Tina Smith To Replace Al Franken

According to numerous reports, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has appointed Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith to fill the U.S. Senate seat that former Senator Al Franken recently resigned. The governor made the announcement in a statement on Wednesday.

Minnesota will become the fourth state represented by two women, joining California, Washington and New Hampshire. While Franken’s term was to last until 2020, Smith will only hold the office until a special election next year. The state’s other female senator, Amy Klobuchar, is also up for reelection next year, and she has already said that she plans to run again.

Minnesota Democrats are excited by the prospect of having two women on the top of the ballot next year. Ken Martin, who’s the chairman of Minnesota’s Democratic Party said that the state “is going to be the epicenter of politics next year.”

The appointment caps a meteoric rise for Smith. She joined the Dayton administration in 2010 as chief of staff, and in 2015 became the state’s lieutenant governor.

Smith was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1958, and she worked on the Alaskan Pipeline prior to attending Stanford University, where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. She further earned an MBA from Dartmouth College.

She moved to Minnesota in the 1980s, and she worked in marketing for General Mills. She then started her own marketing company, and was vice-president of Planned Parenthood for Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Her first foray into politics came as chief of staff to Minneapolis Mayor R. T. Rybak. She further ran his unsuccessful campaign for governor before joining Dayton in Saint Paul.

Smith says she plans to be “a fierce advocate in the United States Senate for economic opportunity and fairness for all Minnesotans.”

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum Takes Part In Monarch Joint Venture

There is an arboretum at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This arboretum has joined up with seventy other organizations in an initiative to help the plight of monarch butterflies. This initiative is called Monarch Joint Venture.

The mission of Monarch Joint Venture is to educate the public about monarch butterflies, as well as to protect the environments of monarchs. It consists of a variety of academic institutions, nongovernmental institutions, state agencies and federal agencies.

A leading player in the Monarch Joint Venture is Karen Oberhauser. Oberhauser is one of the researchers who cofounded the Monarch Joint Venture. She is the co-chair of its steering committee. She has had much experience with monarch research and conservation, as well as the establishment of programs to educate the public.

Monarch butterflies are very distinctive with their mostly orange and black coloration. Protecting them is a very real issue, since they have a critical role in the environment as pollinators, as well as creatures in the food chain.

During recent years, the numbers of monarchs counted have gone down. In February of 2017, an annual report about the number of butterflies counted was released. In 2016, the number of butterflies fell by about one third. By 2017, the number of butterflies was down by about 27 percent from the year before. When comparing the amount of monarch butterflies in 2017 to the amount of butterflies in the mid-1990s, scientists found out that the monarch population had decreased by eighty percent.

In the wintertime, millions of monarch butterflies migrate down to Mexico. It is quite a sight to see when tens of thousands of butterflies land on a single tree along the way of migration.

There are many threats that monarch butterflies face. One challenge that they face is climate change. Monarch butterflies can survive temperatures that are below freezing, but they cannot survive below freezing temperatures if they are wet. A sudden cold snap can be very devastating for monarch populations, which tend to reside in a very small range of areas.

Another challenge is habitat loss. They rely on milkweed to survive in their larval state. There is a very big problem in Mexico with illegal logging that affects the habitats of monarchs.

Oklahoma Economy Booming

There are many people who are interested in starting a business for a variety of reasons. Not only does a new business open up income opportunities for a person, but it also helps people manage their time. Oklahoma is not known as a state that has a lot of small business owners.

However, Oklahoma is now leading the nation in terms of economic growth. This is a great time to live in the area for various reasons. The overall cost of living is much lower than surrounding areas, and it is growing rapidly.

Financing Options

Starting a business is not easy. Not only do you have to develop a business plan and market your products, but business owners must develop a financial plan for the future.

In some cases, business owners will take out a loan in order to grow their company. Borrowing money to start a business is not always a bad thing. However, you need to make sure you have a plan to pay the debt back over time. Some people end up borrowing too much money and later regret it. Oklahoma has numerous business loan options for people who are starting their own business. In addition, Oklahoma has one of the lowest tax rates in the country.

Future Growth

Over the past year, Oklahoma has received an influx of people moving from all over the country. This is great news for the future of the economy. Not only are property values increasing, but new jobs are being created every day.

Now is a great time to join other people and start a company. With the strong economy, many customers have extra spending money for products and services in their life. This is positive news for small business owners who are trying to build their business.

Could An Innovative Housing Project in Kansas City Offer a Model For Ending Homelessness Elsewhere?

Homelessness has become a scourge in many cities. Rising home prices in some urban areas have effectively shut low income workers out of housing markets. As real estate prices increase, landlords raise rents in order to keep pace with changing property values. Low and middle income people who do not own their own real estate must either expend more each month for housing, relocate to less expensive locales, or endure homelessness.

Housing Homeless Veterans

Now an innovative solution from the Midwest has begun assisting homeless veterans in Missouri. Could this type of project help veterans (and perhaps other homeless people) in other places? The nonprofit Veterans Community Project has supplied the means for 13 veterans in Kansas City, Missouri to stop living on the streets. The nonprofit will help them move into a community of tiny homes. They will obtain the assistance they require to eventually locate their own dwelling places.

The organization recently complete the first phase of a Tiny Homes Community project designed to build an enclave of 37 tiny houses. The dwellings will cluster around a 5,000-square foot community center supplying social services and occupational assistance to residents. The organization expects to pay $15,000 per year per veteran.

Tiny Houses

Ultimately, the nonprofit hopes to help residents of its tiny homes community transition back into the commercial housing marketplace as independent homeowners. While they reside in the tiny houses, veterans will have an opportunity to locate work. They will save money towards down payments on their own dwellings.

Tiny houses offer all the same amenities as larger homes, yet within a compact space. These diminutive houses have gained popularity during recent years. Some home buyers and marketers have searched for ways to reduce rising housing costs by employing innovatively designed houses.

Chicago Thanksgiving Parade Welcomes Nearly 600 High School Musicians

While many people tune in to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade while they’re waiting for the turkey to cook, some people keep their eye on more local happenings. This year’s Thanksgiving Day parade in Chicago is one example.

The parade moves through downtown Chicago every year, but this year was the first in almost a decade where the parade included students from the five high schools that make up the U46 Unified Marching Band. 566 students joined the parade, an impressive feat to say the least. The last time this happened was in 2008 when 400 students from multiple bands joined together to create beautiful music.

Last year Bartlett High School band director Eric Hollaway submitted an application to the city’s festival association for his band to participate in the parade. However, he soon realized that none of the other local band directors had participated in a unified march. None of them were around during the last one.

It’s an impressive feat to direct one band, but five? Even more so. The 500+ student band only practiced together in full twice in preparation for the Thanksgiving parade: once in October and another just the week before the parade. There were so many students that it was impossible to take a photo that captured all of them!

The numbers could have been a problem, but the school district chipped in with 22 buses to transport the students from their respective schools to downtown Chicago. Hundreds of family members and staff members also journeyed to watch the parade.

The unified marching band lucked out, as did every other participant in the parade: the weather was good. The reception was also warm. Band directors have already been fielding questions about when a unified march will happen in the future!

Local Hospitals Preparing for Disease Outbreak During Super Bowl

Super Bowl Sunday will be upon us on February 4th. While most Americans will be gathered around television sets to watch the big game, health officials in Minnesota and surrounding states will be on the lookout for any outbreaks of disease among the thousands gathered in Minneapolis for the game itself.

The Minneapolis and Saint Paul area is expected to see as many as one million visitors during the upcoming Super Bowl weekend. With this many people coming into an area at a given time, the possibility exists for outbreaks of disease.

With that in mind, health officials in Minnesota, Minneapolis and surrounding communities issued a healthcare alert to doctors, hospitals and clinics in the area. This alert runs through February 7. Healthcare officials are calling on the area’s healthcare community to be on the lookout for any disease outbreaks that are unusual for this time of the year.

Officials aren’t that concerned about the influenza virus. They don’t feel as if the risk of catching the flu is any greater than if people at the Super Bowl were just going about the events of their daily lives. What they are concerned about is outbreaks of disease such as norovirus that can cause severe gastric upset and diarrhea. They will also be looking to see if there is an uptick in the reports of food poisoning among those at the game or in the areas where people might stay during the Super Bowl Weekend.

Healthcare professionals will also look for signs of sexual trafficking and assault that may increase with so many people in the area. Doctors and hospitals are also asked to report suspicions of any bio-hazard threats due to possible terrorist attacks.

Healthcare officials want to emphasize that these actions are no different than what is normal for a large event. They issue alerts when large conventions or other large sporting events are in the area.

New Tax Credit Plan for Rural Jobs Being Considered In Ohio

In the midwestern state of Ohio, a tax credit plan that was previously voted down by the governor may be voted into place by the legislature in the coming weeks. This tax credit plan aims to create rural jobs. Around six months ago, Governor John Kasich vetoed the $60 million plan. However, a similar plan of 45 million dollars is being considered by the legislature.

Some of the concerns that caused Governor John Kasich to veto that plan have been taken into account. Steps will be taken to ensure the money does indeed go to rural businesses. Critics say, however, that certain issues still remain. One of these issues is a lack of accountability and the possibility that private firms will take advantage of this plan.

Bob Peterson, a Republican representative from Ohio, said that this plan is not ideal in an ideal economy, but the rural economy in Ohio has been suffering, and there is a need for tax credits.

In the new plan, steps have been taken to ensure that the money does indeed go to rural businesses. Rural communities will be defined as having 200,000 residents or less. In addition, there is no longer a requirement for the money to go to high growth opportunities. John Kasich was concerned that the money would end up going to businesses that did not fit the description of being rural, which is why he vetoed the previous plan. However, he has been in talks with the legislature in creating this new plan, although there is no certainty yet that he will approve it.

Critics of the plan say that the money can be used for better purposes. In addition, they are concerned about possible fraud. They think that the current plan is no different than the previous one.

Orange City: Home of the Dutch in the USA

Orange City is a square mile town with a population of less than six thousand. Fields surround the city in all directions. It’s also isolated from the outside world. It takes an hour to the interstate, two hours to Omaha airport, and an estimated four hours to Des Moines. While Hawarden (20 miles from Orange city) was discovered in the 1870s, it had a constant flow of strangers. As a result, the town grew with hotels and gambling places. However, Orange City lacked infrastructure like the railroad, or, until recently a four-lane highway. As a result, the town culture is still pure and preserved.

Immigrants in 1870 founded the town. Most of them were in search of farming land. Until recently, almost all the people living in the city were Dutch. The names of the stores still bear Dutch names. In the early twentieth century, the First Reformed Church broke off and bore American Reformed Church. The aim was to have a church that conducted services in English. Years later, the Dutch speakers began to die off. As a result, the town took measures aimed at preserving their culture. The shops on the main stretch took the Dutch designs and colors. To date, they still hold the Tulip Festival. Bulbs get imported from Netherlands and planted in rows, and for three days, the people in the city dress in Dutch costumes with the designs of the nineteenth-century.

After the Tulip festival, another ritual is enacted. Hundreds of children graduate from high school after which they choose to leave or stay in the city. The decision sets a course of their lives. The choice is not driven by necessity but the way of life. Those that remain have defined the current economic state of the town. However, since the 2016 election, staying or leaving has taken a political dimension. The decision to stay or go is a significant political predictor. As such, many choose to stay.

Kate Hudson Promotes Self Love With Fabletics

One of the common messages in today’s age is self love. This is something that people who are struggling with their self worth are told about. However, the delivery of the message is little more than dismissive. They are told to just love themselves. However, this only leaves people with a major issue. They don’t know how to love themselves. They assume to love something or someone means to have the warm fuzzy feelings about someone. Unfortunately, there is a difference between real love and just warm feelings. Fortunately, Kate Hudson is able to show the way with her athleisure line known as Fabletics.


One thing that Fabletics promotes is healthy living. This includes being in the best physical and mental shape. After all, people are encouraged to get themselves in the body shape that they want so that they can feel confident in themselves. This involves eating better foods and participating in physical activities that are meant to get them into the shape that they want to be in. She shows people different exercises that they can get involved in. They work different areas of the body with different goals. People could either bulk up, tone, sculpt, or anything they may want to do with their bodies


One other important aspect of self love is fashion. Many people underestimate the effect that fashion can have on a person’s mindset. However, it is common for people to buy something new and feel confident in their new outfit, especially if it is a bit different from the outfit that they usually wear. Another factor in this is if it is an outfit that they truly desire. One good combination that Kate Hudson hopes to bring out in many people is that they have the body shape that they want and the style they desire.


Fabletics is fashion with a purpose. People do not just look good to show off. They dress the way they do to promote a lifestyle and philosophy of health. One of the ways they do that is by being involved in some of the same initiatives that their brand is involved with. Fabletics has started working with breast cancer research facilities in order to bring about some better treatments for the condition.

Tough Choices for Farmers as the High Plains Aquifer Dries Up

Water in the 175,000 square mile High Plains Aquifer, also called the Ogallala Aquifer, has been disappearing at the rate of about six miles of streams per year. The drying up of the aquifer lies under parts of Colorado, Kansas, Texas, Wyoming, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and South Dakota has left farmers and ranchers concerned about rather they will have water to raise their crops and livestock. According to Colorado State University and Kansas State University, another 117 miles of streams and rivers could disappear by 2060.

Tough Choices for Farmers

The ground above the High Plains Aquifer is currently used to grow about 20 percent of the food consumed in the world. Farmers face tough choices. If they continue to use the water to produce food, then the water that has been accumulating there for at least 15,000 years could soon be gone. If the farmers do not use the water, then they use their livelihood and America loses the food grown on this prime farmland.

Farmers Abandoning Multigenerational Farms

Some farmers are already discovering that the water sources that they have relied on for decades are now unreliable forcing them to abandon farms that have been in the same generation for years. These farms have relied on wells that drain from the aquifer for water for even basic living needs like cooking and showering.

Help Coming But No Easy Answers

The United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Services has a program in place that may extend the life of the aquifer. It is helping farmers learn to grow crops using less irrigation. It is doubtful, however, that the program will be enough to save the aquifer long term because water is quickly disappearing in the area even in the wettest years.