The Midwest Report is a daily news-roundup dedicated exclusively to the American Midwest.
1) Indiana – Story One
“Indiana’s marriage fight will continue,” written by Maureen Groppe and Richard Wolf for Pal-Item, and published on 06/16/13.
“Rick Sutton and Micah Clark have opposite views on whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry. But both agree that the pending Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage are unlikely to stop the fight in Indiana over a constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions.
‘Unless the court does something way out there on either side, we’re going to be right back where we were,’ said Sutton, executive director of Indiana Equality Action, which has been fighting the proposed change to the state’s constitution. ‘And we’re ready for that.’”
2) Indiana – Story Two
“Is the worm turning?” written by Karen Francisco for the Journal Gazette, and published on 06/15/13.
“[M]ake no mistake: Indiana’s love affair with so-called school reform is cooling. Serious cracks are showing in the relationship between lawmakers and anti-labor, pro-privatization forces that have fueled the so-called reform with millions in campaign contributions…
The signs of reform pushback come as no surprise to Phyllis Bush, who retired from South Side High School as an English teacher and department chair in 1999…
‘Whether it’s vouchers or charters or ISTEP, people are beginning to see it’s all about money,’ Bush said. ‘I think that’s where some are missing the boat. Hoosiers care about taxes. If you put the emphasis on the fiscal responsibility – how the reformers are sending money to out-of-state corporations, how they are using our kids to make money – that’s how you get people’s attention.’”
“Coal Crapping Up Illinois Countryside, State Becomes Fifth Largest Producer,” written by Josh Mogerman for Chicagoist, and published on 06/16/13.
“Coal is in trouble domestically, with its share of the power plant mix dropping 10% in the last decade due to competition from natural gas. But for states like Illinois, with easy access to international markets and apparently little concern over climate change, Europe and Asia offer a lifeline, with exports setting new records (125 million tons, roughly double 2009 exports)…
And Illinois is poised to take advantage. Coal output in the Illinois basin (this state, Indiana and Kentucky) grew by 10% last year, helping propel Illinois up 4 spots to the 5th largest coal producing state in the country since 2009. The state is expected to up production above 2010 rates by 70% this year.”
“Wisconsin bill a threat to journalism,” written by Lyle Muller for The Gazette, and published on 06/16/13.
“True, the legislative move in Wisconsin, whose originator or originators Republican Party leaders have been loath to reveal, comes nowhere close to circumventing a free press. Journalistic freedom still can exist off campus. The Wisconsin center gets no money from the state. Its $400,000 budget is funded by private foundations, contracts and donations.
Without doubt, though, this smacks of an attempt by government to circumvent the reporting of public affairs. It is an excessive attempt to interfere with the practice of meaningful journalism that informs the citizenry, and to diminish the training of our next generation of problem solvers to do journalism in an ethical, thorough, trustworthy and meaningful way.
The real threat brewing in Wisconsin stems from whether or not a state legislature should be able to tell universities exactly how to teach, and with whom they can cavort when teaching.”
5) Wisconsin, Minnesota
“Wisconsin, Minnesota show similarities in voting, differences in policies,” written by Craig Gilbert for the Journal Sentinel, and published on 06/16/13.
“Politically speaking, Wisconsin and Minnesota are practically twins…Yet based on how they are being governed, you would think they were two different planets.
Wisconsin has been cutting taxes, curbing unions, expanding private school vouchers and rejecting hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding. Minnesota has been raising taxes, empowering unions, legalizing same-sex marriage and embracing Obamacare. Wisconsin is getting its most conservative governance in decades. Minnesota is getting its most liberal governance in decades.
In their underlying political makeup, they may be as similar as any two states in America.”
“Minnesota’s oldest black church Pilgrim Baptist marks 150 years of praise,” written by Rose French for the Star Tribune, and published on 06/16/13.
“St. Paul’s Pilgrim Baptist Church, which was founded by former slaves, celebrates its history. Beaten down and desperate for freedom, escaping slaves paddled a wooden raft up the Mississippi River from Missouri. The treacherous trip in 1863 at the height of the Civil War eventually landed them in St. Paul, where they would start new lives and establish Minnesota’s first African-American church.
Their story echoes today in the pews and the people of Pilgrim Baptist Church — including descendants of those escapees. At its 150th anniversary events next weekend, Pilgrim Baptist will celebrate its growth from a small group of followers with an uncertain future into one of the most prominent churches in Minnesota — home to a number of black leaders and a congregation with a long history of fighting for civil rights and other social justice issues.”
“Kansas education standards debate exposes tensions,” written by John Hanna for the Associated Press, and published on 06/16/13.
“An intense debate in Kansas over adopting multistate academic standards for public schools has exposed longstanding tensions between the Legislature and the State Board of Education over control of what happens in classrooms.
Small-government, tea party-aligned Republican legislators want to block the use in Kansas of Common Core standards for math and reading, an initiative of governors’ and education commissioners’ associations. The state board adopted the standards as Kansas’ own in 2010.
Critics of the Common Core guidelines also opposed science standards drafted by Kansas, 25 other states and the National Research Council. The board adopted them last week.”
8) North Dakota
“Homelessness increases in oil-rich North Dakota,” written for the Associated Press, and published on 06/16/13.
“The number of homeless people is soaring as desperate job seekers flock to North Dakota to take advantage of the oil-wealthy state’s abundant employment opportunities, the director of an advocacy group says.
Volunteers counted a record 2,069 homeless people during a “point in time” survey Jan. 23, a day in which temperatures were well below zero across much of the state, said Michael Carbone, executive director of the North Dakota Coalition for Homeless People…
Summer tallies historically have been higher than those done in winter months, where North Dakota’s dangerously cold weather typically forces homeless people to warmer climates.”
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