Tuesday, January 31, 2017

MnDOT extends mowing permit application time frame

ST PAUL, Minn. – Due to public concern regarding last fall’s mowing and baling permit announcement, the Minnesota Department of Transportation has extended the time frame for permit applications by those who want to mow and bale on state highway right of way adjacent to their land and has modified permitting requirements.
The agency has worked closely with farmers, lawmakers and agriculture advocacy groups to modify requirements to better serve those who mow while still adhering to the law.   
Landowners who want to mow on state highway right of way adjacent to their property now need to apply for a permit before the end of February to be considered ahead of others. All others who wish to mow on state right of way not adjacent to their property may apply for the permit after March 1.
The agency will also revise requirements such as:
·         The amounts and type of insurance necessary
·         The use of safety equipment mounted on mowing vehicles and worn by individuals mowing
·         The amount of the permit deposit fee
·         Permit reassignment and procedures
·         How many miles a permit will cover 
After March 1, MnDOT will review and approve permit applications on a first-come, first-serve basis, including those already submitted. Landowners who have already received permits for mowing will receive an updated permit in the near future, so they do not need to re-apply.
Last fall, MnDOT announced that it had adopted a statewide standard for mowing and baling in state highway right of way and had revised the permit application form. State law requires that MnDOT manage right of way mowing, which includes cutting in advance of baling.
The updated permit will be available by Feb. 4 and can be found at: www.mndot.gov/mowing.  

Monday, January 30, 2017

Input wanted on state deer management plan

People interested in deer are encouraged to contribute ideas and feedback about possible deer management topics that will shape Minnesota’s first-ever deer management plan.
“We’re asking people to let us know what they think about specific topics that could be included in the deer plan,” said Adam Murkowski, big game program leader with the Department of Natural Resources. “We’re anticipating that these topics will involve hunting opportunities and also balance a range of perspectives that consider deer management and habitat.”
Possible deer plan topics and an online comment form can be found at www.mndnr.gov/deerplan. Comments also can be submitted by email to DeerPlan.DNR@state.mn.us and people can attend any of 12 public engagement meetings throughout the state between Tuesday, Jan. 31, and Thursday, March 2.
Online and email comments can be submitted through Sunday, March 5, and people can both comment electronically and attend meetings in person if they wish.
During the next year, the recently formed deer management plan advisory committee will review technical information and public input collected through this and other processes. The committee will make recommendations to the DNR for the deer plan, which is expected to be finished by the spring of 2018.
Meetings will be from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. and are scheduled in:    
  • Thief River Falls, Tuesday, Jan. 31, Ralph Engelstad Arena, 525 Brooks Ave.
  • Alexandria, Thursday, Feb. 2, Broadway Ballroom, 115 30th Ave. E.
  • Andover, Thursday, Feb. 9, Bunker Hills Activities Center, 550 Bunker Lake Blvd. NW.
  • Bemidji, Wednesday, Feb. 1, Hampton Inn, 1019 Paul Bunyan Drive SE.
  • Brainerd, Tuesday, Feb. 21, Central Lakes College cafeteria, 501 W. College Drive.
  • Cambridge, Thursday, Feb. 16, Cambridge High School, 430 8th Ave. NW.
  • Duluth, Wednesday, Feb. 22, Room W2630 at Lake Superior College, 2101 Trinity Road.
  • Mankato, Thursday, March 2, County Inn & Suites, 1900 Premier Drive.
  • Montevideo, Monday, Feb. 27, T.A.C.C. Minnesota Army National Guard, 711 S. 17th St.
  • Mountain Iron, Thursday, Feb. 23, Iroquois Room at Mountain Iron Community Center, 8586 Enterprise Drive S.
  • Rochester, Monday, Feb. 6, Century High School, 2525 Viola Road NE.
  • Windom, Tuesday, Feb. 28, Windom Community Center, 1750 Cottonwood Lake Drive.
The DNR strives to maintain a healthy wild deer population that offers recreational and economic opportunities, while addressing conflicts between deer, people and other natural resources. Habitat management, hunting, research and monitoring are several primary tools used to manage the Minnesota deer population. More information on deer management is on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/deer

Conference to celebrate waterfowl and habitat

Waterfowl hunting, habitat management and biology – and the majesty of the Roseau River Wildlife Management Area – are among topics planned for the Minnesota Waterfowl Symposium, a one-day conference open to outdoor enthusiasts, hunters and natural resource experts.
At the Saturday, Feb. 4 event, waterfowl experts from a variety of agencies and organizations will discuss waterfowl and waterfowl habitat with the public. It takes place 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Minneapolis Airport Marriot, 2020 American Blvd. E., in Bloomington.
“Each year this conference is a great chance to talk face-to-face with the public about a wide range of issues relating to wetlands and waterfowl,” said Ricky Lien, wetland habitat team supervisor with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “This discussion is important and we always enjoy people’s enthusiasm for these issues.”
The conference, now in its 20th year, is presented through a partnership between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Minnesota Waterfowl Association and the DNR.
Attendees can get gun fitting and repair questions answered by a gunsmith, see the junior duck stamp display, learn about cooking and other uses for wild game, and more. They also can check out the Minnesota Decoy Collectors Association annual decoy show hosted across the hall at the same location.
Presenters include:  
  •  Kevin Lines, Minnesota DNR, engaging in local conservation issues.
  • Orrin Jones, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, an experimental teal season in production states.
  • Randy Pracher, Minnesota DNR, the Roseau River WMA.
  • Marshall Johnson, Dakota Audubon, and Nina Hill, University of Minnesota, the marsh bird response to habitat management using fire and grazing.
  • David Wolfson, University of Minnesota, a crane delineation project.
  • Steve Cordts, Minnesota DNR; goldeneye biology and hunting.
  • Jeff Lawrence, Minnesota DNR, a history of hunting regulations.
  • DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr will participate in a question and answer session.
Following the symposium, the Minnesota Waterfowl Association will convene its eighth annual Hall of Fame Banquet to recognize significant contributors to the state’s waterfowl legacy. For more information about the symposium or to register for the banquet, call the Minnesota Waterfowl Association at 763-767-0320 or visit www.mnwaterfowl.com.

Go Red For Women Luncheon

FARGO, N.D. – Hundreds of Fargo-area heart and stroke survivors, physicians, and business and community leaders will join the American Heart Association to celebrate Heart Month and the Go Red For Women movement at the Go Red For Women Luncheon on February 2nd at Sanctuary Events Center.

Go Red For Women is the American Heart Association’s nationwide movement that celebrates the energy, passion and power of women banding together to wipe out heart disease, the number one killer of women. The Go Red For Women Event raises money for research and education to prevent heart disease and stroke throughout South Dakota.

“Every 80 seconds a woman dies of heart disease or stroke,” said Samantha Kapphahn, D.O., an interventional cardiologist with Essentia Health, the presenting sponsor of the Fargo event. “Heart disease and stroke cause one in three deaths among women each year. That’s more than all cancers combined.   Many people know that heart disease affects men, but it is also the leading cause of death in women.  We also know that 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented, and that is what the Go Red For Women Event is all about.”

Event attendees will hear from featured survivor Lynnette Anderson, a Page, N.D. heart attack survivor, who will share her story and advocate for women to “know their numbers.” Attendees will also walk away with information on how they can identify their risk for heart disease and stroke and will also get tips for preventing heart disease through simple lifestyle changes. The event will begin 11 a.m. with a silent auction, and social hour. The program will begin at 12:00 p.m. and will conclude at 1:30 p.m.

The Go Red For Women Luncheon is the American Heart Association’s premier fundraiser for the Go Red For Women Movement and aims to raise $40,000 for woman-focused research, health education and awareness programs. Go Red For Women is sponsored nationally by Macy’s and is presented locally by Essentia Health. Additional local event sponsors include the North Dakota Soybean Council, KVRR TV and Midwest Communications Radio.

Tickets and event information are available online at www.heart.org/FargoGoRed or by calling Julia Dangerfield at 218-280-1317.

North Dakota Earth Day Patch Contest

The state Game and Fish Department’s annual Earth Day awareness campaign is accepting entries for design of a 2017 Earth Day patch. North Dakota students ages 6-18 are eligible to participate. The deadline to submit entries is March 15.
The Game and Fish Department will announce a winner in three age categories – 6-9, 10-13, and 14-18. Each winner will receive a pair of 8x32 binoculars. The final patch design will be chosen from the three winners.
The winning design will be used on a patch given to members of Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4-H clubs and any school participating in Earth Day cleanup projects on state-owned or managed lands in North Dakota in April and May.
The patch should incorporate some aspect of Earth Day – celebrated April 22 – or keeping North Dakota clean. It must be round and three inches in diameter. There is a limit of five colors on the patch, and lettering must be printed. Name, address, age and phone number of the contestant must be clearly printed on the entry form. Only one entry per person is allowed.
Earth Day contest rules and entryforms are available on the Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov. For more information, contact Pat Lothspeich by email at ndgf@nd.gov, or call 701-328-6332.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Kiehle Auditorium Murals Focus of Presentation at UMC

CROOKSTON, Minn. – The murals that grace the walls of the Kiehle Auditorium on the University of Minnesota Crookston campus are 75 years old. Their history and impact will be the focus of a special presentation, “The Kiehle Murals: The Art of John Martin Socha,” by historian and librarian Bill Wittenbreer on Thursday, February 16, 2017, at noon. The presentation, which will take place in the Kiehle Building’s historic auditorium, will include the history of the Works Progress Administration’s (WPA) arts program and the artist and muralist John Martin Socha and his work around Minnesota and the country. The presentation is free, the public is invited, and parking permits will not be required.

Wittenbreer, a librarian and public historian, was the curator of An Artist’s Paradise:  Minnesota Landscape Painters, 1840-1940 at the Minnesota Museum of American Art, where he also serves on the collections committee.  He has written and lectured about Minnesota painters and holds graduate degrees in history and library and information science. He currently works as a librarian at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minn.  

The Kiehle Building, completed in 1910, was one of the first three buildings to be constructed on the campus. Originally, the building held administrative offices, the library, and, on the second level, a gymnasium for the Northwest School of Agriculture (NWSA). In the 1930s, the second level of Kiehle Building was converted into an auditorium with a balcony. The renowned murals in the auditorium by artist John Martin Socha were added in 1942 as part of the WPA and in part were a gift from the NWSA Class of 1932. The murals have been retained as part of the building's historical significance.

The U of M Crookston Murals Committee is sponsoring the presentation by Wittenbreer in an effort to gain a better appreciation and deeper understanding of the history of the murals. The committee is charged with exploring ways to incorporate the murals into the ongoing education of current and future students; to engage the campus and the greater Crookston community in conversations about the history of the region, its rich and varied diversity, and the campus commitment to diversity; and to interpret the murals for those who visit Kiehle Auditorium.

Public can view road conditions from MnDOT snowplow cameras

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The public can now view winter road conditions from the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s new “plow cams” available through the 511mn.org website. MnDOT announced today that some of the agency’s 838 snowplows are equipped with cameras that show real-time road conditions along plow routes.

“The plow cams are another way for travelers to make good decisions about their travel plans during the snow and ice season,” said Kelly Braunig, 511 program manager. “If they go on the 511 site and see that travel is not advised, they can actually see an image of the road the cameras take as the plow is traveling. Seeing is believing.”

Travelers can already see road conditions on major highways from the Road Weather Information System, which is also part of 511. These are fixed cameras at 97 locations across the state that show live rotating photos. While the RWIS cameras show a small area of the road, the plow cams show real-time road conditions as snowplows plow their routes.

“The RWIS and plow cameras are both used for maintenance purposes, and the public also benefits,” said Steve Lund, state maintenance engineer. “They give maintenance managers and supervisors a quick snapshot of what’s going on in the field but the plow cams will show the road conditions from the driver’s seat along a route.”

The plow cams are available on the 511 website’s full-featured and streamlined pages and the 511 app. They are also available on the “Personalize Your 511” feature, which is on the full-featured and truckers’ pages.

To access the plow cams, go to www.511mn.org and click on “Plow Cameras” on the left menu. A window will open to show photos and a map where the plow is. Underneath the current photo and map is a “film strip,” showing images every five minutes. The camera will activate when the plow is going at least 10 miles per hour or based on other filtering criteria.

Photos have captions that give the plow number, the date, time and location of the plow. Images will be displayed for two hours. If a new image is not taken for 15 minutes because, for example, a snowplow has stopped to refuel, the snowplow icon will be removed from the map until the plow is active again.

The active trucks displayed on 511 only represent a portion of MnDOT’s fleet for snow and ice and other maintenance activities. Not all of the cameras are fully implemented in the trucks, but 200 cameras were purchased for this winter season. MnDOT is in the testing stage this season, which will allow the agency to make decisions on whether to install additional cameras.

“All the new features we’re putting on 511 come down to intelligent transportation,” said Braunig. “We want to be on the cutting edge of that. If motorists can just pick one or two features to use, they can make better travel decisions.”

For more information on other features of the 511 system go to www.511mn.org.