Hometown Source » Press Releases http://hometownsource.com from ECM Publishers, Inc. Fri, 22 Aug 2014 19:52:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 DNR State Fair theme is Celebrate Outdoor Traditions http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/21/dnr-state-fair-theme-is-celebrate-outdoor-traditions/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dnr-state-fair-theme-is-celebrate-outdoor-traditions http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/21/dnr-state-fair-theme-is-celebrate-outdoor-traditions/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 19:20:51 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=77804 St. Paul, MN – The 2014 DNR State Fair theme is Celebrate Outdoor Traditions. The DNR daily theme: Fire prevention.

Here’s some highlights of what will be happening Saturday, Aug. 23 in the DNR area:

DNR-related State Fair events/story ideas for Saturday, Aug. 23

2014 DNR State Fair theme: Celebrate Outdoor Traditions
DNR daily theme: Lands and minerals

Ring of fire: The life and music of Johnny Cash
NEW – Returning after a national tour, this jukebox musical is based on the life and music of Johnny Cash. Presented by Plymouth Playhouse.
When:         Noon.
Where:        DNR Volunteer Outdoor Stage.

Volcanoes in Minnesota
Discover real volcanoes in Minnesota and see one in action.
When:         1 p.m.
Where:        DNR Volunteer Outdoor Stage.

Lake Superior Agates
Scott Wolter, a geologist and host of History’s H2 network TV show ‘America Unearthed’, has been an avid Lake Superior Agate collector for more than 30 years.   He will share some of his biggest and best agates, along with information about how they formed and where to look for them.
When:         3 p.m.
Where:        DNR Volunteer Outdoor Stage.

Bird show
Last Chance Forever – The Bird of Prey Conservancy, San Antonio, Texas, will demonstrate the beauty and magnificence of the winged predators.

This show allows people to feel the wind from a hawk’s wings and see the eyes of an owl up close. Spectators have a chance to get up close and personal with an eagle and see the beauty of a hawk swooping down from a pine tree.

The excitement mounts when music chosen just for the demonstration begins, causing the visitor to be transported into their imagination. Suddenly a hawk appears, seemingly out of thin air, to allow visitors a close look at this beautiful, powerful bird.
When:         11 a.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m.
Where:        Garden Stage, west side of DNR building.

Invasive Species
Visitors will be on the lookout for emerald ash borers, purple loosestrife, zebra mussels and Eurasian water milfoil as they walk along a recreated prairie trail, conduct a watercraft inspection or visit an imaginary state forest campsite in a display.

People can practice using a boot brush to remove invasive plants, learn where zebra mussels might hide on a boat, and find out why they shouldn’t move firewood. Through interactive activities and an informational video, people will learn how invasive species threaten our natural resources and recreational activities, and how to prevent their spread. There is also a shopping cart covered with zebra mussels at this display.
When:         9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Where:        DNR building.

Emerald Ash Borer
Emerald ash borer costume character makes daily appearances.
When:         Noon, 2 p.m.
Where:        DNR Park.

Wildlife Forever Wing
Fairgoers can learn about Minnesota species and wildlife habitat. Special sound and lighting effects help create an experience of moving from day to night and through the four seasons, as visitors walk through the display.
When:         9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Where:        DNR building.

Music- Red Rock Swing Band
A 17-piece big band specializing in classic swing music.
When:         10 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 7 p.m., 8 p.m.
Where:        DNR Volunteer Outdoor Stage.


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Learn basics of hunting birds like pheasant, grouse at DNR clinic http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/21/learn-basics-of-hunting-birds-like-pheasant-grouse-at-dnr-clinic/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=learn-basics-of-hunting-birds-like-pheasant-grouse-at-dnr-clinic http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/21/learn-basics-of-hunting-birds-like-pheasant-grouse-at-dnr-clinic/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 19:07:37 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=77799 Anyone who wants to learn the basics of hunting birds like pheasants or grouse is invited to attend a program for those who have limited or no experience hunting upland birds, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Upland Bird Day is 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 13, at the Dakota County Gun Club, 17501 Station Trail near Rosemount, and is hosted by the DNR, Dakota County Gun Club and Pheasants Forever.

“Upland Bird Day is an opportunity for those interested in hunting upland birds to take the next step and be part of a wonderful fall hunting tradition,” said Linda Bylander, an outreach program coordinator for the DNR.

Upland bird hunting typically involves walking through prairie grasses, young aspen forests, marsh edges and other habitat, often using a dog to point or flush the birds.

Following a large group presentation on upland birds and their habitat, participants will spend the afternoon in a series of hands-on upland bird hunting stations.

“Participants will learn how to hunt a field, and about shotgun patterning and shooting technique,” Bylander said. “We’ll see a demo of bird hunting with dogs, and learn about field dressing and game care, and how to locate public hunting lands.”

To register, contact Bylander at 218-833-8628 or linda.bylander@state.mn.us. Registration is limited and costs $10 per family or $5 per person.

Learn more at http://www.mndnr.gov/education/bow. For information on hunting a variety of species including upland birds, see http://www.mndnr.gov/hunting.

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Hear the Call of the Moose at the Minnesota State Fair http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/21/hear-the-call-of-the-moose-at-the-minnesota-state-fair/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=hear-the-call-of-the-moose-at-the-minnesota-state-fair http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/21/hear-the-call-of-the-moose-at-the-minnesota-state-fair/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 19:04:34 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=77797 St. Paul,  MN – Fairgoers can hear the Call of the Moose at the Minnesota State Fair.

A new partnership between the Department of Natural Resources and Les Kouba Outdoors was formed to raise awareness of the plight of Minnesota moose and raise money for moose research and management.

koubamooseAt the fair:
• Get info on a new critical habitat license plate featuring moose art by renowned wildlife artist Les Kouba. Information about the program is available on the DNR website at http://www.mndnr.gov/plates.

• Hear moose calling when the finalists of the Let Loose Your Minnesota Moose-Moose Calling Contest sound off on the DNR Volunteer Outdoor Stage at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 29. The DNR’s Tom Rusch, Tower area wildlife manager, will give moose background, demonstrate calling and help judge. Sign up for the contest from 9 a.m. today through 12:45 p.m. Aug. 29, at the fair at the Call of the Moose Store, or online at http://www.leskoubaoutdoors.com or http://www.callofthemoose.com.

• Hear original music from Michael Monroe dedicated to the Call of the Moose Minnesota. Monroe blends vocals, guitars, bamboo and crystal flutes, and will perform at various times on Thursday, Aug. 28, at the Call of the Moose store, and at 1 p.m. on Aug. 29 before the calling contest.

• Merchandise is being sold near the DNR building at the Call of the Moose store. A portion of the proceeds benefits moose research and management. See a restored statue of a life-size moose that has been displayed at the State Fair for nearly 20 years. This year, the moose is outfitted with a tracking collar similar to those used to track real moose in northern Minnesota. See a video of the moose restoration at http://youtu.be/h8Np4zu__xA.

Why all the focus on moose? Moose in Minnesota are in trouble. A 50 percent decline in the moose population since 2010 has left the iconic Minnesota animal in real danger of disappearing.

Information on the partnership between the DNR and Les Kouba Outdoors is available online at http://www.callofthemoose.com. Information from the DNR on moose research can be found at http://www.mndnr.gov/moose.

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Better Business Bureau offers tips for making purchases at Minnesota State Fair http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/21/better-business-bureau-offers-tips-for-making-purchases-at-minnesota-state-fair/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=better-business-bureau-offers-tips-for-making-purchases-at-minnesota-state-fair http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/21/better-business-bureau-offers-tips-for-making-purchases-at-minnesota-state-fair/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 18:26:42 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=77789 NEWS RELEASE — Burnsville, MN – The Minnesota State Fair marks the unofficial end of summer.

It’s also a prime opportunity for businesses to showcase their products and ideas to crowds of fairgoers. While it’s easy to get caught up in the buzz and excitement the State Fair reliably delivers, Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) reminds consumers – unless they’re on one of the rides – to keep both feet on the ground.

“We’re as excited about The Minnesota State Fair as anyone,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. “Still, we’re reminding people to keep things in perspective and make sure to do their due diligence when checking out merchandise and listening to sales pitches.”

BBB offers the following tips for consumers who are considering making purchases at this year’s event:

•   Prior to making a purchase, get the company’s refund and exchange policy in writing.

•  Obtain the company’s physical location and telephone number in case you need to return or exchange an item after the event.

• As with any purchase, do some comparison shopping before buying. Keep in mind, however, that the least expensive item may not always be the best value.

• Don’t be pressured to buy. After the demonstration or sales pitch, walk away from the sales associate to give yourself some time to think about the purchase. This will help you decide whether or not the item is necessary and a good deal.

•  Ask the vendor if a sale price will be honored after the State Fair. If so, you will not feel pressured to purchase the item on the spot.

• It’s important to note that the Federal Trade Commission’s “cooling-off rule,” which normally allows consumers three days to cancel a purchase, does not apply to the following purchases at fairs:
– Purchases under $25;
– Goods or services not primarily intended for personal, family, or household purposes;
– Insurance, securities, or real estate;
– Motor vehicles; and
– Arts and crafts.

• If you are making a purchase where the “cooling-off rule” does apply, and you need to cancel a sale, sign and date a copy of the company’s cancellation form, which you should obtain upon purchase of the item. If you mail the form back to the company, be sure it is post-marked before midnight of the third business day after which you made the purchase. Sundays and federal holidays are not considered business days. Otherwise, bring the form in-person to the company within three days of the date you made the purchase.

•    BBB Business Reviews have been optimized for smartphones. You can research companies for free at BBB.org, or by calling 1-800-646-6222.

BBB will once again be an exhibitor at the Minnesota State Fair, with a booth in the Education Building. The State Fair runs from Aug.21 to Sept. 1.

The mission of Better Business Bureau is to be the leader in building marketplace trust by promoting, through self-regulation, the highest standards of business ethics and conduct, and to instill confidence in responsible businesses through programs of education and action that inform, assist and protect the general public.

The BBB is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Contact BBB at http://www.bbb.org or 651-699-1111, toll-free at 1-800-646-6222.

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DNR drops most proposals to allow more recreational activities at state’s scientific and natural areas http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/21/dnr-drops-most-proposals-to-allow-more-recreational-activities-at-states-scientific-and-natural-areas/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dnr-drops-most-proposals-to-allow-more-recreational-activities-at-states-scientific-and-natural-areas http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/21/dnr-drops-most-proposals-to-allow-more-recreational-activities-at-states-scientific-and-natural-areas/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 18:17:19 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=77787 St. Paul, MN – The Department of Natural Resources has decided to not implement most of its proposals to expand recreational activities such as hunting, trapping, and dog walking at 10 of Minnesota’s 159 scientific and natural areas (SNAs).

The decisions were based on the results of a legislatively prescribed process for obtaining and considering public input prior to modifying allowed uses on existing SNAs.

The DNR had proposed loosening restrictions at 10 of these specially designated wild areas, consistent with sound resource management, in hopes of boosting public support and funding for more land acquisitions. In recent years, funding for the SNA program has declined.

Instead, based on the feedback, the DNR decided to make no changes to existing uses, with two exceptions:

At Lake Alexander Woods in Morrison County, the DNR will allow deer hunting during the regular season without a special permit on portions of the SNA (two areas will be open to all deer hunting, one area will be open to archery hunting only). Currently deer hunting is allowed only with a special permit.

At Minnesota Point Pine Forest in Duluth, dogs on leashes will be allowed, which is consistent with city ordinance and well-established public use of the mixed ownership area. Other proposals to allow boat access, swimming and berry picking, will be dropped due to lack of support.

The agency manages scientific and natural areas to protect rare native plant communities, habitat for fish and wildlife, undisturbed natural shoreline and unique geological features.  Activities such as hunting, trapping and dog walking are often restricted in these areas; however, many SNAs are open to these activities as well.  For example, hunting is allowed on 68 SNAs, not just for recreation, but also to prevent damage to plants from deer browsing.

This past spring, the DNR held public hearings on proposed activities at the 10 SNAs. The DNR received 123 written comments, mostly opposed to the proposed changes.

“The process worked as intended,” said Peggy Booth, the DNR’s SNA program supervisor. “We thought the proposed changes could provide public benefits while still protecting the natural resources, but we asked for input and most people told us they didn’t want changes in these areas.”

The public can still provide input on the DNR’s decision. The agency will take comments on the changes for the next two weeks. Individuals should submit comments to sna.dnr@state.mn.us  by 4:30 p.m., Sept. 2.

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Kouba moose on new critical habitat license plate http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/12/kouba-moose-on-new-critical-habitat-license-plate/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=kouba-moose-on-new-critical-habitat-license-plate http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/12/kouba-moose-on-new-critical-habitat-license-plate/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 19:13:30 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=77740 Minnesota motorists can support conservation with a new critical habitat license plate featuring moose art by renowned wildlife artist Les Kouba.

“Moose are synonymous with Minnesota’s north woods and its outdoor heritage,” said Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “Nothing captures the essence of being up north better than a bull moose feeding in the shallows of a boreal lake, and that’s exactly what this new license plate depicts.”

mooseplateThe new moose plate, which displays a never-before-published painting by Kouba, is the eighth critical habitat plate offered. Other plates display the loon, pheasant, chickadee, showy lady’s slipper, a fishing scene and white-tailed deer.

New moose critical habitat plate
The Minnesota Legislature created the critical habitat license plate program in 1995 to provide additional opportunity for Minnesotans to contribute toward conservation. Motorists who purchase a critical habitat plate make a minimum annual contribution of $30 to the Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) program. Every dollar generated through the sale of the license plate is matched with private donations of cash or land.

Critical habitat license plate revenue has generated more than $25 million toward the purchase of 7,700 acres of critical habitat and helped fund non-game wildlife research and surveys, habitat enhancement and educational programs. Information about the program is available on the DNR website.

Revenue from the sale of the new moose plate will go directly to RIM Critical Habitat and not be used for moose research and management.

Kouba research partnership
The DNR worked with Les Kouba Outdoors to design the license plate using previously unpublished art. The two organizations also signed a partnership agreement that will use some of the proceeds from the sale of Kouba’s moose imagery to help fund research and management projects.

“This is a unique public-private partnership formed to help pay for wildlife research and habitat work that we hope keeps moose on Minnesota’s landscape,” said Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager.

The partnership offers Kouba’s moose imagery as incentives for individuals and organizations to join Call of The Moose Minnesota as a member, sponsor or licensee. Les Kouba Outdoors will direct a significant portion of the proceeds to Minnesota’s moose research and management. Information about the partnership is available online at www.callofthemoose.com.

“Les Kouba, the man and his wildlife art, have long epitomized the love of nature and wildlife conservation,” said Greg Meyer, Les Kouba Outdoors president. “We are all challenged to conserve, restore and manage our precious natural resources so that generations to come can enjoy Minnesota’s bountiful outdoors to the greatest extent possible.”

The new license plates are now available at deputy registrar offices statewide. For questions about ordering critical habitat license plates, call the Department of Public Safety-Driver and Vehicle Services at 651-297-3304.

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Dove season opens Sept. 1 http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/12/dove-season-opens-sept-1/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dove-season-opens-sept-1 http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/12/dove-season-opens-sept-1/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 19:08:46 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=77736

Minnesota’s mourning dove hunting season begins Monday, Sept. 1, and continues through Sunday, Nov. 9, with hunters allowed to shoot 15 doves each day, and have 45 in possession.

This is the 11th season of dove hunting in Minnesota, where about 13,000 hunters harvest about 100,000 doves each year. Nationwide, there are about 350 million mourning doves.

“Dove hunting is a great way to introduce youngsters to hunting,” said Steve Merchant, wildlife population and regulation program manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “It doesn’t require much more than a box of shells, shotgun, earth-tone clothing, a hunting spot and a bucket to sit on, which makes it easy for mentors to work with inexperienced hunters under very safe conditions.”

While not required, nontoxic shot is recommended for hunting mourning doves. A small game license and Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification are required for hunters 16 and older. Hunters younger than 16 must obtain a free small-game hunting license and HIP certification. More information on HIP certification can be found at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/hip.

Other migratory bird seasons that start on Sept. 1 include snipe, sora and Virginia rails.

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Lakeville artist wins 2015 trout and salmon stamp contest http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/12/lakeville-artist-wins-2015-trout-and-salmon-stamp-contest/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=lakeville-artist-wins-2015-trout-and-salmon-stamp-contest http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/12/lakeville-artist-wins-2015-trout-and-salmon-stamp-contest/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 19:06:50 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=77733 After finishing as runner up in the previous contest, Lakeville artist Stephen Hamrick has won the 2015 Minnesota Department of Natural Resources trout and salmon stamp contest with a painting of a brook trout.

The painting was selected by judges from among five submissions for the annual contest.

troutstampHamrick is no stranger to winning the contest – this is his fourth win. No other artist has won more than twice in the 34 years the contest has been held.

“Congratulations to Mr. Hamrick for his winning entry, and thanks to all who entered this year,” said Brian Nerbonne, streams habitat consultant, who coordinates the contest.

Four entries advanced to the final stage of judging during the contest held July 31 at the DNR Central Office in St. Paul. Other finalists were Ronald Engebretson, second place; Richard Goodkind, third place; and Anthony Kuehn, fourth place.

The five-member panel of judges this year were Mateo Cadiz, DNR creative services supervisor; Mark Ebbers, retired DNR trout and salmon coordinator; Al Barton from the National Trout Center in Preston, Minnesota; Brad Eaton from the Federation of Fly Fishers; and Davin Brandt, director of Minnesota Steelheader.

The DNR offers no prizes for the stamp contest winner, but the winning artist retains the right to reproduce the work. The following species will be eligible for the 2016 stamp: rainbow, brown, splake and lake trout, coho, pink, chinook and Atlantic salmon. Brook trout designs will not be eligible for the 2016 stamp.

When buying a trout stamp validation, purchasers can request to pay an optional $2 extra to receive the actual pictorial stamp. For more information on trout fishing license requirements, see www.mndnr.gov/fishmn/trout.

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Deer and wolf lottery application deadline is Thursday, Sept. 4 http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/12/deer-and-wolf-lottery-application-deadline-is-thursday-sept-4/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=deer-and-wolf-lottery-application-deadline-is-thursday-sept-4 http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/12/deer-and-wolf-lottery-application-deadline-is-thursday-sept-4/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 19:03:26 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=77731

St. Paul, MN – Those who want to harvest antlerless deer throughout much of Minnesota this hunting season are reminded they must apply by Thursday, Sept. 4.

Antlerless deer permits are issued by lottery. Many deer hunting permit areas that have not been in the lottery classification in recent years are in that classification this year. “The message to deer hunters is to review the hunting and trapping regulation book now,” said Paul Telander, DNR wildlife section chief. “That way, you’ll know whether where you hunt requires entering a lottery to harvest antlerless deer.”

Hunters who want to participate in special firearm deer hunts need to apply for permits that are issued by lottery, and the application deadline is Sept. 4. More information on deer permit areas and special hunts is in the DNR hunting regulations handbook, found online.

Wolf licenses are also issued by lottery. Wolf hunters and trappers must apply by Sept. 4. Information on wolf hunting is available on the DNR website. Wolf management information is available at www.mndnr.gov/wolves.

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Superior Heavy Machinery fails to make the grade http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/07/superior-heavy-machinery-fails-to-make-the-grade/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=superior-heavy-machinery-fails-to-make-the-grade http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/07/superior-heavy-machinery-fails-to-make-the-grade/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 21:59:53 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=77682 Burnsville, MN – Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) is warning the public and business community about Superior Heavy Machinery, an online entity claiming a Duluth (MN) address and purporting to sell used heavy equipment. BBB has determined they are nothing more than a fake company created solely to defraud consumers and business owners seeking to purchase used heavy equipment online.

Superior Heavy Machinery came to BBB’s attention recently when a consumer reported a suspicious interaction with the company. After finding an ad the company had placed on EquipmentTraderOnline.com, the consumer contacted the company expressing interest in a bulldozer.

The representative from Superior Heavy Machinery sent the consumer paperwork claiming that the cost of the machinery – $25,000 – would have to be wired to its parent company in England, Atlas Darius Group, before it would be delivered. The consumer had suspicions and contacted BBB. A Google search for Atlas Darius Group brings up no results and BBB believes this is another fictitious entity. Though there is an Atlas Group in England, BBB has no reason to believe they are associated with Superior Heavy Machinery.

“The amount of money in question is jaw-dropping, which is why we’re so pleased the consumer chose not to go through with this transaction,” ‘said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. “Had they done so, their money would be lost and likely unrecoverable.”

BBB has also reached out to alert law enforcement in the Duluth area and contacted two other sellers of heavy equipment in that region. The owner of one of those two businesses, also located in Duluth, said consumers from as far as Michigan and Denver have come to their store to inquire about equipment they saw advertised online by Superior Heavy Machinery. The business owner said he has never heard of a Superior Heavy Machinery.

“This is another excellent reminder not to wire money overseas or to people you don’t know,” added Badgerow.

To avoid falling victim to fraudulent online entities such as Superior Heavy Machinery, BBB advises the following:

• Research the business at http://www.bbb.org.

• Watch out for requests to wire money overseas – or domestically – or to place funds in escrow with a third-party company. Fraudulent online entities will often reference another company in an effort to appear more legitimate. Research these companies as well. If you can’t find any information on them, it could be a sign there’s a problem.

• Don’t fall for offers that sound too good to be true. Have the salesperson send you written materials; take the time to do your research and don’t allow yourself to be pressured.

• Don’t be dazzled by a fancy website. Remember, creating websites is fairly easy. Be sure to verify that the company has a track record. Be leery of companies that just “pop up” on radar.

For the latest fraud alerts, consumer news and free Business Reviews, visit http://www.bbb.org.

The mission of Better Business Bureau is to be the leader in building marketplace trust by promoting, through self-regulation, the highest standards of business ethics and conduct, and to instill confidence in responsible businesses through programs of education and action that inform, assist and protect the general public.

The BBB is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Contact BBB at http://www.bbb.org or 651-699-1111, toll-free at 1-800-646-6222.

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Vikings fans have several ways to get to the game this season http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/07/vikings-fans-have-several-ways-to-get-to-the-game-this-season/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=vikings-fans-have-several-ways-to-get-to-the-game-this-season http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/07/vikings-fans-have-several-ways-to-get-to-the-game-this-season/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 17:48:50 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=77680 NEWS RELEASE — Minneapolis, MN – Fans attending Minnesota Vikings games at TCF Bank Stadium this season have a number of options for getting to and from the game.

Metro Transit will provide light rail, Northstar and bus service to all pre-season and regular season home games. SouthWest Transit will provide express bus service to all regular season home games. There are several parking areas near the stadium as well as free shuttles to parking areas in St. Paul.

Because of limited road capacity around the stadium, fans are encouraged to plan ahead, schedule extra time and take advantage of available transit options.

Metro Transit
Just like past seasons, fans can take light rail directly to the game. The METRO Green Line provides frequent service between downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis and travels through the heart of the University of Minnesota campus. The Green Line’s Stadium Village Station is located immediately south of TCF Bank Stadium on 23rd Avenue SE.

Fans who take the METRO Blue Line can park for free at Park & Rides at Fort Snelling and 28th Avenue stations and ride the train to downtown Minneapolis. To reach TCF Bank Stadium, Blue Line passengers can transfer to a Green Line train at the Downtown East Station, where the new Vikings stadium is being built. Travel time between downtown Minneapolis and Stadium Village Station is approximately 10 minutes.

Fans in the East Metro can take several local connecting local bus routes to a Green Line station.

Northstar trains will serve each pre-season and regular season Vikings home game this season. Fans who ride Northstar can transfer to a Green Line train at Target Field Station and be at TCF Bank Stadium in approximately 15 minutes. Northstar trains will depart Minneapolis 90 minutes after the game ends. Individual and discounted family passes good for two adults and up to three children or seniors can be purchased in advance online.

Several local bus routes also stop at or near TCF Bank Stadium.

Fans taking a Metro Transit bus or train to the game are encouraged to purchase a Day Pass or Event 6-Hour Pass, which eliminate the need to make multiple fare purchases. Passes can be purchased from ticket-vending machines at any rail platform.

Fans seeking trip planning assistance can speak to a transit expert by calling 612-373-3333 or by using the interactive Trip Planner at metrotransit.org. Extra staff will also be at key boarding locations around the stadium to assist customers.

For more information about service to TCF Bank Stadium visit http://www.metrotransit.org/vikingsTCF.

Fans driving to the game can park at several locations on the U of M campus or take a free fan shuttle from St. Paul to TCF Bank Stadium. For information on parking, tailgating and shuttle options visit http:/www.umn.edu.

SouthWest Transit
SouthWest Transit will provide express bus service to and from each regular season home game. Fans can board at Park & Ride locations in Chaska, Chanhassen or Eden Prairie. Round-trip fares are $5. Return trips depart 30 minutes after the game ends. For more information visit http://www.swtransit.org.

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DNR announces fall duck and goose seasons http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/07/dnr-announces-fall-duck-and-goose-seasons/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dnr-announces-fall-duck-and-goose-seasons http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/07/dnr-announces-fall-duck-and-goose-seasons/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 16:54:56 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=77673 Minnesota’s waterfowl season will open a half-hour before sunrise on Saturday, Sept. 27, under a similar season structure to last year, with similar bag limits and with season dates that vary for north, central and southern zones, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

The waterfowl seasons are based on a federal framework that applies to all states in the Mississippi Flyway.

“While the season structure is similar to recent years, there is an adjustment in the duck season dates in the south duck zone,” said Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl specialist.

In the south duck zone, hunting opens for three days from Saturday, Sept. 27, through Monday, Sept. 29, and then closes. The season then reopens from Saturday, Oct. 11, through Saturday, Dec. 6.

In all zones, the daily bag limit remains at six ducks per day. The mallard bag limit remains at four per day, including two hen mallards. The wood duck bag limit remains at three per day. The only bag limit change from the 2013 waterfowl season is the canvasback limit, which decreases from two to one per day.

Minnesota and three other states in the Mississippi Flyway had the option of including two additional blue-winged teal in the daily bag limit (bonus blue-winged teal).

“We thought the risk that green-winged teal might be taken by mistake was too great,” said Paul Telander, DNR wildlife section chief. “In addition, we did not get a chance to survey waterfowl hunters or take any form of public input related to bonus teal. We plan to do that within the next year.”

Mallard abundance from a continental spring survey that includes Minnesota is used to set overall duck season length. This year’s estimate was 11 million mallards, which was similar to last year’s estimate of 10.8 million mallards and well above the long-term average.

In another measure of Minnesota duck populations, a population index of resident breeding mallards was down slightly from last year, but 13 percent above the long-term average.

“Continental breeding duck numbers were good this year, and following heavy rains in the spring, wetland conditions in the major waterfowl breeding areas were favorable,” Cordts said.

Additional details on the duck, goose, sandhill crane, and other migratory bird hunting seasons will be available in the 2014 Minnesota Waterfowl Hunting Regulations, available in mid-August in booklet form and online at http://www.mndnr.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

Duck seasons
• In the north duck zone (north of Highway 210), the duck season will run from Saturday, Sept. 27, through Tuesday, Nov. 25.

• In the central duck zone, the duck season will run from Saturday, Sept. 27, through Sunday, Oct. 5, and Saturday, Oct. 11, through Sunday, Nov. 30.

• In the south duck zone (south of Highway 212), the duck season will run from Saturday, Sept. 27, through Monday, Sept. 29, and Saturday, Oct. 11, through Saturday, Dec. 6.

Youth waterfowl day
Youth Waterfowl Day will be Saturday, Sept. 13. Hunters ages 15 and under may take regular season bag limits when accompanied by an adult age 18 or older. The accompanying adult can’t hunt that day and does not need a license. Canada geese, mergansers, coots and moorhens may be taken from a half-hour before sunrise to 4 p.m. Motorized decoy restrictions are in effect. Five geese may be taken statewide.

Canada goose hunting  
Canada goose hunting is open in the three duck zones, and also in an intensive harvest zone. For a map of the intensive zone and other information, see www.mndnr.gov/hunting/waterfowl. Hunting dates and information:

The August Canada goose management harvest will open Saturday, Aug. 9, and run through Sunday, Aug. 24, in the Intensive Harvest Zone only. The bag limit is 10 per day. A $4 permit is required. This is the second year Canada goose harvest has been allowed during August due to high populations of Canada geese and agricultural crop depredation.

The early September Canada goose season will open statewide on Saturday, Sept. 6, and run through Monday, Sept. 22. Bag limits for Canada geese are 10 per day in the Intensive Harvest Zone and five per day in the remainder of the state. A $4 permit is required to hunt Canada geese during September season. The restriction prohibiting hunting within 100 yards of surface water remains in effect in the Northwest Goose Zone, Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area, Ocheda Lake Game Refuge, and an area surrounding Swan Lake in Nicollet County. Early season goose hunters should consult the 2014 Waterfowl Supplement for zone maps and additional details.

Minnesota’s regular goose season will open in conjunction with the duck season statewide on Sept. 27, with a bag limit of three Canada geese per day the entire season.  Goose season will be closed in the central and south duck zones when duck season is closed. In the north duck zone, goose season will run from Saturday, Sept. 27, through Thursday, Dec. 25. In the central duck zone, goose season will run from Saturday, Sept. 27, through Sunday, Oct. 5, and Saturday, Oct. 11, through Tuesday, Dec. 30.  In the south duck zone, goose season will run from Saturday, Sept. 27, through Monday, Sept. 29, and Saturday, Oct. 11, through Monday, Jan. 5, 2015.

Sandhill crane season
The season for sandhill cranes will run from Saturday, Sept. 13, through Sunday, Oct. 19, in the northwest goose and sandhill crane zone only. The daily bag limit will be one sandhill crane per day. A $3 sandhill crane permit is required in addition to a small game hunting license.

“We reduced the bag limit from two per day to one per day this year in response to declines in our sandhill crane breeding population in northwestern Minnesota,” Cordts said.

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Apply by Aug. 15 for Camp Ripley archery hunts http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/07/apply-by-aug-15-for-camp-ripley-archery-hunts/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=apply-by-aug-15-for-camp-ripley-archery-hunts http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/07/apply-by-aug-15-for-camp-ripley-archery-hunts/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 16:43:34 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=77671 St. Paul, MN – The deadline for hunters to apply for the 2014 regular archery deer hunts at Camp Ripley near Little Falls is Friday, Aug. 15, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Hunters may pick one season out of two seasons offered: Oct. 15-16 (Wednesday-Thursday, code 668) or Oct. 25-26 (Saturday-Sunday, code 669). A total of 4,000 permits, with 2,000 per two-day hunt, will be made available. Successful applicants must buy a valid archery license at least two days before their hunt to participate.

Due to military training, the first of this year’s two hunts will begin one day earlier than usual, and hunting will not take place on a Friday. As a result, the first hunt will not coincide exactly with the annual statewide teachers’ conference when many schools are closed, as it has in the past.

Hunters can apply for the Camp Ripley hunts through DNR’s computerized Electronic Licensing System (ELS) at any one of 1,500 ELS agents located throughout Minnesota, by telephone at 888-665-4236, online at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/licenses/index.html, or in the DNR License Center, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul.

Application instructions and rules for this year’s hunt are at http://www.mndnr.gov/hunting/deer.

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Buses to replace trains at select METRO Blue Line stations Aug. 8-11 http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/07/buses-to-replace-trains-at-select-metro-blue-line-stations-aug-8-11/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=buses-to-replace-trains-at-select-metro-blue-line-stations-aug-8-11 http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/07/buses-to-replace-trains-at-select-metro-blue-line-stations-aug-8-11/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 16:32:55 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=77667 NEWS RELEASE — Minneapolis, MN – Buses will replace light-rail trains at select METRO Blue Line stations between 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8, and 3 a.m. Monday, Aug. 11.

The disruption is required to perform routine maintenance and allow for construction at several light rail stations.

Replacement buses will stop at or near affected Blue Line stations and operate on a similar schedule as light rail trains. Replacement buses can take more time than trains. Customers are encouraged to plan accordingly.

Buses will replace Blue Line trains according to the following schedule:

7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8 – 11:59 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8
Rail service will continue as scheduled on the full length of the Blue Line but customers will not be able to board or exit trains at the 50th Street or VA Medical Center stations. Customers traveling to those stations can board replacement buses at 46th Street Station and Fort Snelling Station.

12:01 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 9 – 3 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 10
Buses will replace trains between Franklin Avenue Station and Terminal 2-Humphrey. Rail service will continue as scheduled between downtown Minneapolis and Franklin Avenue Station, between airport terminals and at all Bloomington stations.

Customers traveling to the airport on a replacement bus will transfer to a Blue Line train at Terminal 2-Humphrey to reach Terminal 1-Lindbergh.

Customers traveling from the airport toward Minneapolis will board replacement buses at Terminal 2-Humphrey.

3 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 10 – 3 a.m. Monday, Aug. 11
Buses will replace trains between 46th Street Station and Terminal 2-Humphrey. Rail service will continue as scheduled between downtown Minneapolis and 46th Street Station, between airport terminals and at all Bloomington stations.

Customers traveling to the airport on a replacement bus will transfer to a Blue Line train at Terminal 2-Humphrey to reach Terminal 1-Lindbergh.

Customers traveling from the airport toward Minneapolis will board replacement buses at Terminal 2-Humphrey.

For replacement bus boarding maps and service updates visit metrotransit.org/construction. Customers can also receive updates through the Rail Maintenance Hotline by calling 612-373-3333, option 6, and by following Metro Transit on Twitter (twitter.com/MetroTransitMN) and Facebook (facebook.com/MetroTransitMN).

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Start planning for 2015 fishing tournaments http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/04/start-planning-for-2015-fishing-tournaments/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=start-planning-for-2015-fishing-tournaments http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/04/start-planning-for-2015-fishing-tournaments/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 17:46:07 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=77584 Anglers and others who want to host fishing tournaments in 2015 can apply now, and will find an application form at http://www.mndnr.gov/fishing/tournaments, the Department of Natural Resources said.

Applicants should consider:
• The application period opened Friday, Aug. 1, and preference is given to applications received by Friday, Sept. 26.

• Permits are required for most tournaments with more than 25 boats, or an entry fee more than $25, or ice fishing contests exceeding 150 participants.

• A fee is required to apply, due at time of application, with fees typically ranging from $60 to $200.• Permits are not required for certain types of contests, including youth tournaments.

• A lottery is used to allocate permits if the number of applications exceeds monthly limits.

The DNR limits the size and frequency of tournaments on most waters based on lake size, and also keeps two weekends each month free of permitted tournaments.

“By limiting the number of contests held on a monthly basis, we are addressing the concerns that fishing tournaments might disturb the fishing, swimming, boating and other water recreation of lake users,” said Al Stevens, fisheries program consultant.

The application fee is designed to recover administrative costs and free up dollars for fish management programs.

For detailed tournament regulations, call the DNR Information Center, 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367; online at http://www.mndnr.gov/fishing/tournaments.

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Smokey Bear celebrates 70th birthday; encourages fire safety http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/04/smokey-bear-celebrates-70th-birthday-encourages-fire-safety/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=smokey-bear-celebrates-70th-birthday-encourages-fire-safety http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/04/smokey-bear-celebrates-70th-birthday-encourages-fire-safety/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 17:42:09 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=77581 St. Paul, MN – Smokey Bear’s message “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires” is as relevant today as it was 70 years ago when Smokey first became a champion of wildfire prevention.

Smokey’s 70th birthday is Aug. 9.

smokeyThe Minnesota Department of Natural Resources joins Smokey in celebrating fire safety successes and urging all Minnesotans to be careful with fire. Smokey Bear is one of the most well-known symbols in the United States. An amazing 96 percent of U.S. adults recognize Smokey Bear and 70 percent are able to recall Smokey’s tagline without prompting.

Smokey has many educational materials available, especially for kids kindergarten through fifth grade. The Minnesota Interagency Fire Center is home to the National Symbols Cache, the place where all Smokey Bear educational materials are stored and sent out nationwide.

Since 1944, Smokey has told kids and adults that they can make a difference in preventing wildfires. His fire safety lessons have helped reduce forest fires. The average number of acres lost to wildfire nationwide has decreased from 22 million acres in 1944 to an average of 6.7 million acres today.

Yet, wildfires still harm public health and safety, destroy homes and property, and cost millions of dollars annually in firefighting. Minnesota wildland firefighters extinguish an average of 1,400 fires that burn 31,000 acres each year. Most of these wildfires, 98 percent, are caused by people and can be prevented.

Help Smokey celebrate 70 years of fire prevention by being careful with fire at all times.

Here are eight of Smokey’s tips for fire safety.
• Don’t play with matches.

• Never leave a campfire unattended and make sure it is cold to the touch before leaving.

• Use grills, camp stoves and lanterns away from materials that can catch fire.

• Be careful with fireworks.  Put used fireworks in a bucket of water.

• Make sure outdoor vehicles and equipment are in good working order. Sparks from vehicles and equipment can start fires.

• Watch the weather. Hot, dry, windy weather can increase chances of wildfire.

• Put out cigarettes in a safe place.

• People who see a wildfire, should call 9-1-1 immediately.

For more information on prevention and safety, wildfire emergencies and Smokey Bear education materials, visit Minnesota’s wildfire prevention webpage at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/wildfire/prevention/index.html.

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Several youth hunting opportunities offered this fall http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/04/several-youth-hunting-opportunities-offered-this-fall/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=several-youth-hunting-opportunities-offered-this-fall http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/04/several-youth-hunting-opportunities-offered-this-fall/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 17:32:29 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=77579 St. Paul, MN – Youth can hunt with adult mentors during several organized youth hunting opportunities coming up this fall. For some hunts, application deadlines are approaching.

Application forms and more information can be found at http://www.mndnr.gov/discover, or by calling the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Information Center, 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367, or Mike Kurre, DNR mentoring program coordinator, 651-259-5193.

Youth waterfowl hunt
• For ages 12 to 15.
• Orientation is Friday, Sept. 12, hunt is Saturday, Sept. 13.
• Hunts near Twin Cities metro, Detroit Lakes, Morris, Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge near Princeton, Sherburn near Windom, and Fergus Falls.
• Apply by Monday, Aug. 11.

Youth deer hunts at refuges and state parks
• Ages 12 to 15 in 15 firearms hunts, ages 12 to 17 in two archery hunts.
• Hunts and orientations held on various dates in October and November.
• Locations at specific wildlife refuges and state parks throughout the state.
• Apply by Friday, Aug. 15.

Youth and family upland bird hunt
• For ages 12 to 17, and family members who want to hunt together.
• Hunts and orientations are Saturday, Oct. 18.
• Locations throughout Minnesota.
• Apply by Tuesday, Sept. 2.

Youth deer season
• For ages 10 to 15.
• Season is Thursday, Oct. 16 through Sunday, Oct. 19.
• Permit areas in southeastern and northwestern Minnesota and portions of the Twin Cities metro area.
• Twenty-seven deer permit areas are open to hunt, see hunting regulations book or DNR hunting page at http://www.mndnr.gov/hunting/deer for permit areas.

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Invasive species reported in 2 Kandiyohi County lakes http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/04/invasive-species-reported-in-2-kandiyohi-county-lakes/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=invasive-species-reported-in-2-kandiyohi-county-lakes http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/04/invasive-species-reported-in-2-kandiyohi-county-lakes/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 17:26:39 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=77577 St. Paul, MN – New finds of aquatic invasive species have been reported in Green Lake near Spicer and Games Lake near Sunburg, both in Kandiyohi County, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

During the week of July 14, a new infestation of Eurasian watermilfoil was reported to DNR Invasive Species Specialist Nicholas Brown, by a lakeshore owner on Games Lake, about 7 miles east of Sunburg. The report was confirmed when the plant was found growing in the lake near the outlet from Norway Lake. Norway Lake is also infested with Eurasian watermilfoil.

On Monday, July 21, a suspected zebra mussel specimen was brought into the Spicer DNR office for positive identification. The property owner said he found the zebra mussel attached to a dock post in about 4 feet of water in Green Lake, but was unable to find another. The specimen was confirmed as an adult zebra mussel by Brown, though it was dead at the time of inspection. DNR personnel conducted additional searches on Green Lake, July 22 and July 24, but no additional zebra mussels were found.

Green Lake will be designated as infested with zebra mussels. The DNR will work with local partners to continue monitoring for the presence of zebra mussels. If no additional evidence of a zebra mussel population is found in Green Lake for the next five years, the DNR may revisit the decision to list the lake as infested with zebra mussels. As a precaution, Lake Calhoun in Kandiyohi County will also be designated as infested because it is directly downstream from Green Lake.

“These newest reports emphasize the need for everyone to be on the lookout for zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species,” Brown said. “Lakeshore owners should take extra time to examine docks, boat lifts and rafts, especially when removing them this fall.”Zebra mussels pose serious ecological and economic threats to Minnesota’s lakes and streams. Heavy infestations can kill native mussels, impact fish populations and interfere with recreation.

Minnesota currently has more than 175 water bodies designated as infested with zebra mussels. Designation does not mean each body of water is confirmed to be infested, but that zebra mussels have been detected in a lake accessible by boat, and spread is likely between connected waters.

Preventing the spread of invasive species takes personal responsibility. Before leaving a lake, boaters must remove all aquatic vegetation and animals including zebra mussels or other prohibited invasive species, drain all water by removing drain plugs and keep drain plugs out while transporting watercraft.

“We want to stress that lake users be diligent in following the laws, including inspecting, cleaning, and draining boats and dumping all unwanted bait in the trash,” Brown said. “Following these steps will slow the spread of all invasive species.”

More information about aquatic invasive species, how to inspect boats and other water-related equipment, and a current list of designated infested waters can be found on the DNR website at http://www.mndnr.gov/ais.

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Sign up to receive Mille Lacs Lake news http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/04/sign-up-to-receive-mille-lacs-lake-news/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sign-up-to-receive-mille-lacs-lake-news http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/04/sign-up-to-receive-mille-lacs-lake-news/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 17:06:27 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=77575 Those interested in Mille Lacs Lake can view a Department of Natural Resources quarterly newsletter that will keep readers up to date on research, fish population assessments and general information.

Access the “Hooked on Mille Lacs Lake” newsletter by subscribing at http://www.mndnr.gov/millelacslakenews.

“We want people to be aware of what’s going on and stay connected,” said Rick Bruesewitz, DNR Aitkin area fisheries supervisor.

The newest issue of the newsletter touches on topics, including a tagging study involving 14,000 walleye and 3,600 northern pike, a muskellunge assessment, predator diets, and other fish and lake facts.

Subscribers will receive an announcement about the quarterly newsletter via email, as well as periodic email updates about Mille Lacs. The Aitkin area fisheries office produces the newsletter.

In addition to the newsletter, anyone interested in learning more about Mille Lacs Lake management can visit http://www.mndnr.gov/millelacslake, and can see current and previous editions of the newsletter and other information at the Aitkin area fisheries page at http://www.mndnr.gov/areas/fisheries/aitkin.

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Lt. Gov. Prettner Solon selected for National Lt. Governors Association Leadership Committee http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/01/lt-gov-prettner-solon-selected-for-national-lt-governors-association-leadership-committee/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=lt-gov-prettner-solon-selected-for-national-lt-governors-association-leadership-committee http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/01/lt-gov-prettner-solon-selected-for-national-lt-governors-association-leadership-committee/#comments Sat, 02 Aug 2014 02:39:40 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=77560 St. Paul, MN – Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon has been selected to serve on the National Lt. Governors Association (NLGA) leadership committee. As a member of the committee, Lt. Governor Prettner Solon will help guide the organization’s work on issues impacting the states.

“It is an honor to be named to a leadership position,” said Lt. Gov. Prettner Solon. “I am confident that the ideas shared and partnerships forged through this position will result in tangible benefits for Minnesotans.”

The leadership committee meets approximately three times a year to discuss public policy issues with both state and national significance. Lt. Governor Prettner Solon will serve a one-year term on the committee. She was first elected to the committee in July 2011 and has been reelected each year since then.

“Lt. Governor Prettner Solon was nominated to this position by a bipartisan group of her peers,” said Julia Hurst, NLGA executive director. “Lt. Gov. Prettner Solon’s unanimous election among officials of both parties from every region of the country speaks to the high regard she is held in among her peers.”
About the National Lt. Governors Association
The National Lt. Governors Association offers its members the opportunity to assume national leadership roles in fields ranging from energy and the environment to the arts. Through the association, members foster interstate cooperation and share best practices to the benefit of the constituents in the states and territories. Visit http://www.nlga.us for more information.

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Gov. Dayton proclaims Sir Paul McCartney Day in Minnesota http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/01/gov-dayton-proclaims-sir-paul-mccartney-day-in-minnesota/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=gov-dayton-proclaims-sir-paul-mccartney-day-in-minnesota http://hometownsource.com/2014/08/01/gov-dayton-proclaims-sir-paul-mccartney-day-in-minnesota/#comments Sat, 02 Aug 2014 02:34:47 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=77556 St. Paul, MN – Marking the musician’s fourth concert appearance in Minnesota, Gov. Mark Dayton has proclaimed Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, to be Sir Paul McCartney Day in Minnesota.

The governor’s proclamation recognizes McCartney for his contributions to music in a career spanning nearly six decades and celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the first Beatles concert in Minnesota.

McCartney’s first performance in Minnesota was in 1965 with the Beatles at Met Stadium in Bloomington. He has since made several solo appearances in the state, and with this most recent concert at Target Field, will have performed in every Minnesota Twins baseball stadium.

Sir Paul McCartney is credited with writing or co-writing 32 number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and is widely recognized as being one of the world’s top songwriters of the 20th and 21st Centuries. His awards and accolades include knighthood in the United Kingdom and being twice-inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

As a member of the Beatles, McCartney been awarded 10 Grammys, an Academy Award for Best Original Score, and was included in Time Magazine’s compilation of the Twentieth Century’s 100 Most Influential People.

A full version of the proclamation can be found on the governor’s website.

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Blazar named interim president of Minnesota Chamber http://hometownsource.com/2014/07/30/blazar-named-interim-president-of-minnesota-chamber/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=blazar-named-interim-president-of-minnesota-chamber http://hometownsource.com/2014/07/30/blazar-named-interim-president-of-minnesota-chamber/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 20:48:40 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=77517 Bill Blazar has been named the interim president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce by its Board of Directors. He fills the vacancy left by President David C. Olson who died July 16, 2014.

Bill Blazar

Bill Blazar

Blazar joined the chamber staff in 1992 and most recently served as its senior vice president of public affairs and business development.

The board will discuss and adopt a search process at its annual planning retreat in August.

“The Minnesota Chamber is strong in spite of the devastating loss of its longtime president, David Olson,” said Jeff DeYoung, managing partner at Baker Tilly and chair of the Minnesota Chamber Board. “Its vision and strategies are clear thanks to an engaged board of directors and dedicated staff, both of which have been built over many years.”

The Minnesota Chamber is the state’s largest business advocacy organization representing 2,300 businesses of all types and sizes across the state.

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Senate passes legislation ensuring critical funds for state transportation projects http://hometownsource.com/2014/07/29/senate-passes-legislation-ensuring-critical-funds-for-state-transportation-projects/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=senate-passes-legislation-ensuring-critical-funds-for-state-transportation-projects http://hometownsource.com/2014/07/29/senate-passes-legislation-ensuring-critical-funds-for-state-transportation-projects/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 01:32:00 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=77495 NEWS RELEASE — Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar today announced the Senate has passed legislation ensuring critical funds for Minnesota highways.

The legislation ensures the Highway Trust Fund remains solvent – without action the fund will go bankrupt in August, jeopardizing critical projects and construction jobs and creating uncertainty for business and local governments across Minnesota.

“With our extremely short construction season and long winter, ensuring that our transportation projects can continue to move forward is critically important to Minnesota,” Klobuchar said. “This legislation will make sure we don’t hit the brakes on transportation projects across the state, and the House needs to take quick action to pass this bill so it can be signed into law. Our focus must now be on passing a multi-year transportation bill that ensures long-term certainty and keeps us competitive in the global economy.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation has indicated that without additional funding the Highway Trust Fund will be insolvent by the end of August. As a result, state transportation agencies across the cross country would be forced to pull back on tens of thousands of transportation projects, leaving thousands out of work.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, inefficiencies in infrastructure are expected to drive up the cost of doing business by an estimated $430 billion in the next decade. Americans spend 5.5 billion hours a year stuck in traffic at a cost to the economy of $121 billion or $818 per motorist.

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BBB says to be on alert for getting calls from your own number http://hometownsource.com/2014/07/28/bbb-says-to-be-on-alert-for-getting-calls-from-your-own-number/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=bbb-says-to-be-on-alert-for-getting-calls-from-your-own-number http://hometownsource.com/2014/07/28/bbb-says-to-be-on-alert-for-getting-calls-from-your-own-number/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 21:57:48 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=77480 Burnsville, MN – Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) says area consumers are reporting they’re receiving illegal marketing calls that display their own phone number on caller ID.

Though it’s natural to be curious about such calls, BBB advises the public to ignore the calls or let them go to voicemail – and then delete the messages.

“This is another clever ruse scammers have devised to get people to answer their phones,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. “You look down, you see your own number on caller ID…obviously you want to know what it’s all about. We’re advising people to override that instinct.”

Since the start of summer, Better Business Bureaus across the country have been hearing from harried consumers who are confused – and annoyed – by these calls, which are often dialed by computerized calling centers.

Here’s how the scam works: Your phone rings and you see your name and phone number pop up on caller ID. If you answer, a computerized message claims to be able to lower your credit card interest rates, which of course, means they will require your credit card number.

In some cases, consumers are informed they can supposedly opt-out of future calls by pressing “1.” People who do so can count on receiving more calls of this nature from other shady telemarketing firms. Any action consumers take tells fraudsters that a phone number is ‘good,’ and that number is added to phone lists which scammers then sell to other scammers. In any case, these promises of lowering your credit card interest rates are not legitimate.

The practice of using technology to alter or disguise the true number of an incoming telephone call is known as “spoofing,” and its use is growing among criminals who also use this technique to pretend they are calling from a well-known company or government agency. By hijacking the names and phone numbers of organizations with which you are familiar, the callers attempt to gain your trust in hopes they can trick you into handing over personal or financial information.

Per FTC rules, telemarketing sales calls with recorded messages are generally illegal unless you have given the company written permission to call you. Some prerecorded messages are permitted — for example, messages that are purely informational. That means you may receive calls to let you know your flight’s been cancelled, reminders about an appointment, or messages about a delayed school opening. Prerecorded messages from a business contacting you to collect a debt also are also permitted, but messages offering to sell you services to reduce your debt are barred.

Other exceptions include political calls and calls from certain health care providers. For example, pharmacies are permitted to use prerecorded messages to provide prescription refill reminders. Prerecorded messages from banks, telephone carriers and charities also are exempt from these rules if the banks, carriers or charities make the calls themselves.

“The most ingenious aspect of these ‘spoofing’ calls is the lack of information available to consumers,” added Badgerow. “If they report the issue to the FTC, what are they to report – their own phone numbers?”
Nevertheless, BBB has confirmed the FTC does want to hear about these calls and other suspect robocalls.

People can file complaints by visiting http://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov. The FTC is interested in the time and date the call (or calls) occurred and what product is being offered.

Before responding to unsolicited phone calls, BBB advises:
Never give out any financial information – If you did not initiate the call, do not provide bank account, credit card or Social Security numbers over the phone. It’s best to end calls that make you uncomfortable or that you’re not sure about and follow up with your bank or financial institution – or government agency – directly.

Don’t rely on caller ID – Remember, scammers can use technology to make it appear as though their calls are coming from legitimate businesses or organizations – or even from your own phone number. Caller ID is a helpful feature, but it’s far from foolproof. Keep your guard up.

Trust your instincts – If something doesn’t seem right to you, end the call and report your experience to BBB, by calling 800-646-6222 or visiting http://www.bbb.org.

The mission of Better Business Bureau is to be the leader in building marketplace trust by promoting, through self-regulation, the highest standards of business ethics and conduct, and to instill confidence in responsible businesses through programs of education and action that inform, assist and protect the general public.

The BBB is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Contact BBB at http://www.bbb.org or 651-699-1111, toll-free at 1-800-646-6222.

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Minnesota has one of highest minimum wages in nation http://hometownsource.com/2014/07/28/77467/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=77467 http://hometownsource.com/2014/07/28/77467/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 18:38:02 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=77467 Minnesota now has one of the highest minimum wages in the nation, following action by the 2014 Legislature, reports the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.

The first increase takes effect Aug. 1.

The 2014, 2015, and 2016 increases take effect each August; the 2018 increase begins in January. Businesses also should begin planning for the automatic inflation increases beginning in 2018.

The change in state law is an excellent opportunity to see what impact local employers anticipate. In addition, it’s an opportunity to make sure employers are aware of several key provisions and actions they should take.

New minimum wage law: What you need to know
A large employer is defined as having $500,000 or more in sales exclusive of excises taxes – a significant decrease from the previous legal definition of $625,000.

Businesses should meet with their certified public accountant or attorney to determine whether they meet or exceed the threshold.

A small employer is defined as having less than $500,000 in sales exclusive of excise taxes. This is a very small number even for the smallest businesses.

Businesses should analyze when they may exceed the $500,000 threshold and plan to pay employees accordingly. Then contact their payroll providers with sufficient notice to make the change.

Youth wage
Employers may pay this wage to employees under age 18. They should make sure their payroll system starts paying the adult wage the day employees turn 18.  Employers will likely have to request payroll changes weeks in advance of birthdays.

Training wage
Employers may pay employees under age 20 this wage for their first 90 days on the job. It is likely this cannot be used to justify paying seasonal employees the training wage once they work 90 days, even if there is a seasonal layoff and the employee is rehired the next season.

Summer work travel employee exemption
Employers in the hotel or motel, lodging establishment or resort industry may pay this wage to employees working under the authority of a summer work travel exchange visitor program (J) nonimmigrant visa.

Because this law allows employers to pay workers from other countries less, it is unclear whether the Minnesota Department of Human Rights or the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will take the position that the law raises issues of national origin discrimination, even though the law permits this wage. We are awaiting guidance from the two agencies.

Inflation Index
Beginning January 1, 2018, all minimum wage rates will increase by the national implicit price deflator or 2.5%, whichever is lower.

The Department of Labor and Industry commissioner may stop an annual increase only after significant executive branch and public input.

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Cime victim services agencies recognized by Secretary of State http://hometownsource.com/2014/07/28/cime-victim-services-agencies-recognized-by-secretary-of-state/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cime-victim-services-agencies-recognized-by-secretary-of-state http://hometownsource.com/2014/07/28/cime-victim-services-agencies-recognized-by-secretary-of-state/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 18:32:25 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=77464 NEWS RELEASE — St. Paul, MN — Secretary of State Mark Ritchie recognized nine victim services agencies for providing outstanding service in Minnesota’s Safe at Home program.

Mark Ritchie

Mark Ritchie

More than 18 representatives from the agencies were honored for their work in promoting the program and helping people enroll as participants.

Safe at Home, launched in 2007, is a statewide address confidentiality program that provides a substitute address and mail-forwarding service for victims of stalking, sexual assault, domestic violence, and others who fear for their safety.

The program enables participants to go about their daily lives without the risk of the persons they fear discovering their actual address. Nearly 3,400 people have enrolled in Safe at Home since its inception in the state.

Honored agencies
The following agencies were honored for meeting the safety needs to victims; their dependability as a Safe at Home enrollment facilitator in their community; and providing effective communications with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State:

• Alexandra House, Blaine
• Cornerstone, Bloomington
• Lakes Crisis and Resource Center, Detroit Lakes
• Rivers of Hope, Monticello
• St. Paul Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, St. Paul
• Sojourner Project, Hopkins
• Women’s Center of Mid-Minnesota, Brainerd
• Women’s Shelter, Inc., Rochester
• 360 Communities, Eagan/Hastings.

“We treasure the partnerships we have with these agencies and their personnel, who are true heroes in making the Safe at Home program so beneficial for participants,” says Ritchie. “These groups provide a gateway to Safe at Home which can help participants gain a sense of safety and security.”

Community-based organizations partner with Safe at Home to provide safety planning and facilitate enrollment in the program in almost every county in Minnesota. There are more than 200 trained application assistants statewide.

To learn about partnering with Safe at Home, or for enrollment information, visit secretary of state’s website, or call (651) 201-1399, 1-866-723-3035 (toll-free), or 711 or 1-800-627-3529 (Minnesota Relay Services).

About the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State
The Secretary of State is the chief election official in Minnesota and is responsible for the administration of the state’s election law. In this capacity, the office operates the Statewide Voter Registration System and prepares the official roster of voters for every election. The office also accepts filings by candidates, trains local election officials, and conducts voter education and outreach programs.

The Secretary of State is the keeper of the Great Seal of Minnesota and has the role of certifying the authenticity of a wide variety of official documents, including proclamations and executive orders.

A main function of the office is the review, approval and filing of articles of incorporation and amendments for all businesses and nonprofit organizations conducting business in Minnesota.

The Secretary of State also processes all notary public applications; serves as the state’s central filing system for lien information related to the Uniform Commercial Code; and administers Safe at Home, an address confidentiality program designed to assist Minnesotans who fear for their safety.

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DNR announces 2014 wolf season; survey shows stable population http://hometownsource.com/2014/07/24/dnr-announces-2014-wolf-season-survey-shows-stable-population/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dnr-announces-2014-wolf-season-survey-shows-stable-population http://hometownsource.com/2014/07/24/dnr-announces-2014-wolf-season-survey-shows-stable-population/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 16:16:05 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=77424 NEWS RELEASE — St. Paul, MN – Hunters and trappers can apply for the 2014 wolf season beginning Friday, Aug. 1, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced.

A total of 3,800 hunting and trapping licenses will be available, 500 more licenses than last year’s seasons. The statewide target harvest of wolves is 250, 30 more than last year.

The early season begins Saturday, Nov. 8.

The latest population survey results estimate that 470 wolf packs and 2,423 wolves lived in Minnesota’s wolf range this past winter, 212 more wolves than estimated on the survey conducted in winter 2013.

“Estimates show a stable population with no significant change from the 2013 estimate of 2,211 wolves,” said Dan Stark, DNR large carnivore specialist. “We will continue to evaluate the wolf population annually to ensure the wolf population remains well established across northern and central Minnesota.”

The DNR’s goal for wolf management is to ensure the long term survival of wolves in Minnesota while addressing conflicts between wolves and humans.

Hunting information
Starting Friday, Aug. 1, hunters and trappers can apply for 2,300 early-season and 1,500 late-season licenses. The deadline to apply for the hunting and trapping license lottery is Thursday, Sept. 4.

To apply, applicants need to pay a $4 fee, show proof of a current or previous hunting license and choose one of three available license options, using the season’s letter designation when buying:

• Early season hunting (Season A) is open at the same time the firearms deer season is open unless a wolf zone closes earlier because the target harvest is met. The early season runs from Saturday, Nov. 8 through Sunday, Nov. 23, in all Series 100 deer permit areas, and Nov. 8 through Sunday, Nov. 16, in Series 200 deer permit areas. In the east-central zone, the early season is scheduled to be a two-day hunt this year, concluding when legal shooting hours end on Sunday, Nov. 9.

• Late season hunting (Season B) runs from Saturday, Nov. 29 through Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015, or when the target harvest is met, whichever occurs first. If the east-central zone’s target harvest is met during the early season, the late east-central season will not open.

• Late season trapping (Season C) runs from Nov. 29 through Jan. 31, 2015, or when the target harvest is met, whichever occurs first.

The statewide bag limit is one wolf and licenses are not zone-specific. Lottery winners will receive a wolf hunting booklet with their notification.

Wolf license fees are $30 for residents and $250 for nonresidents. The early season purchase deadline is Friday, Oct. 31, with surplus licenses going on sale at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 5. The late season purchase deadline is Friday, Nov. 21, with surplus licenses going on sale at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Information on wolf hunting is available on the DNR website at http://www.mndnr.gov/hunting/wolf. Wolf management information is available at http://www.mndnr.gov/wolves.

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Secretary of State voter outreach team available to help promote the vote http://hometownsource.com/2014/07/23/secretary-of-state-voter-outreach-team-available-to-help-promote-the-vote/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=secretary-of-state-voter-outreach-team-available-to-help-promote-the-vote http://hometownsource.com/2014/07/23/secretary-of-state-voter-outreach-team-available-to-help-promote-the-vote/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 20:15:44 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=77375 NEWS RELEASE — St. Paul, MN,  — A voter outreach team from the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State is available to help companies, nonprofits, educational institutions, government agencies and others engage and prepare eligible voters for participation in the 2014 election season.

Interested organizations can request “Promote the Vote” workshops, voter registration information, as well as educational voter materials — many available in Hmong, Somali and Spanish. All materials are available at mnvotes.org, including promotional videos.

“The way for Minnesota to continue its tradition of being the nation’s leader in voter turnout is by welcoming new voters into our voting community, especially those who are turning age 18 and those who move to our state,” says Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. “I encourage organizations to take advantage of the program which is an effort to build voter participation through education and awareness.”

The Office of the Secretary of State also will have a presence at many summertime and fall events in the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota to educate and register voters.

2014 is a significant election year
This election year, Minnesota voters will head to the polls to decide a U.S. Senate seat, all U.S. and Minnesota House seats, governor and other state officers, and many county commissioners, sheriffs, attorneys, auditors, treasurers and recorders.

Key 2014 election dates:
Aug. 12 — Primary Election Day.
Sept. 19 — Absentee ballots will be available for the November 4 General Election.
Oct. 14 — Pre-registration deadline for the General Election. Voters are encouraged to pre-register to vote to avoid long lines and waits at the polling place. Voters who miss this deadline may still register at their polling place on Election Day, Nov. 4.
Nov. 4 — General Election Day.

View all 2014 election dates and sign up to receive election-related email updates.

About the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State
The Secretary of State is the chief election official in Minnesota and is responsible for the administration of the state’s election law. In this capacity, the office operates the Statewide Voter Registration System and prepares the official roster of voters for every election. The office also accepts filings by candidates, trains local election officials, and conducts voter education and outreach programs.

The Secretary of State is the keeper of the Great Seal of Minnesota and has the role of certifying the authenticity of a wide variety of official documents, including proclamations and executive orders.

A main function of the office is the review, approval and filing of articles of incorporation and amendments for all businesses and nonprofit organizations conducting business in Minnesota. The Secretary of State also processes all notary public applications; serves as the state’s central filing system for lien information related to the Uniform Commercial Code; and administers Safe at Home, an address confidentiality program designed to assist Minnesotans who fear for their safety.

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Conservative deer season set; hunting licenses go on sale Aug. 1 http://hometownsource.com/2014/07/23/conservative-deer-season-set-hunting-licenses-go-on-sale-aug-1/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=conservative-deer-season-set-hunting-licenses-go-on-sale-aug-1 http://hometownsource.com/2014/07/23/conservative-deer-season-set-hunting-licenses-go-on-sale-aug-1/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 20:08:49 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=77373 NEWS RELEASE — St. Paul, MN – Hunters can expect a conservative 2014 deer season designed to rebuild deer numbers across much of the state, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said.

“Hunters should check the 2014 hunting regulations closely because only one deer can be harvested in 95 percent of the state,” said Leslie McInenly, big game program leader for the DNR. “To shoot a doe, hunters may have to apply for a permit in areas where they haven’t in the past and, in some places, no antlerless harvest will be allowed.”

In 69 of Minnesota’s 128 deer permit areas, hunters must be chosen in a lottery to shoot an antlerless deer. Only bucks can be hunted in 14 areas. In 38 areas, hunters have the choice of shooting a doe or a buck. Bonus permits allowing hunters to shoot more than one deer may only be used in seven permit areas and for some special hunts.

“Many hunters voiced concerns about current deer densities and their hunting experiences in recent years. We heard from hunters at the listening sessions we conducted, in the online comments we solicited and by contacting us directly,” McInenly said. “This past winter only added to those concerns so this year’s conservative approach will protect more antlerless deer, reduce the statewide harvest and allow the population to rebound.”

Northeastern Minnesota hunters will feel the greatest impact from a bucks-only season. In bucks-only areas, no antlerless deer may be harvested by any hunter, including those with archery or youth licenses. McInenly said that most of these areas are now below goal and that this year’s conservative approach is consistent with the DNR’s long-term commitment to manage deer populations at established goal levels.

Hunters can enter the lottery for antlerless permits beginning Friday, Aug. 1. The deadline to apply is Thursday, Sept. 4. Hunters may apply using both their firearm and muzzleloader licenses. If hunters are selected for both licenses, they must select the one season in which they want to shoot an antlerless deer.

Deer hunting licenses, lottery applications and special hunt applications are available at any DNR license agent, by telephone at 888-665-4236 or online at http://www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense. Lottery winners will be notified in October.

Permit area breakdown
Bucks-only deer areas in 2014 are deer permit areas 108, 117, 118, 119, 122, 126, 127, 169, 176, 177, 178, 180, 181 and 199.

Lottery deer areas in 2014 are permit areas 101, 103, 105, 110, 111, 152, 155, 156, 159, 171, 172, 173, 179, 183, 184, 197, 203, 208, 213, 229, 234, 237, 238, 242, 246, 247, 250, 251, 252, 253, 258, 259, 260, 261, 262, 263, 264, 265, 266, 267, 268, 269, 270, 271, 272, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 278, 279, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 290, 291, 294, 295, 296, 297, 298 and 299.

Hunter choice deer areas in 2014 are permit areas 157, 201, 209, 210, 214, 215, 218, 219, 221, 222, 223, 224, 225, 227, 230, 232, 233, 235, 236, 239, 240, 241, 248, 249, 254, 255, 256, 257, 292, 293, 338, 339, 341, 342, 344, 345, 347 and 348.

Managed deer areas in 2014 are permit areas 114, 287 and 343.

Intensive deer areas in 2014 are permit areas 182, 346 and 349.

The DNR strongly advises hunters to review new deer hunting regulations, permit area designations and boundary changes before applying. Current and up-to-date information is available online at http://www.mndnr.gov/hunting/deer. Information about deer management and upcoming deer population goal setting during the next two years is available at http://www.mndnr.gov/deer.

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Better Business Bureau cautions vacationers against fraudsters http://hometownsource.com/2014/07/22/better-business-bureau-cautions-vacationers-against-fraudsters/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=better-business-bureau-cautions-vacationers-against-fraudsters http://hometownsource.com/2014/07/22/better-business-bureau-cautions-vacationers-against-fraudsters/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 19:12:58 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=77363 NEWS RELEASE — Burnsville, MN – Summer is a great time for getaways, but while you’re on vacation, criminals are still hard at work.

The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) warns consumers that they can find themselves tripped up by their own vacation plans if they don’t first take some precautions.

“Scammers never stop thinking, so consumers have to be looking ahead too,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. “The stakes are always high.”

According to Javelin Research’s 2014 Identity Fraud Study, more than 13 million Americans had their identities stolen last year, and it cost an average of $3,500 to fix related problems. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), ID theft has surpassed drug trafficking to become the most prevalent crime in the nation.

BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota advises consumers to be on the lookout for fraud in all of its forms, particularly technology-based schemes.

Here are steps people setting out on vacation can take to protect themselves:

Keep an eye on your credit cards – When standing in line at a ticket counter or restaurant, don’t leave your credit card in plain view. Someone can snap a photo of it over your shoulder and use the information fraudulently.

Copy vital cards and documents – It’s a good idea to keep a record of your credit card, passport and other important numbers – in a safe place – in case your wallet or purse is lost or stolen. Leave identity documents and cards that you don’t need at home. Make sure you keep a record of customer service numbers in case you run into a problem while you’re out of town.

Check receipts during vacation and after – When you get home, go through your bank and credit card statements to look for any unauthorized charges. If something is amiss, contact your financial institution immediately.

Manage your mail and newspaper delivery online – Before leaving town, visit http://www.usps.com/manage-your-mail to have your mail held while you’re away. It’s a good idea to do the same thing with the daily newspaper and ask a neighbor to collect any packages shipped special delivery.

Be careful with social media – Make sure nobody in your family announces that you’re going away for an awesome vacation. If your account settings are public, people you might not want to have that information can easily access it. Always be careful when posting photos from out of town for the same reason. Be sure you’re clear about your privacy settings on your social media accounts, and remember, people talk. There will be plenty of time to post your fun photos when you’ve returned from your trip.

Don’t get skimmed – Always inspect the card reader slot before using a standalone ATM or gas pump. Law enforcement agencies warn that criminals can place a fake card slot cover on these machines to enable them to capture customers’ financial information.

If you plan to use your credit cards while away, it may also be a good idea to contact your credit card provider or bank ahead of time. In an effort to prevent losses from fraud, financial institutions may refuse some credit card transactions from out of state if they do not match your typical spending pattern.

Letting your credit card provider and bank know when you are leaving town – and returning – and where you are going might prevent a hold from being placed on your credit or debit card.

For more helpful tips, the latest consumer news and free Business Reviews, visit http;://www.bbb.org.

The mission of Better Business Bureau is to be the leader in building marketplace trust by promoting, through self-regulation, the highest standards of business ethics and conduct, and to instill confidence in responsible businesses through programs of education and action that inform, assist and protect the general public.

The BBB is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Contact BBB at http://www.bbb.org or 651-699-1111, toll-free at 1-800-646-6222.

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