Minnesota News Briefs: Romney campaign to start airing ads in MinnesotaMinnesota News
-- The Mitt Romney for President campaign plans to start running television ads this weekend in Minnesota.
The Mitt Romney for President campaign plans to start running television ads this weekend in Minnesota.
The attention to the state is described as a small buy for the Republican presidential ticket. Super PACs and outside groups are already running pro-Romney commercials. The Romney-Ryan campaign does not have a campaign headquarters in the state and there are very few yard signs. Richard Nixon was the last Republican candidate to carry Minnesota back in 1972.
Some big changes are coming to the Kraft Foods plant in New Ulm that could affect up to 90 employees. The company is restructuring New Ulm and two other plants as it works to consolidate product lines and increase efficiency. Kraft is adding 25-million dollars worth of new packaging equipment and infrastructure but will discontinue production of Velveeta in New Ulm. Eighty full-time hourly workers and ten salaried positions are expected to be eliminated through early retirement, incentives and attrition.
Most of the 300 airmen deployed to Afghanistan in August with the Duluth-based 148th Fighter Wing are back in Minnesota. One-hundred-75 airmen returned home yesterday (Thurs) and around 50 arrived Monday. Major Audra Flanagan says their mission was to fly F-16 jets, maintain the aircraft and protect ground forces. Flanagan says the 148th did not lose a single flight due to maintenance or any other problems. The remaining 75 airmen are scheduled to return home from Afghanistan in the next week.
Minnesotans are saving a little more money each day at the gas pump. The statewide average for regular unleaded has dropped to around $3.33 a gallon and Minnesota-Gas-Prices.com reports a few gas stations in central Minnesota are getting down near the three-dollar mark. Prices have plunged over 55-cents in a month's time -- and Minnesota's average price per gallon is now a quarter under the national average.
Almost 1,200 trained volunteers are doing an every-three-years survey of homelessness in Minnesota from now through Saturday. Wilder Foundation researcher Greg Owen says they're going to about 300 different sites, including foodshelves, emergency shelters, battered women's shelters and transitional housing, on a mission to do about six-thousand interviews, each with around 200 questions. Owen says some locations include under bridges, encampments and abandoned buildings. Preliminary data will be available next spring.
In western Minnesota, an historic Ortonville landmark is in ruins after a fire this morning. Flames shooting out of the basement of the Columbian Hotel led to the building's collapse. A family that had been living in and renovating the hotel is safe and no other injuries have been reported. Streets around the area were closed off but at least one local street has since reopened.
Opinions vary over whether Voter Photo-ID is needed but Rice County's auditor says the amendment would cost too much. Fran Windschitl estimates a cost of $145,000-- with most of that money used to buy what are called "poll books" that gather data from same-day registrants. Windschitl says the poll books are a one-time cost and would likely remain in use for about a decade. Meanwhile, Northfield's City Council has passed a resolution opposing the Voter Photo-ID amendment.
It's a little too soon to tell if Minnesota children will need to put coats over their costumes on Halloween but heavier outerwear will definately be needed over the next few days. The National Weather Service says statewide highs will remain in the low- to mid-40's into early next week -- about five- to ten-degrees below normal for this time of year.
The Minnesota Trade Office is offering financial assistance to small businesses looking to sell products overseas or increase their exports. Spokeswoman Jennifer Kocs (koss) says qualified companies can apply for $7,500 dollars in reimbursement for sales and marketing-type expenses, which include sales trips and exhibiting at overseas trade shows Kocs says the State Trade and Export Promotion Program (STEP) received a $493,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The application deadline for the first round of funding is next Tuesday.
Minnesota's overall drought situation remains about the same despite recent rains across the state. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows a widening of extreme drought conditions in southern and central Minnesota while the situation in northwestern has eased slightly. Eight-one-percent of the state's topsoil moisture is now considered to be "short" or "very short." The latest finding do not take into account the steady rains over much of Minnesota late this week.
Six students were treated for minor injuries after a bus tipped over Thursday morning in central Minnesota. Authorities say the bus driver lost control on the slick curve near Little Falls. The 15 students onboard were middle school age or younger. There were no major injuries reported.
Another accident involving a school bus happened on Thursday in the south-central Minnesota city of Fairfax. This time, a van had stopped in traffic waiting for a nearby bus to let its children off. A car continued on through traffic and collided with the van, slightly injuring both drivers. No children were hurt.
The former owner of a Ford dealership in Grand Rapids has been indicted in federal court for an alleged scheme to defraud American Bank of the North out of about one-and-a-half million dollars. Prosecutors say 47-year-old Jodi Montavon exaggerated the cost of vehicles brought into inventory at her dealership so she could borrow more money than the cars were actually worth. Investigators say she also concealed operating losses in a statement to the bank, and transfered money from a business account to pay off a credit card balance that included personal charges. If convicted, Montavon faces a potential maximum sentence of more than 30 years in federal prison.
>>Target Center Renovation Bids Soon
(Minneapolis, MN) -- The city of Minneapolis will begin looking for bids for an extreme makeover of the Target Center. The city plans to solicit design and construction proposals for the 100-million-dollar renovation by the end of the year so that construction work can start this coming spring. The arena which hosts basketball games and concerts is now 22-years-old.More from around the web