Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Nordic Arts Alliance presents Next Stop: Horizon live from Goteborg Sweden

Nordic Arts Alliance, a new nonprofit based in Moorhead MN, presents the final act of its inaugural season. Next Stop: Horizon is a soundtrack/ circus/vaudeville/ rock band from Goteborg Sweden. The group plays all original compositions and will feature a full complement of six musicians from Sweden on its TINY WINGS US TOUR.

The group will perform in several different venues in the FM area before conducting a short tour in Minnesota.

Sunday May 1, 2 p.m., Stave Church Hjemkomst Center, Champagne and Strawberries May Day Concert, $10

Tuesday May 3, 7 p.m., Red Raven Espresso Parlor, $5 suggested donation

Wednesday May 4, 5:30 p.m., Art-for-All Concert at Churches United for the Homeless

Thursday May 5, 6:30 p.m., Lake Agassiz Regional Library Moorhead, Family Activity

Next Stop: Horizon will also appear in an in-school concert at the Red River Area Learning Center in Moorhead. The group will conduct discussions of Swedish ecology, green policies, and other strategies to save the planet.

Next Stop: Horizon consists of Par Hagstrom, Jenny Roos, Magnus Bergstrom, Ida Andersson, Magnus Boqvist, and Ingrid Fhager.

YouTube links:

This project is funded by the Lake Region Arts Council through Legacy Funds, the North Dakota Council on the Arts, the Minnesota State Arts Board, and the Swedish Council of America.

Nordic Arts Alliance educates and connects people through tribal and contemporary Nordic arts. The group conducts international tours and works with student interns from Concordia College, Minnesota State University Moorhead, Minnesota State Community and Technical College, and North Dakota State University who each work with one of the bands or artists presented by Nordic Arts Alliance. The group is run on a collective structure and is facilitated by Jill Johnson, an installation artist. The group is a 501 (C) (3) nonprofit. Council members are Dr Milda Halvorson, Scandinavian Studies/Concordia College; Dr Maureen Kelly Jonason, Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County; and Sara Swanson, Wells Fargo Bank.

For more information on the event, call 218-299-5511 or visit of The Hjemkomst Center is located at 202 First Avenue North in Moorhead.

RRBC public meetings

Red River Basin Commission’s Long Term Flood Solutions (LTFS) Public Meetings that will be held in the area.

The purpose of these public meetings is to present a preliminary look at the RRBC Long Term Flood Solutions findings and obtain public feedback, which will be presented to legislators in June. The report consists of recommendations to policy makers that will present numerous solutions to mitigate the effects of flooding, including water storage, permitting streamlining, flood plain management reforms, identification of immediate protection projects and development of funding mechanisms.

The public and local officials are encouraged to attend.

The schedule is:
Monday, May 2 6:30 p.m. -Halstad MN
Halstad Lutheran Church (304 5th St. E.)

Tuesday, May 3 6:30 p.m. -Oslo MN
Oslo Community Center (107 3rd Ave. E.)

Wednesday, May 4 6:30 p.m. -Harwood ND
Harwood Elementary School (100 Freedland Dr.)

Thursday, May 5 6:30 p.m. -Sisseton SD
Roberts County 4-H Building (11917 BIA Hwy. 700)

Monday, May 9 6:30 p.m. -Lisbon ND
Courthouse Community Room (204 5th Ave. W.)

These meetings are free and open to the public and you are encouraged to attend any of the meetings you available for. The complete schedule and locations of public meetings can be found on the RRBC website,

Mn/DOT announces statewide ending dates for spring load restrictions

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Transportation has identified ending dates for spring load restrictions in all six of the Minnesota’s frost zones:

• Southeast—May 2
• Twin Cities Metro—May 2
• South—May 9
• Central—May 11
• North central—May 13
• North—May 13

Road restriction maps indicating the locations of weight restricted routes and state highways open to maximum 10-ton axle weights are listed at

The ending dates for spring restrictions are based on how weather affects roadway strength. These dates are established by monitoring roadway strength as weather conditions change. All changes are made with a minimal three-day notice.

For more information on spring load restrictions, visit or call 1-800-723-6543 in the United States and Canada, or 651-366-5400 in the Twin Cities Metro area.

Travelers in Minnesota can get up-to-date information on road conditions, construction and weather reports from Mn/DOT's 511 traveler information service. Dial 5-1-1 or go to the website at


FARGO, North Dakota, April, 27, 2011 – Area residents who are recovering from flood damage to their homes can request a free clean-up kit from the American Red Cross. Kits include a bucket, gloves, bleach, a mop and broom. Clean-up kits can be picked up at the Minn-Kota Chapter office, located at 2602 12th Street North in Fargo, Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or Friday from 8:00 a.m. to noon. In order to qualify for a clean-up kit you must provide proof of residency in a flood-affected area. Proof can be a driver’s license or a utility bill. For more information, please contact the chapter at 1-800-252-6746.

You can help people affected by disasters like the recent floods in North Dakota as well as countless crises at home and around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. On those rare occasions when donations exceed Red Cross expenses for a specific disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve v ictims of other disasters. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for disasters and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to victims of all disasters. To make a donation, visit or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

MDA advises consumers to be aware when buying landscaping plants

St. Paul, Minn. - The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is reminding consumers to check viability and hardiness before purchasing trees, shrubs and other plants for landscaping. Already this spring, MDA nursery inspectors have found dead and damaged packaged plants in some Minnesota stores. Inspectors have found stores selling plants that are in poor condition. They’ve also found stores carrying plants that are labeled for growing in Minnesota’s hardiness zone (a temperature range based on location) but in reality will not likely survive our extreme low winter temperatures.

“Consumers are protected from mislabeled or unhealthy plants by Minnesota laws we enforce,” said Geir Friisoe, MDA’s Plant Protection Division Director. “Proper care of plants displayed for sale is critical to survival. No green thumb can save a plant that has been significantly damaged in its early life stages.”

Damage can occur due to improper care and handling. Plants packed in plastic bags are intended to be kept dormant until they are planted. To maintain dormancy, plants should be kept cold but protected from freezing. Stores often display dormant packaged plants inside the store where temperatures encourage growth. Once this growth has begun, energy stored in the plant is reduced and, though some growth may occur, the plant is stressed and is not likely to thrive. If this growth begins, retailers are required to remove these plants from sale.

Minnesota is in four separate hardiness zones and while state law requires label accuracy, including hardiness on the label is not required. Plants not meant for Minnesota’s climate are unlikely to thrive here, regardless of the care that is provided. Fruit trees that are not hardy may survive but will not likely produce fruit.

To ensure consumers are purchasing viable and hardy nursery plants, the MDA offers the following advice:
• Plan ahead and make sure the plants you select are hardy for the area where they will be planted.
• Plants in plastic bags should be kept dormant. Once growth begins these plants should be planted or potted immediately. Check for soft or mushy roots which could indicate rot.
• Dormant plants can be planted as soon as the ground has thawed. However, newly planted stock can be damaged by freezing and frost. It may be better to wait until potted plants are available instead of buying packaged plants when it may be too early to plant.

Consumers can refer to the University of Minnesota Extension website for plant selection and planting recommendations.

Extension Youth Conference Set for June 20-23

This year's Extension Youth Conference will be held June 20-23 at North Dakota State University in Fargo.

The conference is open to any young person who has completed seventh through 12th grade. Participants do not need to be a 4-H member to attend.

Nearly 100 participants from throughout North Dakota attend the annual event.

The conference energizes North Dakota youth and empowers them with the tools necessary to develop leadership skills, learn about career paths, and form partnerships and friendships with youth from diverse backgrounds, as well as volunteers and NDSU Extension Service staff.

"Fiesta" is the theme of this year's conference. Delegates will have the opportunity to engage in leadership and educational workshops, team-building events, volunteering opportunities, water games and a banquet, and hear from keynote speakers.

The registration fee is $175. That includes all meals from Monday evening through Thursday brunch, overnight housing, an event T-shirt and a photograph of all the attending delegates. Participants who take advantage of the conference bus system will need to pay an additional $50.

Youth who want more information or are interested in attending the conference should contact their local Extension office or the Center for 4-H Youth Development at (701) 231-7251 or

The North Dakota 4-H Foundation, North Dakota 4-H Ambassadors, NDSU Extension Service, Dacotah Bank and North Dakota Soybean Council are sponsoring this year's conference.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Contact with power lines can damage farm equipment, interrupt service

Fergus Falls, MN – Otter Tail Power Company reminds farm workers to keep machinery away from utility poles, overhead lines, and other electrical equipment. Even when no injuries occur, contact with power lines can damage farm equipment and interrupt electrical service, which poses a threat to medically fragile people who rely on electricity to operate life-support systems.

“We are especially concerned at this time of year when planting gets into full swing. A little planning can help keep everyone safe and productive,” says Ryan Smith, Otter Tail Power Company safety services manager. “Think about the routes you take in and out of fields. Will tillage and planting equipment folded for road travel clear the overhead electrical lines that cross that field approach? When tillage equipment is ex tended, will it snag that nearby pole? And look up before you raise the truck box or your seed or fertilizer auger because contact with energized lines can result in personal injury or death.”

If farm equipment accidentally contacts any of Otter Tail Power Company’s lines or equipment, call 800-257-4044 to report it as soon as possible.

And a special precaution this spring, with excess water in many areas, don’t even consider going near a downed electrical line or near water that’s in contact with any electrical component such as a pad-mount transformer or a downed line.

If an electrical accident should occur, be certain that the electrical source no longer poses a threat before assisting the victim. If in doubt, call 911 and wait until help arrives. Smith says that persons who have been involved in such accidents should seek medical advice even if they don’t appear to be injured because injury from a serious electrical shock may not become apparent for several hours.

Friday, April 22, 2011

MN Arts Count Tallies 10,000 Creatives and Counting in the Land of 10,000 Lakes

ST. PAUL, Minn., April 12, 2011 – The land of 10,000 lakes is also home to more than 10,000 people and organizations engaging in creative expression, according to interim results in MN Arts Count, a statewide census for individuals and businesses/venues/groups engaging in creative expression. As of April 11, 652 organizations/venues/groups and 8,135 individuals had been counted in MN Arts Count being conducted by the Minnesota State Arts Board and the state’s 11 regional arts councils. An additional 1,687 individuals responded to both the personal and organizational surveys.

“The word is getting out about MN Arts Count census,” said Sue Gens, executive director of the Minnesota State Arts Board. “With our broad definition of ‘art,’ there are certainly many, many more people and businesses, venues, bands and the like yet to be counted. It’s important that as many people and groups engaging in creative expression and the organizations that support creative endeavors be counted because the outcome of MN Arts Count could influence future arts grants.”

MN Arts Count will run through May 31, 2011, and can be accessed at In addition to an online survey, a paper survey is available for those without Internet access or who would prefer to complete the survey offline. It is open to:
- individuals: anyone who, professionally or personally, sings, acts, dances, writes, draws, paints, sculpts, illustrates, photographs, films, knits, weaves, directs, plays an instrument, composes, shares stories, designs or engages in any other form of creative expression.
- Businesses/organizations that support, host, produce or perform creatively: venues, restaurants, coffee houses, taverns, galleries, theaters, groups, troupes, bands, ensembles, companies, local governments, schools, community education departments, churches, arenas, festivals, fairs, programs, businesses, social service agencies, or any other type of organization which displays, hosts, or otherwise supports creative expression in the state of Minnesota.

Results to-date
After one month of the census, interim results reveal:
- Visual art is the leading form of creative expression, with 62 percent of respondents indicating that is their primary creative outlet. 55% cited performing arts and 32 percent literary arts. (Respondents may indicate more than one creative outlet.)
- Of particular interest is the minority populations. To-date, 12 percent of respondents indicated they were non-Caucasian. The Arts Board is making a concerted effort to reach minority populations by translating the survey into Somali, Spanish, Hmong, Lao and Vietnamese, and canvassing minority neighborhoods.
- 36 percent of respondents indicated receiving no income from their form of creative expression. Only 12 percent said that they derived all of their income from artistic endeavors.
- 29 percent of respondents have jobs that are completely unrelated to creative expression (e.g., accountant).
- On average, individuals spend 21 hours per week on all forms of creative expression in which they engage.
- The majority of respondents (66 percent) are women.
- On the organizational level, performing arts groups have had the highest rate of participation. 34 percent of organizational respondents represented performing arts groups (musical group, dance group, theater company, comedy troupe).

The MN Arts Count is being conducted by the Minnesota State Arts Board and the state’s regional arts councils under the direction of the Minnesota legislature to ensure funds from the Minnesota Legacy Amendment are invested wisely. MN Arts Count will help determine how many Minnesota individuals and businesses or organizations are involved in arts and creative expression, and how broad and diverse their interest are. This will help ensure grants awarded by the Minnesota State Arts Board and the state’s regional arts councils are representative of the spectrum of creative expression in the state.

The census can be accessed at Paper surveys for individuals can be requested by calling 800-748-3222 ext. 225. The MN Arts Count is also on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Moorhead Police Participating in April 30th Community Prescription Drug Take Back Program

Moorhead, MN – On April 30th the Moorhead Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Through a partnership with the Moorhead Walgreen Stores we will be accepting your medications for disposal on Saturday April 30th. The Downtown Walgreens located at 8th Street and Main Avenue will participate from 10:00 a.m. to Noon. The Walgreen’s located at 8th Street and 30th Avenue South will participate from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. Pills can be left in a bottle or put in a zip lock bag. Liquids should be sealed in a bottle and secured in a zip lock bag. We ask that no needles are put into the lock box.

Last September, Americans turned in 242,000 pounds—121 tons—of prescription drugs at nearly 4,100 sites operated by the DEA and more than 3,000 state and local law enforcement partners.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.

BBQ Boot Camps Dish Out Knowledge

If you're looking for a new way to grill your favorite meat or want to learn about different meat cuts, the BBQ Boot Camp can help.

Faculty from North Dakota State University's Animal Sciences Department and the NDSU Extension Service have teamed up to hold BBQ Boot Camps throughout the state this year. The first will be from 3 to 7 p.m. April 30 at the Fargodome.

The BBQ Boot Camps introduce participants to grilling methods, including smoking and cooking with gas and charcoal; describe the merits of various meat cuts; and explain how cooking temperatures, humidity and the composition of the meat from different animal species can affect barbecuing success.

Participants also learn about nutrition, food safety and techniques such as using rubs, marinades and seasonings.

Plus, faculty share information on current topics in the pork, beef and lamb industries and report on related research, teaching and Extension activities at

"Our goal is to close the gap of knowledge between producers and consumers," says BBQ Boot Camp coordinator David Newman, an assistant professor in NDSU's Animal Sciences Department and the Extension swine specialist.

The sessions wrap up with a full meal that gives participants a chance to sample a large variety of barbecued meat.

The dates and locations for this year's other BBQ Boot Camps are (these will run from 5 to 8 p.m.):

* May 17 -- Watford City

* May 19 - Mandan

* July 13 -- Devils Lake

* July 14 -- Grand Forks

* July 19 -- Fessenden

* July 21 -- Towner

The registration fee is $30 for individuals and $50 for couples. The fee includes a book with information and recipes, and a meat thermometer.

For more information or to register, go to Preregistration is required.

To learn more about the April 30 camp, contact Corineah Williams in the Cass County Extension office at (701) 241-5700.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Operation: Military Kids Offers Summer Camps

The North Dakota Operation: Military Kids program will offer a variety of camp experiences this summer for military-connected youth.

"Youth of families with a member serving in any branch of the military can meet other kids from military families at these action-packed camps while
participating in fun, hands-on activities," says Diane Hahn, Operation: Military Kids (OMK) state program coordinator. "Families can choose the camp experience best suited for them."

Six day camps and three resident camps will be held.

BRAVO day camps are set for:

* Roosevelt Park, Minot, July 12
* Turtle River State Park, Arvilla, July 14
* Bagg Bonanza Farm, Mooreton, July 19
* Fort Lincoln State Park, Mandan, July 21
* Elmwood Park, West Fargo, July 26
* Prairie Outpost Park, Dickinson, July 29

The registration fee is $10.

Each day camp offers a core program designed to engage youth from military families in connecting with other kids who may share a similar experience. Each camp also will offer local learning resources such as archery, fishing or outdoor skills.

The BRAVO day camps will be hosted by the local county Extension office and led by state OMK Camp Team staff.

"This day is planned to be family friendly, have great food and offer families a stress-free drop-off and pickup of their kids," Hahn says.

The five-day resident camps will be held at the Western 4-H Camp near Washburn. The camp dates are:

* June 5-9, Outdoor Adventures for Military-connected Youth -- It will offer a traditional camp experience for youth 8 to 14 years old with sessions that focus on the life events youth face as a military family member.

* June 26-29, Military Youth Camp for youth 8 to 11 years old

* July 10-14, Military Youth Camp for youth 12 to 14 years old

Kids attending Military Youth Camp will experience components of military life, including a military-based obstacle course, an introduction to all branches of the military, formations, military equipment and deployment discussions.

All of the camps will use activities from the OMK resources to build communication and coping skills, and ability to deal with stress. The
registration fee is $75.

Register online at

The OMK camps are administered through the North Dakota 4-H program with a grant funded by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the National 4-H Military Partnership.

Youth visiting or moving to another state this summer can visit the national OMK website at to learn about OMK camps they could attend in those states. The national OMK program is hosting 233 camping experiences nationwide for youth this year.

Campus and Community challenges on track to surpass energy-savings goals

Fergus Falls, MN – Otter Tail Power Company celebrated with the University of Minnesota, Crookston, and the community of Rothsay, Minnesota, as the company announced preliminary energy savings associated with the Campus and Community Energy Challenges.

In 2010 the University of Minnesota, Crookston, achieved metered kilowatt-hour savings of approximately 7 percent to 8 percent. From early 2009 through early 2011 Rothsay achieved metered kilowatt-hour savings of approximately 3 percent. When all technology improvements and behavioral change initiatives have been in place for a full year, and when results are adjusted for changes in weather and normally occurring growth, the University of Minnesota, Crookston, is on t rack to save 17 percent of its prior electricity use. Rothsay is on track to save more than 19 percent. The goals of these challenges are based on sustained savings over a five-year period. Pending regulatory review and approval, that means the campus and town are on track to surpass their energy-savings goals.

“We launched these challenges with a call to imagine all of the residents of a small rural community and all the students, faculty, and staff of a college campus working together to reduce the electricity use of their entire town and campus each by 10 to 15 percent,” said Kim Pederson, Otter Tail Power Company Manager, Market Planning. “What they’ve accomplished so far was more than we imagined possible, but the hard work is still in front of them as they strike out on their own to sustain these savings.”

The Crookston campus achieved much of its savings from upgrading campus lighting and installing automated controls on variable-frequency drives for some of the ventilation systems. Otter Tail Power Company assisted with the audits to identify high-level savings projects and provided more than $86,000 in grants and rebates to encourage the investments by reducing payback times.

“Significant savings also were noted when the Facilities Management Department implemented a new work order system in August that took deliberate steps to change operational procedures such as shutting off more lights than before, closing shades, and reducing heating levels in certain areas,” said Chancellor Charles Casey. “I’m proud but not surprised about just how much the people on this campus have been able to accomplish. And I’m confident that the behavior changes we’ve been focused on will continue to show real results.”

The community of Rothsay achieved more than half of its cumulative savings from behavioral changes on the part of Rothsay Public School, homeowners, and businesses. Otter Tail Power Company also granted almost $117,000 in rebates for energy-efficient lighting and technology improvements. “This program was developed as a three-legged stool,” said Pederson. “Education, efficient end-use technologies, and incentivized behavioral changes each play a critical role in the success of these projects. And achieving long-term savings in Rothsay will be possible only with ongoing energy-saving behaviors and a community that won’t settle for anything less than achieving its goal.”

Rothsay Public School is committed to continuing its leadership role in this challenge. “The Community Energy Challenge has been an excellent program that has brought a new sense of awareness regarding energy use throughout the community,” said Ehren Zimmerman, Dean of Students/Principal at Rothsay Public School. “And it has brought a new approach to hands-on learning for our faculty, staff, and students. Now it’s our turn to pay it forward and keep the savings going.”

Otter Tail Power Company, a subsidiary of Otter Tail Corporation (NASDAQ Global Select Market: OTTR), is headquartered in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. It provides electricity and energy services to more than a quarter million people in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. To learn more about Otter Tail Power Company visit To learn more about Otter Tail Corporation visit

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

the new Minnesota Grown Directory!

ST. PAUL, Minn. – If it says “Minnesota Grown,” it’s gotta be good. Plan now to pick up your free copy of the 2011 Minnesota Grown Directory packed with hundreds of places to find great locally grown foods. The 30th Anniversary edition makes it convenient to locate orchards, farmers’ markets, berry farms and garden centers where you can purchase products directly from the grower.

The cover of the directory features Minnesota Grown spokesperson Carrie Tollefson who grew up in rural Minnesota. Tollefson is a staunch supporter of Minnesota agriculture and eating locally.

“As an Olympic runner, I want the freshest, healthiest foods I can find,” says Tollefson. “These foods are easy to find in the Minnesota Grown Directory and buying them locally is also a great way to support Minnesota’s hardworking farmers.”

Tollefson says she’s proud to be part of the 30-year history of the Minnesota Grown Directory, a promotion that began long before buying local became the trend it is today.

More than 190,000 copies of the free guide are distributed by tourist information centers, farms, libraries, real estate agents, retailers, and other supporters of local growers. The printed directory is made possible by the participation of more than 900 listed growers, more than 20 advertising sponsors, and repeated cover sponsorship by the Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU).

A complimentary copy of the Minnesota Grown Directory may be ordered by calling Explore Minnesota Tourism at 1-888-VISITMN (1-888-847-4866). The guide is also offered online as a searchable database on the Minnesota Grown website at

Friday, April 15, 2011

Stay safe. Call before you dig.

Fergus Falls, MN – The construction season and yard work will warm up with the spring weather, and Otter Tail Power Company reminds its customers and neighbors that, before digging, they need to notify utilities that have lines or cables buried in the area.

Just one phone call will notify all of these utility companies so they can mark the property before any excavation begins. That will keep those who dig safe. It also will prevent unintentional damage to underground utility lines and needless outages to the utilities whose convenience you enjoy, including electric, water and sewer, cable TV, telephone, and high-speed Internet.

Besides, calling before you dig is the law.

Each state has its own rules and regulations governing digging, but all projects—even planting trees and shrubs or establishing a new garden—require you to Call Before You Dig. The federally mand ated national 811 number was created so the public would have only one number to call instead of separate One Call numbers in each state. Call 811 several days before beginning that field tiling project, digging footings for that new garage, burying that water line, or installing that flag pole or mailbox. Or contact your state’s One Call center:

Minnesota – 800-252-1166 or
North Dakota – 800-795-0555 or
South Dakota – 800-781-7474 or

“Above all, stay safe,” says Otter Tail Power Company’s Safety Services Manager Ryan Smith. “Call before you install that fence, dig that trench, create that new water pond, or build that new deck or patio. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s the law.”

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Flooded Wells Must be Cleaned

Surface water can partially or fully submerge private wells during a flood.

When this happens, the well can become contaminated with sewage, petroleum products, sediment, bacteria, viruses and other floating debris, North Dakota State University Extension Service water quality experts warn.

The water's smell sometimes will change if surface water gets into a well. If you suspect surface water contamination and you must use the water for drinking or food preparation, here are some recommendations from the Environmental Protection Agency for making it safe:

* Boiling the water will kill most types of disease-causing organisms that may be present. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it
to settle, and draw off the clear water for boiling. Boil the water for one minute, let it cool and store it in clean containers with covers.

* If you can't boil water, disinfect it with household bleach. Bleach will kill some types of disease-causing organisms that may be in the water. Filter cloudy water through clean cloth or allow it to settle and draw off the clear water for disinfection. Add 1/8 teaspoon (or eight drops) of regular, unscented liquid household bleach for each gallon of water, stir it well and let it stand for 30 minutes before using it. Store disinfected water in clean containers with

After floodwaters recede, the well should be disinfected and the water should be tested to make sure it is safe. Obtain a water test kit for bacteria and
nitrates from your county health department or a private certified laboratory. A list of certified labs is available in Extension publication WQ-1341, "Drinking Water Quality: Testing and Interpreting Your Results." The publication is available from county Extension offices or on the Web at

The well needs to be inspected before it can be disinfected. First, turn off the electricity to the pump. Look at the area around the well casing. Remove
accumulated debris and sediment. If the well cap is missing or the casing is damaged, call a certified well installer because large amounts of sediment and other materials may be in the well and can't be seen by looking down the well.
If the well cap still is on and not damaged, look inside the well for damage to the pump, piping, wires, casing, etc. You will need a good flashlight to look
down the well. If the inside of the well casing is relatively clean, the well can be disinfected using shock chlorination. Shock chlorination also should be
done after a well installer has pulled the pump and cleaned the well.

Use the following steps to shock chlorinate a well:

* Before turning on the well pump after a flood, the only place you want water to come out in the house or barn is at outside faucets and hydrants, bathtubs and sinks. Disconnect all other water appliances. Use the bypass valves on water filters, water softeners and water treatment devices. Shut off the water heater's supply valve and drain the heater. Shut off power to electric heaters; for a natural gas or propane water heater, shut off the fuel supply and put out the pilot light.

* With the electricity off to the well pump, clean the well cap and outside of the casing with a solution of 1 ounce of laundry bleach in 2 gallons of clean
water. Use a coarse brush.

* Turn on the electricity and pump the well until the water is clear. Do this at the faucet or hydrant nearest to the well. Collect discharge water in a white
bucket to check the color of the water and look for sediment. Next, open each faucet in the home until it runs clear. Close all faucets and turn off the
electricity to the pump.

* Prepare a mixture of household bleach and water to pour down the well. You will need at least one 10-gallon container or two 5-gallon containers for mixing the bleach and water. Be sure to use eye protection and rubber gloves when mixing. You'll need at least 200 parts per million (ppm) of chlorine throughout the water column in the well. The amount of household bleach you'll need depends on the diameter and depth of water in the well. If your well is 3 to 4 inches in diameter with about 50 feet of water, mix 2 quarts of bleach in 10 gallons of clean water. For a well 5 to 6 inches in diameter with 50 feet of water, mix 1 gallon of bleach with 10 gallons of clean water. If you are not sure of the amount of water in your well, double the amount of household bleach in the mixture. Because household bleach is about 6 percent chlorine, doubling the amount will not do any harm. Remember, 200 ppm is the minimum chlorine level.

* Pour the diluted bleach solution into the well against the side of the casing. Avoid pouring directly onto the pump wiring if possible but try to wash down the entire inside of the casing.

* Mix the chlorine throughout the water column in the well. Turn on the electricity. If possible, connect a garden hose to the nearest hydrant or faucet
and place the discharge end in the top of the well. Run the water for 15 minutes. You also can mix the chlorine by starting and stopping the pump quickly
several times. Let the chlorine mixture sit in the well for at least an hour.

* One at a time, open every water outlet on the system. Run the water until you can smell the chlorine, then close the faucet. Flush the toilets, refill the
water heater and allow the chlorine solution to remain in the system for at least four hours, although eight hours would be the best.

* Open all the faucets or hydrants to purge the chlorine from the system. Start with the faucet or hydrant nearest the pressure tank and work your way to the farthest faucet or hydrant. Run each one until you can't smell chlorine.

Now use your water test kit to obtain a water sample for bacterial safety. Continue to use an alternative water source or boil your water until the
laboratory reports that the water is safe. A safe report indicates that E.coli and total coliform bacteria are absent. Have the well tested again in about two
weeks to make sure the disinfection has been completely effective.

For more details about cleaning flooded wells or other flood preparations, visit NDSU's flood information website at

Flood Relief Grants Available for Minnesota Veterans and Families

SAINT PAUL, Minn. - As a result of spring flooding in parts of the state, the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) is offering Flood Relief Grants for reimbursable expenses to Veterans in approximately 46 Minnesota counties.

Veterans, their families and surviving spouses may be eligible for reimbursement assistance funds of up to $750 if they have not received other state or federal assistance.

Counties identified in Governor Dayton’s Emergency Executive Order include Aitkin, Becker, Benton, Big Stone, Blue Earth, Brown, Carver, Chippewa, Clay, Cottonwood, Dakota, Goodhue, Grant, Hennepin, Houston, Jackson, Kittson, Lac Qui Parle, Le Sueur, Lyon, Marshall, McLeod, Morrison, Nicollet, Norman, Otter Tail, Pennington, Polk, Ramsey, Redwood, Red Lake, Renville, Scott, Sibley, Stearns, Steele, Stevens, Swift, Todd, Traverse, Wabasha, Washington, Wilkin, Winona, Wright and Yellow Medicine.

Veterans and their families should contact their local County Veterans Service Officer (CVSO) for more information on this program or to request a Flood Relief Grant. For CVSO contact information, visit or call 1-888-LINKVET (546-5838).

All eligible applications and copies of receipts must be dated between disaster timeframe, as designated by the Governor and/or FEMA. Applications must be postmarked by June 30, 2011.

Mortensen to Present Keynote Address at IDEA Competition Awards Banquet

BEMIDJI, MN -- April 14, 2011 -- Minnesota native David Mortensen, founder and president of Anytime Fitness, will be presenting the keynote address at the IDEA Competition Awards Banquet on May 17, 5:00-8:30 p.m. at the Bede Ballroom on the University of Minnesota, Crookston campus.

Under David Mortensen’s leadership, Anytime Fitness has become the #1 fitness club franchise and was recently named the “Fastest Growing Fitness Club in the World,” by Club Business International. The business has quite a bit to celebrate: they have opened 642 clubs over the past two years, they have been ranked #18 in the top 500 franchises, they are #13 in the fastest-growing franchises, and MoneySense ranked Anytime Fitness #6 on its list of “Top Global Franchises Under $50k.” As part of his keynote address, Mortensen will share his success story of and the lessons he has learned along the way.

Following Mortensen’s keynote address, up to five IDEA Competition winners will be announced. Each winner will receive $10,000 in cash to advance their innovative business idea. For more information on the IDEA Competition Awards Banquet or to register, go to

IDEA financial sponsors are Bremer Banks of Crookston and Warren, Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation, the Northwest Minnesota Foundation, University of Minnesota, Crookston, 360ยบ Center for Manufacturing and Applied Engineering Center of Excellence and the Northwest Regional Small Business Development Center. IDEA was made possible through a generous grant from the Blandin Foundation.

RRBC Tour & public Meetings

The Red River Basin Commission (RRBC) is coordinating a retention tour and hosting a series of public meetings throughout the Red River Basin as part of a Long Term Flood Solutions project.

The retention tour will provide an opportunity for public officials, decision makers, agricultural producers, interested citizens and the media to tour operating and proposed water retention projects throughout the southern end of the Red River Basin and to see the impact such projects can have on reducing flood stages on the mainstem Red River.

The purpose of these public meetings is to present a preliminary look at the RRBC Long Term Flood Solutions findings and obtain public feedback, which will be presented to legislators in June. The report consists of recommendations to policy makers that will present numerous solutions to mitigate the effects of flooding, including water storage, permitting streamlining, flood plain management reforms, identification of immediate protection projects and development of funding mechanisms.

RRBC Long Term Flood Solutions (LTFS) Public Meetings
The first public meeting will be Monday, April 25, 20011, in Lisbon, ND. Other public meetings are scheduled in Grafton and Harwood, ND; Breckenridge, Halstad, and Oslo, MN; Sisseton, SD and Morris, MB. You are invited to attend any of these meetings. The complete schedule of public meetings can be found on the RRBC website,

The Red River basin floodwaters of 2009 barely receded as regional state lawmakers from Minnesota and North Dakota sponsored legislation with a combined $1 million appropriation and a corresponding directive for the Red River Basin Commission to work with stakeholders and residents on developing a comprehensive plan to address flooding in the Red River basin.

RRBC began with engaging the public in mid-2009 to solicit their experiences with flooding, identify challenges to progress, and seek suggestions for tools and potential solutions. RRBC hosted 21 public meetings throughout the basin, with 1,000 attendees. The RRBC plans to present their initial findings to allow attendees another opportunity for input into the project.

RRBC Retention Tour
The tour is scheduled for Tuesday, April 26, 2011. Buses will leave from the Red River Valley Fairgrounds in West Fargo, ND, promptly at 10:00am. The tour may be postponed in the event weather and/or road conditions do not allow for safe and adequate access to tour sites.

The tour is free and open to the public. To ensure there are enough buses and lunches, an RSVP is required by April 22. Please contact RRBC at (218) 291-0422 or email

The tour will begin in the eastern portion of the basin with stops in the Buffalo-Red River watershed and then head south to Wendell, MN to view the North Ottawa Impoundment Project, a Bois de Sioux Watershed District flood control and natural resource enhancement project near the headwaters of the Red River. Other stops include the White Rock Dam in Traverse County, MN; sites in Roberts County, SD; retention opportunities in the Wild Rice and Antelope Creek watersheds in ND; and the Maple River Dam near Enderlin, ND. For a complete tour agenda please visit the RRBC website

Monday, April 11, 2011

Grape Pruning Clinics Set for Bismarck and Minot

Two grape pruning clinics sponsored by the North Dakota Grape Growers Association (NDGGA) and North Dakota State University Extension Service will be offered in Bismarck on April 15 and Minot on April 16.

Both meetings will begin at 9 a.m. The Bismarck meeting will be held at the Burleigh County Extension office at 3715 East Bismarck Expressway. The Minot meeting will be held at the North Central Research Extension Center at 5400 U.S. Highway 83 S.

John Thull, vineyard manager at the University of Minnesota's Horticulture Research Center, will talk about balanced pruning for optimum yield and vine
health, plus vineyard management for cold-climate grapes. After a noon lunch, there will be a hands-on pruning demonstration at a nearby vineyard.

If you plan to attend the Bismarck clinic, preregister by contacting Ken Duppong at (701) 878-4167 or email

If you plan to attend the Minot clinic, preregister by contacting Alan Verbitsky at (701) 477-8422 or email by April 13. You also can
register at the Ward County Extension office by calling (701) 857-6444.

The cost for the clinic and lunch is $15 for NDGGA members and $20 for nonmembers, which is payable the day of the clinic.

Thull earned a bachelor of science degree in biology at the University of Minnesota Duluth. He then enrolled in a one-year grape growing and winemaking practicum at Weingut Heinrichshof on the Mosel River in Zeltingen, Germany. In 2005, he started at the Horticulture Research Center and became the vineyard manager in 2006. In addition, his family grows four acres of vines on the family farm near Greenwald, Minn.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

BBB Warns of Phishing Email Received from Epsilon Data Breach

Saint Paul, MN - April 7, 2011 – Just days after millions of customers' email addresses were stolen in one of the largest data breaches in U.S. history, the Better Business Bureau is seeing one of the first Epsilon data breach phishing scams.

Phishing, a popular emailing scam, is a term coined by computer hackers who use email to fish the Internet hoping to hook you into giving them your logins, passwords and/or credit card information. If you are a customer of one of the companies that had email data stolen, BBB is warning you to be on the lookout for phishing emails.

Typical phishing scammers pose as reputable companies to fraudulently obtain your personal information. In this case, the BBB is now seeing emails being sent from a fake 'Chase Bank,' one of the companies whose data was compromised. Following suit, the email warns that ‘your account’ will be deactivated or deleted if you do not update your profile immediately. The email instructs you to update your account by clicking on the link provided.

“These hackers are looking for you to respond with vital information that can ultimately lead to identity theft,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of the Minnesota and North Dakota BBB. “Consumers need to know the red flags in order to keep their identity protected.”

BBB advises consumers that there could be other phishing emails shooting through cyberspace and to do the following if they suspect they have fallen victim to a phishing scam.

Never reply to the email. If the message includes a link within it, never click it. Many schemers use this as way to spread a viral attack on your computer.

Do not give personal or financial information to anyone who contacts you via email. Even if they claim they are from your bank, the IRS or a law enforcement agency, these businesses will not contact you via email; they will send you a letter.

Spread the word. Discuss phishing scams with all the members of your family who have email addresses. Young people are very computer savvy, but may not be scam savvy, and older adults are specifically targeted by scammers because they are often very trusting.

Transmitted information should be encrypted. When sending personal information like addresses, credit card numbers and Social Security numbers over the Internet, make sure the website is fully encrypted and the network is secure. Look for https (the “s” stands for secure) at the beginning of the URL address to confirm its security.

Know the red flags. Watch out for grammatical mistakes in emails. Poor grammar or misspelled words are red flags that the email is probably a scam. Most importantly, never wire money based on instructions in one of these suspicious emails. Scammers prey on those who think they need to wire money to have a situation resolved.

Protect your computer. Keep your anti-virus software up-to-date and run it regularly.

Contact the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC works to legally prevent fraudulent business practices in the marketplace. File a complaint with the FTC by calling 1-877-HELP.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Flooding update

BEMIDJI, Minn. — (3:00 p.m.) The Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Minnesota State Patrol urge motorists to drive with caution as flooding begins to affect area highways in northwest Minnesota.
Road closures

The following state highways are closed until further notice:
• Highway 220 north of Marshall County Road 4 to Marshall County Road 5
• Highway 317 from Highway 220 west to North Dakota Highway 17
Open - use caution, water on roadway
The following state highways are signed for warning with water on the road. Motorists should use extreme caution approaching the following areas:
• Highway 9 four miles north of Ada
• Highway 9 south of Ada
• Highway 89 in Grygla
Flooding is difficult to predict and roads may be closed or restricted without warning. Mn/DOT and the Minnesota State Patrol ask motorists to monitor media reports before heading out and watch for warning signs along the road.
For updated information, call 511 or click on when traveling in any area of the state where potential flooding conditions exist. For weather and flood warnings, go to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website or listen to NOAA weather radio and local radio stations.

Monitoring for radioactive materials from Japan continues in MN

As anticipated, routine monitoring by the Minnesota Department of Health has found trace amounts of radioactive material likely from the damaged Japanese nuclear power plants in air samples taken in March from St. Paul and two other locations. The amounts recorded are thousands of times less than normal background radiation and well below levels that would be of health concern, health officials said.

Air samples taken from a monitor in St. Paul on March 22 found concentrations of Iodine-131 that would give the average person a dose of 0.004 millirem of radiation over the course of a year. The average person is exposed to at least 365 millirem per year from background sources of radiation. Iodine-131 is a "man-made" isotope or substance that is only found as a byproduct of nuclear fission or reactions, such as those from power plants.

Results from samples taken in St. Paul on March 29 were slightly higher, at 0.011 millirem per year. Samples from near the Prairie Island nuclear power plant on March 22 yielded an estimated dose of 0.003 millirem per year. Samples from near the Monticello nuclear power plant on March 29 showed a concentration that would give a dose of 0.006 millirem per year.

MDH sampling results, including concentration levels, can be found at

"The amounts of radiation we are detecting are just a very small fraction of the amount of radiation we are exposed to on a daily basis from a variety of sources," said Sherrie Flaherty, radiation control supervisor with MDH. A standard chest x-ray will give a dose of about 4-10 millirem and a transatlantic plane ride will expose the average person to about 7 millirem.

"The exposure level at which we would begin to have concerns for human health is 10,000 millirem," Flaherty said. "We are clearly well below that."

MDH's findings are consistent with those of other agencies taking samples/conducting testing in Minnesota. Air monitoring by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found slightly elevated levels of iodine around March 22. Sampling of rainwater in St. Paul by the EPA found a concentration of Iodine 131 on March 22 of 32 picoCuries/liter. It would take a concentration of 1,000 picoCuries/liter to produce a dose of 50 millirem per year. Sampling by Xcel Energy from sites around its two nuclear power plants has found similar results since the incidents in Japan.

"We fully expected to see very slight increases in radiation as the result of the releases from the reactors in Japan," Flaherty said, "and that's what we're finding."

Because Minnesota is home to two nuclear power plants, one at Prairie Island and one at Monticello, MDH conducts routine sampling for radiation as part of its environmental monitoring program. Air samples are taken weekly from a unit in St. Paul and bi-weekly from units at Prairie Island and Monticello. Surface water is sampled quarterly from the Mississippi River at sites just downstream from the power plants. Samples of milk from a farm near each of the power plants are taken and tested monthly (no results from March were yet available for this news release). However, because some radioactive material has been found in milk elsewhere in the U.S., MDH has begun sampling milk weekly to verify nothing of significance is turning up on local dairy farms.

MDH may increase the frequency of other sampling if further test results indicate a need to monitor more closely.

"We are watching the reports of radiation releases from Japan's nuclear power plants carefully, and if there are no further leaks into the air, we would expect to see the current levels of Iodine-131 in Minnesota be undetectable in four to six weeks," Flaherty said.

More information on MDH's radiation control program is available on the MDH website at or by calling 651-201-4400.

National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 4-8

ST. PAUL, Minn.—Orange barrels, cones and barricades are beginning to appear along roadways across Minnesota, signaling the start of the highway construction season. The Minnesota Department of Transportation and Minnesota Department of Public Safety remind motorists that National Work Zone Awareness Week is April 4-8.

“We’re joining this campaign because safety in highway work zones is both a state and national issue,” said Tom Sorel, Mn/DOT Commissioner. “We all share the responsibilities to keep highway workers and motorists safe.”

Mn/DOT will be working on more than 250 construction projects across the state this season. City, county and tribal governments also will begin work on multiple highway improvement projects. Work zones also include stopped emergency and highway maintenance vehicles with flashing lights.

This year’s awareness theme is "Safer driving. Safer work zones. For everyone."

In 2010, there were 1,915 total crashes in Minnesota work zones—11 individuals were killed. The three-year average for work zone crashes is 1,728 crashes and 10 fatalities per year.

Mn/DOT and the Minnesota State Patrol remind motorists to follow these guidelines when entering and driving through work zones:

·Watch for signs and work zone flaggers—expect the unexpected.

·Stay alert and avoid tailgating—traffic lanes are often narrow and rough and have little or no shoulder.

·Minimize distractions such as using cell phones, eating or drinking.

·Follow posted speed limits.

·Move over one lane, if possible, or reduce speed for stopped emergency or maintenance vehicles, including ambulance, fire, law enforcement or maintenance and construction vehicles.

Promoting work zone safety is a component of the state’s core traffic safety initiative, Toward Zero Deaths. A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing and promoting safe and smart driving behavior. TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes — education, enforcement, engineering and emergency trauma response.

NW MN Art Exhibition

Everyone is welcome to attend the 12th annual Northwest Minnesota Art Exhibition. The exhibition will be on display at the public library in Crookston from April 6 - 17, 2011. The exhibit is open for viewing during regular library hours. Hours are Wednesday from 10:00 am – 8:00 pm; Thursday from 10:00 am - 6:00 pm; Friday from 10:00 am - 6:00 pm, Saturday from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, Sunday from 1:00 - 5:00 pm, Monday from 10:00 am – 8:00 pm, and Tuesday from 10:00 am – 8:00 pm.

There will be 200 pieces of art on display from 140 different area artists. Included in the show are paintings, drawings, photography, digital images, pottery, sculpture, and mixed media pieces. Artists participating in the exhibit are professional and amateur adults as well as area high school students. All visual artists in the seven county Northwestern region of Minnesota were invited to participate. The seven counties represented are Kittson, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake, and Roseau. Artwork is available for purchase through contact with the artists represented.

Patrick Luber of Grand Forks is the juror for the exhibit. Mr. Luber has an extensive background in judging visual art shows. Luber is the sculpture professor at the University of North Dakota. His choice for cash awards totaling $2,300.00 will be acknowledged at the exhibit.

An artist reception will occur Sunday, April 17th from 2:00 - 3:30 at the American Legrion in Crookston. The reception is free and open to the public. It will include entertainment from 1:30 - 2:00 then the presentation of awards starting at 2:00. Awards will include sixteen Exhibit Award Winners selected by our juror, our Northwest Artist of the Year award presented to visual artist Sister Norma Jean Eide of Crookston and our Northwest Arts Advocate of the Year award presented to Anita Poss of East Grand Forks. There will also be the announcement of the two people’s choice exhibit award winners.

The Northwest Minnesota Arts Council is sponsoring this program with funding from The McKnight Foundation and the Legacy Amendment. This year our co-sponsor is Valley Arts Council. They are graciously providing volunteers and knowledge that will help make the exhibit a success.

For more information on the Northwest Minnesota Art Exhibit contact Mara Wittman, Arts Council Director, NWRDC, 115 South Main, Warren, MN 56762, (218) 745-9111 or e-mail her at

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge Volunteer Receives National Award

The Volunteer of the Year Award was established to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of volunteers in the operation and management of the Refuge System. The award is presented to volunteers who demonstrate dedication to the goals and objectives of the Refuge System, superior organizational skills, innovation in handling refuge assignments, effectiveness in dealing with the public and dependability.

Mudderman has been volunteering at Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge since 2005 and has donated more than 7000 hours of service. He has contributed to the refuge in many ways. He designed and launched the Friends of Tamarac website and was coordinator of the Joint Refuge and Friends nationally recognized newsletter. The Friends of Tamarac is a non-profit organization which supports the mission and purpose of the refuge. He has researched, developed and presented refuge history tours and other interpretive programs including "Photo Safaris” which connects families with nature through digital photography. He especially enjoys leading environmental education activities for elementary school students emphasizing technology by using digital photography and GPS. He also co-chairs the Tamarac NWR Photo Contest planning committee, conducts wildlife surveys and serves as refuge photographer at special events. Most recently through a Nature of Learning Grant which he wrote on behalf of the Friends, Denis researched, purchased the needed equipment and worked with refuge staff to install a camera into an active beaver lodge.

Mudderman not only donates his time and talents to Tamarac, but is just winding up a third winter at Brazoria NWR and San Bernard NWR (part of the Texas Mid-Coast Complex NWR) leading environmental education programs, hosting the Brazoria Discovery Center, assisting with their Migration Celebration Festival , and organizing their photography contest among many other assignments. He has accumulated nearly 3000 hours in Texas.

According to Denis, “the motivation for volunteering is working as part of a community towards a greater goal with Friends, volunteers and staff working as colleagues; it is seeing results from one’s effort, it is using one’s skills and satisfying interests and it is being out and experiencing nature.”

The award was presented on March 17, 2011 at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director's Reception at the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Kansas City, Mo.


Marshall, Minn. -- An open house at the new location of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency office in Marshall will be held 3-6 p.m. Thursday, April 21. Staff will serve refreshments and be available to talk about state environmental programs.

The office is now located on the second floor of the Lyon County Public Works Building, 504 Fairgrounds Rd. Since 1999, it had been located in the Market Street Mall at 1420 E. College Dr. The MPCA first opened an office in Marshall in 1976.

The Marshall and Willmar MPCA offices serve 18 counties in southwestern Minnesota (listed below). Regional staff provide citizens and businesses with information to help them protect the environment, and help ensure that permit requirements are met.

Primary programs with regional office staff include municipal wastewater, feedlots and solid waste. Other programs with regional or St. Paul-based staff assigned to the region include stormwater, tanks, emergency response, hazardous waste, public information and impaired waters. More information about the MPCA can be found at:

“We’ve done a good job of trying to protect and improve water quality, but with continued pressure from development and other land uses, our regional offices keep very busy with a multitude of programs to make sure that we continue to have a healthy natural environment,” says Randy Hukriede, MPCA Southwest Region manager.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency was created by the state legislature in 1967 to clean up and protect the state’s land, air and water resources. Decades ago, work focused primarily on “point sources” of pollution, such as urban wastewater and industrial waste. Today, there is much emphasis on “non-point sources,” such as stormwater runoff and motor vehicle emissions.

The Marshall office is one of seven regional offices of the MPCA outside the Twin Cities metro area. Along with the Willmar MPCA office, counties served include: Big Stone, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, Meeker, McLeod, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Renville, Rock, Swift, and Yellow Medicine.