Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Rep. Kiel & Sen. Johnson Town Hall Schedule

SAINT PAUL, MINN—Rep. Deb Kiel, R-Crookston, and Sen. Mark Johnson, R-East Grand Forks, announced six joint town halls next month. Additionally, Rep. Dan Fabian, R-Roseau and Rep. Steve Green, R-Fosston will also be attending at select locations.

The town halls will provide an opportunity for residents to meet with their local legislators, hear about the 2017 legislative session and ask questions. The meetings are open to the public, and all are welcome to attend.

Below is the town hall schedule: 

Fertile Town Hall
Where: City Hall, Senior Citizens’ Room, 101 S. Mill Street
When: Monday, April 10, 2017
Time: 8:00 AM
Attending: Rep. Kiel and Sen. Johnson

Fosston Town Hall
Where: Civic Center, Meeting Room, 215 1st Street East
When: Monday, April 10, 2017
Time: 11:30 AM
Attending: Rep. Kiel, Rep. Green and Sen. Johnson

Red Lake Falls Town Hall
Where: City Hall, Conference Room, 108 2nd Street SW
When: Monday, April 10, 2017
Time: 3:00 PM
Attending: Rep. Kiel and Sen. Johnson

Crookston Town Hall
Where: Irishman’s Shanty, 1501 S. Main Street
When: Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Time: 8:00 AM
Attending: Rep. Kiel and Sen. Johnson

Thief River Falls Town Hall
Where: City Hall, Council Chambers, 405 Third Street East
When: Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Time: 11:30 AM
Attending: Rep. Kiel, Rep. Fabian and Sen. Johnson

East Grand Forks Town Hall
Where: City Hall, Training Room, 600 DeMers Avenue
When: Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Time: 8:00 AM
Attending: Rep. Kiel and Sen. Johnson

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Burning permits required for open burning

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds landowners that burning permits are required for all open burning in the Bemidji Forestry area.

Open burning includes large bonfires, brush piles or fields. Burning permits are for vegetative material only, such as grass, brush or wood. The permit does not allow burning asphalt shingles, tires or other non-vegetative materials.

Campfires up to three feet in diameter do not require a permit.

If you lose control of your fire and it becomes a wildfire, you will be responsible for the costs of fighting it. Be careful when you burn. Don’t let your fire become a wildfire.

Remember, burning permits are required for all open burning when there is less than three inches of snow on the ground. Fire danger is often high in the spring and may increase quickly over the next few weeks. Because of these conditions, the DNR has restricted burning in many counties.

Please check conditions/restrictions with your local DNR Forestry office, local fire warden or online at www.mn.dnr.gov.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Sen. Franken Seeks Entrants to Poetry Contest for Minnesota Students

ST. PAUL, MN [03/9/17]—In recognition of the Month of the Military Child and National Poetry Month in April, U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) announced that he is hosting his sixth annual poetry contest for Minnesota students. The theme of this year's contest is "Celebrating the Veteran in My Life."

“There are thousands of students all across Minnesota who have seen or experienced the sacrifices veterans and their families have made for our country,” Sen. Franken said. “Some of them are children of current service members, while others know men and women who have served. This poetry contest will allow students to honor those veterans and to put into their own words what those sacrifices have meant to them.”

The contest is open to all students in Minnesota grades K-12, with three age categories: Kindergarten to 5th grade; 6th to 8th grades; and 9th to 12th grades.  Students can celebrate any veteran or active military member, including a relative, family friend, or neighbor who has had a positive impact on their lives.

Winners will be chosen in each age category. Those selected will receive an invitation to attend a reception at Sen. Franken’s St. Paul office. Guests include Sen. Franken; and honorary judges; Minnesota Poet Laureate Joyce Sutphen; Minnesota National Guard Major General Rick Nash; Minnesota National Guard Brigadier General Sandra Best, and Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius.

Top winning poems in each category will be framed and displayed in Sen. Franken’s offices in St. Paul or Washington, D.C. The overall winner in each age group will receive an autographed book by famed Minnesota author Garrison Keillor.

If you or someone you know wishes to participate in Sen. Franken’s poetry contest, please submit a poem by April 21, 2017 to poetry@franken.senate.gov or by mail to:

                                                            Office of Sen. Al Franken
                                                            c/o ‘Poetry Contest’
                                                            60 Plato Boulevard East, Suite 220
                                                            St. Paul, MN 55107

Participants may submit only one poem, no longer than 250 words. Each entry must include the name of the child, the parent/guardian’s name, a phone number, and the name of the child’s school. Please clearly indicate the participant’s age category.

BBB Warns of Grandparent Scam

Burnsville, Minnesota – March 9, 2017As students and family members begin to prepare for spring break, Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota ® (BBB) is warning relatives staying home – particularly grandparents – to be on the lookout for the grandparent scheme. This is when scammers contact seniors, usually over the phone, and pretend to be a grandchild in distress. As scams go, it’s been quite successful and as part of National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), which takes place March 5 – 11, BBB offers tips to those most at risk.

“The grandparent scam plays on emotion,” said Susan Adams Loyd, President and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. “Grandparents, especially, are protective of their grandchildren and will do nearly anything to ensure their well-being. Scammers are all too aware of that.”

The grandparent scam usually entails a phone call claiming the caller is a loved one and in distress, often in another country. Invariably, they’ll need money wired to get them out of a jam and they’ll often beg the senior not to tell their parents. Despite the fact this scam has been successful in the past, there are signs you’re talking to a fraudster and steps to limit your exposure to this scam. BBB advises the following:

Be in the know. If you’re aware a grandchild or grandchildren will be traveling for spring break, ask questions. Find out where they’re going and how long they’ll be gone. That information might prove useful as far as avoiding this scam.

Don’t take the bait. If you pick up the phone and the caller says, ‘Grandpa/Grandma, it’s me,’ don’t give them any information. If you venture a guess (Amanda?), the caller will take that information and run with it. Make them tell you their identity.

Verify everything. In the information age, scammers have access to a lot of information. Be aware they might know the names of your grandchildren. Even so, that doesn’t mean you’re actually talking to a loved one. Listen to the information they offer and then verify it with other loved ones who will be able to tell you if the information is true.

Don’t panic. Because this scam plays on emotion, callers will really try to sell the scam. They may be in tears or their voice might break, as though they’re under a great deal of stress. Though it might be challenging, don’t rush into doing something you might well regret. In cases where this has been successful, scammers convinced seniors to wire money to supposedly bail a loved one out of jail. Only later did they discover they weren’t talking to their grandchild and their money was gone. Ask direct questions only your grandchild would be able to answer.

Know the red flags. Callers requesting that you not contact anyone else about their supposed plight – such as parents or other family members – is a sign you’re likely talking to a scammer. Despite that instinct to shield your grandchildren from additional trouble, say clearly, “I’m sorry, but I will need to contact them to verify what you’re telling me.” Be firm.

Discuss scams such as this. People – even spouses – often assume everyone is in the know about scams like the grandparent scam. However, it’s important to discuss schemes of this nature and to share information freely – such as the vacation plans of loved ones. It’s not uncommon for one grandparent to be more in tune with outside family members. Be sure that everyone is on the same page.

Whenever you have questions about a scam, possible fraud or a marketplace transaction, contact BBB at 800-646-6222 or bbb.org.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Spring truck weight restrictions start in north-central frost zone

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Spring truck weight restrictions in the north-central frost zone will start Monday, March 6, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Winter load increases ended Feb. 25 in the north-central frost zone. Spring load restrictions are already in place in the south, southeast, metro and central frost zones.

Road restriction maps showing the locations of weight-restricted routes and those state highways open to maximum 10-ton axle weights are listed at www.mndot.gov/loadlimits. Click on “seasonal load limits,” and then “spring load restrictions.” Also available is a text list of the restricted segments and exceptions to the map.

Overweight permits for more than 80,000 pound gross vehicle weight will continue and new permits will be issued if all axle and group weights are legal. 

Full-summer overweight permits can be issued during the spring load restriction period only on interstate through movements.

Middle-range overweight permits become available within each frost zone when spring load restrictions are lifted. Full-summer overweight permits become available two to three weeks after spring load restrictions are lifted. 

Ending dates for spring load restrictions are variable and based on how weather is affecting roadway strength. 

For questions about the legal weight and size “heavy haul” trucking call MnDOT’s Freight and Commercial Vehicle Operations department at 651-296-6000. For enforcement questions, call the State Patrol’s Commercial Vehicle Enforcement at 651-405-6196 and select Option 3 and then Option 3.

MnDOT will report dates on its 24-hour automated message center at 1‑800‑723‑6543 for the U.S. and Canada, and locally at 651‑366‑5400 for the Minneapolis/St.Paul area.