The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recently received a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to enhance the use of renewable wood energy systems throughout the state. The three-year grant will help open new markets for Minnesota’s forest resources, promote economic vitality, and use renewable energy while reducing overall energy costs. They want to identify a number of commercial and institutional buildings that now use fuel oil or propane for energy and replace those systems with innovative wood energy systems. The goal is to reduce the amount of non-renewable energy that is imported by deploying a less expensive, renewable fuel source to appropriate buildings in Minnesota.
The American Farm Bureau Federation is urging agriculture producers across the nation to contact their representation in the House and Senate to push for a new Farm Bill as the government shut-down halts farm programs. A continuing resolution would have kept the federal government's money and paychecks coming at the 2012 level, giving lawmakers time to approve the annual spending bills. Without that funding, only essential, or exempt, personnel will be working. Among those considered essential are workers who deal with public health, safety and security. Food safety inspections will continue, but enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program and the Wetlands Reserve Program will end.
On Saturday, several events to celebrate the Hispanic culture will be held in Morris. The PRCA Gallery in Morris is hosting the band Viva Mexico at the Morris Public Library at 7 that night. The musical event is free. A workshop with storytelling and music will be held earlier in the day, at 3, also at the public library.
Special hunts to prevent overpopulation of deer and protect resources will take place this fall at several Minnesota state parks, and access to the parks will vary during these hunts. The Department of Natural Resources says some parks will remain open to all visitors, some will have limited access and some will be open only to hunters with special permits (closed to the general public). Glacial Lakes State Park will be partially open to visitors during a special hunt November 14-17. Lake Carlos State Park will also remain partially open to the general public during a November 9-10 hunt. The deadlines for youth and adults to apply for a special permit to participate in the hunts - which include regular firearms, muzzleloader and archery options - has passed.
Owners of an estimated twenty-two thousand livestock feedlots registered in Minnesota must submit updated registration information to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency by January 1st. The information includes location, type of operation, and number of livestock. Feedlot owners who have not already re-registered will receive a registration form from either their local county office or an MPCA regional office. More information and the registration forms are available on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency website -- search for "feedlot registration" -- or from your county or the M-P-C-A regional office near you.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is urging cabin owners to keep an eye out for zebra mussels or any other type of aquatic invasive species as they put their docks, boats and other water-related equipment away for the season. The DNR’s Ann Pierce says everyone needs to do their part in helping protect Minnesota waters from aquatic invasive species. Carefully inspect everything you remove from the water to see if there are invasive species attached. These types of observations will provide invaluable information for the DNR in tracking the distribution of aquatic invasive species – and they also give us a chance to rapidly respond when any new infestations are found.
Sherry Johnson, a supervisor with Kandiyohi County Public Health, and Mary Jo O’Brien, executive director with the Supporting Hands Nurse Family Partnership program in St. Paul, talked about the program at Tuesday’s county board meeting. This program is new to the county and supports first time moms in the county. O’Brien says the nurse they have has more than half a case load and referrals are coming in. They expect to be up to full caseload in a very short period of time. It’s very important that all first time moms who are low income and in high stress and in need of services really get referred to this voluntary program, to know there’s a program they can use as a first time mom to help them through this often difficult and emotional time in their lives.
The Minnesota Farmers Union believes our future is in the hands of our youth and that is why they support 4-H in Minnesota, and want to recognize them during National 4-H week,October 6-12. Minnesota Farmers Union President Doug Peterson says learning the importance of giving back, and of community, is vital to our economy and the 4-H program does this while also teaching kids the skills needed to succeed. The Farmers Union supports youth and 4-H financially by buying animals at the 4-H auction; providing championship signs for winners at the State Fair; working at the Legislature to ensure adequate funding for 4-H; sponsoring Pioneer Public Television’s showing of the 4-H auction on television; and joins 4-H in building youth leadership through our leadership camps.
U.S. Senator Al Franken says while the federal government is shut down he’ll donate the salary he receives to Second Harvest Heartland, a hunger relief organization that works throughout Minnesota. Sen. Franken chose this organization because he said people who rely on the federal government’s safety net programs may need help making ends meet as a result of the shutdown. Franken says while the government is shut down, donating his salary to charity is the right thing to do. He says he’s going to make sure that money goes toward helping people who might be badly affected by the shut down. Earlier this week, Sen. Franken and a majority in the Senate voted to extend funding for the federal government to avert a shutdown.
It’s homecoming week in Willmar and reports of reckless driving, vandalism and littering are on the rise. During this week, Willmar Police respond to many reports of toilet papering, vehicles being hit by eggs and other reports of mischief. While most homecoming pranks are harmless, the police do take many reports of eggs and other substances damaging paint on cars. Most often they respond to reports of reckless driving. At this point there has been at least one crash attributed to these pranks. Parents are asked to talk to their kids about the potential consequences of pranks this week.
There will be an open public meeting relating to the Kandiyohi County Mitigation Plan. The meeting will be held at the Kandiyohi County Rescue Building at 213 Northeast Lakeland Drive on Tuesday afternoon, October 8th at 1:30. The purpose of the meeting is to capture public input as it relates to the pending Mitigation Plan.
The Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Department now has new radar thanks to the Department of Public Safety, Office of Traffic Safety. Tom Kummrow, law enforcement liaison with the Office of Traffic Safety, presented a radar unit to Kandiyohi County Sheriff Dan Hartog at Tuesday’s county board meeting for the work the sheriff’s office has done with the State regarding the TZD (Towards Zero Deaths) grant. He praised the sheriff’s office, saying they have real initiative not only when they’re on the state dollar but when they’re on their own as well. Kummrow says he’s allowed to nominate an agency who he believes is doing an outstanding job and he nominated Kandiyohi County. Kummrow said he knows Sheriff Hartog has in the past couple years assigned guys to work traffic during the high traffic time when the crashes are happening, which doesn’t happen all over the state, in some areas they shy away from traffic enforcement. Kummrow said in all reality he believes the citizenry wants good traffic enforcement and that’s what you’re getting from the sheriff’s office.
The Grant County Sheriff's Office is seeking your help in locating 81 year old Orlando Tollefson who left Herman on Tuesday afternoon around five and has not returned to his residence. He moved to Herman to live with his grandson and also has a residence in Coon Rapids in the Twin Cities. Tollefson was driving a moss green, 2013 Kia Soul, bearing license number 732 JKC. Tollefson does suffer from heart problems, has diabetes, is on medication and also has early dementia. Anyone who sees Tollefson or his vehicle is asked to call the Grant County Sheriff's Office or your local law enforcement agency.
The American Red Cross Bloodmobile will be at the University of Minnesota, Morris's Student Center today (Thursday) from 10 to 4. The Red Cross is seeking blood donors of all blood types. You can also make a blood donation tomorrow (Friday) from 8 to noon at St. Mary's Parish Center in Chokio. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.
Just before six last night (Wednesday) the Meeker County Sheriff's Office, several fire departments and the Meeker Co-op Light and Power Association responded to multiple calls at 31252 733rd Avenue, for a barn fire. One of the reporting parties, a neighbor, noticed the fire after a lightning strike had hit the barn. The owners, Dale and Linda Atkinson of South Haven, were not at home at the time the fire started. The 32 x 60 foot barn was used to store antiques and household items. The barn had an attached 16x30 foot on one side, and a second shed, a12x20 foot chicken coop with about 50 young laying chickens that were caught in the fire. The barn was insured and was a total loss. The damage is estimated at approximately $207,000 with buildings and contents. There were no injuries resulting from the fire and no one was present at the residence at the time of the fire. Lindberg Excavating Inc. of Cokato, was called to assist in spreading the rubble, to extinguish hot spots.