Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Miss America 2006 Tara Conner to Speak at UMC

CROOKSTON, Minn. – Tara Conner was crowned Miss America in April 2006 and began traveling the country and the world. By December of that same year, Connor was sent to Caron Treatment Center when she tested positive for cocaine. Her struggle and how she achieved sobriety will be the topic of a presentation on Wednesday, October 21, 2015, at the University of Minnesota Crookston. Conner will speak at 7 p.m. in Kiehle Auditorium and highlights National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week on the Crookston campus. The event is free and open to the public; no parking permits required.

After Conner’s very public struggle with addiction, she became a public advocacy consultant for the Caron Treatment Centers. She has shared her experience with audiences all over the United States in order to raise awareness that addiction is a disease, and that many people who have struggled with this disease can go on to lead healthy, productive lives in recovery. For more on Conner, visit

Conner’s visit to the U of M Crookston is sponsored by RiverView Health Recovery Center, Crookston Police Auxiliary Association, and several groups on the Crookston campus including the Chancellor’s Office; Residential Life; Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs (ATOD); Student Programming and Activities for Campus Entertainment (SPACE); the Honors Program; and Career and Counseling Services.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

MnDOT conducts aerial photography near communities in northern Minnesota

BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Transportation will conduct aerial mapping of several locations in northern Minnesota this fall. This work must be conducted after the leaves have fallen off of the trees and before any snow has fallen.

Weather permitting; work will begin in early October in the following locations:

·         Erskine- Highway 2
·         Halstad- Highway 75
·         Northome- Highway 1
·         Saint Hilaire- Highway 32
·         Warren- Highway 1/75
·         Warroad- Highway 11

The mapping will create a record of existing infrastructure and landscape along MnDOT right of way for transportation planning and operations. To take the photos, crews place an “X” on the ground as a reference point for the aerial photographer.

“Crews paint large white ‘X’ targets on paved surfaces” said Dan Domeier, MnDOT Land Surveyor. “For unpaved locations they use a wood panel target. A survey crew then records the coordinate position and elevation of these targets, and provides that information to the aerial photography company.”

The wood panel targets are temporary and will be removed when the photography is completed. MnDOT requests that landowners not remove or disturb the targets until the photography is completed.

If a target must be moved, please contact MnDOT District 2 survey staff at 218-755-6533 or by email at

Monday, September 28, 2015

Hunters: Blaze orange clothing required

With Minnesota’s small game hunting season underway, conservation officers (CO) with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources report some hunters not wearing required blaze orange clothing.
“The blaze orange requirement is for safety,” said CO Marty Stage of Ely. “One hunter said that he wasn’t very far from his home, to excuse him from needing blaze orange.”

Making a blaze orange fashion statement this fall might not get you on the best-dressed list, but it just might save your life.

“Wearing blaze orange clothing is a safety requirement to hunt or trap during Minnesota’s small game season or firearms deer season,” said Jon Paurus, DNR enforcement education program coordinator. “It’s important to be seen by others.”
Small game seasons: At least one visible article of clothing above the waist must be blaze orange when taking small game, except when hunting migratory birds from a blind or on the water, wild turkeys, raccoons or predators, when hunting by falconry, when trapping (outside deer seasons) or when hunting deer by archery while stationary.

Deer season: The visible portion of at least one item of a cap and one item of outer clothing above the waist, excluding sleeves and gloves, must be blaze orange when hunting or trapping during any open season where deer may be taken by firearms (including special hunts, early antlerless, youth seasons and muzzleloader). Blaze orange includes a camouflage pattern of at least 50 percent blaze orange within each square foot.

“The failure to wear to wear blaze orange puts a hunter in jeopardy of not being seen by someone who does not take the time to properly identify their target and what’s beyond it,” Paurus said.

Paurus recommends faded blaze orange garments be replaced.

“Blaze orange clothing is a tremendous aid in helping hunters maintain visual contact with one another, particularly when moving through dense cover or woods,” Paurus said. “Any hunter who has ever identified someone strictly by seeing blaze orange knows its value in keeping track of other hunters in the field, especially in low light conditions.”

For those who use ground blinds, Paurus said to remember to place some blaze orange on the outside of the blind for others to see.

Some safety tips for non-hunters:
  • Wear bright clothing. Choose colors that stand out, like red, orange or green, and avoid white, blacks, browns, earth-toned greens and animal-colored clothing. Blaze orange vests and hats are advisable.
  • Be courteous. Don’t make unnecessary noise to disturb wildlife. Avoid confrontations.
  • Know the dates of hunting seasons. Learn about where and when hunting is taking place.

Avoid deer-vehicle crashes this fall


Most deer-vehicle crashes statewide occur from September through January, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The combination of fewer daylight hours with the increased movement of deer due to mating season and hunting season increases the risk of collisions between deer and vehicles.

Though most people would expect these crashes to be more likely in rural areas, motorists in urban areas also need to watch out for these dangerous — and sometimes deadly — accidents involving deer.

Use these driving tips to help avoid collisions with deer:
  • See the signs: Deer-crossing signs are posted in high-risk areas. Drive with caution, especially in the posted areas.
  • Deer often run together: If one deer is near or crossing the road, expect that others may follow.
  • Danger from dusk to dawn: Watch for deer especially at dawn and after sunset. About 20 percent of these crashes occur in early morning, while more than half occur between 5 p.m. and midnight.
  • Safety begins behind the wheel: Always wear safety belts and drive at safe, sensible speeds for road conditions.
  • Never swerve to avoid a deer in the road. Swerving can confuse the deer on where to run. Swerving also can cause a head-on collision with oncoming vehicles, take the vehicle off the roadway into a tree or a ditch and increase the chances of serious injuries.
If a vehicle strikes a deer, motorists should report the crash by calling local law enforcement, the sheriff’s department, the Minnesota State Patrol or the Department of Natural Resources.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Fall once again triggers the arrival of two special deer hunts, the Accessible Deer Hunt and the Mentored Youth Deer Hunt, held on the Rydell NWR each year. Both hunts are held under special permits from the Minnesota DNR.

The Accessible Deer Hunt is coordinated through Options in East Grand Forks, MN, who generates funds and volunteers, and provides meals and door prizes for an average of 20 hunters each year. Specialized accessible equipment such as portable hunting blinds, temporary screens, accessible platforms and adaptive hunting equipment help to facilitate a safe and effective hunting environment on the Refuge.

The Mentored Youth Hunt is sponsored by the Friends of Rydell NWR and the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association and is open to youth 12-15 years old. An adult parent/guardian mentor, who may not hunt, must accompany youth participants while hunting at all times and abide by all hunting rules. The hunt is open to up to 15 youth.

Rydell National Wildlife Refuge will be closed to the public on the following days to anyone not participating in these special deer hunts:

Accessible Deer Hunt:         October 8-10, 2015

Mentored Youth Deer Hunt: October 17-18, 2015

The Refuge will remain open for normal hours of operation on the days prior to and following the special deer hunts.

For more information contact Gregg Knutsen, Manager, at Rydell National Wildlife Refuge (218) 687-2229 extension 16

Monday, September 21, 2015

MnDOT asks motorists, farm equipment operators to safely share the road during harvestseason

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 in full swing and farmers in every corner of the state are out using the highways,” said Sue Groth, 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 machines also make wide turns and sometimes cross 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. 

During 2012-14, 414 traffic crashes took place on Minnesota roads involving at least one farm vehicle, resulting in 13 fatalities and 202 injuries. Of the 13 fatalities, eight were farm vehicle riders; of the 202 injuries, 48 were farm vehicle riders.

“The biggest factors contributing to farm equipment/vehicle crashes are inattention, unsafe passing and speed,” Groth said. “Motorists should always slow down and use caution when approaching farm equipment.”

Motorists should:
  • Watch for debris dropped by trucks hauling sugar beets and other crops. It is safer to brake or drive through debris than to veer into oncoming cars or off the road  
  • 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  
  • Consider using a follow vehicle when moving equipment, especially at night  

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Minnesota Farm Link

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) announces the creation of Minnesota Farm Link, a web-based tool designed to link farmers and farmland. Minnesota Farm Link includes all types of farming, from small fruit and vegetable farms, to large grain and livestock operations. Whether it’s helping someone find a farm, matching an experienced or retiring farmer with a beginning farmer, or exploring mentoring opportunities, the goal is to connect people.

The MDA’s website also features a directory of Beginning and Transitioning Farmer Information: The directory is a clearinghouse of programs and services for all types of farmers, which includes farmers seeking land, financial assistance and loans, farmer education, legal services, multi-cultural programs, networking, mentoring and transitioning, and succession planning.

Minnesota Farm Link and the Beginning and Transitioning Farmer Information are a valuable tool for both retiring and beginning farmers. “We think it’s important to connect beginning farmers who are looking for farmland and/or mentorship opportunities with retiring farmers who want to see their farm continue,” said Commissioner Dave Frederickson.

If you have questions about Minnesota Farm Link, please contact Jim Ostlie at 320-842-6910 or To learn about other beginning farmer resources, contact Becky Balk at 651-201-6369 or