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Last Call As Twin Cities Suburb Privatizes Liquor Sales

The number of Metro Area cities still in the liquor business continues to decline, the result of stiffer than ever competition. Many "munis" find it difficult to compete on a level playing field, under the price pressure from private sector superstores like Total Wine. Despite cutting costs and prices, suburbs like Edina have seen their profits plunge by hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. The latest state audit of 2015 Minnesota Municipal Liquor Store Operations puts it bluntly. The overall decline in net profits between 2014 and 2015 appears to primarily be the result of increased competition from private liquor stores resulting in lower...

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Iron Range to Trump: We Need More Mining

Northern Minnesotans sent a message to the Trump administration this week in the Iron Range city of Virginia. Hundreds of residents spilled into the streets to make sure Washington understands they support mining, according to the Duluth News Tribune. A large crowd of supporters of copper-mining projects near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness rallied on Tuesday afternoon at Field of Dreams Park in Virginia, calling for people to speak as “one Range, one voice” and to “stuff the box” with pro-mining comments on Tuesday evening during the U.S. Forest Service’s public hearing on its plan for a two-year moratorium on...

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Pro-Mining Unions and Businesses Rip Forest Service “Charade”

Northern Minnesotans came out swinging this week in the Star Tribune, ripping the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management on mining. The tough talk came via a full-page ad announcing a boycott by a coalition of 17 union, civic and business groups of the federal agencies' public hearing in the Twin Cities on Tuesday. We’re fed up with jumping through federal hoops, burning gas, vacation days and family time to sit through your endless, taxpayer-funded meetings. It’s death by a thousand cuts. Anger and frustration over a last-minute Obama administration regulation banning mineral exploration in the national forest and reevaluating the...

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Protesters Blockade and Drive Dayton Off Lake Mille Lacs

Gov. Mark Dayton said this week that resorts were so booked up--in spite of his administration's meddling in the Lake Mille Lacs fishery--that he couldn't get a reservation. “I tried to get a hotel, motel reservation for tomorrow night, and they were booked. So, that’s a good sign,” the governor said Thursday. The reason the lack of booking pleased him is because he was trying to get a weekend room in the Lake Mille Lacs area, which has been hard hit by a lack of iconic walleye fish in recent years. Walleye fishing was just shutdown for a three-week stretch on Thursdayand it’s...

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Northern Minnesotans Urge Boycott of Feds’ Hearing on Mining Ban

What if the U.S. Forest Service held a public hearing on the Obama administration's last-minute moratorium on mining in northern Minnesota and nobody came?  Nobody, that is, except for Twin Cities environmentalists who will go to the mat to stop economic progress through natural resource development at any cost. That's the scenario mining supporters see coming at a July 18 public hearing in St. Paul on the controversial moratorium and regional hold on mining that's being held on the home turf of Twin Cities environmentalists.  But the Duluth News Tribune reports the absence of mining supporters may speak louder than their...

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Property Rights Activists Slam Supreme Court Decision on St. Croix River

Property rights activists are slamming a U.S. Supreme Court case involving land along the St. Croix River near the Twin Cities that strengthens the hand of government environmental regulators nationwide.  They say the precedent-setting decision against landowners on the Wisconsin side of the St. Croix River in Wisconsin undercuts individual property rights across the country. The case involved a family that wanted to sell one of two lots on the river bluff in order to finance improvements on a cabin on the other lot in a case covered in the Twin Cities media for years.  The lot in question was assessed...

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Key Members of Congress Support Overturning Obama MN Mining Ban

The effort to overturn the Obama administration's last-minute ban on mining in northern Minnesota just reached a new level. The chairs of two key congressional subcommittees got a first hand look at the area on Monday, pledging to urge the Trump administration to take action to reverse the mining moratorium. Rep. Rick Nolan served as tour guide in his home district, breaking ranks with many of his Democratic colleagues in working across the aisle to  supporting the mining industry in an area that supported Trump. The Duluth News Tribune reports the delegation included some heavy hitters. Nolan, D-Crosby, was joined by Republican Reps....

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Will He or Won’t He? Plastic Bag Ban Now Up to Governor

The ordinance banning plastic bags for many commercial uses in Minneapolis takes effect June 1. So close and yet so far for the environmental special interests determined to make the cost of doing business more expensive for everyone, including consumers.  Now it's all up to Gov. Dayton. If as expected Dayton signs the jobs and economic development bill on his desk, the plastic bag ban will be stopped. A provision in the bill prohibits local governments from outlawing plastic bags, just in time to stop Minneapolis. But the Star Tribune reports business still have to prepare for the worst, just in...

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