Applications are being accepted for consideration in the Minnesota Beautiful program, a grant program that provides paint and coatings to complete various restoration projects in Minnesota communities. Selected projects must meet criteria including visual impact of the project, public benefit to the community, volunteer participation and support, current and/or intended use of the structure and benefit to the needy. Qualifying projects may include—but are not limited to—historic buildings, structures or landmarks, facilities for senior or disabled citizens, community centers or other public buildings and murals or other visual impact projects. Completed applications for the Minnesota Beautiful program must be received by March 4th. The program is administered by the Southwest Initiative Foundation in partnership with the Minneapolis-based Valspar Corporation.
Businesses, schools, farmers, and homeowners who have a leaking petroleum tank can receive technical assistance in cleaning up their property from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Petroleum Remediation Program. Since it was established in 1987, the program has overseen the cleanup of over seventeen thousand sites. In most cases, property owners can also obtain reimbursement of up to 90 percent of eligible costs from Minnesota's Petrofund. Petroleum leaks are a liability to property owners because they can contaminate drinking water. Under certain conditions, vapors from spilled petroleum can also enter sewer pipes or buildings, where they can present a health threat or even cause deadly explosions. If you suspect a leaking petroleum tank on your property call the MPCA.
All who are considering pursuing a college education are invited to attend Ridgewater’s annual free, informational spring gathering, on Thursday morning, February 28 on the Willmar campus. The event begins at 8:30, with check-in beginning at 8. Information sessions and department tours will run until 11, at which time guests are invited to listen to a special guest speaker who will be addressing current Ridgewater students. Information will be provided regarding how to apply, what financial aid is available, scholarships, and other available student services.
There will be an informational meeting on UCare on Wednesday, Feb. 20th from 9:30 to 1:30 at the Willmar Community Center. There is also an informational meeting at the Redwood Falls Community Center on Thursday, Feb. 14th at nine. Information will be given on UCare’s for Seniors health plan options.
Ridgewater College is hosting several events in February during Multicultural Month. ‘My Somalia, A Review of What Was Left Behind,’ will be presented Thursday, Feb. 14th from 11-11:50 in the theatre. The program takes a look at the hardships of the people from East Africa after their move to Minnesota. ‘Minnesota Nice,’ which will be held in the conference center, tells stories of students in Minnesota who have stepped forward to share how they were bullied. It will be shown on Thursday, Feb. 21st from 11 to noon. On Thursday, Feb. 28th from 11-11:50 in the cafeteria, a professional speaker will address cultural sensitivity.
The Montevideo City Council held a public hearing on the city’s street plan for this coming summer when it met this week. City Manager Steve Jones says the council did decide to move forward with their projects for this year, at least at this point they’ll be going out for bids. Jones said they have approximately $800,000 worth of projects this year they would like to do. The engineer will be advertising for bids, later in the spring they’ll be opening bids and going forward from there if the council still wants to proceed.
Representative Andrew Falk of rural Murdock is helping the City of Montevideo secure a veterans' home. He says its a logical next step to work with the veterans' clinic in the city. There are veterans' homes all over the state, Falk says, that serve as a place for veterans to live who can no longer live independently but don't need the services of a nursing home. Falk says a new home would be a benefit to local veterans, as well as boosting the local economy and workforce.
Stevens County Commissioners are considering their next steps for complying with the Affordable Care Act. The county currently pays a "cafeteria benefit" to employees, allowing individuals to spend their benefit on health insurance as they see fit. Under the federal care act, employers could be fined per employee if they do not provide group insurance. If an employee were to apply for health insurance through the Minnesota Insurance Exchange, and qualified to have their insurance subsidized by the government, the county could be liable for a $2,000 penalty per employee. Stevens County's liability would be an estimated $170,000 per year in penalties.
A Morris research scientist has been awarded a top honor by the Weed Science Society of America. Frank Focella, a researcher at the USDA Agricultural Research Service, has been named a WSSA Fellow, the highest honor awarded by the society. Forcella also is an adjunct professor at both the University of Minnesota and South Dakota State University. His wide-ranging research program emphasizes the management of specialty oilseeds and the ecosystem services provided by such crops. He has served as an editor for Weed Science and Weed Research and has garnered previous awards from WSSA for outstanding papers and research. Two other scientists were also named fellows.
Students from the University of Minnesota, Morris will be travelling to the State Capitol today (Thursday) as part of "Support the U" Day. The day will include meeting with legislators to discuss upcoming bills that affect the University, including increased funding for higher education and bond issues for University facilities. The day will include addresses from Governor Mark Dayton and University of Minnesota President Erik Kaler. Joe Kreisman, a UMM member of the Minnesota Student Legislative Coalition, will also speak at the rally.
The Minnesota State Patrol was called to a side-swipe crash yesterday afternoon (Wednesday) on State Highway 9 east of Sunburg. The semi driver, who was traveling east at the time, was not injured. The car was traveling west.
The U.S. Postal Service says it won’t be delivering mail on Saturdays beginning in August. This move to a five day delivery service is to help reduce its budget deficit. The Postal Service would continue to deliver packages six days a week, and post offices would still be open on Saturdays. Pete Nowacki, Twin Cities postal spokesperson, says they don’t have the mail they once did, and this new plan is expected to save $2 billion dollars. U.S. Senator Al Franken says he’s disappointed that the postal service plans to discontinue Saturday delivery. He says this could have been avoided had the House of Representatives taken up the bipartisan bill passed by the Senate last year. That legislation would have put the Postal Service on sounder financial footing and would have allowed rural communities to have greater say in the operation of local post offices.
Appleton Pioneer Public Television’s ‘Your Legislators’ will premier a new episode tonight (Thursday) at eight. This live question and answer program will feature legislators from both parties including: Representative Joe Schomacker, (R) District 22A, Luverne and Representative Andrew Falk, (DFL) District 17A, Murdock. This program will provide an opportunity for Minnesota residents to present questions to the state’s leadership. Viewers are encouraged to call in questions at 1-800-726-3178 during the hour long program.
Representatives from Premier Map out of Arlington, TX and Lincoln Marketing out of St. Paul have been contacting area businesses attempting to sell advertising for a local map and guide. According to the Willmar Lakes Area Chamber, these people are misrepresenting themselves and claiming to be the "official" map and "official" guides for Kandiyohi County. The chamber says the "official" map and "official" visitors guide are sold, produced, printed and distributed locally by the Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and the Willmar Lakes Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. The chamber asks that you support your local community and that you contact the chamber with questions.
The Benson City Council held a public hearing on the Small Cities Development program grant application when it met this week. City Administrator Rob Wolfington says the application, which is due at the end of the month, asks for $900,700 in total budget costs for a housing rehab grant program in Benson. The city has been awarded these grants in the past and is seeking a re-application. It pays about two thirds of the development cost for things like siding, roofs, windows, and more. The program is open to low and moderate income households and the targeted area is around the Swift County Benson Hospital.
Representative Mary Sawatzky of Willmar says it was great to hear from Governor Dayton and to hear his positive vision for how we move forward. She says she’s excited about moving Minnesota forward and looking at his initiatives with the budget and having a vision that is more than just a day ahead but into the future. Sawatzky said she’s excited about his initiative with education. “We’re working hard with the health exchange and things that Minnesotans need and let’s look forward to see what we can do together.”
Last night (Wednesday), Governor Mark Dayton delivered his annual State of the State address in a joint session of the legislature. Representative Andrew Falk of rural Murdock says he appreciates the fact that Governor Dayton is putting forward a bold vision for Minnesotans, and he applauds his efforts. Falk said they have to have the ability to make investments in education and economic development and infrastructure and that’s going to require resources and one of the things that governor Dayton has talked about is figuring out a way to actually pay for the investments that is going to move our state forward.