Recently in Local News Category

Minnesota-Wisconsin income tax reciprocity to expire

by Greta Kaul

            Minnesota lawmakers rejected a Wisconsin tax reciprocity plan for 2010 Wednesday, according to the Star Tribune.

            Formerly, 80,000 commuting Wisconsin residents been able to file one tax return form for both states, the Winona Daily News said.  The states reimbursed one another afterward.

            Wisconsin offered to pay Minnesota $90 million, but Minnesota rejected the offer, calculating a $131 million boost in revenue by directly taxing Wisconsin residents who work in Minnesota, the Star Tribune said.

            Minnesota is currently in the midst of a $1.2 billion deficit.

            The current reciprocity arrangement will expire on Dec. 31.  Lawmakers are unlikely to agree upon a new plan by the time the old one expires, the Winona Daily News said.

            Interstate commuters are likely to pay income taxes in both states in 2010, according to the Winona Daily News.

           

by Greta Kaul

            A Twin Cities Quaker congregation will stop signing marriage certificates for heterosexual couples until Minnesota legalizes gay marriage, Minnesota Public Radio said.

            The Twin Cities Friends Meeting is associated with a larger Quaker group that fully supports LGBT equality, the Minnesota Independent said.

            The group will continue to hold both same-sex and heterosexual marriage ceremonies in its meeting house, but heterosexual couples will now have to get certificates signed by a justice of the peace, MPR said.

             Paul Landskroener, a clerk, said that the Twin Cities Friends Meeting has decided that only signing heterosexual marriage certificates when they support same-sex unions to be "unjust and inconsistent with our religious testimony," according to the Minnesota Independent.

             A handful of other Quaker congregations in the United States have also stopped signing heterosexual marriage certificates until their states legalize gay marriage, MPR said.

            Still, more conservative Quaker groups have opposed gay marriage, according to the Minnesota Independent.

           

Thieves steal copper wiring at Midway Stadium

by Greta Kaul

            Thieves left an estimated $10,000 in damage at the St. Paul Saints stadium when they forced open breaker boxes to steal copper wiring, according to Minnesota Public Radio News.

            Officials believe that the break-in happened Sunday or Monday, but was not reported to police until Monday, the Star Tribune said.  The thieves clipped a chain-link fence to get access to the wiring, but left little evidence behind to help police solve the crime.

            As of now, police have no suspects, the Star Tribune said.

            Wiring was stolen from the city-owned stadium two years ago, prompting officials to consider installing surveillance cameras for more of the property or night patrols in order to revamp its security, MPR News said.

            Because the stadium is unused in the off-season, the wiring may not be repaired until closer to baseball season, MPR News said.

            The city of St. Paul has considered building a new stadium, which would be rented by the Saints, the Star Tribune said.

HCMC launches ad campaign in hopes of restoring funds

by Greta Kaul

            The elimination of the General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC) program will leave the Hennepin County Medical Center with a $42 million loss this year, according to MinnPost.

            The HCMC has commissioned a marketing campaign designed to shock Minnesotans into supporting the restoration of the GAMC by exposing potential effects of the cuts.

            On a slim budget of $30,000, the "Will You Lose" campaign by Blair Fellman uses a Cold War-style atomic fallout map, and slogans like "DO IT YOURSELF DENTAL" to promote the partial or full restoration of the GAMC, according to MinnPost.

            The shift from the GAMC to the MinnesotaCare program this March will force the HCMC to cut 150 to 200 jobs.  They also plan to stop treating uninsured non-emergency patients who live outside of Hennepin County, according to the Star Tribune.

             HCMC officials told county commissioners Tuesday that legislative relief is the only way to make up for the loss of the GAMC.  Board Chairman Mike Opat is not optimistic about its restoration, leaving commissioners puzzling over how to fix a $25 million gap in funding, according to the Star Tribune.

            The HCMC is hopeful that the "Will You Lose" campaign will convince Minnesotans of the need to restore the GAMC on a grassroots level, according to MinnPost.

Kelliher gets second union endorsement

by Greta Kaul

            Minnesota House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher was endorsed by a second union in her bid for the 2010 governor's race endorsement from the DFL Thursday.

            The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49 endorsed Kelliher after screening 10 candidates.  Kelliher was given the endorsement because she created jobs by overturning a Gov. Tim Pawlenty veto of a transportation package last year, according to the Pioneer Press.

            Last week, Kelliher was endorsed by the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE), according to MinnPost.

            Other unions have endorsed DFL candidates Mark Dayton, Tom Bakk, Paul Thissen, R.T. Rybak and Tom Rukavina, MinnPost said.

Minneapolis man indicted on conspiracy charges

by Greta Kaul

            A Minneapolis man became the sixth Somalian with local ties to be charged in a federal terrorism investigation.

             The investigation aims to find the recruiter of Somalian men to return to their homeland and fight with the terrorist organization Al-Sharaab Thursday, according to the Star Tribune.

            Omer Abdi Mohamed, 24, was indicted on charges of conspiring to provide support to terrorists in the U.S. Distric Court Thursday. 

            He was charged with conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim, or injure persons in a foreign land on allegations that he "knowingly committed and caused" six men to travel from Minneapolis to Somalia, according to MPR.

            A judge said Mohamed could be released from jail but will be electronically monitored, must surrender his passport, and remain in Minnesota, according to MPR.  His lawyer argued that, as a new father, he is not at risk to flee, according to the Star Tribune.

            Mohamed is a permanent resident of Minnesota who has been laid off from his job as an employment counselor for the state, MPR said.

Different health care plan for Minnesota's poor

by Greta Kaul

            The Pawlenty administration announced that health care for thousands of poor and chronically ill Minnesotans would be shifted to a program for the working poor, the Pioneer Press said.

            The General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC), which provides care to many chronically and mentally ill Minnesotans, will terminate March 1, the Star Tribune said.  MinnesotaCare, a subsidized health insurance plan, will cover about 28,000 of the 36,000 recipients dropped from the GAMC.

            The GAMC provided $381 million in benefits to those who made under $7,800 annually, the Pioneer Press said.

            County and hospital officials called the shift a temporary fix, according to the Star Tribune.   Hospitals said that the new program could devastate their balance sheets, the Pioneer Press said.

            State residents cannot apply for MinnesotaCare after they have been treated as they could under the GAMC plan, the Star Tribune said.

Star Tribune to cut more jobs

by Greta Kaul

            The Star Tribune announced that it would cut 100 more jobs in a memo on Monday, the Associated Press said.

            The cuts come after the Star Tribune emerged from bankruptcy protection, according to the AP.  Thirty percent of the job cuts will take place in the newsroom and editorial staff, the AP said.

            Buyouts and layoffs will take place over the next two months, the Triangle Business Journal said.

            The Star Tribune's daily circulation has fallen 5.53 percent.  In an effort to further cut costs, the Star Tribune has dropped its Saturday newsstand edition in favor of an earlier Sunday edition, the Triangle Business Journal said.

Bachmann leads health care bill protest

by Greta Kaul

            Thousands of conservatives joined Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann Friday to protest the Democrat health care overhaul legislation, the Associated Press said.

            Twelve protesters were arrested at the U.S. capital on charges ranging from unlawful entry to disorderly conduct, the Star Tribune said.

            Other Republican house leaders greeted the protesters, but Bachmann, who promoted the event in several television interviews, led it, the Star Tribune said.

            The crowd chanted "Kill the bill," as Bachmann took the microphone, the AP said.

            Democrats hope to pass the bill Saturday, according to the AP.  It is endorsed by the American Medical Association and AARP, the AP said.

Coleman elected for second term

by Greta Kaul

            St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman won his second term reelection bid Tuesday, the Star Tribune said.

            Coleman, who was DFL-endorsed, led GOP-endorsed businesswoman Eva Ng by more than a 2-to-1 ratio with 90 percent of St. Paul's precincts reporting, the Star Tribune said.

            Few believed the race would be close, according to the Pioneer Press.  The question was not whether Coleman would win, but rather how his winning would affect his potential bid for governor in 2010, the Pioneer Press said.

            In his campaign, Coleman emphasized the progress made on the Central Corridor light-rail line, fixing unbalances in the city budget, and creating after-school programs for kids, the Star Tribune said.

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