Thursday, August 20, 2015

BBB warns of fax scam


Burnsville, Minnesota – August 20, 2015 –Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) is warning businesses in Minnesota, North Dakota and particularly the St. Cloud area to be on the alert for what appear to be bills for computer support faxed from an Oklahoma firm using the name CPU Service, Inc. The company has an F rating with BBB of Central Oklahoma. A business organization in the St. Cloud area received the questionable fax earlier this week and reported it to BBB.

According to BBB of St. Louis, which issued an alert on this company earlier this year, these faxes are actually advertising solicitations, offering 12 months of online computer support and consulting. But businesses in the Missouri area that received the faxes reported they could easily be confused with invoices asking for payment. Under Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, it is illegal to fax unsolicited advertisements under certain circumstances.

CPU Service Inc. uses a postal box in Oklahoma City. The faxes show an email and a fax number, but no phone number. Attempts by BBB of Central Oklahoma to reach the company have been unsuccessful. That BBB now reports the entity is not at the location listed on faxes businesses nationwide – and recently in the St. Cloud area – have been receiving.

“There are many things about this ‘offer’ that don’t add up,” says Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. “The fact the business isn’t even at their listed address is simply the shady icing on this suspect cake.”

The fax received by the St. Cloud business organization refers to a “preorder” payment of $190. Faxes business in the Missouri area received sought payments between $390 and $590. Instructions on the fax request that checks or credit card payments be sent to the company via mail or fax.  A disclaimer at the bottom of the fax notes: “This is a proposal for the order of goods or services, or both, and this is not a bill, invoice, or statement of account due. You are under no obligation to make any payments on account of this offer unless you accept this offer. Your organization and our company have in the past not done business together.”

BBB offers the following tips on avoiding potential business-to-business schemes:
  • Deal only with reputable firms. Do your research at bbb.org.
  • If you receive what appears to be a bill or invoice in the mail, email or via a fax, read all information carefully to determine whether it is a request for payment. Solicitations can sometimes appear to be bills.
·         Designate certain employees as buyers. For each order, the designated buyer should issue a purchase order to the supplier that has an authorized signature and a purchase order number. The buyer also should send a copy of every purchase order to the accounts payable department, and keep blank order forms secure.
·         Advise employees who are not authorized to order supplies and services to say, “I’m not authorized to place orders. If you want to sell us something, you must speak to ________ and get a purchase order.” Develop some standard procedures as far as who orders and receives merchandise.
·         If you receive merchandise, the receiving employee should verify that the merchandise matches the shipper’s bill of lading and your purchase order. Don’t pay any supplier unless the invoice has the correct purchase order number, and the information on the invoice matches the purchase order.
·         If you receive bills for goods or services you didn’t order, don’t pay. Treat any unordered merchandise you receive as a gift. It’s illegal for a seller to send you bills or dunning notices for merchandise you didn’t order or ask you to send back the merchandise — even if the seller offers to pay the shipping costs. 

The mission of Better Business Bureau is to be the leader in building marketplace trust by promoting, through self-regulation, the highest standards of business ethics and conduct, and to instill confidence in responsible businesses through programs of education and action that inform, assist and protect the general public. We are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Contact BBB at bbb.org or 651-699-1111, toll-free at 1-800-646-6222.

Highway 59 detour south of Plummer begins Aug. 24


BEMIDJI, Minn. – Motorists on Highway 59 between Plummer and Brooks will experience a detour beginning Aug. 24 as crews replace the box culvert over the Lost River.

The 12 mile detour follows Highway 92, Red Lake County Road 12 and County Road 1. It is expected to last about one month, weather permitting.

Davidson Construction is the contractor for the $1.11 million project. The work will ensure a smoother and safer roadway with better drainage for motorists in the region.

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, August 6, 2015

Bicycliststo tour central Minnesota Aug. 13-16


ST. PAUL, Minn. — Motorists may notice an increased number of bicyclists on central Minnesota highways Aug. 13-16 for the annual Bicycling Around Minnesota event, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Approximately 275 bicyclists will travel through Brainerd, Pine River, Crosby and Little Falls on several highways, local routes and bicycle paths during the four days. Bicyclists will travel from 60 to 80 miles each day. Support vehicles may also be on the road during the event.

MnDOT reminds all travelers to share the road and follow all traffic safety laws. 

The law is clear—bicyclists and motorists shareresponsibility. Here are some “rules of the road” to improve safety for both bicyclists and motorists:

·         Motorists should be on the lookout and watch for and yield to bicyclists before turning.
·         Bicyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic.
·         Motorists must maintain a three-foot clearance at all times when passing a bicyclist.
·         Bicyclists must obey all traffic control signs and signals, just as motorists.
·         Motorists and bicyclists must yield the right of way to each other.
·         Bicyclists should communicate their intent by yielding to traffic and signaling before turning or changing lanes.
·         Bicyclists must use head and tail lights when it’s dark.
·         Bicyclists should always wear helmets and bright reflective gear.
·         Motorists should stay alert and avoid distracted driving.

For more information about the 2015 Bicycling Around Minnesota event, visit www.bambiketour.org.

For more information about the “Share the Road” bicycle safety education program, bicycle crash statistics and resource materials, visit www.sharetheroadmn.org.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

TRAVEL ALERT: I-94 traffic switches near Fergus Falls



DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – All traffic on Interstate 94 northwest of Fergus Falls has shifted to the eastbound lanes.

A single lane of traffic remains open in each direction while crews begin work on the westbound bridge deck over Otter Tail County Road 10.

The project began in April and is expected to last through October. For the first half of the construction season, crews worked on the eastbound bridge.

Speed limits on I-94 are reduced to 60 mph through the work zone. Motorists are reminded that violators will be fined a minimum of $300.

This project re-uses the existing beams and bridge substructure, which are in satisfactory condition. The new bridge decks will extend the life of the bridges and result in a smoother road surface. This project helps ensure MnDOT’s transportation system will continue to serve the state for many years.

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

Another conservative deer season set to rebuild population



Hunters can expect another conservative deer season in 2015 as management continues to rebuild deer numbers across much of the state, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said.
“The 2015 deer hunting regulations will be quite similar to last year, with one-deer limits in most of the state,” said Leslie McInenly, big game program leader for the DNR. “Hunters should check the 2015 regulations early, because in the majority of areas, hunters will need to apply for a permit to shoot an antlerless deer.”

In 70 of Minnesota’s 128 deer permit areas, hunters must be chosen in a lottery to shoot an antlerless deer. Only bucks can be hunted in 14 areas. In 29 areas, hunters have the choice of shooting a doe or a buck. Bonus permits allowing hunters to shoot more than one deer may only be used in 11 permit areas and for some special hunts. In three southwestern areas, the DNR is restricting antlerless harvest to youth hunters only.

Hunters can buy deer licenses and apply to the lottery for antlerless deer permits starting Saturday, Aug. 1. The deadline to apply for the lottery is Thursday, Sept. 10.

“Given the mild winter for most of the state and reduced harvest last year, we anticipate that hunters will be seeing more deer when afield, and we are already hearing from people that they are seeing more deer this summer,” McInenly said. “We are continuing a conservative harvest approach in order to raise deer numbers consistent with our recent goal-setting process.”

The 2015 season marks the second year of a management approach to rebuild deer populations based on goal setting and listening sessions that indicated a desire for more deer in many areas.

Northern Minnesota hunters will again feel the impact of a bucks-only season. In bucks-only areas, no antlerless deer may be harvested by any hunter, including those with archery or youth licenses. Similarly, no antlerless deer may be harvested by any adult hunters in youth-only antlerless areas. However, as a result of 2015 legislation, new this year is an exception allowing either-sex harvest by any hunter age 84 and up or by hunters who are residents of veterans’ homes.

Another change this year is the return of youth-only antlerless harvest for a few areas in southwestern Minnesota. The measure is designed to increase populations into goal range in areas where antlerless harvest under the lottery system hasn’t been restrictive enough to increase deer numbers.

Details on buying a license
All hunters who purchase licenses by Sept. 10 are automatically entered into the lottery if they declare a lottery deer permit area. Those who do not wish to harvest an antlerless deer are encouraged to purchase their license after the lottery deadline. Hunters may apply using both their firearm and muzzleloader licenses. If hunters are selected for both licenses, they must select the one season in which they want to shoot an antlerless deer. 

Deer hunting licenses, lottery applications and special hunt applications are available at any DNR license agent, by telephone at 888-665-4236 or online at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense. Lottery winners will be notified in October.

Permit area breakdown
Bucks-only deer areas in 2015 are permit areas 103, 108, 111, 118, 119, 152, 169, 176, 177, 178, 181, 183, 199 and 203.
Youth-only antlerless deer areas in 2015 are permit areas 234, 237 and 286.
Lottery deer areas in 2015 are permit areas 101, 105, 110, 117, 122, 126, 127, 155, 156, 157, 159, 171, 172, 173, 179, 180, 184, 197, 208, 210, 221, 222, 224, 229, 232, 235, 238, 242, 246, 247, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 258, 259, 260, 261, 262, 263, 266, 267, 268, 269, 270, 271, 272, 273, 274, 275, 276, 278, 279, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 288, 289, 290, 291, 294, 295, 296, 297, 298 and 299.

Hunter choice deer areas in 2015 are permit areas 201, 209, 213, 218, 219, 223, 225, 230, 233, 239, 240, 248, 254, 255, 256, 257, 264, 265, 277, 292, 293, 338, 339, 341, 342, 344, 345, 347 and 348.
Managed deer areas in 2015 are permit areas 114, 214, 215, 227, 236, 241, 287 and 343.
Intensive deer areas in 2015 are permit areas 182, 346 and 349.

The DNR strongly advises hunters to review new deer hunting regulations, permit area designations and boundary changes before applying. Current and up-to-date information is available online at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/deer. Information about deer management and upcoming deer population goal setting during the next two years is available at www.mndnr.gov/deer.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Highway 200 resurfacing project east of Ada begins July 29



BEMIDJI, Minn. – Motorists on Highway 200 between Ada and Highway 32 should expect lane closures, slow traffic and delays when a resurfacing project begins Wednesday, July 29.

Flaggers and a pilot car will allow one-way, alternating traffic through the work zone. Motorists should slow down, obey flaggers and use caution as they follow the pilot car.

Crews from Minn-Dak Asphalt of Thief River Falls will complete the $2.1 million project, which also includes shouldering work on various highways in the area.

The work will ensure a smoother and safer roadway for motorists in the region.

This project helps ensure MnDOT’s transportation system will continue to serve the state for many years. Learn more about Minnesota’s investment in and maintenance of the state’s transportation system at MnDOT’s Get Connected site www.dot.state.mn.us/getconnected/.

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 a 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.

Monday, July 6, 2015

DNR seeks comment on Solid Bottom Creek Restoration Project



The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is accepting public comment on an environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) prepared for the Solid Bottom Creek Restoration Project in Becker County.

Solid Bottom Creek is a trout stream in Becker County that is eroding a steep hillside, contributing sediment to the stream and Elbow Lake. The DNR is proposing to move the stream away from the hillside to reduce erosion and improve habitat conditions for brook trout and other species. The agency will take comments during a 30-day public review from July 6 to Aug. 5.
A copy of the EAW is available online at www.dnr.state.mn.us/input/index.html. Under “Environmental Review,” select “Solid Bottom Creek Restoration Project” from the scroll-down list. A hard copy may be requested by calling 651-259-5082.
The EAW is available for public review at:
  • DNR Library, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul.
  • DNR Northwest Region, 2220 Bemidji Ave. Bemidji, MN 56601.
  • Minneapolis Central Library, Government Documents, 2nd Floor, 300 Nicollet Mall.
The EAW notice will be published in the July 6 EQB Monitor. Written comments must be submitted no later than 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 5, to the attention of Kate Frantz, EAW project manager, Environmental Policy and Review Unit, Ecological and Water Resources Division, DNR, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4025.

Electronic or email comments may be sent to environmentalrev.dnr@state.mn.us with “Solid Bottom Creek Restoration Project EAW” in the subject line. If submitting comments electronically, include name and mailing address. Written comments may also be sent by fax to 651-296-1811.