Updated: 04/02/2014 10:45 PM
Created: 04/02/2014 7:50 AM WDIO.com
By: Logan Gruber & Maarja Anderson
More than 100 people are out of a job on the Iron Range after a telemarketing business in Eveleth closed their doors Monday.
Meyer Teleservices closed their headquarters in St. Cloud, a call center in Little Falls, and the one in Eveleth. Nearly 200 people lost their jobs. 100 of the jobs were at the Eveleth location.
The company was created after the Watergate scandal to raise funds for the Democratic Party. Fundraising through telemarketing was its major service and revenue source.
Owner Gary Owen says the decreasing number of telephone land lines and the lack of access to cell phones have crippled his business. He says politicians are turning to the Internet to raise funds.
Owen says he did everything possible to remain open, using his retirement money and house equity. He said it's been a tough few days and he's sorry he disappointed so many people.
Craig Himmelright is one of the 104 employees who lost their job Monday. Owen said they do not have funds for severance pay.
"I started back in October of 2009 and I was just recently promoted to supervisor," he said.
He was promoted the first week of March. Now, he's looking for a new job. Unfortunately, this is a storm he's weathered before.
"I worked at LTV Steel and I also worked at Kimball Electronics and both places shut down the same way," he said.
The company has been in Eveleth since 2007. IRRRB Commissioner Tony Sertich said the loss is felt across the Range.
"This business has been in existence on the Iron Range for eight years and we helped support bringing them to the Range," he said. "Certainly, our first thoughts are with those Rangers who lost jobs."
In addition to the lost jobs, the company leaves behind a debt of $250,000 to the IRRRB. Equipment in the building will likely cover the loan, said Sertich.
Sertich said there are similar jobs available on the Range. He asks the employees to contact their local workforce center for help.
Michigan, US Appealing Judge's Ruling on Great Lakes Wolves
Michigan is joining the federal government in appealing a decision that restores legal protections for gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region. In December, a federal judge said Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin didn't provide adequate protection and the wolves haven't repopulated their historic range.
Hanson Pulls Out of Duluth Mayoral Race
Duluth City Councilor Howie Hanson, who was the first person to enter this year's mayoral race, has become the first person to pull out of the race. Mayor Don Ness is not seeking re-election.
Northland Mostly Misses Out on Speed Limit Boosts
Speed limits will soon be rising 340 miles of rural two-lane highways in Minnesota, but northeastern Minnesota drivers won't be able to put the pedal to the metal yet. The speed boosts are mostly going to central, western, and northwestern Minnesota.
Administrators Say Sex Offender Program Lacks Staff, Funding
Top administrators for Minnesota's sex offender treatment program say it lacks the staff and funding for regular evaluations and, that as a result, they don't know if some men confined for years still deserve to be held in high-security treatment centers.
Minnesota's Anticipated Surplus Swells to $1.87 Billion
Minnesota's bank account is projected to run up a $1.87 billion surplus over the next two years, which will drive calls for new spending, tax cuts or most likely a mix. The surplus is substantially more than the $1 billion estimated in December.