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Dayton wants to diversify ranks of state government

Plus: two buildings to be named after late Rep. Oberstar; Kill says he’s had more seizures since retirement; civil rights group wants investigation into rejection of Muslim cemetery; and more.

Gov. Mark Dayton
MinnPost photo by Bill Kelley

Going to get a little less white. In the Strib, Ricardo Lopez reports, “Gov. Mark Dayton has set a daunting goal for his final years of office: diversify the overwhelmingly white managerial ranks across all Minnesota state agencies — roughly 1,000 positions. Nearly nine in 10 management jobs are held by white employees right now. Dayton is pledging to change that. He said state government can better serve the state’s increasingly diverse population by having more executives of color to craft state policy.” Not sure, but that might be another initiative off the radar in Wisconsin.

Up north, the AP says: “Two buildings in northern Minnesota are now renamed after the late U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar. The Duluth International Airport’s new terminal will now be known as the James L. Oberstar Terminal. Also Friday, the Chisholm post office was dedicated in memory of Oberstar, a Chisholm native.”

He needs to take care of this. Andy Greder of the PiPress says, “After Jerry Kill’s tearful farewell as Gophers coach Wednesday, he continued to have seizures. Kill, a diagnosed epileptic, said he had seizures Wednesday and Thursday. Kill stepped down during an emotional news conference due to his health. He watched Minnesota’s 29-26 loss to No. 15 Michigan on Saturday night from home. ‘I’m doing better and hopefully I won’t have any more,’ Kill told WCCO-AM on Sunday morning. ‘That’s the goal.’”

Is it easier than going to Korea? KMSP-TV’s Rachel Chazin says, “While November has been dubbed ‘National Adoption Awareness Month,’ state officials say 499 children are waiting in Minnesota’s foster care system for someone to adopt them into safe, loving, permanent families.’ Of the 499 children waiting to be adopted, almost 74 percent are between 6 to 18 years old, more than 58 percent are siblings who need to be adopted together and 54 percent are children of color,’ Beth Voigt, Minnesota Department of Human Services, said.”

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Another stadium deal. Youssef Rddad of the PiPress reports, “A task force is holding a series of meetings in November to address the future of Ramsey County ice arenas. Facing an aging infrastructure and a looming deadline to phase out a chemical used to refrigerate arenas, the county has put together the group charged with assessing improvements to arenas and looking at arena usage. ‘Each and every one of these rinks, with the exception of Vadnais, will have to have fairly significant renovations,’ said Jason Sprague, a task force member.” But, who do we give the tax breaks too?

There’s always one. The AP says, “Brainerd police are investigating after a woman reported finding a needle in her child’s Halloween candy. According to the Brainerd Police Department’s Facebook page, police got the call Saturday night. The trick-or-treating was done in the north and northeast parts of Brainerd. Brainerd police Sgt. Tim Melin said the mother reported finding the needle in a small candy bar while inspecting the candy in her child’s bag. Melin said no one was hurt and no other incidents were reported.” But, by rough estimate, 6 million pieces were needle free.

Money is moving. Stribber Neal St. Anthony says, “Venture capitalists, cool to Minnesota companies during the first three quarters of the year, have started to open their wallets. Six companies in the state raised nearly $65 million in the third quarter ended Sept. 30. That’s the highest quarterly amount so far this year, but less than during the same period in 2014. Last year’s total of $359.8 million in venture capital invested in young Minnesota private companies was the strongest since the Great Recession … .”

Safety is job one, you know. The Brainerd Dispatch tells us, “Minnesota’s estimated workplace injury and illness rate for 2014 decreased to its lowest rate since measurement started in 1973. According to the annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, the state had an estimated 3.7 OSHA-recordable nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time-equivalent (FTE) workers in 2014. This is down from the estimated rate of 3.9 cases per 100 FTE workers in both 2013 and 2012, and below the previous low rate of 3.8 cases per 100 FTE workers in 2009.”

This sort of thing always plays well. The AP says, “An Islamic civil rights group wants a federal investigation into a Dakota County township board’s rejection of a proposed cemetery for Muslims last year. The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations alleges Castle Rock Township discriminated based on religion. The group wants the Department of Justice to investigate whether denying the cemetery violated federal law.”

At least he wasn’t moving in. WCCO-TV reports, “Officials in the north metro say a three-hour standoff happened Sunday after a homeowner pulled a gun on a roommate who was moving out. The incident happened in Brooklyn Park in a residence on the 9200 block of Trinity Gardens. Police say a roommate was moving out of the house and got in a fight with a homeowner.”