Monday, September 30, 2013

DNR seeks designs for Minnesota’s 2014 walleye stamp

Wildlife artists can submit entries for Minnesota’s walleye stamp from Monday, Oct. 7 through Friday, Oct. 18, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said.

Designs should be securely wrapped and enclosed in an envelope or other container. The words “Walleye Stamp” should be clearly marked on outside of the container. Late entries will not be accepted.

Entries must be sent or delivered to 2014 Walleye Stamp Contest, DNR Fish and Wildlife Division, Box 20, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4020.

The walleye (Sander vitreus) must be the primary focus of the design. Other fish species may be included in the design if they are used to depict common interaction between species or are common inhabitants of Minnesota’s lakes and rivers.

Artists are prohibited from using any photographic product as part of their finished entries. Any entry that contains photographic products will be disqualified.

The contest, which offers no prizes, is open to Minnesota residents only. Winning artists usually issue limited edition prints of the artwork and retain proceeds. Revenue from stamp sales is dedicated to walleye stocking. 

A contest entry form and reproduction rights agreement, which grants the DNR the right to use the design for the stamp image and other promotional, educational, and informational purposes related to walleye, must be signed and submitted with the design.

Judging will take place at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 24, at DNR headquarters, 500 Lafayette Road in St. Paul. Contest judges will have expertise in art, ichthyology, fishing, aquatic habitats and/or printing.

For complete contest criteria and information contact the DNR Information Center, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4020. Information also is available by calling the Information Center at 651-296-6157 or toll-free at 888-646-6367, or on the DNR website at

Friday, September 27, 2013

MN Veterans Affairs to Launch Statewide Town Hall Tour

Next week Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) leadership will travel to eight Minnesota communities to meet with citizens and members of the Minnesota Veterans Community. The town hall tour is focused on updating local officials, community leaders, and Veteran’s organizations about recent reforms passed under Governor Dayton’s leadership, like the improved Minnesota GI Bill that will benefit Minnesota Veterans and their families. The MDVA will also ask citizens to bring new ideas for how the Department can continue to support Veterans and their families.

“From expanding the Minnesota GI Bill to ensuring all Minnesota Veterans have access to the education, services and training they need - we have made key reforms to support our Veterans and their families,” said MDVA Commissioner Larry Shellito. “We look forward to meeting with citizens and Veterans across Minnesota to discuss these reforms and hear more about how we can continue to support our Minnesota men and women in uniform.”

Community Visit Schedule:
October 3 -
October 3 -
October 4 -
Detroit Lakes
October 4 - Little Falls
October 7 -
October 7 -
October 8 -
October 9 -

Details for meeting times and locations are available at

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Department of Revenue releases cigarette floor stock tax collection report

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Revenue released collection figures for the one-time cigarette floor stock tax that contributes to Minnesota’s share of the new Vikings stadium financing. Of the $30,460,945 reported to the department from cigarette retailers and distributors, $30,459,653 has been collected by the department so far in September. By law, $26.5 million of this will be available for Vikings stadium financing. The remaining $3.96 million will go to the state’s general fund along with the revenue from the increased cigarette and tobacco taxes that went into effect on July 1, 2013.

“The collection figure released today ensures that the state has the revenue to cover its portion of the Vikings stadium financing.” said Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans. “This one-time revenue is the only portion of the cigarette and tobacco tax that will go to finance the Vikings stadium.”

In May, Governor Dayton and the legislature passed two new sources of financing for the Vikings stadium. The one-time cigarette floor stock revenues and tax revenues from closing the corporate income tax loophole that existed for unitary sales tax reporting will together provide long-term financing for the Vikings stadium.  

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

MnDOT urges safety on the road during harvest season

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Motorists traveling on Minnesota highways this fall need to be aware of large farm equipment transporting crops to markets, grain elevators and processing plants, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. 

“Harvest season is in full swing and farmers in every corner of the state are out using the highways,” said Sue Groth, state traffic engineer. “Motorists need to be prepared to encounter slow-moving farm vehicles, especially on rural, two-lane roads.”

Farm equipment is large and heavy, making it hard for operators to accelerate, slow down and stop. The machines also make wide turns and sometimes cross over the center line. In addition, farm vehicles can create large blind spots, making it difficult for operators to see approaching vehicles. All of these factors can cause serious crashes. 

During 2010-2012, 377 traffic crashes took place on Minnesota roads involving at least one farm vehicle, resulting in 13 fatalities and 211 injuries. Of the 13 fatalities, six were farm vehicle riders; of the 211 injuries, 53 were farm vehicle riders.

“The biggest factors contributing to farm equipment/vehicle crashes are inattention, speeding and unsafe passing,” Groth said. “When approaching farm equipment, motorists should always slow down and use extreme caution.”

Motorists should:

  • Watch for debris dropped by trucks hauling sugar beets and other crops. It is safer to brake or drive through debris than to veer into oncoming cars or off the road.
  • Wait for a safe place to pass.
  • Wear seatbelts.
  • Drive with headlights on at all times.

Farm equipment operators should:

  • Use lights and flashers to make equipment more visible.
  • Use slow-moving vehicle emblems on equipment traveling less than 30 mph.
  • Consider using a follow vehicle when moving equipment, especially at night.

Bridge work near completion on Highway 317

BEMIDJI, Minn. – Lane restrictions have been removed on the Highway 317 bridge over the Red River in Marshall County.

The restrictions have been in place since July 15 to allow crews to conduct repairs and repaint the bridge. Crews will continue working in the area to wrap up final touches.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation was the lead agency on the project with MnDOT bearing half of the $1.5 million total cost. The project provided a safer bridge for motorists.

For more updates on this, and other projects in the region follow us on Twitter @mndotnorthwest, or log on to for real-time travel information anywhere in Minnesota.

Westbound I-94 in Fargo will have temporary lane closure tomorrow

Starting Tomorrow, September 26, crews will be installing an in-road weight sensor on Interstate 94 (I-94). The sensor will be installed west of 9th Street East in West Fargo and project needs will require an half mile I-94 westbound lane closure. Project work is expected to conclude before the evening rush hour, weather permitting.

The permanent in-road weight sensor will gage the impact of the passing truck traffic through the district. Information will be used to support truck enforcement activities.  

Stay updated

Currently the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) – Fargo District has various ways for motorists to stay informed. Motorists have the option to choose the way they prefer to receive instant alerts about NDDOT projects in the Fargo metro area including:

  • Text alerts - Text ‘FargoDOT’ to 66746 to receive alerts on your mobile device for Fargo area DOT projects.
  • Social media platforms - Like the NDDOT Fargo district Facebook page and follow us on Twitter to get project updates in your news feed.
  • Email updates - Visit for project information, detour maps and the latest project status. You can sign up to receive email updates on the website.

Hwy 32 detour north of Thief River Falls begins Sept. 30

BEMIDJI, Minn. – Motorist on Highway 32 north of Thief River Falls will encounter a detour and possible delays when a railroad crossing project begins Monday, Sept. 30 at 6:30 a.m.

Crews from Canadian Pacific will replace the current railroad crossing at Highway 32 and motorists will detour onto Highway 59 using Pennington County Road 31 and Marshall County Road 2.

The detour is expected to be removed on Wednesday, Oct. 2 weather permitting. The project will result in a smoother and safer railroad crossing.

Motorists should use caution near construction zones, MnDOT urges drivers to:

Watch for construction crews and equipment in the work zone. 

Follow posted speed limits; fines double in work zones.

Plan ahead and expect delays, especially during peak travel times.

Stay alert; expect the unexpected.

For more updates on this, and other projects in the region follow us on Twitter @mndotnorthwest, or log on to for real-time travel information anywhere in Minnesota.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

New Organic Advisory Task Force Members

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) Commissioner Dave Frederickson has announced 15 appointments to the Minnesota Organic Advisory Task Force (OATF), which was authorized by the Minnesota Legislature during the 2013 session.

Minnesota Statute charges the OATF with advising both MDA and the University of Minnesota (U of MN) about policies and programs to improve organic agriculture in Minnesota. Through the State’s Open Appointments process, the commissioner appoints members in consultation with the dean of the U of MN College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences and the dean of Extension. 

The task force meets two to four times per year and members serve three year terms.

Commissioner Frederickson says that in order to achieve a wide diversity of viewpoints, he considered the balance of expertise, experience, geography, gender and previous service on an earlier OATF.

“The deans and I want candid feedback on what Minnesota organic farmers and businesses needs in terms of outreach, education, research, and technical assistance,” said Frederickson. “I was impressed at the number of experienced applicants willing to serve on the OATF.”

The 15 appointees are:

Organic Farmers: Adam Goeltz (dairy), Maple Lake; Douglas Hilgendorf (crop), Welcome; Jackie Hoch (fruit), La Crescent

Organic Processors: Anthony Schiller, SunOpta Grains & Foods, Inc., Blooming Prairie; Jessie Vander Poel, Grain Millers, Inc., Eden Prairie

Organic Retailers: Melissa Goodson, Valley Natural Foods, Apple Valley

Organic Wholesalers/Distributors: Sharon Hannigan, J & J Distributing, Saint Paul

Organic Consumers: JoAnne Berkenkamp, Minneapolis
Organic Certifying Agencies: Michelle Menken, Minnesota Crop Improvement Association, Saint Paul

Nonprofit Organization Representing Producers: Carolyn Olson, Lyon Co. Farm Bureau (chair), Cottonwood

The Public: Ryan Crum, Minneapolis; Amanda Heyman, Minneapolis

United States Department of Agriculture: Anna Parker, Risk Management Agency, Saint Paul

U of MN Faculty: Rob King, Agricultural and Applied Economics, Saint Paul

U of MN Extension: Brad Heins, Animal Science, Morris

The first OATF was created by the Minnesota Legislature in 1990.  A full slate of members is appointed every term the OATF is reauthorized.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Tip A Cop” to benefit Special Olympics North Dakota set for Sept. 24 and 25

(Grand Forks, ND) – Law enforcement personnel across the state are asking for your tips— but it has nothing to do with crime and everything to do with serving the public.

On Sept. 24 and 25, from 5-9 p.m., more than 100 law enforcement personnel will volunteer their time hosting in Applebee‘s Neighborhood Grill and Bars across the state to raise awareness and tip money for Special Olympics.  This is the 7th annual event for the Law Enforcement Torch Run group, which consists of volunteers from all agencies of law enforcement.  The Law Enforcement Torch Run program is the largest public awareness and fundraising program for Special Olympics throughout the world.

The event will take place during the dinner shifts from 5-9 p.m. at eleven Applebee‘s restaurants in Bismarck, Dickinson, Fargo, Grand Forks, Jamestown, Minot and Williston.  "We want to be a good neighbor in all of our North Dakota communities and with the support of the area law enforcement, we can provide a purposeful fundraiser for Special Olympics North Dakota," said Myron Thompson, chief executive officer of Apple Core Enterprises, the management corporation for all North Dakota‘s Applebee‘s locations.

“We‘re thrilled to have Applebee‘s and the Law Enforcement communities team up to support Special Olympics and programs for children and adults with intellectual disabilities,” said Kathleen Meagher, President/CEO of Special Olympics North Dakota.  “Through their involvement, the law enforcement volunteers embrace the idea that people with intellectual disabilities can be respected, valued and contributing members of society. With Applebee’s Tip a Cop program, they share this ideal and raise funds to support on-going opportunities for those who participate in Special Olympics.”

In 2012, the event generated more than $14,500 and the group hopes to exceed that with this year‘s repeat event.

Special Olympics North Dakota provides programs for 1,400 North Dakota children and adults with intellectual disabilities to enable them to become a more accepted and integral part of the communities in which they reside.  The programs that are offered by Special Olympics increase inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities into the community by breaking down barriers that have historically kept these people separate.

MnDOT commissioner to host town hall in Moorhead

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle invites the public to attend a town hall on transportation issues on Monday, Sept. 30.

The town hall is scheduled for 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Hjemkomst Center, 202 1st Avenue North, Moorhead, Minn.

Commissioner Zelle will lead a discussion about transportation, how it affects quality of life, its link to Minnesota’s economy and the importance of investing in this state asset.

Zelle will also take feedback and answer questions about Minnesota’s transportation system. Local MnDOT officials will be available to answer questions, as well.

Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend.

Additional information is available at

IDEA Competition Opens for Applications October 1

BEMIDJI, MN  --  October 1, 2013 marks the beginning of the sixth year of the IDEA Competition.  In the last five years of the competition, nearly $300,000 has been awarded to Northwest Minnesota entrepreneurs.

The purpose of the competition is to assist the most promising local entrepreneurs in the commercialization of innovative products, processes and deliveries by connecting them to the best resources available, along with access to the capital it takes to launch a successful venture.  The competition will have three $10,000 cash prizes up for grabs this year.

The cash awards are just one of the benefits. Brian and Coreen Berdahl, from Red Lake Falls, MN, were 2013 winners for their business idea, the Spot-Knot.  "The toughest part about moving forward with an idea is finding out how the public views your product,” said Brian Berdahl. “The IDEA competition exposes your product to business-minded individuals who offer straight-forward feedback regarding your product, sales approach, and business plan. Being chosen as a winner gives you a confidence boost, and a belief in what you are trying to accomplish. ‘You can't win if you don't play!’" 

Jeff Sullivan of NID Inc, located in Bemidji, who was a 2011 and a 2012 IDEA winner, agrees about the benefits of participating in the competition.  “Going through the application process and the workshops have already helped me gain information and tap into resources,” said Sullivan.  “I can also say that the competition offers much more than the financial boost from the prize money. The extra support and technical help throughout the year are additional perks that can have immeasurable benefits for the long term success of a business.  What a great opportunity for the many entrepreneurs of our region.” 

According to IDEA Competition project coordinator, Michelle Landsverk, the competition is unique.  “There are a lot of business plan competitions and a lot of invention competitions out there.  IDEA is distinctive, because it’s kind of a hybrid of the two,” said Landsverk.  “What we’re really looking for are people with good ideas and a solid plan for turning those ideas into profitable businesses here in Northwest Minnesota.”

Information about entering the competition can be found on the IDEA website, 

IDEA has been made possible by the generous contributions of the following: 360° Manufacturing and Applied Engineering ATE Regional Center of Excellence, Arvig, Blandin Foundation, Border State Banks, Bremer Banks of Crookston and Warren, Minnkota Power, Northwest Minnesota Foundation, Northwest Regional Small Business Development Center, Ultima Bank Minnesota, and University of Minnesota Crookston.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Waterfowl season begins Sept. 21

With many duck hunters anxiously preparing for the Sept. 21 Minnesota opener, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is reminding everyone that safety never takes a break, especially during waterfowl season.

Since 2005, five people have died in duck hunting-related boating accidents. Overloading, swamping and capsizing are the most common causes, while lack of life jacket use is the most common contributing factor.

“The message is simple,” said Kara Owens, DNR boat and water specialist. “Life jackets save lives.”

A U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket is required for every person on board all boats, including duck boats.

For boats 16 feet and longer, there must be one U.S. Coast Guard-approved flotation seat cushion on board, to throw to someone in distress.

Life jackets are now made with the waterfowler in mind and are available in camouflage colors, including inflatable life jackets and belt-pack vests.

"They have mesh in the upper body that allows you to shoulder a gun," Owens said. "That way, you don't have to keep taking the vest off when you shoot."

The DNR offers these water safety tips for duck hunters:

  • Don’t overload boat; take two trips if necessary.
  • If wearing hip boots or waders, learn how to float with them on.
  • Stay near shore and avoid crossing large expanses of open water, especially in bad weather.
  • Share trip plans with someone and advise them to call for help if traveling party does not return on schedule.
  • In case of capsizing or swamping, stay with the boat; even when filled with water, it will still float and is more likely to be seen by potential rescuers.

The DNR has a free “Water Safety for Duck Hunters” publication. It is available by contacting the DNR Information Center at or calling 651-296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367. Publication is also available at

DNR seeks applications for OHV grants

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is seeking applications for off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails grants for projects and new trail proposals.

Application forms for projects on existing trails are due to a Parks and Trails area supervisor’s office each year by Nov. 30. New trail proposals are accepted throughout the year.

First authorized in 1984, Minnesota’s OHV trails assistance program is a cost-share program intended to help develop and maintain trails for use by all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), off-highway motorcycles (OHMs) and off-road vehicles (ORVs).

Known as the OHV grant-in-aid (GIA) program, it helps to establish and maintain recreational trails at the initiative of clubs and other organizations, with the support and participation of local government sponsors.

Organizations can apply for GIA funds through counties, cities or townships. All aspects of OHV trail development and maintenance are eligible for funding, including project administration, site planning, trail improvements, land acquisition for trail development, and trail maintenance. Proposals with a focus on maintaining or improving existing trails and trail systems will be assigned a higher priority.

Program and application information is available online at (, or by contacting the DNR Information Center at or 651-296-6157 (888-646-6367 toll free) between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

DNR invites public input on Heartland State Trail extension from Park Rapids to Itasca State Park

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is hosting an open house Wednesday, Oct. 2, for planning of the Heartland State Trail in Hubbard County. The open house will be in the Northwoods Bank Community Room at 1200 East First St. in Park Rapids.

People can stop by anytime between 5 and 7 p.m. to review and comment on the draft master plan, which includes a proposed 20-mile trail extension that travels north from Park Rapids to Emmaville and Itasca State Park.

DNR staff will be available to discuss the plan and answer questions. The master plan must be completed and approved before any funds can be used for trail construction.

As planned, a significant portion of the trail extension will travel through public lands. Recommended trail uses include bicycling, hiking/walking, dog walking, running/jogging, in-line skating, environmental education/interpretation, hunting, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.

A copy of the draft master plan is available online at (

Those unable to review and comment on the draft master plan at the open house meeting can submit comments via email or phone to:

A 30-day public review of the draft plan begins Wednesday, Sept. 25. Comments will be accepted through Friday, Oct. 25.

Monday, September 16, 2013

New traffic signal in Thief River Falls is the first in NW MN

BEMIDJI, Minn. – Motorists at the Highway 32 and Greenwood Street intersection in Thief River Falls will encounter a new traffic signal beginning Tuesday, Sept. 17, that features a flashing yellow arrow for left turns. This is the first time a flashing yellow signal has been used on a state highway in MnDOT’s district two, which serves 14 counties in northwestern Minnesota.

The signal was installed as part of the intersection reconstruction project at Highway 32 (Main Avenue) and Greenwood Street which was led by the city of Thief River Falls.

When illuminated, the flashing yellow arrow allows waiting motorists to turn left after yielding to oncoming traffic and pedestrians. The new traffic signal will still use the traditional red, yellow and green arrows. Flashing yellow arrow signals have been shown to help drivers make fewer mistakes and they minimize unnecessary waiting for motorists by allowing more opportunities to make a left turn.

After extensive testing, the Federal Highway Administration authorized use of flashing yellow arrows nationwide in 2009. The flashing yellow arrow is now part of the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s standard design of traffic signals. MnDOT has installed more than 60 systems throughout Minnesota thus far. Some Minnesota cities and counties are also installing the new signals.

A study conducted by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program determined that drivers had fewer crashes with flashing yellow left-turn arrows than with traditional yield-on-green signals.

MnDOT plans to install the new flashing yellow arrow systems on most future traffic signal construction projects. Retrofitting existing signals to include flashing yellow arrows can be costly and will be done on a limited basis. 

To read more about the new flashing yellow arrow signals, please visit

Friday, September 13, 2013

Demers Avenue in East Grand Forks now open

BEMIDJI, Minn. – The detour on Demers Avenue in East Grand Forks has been removed and motorists and pedestrians can once again travel through the intersection at Second Street Northwest.

Motorists and pedestrians should still use caution as crews will remain in the area to wrap up final details of the project.

Ti-Zack Concrete Inc. was the contractor for the $397,234 project, which included construction of pedestrian ramps and concrete paving. It provides improved safety for pedestrians and motorists.

For more updates on this, and other projects in the region follow us on Twitter @mndotnorthwest, or log on to for real-time travel information anywhere in Minnesota.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

MDA to host listening sessions on Nitrogen Fertilizer Management Plan

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is hosting three free public listening sessions next week to receive input on proposed revisions to the state’s Nitrogen Fertilizer Management Plan. The Nitrogen Fertilizer Management Plan is a blueprint for prevention or minimization of the impacts of nitrogen fertilizer on groundwater in Minnesota.

MDA has been making revisions to the NFMP to reflect current activities, interagency water protection programs and implementation work, and to better align it with current water resource conditions and programs.

MDA is requesting comments on the 2013 plan. Comments will be accepted through November 1, 2013. More information can be found on MDA’s website at

The listening sessions are scheduled as follows:


Monday, September 16, 2013 | 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Bede Ballroom, University of Minnesota Crookston, 2900 University Ave, Crookston, MN 56716


Tuesday, September 17, 2013 | 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Robertson Theatre, Wadena - Deer Creek High School, 600 Colfax Ave. SW, Wadena, MN 56482

St. Cloud

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 | 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Great River Regional Library St Cloud, 1300 W. St. Germain St, St. Cloud, MN 56301



Monday, September 23, 2013 | 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Cascade Meadow Wetlands & Environmental Science Center, 2900 19th Street NW Rochester, MN 55901



Wednesday, September 25, 2013 | 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Roseville Public Library Community Program Room, 2180 North Hamline Ave, Roseville, MN 55113

5th Annual LRWN Writers Conference

The Lake Region Writers Network’s 5th Annual Conference, “The Writer’s Landscape,” will offer a cornucopia of writing workshops for both aspiring and accomplished writers.  The all-day conference will be held on October 5 at Legacy Hall on the M State Fergus Falls campus.

Conference attendees will be able to choose from more than 15 workshop sessions ranging from traversing the landscape in poetry to creating memorable characters in short fiction.  All workshop presenters are practicing writers whose works have appeared in various print and digital publications.

The conference keynote speaker will be Joe Paddock, award-winning author, poet, oral historian, and a creative writing professor. Mr. Paddock’s workshop session, titled Inner Ecology, will be a continuation of his keynote address, both of which gain insight from writers such as William Stafford, Carl Jung, Henry David Thoreau, and John Steinbeck. The workshop discussion will explore the way in which the conscious ego mind often becomes an inner critic that stifles the natural flow from the creative unconscious.

Conference workshop sessions will explore topics relating to character development, the writer’s internal and external landscapes, publishing, and, yes, insects. Attendees of Carol Anne Hough’s session, Creating Characters, will gain hands-on experience creating characters from different perspectives. In their session titled Embodying the Landscape, presenters Kristin Bratt and Cary Waterman will share the embodiment of landscape in their poetry, reading and discussing their work as influenced by both external and internal landscapes and the correspondences between. Ryan Christiansen, in his session titled Rural Writers: Where Publishing and Digital Landscape Intersect, will explore how rural writers and publishers leverage the new digital landscape.

Other session titles include Leaf Flipping: Insects and Literature (Presenter Scott King), Thrift Store Values (Presenter Kevin Zepper), First Pages: Create Captivating Openings (Presenter Angela Foster), Marketing for Writers (Presenter Krista Rolfzen Soukup), Your Life and You: The Landscapey Sonnet (Presenter John Zdrazil), Literary Art in Public Places (Presenters Ruth Solie and Ryan Christiansen), and Reading Literature with a Writer’s Eye (Presenter Steve Linstrom).

Writers interested in attending the conference can register online on the Lake Region Writers Network website. The full-day conference fee, which includes lunch, is $50 adults/$40 for students. To register for the conference, writers should go to

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tri-Valley Transportation Embarks on Fall Color Tours

(Crookston, Minn.)- Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. is offering a convenient way to get out and see the seasonal colors. Tri-Valley Transportation and T.H.E. Bus will again be welcoming back autumn with Fall Leaf Tours to Park Rapids and Warroad. T.H.E. Bus will travel to Park Rapids and Warroad on Friday, September 27th and again to Park Rapids on Monday, September 30th. The cost is $15 for round-trip transportation to Park Rapids and $14 for round-trip transportation to Warroad with several pick-up locations available. For more information or to reserve your seat for the Tri-Valley Fall Leaf Tours call 1-800-201-3432. Leave the driving to Tri-Valley Transportation and T.H.E. Bus!

T.H.E. Bus is a curb to curb service and provides public transportation services to the general public in seven
Minnesota counties, Polk, Red Lake, Norman, Marshall, Kittson, Pennington and Clearwater. Buses run through these counties on various days with various destinations. Our public transit buses are available with no age limits or income guidelines.

Pick-Up Locations:
Friday, September 27
(Park Rapids)Friday, September 27 (Warroad)Monday, September 30
(Park Rapids)
CrookstonThief River FallsEast Grand Forks
ClimaxWarrenRed Lake Falls
NielsvilleArgyle / StephenMentor
ShellyDonaldson / KennedyErskine
AdaLake Bronson / HalmaFosston
Twin ValleyKarlstadThief River Falls

Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. is a not-for-profit community action agency headquartered in Crookston, Minn. In existence since 1965, Tri-Valley provides services in 84 counties in
Minnesota and Northeast North Dakota. The mission of Tri-Valley is to provide opportunities to improve the quality of life for people and communities. For more information on services offered and job opportunities at Tri-Valley visit the website at, follow us on Facebook at or on Twitter at @TriValley.TVOC.

Sanford Health launches Same Day appointments in Fargo Region

(Fargo, ND) - Sanford Health is breaking barriers when it comes to patient care. People are driven by busy schedules, and when illness or injury strikes, they want to be seen as quickly as possible.

Sanford is meeting that need with Same Day at Sanford. The service was created to increase patient access for primary care needs the very same day. “We know our patients are driven by busy schedules and the desire to be seen as quickly as possible when they are sick,” said Richard Marsden, MD, senior executive vice president Sanford Clinic Fargo. Same Day at Sanford is another example of how Sanford Health is delivering on its promise to improve access to health care close to home.”

Sanford Health launched the service in the Fargo region today. The service is available in: family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics and obstetrics and gynecology.

The process is simple. Patients can schedule an appointment through Same Day at Sanford by calling their primary care clinic or the Same Day phone line at (855) SAME-DAY. When patients call the Same Day phone line, a receptionist will schedule them with the appropriate clinic so they can be seen as quickly as possible.

“Our patients have been asking for this, and we’re responding,” said Dan Blue, MD, president of Sanford Clinics. “Every effort will be made for patients to see their primary care physician. If that physician isn’t available, we will make arrangements for the patient to be seen by a colleague at that local clinic or a nearby clinic if necessary.”

Same Day appointments will be treated the same as an office visit at the providing clinic. The appointments are available to patients regardless of insurance coverage.

To schedule an appointment, patients can call their local clinic or dial (855) SAME-DAY. Learn more about this unprecedented service at

MnDOT named finalist for national transportation award

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have named the Minnesota Department of Transportation one of 10 finalists of the “America’s Transportation Award” for the recently completed Highway 169/Interstate 494 reconstruction project in Bloomington, Edina and Eden Prairie.

The $128 million project, which was completed under budget, increases traffic flow and improves safety for all drivers. Using the “Context Sensitive Solutions/Flexible Design” approach in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration, MnDOT made design changes that addressed more than 90 percent of the need and saved approximately $30 million in construction costs.
In 2013, 24 states entered 36 projects in the competition in the “Ahead of Schedule,” “Under Budget,” and “Best Use of Innovation” categories. The 10 finalists received the highest number of overall points during four regional contests, representing each part of the country.

A grand prize will be awarded by a panel of judges, and a People’s Choice Award will be decided by an online popular vote by the public. Winners of both the grand prize and the People’s Choice Award will receive $10,000 each, to be donated to a charity or scholarship of the winner’s choice.
The two awards will be presented Oct. 20 at the AASHTO Annual Meeting in Denver.
Visit to learn more about the project and the AASHTO America’s Transportation Award competition and to cast a vote.

MnDOT hosting free truck-weight information workshop on Oct. 2

BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Transportation is hosting a free Truck-Weight Education Workshop on Wednesday, Oct. 2, at the Bemidji MnDOT headquarters building, 3920 Highway 2 West.

The workshop will address concerns from state, county, city, and township transportation authorities regarding damage from heavy trucks. Explanations are provided which explain road weights during various times of the year including the winter load increase and spring load restrictions.

The program promotes voluntary compliance to reduce damage to public roads and highways from overweight vehicles. The goal is to provide information and explanations to attendees on how to haul the most legal weight without violating the truck-weight laws.

Topics covered include:

An update of road weight limits and differences between the state and local systems

Laws governing gross weights, axle weights, tire weights, road-restriction weights, and seasonally increased (winter and harvest) weights

Road damage issues: how overweight trucks cost us all

Overweight truck issues go beyond just gross and axle weights

-  Classroom exercises to help you identify concerns in your own trucks

-  What's different between axle spacing? Do I have the right tires for the weight?

-  Issues to consider when purchasing a new truck, or altering a current truck

-  Professional, easy-to-understand "take-home" materials to assist you with your own configurations and options

There is no fee to attend the workshop, but registration is required. Download the registration form at for more information on Minnesota Statewide Truck-Weight Compliance Training or contact, 612-625-2900.

Bridges near completion on Highway 59 near Plummer and Erskine

BEMIDJI, Minn. - Motorists will soon be able to travel along Highway 59 near Erskine and Plummer as the detours are removed this week. The lane bypass near Erskine will be removed today and the detour near Plummer will be removed on Friday, Sept. 13, weather permitting.

Motorists may experience brief delays or lane closures as crews wrap up final details.
The detours have been in place since June 17 to allow crews to conduct bridge repairs and culvert replacement. The projects provide a smoother and safer ride for motorists.

Robert R. Schroeder Construction Inc. was the contractor for the project near Plummer which cost $1.1 million. Industrial Builders, Inc was the contractor for the $818,482 project near Erskine.

For more updates on this, and other projects in the region follow us on Twitter @mndotnorthwest, or log on to for real-time travel information anywhere in

Monday, September 9, 2013

DNR conservation officer honored by Minnesota Trappers Association

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Conservation Officer Tricia Plautz of Henning was recently named officer of the year by the Minnesota Trappers Association (MTA).

The officer of the year is selected for their work on MTA’s tanned fur project where donated raw furs are tanned, dressed and used for educational purposes at such places as county fairs, youth outdoor programs and trapper/hunter education classes.

“Trapping is a heritage tradition and I enjoy seeing many continue the sport for future generations,” Plautz said. “I especially enjoy educating young adults on the aspects of trapping and value of each animal.”

Although the majority of the furs included in the collections are donated by member trappers, a substantial number of limited species (fisher, marten, otters, bobcats) are donated through a cooperative agreement with the DNR’s Enforcement Division where confiscated, road-killed and surrendered out of season catches are donated for education.

“In response to higher fur prices offered over the past few years, donations are down across the board,” said Shawn Johnson, MTA president. “Participation by conservation officers like Plautz becomes that much more vital to the survival of the program.”

The Trappers Association is working with DNR Enforcement to eventually provide complete tanned fur collections to all of the DNR’s 18 enforcement districts for education.

“Officer-to-officer word of mouth about our program and referring educators to us for resources has been our greatest form of advertising and participation,” Johnson said.

MTA membership stands at nearly 2,700.

Montrose artist wins 2014 duck stamp competition

A painting of a Canada goose painting by Thomas Moen of Montrose will be featured on the 2014 Minnesota Migratory Waterfowl Stamp, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said.

Moen’s painting was chosen from among 30 entries in the annual state duck stamp contest sponsored by the DNR. Moen also won the contest in 1998 for his painting of a Harlequin duck and in 2007 for his painting of a lesser scaup.

The other finalists were Stephen Hamrick, Lakefield, second place; Michael Pangerl,
Minneapolis, third place and Timothy Turenne, Richfield, fourth place.

The five-member panel of judges included David Andersen, University of Minnesota Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit; Carrol Henderson, DNR nongame wildlife program supervisor; Mark McNamera, Minnesota Waterfowl Association; Tom Cooper, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Joe Albert, Outdoor News.

The $7.50 state duck stamp is required of all
Minnesota waterfowl hunters age 18-64. Stamp sales generate about $700,000 per year for waterfowl habitat restoration and enhancement projects on state wildlife management areas and shallow lakes.

DNR offers no prizes for the stamp contest winner but the winning artist retains the right to reproduce the work. Each year the entries are limited to a predetermined species that breeds or migrates through Minnesota. The eligible species for the 2015 stamp design will be the Harlequin duck.

DNR confiscated firearms auction set for Sept. 28

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will hold a public auction of its inventory of confiscated hunting and fishing equipment Sept. 28 at the Hiller Auction Barn in Zimmerman. Hiller Auction is located 2 miles east of the Highway 169 and the County Road 4 intersection in Zimmerman.

Inspection of items runs 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, Sept. 27 and at 8 a.m. Saturday. The auction starts at 10 a.m.

Items for sale include: firearms, bows, tree stands, fishing rods and reels, tip ups, traps, trail cameras, spotlights, ground blinds and a hand ice auger. There are more than 200 firearms and 40 bows available. Once auction begins there will not be access to the firearms. In addition, there are 200 hunting and fishing items including deer antlers (sold in lots), an ATV, a jet ski, snowmobiles and a boat/motor/trailer combination. A complete inventory list will be posted on the Hiller Auction website at

All property will be sold "as is," and all sales will be final. Payment may be by credit card or check to Hiller Auction. Items cannot be returned once purchased.

Hiller Auction will conduct a background check of bidders on sight before releasing the gun(s). Following the approved background check, buyers can take possession of their property immediately. Buyers may bring their own cases or there will be cases available for purchase to transport firearms.

Proceeds from the auction will be deposited in the Game and Fish Fund. Revenues from the fund are dedicated to fish and wildlife management in the state. All proceeds from vehicles sold at the DNR auction as a result of a Driving While Impaired (DWI) related offense go into the DWI forfeiture account.

For more information, contact Hiller Auction at 763-856-2453 or 800-889-3458.