Arnie Johnson, former owner and founder of Universal Pensions Inc., was signing books at Book World in the Westgate Mall this past weekend. Johnson authored "Got a Problem? Get a Duck!: Getting Where you Want to be."
The book, from Evergreen Press publishers of Lake Country Journal Magazine, features a whimsical cover with Johnson and a cartoon duck.
Paul Bunyan Bowl is looking into an expansion plan that could include an additional eight to 12 lanes and consolidating the restaurant and bowling alley into one business in an entertainment complex, Mike McFarland reported.
Paul Bunyan's Sweet Tooth closed in the Westgate Mall.
In a spotlight on the northwest section of Minnesota that included Cass, Crow Wing and Morrison counties, the long view on jobs was examined by the state.
Minnesota Employment Review reported predictions for 12 percent growth in the number of jobs in the region for the decade ending 2008. However, the state may be lumping too many ingredients in the projection recipe as it has been slow to keep up with the population and job growth in the lakes area. The predictions cover not only the fast growing counties of this area but the more rural counties stretching through the Red River Valley north to Canada.
But the report had a kernel of truth that comes up at any number of economic development meetings. "Northwest Minnesota does not need to keep up with the state in job generation; joblessness is already low," author Don Hilber wrote. "A promising approach to economic development would de-emphasize the number of jobs created and devote some attention to how much they pay..."
Crow Wing County's labor force grew from 28,692 in October 2000 to 29,365 in October 2001. Those employed in October 2001 numbered 28,458 with 907 people jobless or 3.1 percent. The number of jobless in October 2000 was 934 or 3.3 percent. Crow Wing County has the largest labor force in the five county region, including Cass, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties.
The Spam Museum Jam in Austin has been rescheduled for June 15-16, 2002. The museum opened in September but the grand opening was scheduled this fall, was canceled after Sept. 11.
The museum, located in downtown Austin, is an homage to the "quirky joys" Spam inspired worldwide, according to a news release. The jam weekend is expected to include such noted celebrities as Tom Brokaw. Hormel, makers of Spam, started in Austin in 1937. The luncheon meat played a role in feeding Allied Forces during World War II and a special display marks that time period in the museum.
Brokaw and Hormel CEO Joel Johnson will dedicate a World War II memorial in honor of veterans on June 16. Spam Museum Jam events are free and open to the public.
For more information, go online to www.spam.com.
New applications for unemployment benefits in Minnesota are up nearly 24 percent from last November, the Minnesota Department of Economic Security reported this month. Initial claims for unemployment benefits are up by more than 100 percent from a year ago for workers in professional, technical and managerial, as well as service occupations. Unemployed people can go online at www.mnwfc.org/ui to file for benefits, or call toll-free 877-898-9090.
Shoppers who are tantalized by trading jostling elbows for the quiet of a home computer room are getting help from credit card companies.
Visa reported about 70 percent of consumers said they would feel safer making purchases online if they had a password to verify their identity. Many credit card companies and online shopping sites offer guarantees to protect consumers against fraud. Consumers are protected through secure sites and protected against paying for items they did not purchase should a system be breached.
Individual banks or credit card companies have also provided consumer assurances against being billed for unauthorized credit card use or provided additional security measures. US Bank and Firstar recently announced purchases made through participating merchants could be protected via a password known to the bank and the credit card holder.
Amoco stations throughout Minnesota will soon bear a new logo and a new name - BP. BP is the single, global corporate brand formed by the combination of the former British Petroleum, Amoco Corporation, Atlantic Richfield and Burmah Castrol.
The new look includes a modern helios symbol with green and yellow. The company says the green is designed to represent BP's environmental responsibility and yellow is for the image of the sun.
The conversion to BP in Minnesota will begin outside the Twin Cities metro area and make it's way throughout the entire state over the next couple years. Stations will continue to honor Amoco and BP credit cards.
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