Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Water Quality Town Hall Meetings to Be Held Across MN

ST. PAUL, MN – Joined by environmental advocates, lawmakers, and concerned Minnesotans for Water Action Day at the Minnesota State Capitol, Governor Mark Dayton today announced a series of Water Quality Town Hall meetings beginning in late July. The town halls will offer Minnesotans an opportunity to discuss the water quality challenges facing their communities and our state, learn from experts, and engage with policymakers. The town hall meetings build on the momentum from Governor Dayton’s “25 by 25” Water Quality goal proposal, announced earlier this year.

“All Minnesotans have a stake in water that’s safe for drinking, swimming, and fishing,” said Governor Dayton. “These town hall meetings will further the important conversations already happening across Minnesota around water quality. Together we can develop strategies and solutions that work for all of our communities.”

The State of Minnesota will host ten town hall meetings in communities across the state from late July through early October. These meetings are free to attend and open to the public.

In addition to attending the town halls, Minnesotans are encouraged to host their own community meetings about water quality from June through August. These Community Water Meetings offer an opportunity for cities, schools, families, and friends to identify ways individuals can work at the local level to move Minnesota towards the 25 by 25 goal. Individuals interested in registering to hold their own meeting can find more information at

Earlier this year, Governor Dayton announced a new goal to improve Minnesota’s water quality 25 percent by 2025. Without additional action, the quality of Minnesota’s waters is expected to improve only 6 to 8 percent by 2034. If the goal is approved by the Legislature, a series of town halls and community meetings would engage local governments, farmers, scientists, environmental groups, and business leaders in a collaborative effort to address Minnesota’s water quality challenges.

Achieving a 25 percent improvement in water quality statewide would require Minnesota to take aggressive, yet achievable action. It also would help Minnesota meet existing commitments to reduce phosphorus 12 percent by 2025 and nitrogen 45 percent by 2040 in the Mississippi River.

Attend a Water Quality Town Hall This Summer or Fall
Town hall meetings have been scheduled in communities across Minnesota. Additional scheduling details will be made available ahead of the events.

·         Rochester – Water Quality Town Hall
Monday, July 31, 2017

·         Marshall – Water Quality Town Hall
Wednesday, August 16, 2017

·         Mankato – Water Quality Town Hall
Thursday, August 17, 2017

·         Crookston – Water Quality Town Hall
Tuesday, September 5, 2017

·         St. Cloud – Water Quality Town Hall
Wednesday, September 6, 2017
·         Ely – Water Quality Town Hall
Tuesday, September 12, 2017

·         Bemidji – Water Quality Town Hall
Wednesday, September 13, 2017

·         Minneapolis – Water Quality Town Hall
Tuesday, September 26, 2017

·         Burnsville – Water Quality Town Hall
Wednesday, October 4, 2017

·         Maplewood – Water Quality Town Hall
Thursday, October 5, 2017

Additional information will be available at

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

HCSCC Highlighting MN, ND Nurses in World War I

The Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County (HCSCC) and the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) will be hosting local researcher Angela Beaton at the Historic Solomon G. Comstock House on Thursday, April 27, at 6:30PM to highlight the service and sacrifices of local nurses during World War I. The presentation will be held in observation of the 100th anniversary of April 6, 1917, when President Woodrow Wilson signed a joint resolution declaring war on the Imperial Government of Germany, bringing the U.S. into World War I.

Beaton, an NDSU graduate student in history and an assistant with the NDSU University Press, will share her research focusing on local women who served as nurses during WW1 in both the Red Cross and the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, which included 403 women at the beginning of the war and grew to 21,480 by Armistice Day in 1918. Beaton plans to highlight the fact that these nurses’ contributions were significant and, though their efforts were valuable and their situations dangerous, their stories have been rarely told.
Tickets are available online at and General admission for the presentation is $5, but tickets are free for MNHS and HCSCC members. Admission includes tours of Moorhead’s historic Queen Anne mansion and refreshments from the Rex Cafe. Beaton’s presentation will be the last student presentation until the fall semester begins. For more information, please contact the Comstock House site manager and HCSCC Director of Operations Matt Eidem at (218) 291-4211 or 

Comstock House Hours:
February – Memorial Day: Sat 1-4
Memorial Day Weekend-Labor Day: Sat and Sun 1-4 pm
Call to schedule appointment and group tours year round

Adults: $6
Seniors: $5
College Students: $5
Youth (4-17): $4

Monday, April 17, 2017

NW MN Arts Council Announces “Of the Year” Award Winners & Art Exhibit Reception

Three awards are given each year to recognize artists and arts advocates within our seven county region who stand out in terms of artistry or volunteerism in the arts. “Of the Year” Award winners were nominated by area residents.  We are proud to announce this year’s recipients are Gayle Moen of Shelly, Jane Vigness of Climax, and Annelee Woodstrom of Ada!    

The “Of the Year” awards and the NW Art Exhibit awards will be presented at the Northwest Minnesota Arts Exhibit Reception on Sunday, April 30 in Halstad at the Norman County West High School cafeteria and small gym at 2:00 pm. Please come starting at 12:00 noon to view the 100 pieces of high quality regional artwork on display in the NCW library and vote for people’s choice.  At 1:15 enjoy a snack and music entertainment in the cafeteria.  The program will begin promptly at 2:00 with the main focus being the recognition and celebration of artists and the arts in Northwest Minnesota.  Everyone is welcome to this free event. 

In addition, the 2017 Creative Minnesota Report about Northwest Minnesota will be given by Minnesota Citizens for the Arts Executive Director Sheila Smith, followed by a brief discussion of the impact of the arts and culture in the region. Craig Dunn from VSA Minnesota (Very Special Arts Minnesota) will be attending to meet and greet and talk about the Americans for Disabilities Act. He will have information that helps arts organizations work towards inclusion for people with special needs. Kathee Foran will be attending as a program director at the Minnesota State Arts Board (MSAB).  She will have materials related to grants and services of MSAB. The public is welcome to attend. RSVP for the reception at 218-745-9111. For more information about the Arts Exhibit see the website:

Of the Year Award Winners include:

Gayle Moen, Shelly MN, will be awarded the Northwest Artist of the Year Award. Ms. Moen is a musician. She plays the piano and organ. She is a long-time educator in the Crookston Public School System. Our Artist of the Year award can be given to any discipline artist including visual, performing, or creative writing who are emerging or at a mid-way point in their artistic endeavors. It is a cash award of $500.00. 

Jane Vigness of rural Climax will be awarded the Northwest Arts Advocate of the Year Award. Ms. Vigness is the librarian in Climax and is active in the Sandhill Historical Society. She is also active in the Association of the French of the North and as a board member helps organize their arts festival each year in August. Our Arts Advocate of the Year award is $500 and includes arts from all disciplines.

Annelee Woodstrom of Ada will receive the Northwest Star Award. Ms. Woodstrom is a writer and previously an award-winning school teacher in Twin Valley. She has written about her life in War Child: Growing Up in Adolf Hitler’s Germany and Empty Chairs. This award comes with $5,000. Artists can only receive our Northwest Star Award once, as a lifetime achievement award.

Please come on April 30 to show support for our artists.  Funding for Northwest Star and Northwest Artist of the Year comes from The McKnight Foundation. Funding for Northwest Arts Advocate of the Year comes from the Minnesota State Legislature.

Wildfire Prevention Week April 16-22

To increase awareness of outdoor wildfire hazards, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has announced that April 16-22 is Wildfire Prevention Week. Minnesotans are asked to be thoughtful about how and when they use fire.

Most wildfires in Minnesota occur in the spring. Last year’s dry vegetation can quickly catch fire between the time snow has melted and plants or grasses green up. Fires escaping a debris burn is the number-one cause of wildfires. Campfires escaping the fire ring on dry, windy days is another important cause of wildfires.

“The DNR is already fighting wildfires thanks to the mild winter and early spring,” said Linda Gormanson, DNR burning permits coordinator. “Dead or dormant vegetation can easily catch fire since we’ve had little precipitation so far this spring.”

Because escaped debris burning fires are the biggest cause of wildfires in Minnesota, Gormanson recommends mulching or composting vegetative debris to avoid these fires in the first place. If plans include a campfire, Gormanson said clear the area around the campfire and keep the fire to less than 3 feet in diameter and height. Keep a shovel and water on hand, watch the campfire continuously and make sure it is completely out before leaving.

The DNR has initiated spring burning restrictions to reduce the number of unintended fires. A burning permit is required to burn vegetative material unless there is at least 3 inches of snow on the ground. The DNR or local governments may also restrict burning if weather conditions warrant.

Visit the DNR’s statewide fire danger and current burning restriction webpage at before starting a fire. Also check local weather conditions.

So far this year, 455 fires have burned 1,238 acres.  On average each year, Minnesota fire agencies respond to 1,500 wildfires that burn over 42,000 acres at a cost of tens of millions of dollars.

Visit the Wildfire Prevention webpage at to learn more about wildfire prevention.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

New Minnesota Grown Directory now available

  ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has released the 2017 Minnesota Grown Directory. With over 1,000 listings, this year’s guide features more local growers and farmers markets than ever before.
For more than 25 years, the MDA’s Minnesota Grown program has been connecting consumers to locally grown fruits and vegetables, meats and poultry, wines, nurseries, décor, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) operations, and other agricultural products. More than 1,000 Minnesota Grown members have registered this year, making the directory the largest direct-to-consumer agricultural publication in Minnesota.
“The Minnesota Grown directory is the first place lots of consumers look for a local agricultural product, or a CSA or farmers’ market,” said Agricultural Marketing and Development Director Paul Hugunin. “Our farmer members love connecting with their consumers, and that’s why it’s so exciting to see that this year’s directory features more farms and markets than ever.”
Consumers can search the directory by region, product, or name of a farm or market. The online and mobile-compatible versions of the directory make searching on-the-go convenient. The 2017 directory also features recipes from five Minnesotan chefs, including a Doraisamy elk loin, roasted garlic crème brulee, wild rice scones, and more.
Free, printed copies of the Minnesota Grown Directory are available at by calling Explore Minnesota Tourism at 1-888-TOURISM.