Tuesday, April 19, 2011 By Aaron Brown
Hibbing nurses authorized a strike at the town's big regional hospital last Friday (Duluth News Tribune). Parties now enter a 10-day "cooling off" period while labor and management continue negotiations. At issue is staffing levels in the various hospital departments. Nurses claim that staffing levels are dangerously low and that policies regarding overtime need more clarity.
The DNT also provides an interesting look at one of several high speed internet projects going on around northern Minnesota, this one from the Northeast Service Cooperative. A quick read will tell you that the mission of expanding high speed communication in this region is one part political, one part business and at least one more part engineering. If you've ever been in a room with politicians, businesspeople and engineers you probably know why creating a 21st century internet infrastructure in a place like this is so hard.
Officials will be stopping traffic on the cross-Range expressway, otherwise known as Highway 169, near Chisholm on April 26-27. The purpose is to check the progress of efforts to shore up the highway over old abandoned underground mines that threatened to suck the highway and multiple innocents down into a cavern of doom. If all goes well, that won't happen. Folks might remember the summer everyone was rerouted through downtown Chisholm, producing a brief Radiator Springs-style renaissance for the quaint mining town.
Meantime on the front of today's Hibbing Daily Tribune (subscription only links) we learn that two different drunk drivers hit two different Hibbing police cars at different times last weekend. We also learn that State Sen. David Tomassoni (DFL-Chisholm) is suggesting that state lawmakers serve longer terms, four years for the House and six for the Senate. Why do these stories produce the same emotion in my heart? They are so different, and yet somehow so thematically compatible. Oh, unfinished novel, why can't you be this interesting?