Around MN: American Crystal talks on again, debate needed over mining, healthier Great Lakes

Talks set to resume between sugar company, workers

A federal mediation service in Minneapolis announced Friday that talks have been scheduled for Oct. 24. The time and place was not disclosed (AP).Union representatives indicated recently their members are willing to make a “substantial” compromise.

Also on MN Today

Tax hike saddles business, property owners

Chris Keenan has run a small cabinet-making business here for nearly 35 years, typically employing four to six people until the recession. Orders stopped coming in and he laid off all his workers.

Now, like businesses all over Minnesota, he’s facing another blow with a property tax hike next year. Tax officials say a Bemidji business worth $300,000 will see taxes go up 8 percent, almost $700.

Figures are similar elsewhere, a check with county auditors shows. A similar property in Duluth will see a 9 percent increase, in St. Paul 11 percent, in Hibbing 13 percent. Those figures are based on preliminary tax levies that school, city and county officials have approved. They could lower them when they determine their budgets in December (MPR News).

OccupyMN protesters plan to pitch tents, prepare for possible arrests

OccupyMN protesters say they’re going to start erecting shelters on the plaza outside the Hennepin County Government Center this weekend, despite a ban (MPR News).

Rural Minnesota lawmakers question Vikings stadium chances

Minnesota political leaders have a month to agree on a Vikings football stadium deal before chances of success diminish. Regardless of the timing, rural lawmakers who in the past have cast key votes in favor of stadiums are pessimistic of its chances (Grand Forks Herald).

It’s time for a debate on the effects of non-ferrous mining

If new mines are permitted, the state won’t be able to shut them down even if the worst fears of opponents are realized. Once the state pulls the trigger on copper-nickel mining, we’re stuck with it, for good or ill (Timberjay).

Bad gas, not so bad after all?

Local gas stations still have questions about bad gas

Minnesota gasoline cannot contain more than 10 percent ethanol, but some of the gas may have had up to 63 percent ethanol, according to the Minnesota Dept. of Commerce. Hy-Vee Gas in Albert Lea received some of the faulty gas Saturday. The station never had to suspend sales, however (Austin Daily Herald).

Progress toward safer lakes

Mercury levels in the Great Lakes basin have fallen about 20 percent, the exhaustive study involving more than 170 scientists and researchers found.But here’s the bad news: The mercury levels found in the six most commonly eaten game fish are still well above the Environmental Protection Agency’s safety thresholds (Madison.com).

Report: Farm runoff declining near Great Lakes

A report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture says farmers are cutting back significantly on the amount of soil and nutrients eroding from fields to the Great Lakes and neighboring waterways (WCCO).

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