Monday, January 28, 2013

DNR, NWTF mentored youth turkey applications due Feb. 19

First-time youth turkey hunters ages 12 to 17 have the chance to go afield this spring and learn from an experienced National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) volunteer.

“Youth turkey hunters and their guardians will learn life-long outdoor skills and how to be a responsible hunter,” said Mike Kurre, mentoring program coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (
DNR). “The outdoor coaches of the NWTF are helping create the next generation of hunters.”

Applications, maps and general information for the wild turkey hunt are available online at Application deadline is midnight on Monday, Feb. 19. Participants will be selected through a random lottery.

This is the 11th consecutive year the DNR and the NWTF have cooperated to mentor first-time youth turkey hunters. Nearly 2,000 youth have been introduced to this hunting experience since spring youth turkey hunts began in 2002.

Most hunts will be Saturday, April 20, and Sunday, April 21, which is the first weekend of the regular wild turkey season. Nearly all youth will hunt on private land due to permission of private landowners and the NWTF volunteers who obtained the permission.

To be eligible, a youth hunter must be age 12 to 17 on or before Saturday, April 20; have a valid firearms safety certificate; and be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The program is for first-time turkey hunters only. Any youth who has ever purchased or been selected by lottery for a Minnesota turkey license of any type is not eligible.

Hunters and their mentors will be assigned a NWTF volunteer coach, who must accompany both the youth and parent/guardian throughout the entire hunt.

Participation in the hunts is restricted by the number volunteers and private land available. If anyone is interested in providing quality turkey hunting land for the mentored youth hunts, contact a NWTF chapter online at

MnDOT advances work on Highways 2, 200, and 220

Public meetings scheduled in Crookston, East Grand Forks and Halstad

BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Transportation is advancing a project to repair concrete on sections of Highways 2, 200, and 220 to the 2013 construction season. Work was previously planned to occur during the 2014 construction season.

Crews will repair sections of Highway 2 in Crookston, Highway 2 and Highway 220 in East Grand Forks and Highway 200 in Halstad.

The public is invited to attend one of the following information meetings on Monday, Feb. 11:

· East Grand Forks10:30 a.m. at City Hall, 600 DeMers Ave.

· Crookston – 1 p.m. at MnDOT Office, 1320 Sunflower St.

· Halstad – 3 p.m. at Halstad Telephone Company, 345 Second Ave. W.

MnDOT project engineer Troy Strassburg will explain the project, work schedules, traffic impacts and other information.

Interested individuals who cannot attend the public meetings should contact Strassburg at 218-755-6561 or

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Farm Management Meeting Set for Feb. 6 in Fargo

The Northwest Farm Managers Association will hold its 104th annual meeting for producers and others interested in agriculture on Feb. 6 at the Holiday Inn in Fargo.

Presentations will focus on dynamic changes in agriculture, grain market outlook and pricing strategies, fertilizer outlook, 2013 crop year weather and farmland leasing arrangements.

Michael Hubert, Mosaic Co. northern Plains account manager, will provide a global phosphates and potash outlook. Mosaic is the world's leading producer of concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients.

Also presenting is William Wilson, distinguished professor in the North Dakota State University Agribusiness and Applied Economics Department.
Wilson has researched and provided advice to numerous international companies and countries in the areas of grain marketing, international trade and logistics. He has identified global fundamentals to 2020 and will describe the forthcoming dynamic changes in agriculture.

Grain marketing and the weather are always of great interest to producers. Market analyst Jerry Gulke, president of the Gulke Group, will provide insight on old and new crop markets and global competition in his explanation of pricing strategies for corn, oilseeds and wheat.

Leon Osborne, University of North Dakota professor of atmospheric sciences, will give his latest crop weather outlook for 2013.

Dwight Aakre, NDSU Extension Service farm management specialist and co-author of materials on, will discuss whether flexible cash leases may work for your operation. Strong commodity prices and high production costs have made it more difficult for operators and landowners to successfully determine appropriate farmland lease arrangements.

Glen Ward, professional humorist and inspirational speaker from
Columbia, S.C., will end the meeting.

The meeting is open to the public. Registration begins at
8 a.m. and the meeting at 9. The fee for attending is $50, payable at the door. The fee includes a noon meal and breaks. For more information, call (701) 231-7393.

MDA to hold listening sessions on new ag water quality certification program

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture will hold listening sessions at six locations throughout the state in February to gather input on the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program. The new program has been in development over the past year and is designed to accelerate voluntary adoption of on-farm agricultural practices that enhance water quality.

Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson says farmers and rural landowners are encouraged to attend these sessions to provide feedback on the program prior to its implementation.

“We want to ensure this program delivers what it should for farmers and for the environment,” said Frederickson. “We want to hear from farmers and others about the proposed program while we’re in the planning stage.”

Under the program, farmers would voluntarily implement and maintain approved conservation plans and receive assurance that their operations meet water quality goals and standards. In return, they would not be required to implement additional water quality practices for the duration of their certification.

The listening session dates, times, and locations are as follows:

Worthington: Monday, February 4, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., MN West Community College Commons

Stewartville: Tuesday, February 12, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., Stewartville Community Center

Roseville: Tuesday, February 19, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m., Ramsey Co. Library - Roseville Community Room

Crookston: Thursday, February 21, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., University of Minnesota, Crookston Ballroom

Mankato: Tuesday, February 26, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., South Central College, Conference Room A

St. Cloud: Thursday, February 28, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m., MNDOT Training Center

The Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program is the result of a state-federal partnership that includes the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR), the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Influenza activity continues to be widespread, heightened in MN

Minnesota continues to experience vigorous, widespread influenza activity, with high levels of hospitalizations and deaths reported. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) updated its Weekly Influenza Activity summary ( on its website today. Some important points to note about the current situation:

To date, MDH has received reports of 1,842 hospitalizations due to influenza-like illness and has confirmed 60 deaths due to influenza or complications from influenza.

These numbers are current for reports received as of the week ending Jan. 12.

By comparison, Minnesota recorded 285 hospitalizations for influenza-like illness in all of 2008-09; 965 in ’10-’11 and 552 in ’11-12. In the pandemic year of 2009-10, there were 1,824 hospitalizations.

Influenza can cause a viral pneumonia, and influenza can be a gateway for secondary infections such as a bacterial infection including bacterial pneumonia. In addition people with certain medical conditions can have a worsening of their condition when they are ill with influenza.

One of the reasons why we are seeing more influenza this year may be because one of the predominant circulating strains is the H3N2 strain of the virus. In years in which H3N2 is the predominant strain, we typically see more severe cases of illness, particularly in the very young and the elderly, and more cases overall.

The south central, central and metro areas of the state continue to have the highest levels of activity. While this is challenging their resources, they appear to be managing well.

Regional health care coalitions continue to monitor hospital bed count and resource needs. This public/private partnership between public health, hospitals, clinics and local business partners continues to play a critical role in the success of Minnesota’s response to influenza.

In the coming week, we expect to continue to see reports of hospitalizations and deaths from influenza, however the rate of reports to the department seems to be slowing somewhat, but we can’t say for certain whether cases have peaked or not until we see and evaluate two more weeks of data.

The past several influenza seasons [since 2008 and excluding the pandemic] have been mild so many Minnesota residents may not be accustomed to seeing higher levels of seasonal influenza activity. The amount and severity of influenza varies from season to season; we are having a severe seasonal influenza year, which happens every so often.

Recommendations for individuals

Vaccine availability

We are still encouraging people to be vaccinated. It is not too late to get vaccinated. Our goal is to use all doses of vaccine available.

Vaccine is still available from the Minnesota Vaccines for Children (MnVFC) program for those with federal (Medicaid) insurance and vaccine distributors still have vaccine for sale for those that are privately insured. The majority of clinics that we are speaking to have adequate vaccine. This is a changing situation and we are in contact with partners and are continually assessing the situation.

It is possible that some providers may have exhausted their supply at this point in the season; you may need to check with a few clinics to find vaccine. Based on the information we have available, it should be possible to find a provider who has vaccine available. We strongly advise people to keep looking. The MDH flu clinic locator may be helpful for this.

To find the location of a flu clinic near you, visit

If you are going to a retail store pharmacy site be sure to check about age groups being served. Not all pharmacies serve persons under age 18 years.

Because people with medical conditions or the elderly, who are at high risk for influenza complications may not have the best immune response to the vaccine, it is important that those around them are vaccinated.

Many of our deaths are occurring in the elderly – over 66 percent were in those over age 80 – so it is very important that those who live, visit or work around the elderly, particularly health care workers and long-term care workers, are vaccinated.

While the vaccine doesn’t offer perfect protection, it is still the best tool we have for preventing influenza and its complications. If you don’t get it, you don’t have protection.

The CDC recently released a report that estimated 60% effectiveness for this year’s flu vaccine against medically attended influenza. This is a preliminary estimate.

Given this level of efficacy, some vaccinated persons will become ill with influenza. Therefore, antivirals should be used as recommended for at risk patients regardless of their vaccination status.

Antivirals continue to be available. Pediatric suspensions are the only formulation for which FDA is reporting intermittent shortages. Pharmacists can compound their own pediatric formulations.

What else you can do

Most people can fight the flu at home with rest and fluids. If you or your child develop concerning symptoms, call your health care provider. If you are at risk for becoming very ill from influenza, call your health care provider as soon as symptoms of flu illness develop – they will determine whether influenza testing and possible treatment are needed.

New guidance for the public is available: “When to Get Medical Help for Flu Symptoms” provides general guidance for persons experiencing flu symptoms and when to seek medical attention.

MDH and the CDC recommend that everyone get vaccinated for influenza, but especially those at high risk for complications from influenza. Those include:

Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old.

Adults 65 years of age and older (

Pregnant women (

American Indians and Alaskan Natives seem to be at higher risk of flu complications.

People who have medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, neurological disease, kidney and liver disorders and others. For a list, see CDC’s website:

During flu season, besides getting vaccinated, there are other steps people can take to avoid spreading or catching influenza:

Do your best to stay healthy. Get plenty of rest, physical activity and healthy eating.

Stay home from school or work if you have a respiratory infection. Avoid exposing yourself to others who are sick with flu-like illness.

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue whenever you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue away. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve.

Clean surfaces you touch frequently, such as doorknobs, water faucets, refrigerator handles and telephones.

Wash your hands often with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.

Symptoms, treatment, etc.

The symptoms of influenza, which tend to come on suddenly, can include a sore throat, coughing, fever, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. People who become severely ill with influenza-like symptoms should see a physician.

Influenza is caused by a virus and antibiotics which are used against bacteria are not effective against it. Antivirals such as oseltamivir and zanamivir can be used against influenza.

More information on influenza can be found at

DNR announces two new appointments

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recently made two high-level appointments.

Steve Colvin is the new deputy director of the Ecological and Water Resources Division, replacing Dave Luethe who retired.

“Steve is a top-notch veteran of the division who has shown an impressive capacity to manage tough issues,” noted Steve Hirsh, Ecological and Water Resources Division director. “He has the unique ability for both high-level strategic thinking, as well as diving into complex details when needed. I’m confident Steve’s talents will serve the division well as we continue to deliver healthy watersheds throughout Minnesota.”

Colvin served at the DNR in various positions since 1983 when he first joined the department as a natural resources specialist in fisheries research, and later as an aquatic biologist coordinating the statewide aquatic nuisance program, among other responsibilities.

He also served as a natural resources programs supervisor for ecological resources and spent the last five years as the department’s state administrative planning director, leading the environmental review unit.

Colvin earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Cornell University and a master’s degree in environmental biology from the University of Minnesota.

His first day as deputy director is Jan. 30.

Luke Skinner is the new deputy director for the Parks and Trails Division. Skinner has served as the division’s acting deputy director since May.

Skinner has more than 20 years of experience with the DNR in roles ranging from natural resources specialist to supervisor. Since 2007, he has served as unit supervisor of the invasive species program in the ecological and water resources division.

“Luke brings valuable perspective and experience to the legislative, policy and organizational design challenges we continue to face in parks and trails,” said Courtland Nelson, director of the DNR Parks and Trails Division. “His strong leadership skills and ability to work effectively with a wide variety of stakeholders will be a great asset to our division.”

Skinner earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and a doctorate in entomology from the University of Minnesota, where he has been an adjunct assistant professor since 2006.

Skinner’s first day as deputy director was Jan. 7.

BBB Advises Extreme Caution With Fake Tech Support Scam

Burnsville, MinnesotaJanuary 17, 2013 – The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) is noting an uptick in reports of the “Tech Support” scam. Consumers have contacted the BBB in recent days reporting phone calls from people identifying themselves as computer technicians and telling potential victims they’re calling because they’ve noted issues with their home – or business – computers. The BBB is urging people not to be fooled by these calls, as they are not legitimate and are designed to either solicit credit card numbers or gain remote access to computers, which could lead to personal or financial information being compromised.

“As in most cases, there’s a level of plausibility to this scam,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of the BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. “Scammers tell consumers they’re calling because of an operating flaw or because they’ve noticed their computers are running slow. And many older computers do run slow. However, consumers need to know these cold calls are bogus. When you have a computer problem, you call the expert. It’s not the other way around.”

In many instances of this scam, people report the callers have foreign accents. They also sometimes identify themselves as being with Microsoft.

According to Microsoft, once these scammers are given access to a computer they can install malicious software, steal personal information, take control of the computer remotely or direct customers to fraudulent websites where they are asked to enter their credit card information.

The BBB offers these tips to avoid the Tech Support scam:

· Don’t trust cold calls. Remember, computer firms don’t call you about a problem – you call them. Also, never give out your personal information over the phone to someone you don’t know. If a caller claims there’s a problem with your computer, simply hang up.

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

· Find a computer repair firm you can trust. If you are having computer problems or technical issues, visit to find a BBB Accredited Business you can depend on.

The mission of the Better Business Bureau is to be the leader in building marketplace trust by promoting, through self-regulation, the highest standards of business ethics and conduct, and to instill confidence in responsible businesses through programs of education and action that inform, assist and protect the general public. We are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Contact the BBB at or 651-699-1111, toll-free at 1-800-646-6222.

Legacy Amendment Arts Grants Available

Arts organizations, non-profit organizations and schools are all encouraged to apply for arts grants. The Northwest Minnesota Arts Council in Warren is accepting applications for a variety of grants in literary, performing, and visual arts. The Arts Council serves the Minnesota counties of Kittson, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake, and Roseau. Therefore organizations, schools, cities or individuals applying must be from those counties.

The Arts Legacy grant category is mainly geared towards funding non-profit arts organizations but other agencies and schools and perhaps even artists within our region can also apply. Each applicant may apply for a maximum of $10,000.00 with a 10% cash match requirement. One-on-one assistance is available with the application form. Public art projects and proposals that bring about lifelong learning and access to the arts are encouraged. More examples of highlighted projects are on our web site at in the grants awarded section. The next deadline is February 1, 2013. Most likely funds will remain after this deadline so additional deadlines will occur on the 1st of each month in this category until funds are depleted. Therefore, if you are not prepared for this deadline contact our office and find out if you can still submit on March 1, 2013.

Funds also remain in our arts legacy school residency grant program. This program is for school districts to sponsor in an artist for a week-long residencies. ; Artists that are listed on, in their artist roster, work well for this program. Grants are for $2,100 and cover most of the costs of the residency. These grants are available on a first come, first served basis with up to two grants per school district in our service region. The grant application is available on our website. Apply soon!

Application materials for all the grant programs are available from Mara Wittman, Arts Council Director, NWRDC, 115 South Main, Warren, MN 56762, (218) 745-9111 or through the agency website at in the grants section. This activity is funded, in part, by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008 and by funds from The McKnight Foundation.

Recycling Dumpsters in Ada to relocate

Norman County Environmental Services would like to inform residents that the recycling dumpsters located behind the Ada Body Shop and at the Norman County Highway Department in Ada are moving. They will be moved just west of the New County Salt Shed and North of the Valley Square building within a fenced in area. They will be moved on January 30th.

Please help us keep our sites clean when you bring your recyclables to the drop off bins located within Ada and the neighboring communities. When you bring your cardboard to the recycling bins, please flatten your boxes to maximize the use of the recycling bins.

Also since the bins are emptied every two weeks, if you come and the bins are full, don’t throw your recyclables on top of the bins or on the ground. And remember only cardboard, paper, glass containers, plastic containers, and tin and aluminum cans are allowed to be placed into the recycling bins. Closing the lids after you have made your deposit will also help to keep our disposal sites clean. Thank you for your continued cooperation.

If you have any questions about the Norman County Recycling Program call Norman County Environmental Services at 784-5493

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

38th Annual Ag Arama at UMC

CROOKSTON, Minn. – A campus legacy continues with hosting of the 38th annual Ag Arama at the University of Minnesota, Crookston. The weekend of events, scheduled for Friday and Saturday, January 25-26, 2013, is hosted by the Agriculture and Natural Resources Department and includes activities for the entire family. The theme for this year’s event is “Where I Come From,” and the event is dedicated in honor of Kent Freberg, a long time faculty member in agriculture.

Most of the Ag Arama activities take place on Saturday, Jan. 26, in the University Teaching and Outreach Center (UTOC) located on the north edge of the campus. New this year will be a petting zoo to be held at the same time as the games.

Contests in agronomy, animal science, horticulture, and natural resources highlight Ag Arama weekend. They serve as an opportunity for students to showcase their knowledge and skills and have a chance to interact with alumni and faculty members. Ag Arama is planned and operated by a committee of students advised by Terrill Bradford and Brenda Miller, who both teach in the Agriculture and Natural Resources Department.

On Friday evening, the Animal Science Association sponsors a chili feed from 5 to 7 p.m. in UTOC for $5 per person.

On Saturday morning from
8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., the animal showmanship contests begin and the public is welcome to watch the competition as it unfolds in both novice and experienced categories. Students compete in western and English horse showmanship, lamb lead, and dairy, beef, sheep, and swine showing. The novices are paired with experienced students prior to the contests to prepare for the day. Alumni showmanship will take place at 12:30 p.m.

9 a.m. to noon, an agricultural industries show features some of the latest in agricultural equipment. At noon, the Round Robin Showmanship will begin. Coronation of the Ag Arama royalty takes place at 1 p.m. followed by the presentation of specialty awards and the sweepstakes presentation.

Royalty Candidates

Queen candidates are Katie Hagen, a junior agricultural business major from Epping, N.D.; Sam Zuck-Roscoe, a senior animal science major from Jamestown, N.D.; Sara Scott, a senior animal science major from Spiritwood, N.D.; Sarah Morris, a senior animal science major from Ramsey, Minn.; and Victoria Martin, a senior animal science major from Worland, Wyo.

Princess candidates are Amanda Guimont, a freshman, agricultural business major from Anoka, Minn.; Chloe Nelson, a freshman biology major from Little Falls, Minn.; Dacia Eberle, a freshman animal science major from Dazey, N.D.; Molly Justison, a senior Equine Science major from Minneapolis, Minn.; and Olivia Fischer, a sophomore animal science major from Kimball, Minn.

King candidates are Alex Cull, a senior double major in agricultural business and agricultural systems management from Cavalier, N.D.; Ben Wuebkers, a senior animal science major from Freeport, Minn.; Donovan Rupprecht, a junior animal science major from Thief River Falls, Minn.; Dustin Wiese, a senior animal science major from Pequot Lakes, Minn.; and Leonard Will, a senior agricultural systems management major from Thief River Falls, Minn.

Prince candidates are Brady Breitenfeldt, a sophomore animal science major from Frazee, Minn.; Mike Dodes, a sophomore agricultural systems management major from Ada, Minn.; Paul Kartak, a sophomore animal science major from Monticello, Minn.; Sam Haugen, a sophomore agronomy major from Fertile, Minn.; and Dylan Sather, a freshman agricultural business major from Gary, Minn.

Games and activities for the family

Several games and competitions, including men's and women's crosscut saw contests and log splitting, begin at 2:30 p.m. Other games include bean bag toss, three and five legged races, roping game, grain race, egg toss, buffalo rope game, rope jumping, along with the petting zoo.

Alumni social and dance

In the evening, a dinner will be served at the Crookston Eagles Club from
6 to 7 p.m., along with an alumni social from 6 to 8 p.m. also at the Eagles. Cost of the dinner is Swiss steak $9 and walleye $11.

Capping off the weekend will be dancing to "Silverado" from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Eagles. Admission is $8.

Today the University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers 27 bachelor’s degree programs, 18 minors, and 39 concentrations on campus--as well as 10 degrees online--in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology. With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from 25 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree. “Small Campus. Big Degree.” To learn more, visit

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hospice Seeks Volunteers

Hospice of the Red River Valley seeks volunteers to provide friendly, companionship visits to the people it serves. Can you talk? Listen? Hold a hand? If so, we have patients who need you.

Volunteers provide friendly visits, run errands, do light housekeeping, or fix meals. Other volunteer opportunities include helping out in the office or at Hospice special events.

If you can see yourself doing something like this, call Hospice of the Red River Valley at 800-237-4629 or visit

Friday, January 11, 2013

MnDOT releases State Aviation System Plan for public review, comment

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The public is invited to review and comment on Minnesota’s State Aviation System Plan through February 12. The SASP is a 20-year plan guiding the orderly development of the state’s system of 135 publically funded airports.

This plan describes and assesses the current aviation system performance and provides guidance for future aviation development in Minnesota. A performance-based planning approach is used to address identified goals and strategies for the system. An investment plan has also been prepared as part of the SASP to identify system needs and costs over the 20-year planning period.

The SASP is the result of extensive effort and collaboration over the past two years between the Minnesota Department of Transportation, stakeholders, partners and citizens. This will be the final opportunity for the public to provide input on the plan.

The SASP is the first mode specific plan MnDOT has presented to the public since adoption of Minnesota GO, the 50-year transportation vision, and a new Statewide Multimodal Transportation Plan in September of 2012.

The State Aviation System Plan can be accessed electronically at It also is available for review in hard copy at the MnDOT Office of Aeronautics, 222 Plato Blvd East and the MnDOT Library, 395 John Ireland Blvd., both in St. Paul.

A public hearing will be held February 4 from 4 p.m to 5 p.m. in Room G15 at MnDOT’s main headquarters at 395 John Ireland Boulevard in St. Paul. The public also may participate via videoconference at the following MnDOT offices statewide:

· Baxter – 7694 Industrial Park Road

· Bemidji – 3920 Highway 2 W

· Detroit Lakes – 1000 Highway 10 W

· Duluth1123 Mesaba Ave.

· Mankato2151 Bassett Drive

· Rochester2900 48th St. NW

· St. Paul395 John Ireland Blvd., Room G15

· Willmar2505 Transportation Road

Written comments will be accepted through February 12 and should be addressed to:

Aviation Planning - SASP

MnDOT Office of Aeronautics

222 Plato Boulevard

St. Paul, MN 55155

Those unable to attend in-person may participate in an online webinar via Adobe Connect. For details, visit

For more information, contact Ryan Gaug at 651-234-7190 or, or visit

To request an ASL or foreign language interpreter, or other reasonable accommodation for the February 4 hearing, call Janet Miller at 651-366-4720 or 1-800-657-3774 (Greater Minnesota); 711 or 1-800-627-3529 (Minnesota Relay), or send an email to Please make a request at least one week in advance.

Tips for buying & using portable electric space heaters

Fergus Falls, MN – Many people use supplemental heaters to add comfort to selected areas in their homes rather than raise overall indoor temperatures. To help ensure efficiency and safety, Otter Tail Power Company offers these tips for buying and using portable electric space heaters.

  • Don't fall for claims of added efficiency on overpriced electric space heaters. “All electric space heaters operate at 100 percent efficiency. Because they convert all of the electricity they use to heat, they all are equally efficient. So, don’t fall victim to a scam,” says Theresa Drexler, Senior Market Planning Specialist at Otter Tail Power Company. “Electric room heaters that sell for several hundred dollars are not more energy efficient. Portable heaters of equal wattage will cost the same to operate whether the unit’s purchase price is $40 or $400.”
  • The only feature of an electric heater that affects the amount of heat the unit can generate is wattage. “A 1,000-watt heater uses 1 kilowatt-hour per hour of operation no matter what type of heater it is,” says Drexler. She adds that heat pumps are the only option that can claim greater efficiency because these units capture free heat from the environment. “Remember, to best manage your costs, operate the lowest total wattage possible to keep you comfortable,” she says.
Low-wattage radiant heaters, some rated at just a few hundred watts, also are available for supplemental heat in small spaces such as office workstations. While still hot to the touch, these units do not have fans so they heat only directly in front of them.
  • The type of heater you choose can help you feel more comfortable. “For example, an electric heater that distributes warmth from a greater surface area, such as a portable baseboard or a radiator-shaped heater, can increase comfort by distributing heat more evenly,” Drexler says. “A small fan-forced heater of the same wattage will produce the same amount of heat but at a higher intensity and be more localized. But either will heat your room.”
  • Select a portable electric heater that has a thermostat so it doesn't run all the time. “A unit with a thermostat can help maintain a constant temperature and not overheat an area. If using a heater without a thermostat, consider operating it on a timer to avoid wasting energy,” says Drexler.
“A thermostat also may help avoid safety issues should the heater be left on when no one is home or attending it,” adds Otter Tail Power Company Safety Services Manager Eric Hamm, who offers this additional safety advice.
  • Select the proper wattage for a portable electric space heater so it doesn’t overload your electrical wiring and create a fire safety issue. “Portable electric heaters come in a variety of wattages. The most common are 1,000-watt and 1,500-watt units, and some have low, medium, and high settings. Don’t be tempted to buy a higher-wattage unit because of the additional heat it can deliver unless you know you have adequate capacity in your home wiring,” says Hamm. “The smaller the wattage the less likely it will overload your wiring.”
    • One sign of an overloaded circuit is blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers.
    • If the outlet, or the wall surrounding it, becomes warm after the heater has operated for a while, the wiring is overloaded. Discontinue using that outlet for your heater or consider a lower-wattage heater.
    • Do not plug your heater into an electrical circuit that has several other items already served on it.
  • Look for a portable electric heater that automatically shuts off if tipped over and that has protective casing over the heating element to avoid the potential for burns.
  • Keep portable electric space heaters away from flammable materials such as curtains, bedding, newspapers, etc.
  • Make sure that the outlet where you plug in your portable electric space heater is tight fitting.
  • Never use a portable electric space heater or any electric appliance near wet areas such as bathtubs and sinks.
  • Avoid using an extension cord but, if one is needed, be sure it has at least 12-gauge wire.
  • Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and make sure a portable electric space heater is UL labeled.
If you have questions about electrical safety, energy conservation, energy prices, or about how an electric space heater might affect your electric service bill, call Otter Tail Power Company’s Idea Center at 800-493-3299. Also check our web page:
This news release is posted on our web site:
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

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ag Drainage Workshops Set

The North Dakota State University, University of Minnesota and South Dakota State University Extension Services have teamed up to hold agricultural drainage design and water management workshops at three sites in 2013.

The dates and locations of the workshops are:

* Feb. 12-13, Courtyard Marriott, 1080 28th Ave. S., Moorhead, Minn.

* Feb. 27-28, Best Western Ramkota, 1400 8th Ave. N.W., Aberdeen, S.D.

* March 5-6, Best Western, 1111 Range St., North Mankato, Minn.

The workshops begin at 8 a.m. the first day and end at 5 p.m. the second day.

The workshops will focus on planning and designing agricultural tile drainage systems to meet profitability and environmental objectives. The course content is taught in a hands-on manner with lots of discussion time.

Each workshop is intended for farmers, landowners, consultants, drainage contractors, government agency staff, water resource managers and anyone else who is interested in learning more about planning and design principles and practices for drainage and water table management systems.

Planning topics include legal aspects, basics of drainable soils, agronomic perspectives, doing your own tiling, land evaluation tools, and conservation
drainage concepts and techniques. The design topics begin with basic design considerations and progress through individual small-team projects, with several hands-on, problem-solving examples covering basic design and layout principles, water flow calculations, tile spacing, sizing and tile grades. The workshop also will cover design principles for lift stations and conservation drainage practices.

Registration for the three workshops is available only online at Due to seating limitations, on-site
registration will not be available on the day of the event.

The early registration rate is $225. Each workshop is limited to 65 participants. These workshops typically reach capacity quickly, so register
early to guarantee a spot.

Workshop participants need to make their own lodging arrangements. To reserve a room, contact the Courtyard Marriott in
Moorhead at (218) 284-1000, the Best Western Ramkota in Aberdeen at (605) 229-4040 or the Best Western in North Mankato at (507) 625-9333.

For more information about the workshops, contact:

* Tom Scherer, NDSU Extension agricultural engineer, at or (701) 231-7239

* Hans Kandel, NDSU Extension agronomist, at or (701) 231-8135

* Gary Sands, University of Minnesota Extension agricultural engineer, at or (612) 625-4756

* Brad Carlson, University of Minnesota Extension crop educator, at or (507) 389-6745

* Chris Hay, SDSU Extension water management engineer, at or (605) 688-5610

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

first detector training for pests of fruits and vegetables

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the University of Minnesota are joining forces to help detect new and emerging pests of fruit and vegetable crops. The first ever First Detector training for new and emerging pests of fruit and vegetable crops will be offered at the 2013 Upper Midwest Regional Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference on January 16, 2013 in St. Cloud.

First Detectors are volunteers trained to help citizens diagnose and report possible infestations of new and emerging plant pest species to MDA. Minnesota First Detectors are a part of a larger organization, the National Plant Diagnostic Network First Detector Program which promotes the early detection of invasive plant disease, insects and weeds on a national basis.

Early detection efforts for new and emerging pests in fruit and vegetables are an increasingly important part of Minnesota’s agricultural economy but have received less attention than trees or row crops. First Detectors in the established Forest Pest Program, as well as members of the Minnesota Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association and Minnesota organic growers are especially encouraged to attend, although not required.

The First Detector workshop will address the identification, biology and impacts of the following invasive pests of fruit and vegetable crops:
· Brown marmorated stink bug
· Spotted wing drosophila
· Goss’s wilt of sweet corn
· Exotic downy mildews of basil and cucurbits

First Detector training is a half-day workshop on January 16, 2013 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Training will take place prior to the regular agenda of the Upper Midwest Regional Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference being held January 17 and 18, 2013 at the St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center. Registration is $15 and is open to the public. Participants can register both in advance by mail or the day of the workshop. Further information is available at

Monday, January 7, 2013

Crop Insurance Conference Set for Jan. 21 in Fargo

The latest information on crop insurance will be presented at the North Dakota State University Extension Service's 20th annual crop insurance conference in Fargo on Jan. 21.

The conference will be held at the Ramada Plaza Suites. Registration opens at
7:45 a.m. Presentations begin at 8:30 a.m. and continue until 4 p.m.

The goal of the conference is to help participants integrate crop insurance and other risk management strategies in production and marketing decisions.

The conference is for crop insurance agents, farm managers, producers, legislators, agricultural lenders, industry regulators, commodity group representatives, farm management instructors and public officials.

Conference topics and their presenters are:

* Weather outlook for 2013 -- Leon Osborne, University of North Dakota atmospheric sciences professor

* Prevented planting update -- Doug Hagel, Risk Management Agency (RMA) regional director in Billings, Mont.

* RMA update -- Michael Alston, RMA deputy administrator

* 2013 crop insurance outlook -- Rick Gibson, NAU Country Insurance business strategy consultant

* Global fundamentals to 2020: Dynamic changes in agriculture -- William Wilson, NDSU Agribusiness and Applied Economics Department professor

* Update from Washington, D.C. -- U.S. Sen. John Hoeven

* Company perspective -- Tim Weber, Great American Insurance crop division CEO

* Marketing strategies for 2013 -- Frayne Olson, NDSU Extension Service crops economist and marketing specialist

* Ethics in business -- David Horsager, Horsager Leadership Inc. CEO

The conference has been approved for continuing education credits for crop insurance and ethics in Minnesota and the Dakotas.

The registration fee is $110, which includes lunch, breaks, and conference materials. For more information or to register, call (701) 231-8642 or online at

Spring turkey hunting applications accepted through Friday

Hunters older than 17 who want to hunt during the first four seasons of Minnesota’s 2013 spring wild turkey hunt have until Friday, Jan. 11, to apply for a permit, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Youth hunters 17 and younger can purchase a permit for any season over-the-counter.

The hunt will consist of six five-day and two seven-day seasons. All adult resident and nonresident wild turkey hunters interested in hunting during one of the first four seasons must apply online, in-person or by phone. Permits for each of the last four seasons will be sold over-the-counter only and no applications will be taken.

A total of 5,781 permits are available for the spring turkey hunt. Dates for 2013 are:

Season A – Wednesday, April 17, to Sunday, April 21.
Season B – Monday, April 22, to Friday, April 26.
Season C – Saturday, April 27, to Wednesday, May 1.
Season D – Thursday, May 2, to Monday, May 6.
Season E – Tuesday, May 7, to Saturday, May 11.
Season F – Sunday, May 12, to Thursday, May 16.
Season G – Friday, May 17, to Thursday, May 23.
Season H – Friday, May 24, to Thursday, May 30.

Permit areas were consolidated from 77 to 12 last year, providing wild turkey hunters more flexibility and opportunity in larger geographic areas.

One slight change alters the boundary between permit areas 501 and 503. Check the map at for details.

All hunters must pay a nonrefundable $4 application fee at the time of application. Nonresident hunters may apply online or telephone at 888-665-4236 (MNLICENSE). A nonrefundable $3.50 transaction fee will be charged for online and telephone applications.

Hunters who are not successful in the drawing may purchase surplus turkey permits, which are sold on a first-come, first-served basis, in mid-March. They also may choose to purchase a license over-the-counter for any of the last four time periods.

Hunters who are successful in the drawing for one of the first four hunts and choose not to purchase a tag will lose the current year’s preference point for future drawings but not accumulated preference from past years.

The availability of archery resident and nonresident spring turkey licenses includes the last four seasons. Archery licenses may be purchased for the last four hunts only in any permit area with 50 or more applicants. Licensed archers may hunt each and all of the entire last four time periods.

An application information sheet is available from any DNR license agent and online at Hunt information materials include a map of wild turkey permit areas, permit quotas and season dates.

Information also is available by calling the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or toll-free -888-646-6367.

Radon testing

Minnesota homes need to be tested for radon; winter is best time to do it

Every 25 minutes, one person in the U.S. dies from radon-related lung cancer. It is the largest environmental cancer risk and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Fortunately, the risk is largely preventable.

More than 40 percent of Minnesota homes have dangerous levels of radon gas and state health officials say every home should be tested. To emphasize the importance of radon testing, Gov. Mark Dayton has declared January "Radon Action Month" in Minnesota. Over 40 local public health agencies around the state have partnered with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to make over 8000 radon test kits available to local residents at low or no cost. For details on how to obtain a kit, contact your local public health agency or MDH. A list of participating health agencies can be found on the MDH website at

During the months of January and February, MDH is sponsoring a series of eye-catching ads in the skyway systems of St. Paul, Minneapolis, Duluth and Rochester designed to get people's attention about radon. MDH will also be sponsoring radio ads in the Twin Cities to encourage people to test their homes.

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and more than 21,000 deaths are attributed to radon each year. Radon exposure, however, is a preventable health threat. Over 1,000 Minnesota homeowners every year have radon reduction systems installed in their homes, but this is a small percentage of all Minnesota homes that have elevated radon levels.

Radon is odorless, colorless and tasteless, so the only way for homeowners to know if their home has radon is to test. Testing is easy, inexpensive and only takes 3-5 days. Most test kits are priced under $20 and are available at city and county health departments, many hardware stores, or directly from radon testing laboratories.

Discounted test kits can also be purchased online at

The best time to test is in the winter, but testing can be done year-round. It is especially important to test during real-estate transactions. Radon tests can be easily incorporated into a home inspection.

Tests should be done in the lowest level of the home that is frequently occupied. Tests should not be done in laundry or utility rooms, kitchens or bathrooms. Once you have tested, further action can be taken based upon your results. If your home's level is over 4 PiC/L, you should consider verification testing and having a radon mitigation system installed. Anyone interested in mitigating his or her home for radon should consult MDH's list of certified radon mitigation contractors at

For more information on radon testing and mitigation visit or call the Minnesota Department of Health Indoor Air Unit at 651-201-4601 or 1-800-798-9050. To see how radon has affected the lives of cancer patients and their families visit