DULUTH

Duluth metro led outstate in job growth in May

Minnesota's unemployment rate inched up 0.1 percent in May to 3.8 percent, but the outstate continued to add jobs, according to the most recent employment figures from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

The Duluth-Superior metro area added 1,798 over the past year. Around the state, the Rochester region added 695 jobs, St. Cloud added 134 and the Mankato region added 187 compared to this time last year.

The trade, transportation and utilities sectors are hiring, adding 6,600 new jobs in May. There were hundreds of new jobs in construction, government and the financial sectors.

Countering that were thousands of jobs cut in May. The professional and business service industries cut 4,400 positions; leisure and hospitality lost 1,600; and manufacturing cut 1,000.

JENNIFER BROOKS @stribrooks

Winona

Owner to pursue plans for burned building

The owner of a building in historic downtown Winona that burned in a February fire plans to renovate.

But last week, the city's Board of Adjustment rejected Chase Hoffman's proposal to put four apartments on the first floor of the building, once home to the Mason Jar bar and second-story apartments. Members denied Hoffman's request for a variance, needed because the first-floor apartments would be within 100 feet of a public parking lot.

"It's not what I wanted, but it doesn't derail the process," Hoffman said by phone. He plans to "sharpen up my request" and appeal the board's decision to the City Council.

After the fire, city officials expressed hope that it might be saved and renovated. The fire burned in the attic, Hoffman said, leaving the walls and structure with "very little smoke and heat damage."

The building, on the corner of Walnut and East Third streets, is "part of the fabric of that neighborhood," Hoffman said.

Jenna Ross @ByJenna

Grand Rapids

Volunteers needed for loon count on lakes

Loon lovers take note: The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources needs volunteers to help count the birds on lakes in northeastern Minnesota.

The monitoring program has helped the DNR detect long- and short-term changes in the loon population's health, according to a DNR news release.

Volunteers in Itasca, Lake and Cook counties are needed for one day from June 26 to July 6.

The job might require a boat. On smaller lakes, the surveys can be conducted from shore. But on larger lakes, a boat or canoe is needed, the DNR says. The agency will provide instructions, maps and forms.

Interested in volunteering? Contact Ashley Toonstra at 218-327-4416 or ashley.toonstra@state.mn.us.

Jenna Ross @ByJenna