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  • Appeals Court: Landlords can't bar tenants due to subsidized housing

    Jan 24, 2024

    Low-income residents from Minneapolis with vouchers who qualify for subsidized housing have gotten a major boost from the Minnesota Court of Appeals. The court ruled last week that the Minneapolis City Council did not violate the Minnesota constitution when it passed an ordinance in 2017 that barred landlords from refusing to accept tenants because they had what are known as Section 8 vouchers. Those vouchers ensure that a tenant will not spend more than 30% of their income on rent, with the...

  • General Mills is closing its on-site child care at headquarters

    Jan 23, 2024

    General Mills is ending on-site child care at its Golden Valley headquarters on Sept. 30, the company told employees last week. Demand for the benefit has dropped as employees work a hybrid schedule in and out of the office. The day care is just a quarter full, General Mills said in its announcement, leading to increased costs. General Mills' child-care center is licensed to care for up to 60 infants, defined as up to 16 months old. The company also offered the on-site child care as an...

  • A community solar plan would save Xcel customers money - but cost some cities and schools millions

    Jan 23, 2024

    The city of Winona signed up for Minnesota's community solar garden program mainly to save cash, taking advantage of bill credits from Xcel Energy in exchange for subscribing to a shared solar plot built by independent developers. But as the state program faces criticism for its growing cost to Xcel's customers, utility regulators are grappling with a hotly debated proposal that would shrink those bill credits. Winona's case is one reason the idea is controversial. The city could lose more than...

  • Andy Wells evokes wisdom by sharing his story at Northwest Technical College

    Jan 22, 2024

    BEMIDJI - Red Lake Nation member Andy Wells realized that education would be crucial on his path to success. Such a realization was among several pieces of advice Wells offered to students and faculty at Northwest Technical College on Thursday as part of an occupational speaker series. Presenting to a packed room of eager listeners, Wells detailed how he started his company, Wells Technology, nearly 40 years ago with many lessons learned along the way. https://www.bemidjipion...

  • Minnesota cannabis agency wants streamlined laws for faster dispensary openings

    Jan 18, 2024

    Minnesota lawmakers should tweak marijuana laws this session to help growers and dispensaries start their businesses faster, the state's Office of Cannabis Management recommended in its initial report to the Legislature this week. Among several specific changes the agency wants is a temporary license system, particularly for social equity applicants, meaning those harmed directly or indirectly by past criminal enforcement of marijuana laws. "This strategy would accelerate the timeline, help...

  • Despite drought, Minnesota corn farmers helped U.S. to record 2023 harvest

    Jan 17, 2024

    Another wacky weather year failed to break corn-growers' collective stride in Minnesota, where farmers put 1.51 billion bushels in bins for a 4% increase from 2022. Nationwide, 2023's harvest turned out to be a corn coronation, as the farmers saw a record harvest of 177.3 bushels per acre, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report released at the end of last week. In Minnesota, a wet spring that delayed planting gave way to scorching sun in June and little water through the...

  • In tug-of-war over prices, grocers seek to wrest some control from food companies

    Jan 12, 2024

    One of the largest retailers in Europe has a message for one of the world's largest food companies: Your days of unquestioned price increases are over. Carrefour, with 12,000 worldwide locations, pulled Mountain Dew, Cheetos and other PepsiCo brands from shelves. "We no longer sell this brand due to unacceptable price increases," read signs informing shoppers in France. https://www.startribune.com/food-prices-inflation-consumers-retailers-store-brands/600334107/...

  • Minnesota companies capitalize on America's sleep problems

    Jan 12, 2024

    It's not just you. A large percentage of Americans are not getting a good night's sleep, in many cases because of a sleep disorder - and a growing number of Twin Cities companies are developing new technology to treat the issues. Take sleep apnea. It is the top issue for U.S. sleep clinics, said Dr. Ranji Varghese, medical director for the Hennepin Healthcare's Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center. "It can be so disruptive to someone's life," Varghese said. Untreated sleep apnea can also...

  • Minnesota fines Menards for penalizing employee for pumping breast milk

    Jan 10, 2024

    The state of Minnesota has fined the Menards hardware chain for docking a Fridley worker's pay 103 times for taking breaks to pump breast milk and then retaliating against her for complaining. In announcing a consent order Tuesday, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) said it is requiring Menards to pay the woman back wages and compensatory damages. Menards reached an agreement with DLI on Dec. 5, saying it will comply with the state's 2014 Women's Economic Security Act in all...

  • Bird flu has claimed more than $135M in Minnesota turkeys, chickens

    Jan 10, 2024

    The federal government has paid Minnesota egg and poultry producers more than $135 million to offset losses caused by the worst avian influenza outbreak in U.S. history. The indemnity payments are meant to compensate for the birds that had to be culled after the virus was detected in flocks. Since 2022, Minnesota has lost 6.3 million birds, mostly commercial turkeys, to bird flu. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, created to protect the food supply and rural livelihoods, uses the indemnity...

  • 3M freezing pensions for nonunion employees in 2028

    Jan 9, 2024

    3M is freezing pension plans for nonunion U.S. employees at the end of 2028, the latest cost-cutting move for the Maplewood-based company. The change, announced Monday, applies to 3M employees and those at the health care company it is spinning off this year. 3M started moving toward 401(k) retirement plans in 2009 when it cut off access to the U.S. pension plan for new hires and rehires. The company said it has fewer than 9,000 active participants in the pension plan. https:...

  • UnitedHealth lawsuit alleges former executives stole trade secrets to create rival firm

    Jan 5, 2024

    Minnesota health care entrepreneurs Ken Ehlert and Mark Pollman sold their research and development firm to UnitedHealth Group in 2017, joining the Minnesota behemoth as high-ranking executives. The deal led to the commercial launch of a diabetes management tool called Level2 in early 2021. But the relationship between United and Ehlert and Pollman soured, and they were terminated later that same year. The pair then sued United for allegedly reneging on compensation for Level2, a dispute that...

  • Why mayo, chips and pop got so expensive so fast

    Dec 29, 2023

    Since the beginning of 2020, the price of groceries has jumped 25%. Before that, it took 16 years for food prices to rise that much, so it's no wonder sticker shock still stings even as inflation recedes. "People have 'anchored' mental expectations as to what prices 'should' be, and these anchors take a long time to move," according to a recent report from CoBank. "In our conversations across the country, people are not yet at peace with the reality that a shopping cart full of groceries will...

  • MNsure hits enrollment record with 132,000 sign-ups since November

    Dec 29, 2023

    MNsure is on track for a record-setting open enrollment period with signups in the state's health insurance marketplace reaching an all-time high through mid-December. Thousands are turning to MNsure after learning they no longer qualify for Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare programs, the result of coverage re-determinations this year in the state-federal Medicaid program. Another enrollment boost comes from the continuation of enhanced tax credits for discounting premium costs that the...

  • Minnesota's sugar beet industry celebrates record harvest during the sweetest season

    Dec 28, 2023

    Minnesota's sugar beet farmers beat the odds this fall with American Crystal Sugar farmers piling up a record 12.7 million tons of beets in a growing season cycling between wet and dry spells. Not only were the beets big, but they also were loaded with sugar, which gets used for sweetener in soft drinks to candy bars to baked goods. "You tell me what happened," Harrison Weber, executive director with the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association, said. "We were getting reports in the [Red...

  • Sky-high MSP fares coming down to Earth after pandemic heights

    Dec 27, 2023

    The average airfare nationally from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport actually declined this month. That's good news for Minnesota travelers, especially after a survey this past fall found flights from MSP were the third-most expensive in the nation, averaging $456 a ticket on domestic travel. "Right now, domestic airfare departing from Minneapolis is averaging $270 per ticket," said Hayley Berg, lead economist for the travel booking app Hopper. "That is lower than this time last year...

  • Dozens of Minnesota dairy farms folded in November, alarming farm advocates

    Dec 27, 2023

    Minnesota lost 58 dairy farm permits in November, a devastating blow to a farm sector already drained by contraction. "We have some seasonality to this. In October, November and December, you'll always see some herds go," Lucas Sjostrom, executive director of the Minnesota Milk Producers Association, said. "But I have not seen [a monthly declines in permits] over 50 for a long time." The end of the year is typically a time to see more farmers opt out of milking cows, either permanently or...

  • Consumers punishing General Mills for high prices after pandemic-era boost in sales

    Dec 21, 2023

    Distress signals went up in Golden Valley on Wednesday morning: People are buying fewer General Mills products. People may continue to buy fewer General Mills products. CEO Jeff Harmening chalked up the setback to "stronger-than-anticipated value-seeking behaviors" and "a return toward historical price elasticities." In other words, consumers are punishing the maker of Chex Mix and Old El Paso for high prices. https://www.startribune.com/general-mills-price-hikes-backfire-con...

  • New York sues SiriusXM, accusing company of making it deliberately hard to cancel subscriptions

    Dec 21, 2023

    NEW YORK - New York's attorney general filed suit Wednesday against SiriusXM, accusing the satellite radio and streaming service of making it intentionally difficult for its customers to cancel their subscriptions. Attorney General Letitia James' office said an investigation into complaints from customers found that SiriusXM forced subscribers to wait in an automated system before often lengthy interactions with agents who were trained in ways to avoid accepting a request to cancel service....

  • Verizon delivers expanded wireless service to Minnesota

    Dec 21, 2023

    CHANHASSEN, MINNESOTA - Residents in Chanhassen, Esko, Red Wing and Silver Corners just got a big boost to their mobile service as Verizon has turned on new cell sites to offer expanded 4G and 5G coverage in these communities, offering “more bars” along with faster speeds and better network performance. That means they can connect with friends and family while on the move, connect their smart homes through Verizon Home Internet, or use Verizon service for small business or enterprise applications. In the Minneapolis suburb Chanhassen, the n...

  • 'People on the Range are nervous' as Japanese company announces deal to buy US Steel

    Dec 20, 2023
    1

    DULUTH — U.S. Steel shaped Minnesota’s Iron Range, transforming the region from a frontier to a key part of the country’s industrial complex. “U.S. Steel isn’t just a really big company that employs a lot of people in the area,” said Aaron Brown, an Iron Range historian and author. “It’s the reason that a lot of towns that currently exist were formed.” While the Merrit Brothers began shipping ore from the Mesabi Range in 1892, East Coast financiers like John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Oliver, J.P. Morgan and...

  • DLI seeks $2.4 million in back wages and liquidated damages in enforcement action against construction contractors

    Dec 20, 2023

    The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) has initiated a contested case against Property Maintenance & Construction LLC and Property Maintenance and Construction Inc. (PMC) and Advantage Construction Inc. (Advantage) by filing a Notice and Order for Hearing at the Office of Administrative Hearings. In the notice, DLI alleges PMC and Advantage failed to pay workers as required by law, resulting in back wages owed in the amount of approximately $1.2 million and an additional equal amount of approximately $1.2 million as liquidated...

  • Paul Bunyan Television adds Yule Log Channel for Holidays

    Dec 20, 2023

    (Bemidji, MN) (December 19, 2024) – Paul Bunyan Television has added a 24-hour Yule Log channel for the holiday season that is available to all PBTV subscribers on channel 99. "Every year we get calls wondering where the Yule Log programming may be. Various networks have provided it in the past and some still do but how long and when varied. It was hard for us to provide that answer. So, this year our staff created a Yule Log channel for our television customers to have 24/7 throughout the...

  • Stock market today: Asian markets churn upward after the Dow ticks to another record high

    Dec 15, 2023

    BANGKOK — Asian shares powered higher on Friday after the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed to another record on excitement that the Federal Reserve might cut interest rates several times next year. U.S. futures and oil prices also advanced. Hong Kong led Asia's gains with property developers jumping after some Chinese cities eased buying restrictions. https://www.startribune.com/stock-market-today-asian-markets-churn-upward-after-the-dow-ticks-to-another-record-high/600327622/...

  • With fewer people choosing beer, abundant barley is left in the bins

    Dec 15, 2023

    GRAND FORKS, N.D. — No beer. No barley. “That’s the kind of situation we're in,” Mark Black, North American Malteurop barley procurement and trials manager, told farmers during a presentation about barley markets at the Prairie Grains conference in Grand Forks on Dec. 13. Black’s assessment of the lack of demand for barley is a 180-degree turnaround from the National Barley Growers Association’s promotional video that proclaims “No barley. No beer,” meaning that if farmers don’t grow barley, there won’t be any beer....

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