What’s he got to say? Kemper Project manager remains muzzled

Tom Steward covers government waste, spending and policy issues in his home state of Minnesota. Also a documentary filmmaker and in-depth broadcast journalist, Tom's work has appeared on NPR, Animal Planet, WCCO-TV, WGBH-TV, PBS, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, KSTP-TV, CBC, among other outlets. Highlights include the fall of the Berlin Wall, a Peabody Award, the first footage in the wild of the endangered Sumatran tiger and rhino and countless individuals who shared their stories, big and small. Steward served as a communications strategist in the U.S. Senate before returning to reporting on issues and people often overlooked by other media.

Candidates cash in on court-ordered end to donor limits

By   /  February 27, 2015  /  First Amendment, Free Speech, Government Regulation, Minnesota, News  /  No Comments

Submitted Photo

Candidates from both political parties moved swiftly in the 2014 campaign to take advantage of a court-ordered end to contribution limits for bigger donors. But no one came close to Gov. Mark Dayton — a longtime advocate of campaign finance restrictions — in cashing in on the changes.

Dayton’s re-election campaign raised $744,000 more than would have been allowed under previous limits on so-called “special source” political contributions, according to an Institute for Justice analysis of recently filed campaign reports.

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Off the rails? Amtrak aims to reverse steep decline in Minnesota riders

By   /  February 25, 2015  /  Energy and Environment, Minnesota, News, transportation  /  No Comments

Amtrak Photo

At a time when the increasing volume of freight train traffic in Minnesota continues to be virtually off the rails — in a good way — due to an economic uptick, Amtrak ridership in the state has headed in the opposite direction.

The publicly subsidized passenger rail line’s ridership in Minnesota plummeted by nearly 20 percent in 2014, partly due to the fallout from Burlington Northern Santa Fe railway’s soaring freight shipments on the same tracks.

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Minnesota woman fights state over critters’ custody and care

By   /  February 23, 2015  /  Government Regulation, Minnesota, News, State Government  /  No Comments

Dark Star Wildlife Center FB photo.

River the otter, Rikki the raccoon and Todd the fox versus the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

It’s as bitter as any other custody battle before an administrative law judge, but these three dependents have a Facebook page and 2,800 supporters who, in an online petition, back their living arrangement.

Jody Benolken, a wildlife rehabilitator who cares for injured animals, could face criminal charges for ignoring an order to surrender the trio to the state.

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City wary of Internet company’s ‘free’ broadband report

By   /  February 18, 2015  /  Local Government, Minnesota, News  /  No Comments

Watchdog Photo

OK, he’s from Alcatel-Lucent, not the government, but business development director Michael Brayen was still here to help.

For nothing. For now.

“Why would a company, a multi-billion dollar company, essentially Bell Labs, come to your community and tell you something like this?” Brayen asked council members in a Feb. 9 pitch in the southeastern Minnesota city.

Good question.

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Sticker shock! Minnesotans reject mandatory boat trailer training

By   /  February 13, 2015  /  Energy and Environment, Government Regulation, Legislature, Minnesota, State Government, Uncategorized  /  No Comments

MN DNR Photo

The law of unintended consequences will never be repealed. But a poster child for new laws that inflict unforeseen collateral damage on unsuspecting residents could be on the way to elimination, just before taking full effect.

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Bikers and bureaucrats debate state takeover of Minnesota trail

By   /  February 11, 2015  /  Energy and Environment, Local Government, Minnesota, News, State Government  /  No Comments

Facebook Photo

For many bikers and hikers, it was too good to be true. A makeshift natural surface public trail along a 12-mile stretch of the Minnesota River in suburban Bloomington, largely self-managed and maintained for years with little cost to taxpayers or government intervention.

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