Happy February! Whether or not you felt like January lasted a year (I did!), it’s now officially February, and there’s plenty happening as we continue to dive into 2021. My first point of business today is an especially sweet note.

Girl Scout cookie season is here

Even though I recently discovered a pretty good off-brand version of Caramel DeLites/Samoas at Aldi, nothing beats the real thing.

Girl Scouts Lakes & Pines have kicked off the 2021 Girl Scout Cookie season in a COVID-19-friendly way that includes online ordering and contact-free pickup and delivery orders.

If you don’t know a local Girl Scout, customers can now enter their zip code into the Girl Scout Cookie Finder at girlscoutcookies.com to find a local troop to purchase from.

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Beginning Feb. 16, people can also order cookies for pickup or delivery on Grubhub.com or the Grubhub app every day from 4-7 p.m. Grubhub will waive all fees for the organization to make this new delivery option feasible for sales without reducing troops’ and councils’ proceeds.

Walz freezes unemployment insurance ratings

A bill signed by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Friday will hold 2021 unemployment insurance ratings from 2020. The law, SF 192, will prevent businesses from being penalized for layoffs in 2020 caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The last 10 months have been some of the most challenging our small businesses have ever experienced,” Walz said in a statement. “Modifying their tax rate is one small but important way we can support our businesses and protect them from the impacts of COVID-19.”

Swim Creative has new home

The advertising and marketing agency Swim Creative has moved from 310 E. Superior St. to 3 W. Superior St. in Duluth.

In a blog post, the agency said the new space will be fully operational by March 1 and “will be a hub for collaboration, ideation, client meetings and presentations” while allowing staff to work where they choose.

“Like many businesses, Swim’s staff has worked remotely for the past ten months which paved the way for a hybrid office model,” the blog post said. “During that time, we realized that our team was even more productive when working offsite.”

Interested in industrial hemp?

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is hosting the 2021 Industrial Hemp Forum online from noon to 4 p.m. Feb. 10 and 11. The two-day virtual event is free and designed for anyone interested in hemp and hemp production.

The forum will discuss topics including regulations, plant breeding, agronomy and marketing opportunities. State and federal officials will also address financial and technical assistance for those interested in growing or processing hemp.

This will be the first year Minnesota’s Industrial Hemp Program will operate under federally approved state plan that governs production and regulation instead of a pilot program.

For more information and to register, visit mda.state.mn.us/hempforum.

Laura Butterbrodt covers health and business for the Duluth News Tribune. Contact her at 218-723-5320 or lbutterbrodt@duluthnews.com.