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Minn. roundup: Minnesotans asked to drop off unneeded drugs during Saturday event; more state headlines

Minnesotans asked to drop off unneeded drugs during Saturday event

ST. PAUL — About 100 Minnesota law enforcement agencies will accept unneeded prescription drugs Saturday, Oct. 28.

"There were more opioid-related deaths last year than the year before,' state Attorney General Lori Swanson said. "Safely disposing of prescription drugs that are no longer needed keeps them from being diverted or abused, or being accidentally swallowed by children,"

The event is part of the 14th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Agencies set up to receive the drugs can be found at http://tinyurl.com/TakeBackEvent.

Most events run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"These unwanted medications often find their way into the illicit drug supply and significantly contribute to the abuse epidemic that currently plagues our country and destroys lives," the federal Drug Enforcement Administration's Kenneth Solek said.

While Saturday is set aside for receiving unneeded drugs, many law enforcement agencies and pharmacies have drug-collection receptacles that are available year round. A map showing those locations is at http://tinyurl.com/YearAroundDrugReturn.

Pilgrim's Pride to close Luverne plant

LUVERNE, Minn.—Pilgrim's Pride Corp. said Tuesday it will close its Luverne, Minn., poultry processing facility, which employs about 200 people, at the end of the year. The decision to close the facility will allow Pilgrim's to shift production and equipment to more efficient operations.

"The Pilgrim's team explored several options before arriving at the difficult decision to close the Luverne facility," said Jayson Penn, Head of Pilgrim's USA. "We recognize the impact this has on our Luverne team, their families and the local community, and we will make every effort to assist in future job placement, including relocation opportunities at other company locations for all impacted employees."

Acquired in 1998 from the city, the plant was a former IBP beef production facility that was converted to produce frozen and convenience chicken products.

Alexandria looks to join 23 counties, 30 cities banning e-cigarettes inside public places

ALEXANDRIA, Minn. — Using e-cigarettes in indoor public spaces may soon be illegal in Alexandria.

On a split 3-2 vote Monday, Oct. 23, the Alexandria City Council gave preliminary approval to a local clean indoor air policy that bans vaping from e-cigarettes, e-cigars or e-pipes in all public places, including restaurants, bars, retail stores, commercial establishments, hospitals, nursing homes, auditoriums, common areas of rental apartment buildings and other places that are listed under Minnesota's Clean Indoor Air Act.

If approved at a second meeting, the policy would take effect on January 1. Alexandria would join 23 counties and 30 cities in Minnesota that have added e-cigarettes to their clean indoor air policy.

A public hearing before the vote drew 11 speakers — eight, mainly from the e-cigarette industry who opposed the ban, and three health professionals who supported it.

St. Catherine University's adjunct faculty reject union

ST. PAUL—Efforts to organize adjunct faculty at St. Catherine University have failed by a single vote.

After an eligibility battle, the National Labor Relations Board on Monday counted 106 ballots in favor of forming a union and 107 against.

The initial count, in July, was 105-96 in favor, plus 15 contested ballots. Labor organizers argued, with little success, that the board should not count the ballots of online instructors from other states, adjuncts who had not recently taught a class and those who had merely advised students.But enough of the contested ballots were decided in the university's favor to change the outcome.

"Using an endless reservoir of money, St. Kate's was willing to spend unlimited money on lawyers to make sure people who don't teach on the campus and have no interest in our community could vote against the union," said Carol Nieters, executive director of SEIU Local 284.

St. Kate's administrators lobbied hard against the organizing effort, warning of high union dues.

At the same time, the school increased its payments to $5,000 per class this fall from $4,000 last fall, and granted parking privileges and shared office space.

The SEIU has had mixed success with its four-year Twin Cities campaign to organize adjunct and contingent college faculty. Local 284 now represents adjunct faculty at Hamline University, Augsburg College and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. But Macalester College and University of St. Thomas leaders warded off adjunct unions by agreeing to improve working conditions.

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