ST. PAUL -- Finding where to attend political caucuses should be easy for Minnesotans. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie's office launched an online caucus finder on its Web site, www.sos.state.mn.us.
Democratic-Farmer-Labor and Republican party caucuses are scheduled for Feb. 5. Information for Green, Constitution and Independence party members also is on the site.
The DFL and Republicans will vote for presidential candidates on Feb. 5, when voters in more than 20 states pick their favorites.
Ritchie says his office has the country's first caucus finder for all parties.
"This caucus finder is an important new service that helps citizens take ownership of our democracy," the secretary said.
Also on the secretary's Web site is a brochure explaining caucuses in more detail - www.sos.state.mn.us/docs/mnprecinctcaucuses.pdf.
One rural Minnesotan is on the Barak Obama Latino leadership committee, Sonia Hohnadel of Moorhead.
The rest of the team, including chairwoman Sen. Patricia Torres Ray, are from Minneapolis, St. Paul and nearby suburbs.
The Minnesota state auditor, charged with overseeing local governments' finances, is making some changes. Rebecca Otto, a Democrat, unveiled a new Web site, www.auditor.state.mn.us, to make it easier for Minnesotans to find reports about local governments.
Also, Otto has launched a program to find the best methods local governments have found to save energy costs.
"This topic is timely given rising energy costs and growing public awareness around energy conservation," Otto said. "We have heard from officials at all levels of local government -- towns, cities, counties and school districts -- who would like this review to be a resource for local governments, as they consider making decisions about how to reduce energy costs."
Teachers pick Franken
Minnesota's teachers union is backing Al Franken for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination, the latest of a list of organizations and party activists to sign on.
"Our members were highly impressed with Al Franken's grasp of the issues and his commitment to meaningful change, including an overhaul of the No Child Left Behind Act and full funding for the Individuals With Disabilities in Education Act," Education Minnesota President Tom Dooher said.
Franken and Twin Cities attorney Mike Ciresi are the most well known two of five Democrats wanting to challenge U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman.
Another Democrat, perennial candidate Dick Franson, put up a Web site at www.dickfranson.com. He has lost a couple of dozen campaigns since serving one term as Minneapolis councilman, but this is his first online effort.