What will be the biggest news stories in 2010? Who knows? But here are five more stories I hope will be big news on the Madville Times:
6Green Board Factory Coming to Madison: Mankato-based Environ Biocomposites broke ground on its newest facility in the Pitts Industrial Plaza on the southwest edge of Madison. The factory will employ 250 people making composite boards from locally crop waste like wheat straw and sunflower hulls. "We came to Madison because your blogosphere proved this is an area with some progressive thinkers," said EC VP Pete Tonsager. "That new bike trail on Mr. Pitts's land sealed the deal."
7Dems Realize They Control Washington: In the face of apparent GOP election momentum, Congressional Democrats adopted a "make hay while the sun shines" attitude and passed several landmark laws, including the following:
- the Franken-Weiner single-payer health care act;
- an enhanced energy security act targeting a complete phase out of non-military domestic use of fossil fuels by 2030;
- the Kucinich True Security Act, a permanent repeal of the PATRIOT Act;
- the TARP retrofit, which imposed 79.9% interest on big corporate bailout recipients and redirected available funds to community banks.
8Abortion Not an Issue in South Dakota Election: No news is good news: for the first time since 2004, the word abortion did not appear on the South Dakota general election ballot. Some pundits have suggested that this absence and the end of federal funds for abstinence education groups that have pushed past aboortion ballot measures was more than coincidence.
9South Dakota Adopts State Income Tax: Governor Rounds signed HB 1776 into law, replacing every state tax with a flat 5% personal and corporate income tax. "We already have income tax on banks and farms," said bill sponsor Rep. Gerald Lange (D-8/Madison). "I figured why not be fair to everyone and simplify the whole tax code into one postcard?"
10Keystone XL Pipeline Cancelled: TransCanada withdrew its application from the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission to build an oil pipeline across the western portion of the state following a district court ruling that TransCanada could not acquire land rights through eminent domain. The judge ruled the proposed Keystone XL pipeline did not meet the definition of "common carrier." TransCanada said acquiring the land through fair market negotiations would be "financially prohibitive." The pipeline already faced a doubtful future: investors have been pulling out of the dirty tar sands oil Keystone XL would have carried, and American gasoline demand has remained flat even as Obama economic boom accelerates.