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NEWS
Oct 20

News Director: Bev Alquist
Call with news at 320-235-2900 or email bahlquist@k-musicradio.com

WELCOME BACK BEV!!!

Safe Avenues is opening new offices in Montevideo, Madison and Granite Falls to serve the needs of victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Currently, Safe Avenues operates in five counties in Southwestern Minnesota. Current office locations are in Willmar, Benson, Olivia, Litchfield and Hutchinson. The new offices will allow Safe Avenues to provide advocacy services to Chippewa, Lac qui Parle and Yellow Medicine Counties.

Minnesota communities and schools wanting to develop safer routes for students to walk and bicycle to school can apply for planning assistance grants through the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School program. The application deadline is Jan. 5th. Planning assistance grants are the first step for communities to assess their current conditions for walking and bicycling to school and decide what they need to effectively implement a Safe Routes to School program. After a plan is developed, schools and communities use this assessment to apply for funds to advance infrastructure such as sidewalks, crosswalks and signage and non-infrastructure solutions such as educational programming, events and enforcement. Walking and bicycling to school is on the decline, decreasing from 48 percent of students in 1969 to 17 percent in 2014.

The MACCRAY School District will hold an operating levy referendum on Tuesday, Nov. 7th to maintain funding for the operation of the MACCRAY Schools. The polls will be open from seven in the morning to 8 at night in each of the district’s three buildings. There is no school that day because of the election. Students will make up for this day not in school on November 13th. The current operating referendum provides $342 per resident student and expires after taxes payable 2017.

State Representative Dean Urdahl of rural Grove City will receive an award for his achievements in supporting the state’s transportation infrastructure during the 2017 legislative session. The Minnesota Transportation Alliance is presenting Urdahl with its Transportation Legislator Award, specifically citing his efforts in crafting this year’s bonding bill. Urdahl will receive the award during a Nov. 8 event in St. Cloud. As chairman of the House Capital Investment Committee, Urdahl authored more than $254 million in transportation projects this year, with an emphasis on roads and bridges. This includes $116 million for the Local Road Improvement Fund Program, $71 million for rail grade crossings and $49.2 million for local bridge work.

The Minnesota Public Facilities Authority approved more than $3.5 million in grants for wastewater system improvements in Grove City. The Meeker County community will use the funding to demolish an existing facility and to build a three-cell stabilization pond system and force main. The Authority awarded the project a $3.13 million grant from the Water Infrastructure Fund and a $380,485 grant from the Point Source Implementation Grant Program. The project also received a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development loan of $4.13 million and grant of $1.95 million. The Water Infrastructure Fund provides grants to help communities build high priority water infrastructure projects that would otherwise be unaffordable. Grants from the program are packaged with PFA loans or federal loans and grants.

If you’re excited about state government, intern with the Office of Governor Mark Dayton and Lt. Governor Tina Smith! This internship program affords students the opportunity to earn college credits and valuable professional experience. The purpose of the internship program is to enhance educational opportunities for currently enrolled undergraduate or graduate students or recent graduates. The program is offered year-round. Interns commit to at least 12 hours a week; schedules are flexible between the hours of 9-5 Monday-Friday. The Governor's Office is accepting applications for spring 2018. The application deadline is October 31st.

Yesterday (Thursday), Representative Dave Baker of Willmar sent a letter to the Minnesota congressional delegation asking for the repeal of the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016. Recent reports by “60 Minutes” and the Washington Post showed the act impedes the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) effort to seize unusual shipments of opioids, allowing more drugs into communities. The law was passed by unanimous consent – in both the House and the Senate – and signed by President Obama. Baker says they’re seeing this law have a negative impact in attempting to fight the opioid epidemic, and this provision takes away one of the DEA’s essential tools for limiting the distribution of excess opioids into the market.

Minnesota employers added 6,400 jobs in September, according to seasonally adjusted figures released by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). The state has gained 41,259 jobs over the past year, an increase of 1.4 percent. U.S. job growth in the past 12 months was 1.2 percent. Minnesota’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell 0.1 percent in September to 3.7 percent. The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.2 percent in September. Minnesota's job expansion is now eight years strong, with the state adding more than 337,000 jobs since September 2009. During that period, the overall unemployment rate fell from 7.9 percent to the current low of 3.7 percent. 

 

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