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Judge denies request to temporarily block Minneapolis’ minimum wage law

Plus: Minnesota named ‘best run’ state; Metro Transit workers rally; woman brandishes pink stun gun after bar cuts her off; lutefisk is still a thing; and more.

MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

A win for a citywide minimum wageMPR’s Jon Collins reports:  “A Hennepin County judge has denied a request by business groups to temporarily block Minneapolis’ new minimum wage. The first phase of the city’s eventual $15 an hour minimum wage will take effect Jan. 1, bringing some workers’ wages up to $10 an hour. A lawsuit filed in November by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and others argued that the city’s minimum wage ordinance should be blocked because it conflicts with state law and would affect communities outside the city of Minneapolis. In a decision released Monday, Judge Susan Burke denied the plaintiffs request to issue a temporary injunction, writing that they didn’t prove that the ordinance was outside the city’s authority or that the general population of the state would be harmed if it went forward.”

Transit workers rally. The Pioneer Press’ Ryan Faircloth writes: “Around 70 unionized transit workers assembled at a Metropolitan Council transportation committee meeting in Minneapolis Monday to voice concerns over an ongoing contract dispute. … The demonstration coincided with a new round of contract negotiations in St. Paul between the Met Council and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1005 that extended into the early evening. … Unionized transit operators and support personnel rejected the Met Council’s contract offer in November, citing operator safety as a main concern.”

First, Netflix botches its Prince movie, now this? KSTP-TV reports: “A Carver County judge has denied an emergency petition requesting Prince’s music vault is moved back to Paisley Park in Chanhassen from Hollywood because of the California wildfires. The judgment issued Monday scolds the heirs of the Prince estate whose lawyers filed the petition stating, ‘The Court strongly condemns bringing this matter before the Court without adequate discussion between parties and will sanction a party for doing so in the future.’ Judge Kevin Eide also wrote, ‘The cost of the administration of the Estate will be reduced by the parties simply talking about issues before they are raised in pleadings, correspondence or court hearings.’”

Minnesotans are usually so reluctant to hype this kind of thing, but at USA Today, Samuel Stebbins and Evan Comen write about the 24/7 Wall St. ranking of states. “Ranking as the 10th best run state as recently as 2012, Minnesota has climbed steadily in the rankings in recent years and is now the best-run state in the country. … With a strong tax base, the state brings in about $4,400 a year per resident in taxes, more than all but four other states. In Minnesota, higher tax revenue means the government can save more. The state has saved the equivalent of 10.3 percent of its annual spending in a rainy day fund — more than most states and greater than the 8.2 percent average across states. Minnesota has a nearly perfect credit rating from Moody’s with a stable outlook.” 

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CWD not spreading. Steve Karnowski at the AP says, “Tests found no chronic wasting disease in more than 11,000 deer shot by hunters in north-central, central and southeastern Minnesota this fall, the Department of Natural Resources said Monday, giving wildlife managers some confidence that the fatal brain disease has not spread beyond a small pocket in the southeastern corner of the state.”

Can’t imagine why they cut her off. In the PiPress Sarah Horner says, “After a St. Paul woman was cut off at a Little Canada bar, she went home and grabbed her pink stun gun, authorities say. Holding the device in one hand and pepper spray in the other, Tiffany Marie Churchill returned to the Hoggsbreath on Rice Street a short time later and began chasing the bar’s security guards, according to legal documents.” 

Your Trump effect in effect. Says Stribber Mila Kuompilova, “The year ahead is shaping up to be sluggish for refugee arrivals in Minnesota. President Donald Trump this fall set the maximum number of refugees nationally at 45,000 for the fiscal year, slashing that ceiling by more than half. But more recent administration guidelines could mean an especially marked slowdown in Minnesota, traditionally one of the country’s key resettlement destinations. Even as it rolls out more intense vetting for all refugees, the United States is extending a pause on arrivals from 11 countries, including Somalia, a top country for refugees coming to this state.”

Now on my list of Worst Ways to Go. Says Paul Walsh for the Strib, “State regulators said Monday they are investigating the death of a worker who fell to his death at a soon-to-be-closed biomass plant in central Minnesota that supplies power to Xcel Energy. The man fell into a hopper at the Benson Power plant in Benson on Wednesday, according to Minnesota’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). … Xcel plans to buy the Benson plant, which has been in operation since 2007 burning turkey manure mixed with wood chips to produce electricity, before closing it.” 

That’s a lot of acres to be put to “productive use.” Scott Suttell at Crain’s Cleveland Business reports: “Iron ore and mining company Cleveland-Cliffs Inc.said it has acquired land in Minnesota that it hopes to put to productive use. The company on Monday, Dec. 11, announced that its Cleveland-Cliffs Minnesota Land Development LLC subsidiary bought the land in Itasca County, west of Nashwauk, Minn., from Glacier Park Iron Ore Properties LLC. It did not disclose the purchase price of the deal, which includes a combination of undivided and whole fee interests as well as mineral and surface leases, all lying within the Biwabik Iron Formation. The acquisition includes about 553 acres and the lease of another 3,215 acres, Cliff said in a news release.”

And here’s your contractually obligated Lutefisk story of the year. Says Dan Kraker for MPR, “Despite its reputation, and the aging population of lutefisk aficionados, the culinary custom lingers on, preserved at dozens of lutefisk dinners held this time of year in church halls and basements across Minnesota. ‘I think it’s the nostalgic part of it, the fact that people are still reaching into their roots, trying to build traditions. I think that’s such an important thing,’ said Bea Ojakangas, a celebrated cookbook author who has helped put on the lutefisk feast at First Lutheran Church for more than 30 years.”