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City residents pay the bulk of presidential campaign costs, even though votes from rural America may decide the elections. The Daily Yonder, a Web publication of the Center for Rural Strategies, reports that "although 26 percent of Americans live in rural counties, they donated only 5 percent of the money contributed to all presidential candidates in the first quarter of 2007. Per capita, city dwellers gave six times more money to presidential campaigns than rural residents did." The center looks at presidential campaigns in light of how much influence rural voters have.
The Minnesota Senate's top transportation lawmaker is upset with the Minnesota Department of Transportation's decision not to take part in the Minnesota State Fair for the first time in 27 years. "The 'Great Minnesota Get Together' is an opportunity for people from all over the state to receive highway maps, along with up-to-date information on road conditions and construction projects," Sen. Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, said. MnDOT officials say they are not going to the fair due to budget concerns.
A northwestern Minnesota state representative wants Gov. Tim Pawlenty to call a special legislative session to increase nursing home funding. There is no indication that will happen, but Rep. Kent Eken, DFL-Twin Valley, said it should be a priority. "The final (health care) bill signed by the governor did not even provide enough to cover inflation for our struggling nursing homes," Eken said. The lawmaker said nursing homes not only care for the elderly, but they provide jobs for rural residents. "Nursing homes are an important economic engine in our communities."
Minnesota, as a major transportation hub by air worldwide and by vehicle to Canada, needs its own passport processing office, U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman said Wednesday. The Bush administration announced that it will delay for at least six months a rule that Americans present passports when crossing the U.S. border by land or sea, originally slated to take effect Jan. 1. Starting in January, land and sea travelers returning from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda will be allowed to present a birth certificate and driver's license in lieu of a passport.
A powerful storm rolled through Hastings Wednesday night, dropping golf-ball sized hail throughout the city. It was unclear Wednesday night which areas of the city were hit hardest, but reports of hail were widespread. Near the Hastings Country Club, windows of houses and cars were shattered and hail littered the streets.
WORTHINGTON -- A 21-year-old Worthington man has been accused of allegedly forcing a 13-year-old girl to have sexual intercourse while she was at his home. Leon Baldomero Villarreal was charged last week with two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, both serious felonies, in Nobles County District Court. According to the criminal complaint, the victim's father contacted authorities to tell them his daughter, who had been reported as a runaway the week before, had told him an older man had forced her to have sexual intercourse.
A 22-year-old Osakis man was killed in a car crash near Osakis Thursday morning. Adam Thomas Loxtercamp died at the scene of the crash that happened just before 7 a.m. two miles southeast of Osakis on Todd County Road 51.
A Maple Grove Township man was arraigned Wednesday in Becker County District Court on a second-degree murder charge. Bail was set at $1 million for Kenneth Eugene Andersen, 34, of 37997 280th Ave., Waubun. Andersen is accused of the murder of Chad Swedberg, 33, a rural Ogema man who was shot April 13 while processing maple sugar on his property. Andersen was charged with felony second degree murder last Thursday in Becker County District Court. He was being held in Roseau County on a theft charge and made his first appearance in Becker County District Court late Wednesday morning.
Property tax increases bother many Minnesotans, but the National Conference of State Legislatures says they are not alone. At least 21 states this year considered or are still considering property tax relief of some sort, the conference reports. But there is no single solution to the problem. That problem may not be as Minnesota specific as Gopher state residents think. Minnesota's per-person property tax payments are the 28th highest in the country, putting the state far lower on the list than many other taxes.