Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


New nitrogen fertilizer rules for Minnesota farmers take effect

Plus: could Minnesota go for Trump?; why activists are trying to recall Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman; seeking change at the Hmong Chamber of Commerce; and more.

The big question: Will it matter? MPR’s Kirsti Marohn reports: “Starting this week, farmers in parts of Minnesota, including in Morrison County, will face new restrictions on how they apply nitrogen fertilizer. … The regulations are aimed at reducing nitrate contamination in the state’s groundwater. But whether they’ll have a real impact on a growing health and environmental problem is still up for debate. … Starting this week, farmers won’t be allowed to apply nitrogen fertilizer in the fall or on frozen ground, in parts of Minnesota where the groundwater is vulnerable to contamination. The rule applies to about 12 percent of the state’s cropland, mainly in the central and southeastern parts of the state.”

FiveThirtyEight asks: Could Minnesota go red this year? Nathaniel Rakich writes: “In the fabled ‘blue wall’ — the collection of historically Democratic states that pundits (wrongly) assumed gave Hillary Clinton an Electoral College advantage in 2016 — Minnesota is the cornerstone. The Democratic candidate has won Minnesota in 11 straight presidential elections, the longest active streak in the country. What’s more, no Republican has won any statewide election in Minnesota since 2006 — not for Senate, not for governor, not even for state auditor. … It’s tempting to conclude from this that Minnesota is a safe Democratic state. But Minnesota is much more evenly divided than that record suggests: For example, it came within a couple percentage points of voting for now-President Trump in 2016.

The effort to recall Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, explained. At Mother Jones, Matt Cohen writes: “Both [Jamar] Clark’s and [George] Floyd’s tragic stories are all too familiar in Minneapolis, which has struggled with police violence for years. Despite a turnover of police leadership and adopted reforms, the problems with the Minneapolis Police Department persisted, and Floyd’s recent killing has shined an international spotlight on the issues that have long plagued the city. But for many local activists in Hennepin County (home to Minneapolis and its Western suburbs) the problem isn’t just the police—it’s Freeman, the longtime county prosecutor, who for years has declined to bring charges against cops for police-involved violence, especially cases that involve white officers and Black victims. It’s a pattern, activists argue, that has allowed the most abhorrent and racist behavior by cops in Hennepin County to essentially go unchecked. Now, in the aftermath of Floyd’s murder and Minneapolis’ reckoning with its police department, a dedicated group of activists are in the midst of a Herculean effort to recall Freeman as the Hennepin County DA. ”

Change coming to the Hmong Chamber of Commerce. At Sahan Journal, Abdirahman Mohamed reports: “Older, male and patriarchal. Although the Minnesota Hmong Chamber of Commerce has tried in recent years to bury that reputation and catch up to changes in a rapidly diversifying Hmong business community, women in particular still say they often aren’t taken seriously. … Yao Yang is out to change that. It would be a big job for anyone — but especially for a 28-year-old woman. … Yao, who works full-time for the St. Paul chamber, took on a second job, as part-time executive director of MHC last December. Since then, she has tried to better address the needs of a business community that is blossoming from its earlier focus on food and farming into areas such as insurance, real estate, health care and information technology. … She is seeking to expand its membership, search for partnerships and advocate for public resources.

In other news…

Article continues after advertisement

Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy:Ben Shapiro loses free speech lawsuit against UMN over venue change” [The Minnesota Daily]

Ick:Sanford Health distances itself from child porn investigation into top patron T. Denny Sanford: ‘This matter does not involve our health system’” [Duluth News Tribune]

Awkward:Officers arrest, cite Nisswa mayor in Saturday incident” [Brainerd Dispatch]

Given the choice:1 in 10 St. Cloud metro students choosing distance learning — even if they can return in person” [St. Cloud Times]

R.I.P. to a noted St. Paul artist:Siah Armajani (1939–2020)” [Artforum]

Nice:‘So grateful to be able to be here’: COVID-19 survivor thanks hospital staff who saved him” [MPR]

Out on (Old) Highway 61:Travel blogger finds Minnesota spot to meet with Canadian friends despite closed border” [West Central Tribune]