Thursday, January 19, 2017

Speed limits to increase on several west central MN highways



DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – The speed limits on several highways in west central Minnesota will increase from 55 to 60 miles per hour beginning the week of Jan. 23, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

The new speed limits will take effect when the new signs are posted. 

Highways that will receive new speed limit signs include:

·         Highway 27 from Browns Valley to Interstate 94
·         Highway 29 from Wadena to Highway 40
·         Highway 78 from I-94 to Highway 10
·         Highway 108 from I-94 to Pelican Rapids
·         Highway 114 from Starbuck to I-94
·         Highway 119 from Highway 40 to Highway 12
·         Highway 104 from Glenwood to Sunburg

Speed limits lower than 55 miles per hour along these sections of highway will remain unchanged.
New 60 miles per hour signs recently went up on Highway 200 from Mahnomen to the Norman/Mahnomen county line and on Highway 113 from Waubun to the Norman/Mahnomen county line.

The speed increases are based on a traffic and engineering study of each location, which looks at past crash rates, physical attributes of the highway (such as shoulder widths and access points), and an analysis of current driving speeds.

In 2014, the Minnesota Legislature directed MnDOT to evaluate its two-lane, two-way 55 mph highways to determine whether speed limits could be reasonably and safely increased. The statewide study will end in 2019.

For updated road condition information, call 511 or visit www.511mn.org.

Eligible voters can now register to vote when they electronically file their taxes

ST. PAUL, Minn. – With income tax season opening Monday, January 23, Minnesota taxpayers who need to register to vote or update their voter registration can now do so when they file their income taxes electronically, the Minnesota Department of Revenue and Secretary of State Steve Simon announced today.
This year, all taxpayers using Minnesota-certified electronic filing software will see a new message prompting them to register to vote online at the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website mnvotes.org. To see a list of certified electronic filing vendors, visit Revenue’s website and type in the key word “free file”.
“Minnesota law requires that individual income tax return forms and instruction booklets include voter registration forms.” said Revenue Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly. “This year, we worked with tax software providers to get voter registration information integrated into their products to reach the large segment of taxpayers who file electronically.”
“The voter registration process in Minnesota is easier and more convenient than ever before, and this is another critical step in that direction,” said Secretary Simon. “While Minnesota has over 3.2 million registered voters, an additional 700,000 citizens are eligible, but have not yet registered to vote. I encourage all Minnesotans filing their taxes electronically to take advantage of this resource and make sure their voter registration is up to date. “  
Eligible voters must be at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen, a Minnesota resident, and finished with any felony sentence.
Choosing electronic filing and direct deposit is the most secure way to get your refund. Last year, over 2 million Minnesota taxpayers used electronic software to file their taxes.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

DNR hosting public meetings to discuss deer management goals

People interested in deer will have a chance to discuss goals and values that could define Minnesota’s first-ever deer management plan in a series of 12 public engagement meetings the Department of Natural Resources will host throughout the state between Tuesday, Jan. 31, and Thursday, March 2.
“When people think about deer management, hunting often comes to mind,” said Adam Murkowski, DNR big game program leader. “Although hunting opportunities are an important aspect of the plan, it must also balance a wide variety of perspectives and define collaborative ways to enhance deer management and the habitats that sustain deer.”
The public engagement meetings are designed to help the DNR and its Deer Management Plan Advisory Committee accomplish that, Murkowski said.
Using input collected from a wide range of stakeholders this summer and fall, committee members are helping the DNR develop an outline of draft deer management goals that will be discussed at each meeting. Meeting participants will be asked for their feedback on the draft goals, including identifying any goals that may have been missed, and suggesting how the department could best achieve each goal.
“These meetings will be different than typical input meetings,” Murkowski said. “To get in-depth discussions and feedback, considerable time will be devoted to small group brainstorming and discussions. This format will help ensure we capture everyone’s ideas in more detail and depth.”  
Meetings will be from 6:30-9 p.m. and are scheduled in:    
  • Thief River Falls on Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Ralph Engelstad Arena, 525 Brooks Ave.
  • Alexandria on Thursday, Feb. 2, at Broadway Ballroom, 115 30th Ave. E.
  • Andover on Thursday, Feb. 9, at Bunker Hills Activities Center, 550 Bunker Lake Boulevard NW.
  • Bemidji on Wednesday, Feb. 1, at Hampton Inn, 1019 Paul Bunyan Drive SE.
  • Brainerd on Tuesday, Feb. 21, at Central Lakes College cafeteria, 501 W. College Drive.
  • Cambridge on Thursday, Feb. 15, at Cambridge High School, 430 8th Ave NW.
  • Duluth on Wednesday, Feb. 22, in Room W2630 at Lake Superior College, 2101 Trinity Road.
  • Mankato on Thursday, March 2, at County Inn & Suites, 1900 Premier Drive.
  • Montevideo on Monday, Feb. 27, T.A.C.C. Minnesota Army National Guard, 711 S. 17th St.
  • Mountain Iron on Thursday, Feb. 23, in the Iroquois Room at Mountain Iron Community Center, 8586 Enterprise Drive S.
  • Rochester on Monday, Feb. 6, at Century High School, 2525 Viola Road NE.
  • Windom on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at Windom Community Center, 1750 Cottonwood Lake Drive.
During the next year, committee members will review technical information and public input collected through this and other processes. The committee will make recommendations to the DNR for the deer plan, which is expected to be finished by the spring of 2018.
More information about the planning process and the committee is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/deerplan.
The DNR strives to maintain a healthy wild deer population that offers recreational and economic opportunities, while addressing conflicts between deer, people and other natural resources. Habitat management, hunting, research and monitoring are several primary tools used to manage the Minnesota deer population. More information on deer management is on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/deer.

Justin Knebel Memorial Ice Fishing Tournament Saturday, February 4th



CROOKSTON, Minn. – Win prizes and support scholarships during the 7th Annual Justin Knebel Memorial Ice Fishing Tournament to be held Saturday, February 4, 2017. The tournament, which supports scholarships at the University of Minnesota Crookston, will be held at Zippel Bay Resort on Lake of the Woods, Williams, Minn. Tickets are available for $20 by contacting Alysa Tulibaski at 701-215-4300. Tickets are also available at Zippel Bay Resort, 6080 39th St. NW, Williams, Minn., 800-222-2537

On Friday, February 3 prior to the fishing tournament, all alumni in the area are invited to an alumni social at Izzy’s Bar & Grill, 801 State Ave, Warroad, Minn., from 5 to 8:30 p.m. There will be food, door prizes, and a chance to reconnect with your classmates and friends from the Northwest School of Agriculture and the University of Minnesota Crookston.

Registration for Saturday’s fishing tournament, limited to the first 225 tickets, begins at 9 a.m. on the ice at the tournament site with fishing from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Prizes will be awarded to the first person to catch a fish, along with prizes for the largest walleye, northern, sauger, perch and other species caught during the tournament. The registration fee also includes a raffle ticket and road access fee.

All proceeds from the tournament support the Justin Knebel Memorial Scholarship Fund at the U of M Crookston. Following the tournament, there will be a social at the igloo on the ice. The Justin Knebel Memorial Ice Fishing Tournament corporate sponsors are Streiff Sporting Goods and Zippel Bay Resort.

Prizes sponsored by Streiff Sporting Goods, Cabela's, Fishing House Supply.com, and Grayden Outdoors LLC. A number of other businesses in Northwest Minnesota support the tournament through the donations of prizes and monetary support.

For more information on the tournament, visit http://z.umn.edu/1brc.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Senator Klobuchar’s Office to Host Public Forums as Part of Farm Bill Tour

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – On Monday, January 23, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office will kick off her Farm Bill Tour. Klobuchar’s staff will join with Minnesota agriculture leaders – including Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson – to gather input from Minnesotans on ways to strengthen the 2018 Farm Bill. Over the two-day tour, Klobuchar’s office will host forums open to the public in six counties across Minnesota.

As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and a 2014 Farm Bill Conference Committee member, Klobuchar helped craft the current Farm Bill, which was designed to reduce the deficit, strengthen the crop insurance program, eliminate direct payments, boost conservation, maintain the sugar program, and keep nutrition programs strong for Minnesota families. She successfully pushed for several key provisions to support rural development projects, conservation programs, agricultural research, and the Rural Energy for America (REAP) program. Klobuchar’s measure to help beginning farmers and ranchers access crop insurance by reducing the cost of insurance by 10 percent for these producers in their first five years was also included in the final bill.  

The Farm Bill was last reauthorized in 2014 and will require Congressional reauthorization in 2018.

Monday, January 23
8:30 a.m. 
Steele County Administration Building
630 Florence Avenue
Owatonna, MN 55060

12:00 p.m.
New Ulm City Hall
100 North Broadway Street
New Ulm, MN 56073

3:30 p.m.
Marshall Public Library
201 C Street
Marshall, MN 56258

Tuesday, January 24
8:30 a.m.
Kandiyohi County Health and Human Services Building, Community Room
2200 23rd Street NE
Willmar, MN 56201

11:30 a.m.
Morris
USDA Agriculture Research Service North Central Soil Conservation Research Laboratory
803 Iowa Ave
Morris, MN 56267

3:30 p.m.
Minnesota State Community and Technical College
Oscar Bergos Center
1900 28th Ave S
Moorhead, MN 56560
 

MnDOT asks motorists’ help for safer driving around snowplows



ST. PAUL, Minn. – There have been more than 30 crashes this season involving vehicles and snowplows, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation is urging motorists to use extra caution during plowing and snowing operations. 

“Crashes typically happen because of inattentive drivers, motorists driving too close to the plow or motorists driving too fast for conditions,” said Steve Lund, state maintenance engineer. “Our snowplow drivers are well trained to drive their plows, but motorists should be patient and stay back from the plow. Snowplows travel much slower than the posted speeds because it is most effective for clearing roads.”

Lund said that operators’ ability to see behind them is restricted behind the truck so they must rely on mirrors to see to the rear and side of the truck.

“Their vision is also hampered by the snow clouds they create while plowing. So the safest place you can be is well behind the snowplow and away from the snow cloud it creates,” he said.

Last year in Minnesota, there were 48 crashes involving vehicles and snowplows.

Minnesota law requires motorists to turn on their headlights when it’s snowing or at any other time when weather conditions impair visibility.
Here are some other recommendations for safer driving around snowplows:
  • Stay back and stay alive. Stay back at least 10 car lengths behind the plow, far from the snow cloud. Don’t drive into a snow cloud.
  • Stay alert for snowplows that turn or exit frequently and often with little warning. They also may travel over centerlines or partially in traffic to further improve road conditions.
  • Slow down to a safe speed for current conditions.
  • Turn on your headlights and wear your seat belt.
  • Turn off the cruise control.
  • Be patient, and remember snowplows are working to improve road conditions for your trip.
  • Don’t drive distracted.
Motorists should check road conditions at 511mn.org.