Minnesota's continuous living groundcover

Of Minnesota’s 55.6 million acres, 27 million acres are taken up by farmland. Currently, crop production is dominated by summer annuals like corn and soybeans, which need to be replanted each year and grow only in the summer. The consequence of this type of cropping is that for most of the year, no active roots exist in the soil to filter water, reduce runoff, or prevent erosion. Covering the ground with crops for a larger portion of the year by adding winter annuals and perennials to the landscape provides multiple benefits, including diversifying agricultural operations, protecting soils and waterways, and increasing wildlife habitat.

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COMMUNITY VOICES | Cedar lake Threatened by SW LRT

It seems clear that political officials who favor a pair of "shallow tunnels" between Cedar Lake and Isles for the Southwest Light Rail Train are not educated about the threat of reduced rech

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Minnesota needs vulnerable road user protection laws

Most of the time, when a pedestrian or cyclist is seriously injured or killed by a motor vehicle, we label it “an accident.” As long as the driver isn’t drunk and doesn’t flee the scene, he or she can expect to pay a minor fine, at most, and will suffer no criminal penalties. It doesn’t matter if the driver was texting on their phone, speeding, running a stop sign, turning right-on-red without stopping or other reckless or illegal driving maneuvers. Their liability insurance will cover payouts to the dead or injured and, after answering a few questions from the police, they are often allowed to continue on their way. If you want to murder someone and get away with it, just hit them with your car and say, “it was an accident.”

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State lawmakers announce agreement on raising minimum wage

The co-chairs of the Raise the Wage Coalition addressed the media after state lawmakers announced agreement on legislation to raise the minimum wage. From left are Minnesota AFL-CIO President Shar Knutson, Children's Defense Fund Minnesota Executive Director Peggy Flanagan and Joint Religious Legislative Coalition Executive Director Brian Rusche.

After being deadlocked for weeks, state lawmakers announced an agreement Monday to raise Minnesota’s minimum wage to $9.50 an hour and index it to inflation. Legislative leaders said pressure from citizens was critical to moving forward.

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A-6 amendment: The one about the lower minimum wage for workers with cultural exchange visas

Overall, Bluestem Prairie is pleased with the compromise minimum wage agreement that's coming out of the conference committee. The wage is raised to $9.50 in steps, it's indexed to inflation (and apparently deflation), and there's a small business rate and youth rate.

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Amtrak sets return to Union Depot

More than 42 years after the last intercity passenger train left St. Paul's Union Depot, Amtrak's Empire Builder service to Chicago and the Pacific Northwest will return to the beautifully refurbished 1920s historic landmark in Lowertown on May 7.

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COMMENTS of the WEEK | Midtown Farmers' Market site development

There’s a serious and complex discussion underway about development possibilities for the Midtown Farmers Market site at Lake and Hiawatha in Minneapolis.

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Si se puede: Will the Minnesota House serve justice for ag workers and parents--or a politics of division?

After months of objecting to government regulation, Minnesota state representative Marion O'Neill (R-Buffalo) has finally found one she loves.

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International Year of Family Farming – What it's about, why it matters

For Minnesotans the true Rite of Spring is planting season – even if the experience is remembered or vicarious. Planting season with real farmers on real tractors with genetically un-modified seeds, rotated crops and other practices that promote sustainable agricultural systems. Happily, nostalgia is giving way to reality as urban farming, farm to home, and farmers market programs and locavore cuisine raise the profile of family farming and the role that family farmers play in growing nutritious food to feed a hungry world — while protecting the environment and preserving the land.

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The lessons of McCutcheon: The First Amendment as thuggery

Since when did the First Amendment become a tool of thuggery to suppress speech rather than enhance it? This is essentially what the Roberts Supreme Court did in the recent McCutcheon v F.E.C. decision striking down aggregate political contribution limits.

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