Thursday, July 20, 2017

MDA extends comment period on proposed nitrogen fertilizer regulation



St. Paul, MN - The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has extended the public comment period for its draft proposal for the use of nitrogen fertilizer in Minnesota. The purpose of the proposed Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule is to minimize the potential for nitrate-nitrogen contamination from fertilizer in the state's groundwater and drinking water. Public comments will now be accepted through Friday, August 25, 2017.

“We’ve heard from farmers, commodity groups, and other leaders in our ag industry that more time is needed for them to weigh in on this proposal,” said MDA Commissioner Dave Frederickson. “We need their input and we’re going to make that extension. We’re also going to hold additional meetings in Northwestern Minnesota at the request of ag leaders and members of the public in that region.”

Public listening sessions on the draft rule will be held at the following locations: 

Roseau: Roseau Civic Center, 121 Center Street East, Roseau, MN 56751 Wed. July 26, 6:30pm

Warren: Warren Community Center, 110 West Johnson Avenue, Warren, MN 56762 Thurs. July 27, 8:30am

Hawley: Hawley High School, 714 Joseph Street, Hawley, MN 56549 Thurs. July 27, 7pm

All comments regarding the proposed rule must be submitted in writing. After consideration of comments received, the MDA expects to publish the final draft of the rule in the fall of 2017. The rule is expected to be adopted in the fall of 2018.

Written comments on the draft Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule should be submitted by Friday August 25, 2017 via mail or email to:
Larry Gunderson
Fertilizer Technical Unit Supervisor
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
625 Robert Street North
St. Paul, MN, 55155-2538

All comments should, but are not required to, include a contact name, phone number and/or email address to provide for follow-up discussion on specific comments.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

CRES Seeks Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses Interested in Partnering on Class Projects



CROOKSTON, Minn. – Entrepreneurs and small business owners can receive valuable assistance through an opportunity offered by the Center for Rural Entrepreneurial Studies (CRES) at the University of Minnesota Crookston. CRES is seeking regional entrepreneurs and small business owners interested working with U of M Crookston students on a class project for their business.  Potential projects may include, but are not limited to, marketing and management strategies, business plans, assistance with accounting software, marketing research, competitive analysis, social media marketing, and other projects identified by the client.  All projects are completed by U of M Crookston students under the guidance of qualified faculty at no cost.

Each semester, both spring and fall, CRES integrates projects into courses offered on campus. These projects become an integral part of the course curriculum and are designed to benefit small business owners and entrepreneurs while providing students with real-world business experiences.

Applications for the program are accepted anytime; however, priority is given to applications received prior to the due dates. The 2017 fall semester application deadline is Monday, August 14, 2017. Interested individuals and business can apply for assistance at www.umccres.org/apply.  All applications are screened by CRES and the projects that best fit the mission of CRES and enhance the learner outcomes for the course will be contacted for a follow-up meeting to determine guidelines, client expectations, and to review other relevant information regarding participation.

For more information about the opportunity, contact Rachel Lundbohm, director of CRES at 218-281-8190 (rlundboh@umn.edu) or visit the CRES Web site at www.umccres.org. The CRES office is located in Dowell Hall 117 on the Crookston campus.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

“Mumble strip” installation begins July 17

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – Motorists on several west central Minnesota highways will encounter short-term delays starting Monday, July 17, as crews install centerline “mumble strips” on the roadway.

The mumble strips alert drivers if they drift out of their lane similar to traditional rumble strips, but their design reduces the amount of noise heard outside of the vehicle.

The sections of highways receiving mumble strips include:
·         Highway 9 from Felton to the Clay/Norman county line
·         Highway 28 from Chokio to Morris
·         Highway 29 from Benson to the Swift/Chippewa county line
·         Highway 29 from Highway 210 to Wadena
·         Highway 32 from Highway 10 to Ulen
·         Highway 34 from Interstate 94 to Highway 59
·         Highway 55 from Elbow Lake to Barrett
·         Highway 75 from Highway 7 to Graceville
·         Highway 75 from the Clay/Wilkin county line to Moorhead
·         Highway 75 from Moorhead to the Clay/Norman county line
·         Highway 108 from Dent to Otter Tail County Road 41
·         Highway 113 from Waubun to Mahnomen County Road 4
·         Highway 210 from Breckenridge to Fergus Falls
·         Highway 210 from I-94 to the Otter Tail/Todd county line

Motorists may encounter brief delays while crews install the mumble strips.

Century Fence of Forest Lake is the prime contractor on the $500,000 project.

The work is expected to take about two weeks.

Rumble and mumble strips are installed as a low-cost safety measure to reduce crashes in which cars run off the road or cross the center line.

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

Monday, June 12, 2017

State reminds homeowners to do homework before hiring a contractor



The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) reminds homeowners to do their homework before hiring a building contractor after a storm ... or anytime.

“There are many companies in Minnesota that specialize in repairing roofs, siding and windows damaged by storms. Most of these contractors are reputable and licensed,” said Ken Peterson, DLI commissioner. “However, sometimes unscrupulous operators try to take advantage of storm victims.”

After neighborhoods experience a wind or hail storm, homeowners may find salespeople for these companies going door-to-door soliciting repair work.

Before signing any document, homeowners should call DLI at (651) 284-5069 or go online to DLI'sLicense Lookup search to verify the contractor is licensed and to learn if the contractor has a history of disciplinary action. Homeowners should also check with the Better Business Bureau and check for lawsuits or judgments involving the company or its owners in the state court system.

Homeowners are cautioned not to sign anything presented by a contractor unless the document is read very carefully and the homeowner has made a firm decision to hire that contractor. Generally speaking, if a homeowner signs a piece of paper it is a contract, regardless of what the salesperson says; the homeowner is then obligated to use the contractor for all repairs approved by the homeowner's insurance company.

Contractors cannot offer to pay the homeowner's insurance deductible. State law prohibits contractors from paying deductibles or offering any compensation as an incentive to hire them to perform storm repair services.

Before hiring a contractor, DLI suggests homeowners ask:
  • for the contractor's license number and then contact DLI's CCLD Enforcement Unit at (651) 284-5069 or dli.contractor@state.mn.us to verify the contractor is currently licensed and to determine if the contractor has a disciplinary history;
  • the contractor how long and where they have been in business;
  • for references and check with former customers to see if they were satisfied with the work; and
  • for a local phone number and a Minnesota business address other than a post office box.