Monday, April 30, 2012

DNR extends deer population public input period

The public comment period for revised deer population goals in southwestern and a portion of northern Minnesota has been extended to Thursday, May 10, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

“A number of people have already provided us input using the online survey since April 16,” said Steve Merchant, DNR Wildlife Population Program manager. “Extending the date from May 1 to May 10 assures we have provided adequate time for public comment.”

The survey is available online at
Earlier this year, DNR worked with three stakeholder teams to help re-determine deer population goals in 12 permit areas in the southwest and 10 permit areas in north-central Minnesota.

The teams represented such interests as deer hunters, landowners, businesses, counties and conservation/environmental groups, and met to recommend if deer populations should be increased, decreased or stabilized for each of the selected permit areas.

The online survey allows the public to react to team recommendations and inform the DNR on their point of view regarding deer populations.
This information, along with the stakeholder team recommendations, will be used to set the 2012 deer season. Deer population goals for the remainder of the state will be revaluated in the next year or two.

Once public input is complete and results are analyzed, a decision on deer populations will be made for each permit area and the 2012 deer season harvest strategies will be adjusted accordingly.

Written comments may be mailed to: Steve Merchant, DNR, Box 20, 500 Lafayette Road, Saint Paul, MN 55155.

Envirothon Results

Local high schools students demonstrated their knowledge of Minnesota’s natural resources at the 18th annual Area Envirothon, Wednesday, April 25th, 2012 at the Rydell Refuge near Erskine.  The Norman County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) help organize the event.

24 teams from the 3 county area: Norman, West Polk, East Polk and Red Lake participated in the Rydell Refuge Envirothon.  Local teams participating were; 5 teams participated from Norman County West and 6 teams participated from Norman County East.  The top 3 teams advancing to the state from our area are Climax/Shelly, Mahnomen and Norman County West.  Norman County East placed 4th this year. The State Envirothon will be held on May 21 at McColl Pond near Savage, Mn. The state champion will attend the Canon National Envirothon in Pennsylvania in July.  Winners of the Canon National Envirothon will receive prizes and scholarship money.

The Envirothon consists of 6 learning stations covering soils, aquatics, wildlife and forestry, as well as a learning station that changes each year (this year’s topic is non-point source pollution/low impact development). Each four – or five-member student team must also give an oral presentation on this topic.  Natural resource professionals at each station use the outdoors to test the students’ knowledge of the natural world. 

Local funding for the Envirothon is provided by the; Norman County SWCD, Gary State Bank, Halstad Telephone Co., Northwestern State Bank, Wild Rice Watershed, VFW Post 7557 - Ada, American Federal Bank, Frandsen Bank & Trust, Bennett Houglum Agency, Kelly’s Chrysler, Arvig, American Legion Post #431-Twin Valley, 1st Financial Bank, Centrol Inc, Twin Valley Agency,

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Intersection at 10th Street and 16th Avenue North in Fargo Closed for Construction

(FARGO, N.D.) – APRIL 26 – The North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) would like to update the traveling public on the 10th St. N reconstruction project. Starting today, April 26, crews closed the intersection of 10th St. N and 16th Ave. N to begin work on the underground installation.  This indicates the beginning of Phase 2 of the project.

Phase 1 activities will wrap up this weekend, with the Phase 2 configuration being in place by Monday afternoon.  The Phase 2 detour will take 10th St. N traffic west on 15th Ave. N to University Drive, where motorists will travel head-to-head (one lane in each direction) for two blocks. The detour route then turns east on 17th Ave. N to reconnect with 10th St. N. 

Earlier this month, 10th St. N was closed between 15th Ave. N and 17th Ave. N (including the 17th Ave. intersection). The scope of the project includes the complete reconstruction of 10th St. N between 12th Ave. N and 17th Ave. N. The project is needed to improve load-carrying capacity, ride quality, pedestrian facilities, drainage, lighting and safety features. The reconstruction project will also update the traffic signals, lighting, storm sewer, water main and the sanitary sewer system. Weather dependent, work will continue through mid–Oct. 2012.

Motorists are encouraged to use caution in the area and pay attention to posted signage and reduced speed limits.

Future project phases and detour maps can be found at

IDEA Competition Winners for 2012

BEMIDJI, MN – April 26, 2012 – The IDEA Competition announced the names of five 2012 winners on Wednesday, April 25th at the IDEA awards banquet held at the Sanford Center, Bemidji.  Each winner receives $10,000 in cash to advance their business idea, plus additional specialized technical assistance. 

The 2012 Winners are:
* Jay Fisher & James Marvin, Warroad, for Eleven Hockey -- Hockey stick manufacturer in Warroad that offers custom, unique, and historical hockey stick products.

* Mark Landes & Jennifer DeBarr, Bemidji, for Shield Snip -- Innovative hand tool to simplify the process of trimming STP and coaxial shield quickly and precisely.

* William & Julia Stephani, Puposky, for Slot Rail Fence -- Revolutionary way to construct a stronger and more-appealing wooden rail fence that is easier for DIYs to build than what is currently offered in the market. 

* Brady & Jodi Dyrdahl, Shevlin, for  The Sidekick -- Snowmobile work stand that stabilizes the sled, making it easier to perform repairs and enhancements underneath the snowmobile.

* Jeff Sullivan, Bemidji, for Varimax Evaporator -- Precision evaporative technology for environmentally responsible and cost effective disposal of surplus industrial and agricultural waste water.

The main goal of the IDEA competition is to assist 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 IDEA Hall of Fame added William S. “Bill” Marvin, founder of Marvin Windows and Doors in Warroad.  The IDEA Hall of Fame was established to recognize the accomplishments of the region’s legacy innovators—those within the region who have inspired others with their entrepreneurial vision, leadership and achievement.

In the previous three years, 13 innovators from throughout northwestern Minnesota have received IDEA awards. Their combined economic impact includes:
· Ten winners reaching commercialization
· Total sales $4.3 million
· Creation of  23 jobs and estimate the creation of at least 50 more jobs
· 13 loans have been approved

The next IDEA competition opens in September, 2012.  Northwest Minnesota innovators are encouraged to consider entering the next round of competition.  For more information, visit the IDEA website:

IDEA sponsors are Bremer Bank, Crookston and Warren, Northwest Minnesota Foundation, 360 Manufacturing and Applied Engineering Center of Excellence, Headwaters Regional Development Commission, Northwest Regional Development Commission, and University of Minnesota, Crookston.  Additional partners include Ingenuity Frontier, Bemidji State University, Enterprise Minnesota, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, and Northland Community and Technical College.  IDEA was made possible through a generous grant from the Blandin Foundation.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

David Sedaris in Fargo

Author David Sedaris will be at the Fargo Theatre on Tuesday, November 13th, at 8 p.m. Doors will open at 7 p.m. Reserved tickets go on sale Friday, May 4, at noon. Tickets are $39.50
With sardonic wit and incisive social critiques, David Sedaris has become one of America’s pre-eminent humor writers. The great skill with which he slices through cultural euphemisms and political correctness proves that Sedaris is a master of satire and one of the most observant writers addressing the human condition today.

David Sedaris is the author Barrel Fever and Holidays on Ice, as well as collections of personal essays, Naked, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim and When You Are Engulfed in Flames. There are a total of seven million copies of his books in print and they have been translated into 25 languages. He was the editor of Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules: An Anthology of Outstanding Stories. Sedaris’ pieces appear regularly in The New Yorker and have twice been included in “The Best American Essays.”

He and his sister, actress and author Amy Sedaris, have collaborated under the name “The Talent Family” and have written half-a-dozen plays, which have been produced at La Mama, Lincoln Center and The Drama Department in New York City. David Sedaris’ original radio pieces can often be heard on This American Life, distributed nationally by Public Radio International and produced by WBEZ. David Sedaris has been nominated for three Grammy Awards for Best Spoken Word and Best Comedy Album. His most recent comedy album is David Sedaris: For Your Listening Pleasure.

Tickets can be purchased at Tickets300 (300 Broadway, Fargo; open Monday – Friday noon to 6 p.m.), via phone at 866-300-8300
or online at The Fargo Theatre is located at 314 Broadway North.  

Monday, April 23, 2012

DNR offers 12 parcels of land for sale

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will offer 12 parcels of land for sale at public auction May 30 at 11 a.m. in the DNR's Central office, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155. Registration begins at 10:30 am.

Parcels are located in the northern portion of the state including Aitkin, Crow Wing, Cook, Hubbard and St. Louis counties. While some parcels have been offered before, values are reflecting the change in the real estate market and may be at lower prices than previously offered.

Additional information regarding the land sales and terms and conditions can be found at

Apply for 2012 MN elk hunt

Hunters have until Friday, June 1, to apply for one of 23 elk licenses offered this year by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Elk licenses will be available in the traditional Grygla area. Licenses also will be available in Kittson County, which offers its traditional zone and a new zone in the northeast. Maps of all three hunt zones are available on the DNR website at

"A larger number of licenses are being offered this year to manage for the goal population levels identified in our elk management plan," said Erik Thorson, acting DNR big game program coordinator. "A conservative bulls-only hunt is also being offered for the first time this year in a new area of northeastern Kittson County to target a population that also spends time in Manitoba. This limited hunt is designed to maintain this population's wild behavior while still allowing the herd to grow."

All applications must be filed electronically at any DNR license agent, the DNR License Center at 500 Lafayette Road in St. Paul, online at or by telephone at (888) 665-4236. Hunters may apply individually or in parties of two. There is a non-refundable application fee of $10 per hunter.

Successful applicants will be notified by mail. An elk license costs $250. Each party will be authorized to harvest one elk. Applicants must choose one zone in which to apply; they cannot apply to hunt in more than one zone.

One license in the Grygla area and up to three in the Kittson County Central Elk Zone may be issued to qualified landowners in a preferential drawing. Licenses in the new Kittson County Northeast Elk Zone are only available through the general drawing this year. Unsuccessful landowner applications will be added to the general drawing, from which the remaining applicants will be selected. Alternates will be selected in case successful parties opt not to purchase a license.

Three seasons will be conducted in this year's elk hunt. The first season in each zone runs from Saturday, Sept. 15, to Sunday, Sept. 23. The second season in the Grygla and Kittson County Central Elk Zones runs from Saturday, Dec. 1, to Sunday, Dec. 9. The third season in just the Kittson County Central Elk Zones runs from Saturday, Dec. 15, to Sunday, Dec. 23.

During the first season, two either-sex licenses will be available in Grygla (Zone 10), one either-sex license and five antlerless licenses will be available in Kittson County Central (Zone 20), and two bull-only licenses will be available in Kittson County Northeast (Zone 30). In the second season, three antlerless licenses will be available in Grygla, while one either-sex license and four antlerless licenses will be available in Kittson County Central. In the third season, one either-sex license and four antlerless licenses will be available in Kittson County Central.
If no qualified landowners apply, all licenses will be drawn from the general pool of applicants. In Minnesota, elk hunts are considered once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, which means parties who choose to purchase a license will not be eligible to apply for future elk hunts.

DNR expects bull elk to be the preference of most hunters. To accommodate this, the first drawing will select hunters for each zone. A second drawing among selected hunters will determine what license a hunter may purchase and the season in which they can participate.

All successful applicants will be required to attend an orientation session prior to the hunt. Hunters also will be required to register their elk in their hunt area.

Some biological information relative to elk physical condition will be collected at the check station. Elk will be tested for chronic wasting disease and bovine tuberculosis as part of Minnesota's wild cervid disease surveillance program.

Hunters should be aware that all zones contain private land, so permission to hunt these lands should be obtained prior to purchasing a license.

MN Legacy Destination Weekends

Five Minnesota communities are holding Legacy Destination Weekends, one each in May through September, featuring arts, history and outdoors activities to showcase projects funded through the Legacy Amendment.  In 2008, Minnesota’s voters passed the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment that provides funding to natural resources, arts and culture, and parks and trails projects across the state.  The Legacy Destination program is a collaboration of Explore Minnesota Tourism, Conservation Minnesota, Minnesota Citizens for the Arts and the host communities.

The events include an eclectic mix of activities, such as art exhibits, concerts or theater performances, naturalist programs, historic site events and exhibits, or guided hikes, bike rides or canoe trips.  Each Legacy Destination has designed its own weekend to highlight local cultural and outdoors assets, including those that received Legacy Amendment support. 

“Legacy Destination Weekends are a fun, creative way to show Minnesotans the results of their support,” said John Edman, director of Explore Minnesota Tourism. “The events are designed to draw visitors to communities, as well as engage area residents.”

This is the second year of the Legacy Destination program.  The participating communities applied to participate in the program, which required that at least three Legacy Amendment funded projects be included in the weekend event.  Funding through the Legacy Amendment has been awarded statewide to clean up rivers and lakes, create trails, protect historical items, and fund art and history projects across the state.

“Minnesotans voted to dedicate funds to our state’s great resources,” said Paul Austin, executive director of Conservation Minnesota, “and they can see the results first-hand at these Legacy Destinations.”

“These five fun weekends let Minnesotans enjoy the great things that are happening in the arts and outdoors because of the Legacy Amendment,” said Sheila Smith, executive director of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts.

The 2012 schedule for Legacy Destination Weekends:
May 17-19, Detroit Lakes
June 11-15, Bemidji
July 19-22, St. Cloud
August 17-19, Willmar Lakes Area (New London, Spicer, Willmar)
September 8-16, Cook County (Grand Marais, Gunflint Trail and area).

For more details on the Legacy Weekends, check out 

Weekly meetings about Hwy 11 construction from Baudette to Clementson

BEMIDJI, Minn. – The public is invited to attend information meetings every Wednesday beginning April 25, to discuss Highway 11 construction from Baudette to Clementson occurring April-September 2012.

The weekly meetings are scheduled from 10 a.m. - noon at the Lake of the Woods ambulance garage, 111 First Ave. SW, Baudette, Minn.

Representatives from the Minnesota Department of Transportation and its contractor, Gladen Construction, will be on-hand to discuss project work schedules, time frames, traffic impacts and detours.

To request an ASL or foreign language interpreter, or other reasonable accommodation, call Janet Miller at 651-366-4720 or 1-800-657-3774 (Greater Minnesota), 711 or 1-800-627-3529 (Minnesota Relay). You also may send an email to

For updated statewide road conditions and construction information, call 5-1-1 or visit

Friday, April 20, 2012

Hwy 11 construction detour Baudette to Clementson begins Monday

BEMIDJI, Minn. – Motorists traveling Highway 11 in northern Minnesota will encounter a detour from Baudette to Clementson on Monday, April 23. 

Eastbound traffic from Baudette will turn south on Highway 72 for approximately 2.5 miles, then east on Lake of the Woods County Road 19 for four miles, then north on County Road 19 for 1.5 miles to Highway 11 west of Clementson.

County Road 19 is a gravel road with a 10-ton permit for the detour.  Motorists are asked to slow down and be extremely careful on the detour route. The detour is expected to be in place until Aug. 1. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

MN State Parks & Trails Geocaching program

The Geocaching Wildlife Safari, a high-tech treasure hunt, is nearing the end of its three-year run as one of the more popular programs of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Parks and Trails Division.

Geocachers have until 10 p.m. Wednesday, May 2, to find any final caches hidden at parks and recreation areas. After that and while supplies last, Geocaching Wildlife Safari award cards and collectible coins will be available at the 25 designated geocaching demo parks.
Since the program began, interpretive naturalists at Minnesota state parks have offered 325 Geocaching 101 Programs that have reached more than 9,000 first-time geocachers. In 2011, free loaner GPS units were checked out from the demo parks nearly 3,000 times.

“We’re delighted that so many people have shown interest in geocaching at Minnesota state parks and recreation areas,” said Courtland Nelson, director of the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division. “Geocaching has clearly been an effective way for us to connect people with the outdoors, especially kids. We’re grateful for the support offered us by the Minnesota Geocaching Association.”

In 2008, Minnesota state parks first invited geocachers to participate in a program known as Geocaching History Challenge presented by Best Buy. More than 20,000 geocache finds were recorded by experienced and first-time geocachers alike in less than one year.
Participation has continued to grow through the Geocaching Wildlife Safari, launched in 2009. Families have poured into the parks to explore the outdoors while hunting for hidden critter caches, which contain collectible critter cards featuring facts and photos of animals native to the park.

Geocaching is a high-tech game with great popularity around the globe. Participants utilize GPS to hunt for hidden cache containers. Typically caches are old ammo boxes camouflaged in the outdoors, making them a challenge to locate. There are more than 1,711,000 active caches around the world, according to

Nelson said a new geocaching program will launch on Saturday, June 9, which is National Get Outdoors Day. For more information, including the locations of the demo parks, visit or call the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

MN Renaissance Festival Entertainment Auditions

 SHAKOPEE, Minn., (April 16, 2012) - The Minnesota Renaissance Festival is pleased to announce the audition times for the 2012 season.  The auditions will be held at the HUGE Improve Theatre in Minneapolis, on Saturday, May 12th, 19th, and 26th from 11am-1pm.

The Minnesota Renaissance Festival is casting for musicians, ensembles, street performers, dancers, stage combat performers and actors. Participants need not have performance experience. Participants interested in becoming a costumed street performer/character will be interviewed, and if accepted, will be invited to participate in the Minnesota Renaissance Festival Performance Workshop, and will learn the craft of interactive street performance.  Performers of all ages are encouraged to come to the auditions. 

Please email the Minnesota Renaissance Festival at for additional information or questions and to schedule an audition time.  Everyone is asked to bring a headshot and resume with them to the audition.

The Minnesota Renaissance Festival is a first-class experience whose 42nd season begins on Saturday, August 18 and ends on September 30, 2012. The Festival is open weekends, Labor Day and a special day for schools and seniors on Festival Friday, September 28, 2012 open from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., rain or shine. The Festival is located three miles south of Shakopee on Hwy 169. Admission at the gate: Adults $21.95; Children 5 – 12 $12.95; seniors $19.95; four and under are free!  Visit or call 952.445.7361 for more information.

Highway 32 project in Clay County begins April 30

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. — Motorists on Highway 32 in Clay County may encounter delays when a road resurfacing, bridge repair and culvert replacement project begins April 30 between the Clay/Norman county line and Highway 10, weather permitting.

Traffic will be detoured in two phases to allow crews to repair three bridges and replace several culverts. The first detour begins April 30 and motorists will be rerouted on Clay County Road 34, Highway 9 and Norman County Road 39 through mid-May. The second detour will begin immediately following the first detour, rerouting motorists on Highway 10 and Clay County Roads 33 and 34 through early June.

Following the detours, crews will mill and resurface the roadway, which will require lane closures with a pilot car operation.

All work is scheduled to be complete in mid-July, weather permitting. The project was originally scheduled to begin in mid-May but favorable weather conditions will allow the contractor to start the project early.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation urges motorists to always drive with caution, slow down in work zones and never enter a road blocked with barriers or cones. For statewide travel information, visit, call 5-1-1 or log on to

NWMF seeks outstanding "community builders"


The Women’s Fund is asking for your assistance in recognizing these women who live in the counties of Beltrami, Clearwater, Marshall, Hubbard, Pennington, Polk, Kittson, Red Lake, Norman, Mahnomen, Roseau and Lake of the Woods.  Nomination forms can be obtained from the Northwest Minnesota Foundation web site ( or by calling 218-759-2057 or 1-800-659-7859. 

All nomination forms must be submitted by June 1, 2012. After the selections, the Advisory Committee will plan and host receptions in the recipients’ hometowns, to be held in late summer or early fall.

“Community Builders” awards are given based on the following criteria:

Leadership:  A woman who through leadership roles has made significant contributions to her community; and through volunteerism, citizenship or community service has significantly improved the lives of women and girls.   

Outstanding Mentor: A woman who has demonstrated wisdom and devotion to helping others; a role model and mentor who has supported and encouraged positive development in young women, and who also shows the characteristics necessary for success while actively sharing her skills.

Professional Excellence: A woman who has demonstrated leadership and excellence in her work, and whose leadership has benefited her community and/or her company; and outstanding entrepreneur; a role model for other women in achieving success in traditional or non-traditional positions.

The Northwest Minnesota Women’s Fund, a component of the Northwest Minnesota Foundation, serves as a catalyst for improving the quality of life for women and girls by focusing on women’s initiatives, leadership and philanthropy to build successful communities.

MDA rolling out Driftwatch registry for Minnesota’s 2012 growing season

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has announced it will make the online Driftwatch™ sensitive crops registry available to Minnesota specialty crop producers for the 2012 growing season.  By providing a registry of the locations and descriptions of sensitive specialty crops, the new service helps growers avoid accidental pesticide damage from occurring on sensitive crops.

The idea behind Driftwatch™ is to help pesticide applicators and specialty crop producers communicate more effectively about the location of crops that are particularly sensitive to pesticides, such as vegetables, grapes and certified organic crops. Farmers growing these sensitive crops can post information in the registry about the location and type of crop. The information is then available to neighboring farmers as well as professional pesticide applicators hired by neighboring farmers, who can take special steps to reduce the chance of accidentally injuring the sensitive crops. The registry can be accessed online at

“The program was developed as a tool to help farmers avoid problems during pesticide applications,” said MDA Pesticide Advisor Kevin Cavanagh. “Part of our job at MDA is to enforce state pesticide laws and to investigate pesticide drift complaints, but it is always better to avoid problems in the first place. By offering another method of communication for producers and applicators, we can prevent problems before they happen.”

Minnesota is one of seven states offering the Driftwatch™ registry. Participation is voluntary and open to all Minnesota specialty crop producers and pesticide applicators. MDA is partnering with the Office of the Indiana State Chemist at Purdue University, where all registry data is maintained.  There is no cost for participation.

Driftwatch™ uses Google Maps™ to show field locations of sensitive crops.  The maps can be quickly accessed online by pesticide applicators to learn of sensitive crop locations in advance and take precautionary measures to control off-target pesticide movement. Additionally, pesticide applicators have the option to sign up for automatic notification of new registries in their service area.

Driftwatch™ is not intended for residential locations or sites with less than half an acre.  Registry data integrity is managed by an independent data steward, who performs a safeguard role in receiving and approving field sites prior to their posting on the Driftwatch™ map.  For 2012, there will be Minnesota data stewards for certified organic farms, Christmas trees, fruits, grapes and vegetables.  It is anticipated that more categories will be added in the future. For more information or assistance, farmers can contact the MDA at 651-201-6349.

Monday, April 16, 2012

DNR seeks input on deer populations

Public input on revised deer population goals in southwestern and north-central Minnesota is being collected through an online survey on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) website at

Earlier this year, the DNR worked with three stakeholder teams to help re-determine deer population goals in 12 permit areas in the southwest and 10 permit areas in north-central Minnesota.

The teams represented such interests as deer hunters, landowners, businesses, counties and conservation/environmental groups, and met to recommend if deer populations should be increased, decreased or stabilized for each of the selected permit areas.

The online survey allows the public to react to team recommendations and inform the DNR on their point of view regarding deer populations. A similar process was used as a final step to gather public input in 2008.

This information, along with the stakeholder team recommendations, will be used to set the 2012 deer season. Deer population goals for the remainder of the state will be revaluated in the next year or two.

"Back in 2008, hundreds of people provided us input using the internet," said Steve Merchant, DNR Wildlife Population Program manager. "This year we expect that level of public participation to increase even more."

Public comment will be accepted through Monday, May 1. Once public input is complete and results are analyzed, a decision on deer populations will be made for each permit area and the 2012 deer season harvest strategies will be adjusted accordingly.

Written comments may be mailed to: Steve Merchant, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Box 20, 500 Lafayette Road, Saint Paul, MN 55107.


ST. PAUL — Minnesota drivers need to pay attention to this: State traffic safety officials and law enforcement agencies are launching a distracted driving education campaign this week anchored by increased enforcement on Thursday, April 19.
The effort, coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety, will include ramped-up patrols from nearly 400 city and county agencies, partnering with the State Patrol.
The campaign will include paid media as well as support from the Minnesota Safety Council and the Minnesota Teen Coalition to encourage high school students to push anti-distracted driving messages through social media channels and at schools.
Driver distraction is a contributing factor in one-quarter of all Minnesota vehicle crashes annually — and resulting in 208 deaths and nearly 26,000 injuries in the last three years.
In Minnesota, it is illegal for drivers to read, compose or send texts/emails, and access the Web on a wireless device while the vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic — even at a stoplight/stop sign, or stuck in traffic. It is also illegal for drivers under age 18 to use a cell phone at any time.
“While driving may seem like a routine activity for many of us, the road environment changes constantly and demands focus at all times,” says Donna Berger, DPS Office of Traffic Safety director. “We can’t use our daily commutes to conduct other business while behind the wheel.”
Minnesota’s “no texting” law was enacted in August 2008 and citations have increased each year:
2008 (five months) — 93; 2009 — 294; 2010 — 518; 2011 — 784.
Distractions cause drivers to react more slowly to traffic conditions or events, such as a vehicle stopping or pulling out in traffic. A University of Utah study reports that using a cell phone while driving, whether hands-free or hand-held, delays a driver’s reactions as much as having an alcohol-concentration level of 0.08 percent. And when texting, drivers take their eyes off the road for up to 4.6 out of every 6 seconds — equivalent to traveling the length of a football field at 55 mph hours without looking up.
DPS underscores driver distractions include reaching for items, fiddling with radio/music/vehicle controls, eating/drinking, dealing with rowdy passengers, grooming and more.

Tips to minimize distractions:
·         Cell phones — turn off cell phones, or place them out of reach to avoid the urge to dial/answer or read or send a text. If a passenger is present, ask them to handle calls/texts.

·         Music and other controls — pre-program favorite radio stations and arrange music in an easy-to-access spot. Adjust mirrors and AC/heat before traveling, or ask a passenger to assist.

·         Navigation — designate a passenger to serve as a co-pilot to help with directions. If driving alone, map out destinations in advance, and pull over to study a map or program the GPS.

·         Eating and drinking — try to avoid food/beverage (especially messy foods) and have drinks secured.

·         Children — teach children the importance of good behavior in a vehicle; do not underestimate how distracting it can be to tend to children while driving.

·         Passengers should speak up to stop drivers from distracted driving behavior.

·         If making/receiving a call to/from someone driving, ask them to call back when they are not driving.

About the Office of Traffic Safety
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) designs, implements, and coordinates federally funded traffic safety enforcement and education programs to improve driver behaviors and reduce the deaths and serious injuries that occur on Minnesota roads.  OTS also administers state funds for the motorcycle safety program and for the child seats for needy families program. OTS is an anchoring partner of the state’s Toward Zero Deaths traffic safety initiative.

Recent OTS Activity
·         A statewide DWI crackdown on St. Patrick’s Day weekend resulted in at least 250 DWI arrests.
·         OTS released a study conducted by the University of Minnesota that found the primary seat belt law has resulted in 68 fewer deaths since the law was enacted nearly three years ago.
·         OTS is coordinating a pilot program, parent-teen driver awareness courses, to educate parents about their responsibilities to train and monitor their new teen driver.
·         Real-time Officer Activity Report is being rolled out statewide to increase the ease with which enforcement agencies report their activities in order for OTS to report enforcement results to the public.
·         OTS partners with AAA Minnesota/Iowa for the eighth year of the Buckle Up Teens! TV Commercial Challenge. Teens create TV PSAs to educate peers.

BBB tips for National Financial Literacy Month

Burnsville, Minnesota – April 16, 2012 The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently released their National Financial Capability Study, which looked at the spending and saving habits of Americans. It revealed some startling information:
Most Americans lack emergency savings or “rainy day” funds. Only 49% of survey respondents reported that they had set aside funds sufficient to cover expenses for three months in case of sickness, job loss, economic downturn or other emergency.
The majority of Americans have not planned for retirement. Only 42% of the FINRA survey respondents who weren’t retired said they had taken the time to calculate what they would need.
Less than half of Americans have saved money for college. Only 41% of those with financially dependent children have set money aside for college education.
Based on this information, the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) offers the following recommendations:
Start calculating now. You’re never too young to start planning for retirement. Decisions about how much to save in order to afford a comfortable retirement require collecting information about several important variables, (including Social Security and retirement plan benefits) and even some rudimentary projections will help to give you an idea of what will be required.
Budget appropriately when it comes time to pay for a child’s education. Over the past decade, tuition and fees at four-year public colleges and universities have increased more rapidly than they did during the 1980s or 1990s, rising by an average of nearly 5 percent each year (adjusted for inflation). With this trend unlikely to abate, an average American family with children can expect to dedicate a sizable share of their resources to pay for college tuition.
Manage your debt. One of the best ways to ensure a brighter financial future is to manage and eliminate costly debt. The BBB offers “Managing Credit – Made Simpler,” an online learning tool for consumers and small business owners.
Avoid “get rich quick” schemes. The BBB exposes scams and frauds every day. Sadly, many of these are aimed at investors who have done the right thing by saving some money, but are susceptible to making a mistake when it comes to investing. The BBB also recently partnered with the FINRA Financial Education Foundation to promote smart investing and to help consumers avoid investment scams.
For more information on businesses, charities and investments you can trust, always visit

IDEA Competition Winners to be Announced April 25

 IDEA Competition winners will be announced at the IDEA Awards Banquet to be held April 25, from 5:00-8:30 the Sanford Event Center in Bemidji.  

2012 finalists are:
·         Don & Sandra Buerkley, Park Rapids, MN America Log Maker – Renewable energy solution that recycles animal waste into a useable and economical heat source for horse facilities.
·         Jay Fisher & James Marvin, Warroad, MN Eleven Hockey – Hockey stick manufacturer in Warroad that offers custom, unique, and historical hockey stick products.
·         Mark Landes & Jennifer DeBarr,  Bemidji, MN Shield Snip – Innovative hand tool to simplify the process of trimming STP and coaxial shield quickly and precisely.
·         William & Julia Stephani, Puposky, MN Slot Rail Fence –  Revolutionary way to construct a stronger and more-appealing wooden rail fence that is easier for DIYs to build than what is currently offered in the market. 
·         Brady & Jodi Dyrdahl,  Shevlin, MN   The Sidekick – Snowmobile work stand that stabilizes the sled, making it easier to perform repairs and enhancements underneath the snowmobile.
·         Jeff Sullivan,  Bemidji, MN   Varimax Evaporator - Precision evaporative technology for environmentally responsible and cost effective disposal of surplus industrial and agricultural waste water.
·         Tim & Adam Wagner Fisher, MN  Wagner Malting & Brewing - Top quality micro brewed beer using 100% locally grown and malted ingredients to deliver exceptional taste.

Final awards will be determined by a judging panel comprised of members from three area equity funds, bankers, successful entrepreneurs and business development professionals.  The panel will choose up to five winners who will each receive $10,000 to advance their business idea, plus additional technical assistance. 

The 2012 IDEA Hall of Fame is inducting William S. “Bill” Marvin posthumously. The award will be accepted at the banquet by Jake Marvin, president and CEO of The Marvin Cedar and Lumber Company, on behalf of his late father. The IDEA Hall of Fame was instituted to recognize the accomplishments of northwest Minnesota’s legacy innovators and entrepreneurs – those within the region who have inspired others with their entrepreneurial vision, leadership and achievement.

Pre-registration is required for the banquet.  For more information on the IDEA Competition Awards Banquet or to register, go to

Friday, April 13, 2012


FARGO, N.D. (April 13, 2012) — Each year, more than 5 million people learn lifesaving skills in American Red Cross training classes and people in the Fargo-Moorhead area, can join the ranks of these everyday heroes by taking a class now.

The First Aid and CPR/AED course teaches people how to perform CPR and use an AED, what to do if someone is choking, and how to prevent and respond to other emergencies until advanced medical help arrives. Course participants also learn how to control bleeding as well as how to care for seizures and other sudden illnesses, as well as will be offered for specialization in pediatric lifesaving skills.

The Babysitter’s Training course will give 11-15 year-olds the skills and confidence to safely and responsibly care for children and infants, as well as some tools to help them get started in their own babysitting business.

Caregiving skills take prospective young sitters from feeding to diapering and playtime to bedtime routines. Participants also learn how to handle emergencies such as injuries, illnesses and household accidents.

Red Cross training courses meet OSHA guidelines, feature hands-on skills practice and include 2 year certifications, free digital materials and skill refreshers. Visit or call 1-800-RED-CROSS for details and to register for a class.

Courses are subject to cancellation without notification. Advance registration is required.

First Aid Review  Review
Minn-Kota Chapter
Pediatric CPR/AED Review
Minn-Kota Chapter
Adult CPR/AED Review
Minn-Kota Chapter
Adult CPR/AED Review
Minn-Kota Chapter
First Aid Review
Minn-Kota Chapter
First Aid Review
Minn-Kota Chapter
First Aid Review
Minn-Kota Chapter
Pediatric CPR/AED Review
Minn-Kota Chapter
Minn-Kota Chapter
Babysitter’s Training
Minn-Kota Chapter
First Aid Review
Minn-Kota Chapter
Adult CPR/AED Review
Minn-Kota Chapter
First Aid Review
Minn-Kota Chapter

** Scholarships are           available