No Change In Unemployment; White Earth Forest Transfer Tabled; Disaster Relief Available For Winter Businesses

>>MN Unemployment Rate Remains Steady

(St. Paul, MN)    Minnesota’s unemployment rate is unchanged after the state gained three-thousand jobs in January.  State officials released the latest employment numbers for the state yesterday.  The unemployment rate in January remained at two-point-seven percent as nearly two-thousand Minnesotans exited the labor force.  Average hourly wages grew slightly in January, reaching 37-dollars and 56-cents per hour across all sectors of employment. (24/7 News Source)

>State Senate Panel Delays Bill On Transfer Of White Earth State Forest

(St. Paul, MN)    A bill that would have paved the way to transferring state forest land to the White Earth tribal nation is being tabled in the state Senate.  Lawmakers on the Senate Environment, Climate and Legacy Committee listened to testimony from tribal leaders, community members and local elected officials yesterday.  Many told the panel that they feared any transfer of land in the White Earth State Forest northeast of Fargo would hamper future recreation and residential access.  Even though the bill was set aside yesterday, it could be taken up again later in this year’s session.(24/7 News Source)

>>Walz Announces Federal Loans For Businesses Affected By Warm Winter

(St. Paul, MN)    The state of Minnesota is giving businesses affected by the unseasonably warm winter a chance to apply for federal disaster relief.  Governor Walz announced yesterday that economic injury disaster loans are now available through the U.S. Small Business Administration.  The loans are available to those impacted by drought, which also covers businesses that depend on snow and ice to generate profits.  More information is available on the SBA website.(24/7 News Source)

>>State Fair Offering Grants To First-Time Livestock Exhibitors

(Minneapolis, MN)    The Minnesota State Fair is offering funds to first-time livestock exhibitors.  Fair officials announced yesterday that they will be offering Beginning Exhibitor Livestock Learning Experience grants for the fourth year.  Large-animal exhibitors may receive 500-dollars, while small-animal handlers can get 250-dollars.  A maximum of 15 grants will be awarded.  More information is available on the state fair website.(24/7 News Source)

>>Poll:  Majority Supports MN Sports Betting, Abortion Rights Amendment

(Minneapolis, MN)    A new poll shows a majority of Minnesotans support a push for legalized sports betting and a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to abortion.  The KSTP-Survey USA poll found that 56-percent of those asked support legalized sports betting.  Forty-five-percent of those polled say private companies should licensed to provide in-person and mobile betting services.  Meanwhile, 58-percent of those asked would support a state constitutional amendment protecting the right to an abortion.

>>Hoyt Lakes Woman Charged For Deadly Crash That Killed Daughter

(Virginia, MN)    A northern Minnesota woman has been charged in connection with a Halloween crash that led to the death of her daughter.  Thirty-year-old Evian Redd of Hoyt Lake was charged this week with felony child endangerment and multiple misdemeanors in connection with last year’s crash in St. Louis County.  Investigators say Redd lost control of her vehicle in icy conditions while driving her children from an appointment in Duluth.  Redd’s five-year-old daughter Isela was ejected from the vehicle and died at the crash scene.  Redd also reportedly did not have a valid driver’s license and was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.(24/7 News Source)

(St. Paul)The Office of the Legislative Auditor is taking a deeper dive into the Department of Natural Resources’ oversight of state wildlife management areas, promising a public report later this year on a lasting conflict over DNR logging practices.According to the Star Tribune, State Legislative Auditor Judy Randall said her office is launching a special review of the timber harvest controversy. investigators will key on circumstances that led to the decision last year by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to hold back $22 million in federal grant money from the DNR.

DNR’s management of private logging on state wildlife management areas (WMAs) blew up into a public issue in July 2019 when a group of DNR wildlife managers and some foresters complained publicly that a new 10-year timber plan adopted at the urging of the state’s forest products industry was ruining wildlife habitat.

>>DNR:  Fire Danger High In Central, Southern Minnesota

(St. Paul, MN)    The state Department of Natural Resources says the danger of wildfires in central and southern Minnesota is very high.  The latest fire danger map from the agency shows eight counties in central Minnesota in the very high-risk category, including Stearns, Morrison, Benton and Wright counties.  A large area of west-central and southern Minnesota is also in the high-risk category, meaning fires can start easily and spread quickly.  Many counties across the state already require permits to do any open burning, though burn bans were recently implemented in Blue Earth, Brown and Waseca counties due to the high risk of wildfires.(24/7 News Source)

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