Minnesota State system settles wage dispute

ST. PAUL - Minnesota State has agreed to pay up to $1.9 million to settle a wage dispute with faculty at its two-year colleges.

The Minnesota State College Faculty union has been fighting since 2010 over wage calculations for faculty who do certain jobs, such as teaching independent studies or coordinating internships, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

The union prevailed at arbitration in 2016 but argued the public higher education system refused to comply with that ruling. The faculty sued Minnesota State in Ramsey County District Court in December 2017, alleging unfair labor practices.

Minnesota State said it paid faculty in accordance with the arbitration ruling but maintained it was not required to change practices going forward. The settlement announced May 22 brings an end to that lawsuit.

As part of the agreement, Minnesota State promised to pay faculty going forward with a formula that includes both credits and contact hours.

Faculty members have until Oct. 31 to file claims. Minnesota State will pay a referee up to $50,000 to decide who qualifies.

The union says between 180 and 700 instructors are owed back pay. Payments were capped at $1.9 million.

Alexandria Technical & Community College is part of the Minnesota State system. However, the impact should be minimal at the college, according to Gregg Raisanen, acting vice president of academic and student affairs at ATCC.

Fergus Falls man facing murder charge

A Fergus Falls man could be charged with murder after law enforcement found another man dead early Sunday morning, June 2, on a curbside in Fosston.

At 3:44 a.m., the Polk County Sheriff's Office responded to a reported assault at Eighth Street Northwest and North Mark Avenue, where they found a man who was not breathing lying partly on the curb, according to a news release. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

"The Polk County Sheriff's Office has no information that there is a continued threat to the public," the release said. "There is no information that a firearm was involved in this incident."

Nicholas Hauge, 29, was standing nearby, and officers took him into custody, the release said. The Sheriff's Office declined to say why he was arrested, but the Northwest Regional Corrections Center in Crookston, confirmed he was booked there on suspicion of second-degree murder with intent but not premeditated.

The Polk County Attorney's Office will decide what charges Hauge will face. Formal charges could be filed this week.

If Hauge is charged with second-degree murder, he could face up to 40 years in prison, according to Minnesota law.

Officers did not release the name of the deceased man. His body was taken to the medical examiner's office in Grand Forks.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is assisting with the investigation, which is ongoing. The Sheriff's Office said it would not release any more information at this time.

Authorities released few details on what led up to the man's death or if Hauge knew the decedent.

Dispatch also received a report of someone trying to break into a house near the intersection before officers arrived at the scene, the release said.

Minnesota exports still climbing

ST. PAUL - Exports of Minnesota products continued to grow the first quarter of 2019 after hitting record numbers the year before.

State exports grew to $5.4 billion in the first three months of the year, a 1.5 percent growth over the same months in 2018. That bested the national growth rate of 1.4 percent for the same time, according to a report released by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Minnesota businesses exported a record $23 billion in goods in 2018, a 10 percent jump from the year before.

The state's largest export market was Canada at $1 billion, followed by Mexico at $621 million and China, $606 million.

The top exported products were optics and medical goods, $1.1 billion.

- Echo Press and wire reports