One year later, few charges for the arson and destruction

BY: - May 27, 2021

More than 1,000 buildings were burned or damaged in Minneapolis in the days after George Floyd’s murder. Criminal charges have been filed in connection with 11 of them. A year after ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin killed Floyd, setting off days of peaceful protest and nights of widespread destruction, nearly 100 people have faced felony […]

Attempts to ban teaching on ‘critical race theory’ multiply across the U.S.

BY: - May 25, 2021

WASHINGTON — From statehouses to Congress, Republicans have launched into a fight against the teaching of “critical race theory,” which just a year ago was a niche academic term. Experts in critical race theory say it’s about acknowledging how racial disparities are embedded in U.S history and society, and the concept is being mischaracterized by […]

‘When the red iron pits ran a-plenty’: Northland celebrates Bob Dylan’s 80th | Essay

BY: - May 19, 2021

If you want to find something new, look for destruction. Over a few billion years on Earth, planetary disasters created new forms of life. A meteor here. Volcanic eruptions there. Each time new plants and critters emerged until, one day, we put on pants. Look at what happens after a northern Minnesota forest fire. New […]

Redistricting: Your questions answered

BY: - April 23, 2021

Redistricting is just every ten years, so it is easy to miss. The process can seem intentionally murky and designed to allow politicians to choose their voters instead of the other way around. Frustrating as it may seem, understanding redistricting is a key step in being informed about who represents you. Here’s the basics:  What […]

Car crash fatalities increased in 2020, despite reduced traffic during the pandemic

BY: - April 1, 2021

Minnesota state troopers announced they’re cracking down on speeding this month, as the pandemic wanes and summer travel season approaches.  Law enforcement noticed an uptick in speeding in 2020, according to the Department of Transportation, and drivers don’t seem to be slowing down yet. As of March 19, state troopers had issued 172 tickets to […]

That time Mike Lindell declared a ‘fake bankruptcy’ to avoid a lawsuit

BY: - February 23, 2021

The $1.3 billion lawsuit filed by the voting machine company Dominion against Minnesota pillow mogul Mike Lindell Monday is not the first time he’s faced a potentially ruinous lawsuit.  By late 2003, after more than a decade owning his beloved Victoria bar called Schmitty’s Tavern, Lindell had $147,000 in debts, according to court records, and […]

“Poorly Drawn Pet Portraits” raising money for Pet Haven

BY: - February 12, 2021

A Paw-sitive news break. Pet Haven, Minnesota’s oldest foster-based animal rescue nonprofit organization, is raising money with “Poorly Drawn Pet Fundraiser”. And yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like.  Via the Pet Haven Facebook page, people can donate $15 and post a photo of their pet. Then, a Pet Haven volunteer draws the pet “to […]

Walz $52.4 billion budget proposal: Tax the rich

BY: - January 26, 2021

Gov. Tim Walz on Tuesday proposed a $52.4 billion budget, which includes an extensive revamping of tax laws, targeting large corporations and Minnesota’s highest-earners.  Walz’s spending blueprint is the first gambit of the legislative debate over how Minnesota will close an $883 million budget deficit. The Legislature and Walz, the first-term Democratic-Farmer-Labor governor, have until […]


Minnesota is obligated to provide adequate health care to people who are incarcerated; here’s some first steps

BY: , and - January 19, 2021

In review of the operations of Kandiyohi and Freeborn County jails in August and September of 2020, the ICE Office of Detention Oversight identified numerous compliance violations that place detainees at risk and violate Minnesota law. (See here for Kandiyohi. And here for Freeborn.) They found that detention officers without medical training were completing the […]

Learning loss and education amendments: A Reformer year in review

BY: - December 28, 2020

When I tell people the Reformer launched in January this year, I end up saying something to the effect of “it’s been quite a year to get things off the ground, ha ha ha!” and then we both sigh knowingly because, well, 2020. It’s a cliche, but I mean it — it’s been quite a year […]

Restaurants, bars, other small businesses to receive COVID-19 relief; jobless benefits extended

BY: - December 14, 2020

The Minnesota Legislature on Monday passed a $216 million COVID-19 economic relief package for small businesses, as well as authorizing a 13-week extension of unemployment insurance for jobless Minnesotans.  Lawmakers returned to St. Paul for their seventh special legislative session of the year, called back by Democratic-Farmer-Labor Gov. Tim Walz, who issued a 30-day extension […]

Rising waters threaten Great Lakes communities

BY: - December 8, 2020

Along a shoreline that stretches farther than the combined length of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, waters driven by climate change have risen as much as 6 feet in less than a decade, washing away houses, destroying roads and threatening critical infrastructure such as water treatment plants in towns large and small. The ongoing disaster […]