Monday, November 24, 2008

Hoffman's Main Street Galleria a small business incubator

excerpted from Grant County Herald

There's a bit of a renaissance going on in downtown Hoffman. After several businesses closed in the past four years, the town now has a new appliance store, the newly opened Hoffman Mall with a health care center, second hand store and library, and now the Main Street Galleria, an incubator for small businesses. The galleria offers a low-risk environment for businesses to co-op costs for the building, infrastructure, advertising and staff time.

Currently there are 18 small businesses that operate out of Main Street Galleria. They rent space by the foot and pay for it in cash of volunteer hours by helping run the central cash register and assisting customers. There's quilting and scrapbooking stores, a coffee shop and an Internet kiosk, a gift shop and dollar store, plus even a carpet and flooring remnant outlet run by the former owner of the building. Plus a lot more.

The idea for the business incubator came from the Hoffman Economic Development Authority (HEDA). It was patterned after other such ventures, including a successful Wadena mall that graduated five businesses into their own locations, revitalizing that city's downtown.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Changes to JOBZ program aimed at improving oversight

Minnesota DEED has announced changes that officials say will improve oversight of the Job Opportunity Building Zone (JOBZ) program.

The changes include:
  • All new JOBZ applications will be reviewed by DEED officials. A new application have been developed for use by local governments and/or subzone administrators.
  • A new evaluation process has been developed to determine if a proposed project is eligible for the JOBZ tax benefits.
  • A new mandatory Business Subsidy Agreement (BSA) template is available. 
  • Businesses that are new to JOBZ will be required to report on the number of jobs created and wages paid two years after their program anniversary date.
  • Businesses that are relocating their operations into a JOBZ site must report on jobs and wages one year after they begin operations.
  • A business that meets most but not all of the goals of its BSA can remain in the program if DEED, the local government and the business agree on a new set of goals.
For more information on the registration guidelines, plus a JOBZ application and a helpful JOBZ tax benefit calculator, visit the JOBZ Web site.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

DEED announces Minnesota Investment Fund-Biomass Heating Program

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is pleased to announce the availability of the Minnesota Investment Fund (MIF) Biomass Heating Program.

This program provides grants and loans to local units of government for the installation of biomass heating projects in publicly owned facilities. The funding award limit is $250,000, with a required minimum local match of 1 to 1. A total of $1 million will be awarded.

Applications for funding will be accepted until April 30, 2009, or until all funds are committed, whichever is sooner.

For more information, please go to:,

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Stevens Forward's 'Destiny Drivers' designed to get county moving on fulfilling future

excerpted from Morris Sun Tribune-News, 10-15-08

After 10 months of planning, Stevens FORWARD! stewards released a list of 14 projects that they believe will make the county a better place to live and do business in the future.

The stewards, county residents who are helping move the initiative forward through a series of morning meetings, conducted a countywide survey and identified the 14 "Destiny Drivers" that they believe will inspire broad-based community action.

Read the 14 "Destiny Drivers."

Several White Earth members graduate from first TOT program

excerpted from Anishinaabeg Today, 10-15-08

Twelve graduates comprised the first class to complete the Transportation Opportunity Training (TOT) program created by MnDOT's Office of Civil Rights, the White Earth Indian Reservation and several other partners.

The classes were held at MSCTC-Detroit Lakes.

During the training, the students studied math, reading comprehension, conflict resolution and other skills. They also learned truck driving skills and met other requirements to obtain a commercial driver's license.

This program increases the diversity of the hiring pool in the region and will help contractors meet federal and state goals for employing women and minority group members on federally funded construction projects.

Stevens County business growth slow but housing okay

excerpted from Morris Sun Tribune-News, 10-22-08

Stevens County Economic Improvement Commission Executive Director Michael Haynes reported slow growth overall for area businesses in the third quarter of 2008, but he said there was no loss of value in Stevens County's housing market.

He reported the Morris Industrial Park is currently full but that there are 40-60 acres available for future expansion.

He also talked about the county's Corn Stalk Gasification Plant project--the first of its kind in the country. The proposed project would convert corn stalks or similar material to natural gas and transmit the gas to customers through the existing natural gas pipeline system.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Carpenter training center to be built

excerpted from Fargo Forum, 10-13-08

A $2.4 million training center is being built in Fargo to train apprentice carpenters in their craft and help journeyman-level workers advance their skills in the latest technology and practices.

It is being built by a partnership of the North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters and Minnesota and North Dakota contractors. It will open in the spring.

The new center is at 513 36th St. N., Fargo.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Need a job? Be a nursing assistant

excerpted from the Becker County Record, 10-1-08

With the shortage of workers in the medical industry, Detroit Lakes Adult Basic Education is offering a pre-certified nursing assistant class to prepare for future certified nursing assistant courses. The class will help students learn medical jargon, local opportunities, regulations and more.

The class is free and runs for six weeks on Tuesday and Thursday evenings beginning Oct. 14. For more information, call 218-847-4418.

Read entire article.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Perham wins $30,000 'cash prize' from EDA

excerpted from Perham Enterprise Bulletin, 10-2-08

Perham is one of only a handful of Minnesota cities to earn a performance award from the Economic Development Administration. Perham received $30,000.

The EDA Planning Performance Awards recognize EDA investment recipients for projects that demonstrate outstanding collaboration and effectiveness in the planning phase. Awardees must use the money to increase the EDA's share of the cost of an EDA-funded project, which decreases the dollar amount of the local match. It can be applied to future projects.

Read entire article.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

MSCTC-DL is looking for "angels" to grow new business

excerpted by Detroit Lakes Tribune, 9-21-08

The Minnesota State Community and Technical College-Detroit Lakes is looking for investors and innovators to help prospective business owners come up with initial funding. This is part of the college's Business & Entrepreneurial Services program launched last fall.

One way to provide funds is through angel investing, where a group of individuals pool their money to fund new companies.

Unlike venture capital, angel investing deals with much smaller amounts of money to help turn an idea into reality.

Local entrepreneur Ed Gehrke said angel investing is unique because most ventures are expected to fail. By pooling their money together into several businesses, investors hope to find a diamond.

On Oct. 3, the college will present the fourth segment of its Entrepreneurship Speakers Series. The speakers are MBA students from UND who will talk specifically about angel investing.

The series starts at 10 a.m. and lunch will follow. There's no charge and no reservation needed, but is requested.

To RSVP or for more information, call Patty Heath Gordon at (218) 846-3804.

Read entire article.

New free service helps businesses solve problems

excerpted from Alexandria Echo Press, 9-24-08

BusinessConnection--a new business assistance and referral network--is being tested in Alexandria and three other Minnesota cities before launching statewide next year.

Business Connections is a joint project of Grow Minnesota!, a subsidiary of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, and DEED.

"Start-up and established businesses continually are seeking information important to their operations, and the answers are not always easy to track down," said Coni McKay, executive director fo the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce. "BusinessConnection has tremendous value to get complete answers quickly. It is a one-stop resource. And the service is free to anyone."

Business Connection is currently open to all area businesses and can be reached toll-free by calling 1-888-MINN-BIZ (646-6249). In January, the operation will also be available via the Web site:

Read entire article.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Lakes Technology Group to open in Battle Lake

excerpted from Battle Lake Review, 9-17-08

Lakes Technology Group will open its new headquarters and retail center in downtown Battle Lake in October. It will serve west central Minnesota and eastern North Dakota, offering computer and software products and accessories, networking, home theater, home audio and repair service.

Owners Jim and Jan Eitzen live on nearby Clitherall Lake. They worked closely with the Lakes Area Development Association (LADA: while making plans for their new company.

" This is the kind of green industry we need," said LADA President Shawn Frank. "Lakes Technology Group is a year-round business, creates jobs here and brings revenue into the community from outside the area."

Monday, August 18, 2008

State seeks businesses people's ideas for tax reform

excerpted from the Alexandria Echo Press, 8-15-08

Busy financial, business and development professionals can now easily email their ideas to The Governor's 21st Century Tax Reform Commission. The commission is now accepting input by e-mail at

Gov. Pawlenty established the commission to examine how Minnesota's tax code can be improved and modernized to foster new jobs and encourage economic growth in a fast-changing, highly competitve and increasingly global economy.

Get more information about The Governor's 21st Century Tax Reform Commission at

Friday, August 1, 2008

Breckenridge working to upgrade sewer system/add storm water utility

excerpted from the Breckenridge-Wahpeton Daily News, 7-25-08 & 7-29-08

The Breckenridge City Council received approval for a low-interest clean water loan of more than $1.5 million by the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority (PFA). The loan will be used to finance the expansion and upgrade of a sewer facility lcoated two miles northeast of the city.

The city council also approved a proposal to implement a storm water utility. The new utility wis inteneded to generate revenue and offset expenses incurred by storm water in the city.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Read the latest DEED news

The City of Hancock receives funds for an improved wastewater treatment infrastructure, and DEED awards monies to help dislocated workers start small businesses.

Read all the latest Dept. of Employment and Economic Development news.

1,700 jobs added in May, but unemployment grows

Minnesota employers added 1,700 jobs in May, accoridng to figures released by the Minnesota Dept. of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

The state remained ahead of the U.S> pace for employment growth in the part year, expanding by 0.3 percent or 7,170 jobs since May 2007. The U.S. over-the-year growth rate was 0.1 percent during that period.

The unemployment rate grew .6 percent to a rate of 5.4 percent in May even while the state was adding jobs because the two categories are derived from different statistical information. The rate reflects 12,000 jobs in Minensota lost in April.

"Although the economy continues to present challenges, Minensota is performing better in many sectors thatn the country as a whole," said DEED Commissioner Dan McElroy.

Read entire release.

West Central expansion complete

excerpted from the Pelican Rapids Press, 7-9-08

Pelican Rapids' largest employer, West Central Turkeys, just completed its 120,000 square foot addition. While some of the new space is already in use, part of the area is waiting to be grown into.

"With the addition we have been able to streamline our operations, which in turn has made us more cost effective and more competitive in the marketplace," said Plant Manager Don Cole.

West Central utilized the JOBZ program and will benefit from some tax breaks. One of the contingencies of JOBZ is the plant had to guarantee at least 75 new jobs for a marked period of time.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Outlook for small-scale power looks good

excerpted from Morris Sun Tribune-News, and Wst Central Tribune, July 2, 2008

The potential to hook up small-scale wind and renewable energy projects on the electrical distribution system within Minnesota may be even better thatn a recent state study suggests.

The first phase of the dispersed renewable generation study for the Department of Commerce required identifying where 600 megawatts of electricity could be added to the low-voltage distribution system at no additional cost. The study found that 393 substations (out of 2,253 in the state) could handle additional electrical loads.

The study has already generated lots of interest by proponents of community-based power projects in the state. It offers them an opportunity to put their power on the grid without large expenses associated with adding power to the high-voltage transmission system. It also avoid the time consuming and costly process of obtaining authorization from the Midwest Independent System Operator.

The Department of Commerce is now identifying another 600 megawatts of power as part of the study's second phase.

Learn more and read the study.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Free paint available through waste center

excerpted from Daily News of Wahpeton and Breckenridge, 7-2-08

Since 1994, the Otter Tail County Household Hazardous Waste Center has recycled paint containers and saved the paint for the public. The center also serves Wilkin, Stevens, Grant, Traverse counties.

Each year the center gives away about 20,000 pounds of paint, which saves about $45,000 a year in disposal costs.

If you're interested in free paint, the center is open for pick up from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays and the second Saturday of the month. The service is offered May through September.

Renewable, green ... and it's blowin' in the wind

excerpted from the New York Mills Herald

Investment in renewable energy is a worldwide tend, as well as in the East Otter Tail farm and lake country.

In New York Mills, a local firm, Residential Wind Power, Inc., is selling and installing wind energy systems designed fore the home and property owner.

In Edna Township, a hog producer is installing a unit from Fergus Falls-based Vinco with enough capacity to power most of the electrical demand in a 1,100 hog barn.

A local hobby farm owner installed a windmill and generator that are producing about 650 kilowatts per month. The farm needs 500 kw of electricity a month, and can sell back the remaining 150 to the power company.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Citywide real estate open house being planned

excerpted from Barnesville Record-Review, 6-30-08

As part of its continuing focus on residential development, the Barnesville Economic Development Authority (EDA) will be sponsoring a citywide real estate open house Sunday, July 13, from 1-4:30- p.m. in conjunction with the Clay County Fair. Organizers hope every home in the area on the market will be open during that time, including "for sale by owner" homes.

To promote the event, the EDA is planning an aggressive advertsing campaign in the Fargo-Moorhead area. Maps showing the location, description and price of each of the open houses will be distributed free at local merchants.

In the past, the citywide real estate open house has been well attended and has resulted in the sales of several homes each year the event was held.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

College gives students an inside look at manufacturing and transportation careers

excerpted from Alexandria Echo Press, 6-6-08

Alexandria Technical College and area businesses recently hosted tours for high school students from throughout the region.

About 400 students toured 10 area businesses and the college to learn more about manufacturing and transportation careers. Students were able to visit with instructors and students in the manufacturing and transportation divisions of the school.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Employers survive by being flexible

excerpted from New York Mills Herald, 6-5-08

Recent research from the University of Minnesota and other land grant universities across the U.S. has found that salary is not what is most valued by low-income, rural women when they are looking for jobs. Instead, they want a job that is flexible with their time schedules, and understanding with issues of transportation and childcare.

By increasing flexibility in the workplace, employers would be able to attract and retain more workers. Decreasing turnover means that employees have more time to learn the skills necessary to become proficient. Increasing felxibility can be as easy as allowing job sharaing, flex-time, part-time employment or home-based employment.

Read entire research brief.

For more information about the Rural Families Speak project visit the U of M Rural Families website at

New Horizons to build 'mega' fertilizer plant in Herman

excerpted from Chokio Review, 6-5-08

After a year and a half of conversation and negotiations, New Horizons has broke ground on a new 'mega' fertilizer plant on the outskirts of Herman, Minn. Construction on the 57-acre site should begin soon, and is expected to be completed by this fall. According to New Horizons general manager Jerry Kramer, the plant will hold 31,000 tons of fertilizer and use the existing railroad tacke that the company uses for loading unit trains.

"This new project will be a win for patrons of New Horizons Ag Services, the city of Herman, and Grant County as well," Kramer said.

"There will be eight new or retained jobs here in town and the plant will increase the city's market valude by 10 to 12 percent," said Dan Ellison, Herman EDA member. "Using the multiplier [the total economic impact when the same dollars get passed back and forth among businesses], about @1.2 million will go into the community."

Monday, May 5, 2008

Otter Tail Tourism Association opens new office, launches updated website

excerpted from the Perham Enterprise Bulletin, April 17, 2008

A tourism office for the Otter Tail Country Tourism Association is opening in Ottertail City, in the heart of Otter Tail County. It will be located in the Century 21 Vista office on Highway 78. In addition, the association just launched an updated website:, which highlights lodging, dining and entertainment, and community attractions.

Riverfront park plan inches closer to reality

excerpted from the Daily News, April 4, 2008

A riverfront park that joins Breckenridge and Wahpeton is coming closer to fruition. City officials gathered in April and offered final approval of the plan by Lightowler Johnson Associates and the Leonard Atelier Group, both in Fargo.

Aimed at highlighting the park areas and boosting recreation, the plan includes more pedestrian trails, a kayaking loop and turf set aside for Frisbee golf.

A main concern is the Dakota Avenue bridge, the main connection point between the two states. Already narrow for its four lands or traffic, engineers recommend removing or replacing it or adding a pedestrian bridge beside the current structure.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

JOBZ project to bring new jobs to Alexandria area

excerpted from the Echo Press, 4-16-08

The Alexandria City Council formally approved the business sudsidy agreement with 3M for its Job Opportunity Building Zone (JOBZ) project. 3M is building a 60,000 square food expansion to its existing 225,000 square foot facility--its first expansion since 1981. The total cost is estimated at $48.85 million. The project is expected to create 50 new full-time jobs over the next two years with an average hourly wage (excluding benefits) of $25.50.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Alexandria area launches community stewardship program

excerpted from the Echo Press, 4-11-08

The Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission (AAEDC) hopes that a community stewardship program similar to Bemidji Leads! will help develop and define the area's direction. The program will be administered by the Center for Community Stewardship of Bemidji. The AAEDC received a $20,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation as well as funding from West Central Initiative to implement the study locally.

The AAEDC will initially support and staff the program with the plan of it becoming a community venture. For more information on the program and how to get involved, contact Jason Murray, (320) 763-4545 or log onto

Monday, April 14, 2008

Superior Industries ranks among top growth companies in U.S. for 2008

excerpted from Morris SunTribune, 4-5-08

Morris-based Superior Industries continues to report steady growth. The Private Company Index noticed the trend throughout 2007 and named the manufacturer of conveyor systems and components one of 10 "Top Growth Companies" in the U.S. for 2008.

Read entire article (may require online sign-up).

Otter Tail Ag Enterprises, LLC, ethanol plant in production

excerpted from New York Mills Herald, 4-10-08

After three years of planning and construction, Otter Tail Ag Enterprises, LLC (OTAE) in Fergus Falls, announced that the 55-million-gallon-per-year ethanol plant is up and in operation. A formal open house is planned fore the last week in July. The project was on time and on budget.

Along with the ethanol, OTAE will market dried and wet distillers grains (DDGS and WDGS).

Anyone interested in selling corn or purchaseing DDGS or WDGS may contact OTAE at or call 218-998-4301.

Counties received grants for mental health crisis teams

excerpted from Wheaton Gazette, 4-08

Traverse County is part of two successful grant proposals to improve the response to mental health crisis services in west central Minnesota.

Under the plan, five counties will receive a total of $664,000 to set up mobile crisis reponse teams to help adults and children, as well as add prevention and stabilization services. About $114,000 of the funding is for start-up costs, including, hopefully, monies to hire a coordinator to help get the project off the ground.

It is anticipated that 100 call-outs will be for children.

Mental health professionals and practitioners will be recruited from the existing community partners.

The counties are Douglas, Grant, Pope, Stevens and Traverse.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

DEED's 2007 JOBZ report now available online

The 2007 Job Opportunity Building Zone Initiative (JOBZ) annual report is now available online.

JOBZ officials report that the program has created more than 5,400 full-time jobs since the program began in 2004. the report also shows that 339 companies--two-thirds of them in manufacturing--had participated in the program through the end of 2007.

JOBZ offers tax-free incentives to relocating or expanding businesses in an effort to stimulate the economy in eligible rural areas.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Otter Express exploring expansion

excerpted from the Fergus Falls Daily Journal, 3-20-08

Staff with Transit Alternatives say they'll use increased funding from the state to expand service on the Otter Express--and they want your input.

The expansion comes as a result of a 20 percent funding increase from MnDOT. Transit Alternatives will use that additional $116,000 to serve communities along Highway 210.

Anyone wanting to voice an opinion on bus routes can call Transit Alternatives toll free at 866-998-3002.

Read entire article.

Grants available for some child care providers

The Lakes and Prairies Child Care Resource and Referral, Fergus Falls, is offering grants for unlicensed child care providers who want to purchase items for the children they care for.

Caregivers can purchase $400 worth of cribs, saftely items and age-appropriate toys or books.

By Minnesota state law, unlicensed providers are entitled to watch over one additional family's children.

Providers must attend a seven-hour CPR or First Aid training session to receive the grant. They also specify the items they want to purchase on the application. To learn more, contact Elizabeth Monzingo at 800-452-3646, ext. 7628

Fergus Falls ethanol plant up and running

excerpted from Fergus Falls Daily Journal, 3-21-08

After three years of planning and construction, the Fergus Falls ethanol plant is in operation, on time and on budget.

Read entire article.

New strategy for businesses: Uniting as a region

excerpted from the Alexandria Echo Press, 3-19-08

Osakis and Alexandria shouldn't view themselves as competitors for new businesses. And other communities in the county, such as Miltona, Carlos and Brandon, shouldn't think of themselves as "islands" all competing for the same prize. Instead, they should be working together as a regional center to draw new businesesses and industries here instead of losing them to Fargo, Minneapolis or another part of the country.

that was the message behind the Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission's presentation at the Osakis Community Center March 12.

Read entire article.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Hoffman's Health Care Mall may signal new era for local business

excerpted from Hoffman Tribune, 2-21-08

The Hoffman Economic Development Authority received a $85,000 grant from PrimeWest to establish a health care facility in town, featuring specializations that will not compete with any health care services now available in Hoffman.

The Hoffman Health Care Mall would be self supporting. All of the costs of operating the facility including debt payment have been factored into the estimated costs. Revenue from the rental of the mall space should cover costs.

Read entire article.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Tourism important to Minnesota economy

St. Paul, Minn. 1-29-08

New research sponsored by the University of Minnesota Tourism Center reveals that, for the third year in a row, nearly all Minnesotans understand the importance of tourism to the state's economy. In Minnesota, tourism generates $10.5 billion in gross receipts/sales and employs more than 244,000 people.

The Center's profile of 2007 fall travelers shows that fully half of Northcentral/West region travelers were from North Dakota (53%) compared with 1% each in the other Minnesota regions.

Other interesting data about tourism in our region includes:
Study of visitors to the Detroit Lakes-Mahnomen area;
Study of visitors to Otter Tail County;
Study of visitors to the southern Red River Valley.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Barnesville city, school, EDA, park reps share ideas

excerpted from Barnesville Record-Review, 2-4-08

Representatives from Barnesville's city, school, EDA and park and rec gathered for a networking session Jan. 28. It provided an opportunity for each to share highlights from the past year and their short-term and long-term goals. They also brainstormed possible solutions to challenges facing each group, and discussed cross-promotional marketing. This is the second time in two years this group has assembled.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Rural Demographics: is rural Minnesota shrinking?

The Sept.-Oct. 2007 issue of Minnesota Preservationist included an interview with Benjamin Winchester, Data Analysis and Research Coordinator for the Center for Small Towns, U of M-Morris.

Here are some of his comments:
  • "Our research shows that there is a large influx of 35- to 44-year-olds, and they are bringing their children with them. People are realizing as their kids are getting into second and third grade that they do not want to be in an urban area. And we see this reflected in the school populations."
  • "The number one predictor of population growth ... is the presence of or proximity to water ... The number one predictor of population decline between 1990 and 2000 is reliance on agriculture; the second is reliance on manufacturing."
  • "If your town is going to keep growing, it’s going to be through people who don’t look like you. And that tends to be the rule, especially in agricultural areas."
  • "Within any town, there are limited human and financial resources. The physical infrastructure systems – roads, water, and sewer systems – are aging, and replacing them can be costly. The lack of a proactive approach to maintaining this infrastructure is a tremendous hardship today."
  • "The social infrastructure is also aging, yet it is here that people can make a difference ... By providing a welcoming social environment for these newcomers, small towns have a tremendous opportunity to reinvigorate civic life."
Read article.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hospital helps save MSCTC lab program

Excerpted from Fergus Falls Daily Journal, 1-29-08

A popular medical program at Minnesota State Community and Technical College - Fergus Falls will not be a victim of the chopping block.

The Lake Region Hospital Foundation has stepped up to finance budget shortfalls for the program, which was slated to be eliminated in 2009.

The hospital foundation’s contribution will keep the program running for at least two years, said Steve Guttormson, director of public relations for the college.

The Fergus Falls community played a major role in saving the program, Guttormson said.

Following a community meeting at MSCTC on January 4, a task force was formed to identify possible alternatives to closing the program. From that meeting the Lake Region Hospital Foundation became a player in the program’s future.

Read entire article.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Elbow Lake says no to utility improvements

excerpted from Fergus Falls Daily Journal, Jan. 24, 2008

The city of Elbow Lake will not move forward with a proposed underground utility and street improvement project following a public hearing at the city's community center Wednesday evening. The project, slated for Elbow Lake's west side, would have included an estimated $2.1 million in improvements to the city's sanitary sewer, watermain, streets and sidewalks.

For many of the residents in attendance, the project's financial burden was too large to ignore. Though the city would have covered $1.2 million of of the cost, assessed residents would have contributed the rest, with some property owners in the $20,000-$40,000 range.

Read article.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Ashby includes residents in decision-making

excerpted from Fergus Falls Daily Journal, 1-2-07

Many communities talk about open communication between residents and city government, but Ashby takes extra steps to see that this takes place. A prime example is the Ashby City Council holding an open forum prior to each council meeting.

“People are invited to discuss their issues with two councilmembers at this meeting,” Ashby Mayor Tom Grover said. “The idea is to provide a better line of communication between the public and the council. This allows people to voice their concerns without having to attend a full council meeting.”

Council meetings are held the first Tuesday of the month. The open forum starts at 6:30 p.m. prior to each council meeting.

Read article.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Surveys to help determine housing needs

excerpted from New York Mills Herald, 12-27-07

The city is taking steps to create more affordable housing opportunities in New York Mills through gap funding, and at the same time look to fill its Country View Addition. The plan is to submit a proposal for funding through the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency process.

A survey was inserted in the Herald to determine the need for affordable workforce housing in the city. The surveys have also been distributed to workers through some employers in town.

Read article.

High fuel prices can mean hard times

excerpted from Detroit Lakes Tribune, 12-30-07

Mahube Community Council reports a 10-percent increase in applications for energy assistance. In Becker County, heating oil in now about $3.35-3.75 per gallon, and propane is $2.29/gallon. The cost of natural gas has increased about 10 percent in the last year in Minnesota.

Congress last week approved a $2.6 billion Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program package, however, funding for Minnesota stays near last year's rate of $77 million. That money is expected to run out by February.

Read entire article.

Minnesota State Legislature - What's New

Alexandria Echo Press

Breckenridge/Wahpeton Daily News

Detroit Lakes Tribune

Fergus Falls Daily Journal stories

IN-FORUM: Fargo-Moorhead

Morris Sun Tribune : Morris

Perham Enterprise Bulletin : Perham

Pope County Tribune

News & Features from Minnesota Public Radio

Minnesota Legislature from Minnesota Public Radio