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.

Legislator wants to revoke permit on unpopular wind project

By   /  October 17, 2014  /  Minnesota, News  /  No Comments

Barb Wenninger Photo.

How long is too long?

Well, about six years— and counting — in the view of dozens of rural residents fighting a proposed 1,600-acre, 10-turbine wind farm in southern Minnesota.

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St. Paul bills businesses thousands for light rail work

By   /  October 14, 2014  /  Business, Government Regulation, Local Government, Minnesota, News, transportation  /  No Comments

Light Rail-Central Corridor

Just as St. Paul retailers began recovering from an average 30 percent loss in sales during the new $1 billion light rail line’s construction, dozens of businesses received a bill from the city’s Office of Financial Services for street improvements tied to the construction of the 11-mile-long line.

“I think it sucks, but you have to pay for it, you know?” said Evangelos Hatzistamoulos, who received a $1,585.82 tax notice for the curbside work outside the Best Steak House.

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Convenience stores burning over cigar crackdown

By   /  October 8, 2014  /  Government Regulation, Local Government, Minnesota, News  /  No Comments

Assn for Nonsmokers-MN Photo.

These days, where there’s smoke — or smokes — there’s fire. This time the conflagration started when local governments began raising prices on small stogies and cigarillos sold in more Twin Cities convenience stores.

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Candidate boycotts League of Women Voters forum over camera ban

By   /  October 3, 2014  /  Elections, First Amendment, Free Speech, Good Government, Minnesota, News, Politics  /  No Comments


A citizen watchdog running for city council on the issue of increased transparency in local government plans to boycott an Oct. 14 League of Women Voters candidate forum due to the group’s ban on video or audio recording by anyone outside of the media.

Andrew Henderson decided to campaign for a seat on the Little Canada City Council, driven by his acquittal on disorderly conduct charges stemming from filming Ramsey County deputies responding to a medical call in October 2012.

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Camera ban, Take 2: League of Women Voters calls on the cops

By   /  October 2, 2014  /  Censorship, First Amendment, Free Speech, Good Government, Local Government, Minnesota, News, State Elections  /  No Comments

Photo by Tim Jones.

The League of Women Voters called police Tuesday to stop video trackers from filming a candidates’ forum at Minnetonka City Hall.

Just minutes into the program, attention for the second time this week turned from candidates to a controversial recording ban, which, critics contend, conflicts with the democratic values espoused by the good government group.

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Endangered bats may pose little threat to wind developers

By   /  October 1, 2014  /  Energy and Environment, Minnesota, News, Public Utilities  /  No Comments

Photo by New York Department of Environmental Conservation; Al Hicks

Nothing strikes fear into developers and property owners more than a new critter on the Endangered Species Act list.

Case in point: The northern long-eared bat, found in 39 states. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will probably place it on the list in April, and the logging industry is worried.

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