- Associated Press - Saturday, April 5, 2014
Heroin-related deaths rising in Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Some states, including Minnesota, are reporting a rise in heroin use as many addicts shift from more costly and harder-to-get prescription opiates to this cheaper alternative. A look at what’s happening in Minnesota:

THE PROBLEM:

Minnesota has seen an alarming rise in heroin-related deaths in recent years and a tenfold increase in the number of people seeking treatment for heroin addiction.

Jack Riley, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s special agent in charge of the Chicago office, which oversees Minnesota, likened heroin to “a weapon of mass destruction on a family, on a community, on society.”

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Conservationists claim victory on new farm bill

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Wildlife and environmental groups are claiming victory for conservation practices in the new farm bill, where two of their top priorities made it into law.

Farmers will be required to use good conservation practices on highly erodible lands and protect wetlands to qualify for crop insurance subsidies. And the law requires “sodsaver” protections to discourage farmers from plowing up native grasslands in several Plains and Midwest states.

From his vantage point on a wide expanse of South Dakota prairie, rancher Jim Faulstich hopes the legislation spurs more farmers to protect the natural resources on their land.

Faulstich and his son-in-law manage about 8,000 acres near Highmore in central South Dakota, most of it restored and native grasslands on which they graze cows. They also grow a diverse rotation of crops. That habitat has proven so attractive to pheasants, trophy bucks and other wildlife populations that they launched a side business hosting hunters from across the country.

“It’s a very good investment of U.S. taxpayer dollars to encourage people to do good things on the land,” Faulstich said.

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GOP selects Miller to challenge Rep. Tim Walz

ALBERT LEA, Minn. (AP) - Republican delegates on Saturday selected businessman Aaron Miller to challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Walz this fall, and the two defeated candidates agreed not to run in the official primary in August.

Story Continues →