Friday, November 28, 2014

No Christmas Tree Harvest Event at Rydell National Wildlife Refuge

The Rydell National Wildlife Refuge will NOT be having a Christmas Tree Harvest event in 2014. 

The reduction of the non-native conifer stands as part of the management goals of the Refuge is complete.  The areas will be or have been restored to native tallgrass prairie and/or native hardwood forest.

Thank you for your past support and we hope to see you at the refuge.

During the winter season the Visitor Center is generally open Sundays from 1 to 5 pm, and Monday through Friday, from 8 am to 4 pm.  When snow conditions allow, the 7-mile trail system is groomed for cross-country skiing and is accessible for hiking and biking year-round from sunrise to sunset 7 days a week.  A parking area is located outside the main gate for visitor’s convenience.  To get to the Refuge, go 3 miles east of Mentor, MN (or about 3 miles west of Erskine) on U.S Highway 2 and turn south on Polk County 210.  Follow 210 for 2.5 miles to the large entrance sign.  You may also take Highway 59 to Polk County 41, turn west and follow the signs.  For more information, you may call the Refuge at 800-841-0172.  

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

USDA Approves 8,300 More Acres in Minnesota for Wildlife Habitat

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Nov. 25, 2014 — U.S. Department of Agriculture Minnesota Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Debra Crusoe, today announced that 8,300 acres in Minnesota are now available for wildlife habitat improvement incentives. 

“We can accept more applications to enroll more acres in Minnesota for farmers and ranchers interested in protecting local pheasant and prairie chicken habitat,” said Crusoe. “In exchange for creating more grassland for these rural species, USDA will provide participating landowners with rental payments and help with expenses.”

This opportunity comes from the State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) program, part of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) whereby Farm Service Agency contracts with landowners so that environmentally sensitive land is not farmed or ranched, but instead used for conservation.

Program participants establish long-term plant species to control soil erosion, improve water quality, or strengthen declining wildlife populations. In return, participants receive annual rental payments between 10 and 15 years.

The SAFE program allows state fish and wildlife agencies, non-profit organizations and other conservation partners to target the Conservation Reserve Program within distinct geographic areas to help wildlife. SAFE is limited to 1.35 million acres nationally, with 97 projects in 36 states and Puerto Rico.

Interested landowners can enroll acres in a designated wildlife project in their state at any time. Participants and land must meet certain eligibility requirements. Other restrictions may apply. For additional details, contact your local Farm Service Agency office at or visit the website at

Dept of Commerce Encourages Consumers To Shop Smart

SAINT PAUL – As shoppers start making their holiday lists, the Minnesota Department of Commerce reminds families to stay vigilant about toys and product safety. Be safe and shop smart to keep dangerous toys and products away from your family this holiday season, and all year round. Shoppers should check recall lists for toys and products, and use common sense when buying toys to make sure they are age appropriate and safe for kids.
“Minnesota families should always be sure that kids are safe from dangerous products and toys during the holiday season,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman.  “Parents can take steps to ensure the products you buy for your children have not been recalled. I am also urging parents to think about potential issues like quality, size, and age appropriateness to make sure your kids have a safe and happy holiday season.” 
Toy Safety Tips
To help ensure your family has a safe and happy holiday season, the Department has put together toy safety tips for parents and toy shoppers. The Department of Commerce recommends selecting age appropriate toys, observing manufacturer’s warnings regarding safety hazards, and monitoring use when necessary.
Check for Recalls
A list of recalled toys and products is available on the Department’s website. You can sign up to receive email alerts from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC). Consumers can also keep information (manufacturer, serial or model number, and purchase dates) to help identify the toy in the event that it is recalled.
2014 toy and child product recalls include:
Report Incidents
If children have been injured or may have had contact with a potentially hazardous product, file a report with the CPSC.  Instructions for reporting a product via phone, email, or postal mail are included on their website.
Commerce is here to help
If you have questions about toy recalls, contact the Minnesota Department of Commerce Consumer Services Center at (651) 539-1600 or (800) 657-3602 (Minnesota, outside of the Metro).
Questions or consumer complaints can also be directed by email to or by mail to Minnesota Department of Commerce, 85 7th Place East, Suite 500, Saint Paul, MN 55101.

Hjemkomst Center Open during Thanksgiving Weekend

HCS, the museum at the Hjemkomst Center, will remain open for regular hours throughout the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. We will be closed Thanksgiving Day but will re-open Friday, Nov 28 and resume normal hours: 9-5pm Mon-Sat and Noon-5pm on Sunday.

We have many family-friendly exhibits including House & Home, our newest interactive exhibit that embarks on a tour of houses both familiar and surprising, through past and present, to explore the varied history, and many cultural meanings of the American home.

Experience also the Doing Our Part: Clay County in WWII exhibit.  From the home front to the front lines of combat, Americans did their part to help win World War II, and Clay County was no exception. Doing Our Part: Clay County in WWII tells the stories of the men, women, and children of Clay County who were affected by the war and how it changed the fabric of everyday life. Families sending loved ones off to war, scrap drives and rationed food became part of daily life from 1942 to 1945.

FMVA Constraint show is also open. This year’s show features the theme Labels, which challenged many of the artists to think about the labels in our society and what that means to them. This mixed-media exhibit will feature two-  and three-dimensional works with a wide variety of interpretations.

The museum is open Monday-Saturday 9am-5pm and Sunday noon-5pm. Admission is Adults $8, Seniors $7, College Students $7, Youth (5 – 17) $6, Children (4 & under) Free and HCSCC Members Free