>Xcel Energy Announces Layoffs
(St. Paul, MN) — Xcel Energy says it’s laying off 150 employees, including 60 in Minnesota. The utility blames “financial headwinds” from inflation, increased hiring during the pandemic and supply chain pressures. Xcel says the layoffs impact about two percent of its non-bargaining workforce. The company says employees in “several” locations will be affected, but did not specify which ones. About 400 workers across the company accepted voluntary retirement offers and will leave by the end of the year. According to Xcel’s website, it had more than 11,000 full-time and part-time employees across the nation at the end of 2021, with 5,000 of those based out of Minnesota.
>>Former MN Secretary of State Growe says Supreme Court ruling probably “end of the road” for keeping Trump’s name off presidential primary ballot
(Minneapolis, MN) — Former Secretary of State Joan Growe says she assumes yesterday’s (Wed) Minnesota Supreme Court ruling is “the end of the road” for efforts to keep Donald Trump off Minnesota’s presidential *primary* ballot in March — but as for next November, “There’s been no decision yet about whether or not we will revisit this issue before the general election.” But Growe told Minnesota News Network that the high court “almost issued an invitation to us to file again.” Chief Justice Natalie Hudson indicated the time is not “ripe” for any challenge to Trump being on the Minnesota ballot next November, nor did the justices address whether Trump would be eligible to hold office, given requirements of the “Insurrection Clause” in the U-S Constitution. Minnesota Republican Party Chairman David Hann says the Supreme Court ruling “should serve as a wake-up call to the allies of President Joe Biden” that “courtrooms in Minnesota will not be used to prevent voters from fully participating in our elections.”
>>U-S Justice Department says Anoka denied tenants with mental health issues equal opportunity for emergency assistance
(Washington, DC) — The U-S Justice Department says the City of Anoka violated federal law by denying tenants with mental health disabilities an equal opportunity to receive emergency assistance. The Justice Department points to what it calls Anoka’s so-called “crime-free” housing ordinance, designed to penalize landlords for repeated police visits to their properties for disorderly conduct and “unfounded” calls. Sue Abderholden with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Minnesota says, “We have a state law that really says you can’t discourage people from calling 9-1-1 for an emergency, and when you’re having a mental health crisis, that is an emergency.” The Justice Department says for years, Anoka officials sent weekly reports to landlords with personal and sensitive information, and when tenants with mental health disabilities requested emergency assistance they risked eviction, and landlords a loss of their rental license. Anoka city officials have not responded to requests for comment.
>>State Senator Morrison running for U-S House in 3rd District
(Deephaven, MN) — State Senator Kelly Morrison, a Democrat from Deephaven in the west metro, announced today (Thurs) she’s running for the 3rd District U-S House seat currently held by fellow Democrat Dean Phillips — who’s challenging President Biden for the Democratic Party nomination. Morrison, a practicing OB-GYN, says she took on Big Pharma at the legislature because she’s seen patients struggle to afford the medications they need. Morrison was a strong supporter of a bill the Democrat-controlled legislature passed earlier this year putting abortion rights into state law — a measure that opponents say allows abortions in Minnesota up to the moment of birth.
>>AgriGrowth 2023 Ag and Food Summit today
(Minneapolis, MN) — Top leaders in agriculture and food are at the Minneapolis Convention Center today (Thurs) for AgriGrowth’s 2023 Ag and Food Summit. Executive Director Tamara Nelsen says they kicked off the day discussing how geopolitics is affecting agriculture, but a big issue continues to be the shortage of workers. She says, “Whether it’s on the farm, at the co-op, in the office or at the big food company through truck drivers, it’s a lot of stress on the industry to not have good talent.” Ag Commissioner Thom Petersen is addressing the summit on the State of Agriculture in Minnesota. Other topics today: Minnesota’s resilient agri-food system and the importance of innovation and startups.
>>State Human Services Department streamlining on-line licensing forms for childcare providers
(St. Paul, MN) — The state Human Services Department says it’s making it easier for childcare providers to complete licensing forms online with a new, user-friendly web platform. Spokesperson Eric McCool says since its November 1st launch, they’ve seen about 45% of childcare providers access the hub, with over 50 change requests and adding over 2,300 personnel. McCool says they’re in the process of transforming the hub to allow providers to apply for grants, and in April 2024, providers can apply for CCAP (c-cap), the state childcare assistance program.
>>Man Dead in St. Paul Detached Garage Fire
(St. Paul, MN) — A man is dead after a fire in a detached garage in St. Paul early this morning (THURS). The owner of the garage told officials the home was vacant but the garage did have some recent break-ins. The garage was a complete loss. The Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office is performing an autopsy on the victim, while police investigate the fire’s cause.
>>Apple Valley Man Pleads Guilty to Meth, Fentanyl, Firearms
(Apple Valley, MN) — An Apple Valley man pleaded guilty today (THURS) to possessing meth, fentanyl, and firearms. Law enforcement attempted to arrest 31-year-old Allen Wetzstein on July 23rd on outstanding warrants when he fled. While running Wetzstein threw away a semi-automatic. Police found meth, fentanyl, three additional firearms, and more than $11,000 in cash in Wetzsteins’ backpack and vehicle. As part of his guilty plea, Wetzstein also admitted to possessing meth, fentanyl, and firearms on multiple other occasions between October 2020 and July 2023.