Wednesday, September 13, 2017

MnDOT encourages safety on roads during harvest

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Motorists traveling on Minnesota highways this fall need to be aware of large farm equipment transporting crops to markets, grain elevators and processing plants, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. 

“Harvest season is getting in full swing across the state and farmers and their equipment are out on the highways,” said Jay Hietpas, state traffic engineer. “Motorists need to be prepared to encounter slow-moving farm vehicles, especially on rural, two-lane roads.”

Farm equipment is large and heavy, making it hard for operators to accelerate, slow down and stop. The equipment also makes wide turns and sometimes crosses over the center line. In addition, farm vehicles can create large blind spots, making it difficult for operators to see approaching vehicles. All of these factors can cause serious crashes. 

From 2011 to 2015, there were 688 crashes involving farm vehicles that resulted in 23 fatalities and 348 injuries.  Nearly half of the fatalities were an occupant of the farm vehicle.
“Twenty-two percent of all farm equipment crashes and 29 percent of the fatalities were distraction-related,” Hietpas said. “Other factors were speed-related and alcohol-related.”

Motorists should:
·         Watch for debris dropped by trucks hauling sugar beets and other crops. It is safer to brake or slowly drive through debris than to veer into oncoming cars or off the road.
·         When approaching farm equipment, slow down and use caution. Put additional space between your vehicle and the farm equipment ahead. Don’t assume the equipment operator can see you.
·         Be patient and wait for a safe place to pass.
·         Wear seatbelts.
·         Drive with headlights on at all times.
Farm equipment operators should:
·         Use lights and flashers to make equipment more visible.
·         Use slow-moving vehicle emblems on equipment traveling less than 30 mph.
·         Drive slow-moving vehicles in the right-hand lane as close to the edge of the roadway as possible.
·         Consider using an escort vehicle when moving equipment, especially at night and if the equipment is large enough that it may extend across the center line.
·         Avoid encouraging or signaling motorists to pass. Pull over when safe, and let traffic pass.
·         Pick up any debris left on the highway by the equipment or contact MnDOT to remove it.
·         Plan their routes so wide equipment will not hit or damage signs, guardrails, light poles and other roadway structures.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

MnDOT gathering input on regional bicycle routes in NW MN

BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Transportation is hosting open houses in counties across northwest Minnesota in order to gather input on regional bicycle routes that can be included in a Statewide Bicycle Network.

Area stakeholders are invited to help identify bicycle friendly routes that make meaningful connections in the region. The routes may include existing trails and roadways, and may cross the jurisdictions of the township, city, county and state.

The meetings will be held at the following locations and times:

·         Beltrami County – Sept. 13, 10 a.m., MnDOT District 2 Office, 3920 Highway 2 West, Bemidji
·         Kittson County – Sept. 14, 1 p.m., Kittson County Courthouse, 410 Fifth Street, Hallock
·         Norman County – Sept. 19, 1 p.m., Dekko Community Center, 107 Fourth Avenue East, Ada
·         Polk County – Sept. 20, 10 a.m., Crookston City Hall, 124 North Broadway, Crookston
·         Pennington County – Sept. 20, 6:30 p.m., Ralph Engelstad Arena, 525 Brooks Avenue, Thief River Falls

District 2 comprises over 1,800 miles of state highways across 14 counties and employs approximately 220 people to handle snow and ice control, roadway construction, traffic, land acquisition, business operations, planning, design and other transportation-related duties.

You can learn more about MnDOT District 2, at to

Monday, September 11, 2017

Danny Briere to speak at the UMC on Sept. 19

CROOKSTON, Minn. – Global business professional and entrepreneur Danny Briere will be a featured guest speaker on Tuesday, September 19, at noon in the Peterson Classroom, Heritage Hall, at the University of Minnesota Crookston. The event is free and open to the public. Parking in Lot G near the Kiehle Building is encouraged and no parking permits are required.

Briere, a serial entrepreneur, started his own firms and has been involved in advising over 200 organizations in the telecommunications and Internet space. His focus is on leading edge technologies and trends, with a special interest in alternative energy, social networking, social enterprise, education, and kids.

He has also been involved in helping drive entrepreneurship across universities, towns, regions, and states. Briere is CEO of the STEMIE Coalition, a national umbrella organization over dozens of invention and entrepreneurship education programs, and chairman of the National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Expo Organizing Committee. These celebrate youth inventor and entrepreneurs across the U.S. and push invention and entrepreneurship programs into more K-12 schools in America.

Briere has lived and worked globally in more than three dozen countries, including long range stints in Europe, Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. he worked with Steve Case (Founder, AOL) and Scott Case (Founder, Priceline) under Obama’s Startup America Partnership to lead job growth and startup initiatives in Connecticut as the head of Startup Connecticut, and worked with the State of Connecticut and University of Connecticut on entrepreneurship and innovation programming, working with a number of non-profits, and helping advise and launch new companies in the mobile, social networking, and education spaces.