Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Commerce Department Exposes Fraudulent Timeshare Schemes

SAINT PAUL, MN –The Minnesota Department of Commerce has uncovered eleven unlicensed sham companies targeting timeshare owners falsely claiming to be able to sell or rent their properties and scamming them into paying thousands of dollars in transaction costs that never result in a sale or rental of their properties. In every case, the company used a fake street address on their website and in the materials they provided to timeshare owners. The addresses either did not exist or were for buildings in which the sham company was not a tenant. In one instance, a company used fake Minnesota business registration and license documents to convince a timeshare owner of its legitimacy. The Commerce Department ordered the eleven sham companies to immediately halt their alleged illegal activity in Minnesota.

The investigation comes on the heels of a Minnesota Department of Commerce enforcement action in late 2012 against Renaissance Marketing  for running an alleged “bait and switch” timeshare scheme that targeted consumers across the country. The initial investigation triggered further complaints about companies offering to sell or rent Minnesotans’ timeshares often using fake
Minnesota addresses.

“The Department took swift and decisive action against these alleged schemes duping timeshares owners,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “These sham companies are preying on people desperate to sell their timeshares with the intent to scam and defraud them out of thousands of dollars.”

The sham companies went by the names of: Global Properties Specialists, Integrated Escrow Services, Platinum Resort Services,
ABS Consulting Company, World Transfer Title, Premium Properties Management, Net Management Group, Concord International Title, Continental Property Solutions, Twin Cities Property Advisors, and World Event Management.

Concord International Title, Platinum Resort Services,
ABS Consulting Services, and World Transfer Title all used fake Minnesota addresses, while Net Management Group claimed to be based in Michigan and World Event Management claimed to be based in Colorado. Global Properties Specialists claimed an Arizona address but maintained it was affiliated with and used Integrated Escrow Services, which it represented had a Minnesota address. The Department’s repeated efforts to contact and obtain information from these companies by email, U.S. mail, and telephone calls went unanswered.

The Department’s investigation found that the scams all followed a similar pattern like the one used by Global Properties Specialists. Based on statements made by the scammed timeshare owner, Global Properties Specialists cold called the
Michigan timeshare owner about selling their Costa Rica timeshare property and ultimately led the timeshare owner to believe that it had a buyer for the property. The timeshare owner reported that Global Properties Specialists further stated it would guarantee the sale of the owner’s interest in the property. Based on those representations, the timeshare owner agreed to wire cash in the amount of $6,550, which Global Properties Specialists claimed was a necessary transaction fee for service. After wiring the initial payment, Global Properties Services advised the timeshare owner that an additional payment of $11,790 was necessary to pay a 15% sales tax plus a 3% foreign investment tax. After they had wired the second payment, the timeshare owner was again contacted by Global Properties Specialists for yet another $4,585 for a payment of a 7% commission. After making the third payment, the timeshare owner received an email from Global Properties Specialists stating that an additional payment of $4,422 was necessary for a bank surcharge. The timeshare owner declined to make the final payment, after which Global Properties Specialists stopped answering the timeshare owner’s telephone calls and emails.

The Department’s investigation also found that the title company, Integrated Escrow Services, with which Global Properties Specialists represented it work with to complete the sale, used a fake
Minnesota address and had supplied an Oregon resident with a fake Minnesota real estate and driver’s license, and a fake Minnesota business tax registration to bolster its credibility.

The Department worked with the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and
North Dakota in the investigation of these companies.

“Minnesotans need to exercise due diligence when selling their timeshares,” said Commissioner Rothman. “These scams are becoming increasingly prevalent and sophisticated, and Minnesotans should check with the Department of Commerce to confirm the licenses of purported timeshare resellers. Further, those who are considering the initial purchase of timeshares need to educate themselves on the potential benefits and disadvantages of timeshare ownership.”







The Commerce Department offers the following advice on selling and purchasing timeshares .

Timeshare Resale Scams

Timeshare reseller scams have multiplied over recent years and companies or individuals posing as resellers have scammed individuals out of thousands of dollars through false promises and upfront fees.

1. Always check with the Minnesota Department of Commerce to confirm the licensing claims of any reseller. Anyone selling timeshares in
Minnesota must have a Minnesota real estate license.

2. Resellers identify timeshare owners through public databases and real estate records. An agent will cold call or mail materials to consumers offering resale terms that are often too good to be true. Be very cautious of high pressure sales tactics and offers requiring you to pay upfront fees. These tactics are a red flag the offer could be a scam.

3. A search of the caller’s telephone number, address or reseller contact information on an internet search engine will quickly expose a fraudulent company. Do this before signing a contract or sending any money.

4. Resale values are generally a fraction of the original purchase price. Anyone offering a purchase price that sounds too good to be true is too good to be true.

Purchasing a Timeshare:

1. Compare the cost of purchasing and owning a timeshare with the cost of staying at a hotel room in the resort area you are considering. Be aware that timeshares carry additional fees, such as monthly maintenance, taxes, brokerage fees and finance charges.

2. Timeshares located outside the country do not carry the same consumer protections that otherwise might be available domestically.

3. Know your cancellation rights before you sign any contracts. If a right of rescission is not among the contract terms, ask that it be included in the final contract.

4. Use an escrow account controlled by a licensed third party if purchasing undeveloped property. If it is developed, visit and inspect it carefully prior to signing a contract.

5. Always consult with a real estate attorney prior to signing a contract.

6. Timeshares offered or sold to people in
Minnesota must be registered with the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Call 651-296-6332 or 651-296-4973 to find out if the project is registered.

The Federal Trade Commission provides a wealth of information for individuals to consult prior to making a timeshare purchase.

The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and
North Dakota has additional resources for timeshare investors. Check their website for more information.

For complaints regarding timeshare sales, contact the Securities Registration and Enforcement Section send an e-mail to<> or visit Securities Registration and Enforcement Section<> of the website.

Due date for property tax payments extended for resorts and seasonal businesses

St. Paul, Minn. – With the unexpected late arrival of spring, resorts and other seasonal business owners have an additional two weeks to pay their first-half property taxes.

Due to legislation signed into law this session, commercial property owners who have been affected by the slow start to the summer season have until June 15 to make their first-half property tax payment without penalty.

The extension applies to owners of commercial seasonal residential recreational property classified as 1c or 4c property. It also applies to seasonal commercial property classified as 3a property, if over 60% of its 2012 gross income was earned during the months of May, June, July and August.

Owners of seasonal recreational property will need to submit an affidavit to their payment stating that they meet the income conditions in order to be eligible for the extension. For more information, please call your county at the number listed on your property tax statement.
Follow the latest news and updates from the Minnesota Department of Revenue on Twitter and Facebook

Thursday, May 23, 2013

MnDOT urges travelers to use caution in work zones during Memorial Day weekend

ST. PAUL, Minn.—The Minnesota Department of Transportation urges motorists to use extra caution while driving through highway work zones this Memorial Day weekend.

Plan ahead, think about alternate routes or go to to get advance information about road construction and detours.

“With hundreds of construction projects going on around the state, work zone safety is crucial during this busy weekend,” said Mike Barnes, MnDOT’s Operations director. “We ask drivers to pay attention in work zones and make it a safe weekend for everyone.”

Highway projects that may affect weekend travel on May 24-27 include the following:

· Interstate 694/Highway 10 interchange reconstruction in Arden Hills

· I-35E/I-35W split - pavement, bridge and guardrail construction in Burnsville

· Highway 95 closure between County Road 9 and County Road 11 near Taylors Falls

· Highway 10 lane closures between Moorhead and Detroit Lakes

· Highway 15 lane shift to bypass lanes at County Road 120 in St. Cloud

· I-35 lane closures from Esko to Duluth

· Highway 61/London Road closure at Lester River in Duluth

· I-535 Blatnik Bridge lane closures from Duluth to Superior

 Memorial Day weekend is traditionally one of the deadliest on Minnesota roads during the spring and summer months. Safe driving during the long weekend ranks as a paramount concern for the departments of Transportation and Public Safety and law enforcement agencies statewide.

In 2012, there were 1,931 total crashes in Minnesota work zones—three individuals were killed.

The 3-year average (2010-12) for work zone crashes is 1,819 crashes and seven fatalities per year.

MnDOT reminds motorists to follow these guidelines when entering and driving through work zones:

Stay alert, especially at night.

Obey posted speed limits. Fines may double for violations in work zones.

Expect work zones to constantly change. Day to day, you could experience lane shifts, closures or moving workers and vehicles.

Never enter a road blocked with barriers or cones.

Don’t make unnecessary lane changes.

Stay off cell phones and mobile devices.

Be patient. Expect delays, especially during peak travel times.

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.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Burning restrictions lifted in 32 Minnesota counties

Wet conditions have lowered the fire danger and prompted the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to lift burning restrictions in all or parts of 32 Minnesota counties. Restrictions were lifted at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 21.

The following counties have been removed from burning restrictions: Aitkin, Anoka, Becker, Benton, Carlton, Cass, Chisago, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Dakota, Douglas, Isanti, Itasca, Hennepin, Hubbard, Kanabec, Mahnomen, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Pine, Polk, Pope, Ramsey, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd, Wadena, Washington and Wright. Restrictions are also lifted in southern St. Louis and southern Beltrami counties.

Restrictions are lifted in Beltrami County south of Highway 1. In St. Louis County, restrictions are off for that portion south of a line running from Silica on the west to Central Lakes and Brimson on the east. The exact line is a township line between 55 and 56 north and includes all of township 56.

Although the state burning restrictions are lifted in these counties, local areas, counties or municipalities may have specific regulations or restrictions that affect burning operations. Check with local authorities to obtain proper permits before burning.

Restrictions remain in Cook, Kittson, Koochiching, Lake, Lake of the Woods, Marshall, Pennington, Roseau, north St. Louis and north Beltrami counties. It is anticipated these will be lifted soon.

Because fire danger can change quickly, DNR foresters can turn off burning permits in individual counties whenever conditions warrant. This could occur if there is a dry, windy day when fires could start easily and burn quickly. Check the fire restrictions page on the DNR website at: for information on daily changes to burn permits.

The DNR advises to keep burn piles small, have a water supply nearby, and stay with the fire until it is completely out. If the fire escapes, homeowner is responsible for the damage and suppression costs.

Burning permits are available through state and federal forestry offices, from local fire wardens, or online by paying a $5 fee per year. Online permits need to be activated on the day of the burn. See

Threat of aquatic invasive species re-emerges with boating season

With boating season moving in to high gear this Memorial Day weekend, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is reminding boaters and anglers to be extra vigilant to help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS).

Minnesota’s lakes and rivers are one of our most precious resources and we need every person to take responsibility to help prevent and curb the spread of AIS,” said Ann Pierce, DNR invasive species unit supervisor.

Boaters and anglers must know the AIS laws before they hit the water.

“The laws have not changed since last year,” Pierce said. “Before leaving a water access every boater must: clean off aquatic plants and animals, pull the drain plug and leave it out when transporting. They need to drain all water from bait buckets, livewells and boats and dispose of unwanted live bait in the trash. These simple steps protect our waters and may keep you from getting a citation.”

DNR’s stepped up efforts

People can expect watercraft inspectors and conservation officers at public accesses this summer. Statewide plans include:

  • Watercraft Inspections –The DNR will have up to 150 authorized inspectors stationed at high-use public waters that are infested with zebra mussels – and 23 hot water decontamination units available to clean infested equipment. Local units of government will also have inspectors at various accesses throughout the state.
  • Enforcement – All DNR conservation officers will focus on enforcing AIS laws this season. They will write citations for AIS law violations. Roadside checks will be conducted.
  • AIS canine unit –Three zebra-mussel detector dogs, which can find a mussel faster than a human inspector, will help conservation officers at check stations and water accesses this summer.

2012 AIS enforcement and inspection recap

In 2012, watercraft inspectors and conservation officers spent about 81,000 hours inspecting more than 120,000 watercraft/trailers, resulting in 998 citations and 1,550 written warnings. There were 121 watercraft inspectors who worked most of the open water season inspecting boats and providing information to the public. An additional 30 inspectors were hired to assist with end-of-season coverage.

AIS citations and fines

Boaters and others who fail to follow AIS laws can expect to receive citations and pay fines. The current fines are:

  • Transporting aquatic plants - $100 civil penalty or misdemeanor.
  • Transporting water in boats or other water-related equipment - $100 civil penalty or misdemeanor.
  • Transporting zebra mussels and other prohibited species of animals - $500 civil penalty or misdemeanor.

For more information about AIS laws, a list of designated infested waters in Minnesota and contact information for AIS specialists throughout the state is available at

Cold water dangerous to boaters this Memorial Day weekend

Minnesotans are eager to hit the water for Memorial Day weekend, but the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is reminding boaters that warmer weather does not mean warm water.

“For boaters and swimmers, our current water temperatures can prove dangerous, or even deadly, if they don’t consider the effect cold water has on their body,” said Capt. Greg Salo, DNR Region 3 enforcement manager. “Water temperature below 70 degrees is considered cold.”

Water temperatures on Lake Minnetonka and the St. Croix River are currently in the 60s, even though air temperatures this week have been in the 70s.

Falling into frigid water can cause an immediate gasp for air and the shock of the icy water can also cause cardiac arrest, even for people in good health. Cold water robs the body of heat 25 times faster than air of the same temperature, Salo added.

So far this year, there have been no boating fatalities in Minnesota, compared to four deaths for the same period last year. “This is the first time since 2004 Minnesotans are going into Memorial Day weekend without a boating fatality,” Salo said. Fifteen people died in boating accidents in 2012.

The DNR offers tips for safe and responsible boating including:

  • State law requires a U.S. Coast Guard-approved wearable life jacket for each person on board all watercraft.
  • All children under 10-years-old are required to wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket while a boat is underway.
  • Alcohol and boating don’t mix.
  • If a watercraft becomes swamped or capsized, try to reboard or stay with the craft.
  • Take a boater course and receive a boat education certificate.

For information on taking a boating course and other boating safety information visit,

Also boaters are encouraged to visit boat and water safety’s new Facebook page at

Memorial Day Programs Sponsored by MDVA

Across the state, Minnesotans are preparing to celebrate Memorial Day. Unlike Veterans Day, which honors all U.S. Military Veterans, Memorial Day is set aside to specifically honor those who have died in service to the nation. In remembrance and celebration of these individuals, the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs is sponsoring events throughout the state at the State Veterans Cemetery in Little Falls and at the five Minnesota Veterans Homes.

State Veterans Cemetery, Sunday, May 26

LITTLE FALLS, MN - The State Veterans Cemetery in Little Falls is hosting its annual Memorial Service the day before Memorial Day. The event is open to the public and will begin at 1:30 p.m. with instrumental music provided by the Richfield Symphonic Band, the traditional Parade of Flags and a placing of the wreaths and the first public showing of the US Navy painting commissioned for the Veterans Educational Historic Project. The keynote speaker will be Lt Col Mark M. Weber, who recently released a book titled “Tell My Sons.” Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery, 15550 Hwy 115, Little Falls, MN 56345

Minnesota Veterans Homes, Monday, May 27 (Memorial Day)

FERGUS FALLS, MN – The Memorial Day program starts at 2 p.m. The guest speaker will be Ron Verhaagen, Wilkin County Veterans Service Officer. The program will include music by “The Lee’s,” and Color guard services and the rifle volley will be provided by the Fergus Falls American Legion Post 30 & the Fergus Falls VFW Post 612. 1821 North Park Street, Fergus Falls, MN 56537

HASTINGS, MN – The Memorial Day Observance will start at 9 a.m. at the flag pole outside of the Hastings Veterans Home. There will be multiple stops through the town and honors will be performed by VFW Post 1210 and American Legion Post 47 of Hastings. There will also be special recognition of Gold Star Mothers and prayers. 1200 East 18th Street, Hastings, MN 55033

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - The Memorial Day program, sponsored by the 5th District American Legion, will begin at 2 p.m. outside of Building 15 Chapel. In case of inclement weather the program will be held in the auditorium. The guest speaker will be Rev. Kenneth L. Beale, Jr. with remarks by MDVA Commissioner Larry Shellito. Colors will be posted by the Memorial Rifle Squad, Fort Snelling National Cemetery with music provided by the Minnesota Police Pipe Band. 5101 Minnehaha Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55417

SILVER BAY, MN - The program will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Silver Bay Veterans Home. The guest speaker will be Dave Mealey, Past Commander of the local VFW in Silver Bay. 45 Banks Boulevard Silver Bay, MN 55614

Minnesota Veterans Home, Thursday, May 30

LUVERNE, MN - The Memorial Day program will be held on Thursday, May 30 beginning at 2:30 p.m. in the dining room. The guest speaker will be American Legion Department Vice Commander for the 2 & 7 Districts, Jane Ellefson. The honor guard will consist of members from Luverne’s American Legion Post 123 and Luverne’s VFW Post 2757. Musical selections will be provided by Jay Tripp. 1300 North Kniss Avenue, Luverne, MN 56156

Historical & Cultural Society of Clay County To Participate In Blue Star Museums

Moorhead, Minn.,-- Today the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County announced the launch of Blue Star Museums, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 1,800 museums across America to offer fre e admission to all active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day 2013. Leadership support has been provided by MetLife Foundation through Blue Star Families. The complete list of participating museums is available at

“Blue Star Museums is collaboration between the arts and military communities," said NEA Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa. “Our work with Blue Star Families and with more than 1,800 museums ensures that we can reach out to military families and thank them for their service and sacrifice.”

“Blue Star Museums is something that service members and their families look forward to every year and we are thrilled with the continued growth of the program,” said Blue Star Families CEO Kathy Roth-Douquet. “Through this distinctive collaboration between Blue Star Families, the National Endowment for the Arts and more than 1,800 museums across the United States, service members and their families can connect with our national treasures with this unparalleled opportunity to visit some of the country’s finest museums for free.”

This year, more than 1,800 (and counting) museums in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa are taking part in the initiative, including more than 45 0 new museums this year. Museums are welcome to join Blue Star Museums throughout the summer. The effort to recruit museums has involved partnerships with the American Association of Museums, the Association of Art Museum Directors, the Association of Children’s Museums, the American Association of State and Local History, and the Association of Science-Technology Centers. This year’s Blue Star Museums represent not just fine arts museums, but also science museums, history museums, nature centers, and 75 children’s museums. Among this year’s new participants are the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California, Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum in Northport, Michigan, the Totem Heritage Center in Ketchikan, Alaska, and the World Museum of Mining in Butte, Montana.

Alley Fair to be held June 1 in Downtown Fargo

Fargo, ND Fargo’s newest summer event will invite visitors to step off of downtown streets and explore the back alleys. On June 1 the alleyway behind 300 Broadway will be transformed into a day-long festival featuring local food, live music, and art.

The organizers of Alley Fair were inspired by the idea of using a non-traditional venue to create a new type of outdoor event for the community. By pushing the boundaries to create an event in an underutilized space, they hope to provoke visitors’ imaginations for the future of downtown Fargo.
“There are so many potential uses for alleys,” said Joe Burgum, one of Alley Fair’s organizers. “It takes a passionate and creative group like this to take the risk and help people envision what alleys can become.”

The Alley Fair organization works to activate and transform the alleyways of downtown Fargo. The goal of the event is to design an environment that will encourage visitors to rethink urban landscapes.
Alley Fair will take place from noon to 11:30 p.m on Saturday, June 1. Visitors can enter the fair at 307 Roberts Street North, Fargo, ND next to Mezzaluna restaurant.

The event will be family-friendly and free from noon to 7 p.m. with art, food and outdoor activities featuring an Artist and Makers’ Market. From 8 p.m. -11:00 p.m., Alley Fair will transition to become a 21+ event. Guests will pay a $10 cover to hear a live music performance by Post Traumatic Funk Syndrome. Tickets will be available online ( and at the entrance.
For additional information, please visit these websites:

Concert Ticket Pre Sale

Monday, May 20, 2013

Rep. Kiel Announces Crookston, EGF Town Halls

State Rep. Deb Kiel, R-Crookston, invites area residents to join her at an East Grand Forks town hall meeting on Tuesday, May 28, and a Crookston town hall meeting on Thursday, May 30, to discuss an overview of the 2013 legislative session and how the new budget will affect families in northwestern Minnesota.


East Grand Forks
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
5:00 p.m.
East Grand Forks Library
422 Fourth St. N.W.
East Grand Forks, MN 56721

Thursday, May 30, 2013
12:00 p.m.
Irishman's Shanty (Back Room)
501 S. Main St.
Crookston, MN 56716


For more information, please contact Rep. Kiel at 651-296-5091 or by email at

Twenty-five Salmonella illnesses now linked to homemade unpasteurized fresh cheese

At least 25 Minnesotans have been sickened with salmonellosis linked to eating a raw Mexican-style cheese, queso fresco, state health officials said. The outbreak illustrates the dangers of consuming unpasteurized dairy products.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the City of Minneapolis have been investigating the outbreak and the source of the raw milk used to make the cheese since the first cases were detected in late April.

MDH confirmed 18 cases of infection with the same strain of Salmonella. An additional seven cases of illness occurred among family members or other contacts of confirmed cases, but no laboratory specimens were available. The individuals became ill between March 28 and April 24. Of the 25 cases, 15 were hospitalized. All have recovered. Many cases reported eating unpasteurized queso fresco purchased or received from an individual who made the product in a private home. Investigators have determined that the individual made home deliveries and also may have sold the product on a street corner near the East Lake Street area of Minneapolis.

Anyone who may have purchased or received this product recently should not eat it but should throw it away.

Samples of unpasteurized queso fresco collected from the cheese maker were found to contain the same strain of Salmonella as the illnesses. Investigators determined that the milk used to make the cheese was purchased by the cheese maker from a Dakota County farm. Unpasteurized milk samples collected at the farm were also found to match the outbreak strain.

Dr. Heidi Kassenborg, director of MDA's Dairy and Food Inspection Division, said the outbreak underscores the dangers of consuming unpasteurized dairy products. "It only takes a few bacteria to cause illness. Milking a cow is not a sterile process and even the cleanest dairy farms can have milk that is contaminated. That's why pasteurization - or the heat treatment of milk to kill the harmful pathogens - is so important," said Kassenborg.

Minnesota law allows consumers to purchase raw milk directly from the farm for their own consumption, but it may not be further distributed or sold. Additionally, cheese production facilities need to follow proper food safety laws and regulations, including licensure.

Dr. Carlota Medus said the outbreak may be over, as there are no suspect cases pending. However, it may still be possible to see additional cases that have not been reported yet from people who consumed cheese prior to health officials' interventions, which occurred April 23-26.

While this particular outbreak may be over, MDA and MDH officials are concerned that this may not be an isolated incident: that there may be other instances of people buying foods like unpasteurized queso fresco prepared by neighbors, friends or family. "It's important for people to be aware of the inherent risk of consuming any raw dairy product from any source," Medus said. "We encourage people to think carefully about those risks and know that the risks are especially high for young children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems."

Salmonella bacteria can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections, especially in high risk groups. Healthy people infected with Salmonella often experience diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain. Symptoms often begin 12-72 hours after consumption of contaminated food but can begin up to a week or more later. Anyone who believes they may have become ill with Salmonella should contact their health care provider.

Highway 220 and Highway 317 in Marshall County are now open

BEMIDJI, Minn. – (4:00 p.m.) The Minnesota Department of Transportation opened Highway 317 and Highway 220 from Marshall County Road 4 to County Road 5 at 4 p.m.

Motorists should use extreme caution as flood debris along the edges of the road cannot be fully removed until the area dries further. The area is marked with road barrels and “Road Work Ahead” signs.

Wet conditions and flooding continue to affect the area and conditions can change rapidly.

Motorists should follow these safe driving practices:

- Check before traveling for information on road conditions, closures and detour routes.

- Expect the unexpected – flash floods can occur anytime, anywhere.

- Do not drive around barricades or into flooded areas.

- If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground, if you can do so safely.

Minnesotans encouraged to observe Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week

St. Paul, Minn. – Governor Mark Dayton has proclaimed this week Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week. The designation is part of a nationwide effort to raise awareness of the destructive nature of emerald ash borer (EAB) and to share with Minnesotans the “three Ps of EAB” – prepare, protect, and plant.

During EAB Awareness Week, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is urging residents and cities to prepare for EAB by knowing the signs and symptoms, and being ready to act if their trees become infested. Management options for EAB-infested trees include removal, treatment, or taking no action. If a property owner choses to take no action for an EAB-infested tree, it should be noted that local governments often require removal of trees deemed hazardous.

MDA is also advising residents to protect areas not yet infested with emerald ash borer by not moving firewood as EAB can be transported from one location to another via firewood. Residents are also asked to be aware of the restrictions associated with the EAB quarantines now in place for Hennepin, Ramsey and Winona Counties. Precautionary insecticide treatments are an option to protect at-risk ash trees, but MDA recommends that consumers only treat trees within 15 miles of a known infestation.

Finally, MDA is advising residents to react to EAB and other invasive tree pests by planting a variety of native trees.

EAB has been found in four counties in Minnesota: Hennepin, Houston, Ramsey and Winona counties. Winona County is partnering with MDA to host EAB tours at Great River Bluff State Park. The tours will take place on Saturday, May 19 at 10:00 a.m. and again at 12:00 p.m. and on Tuesday, May 21 at 10:00 a.m.

MDA will place signs around ash trees on the Capitol grounds to help raise awareness and help others identify which trees are ash trees and therefore susceptible to EAB.

“With nearly one billion ash trees in Minnesota, EAB is a major threat to our tourism and lumber industries, our natural landscapes and our recreational areas,” says MDA Plant Protection Division Director Geir Friisoe. “It’s important for property owners to know what management options are available, and be prepared to act when EAB attacks their trees.”  

For more details on EAB, visit MDA’s website at Or contact us at

Clay County Historical Society Elects Board

Moorhead, Minn.,-- Hawley Elementary 5th-grade teacher Jennifer Tjaden was elected to the board of directors of the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County at the annual meeting May 2. Tjaden is an enthusiastic promoter of local history in her classes and will share curriculum ideas for the exhibits at the Hjemkomst Center museum.

Re-elected to a final term was Dale White, a Hitterdal native who is retired from the MN CTC. At the May 15 board meeting, Gloria Lee of Georgetown was elected president, John Dobmeier of Barnesville was elected Vice-President, Gail Blair, West Fargo, was elected treasurer, and Vogel Law attorney Jade Rosenfeldt, Moorhead, was re-elected secretary. Other board members include Mark Altenburg of Moorhead, Les Bakke of Moorhead, Clay County Commissioner Jon Evert, Gene Prim of Barnesville, Duane Walker of Moorhead, and Jim Saueressig of Fargo.

Helen Olson of Hawley retired after two terms and Neil Jordheim retired after serving for twelve years. Another board member from Fargo is needed. Fargo residents with an interest in local history and/or cultural heritage preservation should contact executive director Maureen Kelly Jonason at or 218-299-5511, Ext. 6732.

The Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County collects, preserves, interprets, and shares the history and culture of Clay County, Minnesota. HCSCC also provides interpretation of the Hjemkomst Viking Ship, Hopperstad Stave Church Replica, and hosts traveling exhibits in 7,000 sq. feet of temporary exhibition space. The Historical & Cultural Society of Clay County is a community resource for 210,000 people in the Fargo-Moorhead metro area and serves an average of 40,000 visitors a year from all over the world.

For more information, call 218-299-5511 or visit The Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County is located in the Hjemkomst Center at 202 First Avenue North in Moorhead.

Take a kid fishing and fish free June 7-9

Celebrate the end of the school year with a potential angler-to-be by fishing for free with a child 15 or younger, June 7-9, during Take-A-Kid Fishing weekend, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said.

“This is a great opportunity to discover fishing,” said Mike Kurre, the DNR’s mentoring program coordinator. “Minnesotans 16 or older who take a child 15 or younger fishing don’t need a license that weekend. Opportunities for beginning anglers abound throughout Minnesota.”

Getting started is easy. A boat isn’t needed and there’s even loaner poles and tackle in some areas.

Start by going to to learn some terms, basic techniques and shore-fishing locations. DNR fisheries offices throughout Minnesota also offer some good, old-fashioned angling advice about fishing spots that will keep young anglers happy and safe.

The DNR’s Fishing in the Neighborhood (FiN) program provides urban shore-fishing opportunities across the metro with family-friendly settings, piers, loaner equipment at some locations and a real chance to catch quality fish. Learn more online at

Four of Minnesota’s nine state parks that are offering this summer’s weekly I Can Fish! program have sessions scheduled during Take-A-Kid Fishing weekend. Sessions at each park explore the basics of fishing, fish identification and angling tips and tricks. For more information, go to

Even when it’s not Take-A-Kid Fishing weekend, Minnesota residents may fish in a state park without a fishing license if the body of water doesn’t require a trout stamp. Anglers must fish from shore or wade in water within the state park or from a boat or a float on a designated lake within a Minnesota state park. More information on fishing in state parks is available at

“Fishing is one of the easiest and most-accessible outdoor activities in Minnesota,” Kurre said. “Take a kid fishing and, come the end of the trip, you’re both likely to be hooked.”

Ag Lender Update Session to address farmer and lender concerns

University of Minnesota Extension will be holding an Ag Lender Update Conference in Moorhead on Wednesday, May 29, 2013. The meeting will address concerns about farm profitability during times of high market volatility and other current farmer/lender issues. Topics included are planning for profit and why a written plan is needed. The session will address producer concerns regarding defending their land base, ideas for negotiating land rent contracts, and tips for success. Addressing changes in agriculture will be covered including a look at the economics of adding tile drainage on rented land, and also ideas for farm transition, including machinery sharing and transfer.

For additional information on the conference and to receive a registration form contact U of M Extension educator Bill Craig at 218-281-8692 or email