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Target stands up for … janitors

Hiring outlook for Minnesota looking better; Sisters of Notre Dame building solar farm in Mankato; St. Paul neighbors tussle with Taco Bell; sparks flying between Entenza and Otto; and more.

Target … throwing some weight behind … janitors? At The Huffington Post Dave Jamieson writes, “Following a string of strikes and protests held by low-wage workers in Minneapolis-St. Paul, the Minnesota-based retailer Target has agreed to insert language into its vendor contracts urging high labor standards at the firms that clean the company’s stores in the area. According to a draft of the agreement shared with HuffPost, Target will stipulate that the cleaning companies it works with cannot interfere with workers’ organizing rights, must follow wage-and-hour laws and must establish worker safety committees.”

When in doubt … remodel and rename. Says Kavita Kumar of the Strib, “Target Corp.’s entire leadership team has moved to the 26th floor of its downtown Minneapolis headquarters and the company is literally tearing down walls to help streamline decisions, interim CEO John Mulligan said in a memo to employees. ‘What used to be called the executive committee has been renamed the leadership team, because all across Target, we need more ‘leadership’ and less ‘committee,’ Mulligan wrote in the memo … .” 

Mother Superior jumped the … sun? Wendy Wilde at KTOE radio in Mankato says, “A solar array will be going up on Good Counsel Hill, a big one, by Minnesota standards, covering four-and-a-quarter acres and generating 907 kilowatts of power, which will be inverted to 13,800 volts AC, enough to power about 115 homes. The City of Mankato approved a  conditional use permit for the solar farm Monday. The Sisters of Notre Dame in Mankato are partnering with Hopkins, Minnesota, based solar power company Best Power International, to build the solar farm on their land near Loyola High School in Mankato.”

If you’re keeping score at home … The AP says, “The latest count by The Associated Press shows clerks in 48 Wisconsin counties are issuing licenses to same-sex couples who want to get married. Twenty-four of the state’s 72 county clerks’ offices say they are not issuing licenses.”

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Likewise, for those keeping track … . Frederick Melo of the PiPress reminds readers of all the other rail lines on the wish list. “ … more than two-dozen transit projects of varying scope and intensity are somewhere on the horizon … . The key challenge to their efforts is funding for construction. The state’s first light rail line, the $715 million Blue Line, rolled out in 2004, followed by the $320 million Northstar commuter rail in 2009. At that rate, it would take at least 70 years to complete the 14 high-speed rail, commuter rail, light rail and streetcar projects envisioned throughout the metro.”

Spoiler alert: A victory for Taco Bell … . Elizabeth Hernandez of the PiPress has the story of the couple living next to a 22-hour a day Taco Bell drive-up window. “The orders of tacos and quesadillas late into the night were bad enough. But when the Taco Bell on Snelling Avenue that sits just yards away from their home began opening at 7 a.m. to serve breakfast, Kristine and Mark Vesley say they had had enough. ‘We did not sign up to hear a Taco Bell drive-through all night and again every morning at 7 a.m.,’ Kristine Vesley said Monday at a hearing at St. Paul City Hall.”

The hiring outlook is good, according to a new survey. Steve Patterson at KSTP-TV says, “Once a quarter, the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is issued, and 18,000 U.S. employers are asked one simple question: What are your hiring plans for the upcoming quarter? The results are in, and things are looking up for Minnesota. From July through September, 29 percent of local employers expect to hire more employees, and only 3 percent expect to have cutbacks.”

And I thought Facebook fights were for junior-high kids? Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Strib says, “DFL challenger Matt Entenza filed an official campaign complaint against sitting DFL auditor Rebecca Otto based on a Facebook comment she posted. In the post, Otto claimed that no one could find a 2003 voter ID bill that she had opposed, as Entenza had claimed. ‘Matt,’ she concluded, “will say anything.” In fact, Entenza said, there was a 2003 floor amendment she voted against. The complaint, filed with the Office of Administrative Hearings, is the latest dust up in the low-profile auditor’s race.” Uh, that should be “usually low-profile … .”

Call your insurer to be certain … City Pages’ Aaron Rupar tells us, “Barring U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for marijuana treatments between now and next summer, Minnesota medical cannabis patients will have to pay entirely out of pocket for their medicine, Manny Munson-Regala, the state employee tasked with overseeing the rollout of the program, tells us. ‘Until it’s FDA approved [insurance companies] aren’t going to pay for anything,’ Munson-Regala says. … [Says Munson-Regala], ‘… the average monthly expense for a patient is a couple hundred bucks up to $1,000.”