Brooks covers business and the economy for the Duluth News Tribune.
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CLOQUET — The Sappi pulp and paper mill was recognized by the Minnesota Office of Foreign Direct Investment on Tuesday as the mill's South African owner has poured money into the plant to keep it viable and growing in recent years. "I can not imagine a better example of driving investment and driving innovation in this region," said Brian Hanson, CEO of economic development firm APEX, as dignitaries and company officials gathered to celebrate the award. "This is exactly the kind of innovation we need in this region to continue to be successful."
A new customer has landed at AAR Corp. in Duluth. The aircraft maintenance company on Tuesday announced a new contract with Air Canada, whose planes had been serviced in Duluth since 2012. "Air Canada has moved to another AAR facility in order for us to open space in Duluth for a new customer," local vice president of operations Mark Ketterer wrote in an email. "The change, when complete, will not have a negative impact on our Duluth operation, and in fact it may actually add 20 to 25 additional employees to Duluth."
An old voice on campus has a new name: The Bark. The 70-year-old banner of the Statesman was retired on Monday as the University of Minnesota Duluth's student-run news outlet unveiled a new website, a new name and a new approach to serving readers.
If Sears and Kmart continue closing locations around the country and are reduced to just one store each, you'd probably find them in Duluth. Legacy retailers here have remained resilient even as headlines herald a dire story elsewhere. Miller Hill Mall is nearly full, lists of corporate closures rarely include Duluth, and since 2008 the area actually saw a net gain of one retailer with more than 20 employees. The secret to that stability, one expert says, is people and their money.
The Number: $0.15 That's the raise many Minnesota minimum wage earners will receive come Jan. 1, bringing the large employer pay floor to $9.65. Small employers have to give out a $0.12 increase to bring that minimum wage to $7.87. Is this enough to seriously affect either an employer's bottom line or workers' well-being, when a full-time employee at a big company gets a total of $312 more in 2018? Anecdotes and data, as always, are welcome.
The name on the trucks did not go unnoticed by Florida residents. "Minnesota here to help save the day in Miami!" one person texted along with a photo of a line truck with a familiar blue logo. Minnesota Power and Superior Water, Light & Power crews have been working for more than a week to help mop up the damage wreaked by Hurricane Irma. As the sun returns to the Sunshine State, so too have the lights returned for millions of people.
If a doctor, a business owner and a mayor had been caught for the crimes they committed in their youth, would they have had the opportunities to contribute to society in the ways they have? Emily Baxter said based on the experiences of the more than 65 million Americans with criminal records, probably not. But that doesn't have to be the case. "One in four Americans have a criminal record; four in four are criminals," said the executive director of the We Are All Criminals project. "Our crimes, our mistakes, do not define us."
The Minnesota Department of Commerce has come out against the Enbridge Line 3 replacement, raising the stakes in an already contentious battle over the oil pipeline’s fate.
The Number: 0.9 percent
Two Minnesota tribes are calling foul on the judge picked to oversee the adequacy of the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline replacement environmental review. In filings to the Public Utilities Commission — the state body that gets final say over the contentious oil pipeline project — the Red Lake Band of Chippewa and White Earth Band of Ojibwe are asking for Administrative Law Judge Eric Lipman to be taken off the case.