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Redistricting panel starts public hearings Monday in Woodbury

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Redistricting panel starts public hearings Monday in Woodbury

A panel of five judges that is likely to draw new Minnesota congressional and legislative district boundaries early next year will hold a series of 10 public hearings around the state this month.

Starting Monday in Woodbury, the hearings are designed to give citizens opportunities to “share facts, opinions or concerns related to the redistricting process,” Presiding Judge Louise Dovre Bjorkman wrote in a recent court order.

Once every 10 years after the U.S. government conducts a new census, the Constitution requires new district boundaries to be drawn to reflect population changes and ensure that every part of the state has roughly equal representation.

The state Legislature is charged with drafting new maps, and lawmakers have started conducting public hearings on the issues. But Minnesota legislators and governors have failed to reach agreements on new lines for the past half century, and with the current Legislature divided between Democrats who control the House and the Republican majority in the Senate, a panel of judges probably will be called on to draw new districts again this year.

In response to a lawsuit filed by citizens in February, Chief Justice Lorie Gildea of the state Supreme Court in June appointed the five-judge redistricting panel to draw the new maps if the Legislature doesn’t get the job done by Feb. 15, as required by state law.

WHY HOLD HEARINGS

The hearings give citizens opportunities to inform the panel about their communities. The judges want to hear what Minnesotans consider “communities of interest” that should be represented in the new districts.

“Past panels have defined communities of interest to include groups of Minnesota citizens with clearly recognizable similarities of social, geographic, political, cultural, ethnic, economic or other interests,” Lissa Finne, a Special Redistricting Panel staff member, wrote in an email. “The panel would like to hear about everyday experiences from community members and to better understand the various communities across the state.”

Communities of interest could encompass such areas as the Iron Range, people of color, tribal reservations or urban, suburban and rural areas.

HOW IT WILL WORK

The hearings are free and open to the public, as well as viewable remotely via Zoom. For Zoom links, see the panel’s webpage, www.mncourts.gov/2021RedistrictingPanel.

Each citizen who is granted a request to make an oral presentation will have five minutes to speak. Everyone who attends a hearing will be required to wear a face covering, and the judges may limit the size of the audience. All hearings are scheduled to run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Citizens may also submit written statements to the panel. Those statements are due by Oct. 29 by email to [email protected] or by mail to: Minnesota Special Redistricting Panel; c/o Christa Rutherford, Clerk of Appellate Courts; 305 Minnesota Judicial Center; 25 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.; St. Paul, MN 55155.

The hearings are scheduled for:

  • Monday, Oct. 11, at Woodbury City Hall
  • Tuesday, Oct. 12, at Minneapolis Park Board Headquarters
  • Wednesday, Oct. 13, at Shakopee City Hall
  • Thursday, Oct. 14, at the Stearns County Board Room in Waite Park
  • Friday, Oct. 15, at the Minnesota Judicial Center in St. Paul
  • Monday, Oct. 18, at the Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead
  • Tuesday, Oct. 19, in the St. Louis County Courthouse in Duluth
  • Wednesday, Oct. 20, at the Worthington Event Center
  • Thursday, Oct. 21, at the Olmsted County Government Center in Rochester
  • Tuesday, Oct. 26, virtually via Zoom.
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The best tech gifts that aren’t gadgets

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The best tech gifts that aren’t gadgets

By Brian X. Chen, The New York Times Company

My favorite holiday tech gift doesn’t require batteries or software updates. It’s not even a gadget, though it was made with technology.

Can you guess what it is?

A few years ago, my wife experimented with her iPad and a digital stylus to make digital illustrations. Using Procreate, a drawing app, she loaded a photo of our beloved corgi, Max, as a reference to trace over before embellishing the image with a polka-dot bow tie and a cartoonishly long tongue. I liked it so much that I picked a background color that would complement our home and uploaded the illustration to the app Keepsake, a printing service that assembles your images in a nice frame before delivering it to your door.

A large, framed portrait of Max now hangs as a centerpiece in our living room in all its two-dimensional glory. It makes me smile and is always a conversation starter when we have guests over. That’s more than I can say about other tech gifts that I’ve received over the years, such as video games and smart speakers, which only brought short-lived joy.

(Mary Lam via The New York Times

An image supplied by Mary Lam. Supply-chain disruptions may make it tough to buy devices, but the most thoughtful presents were never tangible to begin with.

This type of gifting exercise — tech-adjacent presents that don’t involve hardware or thoughtless Best Buy gift cards — may be especially welcome this year. That’s because we are living in a pandemic-induced era of scarcity driven by a global chip shortage and supply chain disruptions that have made conventional gifts difficult to buy. (Anyone trying to buy a game console for the last year understands this pain.)

So here’s a list of ideas for tech gifts we can give without actually buying tech, from the presents you can create to experiences that will last a lifetime.

The gift of fixing

Last week, I told a friend I had a special present for her: I would fix her iPhone problem.

She had complained to me about her 5-year-old iPhone SE. The device could no longer take photos or install software updates because nearly all of the device’s data storage was used up.

So before she left for her Thanksgiving vacation, I met her for lunch and walked her through the process of backing up photos to an external drive before purging all the images from the device. Then I plugged her phone into a computer to back up all her data before installing the new operating system.

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Leadville, Northglenn brewer files for bankruptcy after business goes flat

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Leadville, Northglenn brewer files for bankruptcy after business goes flat

A little more than a year after Periodic Brewing shuttered its doors in Leadville and Northglenn, the brewery has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

The company said in its Nov. 23 bankruptcy filing that it owes $1.4 million to a little more than 50 creditors and has assets worth $58,324.

Periodic opened in Leadville in 2015, and added a taproom and production facility in Northglenn in 2017. It closed them both in September 2020, announcing the news on social media but offering little insight into the reason why.

Chapter 7 bankruptcies are typically a liquidation process, in which a trustee is appointed to oversee a selloff of the debtor’s assets. The bankruptcy filing indicates that the brewery’s equipment has already been auctioned off by Lake and Adams counties, where Leadville and Northglenn are located.

Chris Labbe was the founder of Periodic Brewing, which launched in 2015.

“We owed a lot of money,” founder Chris Labbe told BusinessDen Tuesday. “There’s really no way around it. There’s only one path at this point to protect all the owners and make sure all the results of auctions are distributed correctly to those debtors.”

Throughout its five years of operation, Periodic served more than 300,000 pints of beer and produced more than 100,000 cans and bottles, according to Labbe. In its filing, the brewery said it had revenue of $784,998 in 2019 and $364,213 in 2020 prior to its closure.

Prior to the pandemic, Labbe said 80 percent of Periodic’s revenue came from its taprooms and 20 percent came from distribution.

“I pushed the business hard in our distribution growth, and we were successful. But going into the pandemic, we were not in a strong financial position,” Labbe said.

While distribution was a lifesaver for some breweries when the pandemic hit, and taprooms had to largely close, Labbe said Periodic stopped distribution during the pandemic in an effort to conserve cash.

“We had expanded into nearly 100 distribution locations in the Denver area and were producing at record levels,” Labbe said. “All signs pointed to continued success in the first part of 2020, but then the lights went out. We scrambled as best we could to gather resources and materials to survive what was coming, but by early June and going into July, revenue in Leadville was close to zero during a period where we usually make a lot of money.”

“It cost a lot of money to prepare and stay on top of the distribution,” he added. “And when the taprooms were shut down, we lost almost $350,00 in revenue over that first summer. It was too much to try to recover from and continue to fight the fight as a family.”

In addition to declining revenue, Labbe said he struggled to find and afford employees to staff the taprooms. Despite having another full time job in the oil and gas industry, he was working at the brewery eight to 10 hours a day.

Periodic Brewing

Periodic Brewing produced more than 100,000 cans and bottles of beer during its five years in operation.

“We physically couldn’t handle it anymore,” he said. “By July, we were at rock bottom, and that led to our decision to close in September. We knew we’d have a hard time recovering from that without an extensive personal investment.”

Creditors include Labbe himself, owed $268,044 for loans to the company; Greenwood Village-based GVC Capital, owed $609,000 for expansion funding; and OnDeck Capital, a loan agency that’s filed a lawsuit against Periodic to collect the $31,622 it’s owed.

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Hawaii’s mountains brace for a blizzard while Colorado continues in a snow drought

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Hawaii’s mountains brace for a blizzard while Colorado continues in a snow drought

Hawaii sits 20 degrees of latitude south of where Colorado sits, has mostly a tropical climate and is surrounded by ocean, yet, portions of the island chain are bracing for blizzard conditions. While Colorado is no stranger to blizzard conditions, this season all types of frozen precipitation have been quite rare.

It is fairly common for the highest elevations (above 11,000 feet) in Hawaii to receive snow, which means the peaks of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea are often the most likely places to see it occur. A Kona low is what is drawing in a lot of moisture from the south while a cold front sweeps through bringing the chill needed atop the biggest mountains. Of course, not all of Hawaii is going to see snow. The lower elevations are bracing for several inches of rain and mudslides in the coming days.

The weather in Hawaii right now is pretty active. There are flood watches, high surf warnings, high wind warnings and blizzard warnings in effect across the archipelago chain.  This weekend in paradise is likely to be a bit of a washout for the folks who live or are vacationing there. Up to 8 inches of rain may fall on the Big Island this weekend, while up to a foot of snow impacts the highest peaks. Winds will gust up to 100 mph at times on the mountaintops while lower elevations brace for 40-60 mph winds. On top of this, the coastal areas of the Big Island are expecting 20- to 30-foot waves this weekend as a result of this Kona low.

This is the weather, minus the big surf, that we so desperately need here in Colorado. Rain or snow is severely lacking and temperatures are drying things out even faster thanks to how anomalously warm they have been. Some places across Colorado just hit their hottest temperature ever recorded in December.

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