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11/24/09: This week’s Minnesota news from other media

Hormel Foods Corp. announced an increase in net earnings but a decrease in sales for both the company’s fiscal fourth quarter and fiscal year, which ended Oct. 25, writes Jason Schoonover in the Austin Daily Herald. The story says “Hormel reported fourth quarter net earnings of $103.9 million, which was up 53 percent from earnings of $67.8 million last year. … However, total sales, at $1.68 billion, were down 10 percent from last year.”

According to Dan Linehan in the Mankato Free Press, “A combined Mankato and North Mankato would save at least $2.2 million, according to a budget analysis released Monday that renews a perennial discussion of a merger that has long been opposed by North Mankato’s government.”

“The Owatonna school board was confronted by a crowd of more than 50 concerned parents and students on Monday night following rising tensions at Owatonna High School over the past week,” reports Melissa Kaelin in the Owatonna People’s Press. She writes, “The school became the scene of racial and cultural tension between white students and Somali students, when a fight involving about 20 students broke out on Nov. 16. … What followed was days of police monitoring in the high school and the community, coupled with meetings between parents, students and administrators. By Thursday, 170 students — about 10 percent of the student body — stayed home from school.”

The unemployment rate in Stearns and Benton counties fell for the fourth consecutive month, reports Britt Johnsen in the St. Cloud Times. According to the article, “The local jobless rate was 6.6 percent in October, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. That’s a decline from September, which showed 6.9 percent unemployment. August was 7.2 percent and July was 7.6 percent, according to DEED data.”

The Duluth Tribune’s Peter Passi reports that Duluth’s animal shelters are housing about twice as many cats as they were designed to handle, “and unless homes can be found for 50 felines in the next week, a number of animals will need to be euthanized, officials said Monday. In an effort to encourage adoptions, the Animal Allies Humane Society has a deal: Adopt one cat for the normal $75 fee and get a second cat free through Dec. 6. The animals need not go to the same home.”

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