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More Minnesota employers raise wages amid struggle to hire workers

Plus: walleye fishing on Mille Lacs returns to catch-and-release only; mini-State Fair draws 70,000 people; group revives effort to create Black-led credit union in Minneapolis; and more.

Food and sales job losses aren’t necessarily surprising given the closure of bars, restaurants and other businesses ordered by the governor.
Photo by Esther Lin on Unsplash
In the Star Tribune, Kavita Kumar writes: “For Jon Halper, owner of Top Ten Liquors stores in the Twin Cities, there were lots of good reasons to boost starting wages from $12 to $15 an hour. … And then, there’s the matter of finding workers. ‘It’s become very challenging to hire people in the environment we’re in,’ Halper said. … Top Ten Liquors is one of a number of companies increasing wages as they struggle to hire. Even as businesses ramp up again, the labor market still has a ways to go to heal from the pandemic with many workers still on the sidelines for various reasons. … While wages do seem to be rising more in sectors like restaurants and bars, it’s not happening across the board, said Ron Wirtz, regional outreach director for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.”

Also from MPR, this by Kirsti Marohn: “Walleye fishing on Mille Lacs Lake will return to catch-and-release only starting Tuesday. For the past several years, anglers haven’t been able to keep walleye they catch on Mille Lacs during the summer. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has imposed stricter fishing regulations in an effort to boost the lake’s walleye population. This spring, anglers have been able to keep one walleye of a certain size. But that’s ending for the summer, to avoid the state exceeding its share of the lake’s walleye harvest.”

Says Greg Stanley in the Star Tribune, “The Giant Slide was open. Bands were out. Thousands of people were able to walk through the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, mostly without masks and with the smell of bacon, cheese curds and freshly baked cookies. … About 70,000 people attended this mini-State Fair, during a fundraiser that ended Memorial Day to help the fair and some of its vendors recoup losses from the pandemic-canceled 2020 event.”

Babs Santos at FOX 9 reports: “Staff at a wildlife center about an hour north of Minneapolis are doing everything they can to find a group of wolves that managed to escape from the property last week.  In Anoka County, the Wildlife Science Center is home to 120 wolves. Recently, the population grew with the birth of a new pup; however, when the pup was removed to be bottle fed, the pack lost its mind. … Four wolves escaped that night, out of a pack of 10. They were likely determined to find the pup they believed was missing, and they’ve now been missing themselves since Thursday.”

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For MPR, Brian Bakst reports: “The move for amnesty for coronavirus rule violators — restaurants, gyms, event centers and others — is tangled up in the deliberations over a new state budget ahead of a special session set to convene this month. … Affected businesses should know in the next two weeks whether lawmakers will intervene. Republicans in the Minnesota Senate have pushed to void penalties for any businesses that didn’t adhere to Gov. Tim Walz’s executive orders that he says were meant to mitigate virus spread. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka has raised the punishment waiver during private negotiations with Walz and leaders of the DFL-controlled House.”

In the Star Tribune, Faiza Mahamud writes: “A group created to foster the financial independence of north Minneapolis residents has revived an effort to create the first Black-led credit union on the North Side. The Association for Black Economic Power (ABEP) has brought on new staff and board members to bring to fruition Village Financial Cooperative and is seeking $6 million from the city to get it off the ground. ABEP leaders said they have found a prospective site at 927 W. Broadway and that they would need up to $20 million to start the credit union by the end of next year.”

KSTP-TV reports: “The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS on Monday that crews recovered the body of a person in the Loring Park pond. The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office said its Water Patrol unit was dispatched to Loring Park pond at 8:26 p.m. on a report of a man struggling in the water. A crew from the Minneapolis Fire Department attempted to help the person with a tube raft and saw the victim go underwater at about 8:33 p.m.”

For the AP Stephen Groves reports, “South Dakota’s public universities shouldn’t be teaching certain concepts of race and racism, Gov. Kristi Noem said Tuesday, in line with a nationwide GOP movement to keep critical race theory out of classrooms. In a letter to the Board of Regents that oversees the state’s six public universities, the Republican governor targeted critical race theory and the Pulitzer Prize-winning ‘1619 Project’ …. However, David Burrow, the Chair of the History Department at the University of South Dakota, said the current conservative ire aimed at critical race theory is ‘searching for a solution to a problem that doesn’t really exist.’ The goal of the history department is teaching students to investigate historical records to form their own interpretations, he said, not indoctrinating them into a particular view.”

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