Monday, December 31, 2007

"Tax Talk Today" gives businesses a headstart on tax prep

excerpted from the Barnesville Record-Review, 12-24-07

Tax professionals, their clients and small business owners may want to tune into the IRS's free January Tax Talk Today (TTT) Web cast: "Getting Ready for the Filing Season 2008: Part 2 (Businesses)." The program will be broadcast live on Jan. 8, from 2-3 p.m. Not available then? The Web casts are archived for 12 months. You can also listen via audio podcast.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Morris Transit served most riders in 2007

excerpted from the Morris Sun Tribune, 12-22-07

Morris Transit surpassed 60,000 annual riders for the first time in its 33-year period. The previous record was 59,775 riders set in 1997.

The rider boom that blossomed in 2007 began in the latter half of 2006.

Higher gas prices, convenience and no parking worries were cited as possible reasons, as was an increase in older people moving to assisted living facilities and a possible influx of UMM students.

"I think people have heard it from others that it's a good service and that it's cheaper than driving," said Beth Heinrich, Morris Transit Coordinator.

Read entire article.

LaTienda founder honored for work within Hispanic community

excerpted from the Morris Sun Tribune, 12-22-07

Nancy Huot, owner of LaTienda, a grocery and convenience store that caters to the area's Hispanic community, was honored with the City of Morris' 2007 Human Rights Award.

Huot opened the store as a way to help Hispanic residents adapt to life in west central Minnesota, and as a place for them to gather with friends and meet others in the area.

Read entire article.

Monday, December 17, 2007

"Grow Minnesota!" strives for job retention in state

excerpted from the Pope County Tribune, 12-10-07

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, in concert with 40-plus local chamber partners, completed nearly 800 visits this past year with owners and/or managers of Minnesota businesses. It's part of "Grow Minnesota!" the chamber's business and job retention program.

"Grow Minnesota!" has two purposes: to thank businesses for investing in Minnesota, and to identify their challenges to growing in Minnesota. The information collected also feeds the Minnesota Chamber's pulbic policy agenda at the Capitol.

"As a small community, it is important to let our businesses know how much they mean to us," said Cody Roghan, associate director of the Glenwood Area Chamber of Commerce. "'Grow Minnesota!' allows us to do so while finding ways to assist them, as well. We're thankful for this important program."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Foreclosures in Greater Minnesota higher than expected

The wave of foreclosures swamping greater Minnesota may be twice as large as previously reported by national studies, housing officials heard at a recent GreaterMinnesota Foreclosure Crisis Summit in St. Cloud.

The new study quantified for the first time the number of actual sheriff sales of foreclosed properties county by county in Minnesota in 2006. It found a stunning 11,207 foreclosures statewide, nearly double the 5,995 reported in a national study conducted by RealtyTrac, a leading provider of real estate industry data, over the same period.

The study, which covered the 80 counties outside the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area (Greater Minnesota), was commissioned by Greater Minnesota Housing Fund and prepared by HousingLink, a Minneapolis-based research organization that providesinformation to housing organizations and policymakers.

Read the full report.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Manufacturers concerned about worker shortages

excerpted from the Alexandria Echo Press, 12-5-07

A "high-performance workforce" is the number one factore for success, say 66 percent of Minnesota manufacturers that responded to a newly released DEED survey of the state's manufacturing firm.

The findings included:
  • Workforce shortages were highest for skilled production and scientist and engineering positions; lowest in low-skilled production and management and administration.
  • Collaboration with education is viewed as important in developing high-performing workers, yet when compared with national manfacturing respondents surveyed by NAM, Minnesota collaborated far less on educational activities.

Read report.

Herman gets $144,000 grant for street extension

excerpted from the Herman Review, 12-9-07

A $144,000 grant from the Dept. of Employment and Economic Development will be used to pay for most fo the remaining work on the Pacific Ave. extension to the site of a fertilizer plant that New Horizons Ag Services is intending to build on the northwest edge of town.

Read more.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Perham-based Minnesota Online receives outstanding use of technology award

excerpted from Detroit Lakes Tribune, 12-02-07

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system's Minnesota Online, a gateway to more than 4,700 course selections and 200 programs offered via the Internet, was recently recognized for innovative and effective uses of technologies in supporting students. Minnesota Online's Online Support Center received the Outstanding Work Award from the Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications for delivering high quality student services, particularly to veterans and military personnel. Located in Perham, the center provides pre-admission planning and advising seven days a week.

Monday, November 19, 2007

LREC selects new CEO

The Lake Region Electric Cooperative (Pelican Rapids) board of directors has announced that Tim Thompson will take over as the cooperative's CEO.

Thompson is the president and CEO of Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services, an electric distribution cooperative headquartered in Albert Lea.

Read more.

Changes eyed for JOBZ program

excerpted from Fergus Falls Daily Journal, 11-16-07

Ensuring township officials are consulted before a project goes through its area is one change recommended for the city's JOBZ policy.

Job Opportunity Building Zone (JOBZ) provides substantial tax relief to companies that start up or expand in targeted areas of rural Minnesota.

The most significant change proposed is the addition of the language requiring JOBZ applicants to meet with township officials to make sure the project meets all requirements of the township.

Read entire article.

Frazee administrator is new Perham city manager

Kelcey Klemm, current clerk-treasurer-adminstrator in Frazee, accepted the position of Perham city manager, effective Dec. 17.

He will replace former city manager Bob Louiseau, who became city administrator of Detroit Lakes Oct. 22.

Read article.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

SBA outlines new "Patriot Express" loan initiative

excerpted from the Perham Enterprise Bulletin, 11-8-07

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced the new Patriot Express Pilot Loan, available to military community member, including veterans, those in active duty and spouses. The Patriot Express Loans feature SBA's lowest interest rates for business loans. Details of the initiative can be found at

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Delegation hopes to make Chinese institute at Fergus Falls RTC a reality

excerpted from Fergus Falls Daily Journal, 11-6-07

A 17-person delegation leaves Nov. 7 for a 10-day trip to China, hoping to bring the Minnesota Institute for Cross Cultural Studies (MICCS) closed to becoming a reality on Fergus Falls' Regional Treatment Center campus.

A plan for redeveloping the Kirkbride into the MICCS was presented to the city by Institute Acquisition Partners, LLC (IAP) late last summer. After buying the Kirkbride, IAP would leave it to MICCS. MICCS' focus will be language immersion and business studies for Chinese and American students interested in international business and trade.

Read entire article.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Emmanuel, Sunnyside ‘Best Places to Work’

excerpted from Detroit Lakes Tribune, 11-4-07

The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal has recognized Emmanuel Community and Sunnyside Care Center, providers of senior housing and services in Detroit Lakes and Lake Park, along with its parent organization Ecumen, as one of the region’s “Best Places to Work.”

Based on employee feedback from Ecumen communities, Ecumen was named one of the region’s Top 10 large employers. More than 200 companies vied for the honor.

Outside the box: Detroit Lakes tech school program is for entrepreneurs

excerpted from the Detroit Lakes Tribune, 11/4/07

Minnesota State Community & Technical College--Detroit Lakes is in the process of implementing an entrepreneurship program that can help students find their strengths, develop their talents and create a desire to achieve something for themselves as well as for others.

Students in technical programs will be able to expand their earning potential as well as pursue entrepreneurial opportunities by earning a certificate in several focus areas, such as sales and marketing, business ownership and customer service.

These certification programs will provide the information needed for individuals looking to run a business without having to complete an additional degree.

Read the entire article.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Aging workforce challenges state and local economies

excerpted from Echo Press, 11-2-07

As more and more baby boomers retire, the competition in the workforce will increase. The next decade will see the slowest growth in workforce ever seen in Minnesota. Meanwhile, the number of high school graduates will peak in 2008 and go down from there.

State Demographer Tom Gillaspy and Minnesota Chief Economist Tom Stinson presented these facts and much more at Alexandria's second annual Manufacturers and Industries Breakfast.

The two outlined possible changes that may happen in the future:
  • An older retirement age.
  • Employers may want people to work longer to fill production needs.
  • Employees may need to work longer to meet personal financial needs.
  • The workforce will rely more on migration--people moving into areas that need to fill jobs, or because of events taking place in their previous area of residence (flood, famine, war, etc.).
Gillaspy and Stinson said the three new "Rs" for business success will be retention, recruitment and retraining of employees. Business can do this by:
  • Increasing worker education.
  • Increasing the health status of individuals (fewer sick/absent days means greater productivity).
  • Increasing productivity of workers.
  • Attracting additional workers.
  • Making the best use of individual workers.

Read entire article.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pope-Stevens jail talks called off

excerpted from Pope County Tribune, 10-22-07

The Stevens County Commission voted 3-2 to discontinue further discussions and study with Pope County about a joint regional justice center, which would have included a shared jail, courthouse and dispatch. Pope County commissioners and sheriff expressed disappointment in the decision. Pope County's current law enforcement center has security issues with the courts and transporting and booking inmates. There is no holding facility. Pope County will begin to explore other avenues to solve their problems.

Barnesville EDA has a lot to give--literally

The Barnesville EDA is giving away a residential lot in the city's newest addition. The requirements include building on or before June 15, 2008 and making on-time special assessment payments. As an added bonus, the person receives a $1,000 cash bonus if the construction begins before Dec. 31, 2007. PLUS, the City of Barnesville is offering a free utility incentive worth $1,400 for new homes built within city limits. For more information, call or email Karen Lauer at 800-354-7540,

Monday, October 15, 2007

FIRST grant applications now available online

The application for a new regional planning grant is now available through the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

The Framework for Integrated Regional Strategies (FIRST) grants are intended to help create new regional collaborations in the areas of workforce development, economic development and education. The goal is to develop integrated strategies that strengthen regional economies.
If your organization is interested in bringing leaders together to address your region's economic competitiveness and talent development needs.

You'll find all the information you need online at

Friday, October 12, 2007

10 percent ethanol blends reaches 10th anniversary

excerpted from the West Douglas County Record, 10-11-07

Ten years ago this week, landmark legislation requiring a 10 percent blend of ethanol in virtually every gallon of gasoline sold in Minnesota went into effect. The miles stone was reached amongst virtually no fanfare, something renewable fuels advocates say underscores the incredible success of Minensota's ground breaking ethanol implementation.

Originally, ethanol was sold only in the winter months in the Twin Cities as a way to decrease carbon dioxide levels in accordance with the EPA air quality standards. The program was so successful it was extended to year-round in the Twin Cities, and eventually to a statewide requirement.

Dilworth's growth sector

excerpted from the Fargo Forum, 10-11-07 and 10/12/07

A new Wal-Mart Supercenter is taking shape on a 26-acre Dilworth site just north of the current Wal-Mart store. The nearly 221,000-square-foot store, employing between 350 and 400 workers, is expected to open next spring. Ken Parke, Dilworth city administrator anticipates double to triple the property taxes that they will pay on this new supercenter.

Read more.


The commercial section of Highway 10 in west Dilworth is about to get a little more crowded with a Fastenal store getting set to anchor a new 13,000-square-foot facility.

Fastenal, a distributor of industrial and construction supplies, will occupy 7,000 square feet of the building, which will be located near OfficeMax and Weivoda Carpet.

The remaining 6,000 square feet will be leased to as many as four retail or professional office tenants, said Dennis Parr, president of Bismarck-based Global Properties.

Read more.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Governor Pawlenty announces SEED: Strategic Entrepreneurial Economic Development

Saying that small business is the backbone of Minnesota’s economy, Governor Tim Pawlenty today proposed a comprehensive new program to stimulate rural economic development. The initiative - Strategic Entrepreneurial Economic Development (SEED) – is designed to help strengthen communities and expand the small business base throughout Minnesota.

“Investing in small business will bring lasting value and economic growth to our entire state and especially rural communities that need it most,” Governor Pawlenty said. “Companies with fewer than 100 employees account for 97 percent of the state’s businesses and generate most new jobs. SEED will help new business, existing companies, and rural communities by providing a wide variety of economic development tools that can be matched to each situation.”

Read more about SEED.

Fergus Falls businesses awarded value-added grants

Ag Enterprises, LLC, and Buffalo Meat Inc., both of Fergus Falls, have been awarded USDA Rural Development Value-Added Producer grants.

Otter Tail Ag Enterprises is currently constructing an ethanol plant, and will receive a $300,000 grant to expand the market for ethanol and distillers grains by producing and marketing 55 million gallons of ethanol and 175,000 tons of distiller’s grains per year.Buffalo Meat Inc. is the wholesale marketing company of Buffalo Pass Ranch, and also will receive a $300,000 grant to help offset the costs of expanding into direct sales of Minnesota buffalo meat. They will be expanding markets for bison products such as burger, sausage, steaks, roasts and jerky.Value-added producer grants may be used for planning activities and for working capital for marketing value-added agricultural products and for farm-based renewable energy. Eligible applicants are independent producers, farmer and rancher cooperatives, agricultural producer groups, and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Stevens County Stewardship Initiative looking for leaders

excerpted from Chokio Review, 9-27-07

The Stevens County Stewardship Initiative is calling for the county's five cities and 16 townships to come together to achieve their shared aspirations. The initiative was launched earlier this yea rby Stevens County commissioners Paul Watzke and Neal Hofland. A local steering group lead by Watzke is recruiting 15-20 Stevens County leaders to move the initiative forward. The group will think hard about where the region wants to be in 15-20 years and how to get there. "Our population is declining, our school enrollment is declining. If we don't do something now, what will our county look like 10 or 15 eyars down the road," said steering committee member Brad Fehr of Riverview Farms. In the end, the steering group says, the Stevens County Initiative is about builidng a vibran region for coming generations. "We want to retain our young people," Fehr said. "And as parents, we want opportunities for our kids."

For more information about the initiative, or to nominate someone, contact Roger McCannon at 589-1692 or 287-0882, or e-mail him at

Friday, September 28, 2007

Organic cost share again offered by MDA

excerpted from Alexandria Echo Press, 9-26-07

Organic farmers and processors can receive a partial rebate for the cost of organic certification through a Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture (MDA) program.

Organic growers and processors who sell more than $5,000 of organic agricultural products are legally required to annually retain an accredited third-party certifier at their own expense.

Info packets are available by visiting the MDA's Web site, or by calling Meg Moynihan at 651-201-6616.

Osakis industrial park gets many upgrades

excerpted from Osakis Review, 9-25-07

Over the summer, Osakis' Richard Krough Industrial Park received $630,910 in improvements including water and sewer lines, curb and gutter, and a blacktopped road surface. The city also added a street extension and a water retention pond to the project.

Nine losts are available in the park. They range in size from one-half acre to 1.75 acres and adjoining lost are available. For more information on these losts, call Osakis City Hall at 320-859-2150.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Jobs in computers, math strong in state

excerpted from the Alexandria Echo Press, 9-21-07

More than 60,000 jobs in a wide variety of sectors were available statewide during the second quarter of this year, according to the Minnesota Job Vacancy Survey conducted by DEED. Of the 22 major occupational groups, severn saw increases in the number of job vacancies as compared to a year ago. "The availability of jobs involving computers and mathematics was especially strong," said DEED Commissioner Dan McElroy. "Opportunities there were up 75 percent over last year, which is a big gain considering that they are very well paying jobs."

Read more.

Increased grant funds now available for sustainable farming innovations

excerpted from the Hoffman Tribune, 9-20-07

The Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture (MDA) will award $150,000 in Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grants to help farmers, researchers and educators implement new sustainable farming systems. The 2007 Minnesota Legislature increased that amount by an additional $80,000.

Examples of eligible projects include fruit and vegetable production, conservation tillage and weed management, integrated pest management, livestock production, organic farming, alternative energy crop production and use of cover crops.

Grant projects are highlighted in the Greenbook, which is free and available at, or by calling 651-201-6012.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Exploring High-Demand, High-Pay Occupations in West Central Minnesota

Which jobs are available where I want to live? Different types of jobs are available in different parts of Minnesota. The PDF supplement below highlights the high-demand jobs in the West Central region of the state.

EDR 4_West Central Region_Supplement 2008

Friday, September 14, 2007

Housing takes centerstage in Frazee and Perham

excerpted from Frazee Forum and Perham Enterprise Bulletin, 9-13-07

The Frazee City Council adopted an incentive program for those building new homes inside the city limits. The plan includes $1,200 in free services.

In Perham, the city council approved a detailed housing analysis to be conducted by a contracted research firm. More than 268 jobs have been created in Perham in just the past two years. But because of Perham's lack of a diversified housing inventory, from rental to homes at various price points, the town has not gained residents at the same pace.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

New York Mills group pursues thrift store idea as part of community visioning

excerpted from the New York Mills Herald, 8-30-07

Tod Cameron, superintendent of schools in New York Mills, has been leading a community-based think tank to bring new ideas to New York Mills, and at the same time help fight poverty in the area.

A small group met to discuss the thrift store idea, which came about through an action forum held in April. At the forum a top-seven list of ideas was established and ranked by participants. The list:
  1. Recruitment of businesses;
  2. Mentoring program;
  3. Thrift store;
  4. Job counseling;
  5. Community pride, trash pick-up;
  6. School business;
  7. Community newsletter, information center.

On Oct. 27 at 6 p.m., NY Mills and the University of Minnesota Extension Office, which oversees the Horizons program, will hold a strategic and visioning meeting. If 150-200 people attend, the town stands to receive $10,000 from Horizons to improve the community.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Exploring High-Demand, High-Pay Occupations in West Central Minnesota

Which jobs are available where I want to live? Different types of jobs are available in different parts of Minnesota. This PDF supplement highlights the high-demand jobs in the West Central region of the state.

Monday, August 27, 2007

White Earth News

excerpted from Anishinaabeg Today, 8-22-07

The White Earth Public Transit opens for business on Tuesday, Sept. 4. The four new buses will provide residents with three routes, plus a Dial-a-Ride program.

More than 100 people gathered Aug. 16 to attend an open house for Dream Catcher Homes The new housing community consists of 20 three-bedroom townhomes and provides permanent, supportive housing to homeless individuals.

White Earth hosted the 7th Annual Communities Collaborative Committee's Brain Development Conference, Aug. 8-9. The theme was "Every Child Counts." More than 800 educators, child care providers and parents attended.

Friday, August 24, 2007

News from Stevens County

excerpted from Morris Sun Tribune, 8-22-07

Superior Industries of Morris has built the world's largest aggregate conveyor.

A research laboratory near Morris is experimenting with cuphea--a flowering plant native to the U.S.--to see if it can be raised and processed into the military jet fuel known as JP-8.

Monday, August 20, 2007

New hospital eyed in Perham

excerpted from the Perham Entreprise Bulletin, 8-16-07

A new hospital facility is being considered by the Perham Hospital District Board. Continued growth in all areas, an aging building and teh desire to focus on patient- and family-centered care prompted the board to take action.

Read entire article.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

SJE-Rhombus named to 50 best list

Detroit Lakes manufacturer SJE-Rhombus was named one of the 50 Best Small & Medium Companies to Work for in America by the Great Place to Work Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management.

Make philanthropy a bigger driver in rural development

excerpted from the Des Moines Register (free subscription required)
By Steve Gunderson, 8/14/2007

The contributions of rural America are often equated with abundant sources of food, a strong work ethic and close-knit communities. While we would like to keep these hearty images secured in our minds, the reality is that many rural communities face serious challenges, such as population loss, a declining local economic base and a lack of government resources.
Strategies to enhance rural America focus on local economic development, state engagement in education and infrastructure and federal support through farm bills, rural-development programs and other initiatives. But a new partner in building rural America is emerging, found in long-term, strategic, charitable investments of philanthropy.

This is a unique moment in time. Rural resources built up over the past generation are now being transferred to new locations. Community foundations across the United States have begun to develop programs to estimate and guide this transfer. For example, the Nebraska Community Foundation estimates that rural Nebraskans will leave $94 billion to their heirs through 2050. If Nebraska could direct just 5 percent of this generational transfer of wealth into philanthropy, it would see $4.7 billion of foundation assets ready to serve the state for years into the future.

Full article (free subscription required)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Rural Minn. brainstorms ways to lift economy

excerpt from The Forum, 8-10-07

Communities in rural Minesota looking to grow their economy and stave off population declines need diverse businesses and the ability to attract young workers, a panel of experts said Thursday during a forum at Farmfest in Redwood Falls.

Read entire article.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Think tank says state is failing rural areas

excerpted from Becker County Record, 8-1-07

Minnesota 2020, a new think tank, issued a report that says the state is failing rural Minnesota by not aggressively assisting its small and emerging businesses, focusing too much attention chasing large manufacturing plants, and offering ineffectual tax subsidies.

the report suggested the state focus on four key areas in small business assistance: research and training; development and marketing; capital formation; and microenterprise loan funds.

Read full report.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

In local news....

1. USDA tours projects on White Earth Reservation (Detroit Lakes Tribune, 7-29-07): The USDA's Rural Development agency has invested over $7.2 million throughout the reservation vis its Community Programs Division. Over $500,000 has been invested through the agency's Business and Cooperative programs, which help rural areas create jobs, start new businesses and invest in renewable energy ventures.

2. Have a business idea? Let the Idea Factory help (Chokio Review, 7-26-07): Paul Schwarz, marketing assistant with the Idea Factory, visits local communities once a week to talk over residents' dreams for new businesses. The Idea Factory is a co-venture of the Stevens County Economic Improvement Commission and the Center for Small Towns. Microgrants are available to develop business plans.

3. Job-seekers Web site receives grant from DEED (Morris Sun Tribune-News, 7-28-07): CareerOneStop, a Web site offering career resources and workforce information has been awarded a $1 million grant from the Dept. of Labor. The aim of the Web site is to help job seekers, students, businesses and workforce professionals develop their talent in a global economy.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Browns Valley's Creative Flood Relief Fundraiser

Browns Valley has a new incentive program to encourage donations to the town's long-term flood relief program.Thanks to a gift from Beaver's Pond Press, anyone contributing a minimum of $17 to Browns Valley flood recovery will receive a special 2007 commemorative edition of The County Courthouse Caper. This popular work of historical fiction chronicles Browns Valley's frontier days, from the town's founding in the 1860s to the Traverse County Seat War of 1887. The 240-age book currently has a rating of 4.5 stars (out of 5) on To receive your copy of this limited collector's edition, mail your donaiton of $17 or more to: BV Flood Relief, P.O. Box 307, Browns Valley, MN 56219. Please include $3 for shipping/handling. For further details, see

Monday, July 30, 2007

MnSCU Releases 2007 West Central Region MnCareers Supplement

What are the high-demand jobs in west central Minnesota? iSeek Solutions out of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU), has published its 2007 West Central Region MnCareers Supplement that looks at the in-demand, high pay occupations in the region. iSeek Solutions compiled the supplement using data provided by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Click here for west central Minn. career information.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Dept. of Commerce seeks economic development representative

The U.S. Department of Commerce is now hiring for the position of economic development representative for a six-state area, which includes Minnesota. The position is based out of the Twin Cities. If you or someone you know in the west central Minnesota area is interested in the position, visit and enter EDA-2007-0039 in the “Vacancy Announcement” field. The announcement will close on August 14.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Senators Coleman, Klobuchar Secure Critical Funding for Minnesota Agriculture Projects

from press release

July 20th, 2007 - Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senators Norm Coleman (R-MN) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) announced today that they were successful in securing federal funds for several agriculture and rural development initiatives in the Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2008. The full committee approved the bill today and will send it to the Senate floor for consideration by the full Senate.

Read full release.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Frazee EDA discusses demolition, grant funds

excerpted from Frazee-Vergas Forum, July 19, 2007

The Frazee Economic Development Authority (EDA) discussed demolition and distribution of grant monies during its monthly meeting, Monday, July 16.

The EDA received two written proposals for demolition of the Swift Plant., which the city is scheduled to purchase from Becker County, July 24.

The EDA also discussed the $718,750 Small Cities Development Program (SCDP) grant received from Minnesota DEED to rehabilitate 15 owner-occupied single family homes, three rental untis and seven commercial buildings.

Read entire article.

Monday, July 16, 2007

RMCEP recipient of MN Sector Partnership

excerpted from the Morris Sun Tribune, 7-11-07

Rural Minnesota CEP (RMCEP) has been awarded $50,000 throught the Governor's Workforce Development Council to convene and develop the Lakes Area Manufacturing Partnership. The purpose of this partnership is to proactively identify and address regional workforce development needs in the manufacturing industry in Economic Development Region 4. The focus of this regional approach is to develop strategies to meet the common needs of the manufacturing industry for high skilled workers.

Should Minnesota invest in our small towns or return rural Minnesota to the buffalo?

excerpted from op/ed piece in the Hoffman Tribune by Matt Entenza and Lee Enerstrom, Minnesota 2020

In many parts of Minnesota our small towns are withering and the state of Minnesota is doing little or nothing to reverse that trend. Current rural economic development policy is focused on the wrong priority: moving jobs from deep rural counties to exurban Twin Cities areas. Minnesota faces a stark, fundamental policy choice: investment or abandonment.

Read the Minnesota 2020 think tank's study on this issue.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Rural development would get boost in next Farm Bill

from Morris Sun Times

After the July 4th break for Congress, work on the next five-year federal farm bill accelerates in high gear to beat a Sept. 30 deadline.

That’s when the current farm bill, crafted in 2002, expires.

Once considered the federal government’s safety net for farmers, providing subsidies when prices fall for commodities from rice to corn, today’s farm bill means much more.

Along with commodity supports, the farm bill’s 10 titles include nutrition programs such as food stamps, conservation programs, forestry, energy research, trade and rural development.

Read entire article.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

HEDA busy with establishing new housing and new businesses

excerpted from the Hoffman Tribune, June 28, 2007

At their regular meeting on Monday, June 18, HEDA members took another step forward in planning for the 8th Street South project by approving and signing the final plat. The project, similar to the creation of 7th Street South, is expected to help Hoffman grow as a bedroom community with nine new residential lots for sale. HEDA has established a similar $50 per front footage cost for each lot. This initial fee would be 100% refunded if the buyer builds within a 12 month time frame.

In a discussion after the regular meeting, Johnson explained that housing is Hoffman's largest potential asset because of the city's location. Many people live in Hoffman, yet they commute to work with a large portion of those commuters traveling to Alexandria. By establishing affordable housing in Hoffman, HEDA is trying to attract families wanting to live in smaller communities.

Several other projects spearheaded by HEDA are springing into action with the recent construction weather. Runestone Telephone Association's new facility, on land purchased through a tax increment financing district set up by HEDA, is growing daily. HEDA uses TIFF financing to encourage existing businesses, as well as new businesses, to locate in Hoffman. Although expenses for setting up a TIFF district do cost HEDA initial administration fees, Johnson explained that "TIFF financing is a useful economic development tool that pays off in the long run."

Another local business has started construction of a new facility. Hoberg's Welding and Manufacturing has outgrown their building on Main Street. They acquired the lot north of Bullfrogs from HEDA to construct a building and storage area large enough to house new projects.

Beyond that, HEDA is talking with building owners along Main Street in hopes of acquiring some of the dilapidated structures. Once Hoffman's EDA is in control of the buildings, they have discussed the possibility of demolishing the potentially dangerous structures. Not only would this be a step toward beautifying the town, but the vacant lots may become more desirable to future business owners looking to build from scratch.

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