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St. Paul public works, parks and water employees authorize strike

Plus: Questions raised over Minneapolis Black expo; Stillwater prison worker assaulted by inmate; $256 million solar energy project approved in Dodge County; and more.

A Public Works employee shoveling pothole asphalt fill.
A Public Works employee shoveling pothole asphalt fill.
Saint Paul Public Works

At MPR News, Tim Nelson reports, “A coalition of unions representing nearly 300 St. Paul city public works, parks and sewer and water employees has voted to authorize a strike as contract talks continue with the city. Wednesday’s vote by workers who are part of the St. Paul Tri-Council does not guarantee that a work stoppage will happen. It sets in motion a cooling-off period during which contract talks can continue. If talks break down, or if the union rejects a final contract offer, the soonest a strike could take place is March 20. Contract negotiations have been underway since last fall.”

A Strib story by Dave Orrick says, “Minneapolis’ top racial equity official misinformed the City Council — and the public — when she said last month that the Bush Foundation had committed $3 million to the city’s first Black expo, according to statements from the city and the foundation. Not only had the foundation never committed a dime, the city never really asked, according to the statements. The revelation raises questions surrounding the planning of the ‘I Am My Ancestors’ Wildest Dream Expo,’ which drew far fewer attendees than initially hoped and required a late influx of taxpayer money.”

At the Pioneer Press, Mara Gottfried reports, “Another prison worker was assaulted by an inmate Thursday, the seventh injured this week. A corrections sergeant ‘was injured in an unprovoked inmate assault’ about 8:15 a.m. at the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Stillwater in Bayport, the Minnesota Department of Corrections said in a statement. ‘During a routine facility unit movement, an inmate rushed up to the sergeant and began striking him in the face,’ the statement continued. ‘Other corrections officers immediately responded to stop the assault.’”

A KARE-TV story by Dana Thiede says, “Love the outdoors and interested in protecting Minnesota’s natural resources? You may be just the person the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is looking for. In mid-March, the agency will hold two open house-style career fairs in hopes of finding candidates for its Conservation Officer Prep Program. The application period runs through March 31, and is for people without law enforcement experience.”

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A story by Joe Nelson says, “With a week to go before the new league year begins in the NFL, the rumor mill is popping and a lot of the rumors have to do with the Minnesota Vikings. There was a report earlier Thursday from Adam Schefter saying wide receiver Adam Thielen could be cut in the coming days, and Eric Kendricks was released by Minnesota earlier this week.  Another name entering the rumor mill Thursday is running back Dalvin Cook, who is reportedly drawing interest from at least one team. ‘I did hear that there is an offer in on Dalvin Cook. So if they wanted to trade Dalvin Cook, there is an interested team’, said KSTP’s Darren Wolfson on Mackey & Judd.”

Mike Hughlett of the Strib says, “Minnesota utility regulators on Thursday approved a $256 million solar project in Dodge County, the state’s second-largest planned solar farm. The new project, Byron Solar, would be located on 1,553 acres near the towns of Byron and Kasson and produce up to 200 megawatts of electricity, which on a sunny day would be equivalent to a small natural gas plant.”

For Megan Cerullo reports, “The Food and Drug Administration has recently announced recalls of several eye drop brands over concerns they could cause bacterial infections, with potentially devastating health consequences including blindness. … EzriCare and Delsam Pharma ‘Artificial Tears Lubricant Eye Drops’. Global Pharma Healthcare on February 2 recalled all lots of its EzriCare and Delsam Pharma brands of ‘Artificial Tears Lubricant Eye Drops’, which it said could be contaminated with bacteria.  The recall came after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began an investigation of a cluster of multistate bacterial infections it believed were associated with the tear drops. At the time of the recall, there were 55 reports of adverse reactions to the drops, including eye infections, permanent vision loss and one death from a bloodstream infection.”

A story at list the Gross Domestic Product of the U.S.’s 15 largest metropolitan areas. The Twin Cities are #15, at $297 billion. New York City leads at $2.0 trillion.”

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For Smart Asset Darcy Jiminez reports on what annual income is required to live … reasonably well … in the country’s 25 largest cities. The Twin Cities are #19 with $62,700.