Statewide: November 30, 2011 Archive
Posted at 8:00 AM on November 30, 2011
by Michael Olson
Filed under: Around MN
More students seeking free school lunch
Requests in Minnesota have gone up by more than 5 percent. Other states are seeing double digit increases. "These are very large increases and a direct reflection of the hardships American families are facing," said Benjamin Senauer, a University of Minnesota economist who studies the meals program. (New York Times) [Map]
Minn. health administrator pushes back on study indicating increase in uninsured kids
A new study reports that there were more than 10,000 fewer children with health insurance in 2010 than 2008. These findings are reflecting of the rising number of adults without health insurance. It's one of the wider reported stories across the state this morning. But, Stefan Gildemeister, interim director of the Health Economics Program for the Minnesota Department of Health, "is not convinced the report paints an accurate picture of health insurance coverage in the state," reports the Bemidji Pioneer. "With everything we know about coverage in Minnesota - Minnesota provides broad health coverage for children," he said. "I am skeptical about the numbers because I'm not aware the eligibility rates of children have changed." The state department of health will be releasing its own survey soon.
Cravaack bill that limits airport searches for military personnel passes House
"The changes would eliminate pat-downs and boot removal for most military personnel, unless intelligence reports directed otherwise, and eliminate the need for them to take off their military jackets, belt buckles and medals," explains the Duluth News Tribune. The bill passed unanimously.
Sens. Franken, Klobuchar work to restore heating assistance to last year's levels. (KARE11)
Vikings stadium rests in rural lawmakers hands?
Forum Communication's Don Davis writes, "In a Forum Communication survey of rural lawmakers earlier this fall, most said they were skeptical of stadium chances." It's unclear if that's has changed. Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk sized up the dynamic. "Rural members are going to have to do some very heavy lifting. ... I don't know of any senator from Minneapolis who will vote for this."
Chanhassen says no to Walmart.
Spending spurs effort to disband Greenwood Township reports the Timberjay.
"Homeless is my Address ... Not My Name" portrait exhibit opens in Rochester.
Vice President Bachmann?
It is difficult to cobble together a path where Rep. Michele Bachman gets the GOP nomination. That task is harder as her standing in Iowa has diminished significantly. But Time's Jay Newton-Small looks at Bachmann as a potential Romney-Bachmann ticket. "Throughout the summer and fall, Romney has hardly needed to attack any of his rivals; Bachmann has done it for him. When Rick Perry was rising in the polls, it was Bachmann who went after him for supporting an HPV-vaccine mandate. When Herman Cain was on the ascent it was Bachmann who shot down his '9-9-9' plan and his 'inconsistencies.' And on Tuesday Bachmann "abruptly canceled scheduled events in Iowa ... to do nine conservative and Christian radio programs. Her No. 1 topic? Newt Gingrich's soft stance on immigration. Which candidate does this most help? Mitt Romney." Sounds Palinesque.
Wind turbines dot a central Iowa field on May 23, 2011. (MPR Photo/Nikki Tundel)
Earlier this week, the Belle Creek township board in southeastern Minnesota voted to appeal a decision by the Public Utilities Commission that allows a developer to proceed with a $179 million wind project near Red Wing.
"People have not listened to us. Everybody's ignored us," Belle Creek Board Chair Chad Ryan said. "They're just plain ignoring what the people want."
Ryan said Belle Creek's decision comes after Goodhue County officials decided against filing an appeal of their own against the PUC.
The project, by developer AWA Goodhue Wind, could include 50 turbines spread across 32,000 acres of farmland in Goodhue County. The township wants a county ordinance with stricter setback requirements for turbines to govern the project, according to Ryan.
"Since the county won't fight it, we felt that we will," Ryan said. "Generally speaking, I would say that 80 percent of the citizens of Belle Creek wanted us to appeal, so that's probably one of the main reasons why we decided to appeal."
The turbine project has generated strong opposition from some residents, who question the effect the turbines will have on local wildlife and eagle populations.
Ryan estimates the appeal will cost the small township of 400 residents as much as $40,000. He said the town board has not decided whether it will also ask an appellate judge for a stay on the project, which could force the developer to wait to break ground on the project until the legal matter is resolved.
The long-standing controversy over the wind farm boils down to whether the state or the county regulate a project that includes 50 turbines spread across 32,000 acres of farmland in Goodhue County. Opponents of the controversial wind farm believe the county's ordinance with stricter setback requirements for the turbines should govern the project.
Under state law, counties are allowed to create their own laws on these issues, but the Public Utilities Commission has the right to override those laws for just cause. That's what the commission did earlier this year when it approved the 78-megawatt wind farm.
But earlier this month, Goodhue County commissioners voted against appealing that decision, saying it's the state's job, not the county's, to regulate large wind projects in Minnesota.