Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Congressman Peterson Seeking Entries to Congressional Art Competition

WASHINGTON – Congressman Collin C. Peterson is inviting Seventh District high school students to submit artwork for the 2018 Congressional Art Competition.

The Congressional Art Competition is open to all high school students and the winning pieces are featured for one year in the Cannon Tunnel, which connects the House Office Buildings to the U.S. Capitol.

“I encourage young artists from across the district to display their talent by entering this contest,” Peterson said. “The yearly competition is a great opportunity for local artwork to be showcased at the Capitol and I look forward to seeing everyone’s hard work.”

The Congressional Art Competition began in 1982 as an opportunity for Members of Congress to recognize and encourage the artistic talent of their young constituents. Since then, more than 650,000 high-school students have participated in the nation-wide contest. 

Submitted artwork may be up to 26 inches x 26 inches x 4 inches (including the frame) and weigh no more than 15 pounds. Accepted mediums include:

·         Paintings – including oil, acrylics and watercolor
·         Drawings – including pastels, colored pencil, pencil, charcoal, ink and markers
·         Collage (two-dimensional)
·         Prints – including lithographs, silkscreen and block prints
·         Mixed Media
·         Computer Generated Art
·         Photography

All entries must be original in concept, design and execution. Artwork that is a reproduction of another artist’s work, including photographs, does not qualify for this competition.


To best ensure accessibility for all students, Peterson’s office will be accepting all Congressional Art Competition submissions online. Selection of the winning piece, made in early May, will be determined based upon the photograph submitted with the application.

To apply for the Congressional Art Competition, please submit a photograph of the artwork with the following information to congressional.art@mail.house.gov:
·         Student Name
·         Address
·         Phone Number
·         Artwork Title
·         Medium

The deadline for all submissions is Monday, April 23, 2018.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Speed limit increases on several Minnesota highways

BEMIDJI, Minn. – The speed limits on several highways in northwest Minnesota will increase from 55 to 60 miles per hour according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The new speed limits take effect when the new signs are posted.

Highways that will receive new speed limits signs include:
Northern Minnesota
·         Highway 34- Detroit Lakes to Park Rapids
·         Highway 64- Highway 200 to Highway 87
·         Highway 172- Baudette to Wheeler’s Point
·         Highway 310- Roseau to Canadian Border

Western Minnesota
·         Highway 9- Highway 10 to Sunburg
·         Highway 28- Browns Valley to Sauk Centre
·         Highway 34- Barnesville to Dunvilla

Speed limits lower than 55 miles per hour along these sections of highway will remain unchanged.

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.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

MnDOT starts installing truck parking technology at rest areas

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Work is under way by the Minnesota Department of Transportation to install technology at seven rest areas in the state that will help truck drivers find safe parking along high-volume freight corridors.

Minnesota is working with seven other states to implement the Regional Truck Parking Information and Management System that will collect and broadcast real-time parking availability on dynamic message signs. In Minnesota the signs will be posted along the I-35 and I-94 corridors and on MnDOT’s 511 traveler information website. The network will become operational in January 2019 however some states, including Minnesota, could become operational sooner.

“Truck drivers sometimes spend 30 minutes or more looking for parking spots. We want to help them find safe, reliable parking so they don’t waste time looking, which decreases their downtime, and so they can move their products faster," said Dan Rowe, state project manager. “There will also be less fuel consumption and reduced emissions.”

The technology includes in-pavement sensors that detect the presence of the truck above it and send the information to MnDOT’s Regional Transportation Management Center. The RTMC technology interprets the data and sends the appropriate number of available parking spaces to the dynamic message signs.

Trucking companies’ dispatchers can also access the information on the 511 truckers’ page and relay the availability to their drivers.
Other states participating in the project are Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Truckers are required to comply with hours-of-service rules that limit how many hours they can drive. Fatigued driving is a major cause of preventable truck crashes.

“Rest areas fill up at night and truckers often park on exit ramps, which are unauthorized spots,” Rowe said. “This is a safety concern and when we provide safe parking for truckers, we also save lives by getting fatigued drivers off the road.”

Project funding comes from a $25 million U.S. DOT TIGER grant and the states. In Minnesota, the project will cost $1.4 million. MnDOT contributed $177,500.

The seven rest areas with the technology will be at Lake Lakota, Big Spunk Lake, Enfield, Elm Creek, St. Croix, Heath Creek and Forest Lake.

MnDOT and the other participating states first proposed the project when truck parking became a national safety concern following the 2009 murder of a trucker in South Carolina. Federal legislation, called Jason’s Law, put a national spotlight on addressing the shortage of long-term parking.

International Dinner Series at the UM-Crookston

CROOKSTON, Minn. – Delight in the taste and culture of countries around the world through the annual International Dinners Series at the University of Minnesota Crookston. The 2018 series highlights the Hmong, Cayman, and Zimbabwe cultures, and concludes with the International Dinner Finale.

The dinners are scheduled for Monday, March 5, Monday, March 19, and Monday, March 26, with the finale on Wednesday, April 4. All dinners begin at 6 p.m. in Bede Ballroom, Sargeant Student Center. For tickets and information, contact Rae French at 218-281-8339 (rfrench.umn.edu). Tickets are limited and a savings is available when purchasing tickets for the entire series.

Individual tickets for adults: $20 for meals in March and $25 for the final International Dinner on April 4; Individual tickets for students: $10 meals in March; $15 for the final International Dinner in April; Series tickets: Complete ticket set for all 4 meals are $75 for adults; Students (18 and under) are $65.

These dinners are family friendly and a highlight for people interested in culture, musical entertainment, and cuisine.

Monday, March 5, “I am Hmong, so Where Am I Really From?” Featuring Henry Soung, who is from St. Paul, Minn., and a senior majoring in communication; starting at 6 p.m.

Monday, March 19, Grand Cayman Islands, “Cayman Style: A Taste of Paradise,” featuring April Ebanks-Agurci, a freshman majoring in elementary education would love to share a bit about retirement and tourism in the Caymans; starting at 6 p.m.

Monday, March 26, “Legends and Culture of Zimbabwe,” featuring presenter, Marshall Mbanga, a freshman majoring in information technology management.  He will share his love for his country and its legends and the world of soccer; starting at 6 p.m.

Wednesday, April 4, Final International Dinner- starting at 5 p.m. with booth displays in the Northern Lights Lounge followed by the International Dinner and Show at 6 p.m. 

The dinner series concludes with dances, singing, instruments, and more. There will be booths on display, food from several countries, and international student performances. Tickets must be purchased in advance.

The International Dinner Series is a longstanding tradition at the U of M Crookston and highlights the culture and cuisine of selected countries annually. To learn more about international programs, visit www.umcrookston.edu/international