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Some outstate counties begin accepting same-sex marriage applications

ALSO: Alfalfa shortage wreaks havoc; Fulda Wood Duck Festival saved; police report details Brainerd hostage situation; and more.

Olmsted County updated its online marriage application online marriage application, replacing the categories of “bride” and “groom” with “applicant 1” and “applicant 2.”

The software has been tweaked and Olmsted County is ready to start accepting applications for same-sex marriages, reports Heather J. Carlson of the Rochester Post-Bulletin. Mark Krupski, Olmsted County’s director of Property Records and Licensing, said the county ran tests on Monday to make sure the new online marriage application replaces the categories of “bride” and “groom” with “applicant 1” and “applicant 2.” Even with the license, same-sex couples will not be able to legally get married in Minnesota until Aug. 1. Earlier this year, the Minnesota Legislature voted to legalize same-sex marriage; the vote came about six months after voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as limited to one man and one woman.

Meanwhile, some other counties are struggling to meet the new law. In a roundup of southern Minnesota counties, Cristeta Boarini of the Faribault Daily News  says that Pipestone County has joined metro Hennepin, Ramsey and Washington counties and is accepting same-sex marriage applications. Blue Earth and Nicollet counties also started accepting applications. However, Rice County’s recorder’s office says they don’t have compatible software to handle the new license application. Goodhue County leaders say they need to change the language in their software and on their applications. County recorder offices in Faribault, Le Sueur and Waseca counties are not ready to accept applications for same-sex marriage licenses.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture came out with its weekly crop report and, you guessed it, another week of wet weather has prevented Minnesota farmers from getting their planting done. The report says only 2.6 days were rated suitable for fieldwork last week, so corn planting advanced only 3 percent to 90 percent complete. Because of the long delay, some farmers are now expected to file insurance claims for “prevented planting” rather than plant a corn crop this year. Soybean planting advanced 17 percent to 72 percent planted.

In other ag news, the lack of alfalfa has farmers feeling the pain, writes Al Strain of the Owatonna People’s Press. Farmers mix alfalfa hay with feed to provide a good source of protein, but a cluster of events has scotched the alfalfa supply this summer. According to Karen Kasper, a dairy farmer with 340 cows near Medford, the problem started when the price of corn skyrocketed and farmers planted that crop instead of hay. Then the long winter produced a bigger-than-expected kill-off, and the wet spring has kept farmers from getting in to their fields to plant. Mike Mussman said he can’t remember a hay shortage like this in his more than 30 years as a farmer. Mussman’s farm has 42 milking cows. Earlier this month, he bought the most expensive hay he’s ever had to buy at $365 per ton. “Normally we’re chopping new hay by the end of May or the first of June. Now we don’t have anything to chop into the silos, so we had to find some hay, which was really tough to find,” he said. He finally was able to get some hay from Wyoming.

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Our lawmakers aren’t taking this alfalfa shortage sitting down. The Winona Daily News  reports that U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and other members of the Minnesota congressional delegation sent a letter Monday to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack asking the department to create an emergency exemption to allow farmers to harvest a second crop of alfalfa or other cover crop, or graze livestock on prevent-plant acres without penalty. They also requested emergency authorization to allow for additional livestock grazing on acres protected under the Conservation Reserve Program and Wetlands Reserve Program.

Speaking of being proactive, when a carnival company told officials it wouldn’t honor its contract to appear at the Fulda Wood Duck Festival, townsfolk decided to create a circus-like atmosphere to keep the festival alive, reports Alyson Buschena of the Worthington Daily Globe. Fulda had a contract with a carnival company that was sold twice, and in April the current owner opted not to honor the deal. With only a few months until the festival, the community didn’t have time to find another carnival company. Rather than be discouraged, the community pulled together and came up with a plan. “We had to go back to an old-time festival,” said Dan Uttech, committee chairman. “We asked community groups, church groups and school groups to provide entertainment for the kids and adults.” There will be 15 different games available. “It caused a lot of people to step and dig up some new ideas,” Uttech said. “If it goes over successfully, we might focus on this again.”

A Brainerd man told a woman at knifepoint that if the police arrived, the incident would result in a murder-suicide, reports Jenifer Stockinger of the Brainerd Dispatch. Lemuel Graham Rosier, 36, of Brainerd, was charged Friday in Crow Wing District Count for kidnapping to commit great bodily harm, second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, fifth-degree drug possession and making terroristic threats. The judge set bail at $500,000 without conditions or $250,000 with conditions. The Brainerd Police Department responded to a call at 5:51 p.m. and found Rosier hiding in a boat. According to the criminal complaint, a neighbor called police after a woman yelled “help” many times. The neighbor said the woman told her son, who was next to her, to “Run!” The neighbor said Rosier was standing over the woman with a large bladed “chef’s knife” or “butcher’s knife,” pointing it at the woman. Rosier then walked back toward the 100 block of Gillis Ave., and headed west into the woods. The couple had argued that day and the day before, despite attending couples counseling, the woman told police. That night, they argued over whether she should drive him to Crosby to buy methamphetamines, she told police.