Monday, December 27, 2010

Free School Tours to Hjemkomst

Moorhead, Minn., Dec. 27, 2010 – The Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County (HCSCC) is offering free admission to the Hjemkomst Center museum to 2,000 local students whose teachers reserve a class visit in correlation with three new exhibits, Becoming American: Teenagers and Immigration, Coming to Clay County: 150 Years of Immigration, and an auxiliary exhibit called My Journey, My Story, about local teen immigrants or children of immigrants.

The HCSCC received a grant from the Smithsonian Community Grant Program funded by MetLife Foundation to underwrite free admission on a first-reserved, first-come basis. If teachers wish to bring their class to see the exhibits and tour the entire museum, they must contact Visitor Services Coordinator, Markus Krueger, as soon as they have a date planned to reserve their spot and get the admission FREE, courtesy of MetLife: or 218-299-5511 Ext. 6738.

Becoming American: Teenagers and Immigration is on display Jan. 5 through March 9. This new exhibit features 50 black-and-white portraits that capture first-generation immigrants and children of immigrants, revealing a diverse array of teenage responses to the immigrant experience.

In addition, the HCSCC is hosting a writing contest inviting students (ages 13-19) to write an essay about their own experiences coming to or living in a country different from their parents’ country of origin. The prize winner from each participating school will have her or his photo and essay included in an auxiliary exhibit called My Journey, My Story, at the Hjemkomst Center, for the rest of the year. All winners will be honored at the free opening public reception on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 4 – 7 p.m. A second deadline of Jan. 31 has been added to encourage more students to participate. For information and forms, contact Executive Director Maureen Kelly Jonason at or 218-299-5511 Ext. 6732.

Coming to Clay County: 150 Years of Immigration is on display through Thanksgiving 2011. This exhibit explores the local immigrant experience through the stories of actual people, from the earliest pioneers to our newest Americans. Worksheets and scavenger hunts in the exhibit will keep students of various ages and English proficiency levels engaged in learning.

For more information, visit our Website at or The Hjemkomst Center is located at 202 First Avenue North in Moorhead.

NDSU Feedlot School Set for Jan 27-28

North Dakota State University's Carrington Research Extension Center will hold its annual Feedlot School on Jan. 27-28, 2011.

This intensive course is for cattle producers, feeders, backgrounders, feed industry personnel, animal health-care suppliers and anyone else who is
interested in learning more about feedlot production, nutrition, waste management and marketing.

Topics will include feeding programs; feeds and animal requirements; optimizing nutrient use; carcass quality; facility management; diseases, treatments and health programs; feed delivery; bunk reading; waste and nutrient management; ration formulation; feed additives and implanting strategies; marketing using futures and options; budgeting; custom feeding; and business management. The school also will include a commercial feedlot tour.

Instructors include faculty from NDSU's Animal Sciences Department, and the Carrington and North Central Research Extension Centers, as well as others who have extensive experience working with northern Plains feedlots.

The registration fee is $100 per person or $150 for two people from the same operation.

The deadline to register is Jan. 20. The fee does not include lodging.

Participants must make their own lodging arrangements. Lodging is available at the Chieftain Conference Center, (701) 652-3131, or the Carrington Inn and Suites, (701) 652-3982.

For more information about the course or to register, contact Foster County Extension agent Joel Lemer at (701) 652-2581 or

The Carrington Research Extension Center is 3.5 miles north of Carrington on U.S. Highway 281.

Northern Prairie Fiber Artists for “Rock Day” at Hjemkomst

The Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County welcomes the Northern Prairie Fiber Artists, as they will be demonstrating the art of spinning and other fiber arts on Saturday, Jan. 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the atrium of the Hjemkomst Center. Admission to the demonstration is free, but those who wish to see the museum exhibits must pay admission. The group celebrates St. Distaff Day or "Rock Day" each year at this time, as it represents an old European custom of returning to the daily chores, such as spinning, after the twelve days of Christmas.

According to a website, “In pre-industrial Europe many of the agricultural and household chores that marked the turning of the seasons attached themselves to saints’ days. All across Europe, for example, people slaughtered animals and celebrated the harvest on St. Martin’s Day. In England, folk tradition carried this tendency one step further, inventing St. Distaff’s Day to mark women’s return to work after the Christmas holiday.

St. Distaff’s Day fell on January 7, the day after Epiphany. On this day, folk tradition advised women to return to the daily chores they had put aside during the twelve days of Christmas. Before the invention of factory-made cloth, the task of spinning constituted perhaps the most representative of all female chores. Women of all ages, ranks, and incomes spun thread. Thus, English folk tradition commemorated women’s return to work on the day after Epiphany by inventing a joke holiday called St. Distaff’s Day. There never was a saint named Distaff. The word “distaff” refers to one of the principal tools women used in spinning, a rod upon which flax or wool was tied and out of which thread was pulled. This tool was also known as a “rock,” hence the day was also known as ‘Rock Day’” (

For more information on the event, visit the Website at or The Hjemkomst Center is located at 202 First Avenue North in Moorhead.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


American Crystal Sugar Company has agreed to pay a 50,000-dollar civil penalty and take corrective actions to settle alleged violations of state environmental protection and reporting regulations at its facility in East Grand Forks, Minnesota.

According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, some of the alleged violations were associated with a rainstorm in May 2009 when runoff from company land application sites entered Grand Marais Creek. This led to complaints about odors and discoloration in the creek. The MPCA also alleged that the company failed to take necessary actions to minimize pollution to the creek once notified of the complaint. The company also had problems with monitoring and monitoring reports and inadequate quality assurance procedures to ensure compliance with state requirements.

In addition to agreeing to the 50,000-dollar penalty, American Crystal agreed to submit plans and update procedures to help ensure future compliance with regulations. For a comprehensive list of enforcement actions by the MPCA, go to the agency website at

Monday, December 20, 2010

Annie's Project has been scheduled in North Dakota for the sixth consecutive year

The six-week program, which helps farm women become better business partners in their farm or ranch operation, will start the week of Jan. 17, 2011, at seven locations across the state. These sites are: Alexander, Grand Forks, Towner, Beach, Cando, Elgin and Dickinson.

This North Dakota State University Extension Service project gives women the skills and confidence to become more actively involved in their business's decision-making process.

The program received very high reviews from the more than 1,000 women who have participated during the past five years.

"The most frequent comment made by participants at the end of the project is, 'I wish I would have taken this course years ago,' " says Willie Huot, Annie's Project state coordinator.

The program will be delivered at all sites by a combination of interactive
television and local presenters. The program provides comprehensive information on key farm management topics such as:

* How bankers make loan decisions
* Tracking expenses and income for business and families
* Mastering spreadsheets
* Land rental agreements
* Retirement, farm transfer and estate planning
* Grain and livestock marketing
* Insurance needs, including crop insurance
* Personnel management
* Business plans, and why and how to develop them

More information about the North Dakota Annie's Project, as well as registration details, are available online at; by
contacting Huot at (701) 780-8229 or e-mail at; or by
contacting any of the site facilitators listed on the website.

The cost is $100 per person for registrations received before Jan.5. A $35 late fee will be added after that date. Those interested in the program are urged to register early because seating is limited at all sites. Online registration also is available at

This program is made possible by several statewide sponsors, including the NDSU Extension Service, AgCounty Farm Credit Services (Fargo and Grand Forks), Farm Credit Services of Mandan, Farm Credit Services of North Dakota (Minot), North Dakota Grain Growers and North Dakota Farm Service Agency. In addition, many local sponsors at each location help offset the program costs.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

NDSU Schedules Dakota Cow-Calf Clinics

Cattle producers will have an opportunity to improve their production and management practices at a two-part beef cattle series through the Interactive Video Network on Jan. 19 and Feb. 16.

The North Dakota State University Extension Service's Dakota Cow-Calf Clinics will be broadcast in Interactive Video Network rooms at the Bottineau, Steele and LaMoure County courthouses; NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center; and Chase building in Grafton. The clinics begin at 10 a.m. and conclude at noon.

The title of the Jan. 19 meeting is "Cover Crops and Cattle." Topics to be covered will be the cost and nutrient values of common cover crops; Carrington
Research Extension Center cover crop trial results and mixes; and soil health, nutrient cycle and soil compaction issues when using cover crops.

The title for the Feb. 16 meeting is "Beef Cattle Reproduction." Topics to be covered include synchronizing estrus, heat detection and artificial
insemination; understanding the bull sale catalog; heifer development; and third-trimester and post-partum nutrition.

Presenters include Karl Hoppe, NDSU Extension area livestock specialist, Carrington; Kevin Sedivec, NDSU Extension rangeland specialist; Tim Semler, Bottineau County Extension agent; Blaine Schatz, director of the Carrington Research Extension Center; Dave Franzen, NDSU Extension soils specialist; Carl Dahlen, NDSU Extension beef specialist; David Buchanan, professor, NDSU Animal Sciences Department; and John Dhuyvetter, NDSU Extension area livestock specialist, Minot.

The clinics are free and registration is not required. However, those wanting to attend should preregister because seating at each location is limited. You may attend one or both clinics.

To preregister, contact:

* Al Ulmer, LaMoure County, (701) 883-5301, ext. 209,

* Tim Semler, Bottineau County, (701) 228-2253,

* Andy Johnson, Steele County, (701) 524-2253,

* Joel Lemer, Foster County, (701) 652-2581,

* Brad Brummond, Walsh County, (701) 284-6248,

The Bottineau, Foster, LaMoure, Steele and Walsh County offices of the NDSU
Extension Service are sponsoring the clinics.

The Fergus Falls Wetland Management District Says Farewell to Kevin Brennan

After thirty-six years, Kevin Brennan is retiring from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) as the Project Leader for the Fergus Falls Wetland Management District. Ever-present as the prairie wind, Brennan has been a motivating force for conservation in the North Country for more than two decades. The District will be hosting a retirement celebration for Brennan December 29, 2010, from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., at the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center, 602 State Highway 210, Fergus Falls, Minnesota and the public is welcome to attend.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) intern

Minnesota businesses interested in reducing waste and improving efficiency can apply for a Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) intern with a deadline of February 1, 2011.

Each summer, six to eight companies in Minnesota participate in MnTAP's intern program. This program aids companies in adding an extra engineer to address waste and energy issues without the added payroll expense. The interns are supported by MnTAP staff who provide technical guidance and pollution prevention and energy efficiency resources. MnTAP funds two-thirds of the student's salary; the company covers the remaining one-third ($2,500).

Proposed projects are evaluated for their reduction potential, specific goals achievable in three months, repetition of previous projects, and application of results to other Minnesota businesses along with company interest and commitment. Projects should focus on identifying specific options for reducing wastes and increasing efficiency.

In 2010, the interns recommended solutions that could save eight companies more than $1.7 million and result in significant environmental reductions: 85,000 lbs solid waste, 410 lbs wastewater loading, 27 million gallons of water, 14 million kWh, and 1 million therms.

For more information about the intern program or the application process, see or contact Krysta Larson at MnTAP at 612/624-1300 or 800/247-0015.

Minnesota Will Receive $21.6 Million More for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program

(ST. PAUL, MN) The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Office of Energy Security (OEs) today announced Minnesota will receive an additional $21.6 million in federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds for the Minnesota Energy Assistance Program (EAP). When added to the $64.8 million in federal funds already received by the state, this allocation brings the total for the current heating season to $86.4 million.

OES reports it has already served nearly 100,000 households with heating assistance grants through EAP thus far. Upon receipt of the official grant award funds, DOES will immediately put this latest allocation into the hands of the 36 local service providers who work with households to distribute the funds.

EAP applications have increased 10 percent this year compared to the same time last year. The program helps low-income customers pay their heating bills through grant money paid directly to the utility company on behalf of the customer.

Last year, Minnesota served 164,783 households with $160.3 million in federal funds. This year, the average grant per household is about $500. Customers with 50 percent or less of the state median income ($43,500 for a family of four) may qualify. Households with seniors, disabled, and children are especially encouraged to apply.

Qualifying families must apply for assistance at the local service provider in their area. Funding is limited and is administered on a first-come-first-serve basis.

A list of local service providers and more information about the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program can be found on the Minnesota Department of Commerce website at www.ener by clicking on “Low Income Assistance.”

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Legal truck weight load increases begin Dec. 11 in central Minnesota

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Allowable winter load limits on highways in the central frost zone will increase up to 10 percent at 12:01 a.m., Saturday, Dec.11, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
The central frost zone’s boundaries extend south from the southern limit of the north-central frost zone (Highway 10, Highway 210, Highway 18, Interstate 35, Highway 48 and the Wisconsin state line) to a line following and including Highway 12 from the South Dakota state line to the Hennepin County line.

Winter truck weight load increases were previously announced on highways in the north frost zone beginning Monday, Dec. 6, and in the north-central frost zone beginning Wednesday, Dec. 8.

Vehicles will be allowed to carry up to 10 percent more weight than the standard legal maximum loads on unrestricted highways during the winter load increase period. However, trucks must comply with current registration weight laws and not exceed registered gross weight limits.

Mn/DOT advises that haulers check with local agencies (cities, counties and townships) prior to increasing any weights on their routes. Signs erected on the roadway govern the load limit in effect.

A winter weight increase permit is required to take advantage of the 10 percent weight increase on interstate highways.

For information about legal weight/size trucking, call the Minnesota Department of Public Safety at 651-405-6171 (select Option 3, Option 3). For information about over legal weight/size heavy haul trucking, call Mn/DOT at 651-296-6000.

Load increases are permitted because pavements achieve increased strength to carry heavier loads when their sub-grades freeze.

Mn/DOT continues to monitor the other frost zones to determine when it can allow additional weight increases in those areas.

For the most current information, call Mn/DOT’s automated 24-hour message center at 800-723-6543 for the U. S. and Canada or 651-366-5400 in the Twin Cities metro area. For more information on Mn/DOT’s seasonal load limits, visit

Lamb Feeding Seminar Set for Jan. 8

North Dakota State University's Carrington Research Extension Center is hosting Lamb Feeding 101, a daylong seminar Jan. 8, 2011.

"Lamb prices are at an all-time high," says Reid Redden, NDSU Extension Service sheep specialist. "This improvement in lamb value is gaining the attention of sheep producers in North Dakota. Since efficient gains, well-balanced rations and healthy lambs directly affect profitability, attending this session will help improve lamb feeding management skills."

The seminar is designed to help producers develop feeding programs for lambs. The event will start with registration at 9:30 a.m.
Topics to be covered will include nutrition, health, management and marketing. The presenters are Redden; Christopher Schauer, director of the NDSU Hettinger Research Extension Center; Karl Hoppe, NDSU Extension area livestock specialist at the Carrington Research Extension Center; and Craig Galbreath, a veterinarian from Oakes.

A feeder panel will discuss various types of feeding and marketing programs. The panelists are Brent Kuss of Woodworth, Brent Stroh of Tappen and Dave Buskohl of Wyndmere.

The seminar will end with a tour of a local feedlot to provide participants with a hands-on view of the facilities required for feeding lambs.

The cost of attending the seminar is $10 if paid by Jan. 1 and $15 at the door. The registration fee includes a lamb lunch.

For more information or to register, contact Redden at (701) 231-5597 or or Hoppe at (701) 652-2951 or

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Black ice creates dangerous driving conditions

BEMIDJI, Minn. - The Minnesota Department of Transportation warns motorists that temperatures below freezing create conditions for black ice, an invisible hazard that catches drivers off-guard and causes crashes.
Black ice can form just about anywhere on a paved highway when the air temperature is warmer than the pavement, which causes moisture to rapidly freeze and creates a thin, transparent layer of ice on the roadway.
Freshly fallen snow can further disguise black ice and create even greater danger.
Motorists should remember to:
• Slow down and turn off your cruise control.
• Slow down on bridges, ramps and overpasses and in the early morning when the air temperature is rising faster than the pavement temperature.
• Use a safe speed for winter driving conditions, regardless of the posted speed limit.
• Keep a safe stopping distance from the vehicle in front of you.
• Keep both hands on the steering wheel, your eyes on the road and your attention on your driving.
• Allow more travel time to your destination. Avoid being in a rush.
• Always buckle up – it’s the law and could save your life!

Monday, December 6, 2010

the Minnesota Organic Conference

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is now accepting registrations for the 2011 Minnesota Organic Conference, which will be held January 14-15, 2011 at the St. Cloud Civic Center. Organizers expect hundreds will again turn out because of the conference’s appeal.

Keynote speakers are award-winning public radio host and food authority Lynne Rossetto Kasper, Organic Valley cooperative founder George Siemon, and organic pioneers Martin and Atina Diffley, co-operators of one of Minnesota’s first certified organic vegetable operations. The conference also includes 36 educational breakout sessions and a trade show featuring 62 seed, fertilizer and equipment dealers, organic buyers, certifying agencies, and organizations that provide information and assistance to farmers.

"I think this year’s conference sessions have the broadest appeal that I've ever seen,” says Lynn Brakke, who farms 2,000 organic acres near Moorhead and serves on the Minnesota Organic Advisory Task Force. Sessions will include management insights that conventional – as well as organic – producers can use, including
soil biology, cover cropping, weed management, grass finishing beef, marketing, and an opportunity to “Ask the Vet.”

MDA organic specialist Meg Moynihan says Minnesota now has more than 650 organic farms that range in size from just a few acres to large operations like Brakke’s. These farmers are raising grains, oilseeds, dairy, beef, poultry, fruits and vegetables. Moynihan says producers curious about what’s involved in becoming organic can attend several sessions focusing on legal organic requirements as well as the transition process.

The conference price includes breakfast, lunch, and snacks all prepared with organic ingredients. Early bird registration (until December 17) is $100 for the two- day conference and $70 for only one day. There are further discounts for additional people from the same farming operation. Reduced hotel rates are available until December 12.

The full conference program and registration forms are available at the MDA web site or by calling 651-201-6012.

Legal truck weight load increases begin Dec. 6 in northern Minnesota

Allowable winter load limits on highways in the north frost zone will increase up to 10 percent at 12:01 a.m., Monday, Dec. 6, and in the north-central frost zone at 12:01 a.m., Wednesday, Dec. 8, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
The north frost zone’s boundaries extend south from the Canadian border to a line following Highways 1, 89, 2, 33 and Interstate 35 at the Carlton-St. Louis county line and then south to the Wisconsin border.

The north-central frost zone’s boundaries extend south from the southern limit of the north zone to a line following U.S. Highway 10 from the North Dakota border east to Motley, Highway 210 east to Brainerd, Highway 18 east to I-35, I-35 south to Highway 48 and then Highway 48 east to the Wisconsin border.

Vehicles will be allowed to operate up to10 percent more than the standard legal maximum loads on unrestricted highways during the winter load increase period. However, trucks must comply with current registration weight laws a nd not exceed registered gross weight limits.

Mn/DOT advises that haulers check with local agencies (cities, counties and townships) prior to increasing any weights on their routes. Signs erected on the roadway govern the load limit in effect.

A winter weight increase permit is required to take advantage of the 10 percent weight increase on interstate highways.

For information about legal weight/size trucking, call the Minnesota Department of Public Safety at 651-405-6171 (select Option 3, Option 3). For information about over legal weight/size heavy haul trucking, call Mn/DOT at 651-296-6000.

Load increases are permitted because pavements achieve increased strength to carry heavier loads when their sub-grades freeze.

Mn/DOT continues to monitor the other frost zones to determine when it can allow additional weight increases.

For the most current information, call Mn/DOT’s automated 24-hour message center at 800-723-6543 for the U. S. and Canada or 651-366-5400 in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

For more information on Mn/DOT’s seasonal load limits, visit

Lake Region Extension Roundup Set for Jan. 4-5

The 2011 Lake Region Extension Roundup will be Jan. 4-5 in Devils Lake.

The annual event, which the North Dakota State University Extension Service organizes, offers presentations on a wide range of agricultural production and family topics.

"This is a great opportunity to learn the latest updates in ag production, crop economics, livestock and horticulture," says Bill Hodous, a Ramsey County Extension agent.

Both days start with breakfast at 8 a.m. General and concurrent sessions begin at 9:30. The general sessions are in the World War II Memorial Building. Concurrent sessions will be in the Memorial Building's basement, the Armory Room, and the Historical Room and meeting room in the adjoining Ramsey County Courthouse.

General session topics on Jan. 4 include reviews of 2010 canola and small-grain production and performance, world wheat trade issues, weed control, nitrogen recommendations, soybean row spacing, and wheat protein premiums and discounts.

Concurrent session topics that day include the economics of winter vs. spring wheat, marketing strategies, wheat protein, corn as food and fuel, managing moisture and salinity with cover crops, the 2011 spring wheat and durum outlook, production of hardy fruit in northern growing conditions, corn production research, estate planning (making a will), tree diseases, selecting trees for North Dakota and what caring adults should know about sexting.

Topics for the general sessions Jan. 5 include enhancing small-grain yields with fungicides, the canola market outlook, an update on black leg, the potential loss of fall-applied nutrients and grain marketing tools.

The concurrent session topics that day include conservation programs, dry beans, meeting a cow herd's nutritional needs, land rent negotiation, salinity management, wheat streak mosaic, variable-rate technology, investing money, and new federal regulations on preventing and controlling fuel oil spills.

Attending the roundup is free of charge. No registration is necessary. For more information, contact your county Extension Service office or Hodous at (701) 662-7027 or

Friday, December 3, 2010

Board on Aging publishes Health Care Choices booklet for seniors

The 2011 edition of the Minnesota Health Care Choices booklet is now available online and in printed form from Area Agencies on Aging and the Senior LinkAge Line. To access the booklet online, click on: To request a printed copy, call the Senior LinkAge Line at 1-800-333-2433.

The 172-page booklet is full of information for Medicare beneficiaries of all ages residing in any of Minnesota’s 87 counties, including Medicare supplements, health plans, Medicare Part D prescription drug plans, Medicare savings programs, Medicare Advantage plans and Special Need Plan as well as the, Minnesota Long-Term Care Partnership and other long-term care options, and fraud alerts. It is the only comprehensive, objective statewide publication available that provides information about all Medicare options for Minnesotans.

“This is an important resource for people wanting information about Medicare and all its programs and options,” said Jean Wood, executive director, Minnesota Board on Aging.

The primary purpose of the governor-appointed Minnesota Board on Aging is to ensure that older Minnesotans and their families are effectively served by state and local policies and programs in order to age well and live well. Partnering with area agencies on aging and others, the MBA administers and oversees the use of the Older Americans Act funds as well as state funds to support older Minnesotans. In addition, the MBA provides objective information and data to the Minnesota Legislature, the governor and state agencies to shape policies that reflect the needs and interests of older Minnesotans.

American Red Cross Classes

The American Red Cross is offering an Adult CPR/AED course on:
December 7 6:30-9:00pm
December 11 9:00-11:30am
December 13 6:30-9:00pm
December 16 9:00-11:30am

This course offers a one-year certification and the course fee is $30.00.

Infant/Child CPR
Infant and Child CPR certification is a one-year certification and is offered on:
December 6 6:30-9:00pm
The course fee is $30.00

First Aid
The Standard First Aid certification is a three-year certification and is offered on:
December 9 6:30-9:00pm
December 11 12:30-3:00pm
December 15 6:30-9:00pm
December 16 12:30-3:00pm

The course offers a three-year certification and the fee is $35.00

ChildCare First Aid
This course specifically addresses Childcare injury prevention and offers a three-year certification in First Aid. The course is offered on:
December 20 6:30-9:00pm
The is a three-year certification and the fee is $35.00

Babysitter’s Training
This course teaches what you need to know and what every parent wants in a safe and responsible babysitter. For children 12-15 years of age. The course runs from 10:30--3:30pm at the Chapter Office. Bring a sack lunch.
January 29 10:30-3:30pm
Course fee is $35.00

For more information or to register, please call the Minn-Kota Chapter of the American Red Cross at 364-1800 or write to 2602 12th Street North, Fargo, ND 58102. Classes are held at the Red Cross office. You can also register on line at Pre-Registration is required.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Reflections on the Red

The 28th Annual Red River Basin Land & Water International Summit Conference, Reflections on the Red, will be here before we know it. The preliminary 2011 conference agenda is being mailed to everyone on our mailing list. If you wish to preview the agenda prior to receiving it in the mail, please visit our website at:

Consumers report problems with Fargo online company

December 1, 2010 – St. Paul, MN – The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) has received complaints against OnSaleFurnitureDepot alleging non-delivery of products. OnSaleFurnitureDepot is an online furniture company which claims to operate out of an apartment in Fargo, North Dakota.

Customers state that after ordering and paying for merchandise on the company’s website (, their merchandise was never shipped. They also state subsequent messages left with the company via phone and e-mail have not been returned.

“This is an unfortunate matter,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of the BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. “A quick online investigation reveals there may be several other people out there who are in similar situations as the customers we’ve heard from.”

When the BBB tried to access the company’s website today, it re-directed to a page with the following message: ‘The website you are trying to view is currently experiencing difficulties, please try again later.’ A call to the company’s listed phone number was answered by a recorded message saying the user was not available, though messages were being taken. Five complaints against the company are pending. In all five cases, customers report they paid for their merchandise with a Green Dot MoneyPak card.

Green Dot MoneyPak is a money transfer service. On their website, Green Dot MoneyPak urges their customers to treat their MoneyPak number like cash and to only use their payment system with approved partners and companies they can trust. They also state that once you provide your MoneyPak number and the money is sent, Green Dot cannot provide refunds.

When shopping online, the Better Business Bureau advises customers to:

• Check the company’s rating at A quick Google search is also advisable.
• Pay with a credit card – Under federal law the shopper can dispute the charges if he or she doesn’t receive the item.
• Use a reputable escrow service.
• Trust your instincts – Offers on websites and in unsolicited e-mails can often sound too good to be true. Consumers should always go with their instincts and not be afraid to pass up a “deal” that might cost them dearly in the end.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

KRJB Christmas With The Kids schedule

2010 Christmas with the Kids on KRJB 106.5 FM

Ada-Borup 12/1/2010—12/21/2010 8:15 a.m. & 3:15 a.m.

Fertile-Beltrami 12/2/2010—12/21/2010 11:15 A.M.

Norman Co. West 12/6/2010-12/21/2010 1:15 p.m.

Norman Co. East 12/6/2010-12/21/2010 2:15 p.m.

Hillsboro 12/2/2010-12/21/2010 10:45 a.m. & 4:15 p.m.

CDs are available upon request; please call 784-2844 or email to reserve a copy at $5 each

Monday, November 22, 2010

Camp connects Military Youth, horses

Horses will help youth from military families discover the power of the human- animal connection during a day camp Dec. 4 at the Riding on Angels' Wings facility near Felton, Minn.

The Hang Out With Horses camp also will give the military youth some ways to cope with the stresses in their lives.

"The camp will help these youth become better team players, develop effective problem-solving skills, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve their
communication skills," says Diane Hahn, the North Dakota State University Extension Service's Operation: Military Kids (OMK) program coordinator. "These are skills they can use for the rest of their lives."

OMK is a collaborative outreach effort involving the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, NDSU's Center for 4-H Youth Development and local communities to support youth from military families impacted by the stress of deployment.

Riding on Angels' Wings is a nonprofit organization that provides a therapeutic horseback riding program.

Camp participants will learn to identify horses by color and markings, work with horses safely and interpret horses' body language, as well as study the anatomy of a horse and explore general horse behavior.

Camps will be held for two age groups: 6 to 12 and 13 and older. The cost of the camp is $10 per youth.

Both groups will leave from the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Fargo. The 6- to 12-year-old campers will depart at 8:30 a.m. and be back at the center at 1 p.m. The older campers will leave the center at 11:30 a.m. and arrive back at the center at 5 p.m.

For more information, contact Hahn at To register, go to

Thursday, November 18, 2010

NDSU Publication Provides Summary of N.D. Farm Financial Performance

The publication "Financial Characteristics of North Dakota Farms, 2000-2009" summarizes the performance of more than 500 farms enrolled in the North Dakota Farm Business Management Education program The program use 16 financial measures to evaluate liquidity, solvency, repayment capacity, profitability and financial efficiency.

Farms are grouped by region, type, size, gross cash sales, land tenure, profit, debt-to-assets ratio and the age of the farmer to look at relationships between financial performance and farm characteristics.

In 2009, median and average acreage per farm was 1,995 acres and 2,516 acres, respectively. Farm gross cash revenue has doubled during the past decade. In 2009, the median and average was $430,321 and $558,305, respectively. More than 70 percent of the farms were crop farms.

"Farm financial performance in 2007 and 2008 was much superior to other years in the 2000- 2009 period," says Andy Swenson, North Dakota State University Extension Service farm management specialist. "Overall, performance was the worst in 2001. One measure of financial efficiency is the percentage of each dollar of gross revenue that is converted to profit. Median net farm income as a percent of gross revenue was the lowest of the decade in 2009 at 13.4 percent. It peaked at 30.6 percent in 2007 and ranged from 14 to 19.6 percent from 2001 to 2006."

The Red River Valley and crop farms typically had stronger profitability,
solvency and repayment capacity than other regions and farm types. Exceptions were 2007 and 2009, when the north-central region had the best regional performance, and 2005, when the south-central region and livestock farms had a better performance.

"Farms with sales of less than $250,000 were more than twice as likely to have a greater than 70 percent debt-to-asset ratio, as compared with farms with sales greater than $250,000," Swenson says. "As expected, the percent of debt-to-asset ratio decreased and the level of cropland ownership increased as farmers got older. The rate of return on equity was greater than the rate of return on assets, which indicates that debt capital was employed profitably during nine years of the past decade for farms with sales greater than $500,000, but never by the farm group with less than $100,000 in sales."

For a free copy of the publication, contact the Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics, NDSU Dept. 7610, P.O. Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-6050, or call (701) 231-7441.

This publication also may be obtained on the Web at (search for "Financial Characteristics of North Dakota Farms, 2000-2009").

North Country Health Services and Sanford Health Announce Plans to Join Together

(Bemidji, MN) – Two long standing health care systems announced today plans to combine their strengths and expertise, which will offer greater depth and breadth of services to people in northern Minnesota. North Country Health Services (NCHS), based in Bemidji, MN, and Sanford Health, based in Fargo, ND and Sioux Falls, SD, announced the NCHS Board of Trustees has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI), meaning both organizations will begin the process of joining together to create a new, integrated health care delivery system. The Sanford Board of Trustees has approved the direction of the LOI and is expected to sign the document during the board meeting this Friday.

“North Country Health Services and Sanford Health announced today our intent to come together as one organization, better positioning us to lead in northern Minnesota by delivering innovative health care and expanding our capabilities in highly specialized areas of medicine,” said Dr. Jim Bensen, North Country board of trustees.

Coming together enhances an already solid relationship between NCHS and Sanford Health. By integrating, $75 million would be invested into the community through facilities, recruitment and technology over the next ten years. A portion of the total investment, a $5 million gift, will be given to the NCHS Foundation to begin that process. NCHS and Sanford Clinic Bemidji have worked together for many years. Both have deep roots in the Bemidji region and have a strong reputation for quality and excellence in staff, technology and service.

“Joining with Sanford in a fully integrated model of care is truly a natural progression of our long-standing relationship. With an eye toward the future, we are seeking new ways of improving health and access to care for people across the entire region, including key services like heart, cancer, orthopedics and neuroscience,” said Paul Hanson, CEO and president, NCHS.

The fully integrated clinic and hospital in Bemidji will be a not-for-profit, community-based health care system. It will combine the experience of the two health care organizations, which will increase efficiency and lead to better coordination of patient care.

“With the current emphasis on health care reform calling for change, we are humbled by the opportunity to increase efficiency and be a model for health care delivery the rest of the nation will follow,” said Kelby Krabbenhoft, CEO and President, Sanford Health. “This is the perfect time to pursue ways we can work together to grow and improve our services in northern Minnesota. We can add value for patients, be proactive in health care reform and attract talent, including doctors, nurses and other health professionals who will significantly advance the services we offer.”

Over the next several months, both organizations will work together on additional analyses, due diligence and communications to develop a final agreement and any necessary regulatory applications. They will also take this opportunity to share their vision for the future as a combined organization and answer questions from stakeholders and the community.

A Minnesota Grown Christmas tree – the only real choice

Minnesota has a fresh, fragrant crop of Christmas trees this year thanks to a great growing season. Many tree farms will open for business the day after Thanksgiving and growers say the selection will be fabulous.

“This year, the trees are exceptionally moist and fragrant because of the consistent rain we had this summer and fall,” says grower Jan Donelson of Clear Lake. “That moisture should help them hold up very well in the stand.”

Donelson is a member of the Minnesota Christmas Tree Association (MNCTA) and her farm is among 55 tree farms and lots listed in the 2010 Minnesota Grown Directory. Minnesota Grown trees can also be found at neighborhood lots; even some major retailers will carry them.

Minnesota Grown spokesman Brian Erickson says choosing a real tree has many benefits beyond its beauty.

“Of course, for the full-blown fun family experience, nothing beats a trip to a tree farm,” says Erickson. “Beyond the economic, environmental and aesthetic benefits of a real tree, the true gift is the family tradition and fun of choosing your own tree.”

At the farm, families may find a variety of activities including live reindeer and a visit from Santa. Most farms offer hot cider, coffee and cookies, and many have unique gift shops where they sell custom-order wreaths, ornaments, tree stands and crafts. Services provided at the farm may include shaking and baling. Many growers are happy to supply saws for cutting and most will help customers load the tree for an easy trip home.

Finding a locally-grown, fresh tree is easy by searching the directory at

For tips on choosing and caring for a real tree, go to the MNCTA website at

Top Ten Cyber Monday Tips for Staying Safe When Shopping Online

Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, has officially replaced Black Friday – the day after Thanksgiving – as the most popular day to shop for the holidays. Shopping online means avoiding the crowds, but it also opens buyers up to attacks from scammers and hackers. In order to fight these online menaces, the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) offers 10 tips for staying safe when holiday shopping online.

Every year, more people head online – rather than to the mall – to get their holiday shopping done. Last year, 96.5 million Americans shopped online during Cyber Monday while 79 million Americans shopped at brick-and-mortar retailers on Black Friday, according to the National Retail Federation.

“The convenience and ease of shopping online has replaced the hassle of going to the store for many people, but online shopping has its own set of risks,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of the BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. “Taking precautions to avoid online fraud will result in a much happier holiday for everyone, except for scammers, of course – and hackers.”

Following are the “Top 10 Online Shopping Tips” for holiday shoppers to help fight unscrupulous online retailers, scammers and hackers:

1. Protect your computer – A computer should always have the most recent updates installed for spam filters, anti-virus and anti-spyware software and a secure firewall.

2. Shop on trustworthy websites – Shoppers should start with the BBB to check on the seller’s reputation and record for customer satisfaction. Always go to first, and look for the BBB seal and other widely-recognized “trust marks” on retailer websites. Always remember to click on the seals to confirm that they are valid.

3. Protect your personal information – The BBB recommends taking the time to read the privacy policy of every website you visit and understand what personal information is being requested and how it will be used. If there isn’t one posted, it should be taken as a red flag that personal information may be sold to others without permission.

4. Beware of deals that sound too good to be true – Offers on websites and in unsolicited e-mails can often sound too good to be true – especially extremely low prices on hard-to-get items. Consumers should always go with their instincts and not be afraid to pass up a “deal” that might cost them dearly in the end.

5. Beware of phishing – Legitimate businesses do not send e-mails claiming problems with an order or an account to lure the “buyer” into revealing financial information. If a consumer receives such an e-mail, the BBB recommends picking up the phone and calling the contact number on the website where the purchase was made to confirm that there really is a problem with the transaction.

6. Confirm your online purchase is secure – Shoppers should always look in the address box for the “s” in https:// and in the lower-right corner for the “lock” symbol before paying. If there are any doubts about a site, the BBB recommends right-clicking anywhere on the page and select “Properties.” This will let you see the real URL (website address) and the dialog box will reveal if the site is not encrypted.

7. Pay with a credit card – It’s best to use a credit card, because under federal law, the shopper can dispute the charge if he or she doesn’t receive the item. Shoppers also have dispute rights if there are unauthorized charges on their credit card, and many card issuers have “zero liability” policies under which the card holder pays nothing if someone steals the credit card number and uses it. Also, never wire money if prompted to do so.

8. Keep documentation of your order - After completing the online order process, there may be a final confirmation page or the shopper might receive confirmation by e-mail. The BBB recommends saving a copy of that as well as any e-mails for future reference and as a record of the purchase.

9. Check your credit card statements often – Don’t wait for paper statements; the BBB recommends consumers check their credit card statements for suspicious activity by checking statements online regularly or by calling their credit card companies if fraud is suspected.

10. Know your rights – Federal law requires that orders made by mail, phone or online be shipped by the date promised or, if no delivery time was stated, within 30 days. If the goods aren’t shipped on time, the shopper can cancel and demand a refund. There is no general three-day cancellation right, but consumers do have the right to reject merchandise if it’s defective or was misrepresented. Otherwise, it’s the company’s policies that determine if the shopper can cancel the purchase and receive a refund or credit.

For more advice on staying safe online this holiday season, and to see reports on thousands of online retailers, go to

IDEA Competition Deadline is Just Days Away

The deadline for entering this year’s IDEA Competition is just days away. Since its inception two years ago, the competition has built a reputation for helping local innovators in bringing new products and services to market. Over $90,000 has been awarded to Northwest Minnesota innovators, helping local innovators with product engineering, patent filing costs, market feasibility studies, and website development, as well as many other development costs.

The purpose of the competition is to assist the most promising local entrepreneurs in the commercialization of innovative products, processes and deliveries by connecting them to the best resources available, along with access to the capital it takes to launch a successful venture. The competition awards as many as five $10,000 p rizes each year to winning ideas. Since its launch two years ago, the competition has awarded $90,000 to nine Northwest Minnesota entrepreneurs.

The cash awards are just one of the benefits. Nancy Fisher, from Warroad, MN, and inventor of Highway-My-Way™, was one of five 2010 winners. "Being a contestant in the IDEA competition was like working on a ‘mini-MBA,’” Fisher said. “Writing the business plan, making financial projections, and preparing a presentation were all very practical learning experiences." Ms. Fisher expects a product launch later this year.


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