Brooks is an investigative/enterprise reporter and business columnist at the Duluth News Tribune.
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The Number: 63 percent That's how many rural Minnesotans "feel their communities are doing a sufficient job with economic development," compared with 75 percent of those in urban areas (including Duluth). That's according to a study from the Blandin Foundation that overall finds better fortunes — or at least that perception — in urban areas compared to rural. Although the mood is improving, especially when it comes to living-wage opportunities.
Question: Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a crime? Answer: This question was banned on job applications five years ago for all employers in Minnesota. Since the state's "ban the box" law went into effect in 2014, employers have largely gotten that message. The state Department of Human Rights didn't issue any fines over the policy in 2017 or 2018, and now the department is taking an entirely new approach to enforcement.
ST. PAUL — Impressive. If you only read one word about our great state’s occasionally great professional soccer team this year, make it that one. On Saturday afternoon I watched the bulk of 19,000 people rise and chant M-N-U-F-C as Minnesota United readied a free kick, their best chance yet to retake the lead with 10 minutes left in the game. It gave me chills.
Wild State wants to teach you about cider. And the best way to learn is through experience, right? "Alright, you've heard about cider, you're interested in learning a little bit more — here's all the things you can do," said Adam Ruhland, listing off the first flavors Duluth's second craft cidery will have on tap when it opens this month. There's the standard semi-dry, the ginger, the pear, a raspberry hibiscus (the pink one), a hopped cider and an oak-aged variety. And that's just the start.
The Number: $573 million That's how much money Minnesota businesses made exporting ores, slag and ash products in 2018 — almost all of that iron ore. Canada markedly increased its appetite for our tasty taconite, buying $416 million worth of ore last year, state figures show. That's double the 2017 levels of our exports north. That doesn't mean all that ore is getting consumed in Canada — it may just stop in Quebec before heading oceanward. In 2017 the Duluth Seaway Port Authority reported a "surge" in exports to steelmakers in China and Japan.
Dylan Merriman puts it plainly when describing the vibe in his office up until recently: "There was friction." Then came Metamorphosis. Nicole and Michael Karnowski are putting the human in human relations by helping employees and bosses explore their relationships with one another and, in turn, themselves. "Our heart is to help small businesses have better inter-office dynamics," Nicole explained. "The whole premise is if you get along better, you know about one another, that's going to lead to greater productivity and greater results."
The Number: 0
With friends and family packing the courtroom, five people went before a judge on a February afternoon in Duluth and were told they had really done it this time. They had made it. "I see these God-awful comments on newspaper articles about people who 'should just get locked up, they're just never going to stop,' and all the negative things about people who suffer from addiction," Judge Jill Eichenwald said. "And then I see someone like you. You did it. You changed. You stopped using. And I think it's incredible."
Walk through the stories that shaped our communities when Glensheen Mansion opens an exhibit celebrating 150 years of coverage by the News Tribune next week. “Reporting Duluth” opens Wednesday with a public reception at 5 p.m. and continues through June 2. The free exhibit features large-scale photos of historic events in Northeastern Minnesota along with contemporary newspaper accounts and modern interpretations.
A European private equity firm is buying Duluth-based Maurices. OpCapita announced Monday it is picking up a majority stake in the women’s apparel retailer headquartered on Superior Street, ending 14 years of ownership by Ascena Retail Group.