Ryan Faircloth / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL — During their Tuesday, Aug. 28, visit to the Minnesota State Fair, James and Margit Kegel ditched the food stands to partake in an out-of-season activity: picking a Christmas tree. Along with dozens of other fairgoers, the Chicago couple touched and smelled a variety of trees — spruce, firs and pines — that were displayed inside the Agriculture Horticulture building. The trees weren't for sale, but rather part of an annual Fair showcase of Minnesota-grown Christmas trees.
ST. PAUL — More big horses. More little horses. This year's Minnesota State Fair is shaping up to be a hit for horse enthusiasts. The Minnesota State Fair Horse Show has expanded its schedule, featuring four days of draft and miniature horse competitions at the historic Lee and Rose Warner Coliseum. Draft horse hitch, barrel racing and showmanship contests and miniature horse driving competitions are on tap for the show, which runs through Monday. Yes, you read that right. Barrel racing with massive draft horses.
ST. PAUL—The agency charged with making sure the state's computers are up-to-date did a poor job of overseeing projects, leaving dozens unfinished and $23 million in taxpayer dollars unspent, an audit released Thursday, Aug. 16, shows. The Office of the Legislative Auditor examined Minnesota IT Services' handling of the state Information and Telecommunications Account from July 2014 to Feb. 2018. The legislature created the account in 2006 to fund future computer projects.
ST. PAUL—Nearly a quarter of Minnesota's registered voters cast ballots in Tuesday's state primary elections, with DFL voters nearly doubling the turnout of Republicans. Around 780,000 of the state's registered 3.2 million voters had cast ballots as of 10:40 p.m., with 83 percent of precincts reporting. More than 500,000 primary voters filled out DFL ballots.
ST. PAUL — With Super Bowl LII less than four weeks away, Twin Cities businesses seek to use the country's biggest sporting event to market their brands to a national audience. Super Bowl LII is expected to generate more than $400 million in new spending when it comes to U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Feb. 4. — a windfall many businesses hope to cash in on. "We're going to see a very hefty economic impact and increase over typical years," said Pete Zellmer, director of sales and marketing for the St. Paul Hotel.
ST. PAUL — Unionized transit workers voted Monday, Dec. 18, to approve the Metropolitan Council's latest contract offer, averting a strike that would've disrupted Twin Cities transportation during the Super Bowl. Union workers had met over the previous two days to vote on the proposal, announcing the contract approval Monday afternoon. The new contract includes term and wage rate increases, driver safety measures, sick leave policy changes and more.
ST. PAUL — Jane Hanson was clearing her light-rail train at Union Depot one morning when a heroin-abusing passenger struck her from behind. Jeanne O'Neill has been assaulted, groped and spat on in her 17 years as a Metro Transit bus driver. David Stiggers has fielded verbal abuse and death threats while driving his bus routes.
ST. PAUL — Metro Transit announced Friday that protective enclosures for drivers would be installed in 20 buses "as soon as possible." Transit officials say the installation is meant to test the effectiveness of plexiglass shields for possible future implementation in its fleet. The move has evoked mixed reactions from transit operators and union representatives, who recently threatened to go on strike during the Super Bowl if safety concerns were not addressed.
MINNEAPOLIS—Access to the U.S. Bank Stadium light-rail stop in downtown Minneapolis will be off-limits in the two days prior to Super Bowl LII. The rail station will be closed following rush hour on Friday, Feb. 2, because of an increased security perimeter for Super Bowl Sunday. Trains will still operate on their normal routes, taking passengers to and from all other stations. "It's just that one stop, so stops on all sides of that and all other points down are going to be open in service to the public," said Howie Padilla, Metro Transit public relations manager.
ST. PAUL—Organizers of a creative writing workshop for women in Twin Cities metro-area jails are worried for the program's future. Neither of the programs' current sites—Washington and Sherburne County jails—have been fully funded for 2018. The women's writing program has helped more than 180 inmates since it started five years ago, but funding for the workshops has since been harder to attain.