Union pokes holes in craft beer legislation:
The Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild supports legislation that would make it possible for Minnesota craft breweries and brewpubs to sell their products at its establishments on Sunday.
Specifically, this would allow brewpubs to sell its growlers on Sunday and breweries to be open for business and for most to sell growlers on Sunday. The legislation appeared set to pass until the Teamsters stepped in a couple of weeks back and opposed it. Since then, much is in doubt. The Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild, which is made up of almost 50 Minnesota breweries and brewpubs and more than 40 allied members, has penned a letter in support of the legislation and it’s been sent to key legislators. The letter was signed by the Guild’s elected Board and its Executive Director. The Guild, which typically stays silent on legislative issues and is not legislatively active, is becoming vocal on this issue because it tangibly helps all of its brewery and brewpub members.
If you are interested in background information or interviews, please let me know. Guild leadership, made up of brewery/brewpub owners and brewers, is planning to meet tomorrow to discuss and media are welcome to be part of the discussion. The meeting is slated to take place tomorrow afternoon at Great Waters in St. Paul, right down from the Capitol. Please confirm your interest in attending.
Guild members will be getting more active by contacting their legislators and rallying their bases in the next week or two.
We will be back in touch with more information including a full press release outlining the Guild’s position on the legislation and the different beneficial layers to it. Ultimately Minnesota has seen evolution and growth in the craft beer scene in the last few years, due in part to state legislative advancements. We believe the current legislation at issue would continue that advancement and would help the state’s small businesses, tourism, commerce, and community gathering points that are directly and indirectly tied to Minnesota craft beer. It’s time to again take a step forward for Minnesota craft beer.
The Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild was founded in 2000. Our goals are to promote Minnesota breweries/brewpubs, create an open line of communication between brewers, and connect our beer to the consumer. The Guild supports Minnesota's booming brewing industry, and therefore the industries that it touches, by hosting festivals, including Winterfest, All Pints North and Autumn Brew Review, promoting special events like 10,000 Minutes of Minnesota Craft Beer and the State Fair's Land of 10,000 Beers exhibit and beer hall, and ultimately showcasing the talent of Minnesota's craft brewers. www.mncraftbrew.org.
If you want verification of a core truth about Wabasha County politics, check out the half-page ad in this week's edition of the Wabasha County Herald.
It was paid for by the Teamsters Local No. 320, which represents county sheriff's employees, and it calls Wabasha County Commissioner Deb Roschen, who has dared to raise questions about county spending, a "pig at the trough" regarding health care coverage. It complains about her receiving county health care and dental care -- presumably the same plan that covers county employees -- and personalizes it to her, when other county board members receive the same benefits.
The ad also ties her to the Association for Government Accountability, the citizens group that has taken on county spending (including the sheriff's Safe Driving Classes), which Roschen says she's no longer affiliated with.
I can't remember anything like this type of grotesque attack ad regarding an elected county official that's been published or aired in our area. Just my opinion, but it's totally irresponsible to accept attack ads of this kind.
And as irony would have it, Roschen was among board members who voted in 2012 to eliminate health care benefits for county board members. When a new board majority took over last year -- Don Springer (now the chairman, and a key figure in the recall effort that was launched against Roschen in 2011 and dismissed by the Minnesota Supreme Court), Rich Hall and Mike Wobbe -- just about their first order of business was to reinstate health care for board members.
So -- why does the Teamsters local (which, by the way, is based in Minneapolis) smack Roschen in this ad? You tell me.
The underlying truth is, the unions that represent Wabasha County public employees are a key driver in the battles now going on in the Wabasha County board room.
The New York Times has a story, with searchable database, that should go viral at Mayo Clinic today.
Here's the lede:
A tiny fraction of the 880,000 doctors and other health care providers who take Medicare accounted for nearly a quarter of the roughly $77 billion paid out to them under the federal program, receiving millions of dollars each in some cases in a single year, according to the most detailed data ever released in Medicare’s nearly 50-year history.
Then go to the database, enter your favorite Rochester zipcode (no need to enter a name or specialty) and take a look at how much Medicare paid to some of your friends and neighbors. In 55901, for example, 44 health care providers are listed, the big recipient being Michael Johnston, of Rochester, who specializes in diagnostic radiology, with $226,000.
The bulk of the Rochester listings are under 55905, with 2,935 providers.
Press release from Carleton:
April 8, 2014
For immediate release
Carleton Hosts Queer Documentary Film Festival
Northfield, Minn.—In celebration of Price Month, this April the Carleton College
Gender and Sexuality Center will screen a series of queer-related documentary films as part of its first ever Queer Documentary Film Festival. These films celebrate the diversity of experiences and identities within queer communities. Screenings will be held on Thursdays from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Weitz Center for Creativity and are free and open to the public.
April 10: “Paris Is Burning,” a 1990 documentary film directed by Jennie Livingston that chronicles the ball culture in New York City and the Latino, African-American, queer communities that were involved in it.
April 17: “How to Survive a Plague,” a 2012 documentary directed by journalist David France that chronicles the often-overlooked history of the activism efforts of ACT UP and TAG. These two activist organizations were instrumental in creating a change around governmental policies about AIDS during the AIDS crisis in the 1990s. The film uses archival footage and interviews to capture the events.
April 24: “Celluloid Closet,” a 1995 film, written and directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman and narrated by Lily Tomlin, is a history of how motion pictures (in particular Hollywood films) have portrayed LGBTQ folks. The film follows various people connected with Hollywood, and tracks their perceptions of how lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and other queer identities are represented on film.
May 1: “Orchids, My Intersex Adventure,” is a 2010 autobiographical Australian documentary that follows one woman's struggle to understand her own intersex identity, as she also interviews and looks to other people who are intersex to help elucidate her identity.
The Carleton College Queer Documentary Film Festival is co-sponsored by the Gender and Sexuality Center, the Student Activities Office, and the Department of Cinema and Media Studies (CAMS). For more information, including disability accommodations, call (507) 222- 5222. The Weitz Center for Creativity is located at Third and College Streets in Northfield.
The Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce put out this "action alert" to members -- apparently the language that the Minnesota Chamber is also putting out:
Yesterday the Minnesota House and Senate DFL leadership agreed on legislation that will dramatically raise Minnesota's minimum wage to $9.50 in 2016 with an inflationary increase. If passed, Minnesota will have one of the highest minimum wages in the nation. Your legislator needs to hear from you as soon as possible!
The bill includes:
$9.50 minimum wage for businesses with gross sales over $500,000 in 2016. Phased in over 3 years from $7.25 currently to $8.00 in August 2014; $8.50 in August 2015 and to $9.50 in August 2016.
$7.75 minimum wage for businesses under $500,000 in gross sales in 2016. Phased in over 3 years from $6.15 to $6.50 in August 2014; $7.25 in August 2015 and to $7.75 in August 2016.
(The wage cut off has been reduced from $625,000 to $500,000.)
The $7.75 minimum wage also applies to large businesses for: a 90 day training wage for 18 and 19 year olds; all 16 and 17 year olds; and employees working under a J1 visa.
Beginning in 2018, all wages would increase annually on January 1st through an inflation adjustment called the implicit price deflator. The implicit price deflator is similar to the Consumer Price Index. Wage growth will be capped at 2.5%.
The increase could be suspended for one year by the Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) if leading economic indicators show a possible substantial economic downturn. The suspension could only be implemented after a public hearing and comment period. In better economic times, the suspended increase could be added back.
This increase is roughly the equivalent of a 31% increase on most businesses' minimum employee cost. The bill makes Minnesota an outlier in the nation: only ten states index minimum wage to inflation, and none of them have a minimum wage as high as $9.50.
These proposed changes will disproportionately affect small businesses in Minnesota, our border communities, young people, and entry-level workers. Minimum wage jobs give young and low-skilled workers the opportunity to learn important "soft skills" that cannot be taught in schools: self-confidence, attention to detail, time management, problem solving, and communication skills.
It's critical that you weigh in by Wednesday, April 9! Contact your Senators and Representatives as soon as possible and ask them to oppose this proposal. Tell them to raise the state's minimum wage to the federal level of $7.25, remove the annual inflation adjustment and adopt a youth wage at the federal rate that applies to all workers under the age of 18.
The latest from Rochester/Olmsted Emergency Management:
The forecast over the past two days has not changed significantly. A winter storm is lifting from Missouri, and will bring snow overnight. MSP is under a winter storm warning and will receive 6+ inches of snow. North-central Wisconsin is under a warning and will receive .25 - .50 inches of ice. Rochester is under a winter storm advisory, and will see 3-5 inches of snow, and a trace of ice. In addition to snow/ice, Friday will bring high winds (gusts to 25 MPH – higher in south-central MN). Expect rain at bedtime, with the change to snow before sunrise. Snow most of the morning on Friday, and tapering off around 6 PM.
Reporter Edie Grossfield has a story today on $6.9 million in capitol projects at Mayo from June to December of last year that count toward the $200 million in new development needed to trigger the release of $585 million in public funding for DMC.
The list of projects isn't exactly breathtaking...most are for remodelling, and a skeptic would say, this is the type of stuff Mayo would do regardless of DMC, right?
• Core 200 Saint Marys Hospital Operating Room Renovation
• Anatomic Pathology Office Remodel
• Remodeling laboratory space on Guggenheim 5.
• Development Remodel
• 2915 Warehouse Infrastructure
• Psychiatry and Psychology Master Plane, Phase 1A - Generose Main
• Institute Hills Chiller Replacement
• Dermatology Remodel
• Sports Medicine Center
• Mary Brigh East Expansion
The last few projects are biggies, but obviously not a lot of money was charged to DMC on those. Mayo says it spent closer to $300 million in total capital projects last year.
Here's a blog post by an Illinois woman who has some issues with Mayo's appointment office:
Alas, the Mayo Clinic is apparently too cool to do things like re-schedule appointments. And, while it is true that the woman on the other end of the phone sounded like the type of person I could vent to over a cup of coffee, when she broke the news to me that they currently did not have any openings at all, her sweet voice didn’t make me hate her any less.
How is that even possible? How does a huge hospital like the Mayo Clinic not have any openings? At all? As in zero openings?
HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LA CROSSE WI
531 AM CDT THU APR 3 2014
531 AM CDT THU APR 3 2014
THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR PORTIONS OF NORTHEAST IOWA...SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA...AND WEST CENTRAL INTO NORTH CENTRAL WISCONSIN.
.DAY ONE...TODAY AND TONIGHT
ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS ARE POSSIBLE AROUND AND WEST OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER LATE THIS AFTERNOON AND ACROSS THE ENTIRE AREA TONIGHT. LIGHTNING WOULD BE THE MAIN HAZARD WITH THE STORMS.
EXPECT RAIN TONIGHT TO SWITCH OVER TO FREEZING RAIN...SLEET AND FINALLY SNOW BY LATE IN THE NIGHT. SIGNIFICANT ICING COULD OCCUR...ESPECIALLY OVER NORTH CENTRAL WISCONSIN. A FEW INCHES OF SNOWFALL ACCUMULATION IS ALSO POSSIBLE. A WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT TONIGHT INTO FRIDAY.
.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...FRIDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY
SIGNIFICANT ACCUMULATIONS OF SNOW ARE POSSIBLE ON FRIDAY. IN ADDITION...WITH WINDS GUSTING FROM 25 TO 35 MPH...NEAR-WHITEOUT CONDITIONS COULD OCCUR. THE SNOW WILL DIMINISH FRIDAY EVENING.