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Nurses authorize indefinite strike against Allina after rejecting latest contract offer

Plus: Minnesota unemployment ticks up; Hennepin County rocks library survey; St. Paul’s Woolworth Building to hold open house; a new route for proposed Gold Line BRT; and more. 

MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

Strike. From the Pioneer Press: “Nearly 5,000 nurses at five Allina Health hospitals in the Twin Cities voted Thursday to authorize an indefinite strike. The Minnesota Nurses Association said late Thursday night that the union’s membership voted “overwhelmingly” to call for the open-ended strike and reject the hospital company’s latest offer for a three-year contract. The union’s leadership had endorsed the authorization of the strike. Thursday’s vote came just two months after a weeklong strike ended without a deal.”

Also from the PiPress, Rachel Stassen-Berger writes in advance of Donald Trump’s visit to Minnesota for a fundraiser Friday: “John Gilmore, a Republican activist who has long differed with segments of his party, said Trump has backing in Minnesota — perhaps not enough to win the state which has voted for Democrats in presidential elections for decades, but more than some may think. ‘I think he has more support than is visible,’ said Gilmore, a Trump supporter who’s planning on attending the fundraiser. ‘There’s a lot of, sort of, under-the-radar support.’” ˜

The AP says, “GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s visit to Minnesota on Friday is getting the cold shoulder from the state’s Somali community. They’re upset because Trump targeted the Somali communities in Maine and Minnesota during a speech in Maine this month. He said the U.S. does a poor job of vetting refugees, which he says raises concerns in Minnesota, straining its safety net and creating potential recruiting targets for Islamic terror groups. The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations plans a news conference Friday to condemn Trump’s statements.” Pop quiz: Put a number on The Donald’s support over on Cedar-Riverside.

We’re No. 3! Eric Roper of the Strib tells us, “A Star Tribune analysis of national library data found that, among major U.S. library systems, few match the per-capita resources of Hennepin County. The analysis examined just those libraries serving more than 1 million people, based on data from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Measured just by population served, Hennepin County ranks 25th in the country with 1.19 million. Leading the pack is Maricopa County Library District, which serves more than 4 million people in the greater Phoenix area. But on a per-capita basis, Hennepin has the third-most books (4.2 million) … .” Phoenix? Are they reading between the weekly gun shows?

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Another AP story notes, “Minnesota’s unemployment rate ticked up one tenth of one percentage point to 3.9 percent in July, compared with a national jobless rate of 4.9 percent. The Department of Employment and Economic Development said Thursday that the number of employed Minnesotans fell by 24,383. Minnesota’s labor force participation rate continued its downward trend with a decline of six-tenths of a percentage point to 69.9 percent, compared with 62.8 percent nationally.”

Gas in a tunnel. What could go wrong? MPR says, “Authorities shut down Interstate 94 in Minneapolis at the Lowry Tunnel this afternoon following reports of a ruptured gas line. The Minneapolis Fire Department says the gas is now off and the highway and surrounding streets have reopened. Officials say a contractor crew working nearby apparently cut into a 16-inch natural gas main.”

For Roseville Patch (yes, there’s still a few around) William Bornhoft reports, “The Minnesota Commerce Department and Attorney General has reached a sweeping $4.5 million settlement with a California-based internet payday lending company that victimized thousands of Minnesotans with illegal, high-interest loans. The settlement is with CashCall Inc., its affiliated companies and owner J. Paul Reddam. ‘For Minnesotans who were victimized by CashCall, this settlement will cancel their debts on these predatory loans and provide restitution for the excessive interest and fees they already paid,’ Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman said in a statement.”

Pipeline halted. The AP says, “Developers of a four-state oil pipeline have agreed to halt construction of the project in southern North Dakota until a federal court hearing next week in Washington, D.C. The temporary construction shutdown comes amid growing protests and increased tension over the Dakota Access Pipeline that is intended to cross the Missouri River near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation that straddles the North Dakota-South Dakota border.”

If only it were an attractive building. Frederick Melo in the PiPress writes, “St. Paul’s long-shuttered Woolworth’s will serve popcorn and root beer from its original lunch counter one last time. A real estate firm is inviting the public to an open house at the old Woolworth Building in downtown St. Paul — one last peek before a top-to-bottom renovation converts the three-level structure into office space. The lunch counter, out of service since the discount retailer closed the location 20 years ago, will likely be relocated into a break room within the building.” How about a few windows in the do-over?

Woodbury gets all the good stuff. Bob Shaw of the PiPress says, “For the Gold Line bus project, Lake Elmo’s loss could be Woodbury’s gain. A new route for the proposed bus-rapid transit line avoids Lake Elmo entirely and bends the route south two miles into Woodbury. The route announced Thursday by the Gateway Corridor Commission is one of several alternatives that could connect downtown St. Paul to the city’s East Side and to Maplewood, Oakdale and Woodbury. The commission is expected to officially pick its preferred route by the end of the year.”