Deena Winter


"Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

Twin Cities
Bloomington could soon see Mall of America tax windfall

Next year, the city of Bloomington will finally start seeing some payoff on a gamble it made in the late 1980s. The city soon will get property tax revenue from the Mall of America for the first time since the megamall opened in 1992, potentially leading to lower homeowner property tax rates in the suburb.

Mesabi Academy

A four-part series with exclusive data analysis about a northern Minnesota juvenile corrections facility published and broadcast throughout May 2016. The owners closed the operation two months after the first story.
It's robots vs. humans at Amazon's Shakopee plant

Two kinds of employees are hard at work Amazon's fulfillment center in north Shakopee, and the orange ones are winning. Over 2,000 of the employees are human, but over 5,000 are robots. Together, they pack and ship everything from cannoli shells to glue to Meow Mix to customers all over the world.
Let's make a deal - how Lincoln nabbed Verizon

In April, Mayor Coleen Seng and City Councilman Ken Svoboda were among about 20 elected officials and local business leaders invited to an unusual reception at the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce. They weren't told who they'd be receiving, only that it was a company considering bringing hundreds of jobs to Lincoln, Svoboda said.
Can you hire me now?

City officials are in the final stages of sealing a deal in which Verizon will bring about 800 jobs to Lincoln, according to sources familiar with the project. A groundbreaking on a call center is planned for Monday. Press releases are being prepared. Shovels are being readied.
Downtown hotel plan hits snag

Since John Q. Hammons announced plans in December to build an upscale hotel in downtown Lincoln, the project has been on a fast track to try to begin construction in July. But Wednesday, the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission threw a wrench into the machinery by failing to garner enough votes to move the project along.

Lincoln Journal Star
Dollars for developers: The great blight bluff

When Verizon was choosing from hundreds of cities for its new call center, Lincoln pulled out one of the few tools in its economic development chest, offering $2 million in incentives. And when Perot Systems wanted to consolidate its seven Lincoln offices and add employees, Lincoln turned to the tool again, offering $3 million in public assistance. Verizon came; Perot stayed. The tool doesn’t have a sexy name. It’s called tax increment financing, or TIF. But what is it, and why does the city...
Tensions simmered behind scenes as Lincoln arena deficit ballooned

In December, less than four months after Pinnacle Bank Arena opened, the arena's operating budget was looking good: the arena had opened like a rock star, with a string of 10 big-name concerts that brought in over 100,000 people and generated $8 million in ticket sales.

Lincoln Journal Star
Do arenas really goose economies?

When Lincolnites were considering whether to approve a $340 million arena project, they were bombarded with an advertising campaign promising it would create thousands of jobs and stimulate the economy. I investigated those promises, and found most economists don’t think arenas don’t help economies.
The Scotts vs. Hammons: David vs. Goliath?

For three years, John Q. Hammons was considered a shoo-in to build a convention hotel near the Haymarket. In 2004 - when he landed in Lincoln to say he planned to build an east downtown hotel - he hinted he also wanted the Haymarket hotel job if city built an arena.

Lincoln Journal Star
City salaries outpace Lincoln and state workers

Long before the state auditor unveiled state workers’ salaries, I delved into escalating city salaries – which are higher than the average state employee’s and higher than the average Lincoln resident’s. Burgeoning personnel costs are contributing to the city’s annual budget deficits of nearly $10 million.
Former AG Bruning's office advised corrections to ignore Supreme Court ruling

Contrary to what former Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning said in September, his office did advise the state corrections department to effectively disregard Nebraska Supreme Court rulings on supervising sex offenders, according to internal documents obtained by Nebraska Watchdog.

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