produce a net increase in carbon emissions. They also cannot add to their imports of electricity from fossil-fueled-fired power plants
North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said the law unfairly restricts interstate commerce, as state officials explain in this fact sheet.
Environmental groups backing the law point out that it applies equally to Minnesota and surrounding states.
The law provided exceptions for power plants that offset carbon emissions with reductions elsewhere, and this would be an option for any North Dakota power plant that wants to sell new electricity to Minnesota.
Stenehjem points to other exceptions in the law: two industrial projects on the Iron Range, and two power plants -- all of which were already in various stages of planning when the law was negotiated and passed.
Neither of the power plants has been built. Backers of Big Stone II dropped their project because of rapidly-rising cost estimates and expected federal carbon-reduction initiatives. Mesaba Energy can't find a buyer for the electricity it wants to produce.
That suggests that the law is working as intended, moving Minnesota utilities toward cleaner sources of energy. Most of them are adjusting to the Next Gen Act's requirements quite comfortably. Because their plans for the next few years focus on wind and other renewable energy, they don't need to build new coal plants.
Utilities recently reported to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission that - with few exceptions - that renewable energy is costing ratepayers the same as coal-fired power, or very little more.
Meanwhile, North Dakota is fighting with the federal government over emissions limits designed to protect national parks and wilderness areas -- including some in North Dakota and Minnesota.