A new report from the University of Minnesota Duluth's business research arm suggests the film industry in St. Louis County could grow under larger incentives from the county.

The Labovitz School's Bureau of Business and Economic Research conducted a study for the Upper Midwest Film Office that showed the film and content industry spent $3.2 million in the county in 2022, creating 106 jobs for eight completed projects. It says incentives larger than the current 25% rebate on film industry spending, with its $1 million cap, could increase that.

The study examined increases at various levels to show projected growth in employment, labor income and spending, among other metrics. At a $12.5 million incentive cap, for example, more than 2,000 new jobs and $57 million in new spending could be realized, the study says.



April 1 deadline for philosophy contest entries

The deadline is approaching for submission of entries for the 30th annual Greater American Think-Off, an annual exhibition of civil disagreement among "armchair philosophers" about important societal ideas.

This year's contest, sponsored by the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center in the farm and manufacturing town in western Minnesota, deals with balancing the needs of the environment with the needs of the economy.

To enter the contest, submit an essay of 750 words or fewer by April 1 to: kulcher.org/think-off/submit-your-essay/. The top two essayists on each side of the issue will be awarded $500 and an expenses-paid trip to New York Mills in June to defend their positions and compete for the title of America's Greatest Thinker.

"Obviously the ideal answer is to have both a healthy environment and a healthy economy," said executive director Betsy Roder. "But when we're forced to choose one over the other, which is more important to protect?"

The main event will take place June 10 in the New York Mills Public School Auditorium.



Twin Cities-based LGBTQ mentoring program expanding

The youth organization Queerspace Collective is opening a site-based mentorship program in St. Cloud.

The Twin Cities nonprofit supports lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) youth, who are disproportionately affected by harassment and homelessness and are more at-risk of suicide.

"Queerspace Collective chose to expand to St. Cloud based on feedback from the local LGBTQ+ and allied community, and the proximity to more rural communities where LGBTQ+ specific resources and supports for youth are unavailable or inaccessible," states a news release issued by the nonprofit.

A community gathering to celebrate the program's launch will be from 5-8 p.m. Friday, March 31, at Jupiter Moon Ice Cream in St. Joseph.