Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Minnesota Commerce Department Warns Businesses of ‘Corporate Compliance’ Email Scam

SAINT PAUL – Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman is warning the state’s businesses about an email solicitation from “Minnesota Corporate Compliance” with an invoice requesting payment to comply with a state business reporting requirement.
The deceptive email solicits businesses ato pay a $125 fee by a certain date in order to maintain proper records.
“This email is a scam and any business that receives the solicitation should disregard it,” said Rothman.  “At first glance, the official-looking invoice may appear legitimate. But it is designed to trick a business into making an unnecessary payment.”
The invoice cites a nonexistent state law about maintaining business records and requests online payment of a $125 annual fee.
While the invoice has a return address for a downtown Saint Paul office building, it does not include a suite number and there is no tenant in the building matching Minnesota Corporate Compliance.
Calls to the phone number listed on the invoice are forwarded to voice mail.
“This type of scam isn’t entirely new,” said Rothman. “Businesses used to get solicitations like this through direct mail or phone calls.  Now it’s done with email and online payment services. But the intent remains the same: to deceive and defraud.”

Science Summer Camps at U of M Crookston


CROOKSTON, Minn. – Learn how to answer questions using science, develop questions in an area of interest, conduct an experiment, or learn to interpret results of an experiment during Science Summer Camp. The Science Summer Camps will be held at the University of Minnesota Crookston on Monday, August 1 through Friday, August 5 and is designed for young scientists in grades 6-9 and another running at the same time for those in grades 10-12 as well as science teachers. Registration for the camps is $90 before July 15 and $100 after July 15. Register at www.umcrookston.edu/camps

Housing is available on campus for $170 for the week and includes evening activities, supervision, along with room and board. Daily sessions begin at 9 a.m. and conclude at 3 p.m. except for Friday which includes poster and oral presentations and concludes at noon. For every five student registrations, one teacher registration is free. Parents and teachers may attend all week but are encouraged to attend the final day.

Studies show that participation in science fair projects increases standardized test scores in the sciences. Participation in a regional science fair can result in trips to the state fair and the international fair along with awards and recognition. For more information on the Science Summer Camps at the U of M Crookston, contact Katy Smith, Ph.D., 218-281-8262.

Friday, April 22, 2016

BBB Reminds of Social Media Spring Cleaning

Burnsville, Minnesota – April 22, 2016 – Spring has sprung and it’s a great time to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. While it’s important to securely dispose of physical documents that contain sensitive information in order to protect your identity, Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota ® (BBB) also recommends adding social media cleaning to your spring cleaning regimen.

“Your digital footprint is something identity thieves keep track of,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. “They bank on people oversharing information that they can potentially use to steal your identity.”

Taking steps to guard your identity online is just as important as taking steps to protect it offline. Identity theft is an issue which could potentially affect anyone, particularly those who are active on social media. The information you share through those channels can pile up quickly, especially if you’re a regular user.
Not sure where to start? Here are some basic social media spring cleaning tips to keep in mind:

Be careful what you share. Social media serves as a vehicle to stay in touch with friends and family, but it’s important to keep track of what you share and who can see those updates. If you’re not sure who can access your information, carefully review privacy and security settings to ensure that your information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Take advantage of Facebook’s security checkup feature to manage who sees your Facebook posts, the applications you agree to share your information with, and the personal detail you provide on your profile. In Facebook, you can hide your information – including posts and photos – from people you don’t know by managing your privacy settings.

Personal information. If possible, try to eliminate any personal information in your profile such as your address, phone number, email address, your birthday, or any other information that identity thieves can use to their advantage. Scammers are sometimes able to use this information to crack security questions and gain access to accounts you control.

Clean up your passwords. If you haven’t changed your passwords in recent memory, it might be time to do so. The more complex your passwords are, the safer your sensitive information will be. It’s a good idea to use a different password for each account. Also, never store your passwords on your computer.

Apps and quizzes. In Facebook and Twitter, you can manage which external apps you share your information with. If you choose to utilize an application through social media sites, take a minute to review the permissions to learn more about what personal or account information they’ll have access to and how it will be used. In addition, it’s also important to avoid suspect quizzes. Though Facebook quizzes can be entertaining, it’s important to understand the potential dangers of providing your personal information to unfamiliar third party websites, including the possibility of exposing your device to malware.

For the latest consumer news, fraud alerts and free BBB Business Reviews visit bbb.org

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Fargo's 13th Avenue South Reconstruction Work Beginning Thursday

FARGO, N.D. (April 19, 2016) – Beginning at 6 a.m. on Thursday, April 21st, contractors for the City ofFargo will start work on the 13th Avenue South reconstruction project that is expected to improve one ofthe most-traveled roads in Fargo. On Thursday, drivers, pedestrians, residents and business owners will notice crews installing traffic control devices through the work zone, from roughly the I-29 interchange to 45th Street.

Following traffic control device installation, project work will begin with crews removing center medians through this stretch of 13th Ave. S. One lane in each direction will close to allow room for project work, and traffic will run in the eastbound and westbound outside lanes. This traffic pattern should last approximately two to three weeks and speeds will be reduced to 25 mph.

“Because contractors will be removing the median and parts of the road, there will be increased truck traffic in the area,” said Jeremy Gorden, transportation division engineer for the City of Fargo. “Crews will not only be working in the center, but will be installing temporary light poles on the intersection corners of 13th. Please pay attention to flaggers and keep your eyes on the road, so we can make sure everyone passes safely through the work zone.”

For most of the remaining work, traffic will be head-to-head, one lane in each direction, first on the south side of 13th Ave. then switching to the north side. At least one lane of traffic in each direction will remain open throughout construction and business access will be maintained.

Motorists should plan for delays and are encouraged to be patient when traveling through the work zone. They should also be aware of intermittent intersection closures at 44th Street, 43rd ½ Street, 43rd Street and 40th Street, and limited left hand turns at these intersections.

“This heavy traffic stretch along 13th Avenue is busy without construction,” Gorden said. “The road connects more than 30,000 vehicles per day to hundreds of businesses. We ask that both drivers and business owners be patient as we move through this dynamic work zone together. We look forward to the road ahead, bringing you more safety and better access this fall.”

The reconstruction of 13th Ave. S will run through October and will replace aging infrastructure to improve both pedestrian and motorist safety through the corridor. The project will widen 13th Ave. to a six-lane roadway to accommodate increasing traffic volumes. 

Additional project work consists of:
-          Complete roadway reconstruction of eastbound and westbound driving lanes with median
-          Upgraded storm sewer system
-          Addition of new sidewalks and shared use paths
-          Miscellaneous water main replacement improvements
-          Street light and traffic signal updates
-          New landscaping
This project marks the final phase of the city’s reconstruction plans for 13th Ave. S east of 45th St. and fixes necessary infrastructure and safety improvements highlighted in a 2008 corridor study.

For more information and to sign up for project email updates, visit http://13thavefargo.com/.

I-94, Highway 75 area project in Moorhead begins April 25



DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – The Interstate 94/Highway 75 area project in Moorhead is set to begin Monday, April 25, weather permitting.

The project includes three key elements:
·         Reconstructing the I-94/Highway 75 interchange as a diverging diamond interchange
·         Resurfacing Highway 75 between 22nd Avenue and 35th Avenue/Belsly Blvd with widening in select areas
·         Constructing an additional lane on I-94 in each direction between Highway 75 and 20th Street to facilitate merging, acceleration and deceleration between the ramps.

Work will be completed in four phases between April and October.

The first phase will involve constructing the additional lanes on I-94 and widening work on Highway 75 between 22nd Avenue and 35th Avenue/Belsly Blvd.

Both I-94 and Highway 75 will remain open during this first phase, which is scheduled to run through early June. However, motorists on Highway 75 will encounter lane closures and should expect delays, particularly during peak travel times. Motorists on I-94 will encounter shoulder closures and intermittent overnight lane closures.

Additional information will be released before phase two begins.

Businesses and residents are encouraged to sign up for weekly email updates about the work through the project website: www.mndot.gov/d4/projects/moorhead.

Sellin Brothers of Hawley is the prime contractor for the $13.6 million project. Work is expected to be complete by fall 2016.

To learn more about funding Minnesota’s transportation system visit Get Connected at www.mndot.gov/getconnected.

For real-time travel information anywhere in Minnesota, visit www.511mn.org or dial 5-1-1.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Local Public Meetings on Sandpiper Pipeline Scheduled

SAINT PAUL, MINN—Staff from the Department of Commerce, the Public Utilities Commission and Enbridge/North Dakota Pipeline Company will be hosting public comment meetings regarding the proposed Sandpiper Pipeline which will run through Northwest Minnesota.
These public meetings will provide Minnesotans an opportunity to learn more about the proposed projects, as well as ask questions and provide input. Comment cards will also be available for people who wish to provide a written statement for public record.
"The Sandpiper Pipeline will help improve the safety of oil transport from North Dakota, as well and bring jobs and property tax revenue to Northwest Minnesota," said Representative Dan Fabian (R-Roseau). "I hope folks will attend one of these meeting and share their input to keep the project moving forward."
"These meetings provide an excellent opportunity for people's voices to be heard regarding the building of Sandpiper Pipeline. Many folks have been frustrated by the politics and process regarding the project, and this will give folks a forum to go on the record and share their thoughts," said Representative Deb Kiel (R-Crookston).
The following local meetings have been scheduled in Crookston and Thief River Falls:
     Wednesday, April 27, 2016, from 6:00 to 9:00 PM
     Crookston Inn and Convention Center, 2200 University Avenue, Crookston, MN 56716

     Thursday, April 28, 2016, from 6:00 to 9:00 PM
     Ralph Engelstad Arena, 525 Brooks Avenue North, Thief River Falls, MN 56701

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Spring truck weight restrictions to End


ST. PAUL, Minn. Spring truck weight restrictions on state highways will end April 15 for Minnesota's South, Southeast, Metro and Central frost zones, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. There is one exception in the south zone. The spring truck weight restrictions continue on Highway 277 between Glueck and Highway 40 because of soil weakness.
Spring load restrictions are still in effect in the north-central and north frost zones.
Ending dates for spring load restrictions are established by monitoring roadway strength as weather conditions change.
The South Zone extends south from the southern limit of the Central Zone (US 12 – Hennepin county line) to the Iowa state line and east to the Metro Zone and then a line following and including Interstate 35. This zone includes Highway 19 along the southern border of Scott County.
The Southeast Zone extends south from the southern limit of the Metro Zone along, but not including, I-35 to the Iowa state line and east to the Wisconsin state line. This zone includes Highway 19 along the southern border of Dakota County.
The Metro Zone (Minneapolis – St. Paul metro area) includes Anoka, Carver, Chisago, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington counties. This zone does not include Highway 19 along the southern borders of Scott and Dakota counties.
The Central Zone extends south from the southern limit of the North-Central Zone (US 10 – Highway 210 – Highway 18 – I-35 – Highway 48 – Wisconsin state line) to a line following and including US 12 from the South Dakota state line to the Hennepin County line.
Road restriction maps showing the locations of weight-restricted routes and state highways open to maximum 10-ton axle weights are listed at www.dot.state.mn.us/materials. Click on "Seasonal Load Limits," and then "Spring Load Restrictions" for the most up-to-date information.
The information is also available by calling MnDOT’s 24-hour automated message center at 1-800-723-6543 in the United States and Canada or by calling 651-366-5400.
Middle-range overweight permits become available within each frost zone when spring load restrictions are lifted. Full-summer overweight permits become available within each frost zone starting two to three weeks after spring load restrictions are lifted.
Travelers in Minnesota can get up-to-date information on road conditions, construction and weather reports by dialing 511 or visiting www.511mn.org.