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Minnesota’s small:

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    The large social and cultural shifts that began after the murder of George Floyd – and the lingering economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic – have some of Minnesota’s small businesses feeling left behind as economic recovery continues. Many small businesses still lack access to the support services they need to grow, hire and thrive in a changed economy. This limits opportunity and compounds the inequities that hold back small business owners. How we address income inequality depends on how well we support our small business communities. We know we must scale capital availability and provide small businesses with essential resources, particularly for BIPOC and historically underrepresented communities. We also know that Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) – nonprofit, mission-driven community lenders – are helping small business owners realize opportunities through community collaboration and partnership. These small business solutions – conceived and deployed by co-creation and community input – should foster inclusion for Minnesota’s communities and small businesses that have been historically under-resourced. Article continues after advertisement Inclusion also means providing access and agency for these small business owners and...
    I am the proud owner of 36th & Lyn Refuel Station, an independently owned, community-focused refueling station and convenience store located in the heart of South Minneapolis. Last week, I read an article published in MinnPost that highlighted efforts at the State Capitol to change Minnesota liquor laws during this year’s legislative session. However, I couldn’t help but notice this “deal” leaves out businesses like mine. It is the year 2022, almost 100 years since the prohibition ended in America, and Minnesota continues to ban gas stations, convenience stores and grocery stores from being able to sell full-strength beer and wine as if it were 1922. Minnesota is long overdue for modernizing its liquor laws. We are one of the only few remaining states in the country where you are unable to buy a six-pack of your favorite beer while at a convenience store like mine. Article continues after advertisement As an owner of a small convenience store, today’s laws prohibit me from selling regular beer and wine my customers want. I am only allowed sell 3.2 percent beer, but...
    VINING, Minn. (WCCO) — It takes about 30 seconds to drive through the town of Vining. But during that 30 seconds, there’s a lot to see. In this week’s Finding Minnesota, John Lauritsen shows us why travelers have made this small town a destination. READ MORE: A Landlocked Lighthouse In Central Minnesota Trades Shoreline Views For TreetopsTucked away in the middle of Otter Tail County, the population sign says Vining has less than 100 people. “Everybody knows one another,” said Ken Nyberg. But if you were to factor in all of the town’s “other residents,” then the population would more than double. The big foot sculpture on the west side of town is the brainchild of Nyberg. It’s 12-feet high and weighs 1,200 pounds. And it’s just one of many footprints he’s left around Vining. “I’ve always liked making something different,” said Nyberg. Forty years ago, Ken made a metal sculpture for a friend. It was a hit, so he made another, and then another. Nyberg soon realized he had an eye for this. And it wasn’t long before the...
    KIMBALL, Minn. (WCCO) – The pandemic has changed many of the ways we conduct business. The automotive industry is no different. Supply chain issues have made new cars hard to find. But a small town dealership in central Minnesota has navigated the challenges en route to its best sales year ever. READ MORE: How Do You Find A Therapist To Match Your Mental Health Needs?Along Highway 55 in Kimball, the road to success is a generational journey. Ancestors pave the way, family maintain it, and loyal customers trust it. “I have to be thankful to our local area for supporting us, because it can’t happen without that,” said Steven Maus. He’s one of three brothers who own AM Maus and Son, a new and used car dealership in town. He and Ed run the sales arm of the business, while Cary manages the service center. Outside of selling and fixing cars, the dealership features a general store and gas station, the latter of which connect to the humble beginnings their business. It was started by their grandfather, Andrew Maus, in...
    The news came out of nowhere. Brian Larsen, editor of the Cook County News-Herald in Grand Marais, had no idea the weekly newspaper he worked at for 13 years was for sale until outgoing owners Hal and Deidre Kettunen broke it to him over an office pizza lunch in November 2020. Moments later, still in shock, Larsen watched as the new owners entered the break room and introduced themselves. Larsen had never heard of the company, a New Jersey-based information tech firm called CherryRoad Technologies, its CEO, Jeremy Gulban or any of its other executives. That wasn’t surprising. CherryRoad had no media holdings before it bought the News-Herald, though that would quickly change. In short order, CherryRoad Media, the firm’s new communications division, embarked on a newspaper buying spree, largely in the Midwest and the South. It purchased seven Minnesota newspapers formerly owned by Gannett, Inc. and launched one in International Falls. CherryRoad now owns 49 papers in 10 states, including the Lake County Press, which opened in Two Harbors last month. It’s a strategy Gulban hopes will showcase CherryRoad...
    HUTCHINSON, Minn. — Sheriff's officials say one of two people injured in a small plane crash in McLeod County earlier this week has died. Authorities say Dr. Richard Jolkovsky has died of injuries he suffered Monday afternoon when a single-engine plane went down south of Hutchinson. The 61-year-old CentraCare cardiologist was piloting the plane. A passenger, 24-year-old Kyle Fiebelkorn, of St. Louis Park, remains hospitalized in stable condition. (iStock) The aviation-tracking website FlightRadar24.com reported that the plane left Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie and retraced its path at times before crashing in a rural part of the county. Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash. According to CentraCare, Jolkovsky was a cardiologist in its Heart and Vascular Center, as well as the medical director of clinical excellence, the St. Cloud Times reported. He began his CentraCare career in 1996 and had several roles in cardiology and with St. Cloud Hospital, including as chief of staff. He was also a member of the St. Cloud Hospital Board of Directors.
    Originally published on Jan. 27, 2022 BENSON, Minn. (AP) — The newspaper hit the front porches of the wind-scarred prairie town on a Thursday afternoon: Coronavirus numbers were spiking in the farming communities of western Minnesota. READ MORE: COVID In Minnesota: 57 More Deaths Added To State's Toll; Positivity Still Inching Down“Covid-19 cases straining rural clinics, hospitals, staff,” read the front-page headline. Vaccinate to protect yourselves, health officials urged. But ask around Benson, stroll its three-block business district, and some would tell a different story: The Swift County Monitor-News, the tiny newspaper that’s reported the news here since 1886, is not telling the truth. The vaccine is untested, they say, dangerous. And some will go further: People, they’ll tell you, are being killed by COVID-19 vaccinations. One little town. Three thousand people. Two starkly different realities. It’s another measure of how, in an America increasingly split by warring visions of itself, division doesn’t just play out on cable television, or in mayhem at the U.S. Capitol. It has seeped into the American fabric, all the way to Benson’s 12th Street,...
    Times are tough for Minnesota dairy farmers. High labor and feed costs and fluctuating prices for products like milk, cheese and butter make for uncertain business. Many farmers are giving up: in 2021, Minnesota lost 154 of its roughly 2,100 dairy farms. But a recent settlement brokered under the auspices of the USMCA trade agreement, the Trump-era replacement for NAFTA, brought some good news for Minnesota dairy farmers and the industry in the U.S. generally. After a ruling by a special disciplinary panel that found Canada was violating its agricultural trade agreement with the U.S., Canada is now required to change the way it sells dairy products imported from the U.S. in ways that will be advantageous to American producers. Although those in the dairy industry see this trade win as a great development for the industry, it’s still unclear how big of a difference it will make for individual Minnesota farmers as the number of the state’s dairy farms continues to dwindle. Article continues after advertisement Canadian dairy protectionism Canadian protection of its domestic dairy industry is a...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans is looking for new ways to find affordable housing for unhoused men and women who served our country honorably. MACV is partnering with Yardhomes to build accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in the back yards or on the property of already existing homes. Two are currently standing in the back of veteran transitional housing units. READ MORE: MACV StandDown Gives Hope To Veterans In Need At Target FieldMACV sees the addition of this new tool a game changer in housing homeless veterans. It’s clean, safe and affordable housing for veterans experiencing homelessness, built in a factory in greater Minnesota, shipped and then lifted by crane into place on its permanent foundation. (credit: CBS) The 500-square-foot unit, for instance, sits in back of one of MACV’s transitional homes, making it perfect for the veteran who may need to live alone. READ MORE: WCCO Special: MACV's 'StandDown' Event At Target Field Gets Needed Services To Veterans“It is self-sufficient living; this isn’t a ‘tiny home.’ You don’t have to share a restroom with...
    BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. (WCCO) – Before any snowflakes had fallen, Jim Olsen was busy in his garage Thursday evening. He changed in the oil in his snow blower and gave it fresh fuel, giving him a calm confidence that his trusty winter tool would be ready. “If you’re running the proper fuel in it, most of the time you’re not gonna have an issue,” he said, referencing how he uses non-oxygenated gas to extend the blower’s life. Sure enough, it started right up. “I just don’t want to be stuck here in the garage (Friday) pulling away at a snow blower that doesn’t start.” READ MORE: Minnesota Regulators OK Rate Hikes For Xcel Energy CustomersThat’s the type of phone call Maxwell Holly knows he’ll get this weekend. “Hey, my snow blower doesn’t start, can you fit me in today? And I’ll have to say no,” the small engine mechanic said. He runs Wellington Motors and has a shop full of snow blowers getting tuned up or repaired. (credit: CBS) Despite having a certain skillset that keeps him...
              more   ALBERT LEA, Minnesota – The jury selection finished in the criminal trial of Melissa “Lisa” Hanson on Tuesday evening, after a full day of interviews. Hanson, who is not an attorney, is representing herself. Hanson and the City Attorney Kelly Martinez chose six jurors to serve and two back up jurors. Hanson is being charged with a total of nine misdemeanors for opening her Albert Lea restaurant, the Interchange, in violation of Governor Tim Walz’s COVID orders. Six of the misdemeanors are being addressed in this trial. Every one of the six misdemeanors is a violation of emergency orders, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine per charge. Martinez filed a motion, approved by the judge, to prosecute Hanson for three of the nine misdemeanors in a second trial. The other three misdemeanors include two more counts of a violation of emergency orders and one count of being a public nuisance. Those three charges, which will be tried at a later date, are also punishable by 90 days in jail and a $1,000...
    SAUK CENTRE, Minn. (WCCO) — Climbing COVID-19 cases are taking a toll on small Minnesota hospitals. Doctors in some rural parts of the state says it’s the worst they’ve seen it. WCCO traveled to Sauk Centre where finding a hospital bed to get better for weeks has been a struggle. READ MORE: 'Denied Without Any Questions': Health Care Workers Sue Minnesota Hospital Over Vaccine MandateSusan Rutten has spent the last five days at CentraCare’s Sauk Centre hospital with COVID-19. The 65-year-old says she didn’t know what to believe when it came to the vaccine. “I was torn between some people telling me to, some people telling me not to,” Rutten said. With the help of monoclonal antibodies, she felt OK for about a week. Until her oxygen levels started falling. Her message now? “Get the vaccination. Stay out of the hospital,” Rutten said. Rutten is one of seven people with the virus staying at CentraCare, a hospital that usually keeps five to six people with a variety of issues. For the last month, they’ve been seeing twice that. Dr....
                      by Mary Stroka   The Chinese American Chamber of Commerce, MN and the Minnesota State University Mankato’s Strategic Partnerships Center have each received up to $1 million in Community Navigator Pilot Program grant funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The program is an American Rescue Plan initiative intended to increase small businesses’ access to critical support. It distributed $100 million, in total, to 51 organizations across the nation that will partner as hubs for local groups to connect entrepreneurs with government resources, the administration said. The funding was announced late last month. “The Biden-Harris Administration has prioritized building our small business ecosystems back better so that all of our entrepreneurs have a fair shot at achieving the American dream of business ownership,” SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said in the news release. “We need to meet businesses where they are with resources to start, grow and be resilient, and the Community Navigator Pilot Program will power a trusted network of community partners to connect America’s entrepreneurs with the SBA. The program’s Community Navigators will develop...
    MARENGO, Wis. (AP) — Authorities say two people died when a single-engine plane crashed into a home in northeastern Wisconsin. The Ashland County Sheriff’s Office received numerous 911 calls about 2:40 p.m. Saturday with reports of the crash in the town of Marengo, located about 80 miles from Duluth, Minnesota. No one on the ground was hurt, authorities said. The sheriff’s department said the victims are a 29-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman from Marengo. Investigators do not believe anyone else was in the plane. (credit: CBS) A news release from the sheriff’s department offered “deepest condolences to the family of the victims” and said the office will “share further information with the public regarding this incident as it becomes available.” The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating. (© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)   More On WCCO.com: Tallest Trooper Ever To Serve Among Those Added To Minnesota State Patrol’s Ranks After WCCO’s Eye-Opening Ride Along With Minneapolis Sergeant, Both Sides Of Policing Debate Give...
    When Christy Hanson reopened her in-home child care business in Owatonna last summer after closing during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic because of a sharp drop in enrollment, a $1,200 monthly grant from the state for roughly six months helped immensely. “It kind of helped build back up all the money I had lost from being closed for the few months,” Hanson said. That program has since expired. And while the industry is still facing obstacles like higher costs because of the pandemic, Hanson and most small in-home providers are now eligible for a different program, albeit one offering much lower payments paid out of the state’s share of the American Rescue Plan: just $430 a month. The lower monthly payments have frustrated many of Minnesota’s in-home child care businesses, which make up a greater share of the industry in rural parts of the state and have been declining in number for years. The change has also pitted the smaller providers against larger child care centers, typically located in cities — a split that burst into public view...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota has some pretty fine small cities to live in, according to a new study. WalletHub used five criteria to rank the country’s best small cities — affordability, economic health, education and health, quality of life and safety. Plymouth is the highest ranked Minnesota city, coming in at 39. Lakeville is ranked 42. Eden Prairie and Savage fall just outside the top 50. Plymouth and Lakeville both earned high marks for their affordability, with Lakeville in particular being the 20th most affordable small city, according to the study. Several other Minnesota cities appeared in the study, which ranked 1,322 cities total. Only cities with a population between 25,000 and 100,000 were considered. The No. 1 city on the list is Sammamish, Washington, which is about 20 miles east of Seattle.   More On WCCO.com: Shipping Containers That Spent Weeks Aboard Ships Stuck At Ports Now Being Dumped In Nearby Neighborhoods Twin Cities Man Accused Of Operating Private Airport In Field Behind His Home ‘I Ran Downstairs And Was Able To Hold My Baby Boy’: Mother Of...
    Less than 100 miles from the Iowa cornfield where Major League Baseball staged its "Field of Dreams" game celebrating small-town America, a small Minnesota town is bracing for the proposed closure of a factory partially owned by the league. For more than two decades, Miken has been one of the largest employers in Caledonia, Minnesota, a community of around 2,800 people. Currently, its factory makes the batting helmets used by all Major League Baseball players and composite bats for softball. But soon, the batting helmet production will shift to Missouri and the bat production will move to China. For Caledonia, a town tucked into the southeastern corner of Minnesota, the shift means good-paying jobs leaving town and most leaving the country. Pre-pandemic, the factory employed up to an estimated 150 and paid better than a living wage. Now, the roughly 80 people still working there will soon be out of a job. The fact the nation's pastime may have a hand in outsourcing jobs has residents crying foul. "We're very proud of that company," said resident Kari Neuman....
    VICTORIA, Minn. (AP) — A single-engine plane crashed into an unoccupied home in southeastern Minnesota and no one onboard survived, officials said. The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane was flying from Alexandria Municipal Airport to Eden Prairie’s Flying Cloud Airport before 6 p.m. Saturday when it crashed into the home in Victoria, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) southwest of Minneapolis, according to KARE-TV. Carver County Sheriff Jason Kamerud said there were no survivors from the aircraft and that no one was injured on the ground. Kamerud said during a news conference Saturday night that he didn’t know what caused the crash or how many people had been onboard when it happened. The Carver County Medical Examiner was expected to report on the identities of the pilot and any passengers. The FAA identified the aircraft as a single-engine Mooney M20, which can carry up to four people. Firefighters and other first responders from several agencies attended the scene. The National Transportation Safety Board tweeted that is was investigating the crash. Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This...
    MULTIPLE fatalities are being reported after a small aircraft "crashed into a house" along a Minnesota highway on Saturday. A reporter with CBS Minnesota's WCCO wrote to Twitter: "Multiple witnesses tell @WCCO they witnessed a small plane crash a short time ago in Victoria." 1This is a photo of the scene from Minnesota Department of Transportation traffic cameras "We are awaiting official word from authorities," the tweet concluded. Alongside the tweet was a photo of the scene from Minnesota Department of Transportation traffic cameras. Minutes later, reporter Nick Streiff, wrote in a follow-up tweet: "MnDOT says road Highway 5 is closed in both directions between Steiger Lake Lane and Victoria Drive 'due to an air crash.'" According to MN Crime's Twitter account, a house is on fire and officers are reporting multiple fatalities on the scene. Most read in NewsDEATHBED FLIP-FLOP Anti-vaxxer Florida radio host, 65, who blasted Fauci dies from COVIDMISSING MOM MYSTERY Pregnant woman vanishes after last being seen at her husband's grave‘KILLER’ MUM Boy kept in chains & made to write 'I'm horrible son' was 'murdered by...