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Forget Tips, This Coffee Shop Pays Its Employees A Living Wage

At Kopplin’s Coffee Shop in St. Paul, Minnesota, tips are out, raises are in, and people are happy.

image via (cc) flickr user fajalar

Just over the Mississippi River, on the St. Paul side of Minnesota’s Twin Cities, is a block of neighborhood businesses which includes a boutique ice cream parlor, a small bakery, and Kopplin’s Coffee, a high end European-style coffee shop that’s been serving customers for nearly a decade. There, owners recently instituted a new policy that does away with one of the most recognizable coffee shop features – the tip jar. As of this past January, Andrew and wife Amanda Kopplin pay all their employees at least $12.50 an hour, a move designed to introduce a measure of stability in the lives – and paychecks – of those working a job not ordinarily known for its financial perks.

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GOOD Maker Challenge Winner: Minnesota Toy Store Brings Play to Children and Adults

This post is brought to you by GOOD, with support from UPS. We’ve teamed up to bring you the Small Business Collaborative, a series sharing...



This post is brought to you by GOOD, with support from UPS. We’ve teamed up to bring you the Small Business Collaborative, a series sharing stories about innovative small businesses that are changing business as usual for their communities and beyond. Learn how UPS is helping small businesses work better and more sustainably here.

This June, we announced the GOOD Maker Happy Side of Business challenge, which asked small business owners to tell us why they had the most innovative and outstanding customer service. We received a ton of great submissions, and we are excited to announce the winner of the $10,000 grant as Air Traffic Kites & Games of Burnsville, MN.

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High School Football Captain Starts Kindness Campaign on Twitter to Combat Bullying

Kevin Curwick has taken it upon himself to fight the tide of Twitter vitriol among his peers. #NiceItForward.

Check out any Hollywood movie set in high school and you'll see the football captain portrayed as a dumb, arrogant jock who's either a bully or a bystander, someone who passively watches other students get verbal and physical smackdowns. But Kevin Curwick, a 17-year-old senior who's the football captain at Osseo High School in Minnesota plays against all those stereotypes. Disgusted by the cyberbullying of other teens on Twitter, Curwick decided to start his own social media campaign, Osseo Nice Things, where he tweets positive things about them.

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Could Blogging Be the Key to Raising a Generation of Great Writers?

A Minnesota teacher is helping her students set up blogs and gain a readership. The result? The kids "see themselves as writers—real writers."


"I don't like to write." That's the refrain teachers have heard for a generation when they ask students why they're struggling to complete a short, three-paragraph essay. Thankfully, more and more educators are using two things kids love, technology and social media, to change that. By encouraging students to write on their own blogs, savvy teachers are helping kids take their writing out of the classroom vacuum, and cultivate a broader audience.

Minnesota teacher Lisa Christens told Twincities.com that her third graders have fans as far away as Nottingham, England. Her students can post about what they're working on in class as well as more personal material. The desire for reader feedback keeps the students excited about wanting to write more posts, and they're eager to improve their writing skills for their readers' benefit. "They now have a worldwide forum instead of an audience of one," Christens said, noting that the students "see themselves as writers—real writers."

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Infographic: How the Koch Brothers and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Turn Democracy Into a Game of Monopoly

An easy-to-trace look at how the Koch brothers' millions are buying political favors in Minnesota.

The clever and righteous folks at The Other 98% put out this infographic on the rather clear connection between the Koch brother's plentiful dollars and the Wisconsin governor who is now busting unions and, more important to this discussion, insisting on no-bid sales of the state-owned power plants.

Quick background: It just so happens that the three companies best positioned to buy and operate those facilities, which they could get for pennies on the dollar through the no-bid sale process, are all subsidiaries of, you guessed it: Koch Industries. (We've covered and ranted about the Kochs a bunch in the past. Amongst many other horrible, terrible things, they're some of the worst polluters in the country.) This Walker-Koch "secret deal" rumor seems to fall more towards credibility than wild-eyed conspiracy theory when you look at all the details in place, as Rick Unger did on his Forbes blog last week.

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The World's First Carbon Tariff. Sort of.

This is interesting (and encouraging) news: The first carbon tax to reduce the greenhouse gases from imports comes not between two nations, but...

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