Friday, July 22, 2016

Hwy 200 Detour between Mahnomen and Roy Lake begins July 25



BEMIDJI, Minn. – Motorists on Highway 200 should plan for additional travel time when a detour begins July 25 between Mahnomen County Road 3 and Roy Lake. The detour is located on Highway 113 using Mahnomen County Road 3 and Clearwater County Road 39. It adds about 20 miles each way to the commute.

Residents and business owners are encouraged to attend an open house at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, July 27 at the White Earth Tribal and Community College, 2250 College Road, Mahnomen, for an update on the project and detour.

Phase one of the project featured intermittent lane closures. The phase two detour is expected to last about a month, weather permitting.

Phase three will begin in late August with the removal of the detour and the remaining work will be done under traffic. A pilot car and flaggers will control traffic and motorists should plan for daily lane closures in the area where crews are working. It is expected to last until October.

Knife River Materials is the contractor for the $5.5 million project. The work will reduce the risk of flooding and ensure a smoother and safer roadway on 20 miles of Highway 200.

More information about the project is available at www.mndot.gov/d4/projects/hwy200.

MnDOT urges motorists to follow these recommendations in work zones: stay alert; watch for signs, equipment and workers; minimize distractions, such as using cell phones, eating or drinking; avoid tailgating; follow posted speed limits and directional signs; and stay in one lane while driving through the work zone.
           
For real-time traffic and travel information anywhere in Minnesota, visit www.511mn.org, call 5-1-1 or log on to www.mndot.gov.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Amended FTC Rule a Boon to Consumers, Businesses

Burnsville, Minnesota – July 21, 2016Scammers play a large role in the marketplace. However, they are often able to remain anonymous by requesting payment via avenues that are difficult to trace. However, a recent amendment to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rules now makes it easier for consumers and business owners to identify shady telemarketing offers. In an effort to inform the public about this important rule change, Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota ® (BBB) outlines the impact it will have and offers some tips on common phone scams.

The FTC recently amended the Telemarketing Sales Rule so that it’s now illegal for telemarketers to ask for payment by cash-to-cash money transfers – such as those from MoneyGram and Western Union – or PINs from cash reload cards like MoneyPak and Vanilla Reload. This amendment also applies to unsigned checks called “remotely created payment orders,” which are never seen or signed and created when telemarketers are given bank account information. These changes went into effect on June 13, 2016.

“The amended Telemarketing Sales Rule is a boon to consumers and business owners,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota. “Now, if people are asked to make payment via these methods over the phone, they’ll know they’re dealing with someone who is breaking the law - most likely a scammer.”

This amendment aside, consumers are offered many other protections under the Telemarketing Sales Rule, including:
·         Calling times are restricted to the hours between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
·         Telemarketers must promptly tell you the identity of the seller or charitable organization and that the call is a sales call or a charitable solicitation.
·         Telemarketers must disclose all material information about the goods or services they are offering and the terms of the sale. They are prohibited from lying about any terms of their offer.

People can put their telephone numbers – including their cellphone number –on the National Do Not Call Registry by visiting donotcall.gov or by calling 888-382-1222. This will stop most telemarketing calls, but not all.

In the experience of BBB, some common phone scams beyond suspect telemarketing schemes include:

o   The IRS/Law enforcement scam. Con artists demanding immediate payment pretend to be calling about unpaid taxes or outstanding warrants. Neither the IRS nor authorities make calls like this.
o   Sweepstakes scams. People are told they’ve won large cash prizes and/or a new car, but need to pay taxes, fees or insurance to collect their winnings. But the calls are fraudulent and the prizes aren’t real.
o   The Tech Support scheme. ‘Helpful technicians,’ sometimes claiming to work for Microsoft, call consumers and business owners and say something is wrong with their computer and they can help. However, all they’re seeking is credit card information. This scam is also perpetrated via pop-up messages that appear on computer screens.
o   The grandparent scam. Scammers call seniors and pretend to be a loved one – often a grandchild – outside the country and in distress. This scheme plays on emotion and has proven very effective.
A good way to identify a fraudulent telemarketer or phone scam is if the caller is requesting any of the payment methods or bank account access outlined above. If you receive such suspect phone calls, you should hang up and report them at ftc.gov and also at BBB Scam Tracker.

Wild Rice Electric Working On Restoring Service



Wild Rice Electric estimates about 3,500 consumers were affected in last night’s storms. Crews have been out since about 12:30 last night responding to outages coming in from all over the service area. All available crews have been working since early this morning with mutual aid assisting from Red Lake Electric in Red Lake Falls. Wild Rice has restored power to about half of those consumers whom were affected and making excellent progress. 

Crews are still working to restore power in the areas near and around Elbow Lake, Toad Lake, Snyder Lake, Height of Land, Fosston, Lengby, Hawley and Lake Park. Barring no unforeseen circumstances, crews hope to have main feed lines energized by nightfall. There will still be individual outages crews will be working on.

Many of the outages resulted from fallen trees and branches in the lines as well as many snapped overhead poles. Some pictures have been coming in through email. If you have pictures to share, they can be emailed to info@wildriceelectric.com.

Wild Rice Electric cautions consumers to stay away from downed lines as they may still be energized. Wild Rice appreciates your patience while we work hard to restore power to our all of our consumers. Wild Rice also would like to acknowledge those of you calling in and showing your appreciating to our linemen and staff for their hard work. Your comments are very appreciated.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Open house for Highway 200 project near Mahnomen set for June 24




DETROIT LAKES, Minn.— The Minnesota Department of Transportation will host an open house on June 24 for residents to learn more about this summer's Highway 200 project from Mahnomen to Roy Lake.

The public meeting will take place Friday, June 24, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the White Earth Tribal and Community College, 2250 College Road, Mahnomen, Minn.

Information on the project timeline, detour and anticipated traffic impacts will be available. There will not be a formal presentation, but representatives from MnDOT and the project contractor will be on hand to answer questions.

The Highway 200 project is tentatively set to begin July 11. 

Crews will resurface the highway between Mahnomen and Roy Lake and raise the road grade in several areas susceptible to flooding.

For approximately one month, Highway 200 will detour to Mahnomen County Road 3, Highway 113 and Clearwater County Road 39.

More information is available on the project website, www.mndot.gov/d4/projects/hwy200/

To request an ASL or foreign language interpreter, or other reasonable accommodation, call Janet Miller at 651-366-4720 or 1-800-657-3774 (Greater Minnesota), 711 or 1-800-627-3529 (Minnesota Relay). You also may send an email to ADArequest.dot@state.mn.us. Please request at least one week in advance, if possible.