Extra benefits for idled Mesabi Nugget workers

The U.S. Department of Labor approved extended unemployment benefits for Iron Range steel workers who lost their jobs in May and may not be rehired for years.

More than 200 workers in Chisholm and Hoyt Lakes lost their jobs when Mesabi Nugget idled its facilities in those cities. Parent company Steel Dynamics, one of the country’s largest domestic steel producers and metals recyclers, warned that the layoffs could stretch for the next two years.

State officials and the Department of Employment and Economic Development successfully petitioned the U.S. Department of Labor for additional funding to extend long-term benefits for the affected workers.

“Extended unemployment benefits will help these workers and their families get through this very difficult time,” Gov. Mark Dayton said in a statement last week. “I thank everyone who worked to secure this important assistance.”

In addition the extended unemployment benefits, Mesabi Nugget workers will have access to career planning, job search assistance and additional training through the state’s Dislocated Worker Program.

Jennifer Brooks @stribrooks


Rice Lake

Judge: Growing township can become our latest city

Rice Lake Township has gotten the go-ahead to become Minnesota’s newest city.

Last week, an administrative law judge granted the township’s petition for incorporation, saying it “established the relevant factors by a preponderance of the evidence.”

On Oct. 13, Rice Lake will hold an election to pick a mayor and four city councilors to replace the current township board of supervisors, according to the order by Judge Barbara Case.

Rice Lake, a town just north of Duluth, counts about 4,000 residents. The township “has grown over the years to the point where city government is necessary for its continued growth and prosperity,” its website says.

Jenna Ross @ByJenna


Houston County

Official suspended in frac ethics dispute moves on

Bob Scanlan, the Houston County zoning director who was disciplined after threatening town residents who opposed sand mining, resigned from his job last week, according to the county’s Human Resources director. Scanlan told the County Board he has taken a position with the Root River Soil and Water Conservation District.

Scanlan was the subject of numerous ethics complaints last year that alleged he used his powers as a zoning official to threaten to tear down the homes of some local residents over phony violations. His targets were people who opposed frac sand mining in the county. Scanlan was suspended for three days.

Matt McKinney @_mattmckinney