ALBERT LEA (AP) -- Nothing in life is for free. That's why the city council here wants to sell 32 acres of land to Farmland Foods for $1.
The council voted on the sale price as a way to entice the meat company to stay in the south-central Minnesota city after part of its plant burned down in a fire last summer.
When the pork-processing plant closed, it left about 500 people out of work.
In a written statement, Farmland president George Richter called the council's vote a "positive for our company," but said a decision to rebuild in Albert Lea would not come until after receiving settlement information from its insurance company.
The city has offered to sell a 32-acre industrial park site to replace Farmland's current 40-acre slot, which the city would then take over -- picking up the estimated $5 million tab for cleanup costs. The city waited to make the offer until a preliminary study of soil conditions on the Farmland Foods site revealed no unexpected environmental problems.
Unions complete vote whether to ratify labor contract
ST. PAUL (AP) -- The state's two largest employees unions finished voting on whether or not to ratify labor agreements on Friday, a month after the tentative deals were reached.
Members of Council 6 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees finished voting Friday, and their votes will be counted Monday. Votes for members of the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees will be counted Wednesday.
The unions represent about 29,000 state employees. Both are expected to approve the two-year deals.
The unions were on strike for 14 days. The work stoppage centered on wage and health insurance issues. It ended Oct. 14.
Both contracts are subject to House and Senate ratification during the 2002 legislative session.
SCSU students see preview of Harry Potter movie
ST. CLOUD (AP) -- While theaters are selling out tickets for "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" at a record pace, a group of St. Cloud State University students got a sneak preview.
The students lived in Alnwick Castle, which doubles in the film as Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, as part of their study abroad program.
Marisa Adler was one of 34 students that got to see the movie as it was being filmed in England last fall. Through her bedroom window, Adler watched filmmakers shoot a scene where Harry flies for the first time.
St. Cloud has used Alnwick Castle for its English program since 1981.
Young actors wearing capes yelled, "Harry, Harry, Harry," heads swiveling as "Harry" -- a metal beam manipulated by two jumping men -- bounced up and down.
"That will be funny to see in the movie," Adler said.
The film company worked at Alnwick for almost a month, bringing in giant foam boulders and fake snow.
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