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Minnesota shuts down Water Gremlin over lead poisoning

Plus: Minnesota employers expect health-cost increases; early voting in Minnesota; U of M’s freshman class demographics; and more.

Water Gremlin is done. The Star Tribune’s Jennifer Bjorhus reports: “The state is ordering a Twin Cities manufacturer to shut down, saying the children of its workers have been poisoned by lead carried home from the factory. … The Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Labor and industry announced the action Monday, after inspecting the plant Saturday and deciding that Water Gremlin was failing to control workers exposure to lead dust. … Water Gremlin makes lead acid battery terminals, as well as fishing sinkers, at its plant in White Bear Township, northeast of St. Paul.”

These numbers tend to head in only one direction. The Star Tribune’s Christopher Snowbeck writes: “A new survey finds health benefit costs for active employees in Minnesota are up 4% this year to an average of $12,850 per worker. … The report from New York-based benefits consultant Mercer says Minnesota employers expect the pace of health benefit cost increases to pick up slightly next year to a 4.4% pace.

Did you know there’s an election in a week? MPR’s Marianne Combs reports: “Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon says the concept of ‘Election Day’ has been redefined in recent years. … Thanks to an increase in options for early voting, he says, Election Day ‘isn’t the day we vote — it’s the last day that we vote.’ … That’s true again this fall as voters in communities across the state have a number of options to cast their ballots in local elections ahead of Nov. 5. There are a number of high-profile local races …

U demographics report. The Minnesota Daily’s Hailee Schievelbein report: “The 2019 freshman class is the largest in 50 years and has the most Minnesota residents in 30 years. … The majority of the students are female, and the class has the highest percentage of students of color of any freshman class in the University’s history, according to recently released data from the Office of Institutional Research. … Record amount of diversity … In 2010, 18 percent of the freshman class were students of color. Now, students of color make up more than a quarter of the class.”

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Community radio. For the Forum News Service, Natasha Rausch writes: “A brick building off State Highway 59 that used to serve as the Callaway School is now home to the White Earth Nation’s sole independent radio station. … Niijii Radio, on KKWE 89.9FM, ran its first show on Nov. 11, 2011, at 11:11 a.m. The time was intentional, a good luck charm. For the first three days, the station ran on a 24-hour loop of songs and station IDs, just to test out the new airwaves. Then people started going on the air. … Since then, the nonprofit station, its hosts and volunteers served to ‘keep our people connected, informed,’ said general manager Margaret Rousu, 51. … The reach goes beyond White Earth, though. The station’s name, ‘Niijii,’ is the Ojibwe word meaning ‘friends,’ representing the hope to reach out to non-Native people in order to ‘build a positive perception of the Native American people in non-Native communities,’ Rousu said.”

In other news…

Yikes:Man stabbed on Green Line train Sunday evening” [Pioneer Press]

Two years on:Triple Rock now Soma: What’s the Minneapolis grill and deli like?” [City Pages]

Also in restaurants:Rose Street Patisserie to close Linden Hills shop, Martina’s chef will take over the space” [Star Tribune]