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MN Blog Cabin Roundup 4/1

Five anthropological certainties of the Minnesota Legislature; funding question in extending Northstar; more than one story from St. Paul Public Schools; and more.

The five anthropological certainties of Minnesota legislative hearings

from Wry Wing Politics by Joe Loveland

Now that state legislators are creating better public spaces for visitors in the new Senate Office Building and renovated State Capitol Building, here’s hoping there will be more ordinary citizens coming to legislative proceedings. The Minnesota Legislature is extremely insular and clubby, so it could benefit from fresh observers and participants.

When I’m traveling to an unfamiliar new place, I like to do research into the inhabitants’ culture, so I’m at least somewhat familiar with their ways.  In that spirit, I’m offering a few amateur anthropological observations about what visitors to the new Capitol campus digs can expect to see during legislative hearings.

Rep. Knoblach thinks Northstar can work with phantom money

from mnpACT! Progressive Political Blog by Dave Mindeman

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Rep. Jim Knoblach represents St. Cloud…and St. Cloud has been kind of shortchanged when it comes to the NorthStar rail line. By shortchanged I mean they don’t have service. They have to drive or bus to Big Lake.

But Knoblach wants that line extended. However, he has an unusual way of doing it – phantom money.

Saint Paul schools: more than a ‘single story’

from The Middle Stages by Amy Gage

If all I did was read the paper or watch the news, I would have but a single story about the Saint Paul Public Schools — a story of dysfunction and disrespect. But I know more than I hear or read in the media, thanks to my volunteer work last spring with four then–high school juniors at Harding High.

Here are their stories, the ones they shared and shaped with me during our work together on college-application essays.

Just shut the door on this one

from After Thought on by Nancy Edmonds Hanson

It’s good to know that all of Minnesota’s big, pressing problems are under control in St. Paul. That must be why legislative Republicans have seized an opportunity to resume their favorite hobby ― worrying about what happens when other people pull down their pants.

You’d think this short session, loaded with last year’s leftovers, would encourage focus. But no. With so many huge appropriations measures on the 2016 legislative menu ― not to mention two that Moorhead’s been waiting for since last year, our railroad underpass and pressing border-city tax issues ― it seems busybodies in the House of Representatives have elected to devote their time in this brief, busy session to … bathrooms.

Part I: Inside Holden, an historic Norwegian Lutheran church in rural Minnesota


Part II: The detailed craftsmanship of Holden Lutheran Church

from Minnesota Prairie Roots by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

THE LAST TIME I STOPPED at Holden Lutheran Church, rural Kenyon, the heavy oak doors to the sanctuary were closed and Sunday morning worship underway. Not wanting to intrude in the middle of the service, my husband and I instead wandered the cemetery, vowing to return.

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Several weeks ago we did, on a Saturday afternoon, en route home from Wanamingo to Faribault along the back roads rather than the more direct Minnesota State Highway 60. Goodhue County Road 30 led us right by this landmark Norwegian brick church standing high and solid among farm fields and farm sites.

Five things I learned from sourdough bread

from Break the Twitch by Anthony Ongaro

Over the last few weeks, Amy and I have become particularly interested in making sourdough bread. We love the idea of making bread the same way that humans have for many thousands of years. Besides the delicious nature of the bread, there are some great reasons for doing it this way, too.

Making sourdough bread in the traditional method is not without difficulties– for how simple it is, it is an incredibly slow, meticulous process. It’s not something that can be done in an hour or two, not even in an afternoon–it takes about a week if you start from complete scratch.

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