Friday, January 27, 2023

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A critical number of rural IA nursing homes close; TX lawmakers consider measures to restrict, and expand voting in 2023 Session; and CT groups, and unions call for public-health reforms.

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Attorney General announces enforcement actions on ransomware, Democrats discuss border policies, and the FDA is relaxing rules for gay and bisexual men to donate blood.

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"Brain Gain?" Research shows rural population is actually growing, especially in recreational areas; other small towns are having success offering relocation incentives like free building lots, cash, complimentary dinners and even internet credits; and researchers say the key is flexibility and creativity.

When MN's Invasive 'Reed Canary Grass' Becomes Art

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Friday, September 13, 2019   

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Every U.S. state has its share of invasive species, and in Minnesota, reed canary grass is one of them. But creative people know the common invader can also be turned into something artistic and practical.

Artist and Assistant Professor of Printmaking at Minnesota State University Moorhead Anna Haglin was part of the West-Central Minnesota Paper Plains project over the summer. She took her mobile studio to several locations, using reed canary grass to teach people how to make paper.

Haglin says kids were eager to take the paper they'd embedded with native prairie seeds home to plant in their backyard.

"I like to describe it as a magic trick,” laughs Haglin. “You take invasive grass and you're sort-of turning it into 'good' grass, so it's sort-of all about the conversation that then happened around that."

Haglin says Minnesota artists are fortunate, since the state has one of highest per-capita legislative appropriations to state art agencies in the country, spending $7.26 compared to $0.17 in neighboring Wisconsin.

Haglin says she can't remember a time she wasn't aware of climate change and its environmental effects, causing reed canary grass to spread. In the art world, her work is known as 'social practice,' because it focuses on the interaction between the audience, social systems, and the artist.

"An issue that I care about doesn't have to be something that I am shocking people with, or scolding them,” says Haglin. “We can all work towards a positive solution. Something that everyone enjoys."

The paper project is funded through a grant from the Fergus Falls-based West Central Initiative and Springboard for the Arts, an economic and community development organization.


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