Savers has the hammer dropped on it, again. Jennifer Bjorhus of the Strib says, “State Attorney General Lori Swanson sued the secondhand retailer in Hennepin District Court on Thursday, saying Savers is seriously misleading the public about how much of the proceeds from donated clothing and furniture actually go to charity. … Swanson called Savers’ practices a ‘triple scam,’ and said she has no reason to think it’s unique to Minnesota. Only a small fraction of the money Savers makes from selling used clothes in its stores ends up at the charities, she said. Typically the company pays the charities about 40 cents per pound of donated clothing, which works out to pennies for a shirt that Savers might sell for $6. In the case of non-clothing goods such as furniture, Savers pays charities nothing at all.” You’ll be shocked to learn there’s a private equity firm behind it all.
For the PiPress, Nick Woltman writes, “Swanson’s office first began investigating Savers in late 2013 after receiving a series of complaints. She released the findings of the investigation in November 2014 and publicly criticized the company’s business practices. … the complaint says, a 1-pound suit sold for $100 in a Savers store would result in a 50-cent donation to an affiliated nonprofit, while Savers would keep the other $99.50. In the case of a $250 television, the complaint says Savers would keep the entire sale price.”
I’ll see your 1-gig and raise you 1. Julio Ojeda-Zapata of the PiPress reports, “Broadband-Internet and cable-television provider Comcast has traditionally been the Twin Cities’ Internet slowpoke as its main rivals in this area have made available online-access speeds outstripping its own. That is about to change in a big way. The Philadelphia-based company said Thursday it will make 2-gigabit-per-second Internet access available to more than 600,000 homes in and around the metro area by the end of 2015. … The company has not said how much its new broadband services would cost. But the company’s site quoted a $300-a-month fee for 2-gigabit service before that information was yanked, according to DSL Reports.” Anecdotally, geeks I know are generally open to a 25-30 percent price increase for 1 gig.
For MPR, Martin Moylan says, “CenturyLink says its 1 gigabit per second Internet service will be available to 100,000 area homes by summer, but has not said how much it will charge. US Internet has been deploying a fiber optic network in southwest Minneapolis. That firm’s service is now available to about 30,000 homes, apartments and businesses. US Internet charges $65 a month for 1 gigabit connection. CenturyLink has offered 1 gigabit service for $80 a month when customers add land line phones or TVs. Comcast charges $115 for a 105 megabit per second connection, generally the highest speed the company has offered to residential customers, so far.”
Just think if they passed a real transportation bill. Adam Belz of the Strib says, “A huge rise in construction hiring drove a gain of 7,400 jobs for Minnesota in April, marking the third straight month of solid increases in the state job market. Figures the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development released Thursday showed the unemployment rate ticking downward to 3.7 percent as construction added 6,600 jobs on the month. That’s the largest monthly increase for construction in 25 years and a welcome shift after what had so far been a tepid spring for the industry.”
The flu may have crested. The AP’s Steve Karnowski writes, “Minnesota notched six straight days without a new case of bird flu on Thursday, and though state officials aren’t ready to say the outbreak is over, they’re beginning to stand down. The first case of H5N2 in the Midwest was confirmed in early March at a Minnesota turkey farm, and the virus then spread to 88 farms in the country’s top turkey producing state, affecting nearly 8 million birds, mostly turkeys. But new cases have fallen off sharply and the focus is turning toward getting poultry farms back into production.”
A bit late though for these folks. Dave Aeikens for KSTP-TV says, “The largest Minnesota farm to be hit by bird flu is temporarily laying off 39 full-time employees. The outbreak at the Rembrandt Enterprises egg farm in Renville was confirmed last week. All 2 million chickens there will have to be killed to ensure the complete eradication of the H5N2 virus.”
Also, Jennie Lissarrague of KSTP reports, “A patient at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids is facing multiple charges after police say he somehow obtained a syringe and was making threats to staff members, filling the syringe with his own blood and squirting it at them. He’s also accused of holding a woman against her will in an elevator.”
The Strib wants another veto. “Gov. Mark Dayton has already vowed to veto education funding legislation, citing early education as a top priority. A governor who has also championed water quality should swiftly veto another budget bill — the agriculture and environment spending legislation. Signing it would put the gubernatorial stamp of approval on multiple measures that would weaken protections for Minnesota’s treasured waterways. Dayton, serving his final term and looking to burnish his legacy, would tarnish it if he let this shortsighted legislation sail through. It needs a do-over in the looming special session.”
What else is he going to say? Says Matt McKinney in the Strib, “Minneapolis police officer Michael Griffin pleaded not guilty in his first appearance in federal court Thursday on charges of beating four men in 2010 and 2011 and then lying about it during civil suits they filed against him. Griffin, wearing a suit and saying only ‘Yes, ma’am’ when answering U.S. Magistrate Judge Janie Mayeron’s questions, was arraigned and then released on a $25,000 bond. He agreed to give up his passport and remain law abiding.”
Our friend Scott Walker is riding in high in GOP presidential polls, but is having a very tough time with investigators over in Wisconsin, i.e. where “It’s Working.” For The Huffington Post, Zachary Roth writes, “Three days after being sworn in as Wisconsin governor in 2011, Scott Walker announced an ambitious plan to turn the state’s commerce department into a semi-private corporation laser-focused on economic growth and job creation. … Four years later, as Walker lays the groundwork for a presidential run, WEDC appears rudderless and deeply troubled. Government and press reports have raised serious questions about the agency’s transparency, effectiveness, political independence and compliance with the law. Walker, who serves as chair of the WEDC board, has twice in recent months announced major shifts to the agency’s structure and mission — and this week he has been forced to deny that he knew about a questionable loan to a political contributor’s company. Democrats are calling for a federal investigation. Meanwhile, Wisconsin’s job growth continues to lag far behind the nation’s — taking a toll on the governor’s popularity at home.”
But proving that even a broken watch is right twice a day, Jason Stein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports, “Walker signed legislation Wednesday to raise the top state speed limit to 70 miles per hour as his administration announced that starting in June more than 700 miles of interstates would be marked up to the higher limit.” But anything over 70 and you pay a fine to his SuperPAC.