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Google to award $1 million to five Minnesota nonprofits

Plus: Bloomington-based chipmaker will expand after Defense Department grant; federal judge approves Duluth diocese settlement; the mental-health strain of being a veterinarian; and more.

Google HQ
Google headquarters in Mountain View, California
REUTERS/Dave Paresh

In the PiPress, we have this from Frederick Melo, “Google… is looking to give away a total of $1 million to Minnesota nonprofits. The Silicon Valley-based online tech giant — only Amazon is bigger — announced its ‘ Impact Challenge Minnesota’ during a ‘Grow with Google’ digital skills community training event at the Rondo Community Library in St. Paul last week. Five Minnesota nonprofits will receive funding to ‘bring innovative projects to life,’ reads a statement from Google.”

Says Evan Ramstad for the Strib, “SkyWater Technology Inc., the biggest maker of semiconductors in Minnesota, is adding a third clean room that will allow it to build smaller chips and ones designed for outer space. Construction on the addition just started at the factory in Bloomington, a few blocks from the Mall of America. … The Department of Defense has agreed to grant SkyWater up to $170 million to help pay for much of the expansion, chiefly because the military wants to boost the production of radiation-hardened chips, known as rad-hard. They are used in harsh operating environments such as outer space where radiation makes ordinary chips ineffective.”

Says an AP story, “A federal judge has approved a $40 million settlement between the Diocese of Duluth and dozens of people who say they were abused as children by priests. Judge Robert Kressel signed off on the settlement Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The diocese filed for bankruptcy in 2015 and reached the settlement in May. The agreement also calls for the diocese to open its files on more than three dozen priests who were credibly accused of abuse and develop procedures to ensure children will be protected.”

Says Alisa Roth at MPR, “Being a veterinarian sounds like a dream job, with plenty of opportunities to play with puppies or snuggle bearded dragons. And while it has its upsides, for sure, the job also comes with tough demands, ranging from dealing with angry pet owners to the emotional stress of having to euthanize animals. Kristen Capen, who graduated from the University of Minnesota’s School of Veterinary Medicine in the spring, has seen the rough side of the profession. Euthanizing a beloved family pet is hard, she said, even if the animal is elderly or sick. … Experts say those stresses help explain why veterinarians have disproportionately high suicide rates. Female vets are three-and-a-half times as likely to die of suicide than the general population, and men are more than twice as likely … .”

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Also at MPR: “Distraught after hearing of a good friend’s unexpected death, Corey Kitzmann headed onto Lake Vermilion Aug. 6 to fish as a means to cope. On the water, he landed a massive muskie that state officials on Monday announced is now Minnesota’s new catch-and-release record. The 57 1/4 inch fish had a 25 1/2 inch girth with an estimated weight of about 47 pounds, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The prior muskellunge record was a 56 7/8 inch fish caught on Pelican Lake in Otter Tail County in 2016.”

For the Duluth News Tribune, Brady Slater reports, “Tucked into a wooded corner along Highway 2, 13 miles west from downtown Duluth, the area’s first independent indoor shooting range is notably out of sight, out of mind. ‘Guns are a sensitive topic for a lot of these cities,’ said Chad Walsh, owner of Dead On Arms together with his wife, Laura. Prior to opening in November 2017, the Walshes said they tried to locate closer to the Twin Ports. Calling around, they were met with little enthusiasm. The indoor shooting range had been a dream, and the couple, lifelong Northlanders, ran a long game to make it happen. In order to show assets necessary to finance the $2 million venture, they first built a successful small business doing snow removal and supplying portable toilets to pipelines and other construction sites. When he called the city of Duluth about locating the indoor shooting range there, Walsh said the planning and development office told him to expect ‘pushback.’”

Also from Evan Ramstad of the Strib, “U.S. Bancorp told employees Monday that it would restructure staffing at its 3,000 U.S. Bank branches, including an unspecified number of job cuts, in its biggest response yet to the declining use of brick-and-mortar banks by consumers. The Minneapolis-based company will eliminate jobs of many employees who don’t work directly with customers, chiefly in middle levels of management. It will also create more positions that deal with customers. It will offer training and new job opportunities before resorting to layoffs in about two months.”