Statewide: November 22, 2011 Archive
A living snow fence in southwest Minnesota
Snowplows are not the only thing that help keep Minnesota highways driveable in the wintertime. Farmers sometimes leave cornstalks standing near highways, and 'living snow fences' are also becoming more common. A living snow fence usually has several rows of trees, bushes and grasses. The idea is to let the plants catch blowing snow before it reaches the road.
Mark Larson with the Minnesota DOT in Windom in southwest Minnesota, says farmers are paid $700 an acre to let corn stalks stand. He says interest in the program has "gone down a little bit" in recent years because the price of corn has risen. Farmers figure they can make more money by harvesting the grain than by letting the stalks stand.
Larson says the living snow fence idea is catching on, but the concept still has a long way to go. Although the state has identified more than 1,200 miles of highways with chronic snow drifting problems, only about 30 miles of roads are protected either by standing corn rows or living snow fences. There are state and federal programs available to encourage land owners to plant protective vegetation.
Posted at 7:38 AM on November 22, 2011
by Michael Olson
Filed under: Around MN
Delegation weighs in on "super fail"
Minnesota's congressional delegation expresses disappointment about the super committee's failure (Capitol View).
State lottery dips into Web sales
The low-profile service has legislators seeking review (Star Tribune).
Target scrambles for eggs after dumping Sparboe
Egg shortages were reported at some Target stores after the retailer ended its relationship with a producer accused of animal cruelty, and the company scrambled Monday to line up new suppliers before Thanksgiving (AP).
Sam's Club latest business to drop Litchfield-based Sparboe Farms.
In a written statement Sam's Club said, "With concern for recent allegations portraying detrimental management and animal welfare issues at Sparboe Farms egg laying facilities, Sam's Club has discontinued our relationship with Sparboe Farms as an egg supplier" (KARE11).
As of 6 a.m., Occupy Duluth protesters remain at Civic Center Plaza
Earlier this morning about 12-15 people were at the site, some gathered around a small fire, most sleeping in one of two connected tents (Duluth News Tribune).
Joe Nathan agrees to 2-year deal with the Rangers
MLB.com is reporting that former Twins reliever Joe Nathan has agreed to a two-year deal with the Texas Rangers. Though a dollar figure has not yet been released, sources are saying that the deal with near $7 million a year and will include a team option for 2014 (KFAN).
Bill aims to reduce cost of Stillwater Bridge project
Members of Minnesota's Congressional Delegation have introduced a bill to cap any bridge project using federal funds at $574 million. The current price tag for the four lane bridge which was recently voted out of a House committee exceeds $700 million (Wisconsin Public Radio).
Hudson woman uncovers musical ability of goldfish
A town of Hudson woman's ability to train goldfish to play musical instruments is bringing her worldwide recognition (Hudson Star Observer).
Posted at 4:20 PM on November 22, 2011
by Michael Olson
Filed under: Around MN
Closer in TJ Waconia mortgage fraud gets probation
A Rosemount man who had a role in one of the Twin Cities most notorious mortgage fraud cases avoided a prison sentence at sentencing this week (Pioneer Press).
U study: Global food demand could double by 2050
That's despite the fact the world's population is forecast to grow by less than 30 percent. Jason Hill, a professor at the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment, said as people in developing countries get wealthier and eat more meat, demand for grain to feed livestock will continue to rise (MPR News).
State report says costs of shutdown were minimal
State finance officials say the cost of last summer's 20-day government shutdown was minimal."In broad terms, immediate shutdown costs were offset by estimated compensation savings," the report by Minnesota Management and Budget said (Capitol View).
Duluth unemployment hits lowest point in more than 3 years
The drop is part of declines recorded throughout the Northland, according to state data released today (Duluth News Tribune).
Some child care providers call for expanded union election
Opponents of an effort to unionize Minnesota in-home child care providers say the vote they wanted to stop should now be expanded, to include thousands of more participants (MPR News).
High-frequency radio system moving forward
A new, high-frequency radio system will likely be operational for Winona County first responders early next year, according to city and county officials (Winona Daily News).
Mayo Clinic considers move against downtown crows
They don't know it yet, but Rochester's crows may soon be under attack. Mayo Clinic is considering hiring a company that would bring in "attack birds," including peregrine falcons and hawks, to scare off the crows (Rochester Post Bulletin).
Saint Anyway coming home, will release new album over Thanksgiving
Cloquet's own "stomp-grass" trio will release their third studio album this month with a string of shows over Thanksgiving weekend (Duluth News Tribune).
By the numbers
I've heard of the Scoville scale, which measures the potency of spicy peppers. Those boring green bell peppers get a 0; habaneros get a score of 350,000. The stuff those UC Davis police officers so casually hosed into the faces of peacefully demonstrating students? between 2,000,000 and 5,300,000 Scoville units (Pharyngula).