>>Reaction mixed to Nippon’s planned $14.1B purchase of U-S Steel
(Various) — Mixed reaction on Minnesota’s Iron Range and nationwide to Japanese giant Nippon’s (NIP-onz) 14.1-billion-dollar deal to buy U-S Steel. United Steelworkers President David McCall says U-S Steel in its “greedy, shortsighted attitude… chose to push aside the concerns of its dedicated workforce and sell to a foreign-owned company.” But Republican state Representative Spencer Igo says Nippon stated it will respect all the collective-bargaining agreements. “When you’re talking corporate buyouts for all of our families up here that work at U-S Steel and the Iron Range, that’s a huge win,” he says. Igo adds if Nippon has enough cash assets to buy U-S Steel, hopefully they have the assets to invest further in the Iron Range, like U-S Steel already started at Keetac.
>>Record number of Minnesotans sign up for health insurance through MNsure
(St. Paul, MN) — A record number of Minnesotans — just under 133 thousand — have signed up for 2024 health insurance through the MNsure state-run marketplace. C-E-O Libby Caulum says that’s more than five thousand higher than the previous record set in 2021. “The expanded benefits that were made first available during the pandemic really mean that more Minnesotans can access tax credits, and those tax credits are more generous,” she says. Those who missed the December 15th deadline for coverage to begin January 1st have a second chance — although with a one-month gap in coverage. Minnesotans who sign up by January 15th will have health insurance coverage starting February 1st.
>>Official signing today on plans for new medical school in St. Cloud
(St. Cloud, MN) — A former CentraCare administrative building will be transformed into a new medical school in St. Cloud, and this morning’s (MON) signing ceremony sealed the deal. University of Minnesota Medical School Dean Jakub Tolar says the partnership between his school and CentraCare is “very unique.” Tolar says the concept is to get medical students from greater Minnesota, train them in greater Minnesota, and keep them in greater Minnesota. With 24 students a year starting in 2025, the school is expected to train over a thousand new physicians in the next 50 years.
>>Proposed Polymet mine wins a round in continuing legal battle
(Hoyt Lakes, MN) — Backers of the proposed Polymet copper-nickel mine in northern Minnesota have won a round in a long legal battle, the state Court of Appeals today (Mon) upholding an air pollution permit, despite concerns about the project’s increasing size. Jay Eidsness, attorney with Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy says although they wanted a different conclusion, “Other critical permits that Polymet needs to operate are either revoked or are tied up in the litigation process, and the mine cannot move forward as proposed.” Republican State Representative Spencer Igo from Wabana Township responds the same groups saying “no mines” also want the U-S to reduce its carbon footprint, which requires more copper and nickel. He says about today’s ruling, “This is just the first step for the courts finding more truth that these permits were issued the correct way, and that this mine is gonna operate in the best way possible.”
>>Lynx announce 2024 schedule
(Minneapolis, MN) — The Minnesota Lynx 2024 W-N-B-A schedule unveiled today (MON) is highlighted by 13 weekend contests at Target Center, starting with their home opener Friday May 19th vs. the Seattle Storm. Last season, Minnesota posted the sixth-best record in the Western Conference enroute to their first playoff berth since 2021, becoming the second-ever team to start 0-6 and make the playoffs. The Lynx dropped their best-two-out-of-three playoff series to Connecticut in the opening round. Minnesota opens its season May 14th at Seattle.
>>Giant Loon To Be Installed Outside Allianz Field
(St. Paul, MN) — The loon might not be represented on the new Minnesota state flag, but it will soon have a place of its own outside St. Paul’s Allianz Field. A 33-foot-tall, 88-foot-wide loon sculpture will be placed in the middle of a one-acre park near the pro soccer stadium. The sculpture was commissioned by the McGuire Family Foundation and should be complete next summer. The statue and park are part of a 35-acre development called United Village that will also include a hotel, restaurants and a large community social area.
>>MSP Airport Expand Pick-Up Area For Uber And Lyft
(Minneapolis, MN) — M-S-P Airport officials are carving out more space for rideshare drivers. The pickup zone has been moved down one level to the Terminal 1 Ground Transportation Center. The new location for Uber and Lyft drivers will allow space for close to 50 vehicles — double the amount in the previous location. The Metropolitan Airports Commission did not make any rideshare changes at Terminal 2, home of Sun Country Airlines.
>>MSP workers want higher wages, affordable healthcare
(Minneapolis, MN) — Workers called out employers and airport leaders at MSP today (MON), demanding higher wages and affordable healthcare for themselves and their families. MN Hospitality Union Secretary-Treasurer Sheigh Freeberg says they’ve won some battles over the past few decades, such as a $15 minimum wage and paid sick days, but “multiple surveys, conducted by SEIU [union] within the last few years, have found a 30% of their members have no health insurance.” Freeberg notes employees say they’re uninsured at a rate three times higher than the national average, and for those who do have healthcare, over 80% say they get it through the government. Freeberg says this means not only are taxpayers subsidizing the airport industry directly, but employees don’t reap any of the benefits and are forced into subsidized healthcare.
>> Three recommended by Merit Panel to fill Court of Appeals vacancy
(St. Paul, MN) — The Governor’s Merit Panel announced today (MON) its three recommendations to fill the current Minnesota Court of Appeals vacancy. Sarah Hennesy, JaPaul Harris and Rachel Bond are all finalists to fill the spot left by Jeffrey M. Bryan, after President Joe Biden appointed him to the federal bench. Hennesy currently serves as the chief judge of the Seventh Judicial District, chambered in Saint Cloud. Harris is a judge in the Second District in Ramsey County. Bond is the managing attorney of the Office of the Minnesota Appellate Public Defender.