Local NewsMinute: Unions, Benson, Intern, USDA-ARS, And Mattson 08 Mar 18

Ancillary Businesses Could Receive State Compensation

During last year’s session, the Minnesota Legislature turned their attention to the Benson Power Plant.

When news broke that the Plant would close sooner than expected, Representative Tim Miller (R-17A) says the City received financial assistance, but not the local businesses.

Miller will officially release his Bill next week. Last month, a Cass County Judge dismissed without prejudice a lawsuit filed by the Associated Contract Loggers & Truckers of Minnesota, hoping to stop the closure.

Minnesota Farm Bureau Goes To Washington

“It’s been very memorable for me.” That’s how the President of the Pope County Farm Bureau described her first-ever trip to Washington, D.C.

Kensington-native Kerri Mattson is returning from a whirlwind of meetings with the American Farm Bureau Federation’s leadership, and Minnesota’s Congressional Delegation. Mattson particularly stressed issues affecting her family, such as next week’s crop insurance deadline.

Tomorrow, you’ll hear from Young Farmer Martha Koehl from the Morris area.

Bledsoe Enters Public Service

Stevens County now has another intern of its own.

Maya Bledsoe is a sophomore, majoring in French and Political Science at the University of Minnesota, Morris. She’s the Assistant to County Coordinator Rebecca Young, taking care of meeting minutes, preparing the Commissioners’ packets, and miscellaneous office filing.

Bledsoe will serve until the semester ends in Early May. She thoroughly enjoys “seeing a professional environment, and especially in a government job setting, and getting some more experience.”

Union Negotiations Inch Closer Towards Resolution

Following mediation, Stevens County has another tentative agreement with its employee unions.

Tomorrow, ASCSME General and Highway are expected to vote on new, two-year contracts, with the final version presented to the Board of Commissioners on March 20. Both unions would receive two percent-increases.

“We feel very pleased,” Coordinator Rebecca Young told the Board, “with the results we were able to get.”

Further details will not be available until after the vote.

On Tuesday, the Board went into Closed Session to discuss the status of negotiations with Law Enforcement Labor Services, which represents the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office.

Local Facilities Face Federal Budgetary Future

Despite being on a closure list supporters of the North Central Soil and Conservation Research Laboratory remain optimistic.

The Barnes-Aastad Association is lobbying capital offices in Washington, D.C. this week. Dan Perkins says U.S.D.A.’s Agriculture Research Service has faced budget cuts but congressional staffers know the value of their work.

President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget calls for a 24 percent reduction in funding for U.S.D.A. and 12 percent cut for A.R.S. The Morris lab is on the list of proposed closures, as is Brookings, S.D.

The Soils Lab has a $2.8 million dollar budget and has 18 full-time employees.