Friday, January 19, 2018

Energy assistance can help Minnesotans who struggle to pay heating bills

SAINT PAUL – The past month’s extreme cold has once again reminded Minnesotans how important it is to keep our homes heated in winter for both safety and comfort.

With plenty of winter still to come, the Minnesota Commerce Department encourages Minnesotans who depend on delivered fuels, such as propane and heating oil, to keep their fuel tanks well supplied, conserve energy and apply for energy assistance if they need help paying their heating bills.

“To ensure a warm and safe home, we urge the many Minnesotans who depend on propane or heating oil to make sure their fuel tanks are always at least one quarter full,” said Commerce Commissioner Jessica Looman. “We still have weeks of winter remaining, so it is best to plan ahead and work with your supplier to schedule deliveries to keep your supply at a safe level.”

The Commerce Department offers some basic tips for propane and fuel oil consumers:

Don’t let your tank reach empty. Call for a refill when your tank is 25-30 percent full. If your tank is empty, the supplier must do a full inspection to check pressure and leaks, which can result in an extra charge.

Consider asking your propane supplier for a budget plan to spread out your payments. A law signed by Gov. Mark Dayton after a shortage in 2014 requires most propane distributors to offer customers a budget payment plan. Distributors must also notify budget-plan customers of price or fee changes that may affect their monthly payment amount by more than 20 percent.

Know your rights. The 2014 law also established consumer protections, including transparent pricing.  Distributors are required to inform customers of current per-gallon price and additional charges, fees and discounts. There is also a prohibition on extra fees, such as adding any service, distribution, transportation or other fees to the bills of customers who enter into a contract with the distributor.

Conserve energy so you can save both fuel and money. Programmable thermostats, energy-efficient appliances and other energy-saving measures help reduce energy use. The Commerce Department website features a Home Energy Guide with tips to save on energy.

Apply for energy assistance.  If you are struggling with your heating bills, the state’s Energy Assistance Program is available to help low-income Minnesotans pay for their energy costs. An average grant per household was about $520 last year. Information about the Energy AssistanceProgram is available on the Commerce Department website or by calling (toll-free) 800-657-3710.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Keith Urban “Graffiti U World Tour 2018” Coming To Grand Forks

Grand Forks, N.D.- At a surprise pop-up show last night in Nashville, Grammy Award winner Keith Urban announced his “GRAFFITI U WORLD TOUR 2018” with special guest Kelsea Ballerini. He took the opportunity to announce that his forthcoming album will be called GRAFFITI U.

The tour will kick off in June and will run through November, making stops in 58 cities, including Grand Forks on Sunday, October 14th. Tickets will go on sale on January 26th at 10:00 AM CST at, the arena box office or by phone at 1-800-745-3000.

“I’ve been full-on writing, recording, collaborating and creating with some incredibly talented people for GRAFFITI U, a lot of whom I’ve never worked with before” said Urban. “I can hear how some of the songs will translate live already, which really makes putting on a new show so exhilarating and I loved having our fans included in the announcement of the tour because it’s their tour too.”

“I remember hearing Keith Urban songs that stopped me in my tracks and made me want to drop everything and chase that kind of lyric and heart-filled artistry” says Ballerini.  “He’s the best in the business and I can’t wait to fangirl and learn from him this year. Truly an honor to tour with him.”

Urban’s tour announcements have become events unto themselves, last night’s yet another in a line of conceptual tour announcements that have included production and performance previews, as well as comedic videos that have been copies since.

For all official Keith Urban tour news including show dates and where to purchase tickets, go to

Thursday, January 11, 2018

No travel advisory lifted for northwest Minnesota

BEMIDJI, Minn. – (2:00 p.m.) The Minnesota Department of Transportation has lifted a no travel advisory for northwestern Minnesota.

Winds in the area have decreased slightly which has improved visibility to over a quarter mile. Driving conditions in the Red River Valley are still difficult due to blowing snow. Motorists should use caution when traveling, especially in open areas with no wind breaks. 

After a storm motorists should:
* Check road conditions at or call 511; it takes time to get roads back to good driving conditions.
* Be patient and remember snowplows are working to improve road conditions for their trip.
* Stay back at least 10 car lengths behind the plow, far from the snow cloud.
* Stay alert for snowplows that turn or exit frequently and often with little warning. Plows may also travel over centerlines or partially in traffic to further improve road conditions.
* Slow down to a safe speed for current conditions. Snowplows typically move at slower speeds.

For additional tips on safe winter driving, go to

For real-time traffic and travel information in Minnesota, visit or get the free smartphone app at Google Play or the App Store.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

No Travel Advised

BEMIDJI, Minn. – (9 p.m.) The Minnesota Department of Transportation has enacted a no travel advisory in the following counties due to dangerous driving conditions.

·       Kittson
·       Marshall
·       Norman
·       Pennington
·       Polk
·       Red Lake

High winds and blowing snow are causing whiteout conditions and snowplows have been pulled off their routes.

30-40 MPH winds are forecasted through the morning, and visibility is not anticipated to improve until winds decrease. Motorists are advised not to travel until conditions improve.

For tips on safe winter driving, go to

For real-time traffic and travel information in Minnesota, visit or get the free smartphone app at Google Play or the App Store.