Today Minnesota finalizes a $44 million deal to conserve approximately 188,000 acres of forest, wetlands, and shoreline through what is known as a conservation easement. In addition to private funds from entities such as the Blandin Foundation, the easement is being paid for through the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment to Minneosta's state constitution, which just over a year ago created permanent funding for natural resource, arts, and cultural projects through a 0.375% state sales tax. UPM-Blandin Paper Co., will continue to own the land and be allowed to harvest wood, but the land cannot be developed or subdivided and the public must have access to the land. [more inside]
Unallotment. Minnesota, known for its colorful politics now adds today's announcement by Governor Pawlenty that he is using his executive power to unilaterally cut $2.7 billion dollars from the state budget. The list of impacted state projects includes heavy cuts to education, health and human services, and funds municipalities rely upon for their own local budgets. Lawsuits claiming Pawlenty is overreaching his executive power are likely. You are probably not from Minnesota, so why should you care? Well, in addition to bringing the 2008 Republican National Convention to the Twin Cities and co-chairing John McCain's presidential campaign, Governor Pawlenty recently announced he is not running for a third term - and it is widely speculated that he may become the 2012 presidential candidate for the "new" GOP.
Green screen or not? The latest advertisement for incumbent Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota is raising questions about whether his wife (actress and model Laurie Coleman), shown drinking coffee with him presumably in their home, was anywhere near her husband during the shoot. The controversy might amount to nothing more than the many terrible photoshop disasters we've all seen before if it weren't for all the rumors about the state of the marriage between Senator Coleman and his wife, where she resides, and the growing internet accusations and general political hackery over the new advertisement. [more inside]