Freelance Reporter Randy Olson Goes Looking for Work, Impulse Buys Small-Town Newspaper

Categories: Business

randyolsoncourtesy.jpg
Courtesy of Randy Olson
Former Bonanza Valley Voice editor Kayla Johnson passes the torch to Randy Olson. Johnson's husband was publisher for 44 years.

Where the hell is Brooten, Minn.? Randy Olson is the one-man news machine who's trying to put the tiny town of 700 people on the map.

Back in 2005, Olson was a crop and livestock farmer. Dad passed away in a bull-goring incident and mom needed help on the farm. He did a bit of reporting on the side in those days just to whet his wordsmanship. Eventually, Olson signed on as editor of the Hoffman Tribune -- serving a population of about 400 -- and became a full-time sports reporter at the Saux Centre Herald.

When he hit up the Bonanza Valley Voice in November to see if the weekly newspaper had any work for him, the publisher talked him into buying the whole operation instead. Dazzled by the prospect of having 10 blank pages a week to do whatever in the world he wants with, Olson signed.

See also:

Signature business: Behind the lucrative autograph industry

More »

Anti-abortion Bill Would Raise Taxes on Small Businesses That Provide Comprehensive Healthcare

Categories: Business, Health

12107712516_8048427857_z.jpg
Photo by Elvert Barnes
40th March for Life on the U.S. Supreme Court

Anti-abortion bills are a dime a dozen, but as it turns out the latest one to pass the U.S. House of Representatives has some detrimental side effects for small businesses.
The House voted to pass the Republican-backed No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act on Thursday, the anniversary of the Supreme Court's landmark decision in Roe v Wade, which establishes a woman's right to abortion.

The bill is the latest in an ongoing chronicle of Republican attempts to curtail abortion rights. Recently, the GOP-controlled House scheduled a vote on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would have banned abortions for women beyond 20 weeks of pregnancy. That vote didn't pan out after House Republican women pushed back against party leaders and complained that the bill unfairly required rape victims seeking abortions to provide police reports. In 2013, a similar bill passed the House but stalled in the Senate.

See also:

Bachmann worries women's museum honoring her will become "shrine to abortion" [VIDEO]

More »

New MNvest Bill Would Take Homegrown Crowdfunding to the Next Level

mnvest.jpg
MNvest Facebook
It's like Kickstarter, except instead of donations for goods or services anyone could buy dividend-paying shares in a venture
A new bill introduced in the state Senate last week would allow anyone in Minnesota to support homegrown entrepreneurs by buying a piece of their idea or company.

It's like Kickstarter on steroids. Kickstarter allows backers to prepay for goods or services. This initiative, called MNvest, would legalize crowdfunding equity. Backers buy a stake of an idea, product, or company by purchasing dividend-paying shares to help finance entrepreneurial dreams.

See also:
"Common Man" Dan Cole Documentary Is On Kickstarter


More »

Target Rescinds Job Offers for Entire Class of New Hires Just Weeks Before Start Date

Categories: Business

supertargetwikimedia.JPG
Wikimedia
Super classy.

Vincent Zhang was fresh out of college when he landed a business analyst position with retail titan Target. In November he posted a celebratory announcement on Facebook: He was moving from sunny California to Minneapolis. He'd gotten an apartment, packed his winter clothes, booked his flight for a January start date.

On New Year's Eve, Target HR called him up. They were so sorry, they said, but they had to rescind job offers for the entire class of new hires that year due to budget constraints. There was an awkward silence. The HR rep nervously asked him what was on his mind -- encouraged him to vent if he wanted to.

"I'm just sitting there thinking I have nothing to say," Zhang said. "Even if I complain, I'm not getting my job back. And it's not even like, 'Oh, we'll bring you back at another time.' It was like, 'You are no more.' I was infuriated for like the first three days."

See also:
Oops! Teddy Bridgewater's name misspelled on first batch of jerseys for sale at Target [PHOTO]


More »

Minnesotans Poised to Profit from Deadly Cold

Categories: Business, Winter

frostbite.jpg
Photo by kellinahandbasket
Ten minutes out there and it's instant frostbite.

It's going to be a week of subzero temperatures, deadly roads, and winds that feel like ice daggers in the face. Yet while students all over Minnesota have taken to Twitter to alternately flatter and threaten Gov. Mark Dayton for no-school days, some local businesses are reveling at the chance to reap unprecedented profits from historical chills.

The guys who are making light of the cold -- and big bucks -- on the dawn of Snowpocalypse II are your local auto shops, pizza delivery drivers, boot-makers, and babysitters (for the chosen school districts). Homegrown industrial giant Cargill has been working around the clock to fill salt storehouses in anticipation of brutal winter storms.

See also:
St. Cloud Cathedral Kills Snow Days


More »

Essar's Frightening Track Record Shows a Serial Global Polluter

AirPollution.jpg
CityPages Archive Photo

Essar, the Indian multinational that's about to create Minnesota's newest taconite mine in Nashwauk, was caught in Kentucky repeatedly submitting bogus water quality measurements to make its coal mining operation appear as if it wasn't violating pollution laws.

Unfortunately, that was just one episode in the company's banner 2014 crusade to lift its industrial leg on Mother Earth.

See also:
Essar, Minnesota's New Mining Giant, Caught Repeatedly Falsifying Pollution Records

More »

Tags:

Pollution

St. Paul Caves to Uber, Falling for the Old Proprietary Info Trick

blackcarpickupsmall.jpg
Uber

When Uber "independent contractor" Syed Muzzafar slammed into a young San Francisco family in a crosswalk last New Year's Eve and killed six-year-old Sofia Lin, the company was quick to offer its sympathy.

But just weeks later, when the family filed a wrongful death suit, the app-based taxi-style outfit that hires regular folks to chauffeur washed its hands of the legal mess, claiming it didn't have to insure Muzzafar because he was an independent contractor, not an employee.


More »

Convenience Stores Say Tobacco Taxes Are Killing Them

smokingkillz003.jpg
Emily Eveland for City Pages
Minnesota stores are selling less of these. Is that good or bad? Depends who you ask.
You have to consider the source, but a new study funded by a consortium of the Minnesota Wholesale Marketers Association, a bunch of gas stations, and big tobacco finds that the increased cigarette and tobacco taxes that went into effect last year are having a devastating impact on businesses.

The tax, which increased the cigarette excise tax by 130 percent and the tax on other tobacco products from 70 percent of the wholesale price to 95 percent, has cost 1,100 jobs, resulted in a 50 percent decrease in tobacco sales along Minnesota's borders, and decreased non-tobacco product sales by $38 million.

See also:
A Smoker's Manifesto: 11 Reasons to Revoke the University's Tobacco Ban


More »

Labor Ads to Ridgedale Shopping Center Customers: "Watch Out" for Hazards

Categories: Business, Unions
ridgedale_union_ads.jpg
These ads, which were put together by the Laborers' International Union of North America, are running on mobile devices near Ridgedale
In time for the holidays, labor organizers released a digital campaign today targeting consumers inside the Ridgedale Shopping Center, which is undergoing renovation. A new site is called "Shop at Your Own Risk" and mobile ads are intended to scare the public away.

The laborers picketed Ridgedale in July, claiming that both union and nonunion contractors -- and by extension, storefronts and the mall's owners -- had let safety violations go unchecked. For proof, the local branch of the Laborers' International Union of North America sent us photographs of an open escalator shaft and electrical box.

See also:
Laborers picketing union and nonunion contractors at Ridgedale Shopping Center



More »

Medtronic Pisses Off Its Investors, Again

Categories: Business

corporate-loopholes-blog-560.jpg
Illustration by Mike Ray

Medtronic's investors are angry. And it looks like this time, they aren't going away without a fight.

While the Minnesota-based medical device firm keeps plugging away at its proposed deal to buy Ireland-based Covidien and reap the benefits of its new home's tax code, its shareholders continue to be a thorn in its side, suing the company and its executives for all the ways they've been wronged.

See also:
Medtronic-Covidien Deal Still on the Table Despite Irish Closing Corporate Tax Loophole


More »
Loading...