Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
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WASHINGTON — The Minnesota native who appears about to become deputy U.S. agriculture secretary says one of his priorities is to help farmers and ranchers adapt to changing weather and climate. Steve Censky, who grew up near the southwest Minnesota town of Jackson, did not use the term "climate change," but in Tuesday, Sept. 19, testimony to the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee he made it clear that dealing with the controversial issue could be key to agriculture's success.
WASHINGTON — A southwestern Minnesota native goes in front of a Senate committee Tuesday, Sept. 19, as nominee for the No. 2 man of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Senators will consider whether to accept President Donald Trump's nomination of Jackson-area native Steve Censky as deputy secretary. Also on the 8:30 a.m. agenda will be confirmation of Indiana Agriculture Director Ted McKinney as undersecretary of trade and foreign agricultural policy affairs.
Editor's note: This is one of several stories about what is called a rural Minnesota health care crisis. Primary-care doctors, long the cornerstone of rural America's medical community, are becoming increasingly hard to lure. Interviews with health care leaders across Minnesota showed a combination of factors adding up to a medical doctor shortage. The shortage of primary-care physicians is everywhere, but more acute in rural areas. A lack of specialists is especially felt outside the Twin Cities.
Editor's note: This is one of several stories about what is called a rural Minnesota health care crisis. A mentally ill person should not be treated for the disease in an emergency room. Or sitting in a jail. But that is what often happens in rural Minnesota, where there are not enough health care professionals such as psychiatrists to treat them. And there are not enough psychiatric hospital beds even if the professionals were available.
Editor's note: This is one of several stories about what is called a rural Minnesota health care crisis. BIGFORK, Minn. — Small-town hospitals and clinics may not have all the bells and whistles of their big-city counterparts, but they offer something patients often cannot find in the cities: quarterbacks. "You have a quarterback here," said Dr. Heidi Korstad, sitting in the cafeteria of Bigfork Valley, a sprawling medical complex of hospital, clinic, nursing home and other facilities in a town that falls short of 500 population.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota's minimum wage workers will receive a 15-cent-per-hour bump on Jan. 1. The state Department of Labor and Industry decided that is the size of the state's first automatic minimum wage increase. That will bring the current $9.50 hourly wage to $9.65 for more than 250,000 workers.
ST. PAUL — Vegetables are rotting in California because farmers cannot find enough workers to harvest them. "I need more Mexicans like you," a Kansas wheat farmer told an undocumented immigrant. It is easy to find stories about the need for farm country workers in media nationwide. At the recent Farmfest event in southwestern Minnesota, American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall said immigration and lack of farm workers is the No. 1 issue in rural America.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota and four other states reached a $500,000 settlement with a company they say was "making abusive and harassing phone calls to increase student loan payments." Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman announced Friday, Aug. 11, that iQor Holdings agreed to the settlement.
ROSEVILLE, Minn. — Minnesota students appear to be maintaining mostly steady standardized scores on reading, math and science, but whites continue to dramatically outscore minority students. Test scores are not rising much, state Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius said Monday, Aug. 7, in releasing the annual Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment test results. "It's frustrating to see test scores slowly increasing over time, but there's more to providing a student with a well-rounded education than can be seen in a test," Cassellius said.
REDWOOD FALLS, Minn. — Many, if not most, farmers say they like what they have seen so far in how President Donald Trump deals with agriculture. Most specifically, they like him naming Sonny Perdue agriculture secretary, although some are concerned he was the last Cabinet nomination and Perdue's department still lacks many top officials. But there is a question in many minds, when it comes to Trump and Perdue. Farmer Lester Braulick of New Ulm, Minn., put it simply during the recent Farmfest: "Is he (Trump) going to let him do his job?"