Minnesota's economy: Census suggests the worst may be overby Phil Picardi, Minnesota Public Radio,
Hart Van Denburg, Minnesota Public Radio
The latest Census data shows good news -- or is it bad news? -- for Minnesota. Fingerprint evidence at the St. Paul police crime lab adds to a brewing controversy. Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty is now a Washington, D.C. lobbyist. We get an update on the attempts to revive North High School in Minneapolis. And we have a three-part series on the challenges faced by rural healthcare providers.
The worst appears to be over
After several years of recessionary declines, Minnesota's economy began to stabilize last year, according to new survey data released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Pawlenty's new title: Lobbyist
Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty has been named the head of the Financial Services Roundtable, one of the top bank lobbying groups in Washington, which represents the nation's top 100 financial institutions.
Bachmann will debateThe two candidates running for Congress in Minnesota's 6th District are battling over the number of debates that should be held this election year. A spokesman for Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann's campaign says she has agreed to three debates. They are: a St. Cloud Chamber debate on Oct. 30 at the St. Cloud Convention Center, an MPR News debate on The Daily Circuit on Nov.1 and a KSTP-TV debate on Nov. 4. But Democrat Jim Graves wants more.
In Minneapolis, North High School rises again
Two years ago, North High School nearly shut down. Community groups rallied to save the school. Now it's starting over with smaller classes and a focus on getting students ready for college. But recruiting students to the new school remains a challenge. The arrival of this fall's freshman class marks the beginning of a transformation for this Minneapolis high school.
Retooling rural health care
The push toward consolidation seems inevitable. But is it good or bad for patients and other residents of the communities involved? Mention "Sanford" or "Essentia" or "Mayo" in some Minnesota towns and you'll hear a flood of praise, a torrent of mistrust or both. (Part of a three-part Ground Level series on rural health care.)
Shut down the crime lab?
As questions about the St. Paul police crime lab spread to fingerprint evidence, top defense attorneys say the lab needs to shut down entirely until it can prove that its work is reliable.
Prairie preservation profits
Every year around about this time, a Minnesota businessman brings in an unusual harvest: seeds from native prairie plants. He aims to help preserve those species, at a profit, as their habitat slowly shrinks. This year the threat has a new urgency. Owing to agreements that expire at the end of this month, Minnesota farmers may soon plow under almost 100,000 acres that they once agreed to take out of production for conservation purposes. (Part of our Minnesota Sounds and Voices series.)
Tax penalty to hit nearly 6M uninsured people
Nearly 6 million Americans -- most of them in the middle class -- will face a tax penalty for not carrying medical coverage once President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law is fully in place, congressional budget analysts said Wednesday. The new estimate amounts to an inconvenient fact for the administration, a reminder of what critics see as broken promises.
Record Winona County farmland sale
The land's proximity to the freeway was probably a factor in the high bid because the farmland could be put to another use, Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank regional economist Joe Mahon said. He says high crop prices continue to drive up land prices, and that's also having an impact.
Phil Picardi is a newscaster for MPR News, and occasionally fills in as Morning Edition host when Cathy Wurzer is away.