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Dayton announces plan to improve hiring of people with disabilities

Plus: health care executive investigated for taking millions from organization; regulators pushing Xcel off coal; MN Supreme Court relaxes drunk-driving-test rules; and more.

Gov. Mark Dayton
MinnPost photo by Briana Bierschbach

Good idea. The Star Tribune’s Chris Serres reports: “Gov. Mark Dayton announced two new hiring initiatives Thursday designed to improve the low rate of employment of Minnesotans with disabilities in state government. … Flanked by disability advocates at a news conference, Dayton said people with disabilities will now have an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to work in state agencies through a program called ‘Connect 700,’ which gives candidates up to 700 hours of on-the-job work experience.”

As if health care isn’t expensive enough. The Star Tribune’s Shannon Prather reports: “A nonprofit executive is the target of separate federal and state investigations for allegedly siphoning millions of dollars from his Golden Valley-based home health care agency to finance luxury shopping sprees, risky investments and six-figure salaries for himself and family members. … Michael Tobak, the former president and treasurer of International Health Care Services (IHCS), acknowledged that he has borrowed from the nonprofit for business development, investments and some shopping purchases. But he told the Star Tribune that he has always paid back those loans with interest.”

Sherco to slow its coal. Midwest Energy News’ Frank Jossi reports: “Minnesota regulators appear set today to approve a 15-year plan by Xcel Energy that will close two of state’s biggest coal-burning units and develop a large portfolio of renewable energy. … The plan calls for Xcel to retire 1,500 megawatts (MW) of coal at Sherburne County Generating Station, better known as Sherco, while adding 1,800 MW of wind and 1,400 MW of solar by 2030, according to a staff report from the Minnesota Public Utility Commission.”

Want to refuse a test of your bodily fluids after a drunk-driving stop in Minnesota? You’re in luck: KSTP reports: “Drivers suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Minnesota can no longer be charged with a crime for refusing to take a urine test, the state Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday. … The ruling declared warrantless urine tests are unconstitutional, and therefore individuals can not prosecuted for refusing to submit such tests.”

In other news…

A bit of a gamble: “Prince Music Vault Being Shopped for $35 Million: Source” [Billboard]

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More on “Mogadishu, Minnesota”: “Despite community rejection of HBO TV series, public officials support the ongoing production” [Twin Cities Daily Planet]

Minnesota-born Oskar Eustis, profiled: “‘Hamilton’ and Heartache: Living the Unimaginable” [New York Times]

Goed nieuws! “KLM to resume Minneapolis service to Amsterdam next year” [Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal]

Yep, this is pretty much it: “TOURISM: Minneapolis offers cuisine, craft beers, history and natural wonders” [The Washington Times]

Don’t jinx it! “TELL US: Have you noticed how few political TV ads are airing this fall?” [Inforum]