Hometown Source » Press Releases http://hometownsource.com from ECM Publishers, Inc. Tue, 16 Dec 2014 20:29:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 BBB offers holiday travel tips http://hometownsource.com/2014/12/15/bbb-offers-holiday-travel-tips/ http://hometownsource.com/2014/12/15/bbb-offers-holiday-travel-tips/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 18:06:50 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=79756 Burnsville, MN– The holidays are here again, and with the price of gas lower than it’s been in years, it’s likely more people will choose to hit the road this holiday season.

If you’re one of those travelers, Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) offers some basic tips to help keep you safe and maybe save you some money.

Prepare a budget – Planning is important. Make a little room in your budget by allowing for unexpected occurrences and emergencies.

Be resourceful – Book hotel rooms in advance and consider exploring money-saving sites like Priceline or Hotels.com. See if there are any good discount (such as Groupon) offers in the city you’re visiting.

Avoid unnecessary costs – Don’t find yourself trapped by additional charges or fees. For example, avoid hotel room phones, which often carry hefty surcharges. When you’re on the road, travel with a cooler and purchase snacks ahead of time. It’s a lot cheaper than the hotel mini-fridge.

Create a car safety kit – Holiday driving often includes the threat of dangerous winter weather. Snow and ice can lead to accidents, car troubles, long delays and road closures. You can be ready for bad weather by creating your own safety kit. Basics for the kit include a blanket, flashlight with extra batteries, radio, first aid kit, jumper cables, non-perishable foods like granola bars and nuts, bottled water, an ice scraper and warm gloves. Having a cellphone charger for your car is also a good idea.

Get a tune-up – If your car is due for a tune-up, take it in before making that long haul. At the very least, check the car’s fluid levels, wipers and tire pressure. Check the condition of your tires and, if you plan on driving through serious winter weather, consider getting snow tires.

Take BBB with you – When you’re away from home or in the midst of an emergency, it’s hard to know which businesses such as tow trucks and locksmiths you can trust. The good news is that free BBB Business Reviews are optimized for smartphones. Now you can easily find businesses you can trust when you’re on the go by visiting bbb.org.

Get an early start and take your time – The best way to fight holiday traffic is to give yourself some extra time to make the trip, and don’t speed. Also, if you’re caught speeding by law enforcement, that adds travel time and puts a dent in your holiday budget.

Drop the distractions – A lot of tragic accidents take place when people are talking on their cellphone or sending text messages. When you’re behind the wheel, don’t text and drive. Let incoming calls go to voicemail or hand your cellphone to a passenger and let them take the call. Also, don’t make or return calls – or send or read – text messages until you reach a safe spot off the road, such as a rest area or a gas station.

For the latest fraud alerts, consumer news and free BBB 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 bbb.org or 651-699-1111, toll-free at 1-800-646-6222.

 

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Donate wisely during the holidays, says BBB http://hometownsource.com/2014/12/15/donate-wisely-during-the-holidays-says-bbb/ http://hometownsource.com/2014/12/15/donate-wisely-during-the-holidays-says-bbb/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 18:02:15 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=79754 Burnsville, MN – Some people support their favorite charities and causes throughout the year, but many wait until the holidays to extend the spirit of the season to those in need in their communities and throughout the world.

Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) offers some DOs and DON’Ts that apply year-round when it comes to charitable giving, and these tips will help ensure your donations reach their intended destinations this holiday season.

DON’T succumb to high-pressure, emotional pitches. Giving on the spot is never necessary, and if a telemarketer or person on your doorstep plays the guilt card things may not be what they seem. Well-run charities won’t impose on you or put you in a tough spot. They will welcome your donation just as much after you’ve had time to do your due diligence.

DO research the charity. Make sure you feel comfortable with how your money will be spent. Don’t just take the word of someone else; the most important action a donor can take before donating is to check the trustworthiness of the charity. BBB Wise Giving Alliance (give.org) evaluates charitable organizations on 20 holistic standards covering governance, effectiveness reporting, finances, appeal accuracy and other issues to assist donors in making informed giving decisions.

DON’T give out your credit card number over the phone. The days where you could give out sensitive financial information over the phone are over. With the number of fraudulent solicitors out there, you want to be sure your information – personal and financial – stays secure. Go directly to the website of the charity you’re supporting and make your donation there. Always look in the address box for the “s” in https:// or in the lower-right corner for the “lock” symbol before making your donation.

DO be sure it’s the right charity. With so many similar-sounding organizations, names can blur in a donor’s mind. Many phony charities purposefully choose a name that sounds similar to more familiar, legitimate outfits. Do the legwork and make sure your gift reaches the group or cause you’re looking to support. Donors can research BBB Wise Giving Alliance evaluations on nationally soliciting charities for free anytime at give.org.
DON’T assume that the charity wants any item you donate. Worn out, unusable or unwanted goods cost charities millions of dollars each year because the organization has to bear the cost of disposing of unacceptable donations. If you have questions about an item’s acceptability, visit a given charity’s website or call them directly and ask.

DO consider easy text-to-give options. BBB Mobile Giving Foundation makes it easy to give smaller donations (usually $10) to charities they monitor, including those providing relief to victims of famine and natural disasters the world over. Visit mobilegiving.org to learn more.
Lastly, if you’re planning on claiming your donations as tax deductions, verify the charities you’re supporting have received their 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.

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. We are 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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Certain vehicles no longer allowed on snowmobile trails http://hometownsource.com/2014/12/15/certain-vehicles-no-longer-allowed-on-snowmobile-trails/ http://hometownsource.com/2014/12/15/certain-vehicles-no-longer-allowed-on-snowmobile-trails/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 17:54:20 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=79752 The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reminds snowmobilers that only snowmobiles can operate on the state’s grant-in-aid trail system. Due to a change this year in the way a snowmobile is legally defined, certain vehicles are no longer allowed on the trail.

The new definition of a snowmobile no longer includes all-terrain vehicles (ATV) modified with aftermarket ski and track kits, said 1st Lt. Pat Znajda, DNR enforcement district supervisor in Baudette.

“The legal definition of a snowmobile is a self-propelled vehicle originally manufactured and designed for travel on snow or ice steered by skis or runners,” he said.

Snowmobiles do not include vehicles equipped with aftermarket ski and track configurations such as an ATV, an off-highway motorcycle, an off-road vehicle, a mini truck, a utility task vehicle, vans with tracks and skis and some bombardiers.

The grant-in-aid trail program is a cooperative effort between the DNR, local governments, local snowmobile organizations, and private landowners who provide the majority of Minnesota’s 22,000 miles of snowmobile trails.

Funded through snowmobile registration and snowmobile state trail sticker fees and gas taxes, the grant-in-aid program helps local groups and clubs develop and maintain trails. A snowmobile state trail sticker or a registration/trail sticker combination decal is required when operating on grant-in-aid trails.

Minnesota’s state and grant-in-aid snowmobile trails are open now through the end of March.

For more information, see the snowmo

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Agencies working together to increase safety and save money http://hometownsource.com/2014/12/15/agencies-working-together-to-increase-safety-and-save-money/ http://hometownsource.com/2014/12/15/agencies-working-together-to-increase-safety-and-save-money/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 17:52:32 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=79750

At one time government agencies were territorial and didn’t welcome other organizations venturing into their area. Those days are over.

Now agencies commonly work together on multi-jurisdictional task forces, team up for training sessions and share resources. Such is the case with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center (MIFC) in Grand Rapids.

The fire center was established to facilitate the exchange of fire suppression and support resources for wildfire management, provide a common point for fire intelligence, and to streamline dispatching procedures. These responsibilities include assigning state firefighting crews, tracking resource orders and their distribution, and dispatching air tankers and helicopters to needed areas.

The DNR aviation program, administered by the Enforcement Division, provides aviation services to all divisions and bureaus within the DNR. Conservation officers and natural resource pilots are trained and equipped to fulfill natural resource and public safety law enforcement missions; wildlife research including telemetry tracking and moose, deer and waterfowl survey/census; fisheries support, including aerial fish stocking and creel counts; forest inventory and wetland mapping; and search and rescue

Three of DNR enforcement’s nine aircraft operate in remote areas of northern Minnesota. Each of the air frames has an onboard satellite and cell tower tracking device that allows the MIFC to track them real time on a moving map as the aircraft works. If the aircraft stops moving on the map a warning goes off in MIFC’s dispatch center with a GPS location of the aircraft. Since implementation in January, MIFC has flight followed 342 DNR missions.

“This system was already in place as part of forest fire fighting abilities nationwide, now MIFC allows us to piggy back onto it, increasing our flight safety and saving money,” said Capt. Tom Buker, DNR enforcement chief pilot.

“If the DNR went with a system like this, it would be a big ticket item, dollars wise,” Buker said.

MIFC will even make phone calls for the pilots, which keeps them in the air longer. For example, if DNR aircraft are operating near the Canadian border MIFC will call U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to advise them, and to receive a special aircraft identification code for the pilot.

“In the past the pilot would have had to land and call in for this,” Buker said.

Buker believes this cooperative agreement is an example of how agencies can come together to enhance safety and save money.

“You can’t have too many resources, or friends,” he said.

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Give Minnesota state parks gift cards this holiday season http://hometownsource.com/2014/12/15/news-release-give-minnesota-state-parks-gift-cards-this-holiday-season/ http://hometownsource.com/2014/12/15/news-release-give-minnesota-state-parks-gift-cards-this-holiday-season/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 17:49:45 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=79747

This holiday season, the Department of Natural Resources encourages shoppers to give the gift of the outdoors with Minnesota state parks gift cards. The cards can be purchased for any dollar amount over $10, and they never expire. They can be used for:

  • Camping.
  • Overnight getaways in camper cabins, yurts, lodge rooms and modern suites.
  • Minnesota state parks vehicle permits and tours.
  • Canoe, kayak, stand-up paddleboard, cross-country ski and snowshoe rentals.
  • I Can Camp!, I Can Climb!, I Can Paddle! and I Can Mountain Bike! programs.
  • Minnesota State Parks and Trails apparel, books, jewelry, kids’ activity kits and more.

Gift cards can be purchased at:

  • Minnesota state parks with office hours.
  • Minnesota DNR License Center, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:40 p.m.
  • 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367.
  • www.mndnr.gov/reservations.

Minnesota state parks gift cards feature a photo of the state’s highest waterfall and come packaged in a special folder with a full-color guide to Minnesota state parks and trails, a new 24-page lodging brochure and a brochure with information about hundreds of free programs and special events happening at state parks and trails this winter.

For more information, go to the website or contact the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us or 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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Ring in the new year on candle-lit trails at Minnesota state parks http://hometownsource.com/2014/12/15/79739/ http://hometownsource.com/2014/12/15/79739/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 17:39:54 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=79739 Many hikers will take part in candlelight trail walks on Dec. 31 at Minnesota state parks.

Many hikers will take part in candlelight trail walks on Dec. 31 at Minnesota state parks.

Thousands of people are expected to ring in the new year by taking a walk along candle-lit trails at Minnesota state parks on Dec. 31. The festivities will take place from:

  • 4 to 8 p.m. at Fort Snelling State Park in St. Paul.
  • 5 to 8 p.m. at Charles A. Lindbergh State Park in Little Falls.
  • 6 to 8 p.m. at Lake Carlos State Park in Alexandria.These are just the first three of more than 30 candlelight events that will take place at Minnesota state parks and trails this winter, according to the Department of Natural Resources. Some events are only for walkers, others include snowshoe and cross-country ski options. The candlelight events will take place at different park and trail locations every weekend in January and February, including several on Valentine’s Day. For the complete schedule – including dates, times and other details – visit the Web page.“The candlelight events at Minnesota state parks and trails are about having fun and warming up to winter,” said Erika Rivers, director of the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division. “If you’ve never tried skiing, snowshoeing or walking along candle-lit trails, we hope you’ll join us this winter for an unforgettable experience.”The events are typically held on short, easy trails that are suitable for all ages and abilities. After participants explore trails lined with candles, lanterns or luminaries, they can enjoy refreshments and warm up by a crackling fire.

    People can rent or check out equipment at some parks (rental cost is typically $6/person/day for snowshoes or $10/person/day for cross-country skis, boots and poles). The DNR advises calling in advance to confirm availability and to reserve equipment.

    The candlelight events themselves are free, but a vehicle permit is required to enter Minnesota state parks ($5 for a one-day permit or $25 for a year-round permit). Those who don’t already have a vehicle permit can purchase one at any of the parks.

    Skiers age 16 and older also need the Great Minnesota Ski Pass  to participate in the candle-lit ski events. The ski pass ($6/one-day pass, $20/single-season pass, and $55/three-season pass) allows access to hundreds of miles of trails in state parks, state forests, city parks and other public lands throughout Minnesota.

    For additional ideas on what to do at Minnesota state parks and trails this winter, pick up a copy of the new Minnesota State Parks and Trails Winter Programs and Special Events brochure and check out the “Winter Activities Guide” page.

    Note that events may be changed or canceled due to weather. For more information, including directions to the parks and trails hosting candlelight events, go online,  email info.dnr@state.mn.us or call the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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Cyber event in St. Paul spotlights security challenges http://hometownsource.com/2014/12/09/cyber-event-in-st-paul-spotlights-security-challenges/ http://hometownsource.com/2014/12/09/cyber-event-in-st-paul-spotlights-security-challenges/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 21:59:10 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=79682 Burnsville, MN – Two Steps Ahead, a cyber security event designed to educate and encourage consumers and businesses to add layers of security to their online activities, was held this morning at Union Depot in St. Paul. The event was coordinated by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA). Better Business Bureau (BBB) was one of 15 local partners.

“The timely information and informed perspectives presented this morning spoke to the immense challenges we all face today when it comes to online safety, but also demonstrated that cyber security is a shared responsibility,” said Lisa Jemtrud, Director of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota’s Foundation, the Institute for Marketplace Ethics.

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman was the featured guest, and other speakers included Chris Buse, State CISO and Assistant Commissioner; S. Massoud Amin from the University of Minnesota; and Kristin Judge from NCSA. BBB’s Lisa Jemtrud was one of the featured panelists at the event.

Two Steps Ahead, sponsored by Stop.Think.Connect. (stopthinkconnect.org/), arrived in St. Paul as part of a 10-city national tour.

The focus of these events is to encourage all Internet users to adopt two-step authentication features in their online accounts. This adds an extra layer of security and provides protection should one of your email or social media passwords become compromised.

Experts on a panel at this morning’s event said that strong passwords are no longer enough to ensure security.

Two-step – or two-factor – authentication is a security tool that uses multiple verification techniques to prove that the person attempting to log onto an account is really them. To learn more about two-step authentication, visit http://www.stopthinkconnect.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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Take steps to prevent deer from becoming winter pests http://hometownsource.com/2014/12/08/take-steps-to-prevent-deer-from-becoming-winter-pests/ http://hometownsource.com/2014/12/08/take-steps-to-prevent-deer-from-becoming-winter-pests/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 01:16:01 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=79670

Deer are fun to watch, but can quickly become a nuisance when they are looking for an easy snack near houses. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources offers tips to discourage deer from becoming pests. 

  • Remove the food source. Temporarily stop feeding seed or grain to birds and clean-up spilled seed. Switch to feeding only suet during this time.
  • Cover bushes and low woody plants near the house with burlap, plastic snow fence, netting or heavyweight frost protection blankets, made of 2.5- to 4-ounce fabric. Tarps or clear plastic may make some plants more susceptible to sun scald and fungus so use with caution.
  • Protect multiple young trees with tree tubes, wrap or bud caps.
  • Use 6-foot high woven wire cages to protect older or individual trees.
  • Keep a leashed dog in the area.
  • Apply deer repellants. There are a variety of commercial and homemade repellants that can be used for deer, before it freezes. These need to be reapplied regularly to discourage deer. See the manufacturer’s recommendations for winter effectiveness and application rates.
  • Install motion-activated floodlights to startle nocturnal deer in rural areas. Deer may be accustomed to these types of lights in urban areas.
  • Hang wind chimes or ornaments that create both motion and noise.
  • Install visual deterrents, such as wind socks, shiny polyester tape, flagging or scarecrows.
  • Use a radio in combination with lights, activated by a motion-detector for both a sight and auditory deterrent.

Implementing a few of these tips before deer become a problem is the best strategy. Check local ordinances, which may impact some of these practices. Be aware that deer become desensitized to disturbances, so it may be necessary to vary tactics.

Find more information on living with deer and other wildlife species on the website.

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10 citizens appointed to Game and Fish Fund oversight committees http://hometownsource.com/2014/12/08/10-citizens-appointed-to-game-and-fish-fund-oversight-committees/ http://hometownsource.com/2014/12/08/10-citizens-appointed-to-game-and-fish-fund-oversight-committees/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 01:13:55 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=79668

The commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has appointed 10 Minnesotans to three-year terms on citizen oversight committees that monitor the agency’s fish and wildlife spending. 

The appointees are responsible for reviewing the DNR’s annual Game and Fish Fund report in detail and, following discussions with agency leaders and others, prepare reports on their findings.

Appointed to the Fisheries Oversight Committee by Tom Landwehr are John Haukos, Ortonville; Dave Koppe, Minnetonka; Steven Pedersen, Coon Rapids; and Bonnie Swanson, Willernie.

Appointed to the Wildlife Oversight Committee are Chad Bloom, Mayer; Bill Faber, Brainerd; Steve Okins, Willmar; Mark Popovich, Welch; Scott Springer, Preston; and Jenna Elizabeth Wiese, Ortonville.

Two people were reappointed to the wildlife committee for a second term and the other new members are first-time appointees. The committees will resume work after the mid-December publication of the DNR’s Game and Fish Fund report for fiscal year 2014.

“We look forward to working with these volunteers,” said Dave Schad, DNR deputy commissioner. “The appointments continue our commitment to share detailed budget information, bring new participants into the oversight process and ensure revenue generated by hunting and fishing license sales is used appropriately.”

The Fisheries Oversight Committee and the Wildlife Oversight Committee continue a citizen oversight function first created in 1994. Almost 50 people applied for oversight committee positions. Factors in choosing the new appointees included geographic distribution, demographic diversity, and a mix of experienced and new participants.

In the weeks ahead, committee chairs and four members will be selected by each committee to serve on an umbrella Budgetary Oversight Committee chaired by another appointee, John E. Hunt. The committee will develop an overall report on expenditures for game and fish activities. Those recommendations will be delivered to the DNR commissioner and legislative committees with jurisdiction over natural resources financing for further consideration.

Though not well known, Minnesota’s Game and Fish Fund is the fiscal foundation for much of the state’s core natural resource management functions. Upwards of $90 million a year is deposited into this fund from hunting and fishing license sales, a sales tax on lottery tickets, and other sources of revenue, including a reimbursement based on a federal excise tax on certain hunting, fishing and boating equipment. The dollars that flow into this fund pay for the fish, wildlife, enforcement and ecological management that support 48,000 jobs in Minnesota’s outdoor recreation and hospitality business.

Past Game and Fish Fund reports and oversight reports are available online.

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DNR awards $5.7 million in habitat grants to conservation groups http://hometownsource.com/2014/12/08/dnr-awards-5-7-million-in-habitat-grants-to-conservation-groups/ http://hometownsource.com/2014/12/08/dnr-awards-5-7-million-in-habitat-grants-to-conservation-groups/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 01:10:50 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=79665

mooseplateSt. Paul, MN – The Department of Natural Resources has awarded 46 conservation grants to various organizations and entities for restoring, enhancing and protecting habitat in Minnesota.

This latest round of habitat funding comes from the agency’s Conservation Partners Legacy (CPL) grant program, which in the past six years has awarded more than $27 million to local, state, and federal nonprofit organizations and government entities for conservation projects.

The DNR recently received a record-high $8.9 million in grant requests from 71 applicants during round one of the application cycle. The DNR has funded $5.7 million of these requests.

“It’s rewarding to receive, review and fund so many worthy habitat projects,” said Jessica Lee, DNR conservation grants coordinator. “It’s our hope that conservation groups and others will continue to plan projects in the months ahead so they can apply when funds are available again.”

The DNR’s CPL program provides grants ranging from $5,000 to $400,000 to conservation nonprofit organizations and governmental units to help fund projects to restore, enhance, or protect fish and wildlife habitat in Minnesota.

The Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council recommended the grant program, which was developed by the 2009 Minnesota Legislature. Funding has been provided annually from the Outdoor Heritage Fund, which is part of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment and funded by a voter-approved statewide sales tax of three-eighths of 1 percent.

Round one included the traditional grant cycle, the new metro grant cycle, and the expedited grant cycle.

The metro grant cycle will open for round two applications beginning Monday, Dec. 15.

The expedited cycle is open continuously and will have up to five rounds depending on available funds. More information on the program’s grant cycles, and a complete list of the most recent grant applications and past awarded projects are available online.

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New voter turnout rates provide window into voter participation at county level http://hometownsource.com/2014/12/05/new-voter-turnout-rates-provide-window-into-voter-participation-at-county-level/ http://hometownsource.com/2014/12/05/new-voter-turnout-rates-provide-window-into-voter-participation-at-county-level/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 17:17:38 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=79619 St. Paul, MN — The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State today (Friday, Dec. 5) released county-specific estimated voter turnout rates for the past four elections (2008, 2010, 2012, 2014) based on data from the U.S.

Census American Community Survey (ACS) that include the voting age population that are U.S. citizens. The statistics provide a window to gauge voter participation at the county level.

“Minnesota prides itself on our strong tradition of voting, and this information helps citizens, election officials, candidates and elected officials better understand and measure how their county or region engages in our democratic process,” says Secretary of State Mark Ritchie.

The report also uses ACS figures to provide the number of potentially eligible but unregistered voters in each county. Statewide, more than 800,000 eligible Minnesota voters are estimated to be not registered (20 percent of the voting population). Eligible voters can register online at http://www.mnvotes.org.

Top counties for turnout in 2014 Based on ACS figures
Cook (70 percent); Grant (61 percent); Lake of the Woods (61 percent); Carver (59 percent); Lake (59 percent); Marshall (58 percent); Pope (58 percent); Stevens (57 percent); and Traverse (57 percent).

Top counties for registration rate in 2014 based on ACS figures
Carver (91 percent); Scott (89 percent); Washington (88 percent); Dakota (88 percent); Hennepin (86 percent); Lake (84 percent); Anoka (83 percent); Cook (83 percent); Douglas (83 percent); and Wright (83 percent).

Methods to measuring turnout
The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State uses the eligible voting population estimate from the U.S. Election Project to determine the official statewide turnout rate — the number of eligible voters provides the most accurate and comprehensive denominator for calculating turnout.

The U.S. Election Project number, however, is not available at the county level; the ACS data provide the nearest estimate of the eligible voting population for counties.

The statewide turnout for the Nov.4 General Election was 50.51 percent, based on 1,992,566 total voters and an estimated eligible voter count of 3,945,136 from the U.S. Election Project. The statewide turnout rate based on the ACS figures was 51.29 percent.

The Office notes that some counties calculate and report turnout based on the number of their registered voters. However, such figures should not be compared to the official statewide turnout number reported by the Office of the Secretary of State, which is based on the more comprehensive eligible voter population.

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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Wild turkey stamp contest entries accepted through Dec. 29 http://hometownsource.com/2014/12/02/wild-turkey-stamp-contest-entries-accepted-through-dec-29/ http://hometownsource.com/2014/12/02/wild-turkey-stamp-contest-entries-accepted-through-dec-29/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 15:25:39 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=79569

St. Paul, MN – Artists can submit entries for the 2016 Minnesota Wild Turkey Stamp contest from Monday, Dec. 8, through 4 p.m., Monday, Dec. 29, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

The turkey stamp is sold along with hunting and fishing licenses or as a collectable. In the contest, the eastern wild turkey must be the primary focus of the design. Judging will take place on Thursday, Jan. 8, at DNR headquarters, 500 Lafayette Road, in St. Paul.

Revenue from stamp sales is dedicated to wild turkey habitat management. Extirpated from Minnesota around 1900, wild turkeys now thrive throughout all but the northern forested portions of the state.

The contest offers no prizes and is open to Minnesota residents only. Artists are not allowed to use any photographic product as part of their finished entries. Winning artists usually issue limited edition prints of the artwork and retain proceeds.

Artists who want to submit entries should closely read contest criteria and guidelines for submitting work, available from the DNR Information Center, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155, and online.

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Spring wild turkey hunters can apply for permits through Jan. 9, 2015 http://hometownsource.com/2014/12/02/spring-wild-turkey-hunters-can-apply-for-permits-through-jan-9-2015/ http://hometownsource.com/2014/12/02/spring-wild-turkey-hunters-can-apply-for-permits-through-jan-9-2015/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 15:22:11 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=79567

St. Paul, MN — People can apply for early season spring wild turkey hunting permits now through Friday, Jan. 9, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 

The spring season, which runs from April 15 to May 28, is divided into eight time periods. Only people age 18 and older who want to hunt during the first three time periods (A-C) need to apply for a spring turkey permit. Permits for the remaining time periods (D-H) can be purchased over-the-counter.

Permits for the last five time periods and youth licenses for any time period are sold over-the-counter starting March 1. Surplus adult licenses from the first three time periods, if available, are sold starting around mid-March.

“There are a lot of options for hunters. You can apply for an early spring permit or buy one over-the-counter,” said Steve Merchant, DNR wildlife population and regulations manager. “For the second year, we’ve let youth hunt during all of the time periods, which makes it easier to introduce a young person to turkey hunting.”

In Minnesota, hunters can hunt wild turkeys in spring and fall, but spring turkey hunting is much more popular. The first spring hunting time period begins on Wednesday, April 15.

Turkeys rear their young after the spring hunting season, and nesting success can influence how many turkeys are present during the fall hunting season that runs from early October through early November.

For more information on turkey hunting, see the Wild Turkey hunting Web page.

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Minnesota snowmobile season and weekly trail reports begin http://hometownsource.com/2014/12/02/minnesota-snowmobile-season-and-weekly-trail-reports-begin/ http://hometownsource.com/2014/12/02/minnesota-snowmobile-season-and-weekly-trail-reports-begin/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 15:16:08 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=79564 Snowmobilers can legally ride any of the more than 22,000 miles of Minnesota’s state and grant-in-aid snowmobile trails, from Dec. 1 through the end of March, according to the Department of Natural Resources.  

“Although many trails do not yet have adequate snow cover for grooming, this is a good time to register your snowmobile, inspect your equipment, download maps and do your trip planning,” said Tom Landwehr, DNR commissioner. “Minnesota offers a variety of scenery and terrain to explore in state parks, in state forests, on state trails and on private land that citizens kindly allow snowmobilers to use throughout the winter months.”

The economic impact of snowmobiling in Minnesota is estimated to be approximately $1 billion each year, according to Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association (MnUSA).  Minnesota snowmobile registrations totaled 216,144 last season.

“Outdoor recreation, including winter activities, is important to Minnesota tourism,” said John Edman, director of Explore Minnesota. “Snowmobiling Minnesota’s excellent trails, lakes and forests is a great way to take in beautiful winter scenery that can be found only in Minnesota.”

As riders head out on the trails, the DNR urges them to ride safely and responsibly.

“Know the rules and use common sense,” said DNR Conservation Officer Adam Block. “Obey signs, drive sober and be especially careful around wetlands, streams and lakes, because the ice may not be thick enough to ride on, especially this early in the season.”

Club volunteers maintain more than 21,000 of the Minnesota’s 22,000-plus trail miles. Trail clubs welcome new members to help keep trails open and join in other club activities.

“Snowmobile clubs and trail crews are out working on the trails now, and have been for some time,” said Terry Hutchinson, president of MnUSA, “but it could be awhile before trails in some parts of the state will be ready to ride.”

Snowmobile trail maintenance costs are partially funded through snowmobile registrations, trail pass sales, and gas tax attributed to snowmobile use. Donations, fundraisers, and volunteer work by trail clubs make up the remainder of the costs and efforts to operate these trails.

Snow depth and trail conditions are updated every Thursday after 2 p.m. throughout the winter months.

Printed maps are available at local DNR offices and also can be ordered by calling the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday or sending an email message to info.dnr@state.mn.us. More information on snowmobile and winter travel opportunities in Minnesota can be found online. MnUSA’s snowmobile trail reports are available online as well.

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Sen. Klobuchar presents Knight of the Legion of Honor Medal to World War II veteran from Bloomington http://hometownsource.com/2014/12/01/sen-klobuchar-presents-knight-of-the-legion-of-honor-medal-to-world-war-ii-veteran-from-bloomington/ http://hometownsource.com/2014/12/01/sen-klobuchar-presents-knight-of-the-legion-of-honor-medal-to-world-war-ii-veteran-from-bloomington/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 15:30:20 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=79502 Sen. Amy Klobuchar and French Honorary Consul Christina Selander Bouzouina presenting Jim Carroll with the French Legion of Honor Medal.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar and French Honorary Consul Christina Selander Bouzouina presenting Jim Carroll with the French Legion of Honor Medal.

NEWS RELEASE — Minneapolis, MN –  U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar on Sunday, Nov. 30 presented the Knight of the Legion of Honor Medal to Bloomington World War II veteran Jim Carroll.

Private First Class Carroll was honored by the French government for his service and sacrifice in Western Europe during World War II. The Legion of Honor was created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 and is the highest honor that France can present to those who have achieved remarkable deeds for France.

“Today we honored a true American hero who put his life on the line so we could live free,” said Klobuchar. “Jim Carroll is a living symbol of our country’s Greatest Generation who answered the call to serve and stood against tyranny helping to liberate France and its people.”

Private First Class Jim Carroll was born in Missouri on Oct. 5, 1923 and entered military service with the United States Army shortly after the Dec. 7th, 1941 Pearl Harbor attack. Serving with the 101st Airborne Division, nicknamed the “Screaming Eagles,” Private First Class Carroll parachuted into Normandy in the early morning hours of June 6th, 1944 (D-Day).

Later in 1944, Carroll participated in Operation Market Garden in Holland and fought in the Battle of the Bulge, spending 30 days over Christmas in freezing temperatures in a foxhole surrounded by the German Army. Carroll has also been awarded the Bronze Star Medal

After the war, Carroll moved to Minnesota, working for 28 years as machine shop foreman and then a Bloomington school bus driver. He retired in 1999 at age 75 and has been active in the Ft. Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation.

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Minnesota Department of Health picks two manufacturers for state’s medical cannabis program http://hometownsource.com/2014/12/01/minnesota-department-of-health-picks-two-manufacturers-for-states-medical-cannabis-program/ http://hometownsource.com/2014/12/01/minnesota-department-of-health-picks-two-manufacturers-for-states-medical-cannabis-program/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 15:07:33 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=79500 NEWS RELEASE — St. Paul, MN — The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) today (Monday, Dec. 1) announced the selection of LeafLine Labs and Minnesota Medical Solutions (“MinnMed”) to become the registered manufacturers responsible for growing, processing and distributing medical cannabis products as part of the state’s new medical cannabis program.

The two manufacturers will be responsible for growing the medical cannabis, processing it into pill or liquid form, and distributing the medications through a network of eight distribution sites (four sites per manufacturer) they will establish around the state. In addition, they will be working with MDH to advance the science on the proper uses of cannabis as medication.

LeafLine Labs and MinnMed were among 12 groups that applied to participate in the program. Their selection came after an exhaustive review process that examined applicants’ operational track records (in cultivation, manufacturing of medicine and patient/customer service), financial stability, business plans, and a host of other factors.

The review process was conducted by a panel that included representatives from a variety of disciplines including agriculture, pharmacy, public safety, commerce and finance.

The final selection of the two parties was made by Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger, with recommendations from the review panel. According to Commissioner Ehlinger, the two manufacturers were selected based on their commitment to the patient experience, technical proficiency in cultivation and the formulation of medicine, rigorous safety and security standards, and sound business planning and resources.

“We are pleased to have two strong partners for Minnesota’s medical cannabis program,” said Commissioner Ehlinger. “Our goal is to safely provide medical cannabis products to patients with qualifying conditions by the deadline of July 1, 2015, and our attention over the next few months will be on working with these two manufacturers to implement the program and safely grow, process and distribute the products.”

LeafLine Labs is a Minnesota-based company founded by two emergency medicine physicians, members of the Bachman family and executives from Theraplant, a Connecticut-based medical cannabis manufacturer. Their team will draw on expertise in the areas of medicine; law; patient advocacy; business planning and operations, especially in a regulated environment; and high-quality medication formulation. LeafLine Labs’ manufacturing facility will be located in Cottage Grove. They plan to open an initial distribution center in Eagan on July 1, 2015, with other locations in Hibbing, St. Cloud and St. Paul before or by July 1, 2016.

“LeafLine Labs started with a committed search to find research-based treatments – including medical cannabis – that could bring comfort to people and, perhaps someday, even cure some medical conditions that Minnesotans live and die with,” said Dr. Andrew Bachman, co-founder of LeafLine Labs. “We are focused on bringing safe, consistent and high-quality medical cannabis to the people of Minnesota.”

Minnesota Medical Solutions is a locally owned, physician-led group composed of doctors, pharmacists, scientists, greenhouse operators, building contractors, educators and other supporters. In addition to the expertise of their team, they are working with multiple national medical cannabis industry experts including Brooke Gehring of People’s Choice Medical, in Denver, for training, consulting and operational procedures based on her experience with the regulated cannabis industry.  Their manufacturing facility, located in Otsego, was started in July this past summer and will be functional this week. They plan to open four distribution facilities in July 2015 with locations in Rochester, Maple Grove, Minneapolis and Moorhead.

“The truly exciting part about today is that we get to help 5,000 Minnesota patients who may really benefit from this medicine,” said Kyle Kingsley, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of Minnesota Medical Solutions.  “We’re moving quickly from planning to execution, so that we will be ready to provide relief to those patients starting July 1.”

For more information about the medical cannabis program, please visit the MDH medical cannabis website.

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Howling For Wolves calls on the Minnesota DNR to end baiting, trapping, and snaring in upcoming late season of the wolf hunt http://hometownsource.com/2014/11/26/howling-for-wolves-calls-on-the-minnesota-dnr-to-end-baiting-trapping-and-snaring-in-upcoming-late-season-of-the-wolf-hunt/ http://hometownsource.com/2014/11/26/howling-for-wolves-calls-on-the-minnesota-dnr-to-end-baiting-trapping-and-snaring-in-upcoming-late-season-of-the-wolf-hunt/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 23:18:04 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=79486 St. Paul, MN – Minnesota-based wolf advocacy group Howling For Wolves calls on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to discontinue the use of baiting, trapping, snaring in the upcoming late season of the wolf hunt.

The late season of the Minnesota wolf hunt is scheduled to begin this Saturday, Nove. 29 and will close Jan. 31, 2015 (or earlier if the harvest target is reached). Firearm or bow and arrow are methods allowed during both the early and late wolf hunt seasons. Traps and snares are allowed only in the late season.

“Baiting, trapping, and snaring of wolves is unpopular and reckless. We call on the Minnesota DNR to end these cruel methods to hunt wolves, which also kill other animals like domestic dogs. Random killing of wolves through a hunt makes wolf packs unstable, creating problems that are unpredictable for communities, farmers, and wolf packs,” said Howling For Wolves Founder and President Dr. Maureen Hackett.

• Baiting involves using electronic wolf pup distress calls and meat piles to lure wolves.

• Trapping is using pressure-activated traps with metal jaws that snap shut tightly around a wolf’s lower leg and restricts the wolf until the trapper returns to dispatch the animal. Steel foothold traps and wire snares are indiscriminate devices that are commonly found with other non-targeted wildlife including moose, bald eagles, and domestic pets such as dogs.

Snaring is using a loop of metal wire that acts like a noose to choke an animal. Wolves’ thick neck muscles often prevent their suffocation; instead they suffer painful brain bleeds. Wire snares are inexpensive and can be used in unlimited quantities during wolf season, and many are never removed.

The use of traps and snares is unpopular in Minnesota. A recent Lake Research Partners survey found a majority of voters oppose the use of traps, snares, and bait to hunt and trap wolves in Minnesota. Sixty-six percent (66%) of voters oppose allowing the use of traps and snares to hunt Minnesota’s gray wolves.

In 2014, there is a wolf hunting season harvest target set by the Minnesota DNR of 250. So far, 124 wolves have been harvested in the early season.  This past summer record-high numbers of wolves were also killed for predation suspicions, demonstrating that packs are most likely younger and less able to hunt. In the 2013 wolf hunt, there was a harvest target of 220 and a total of 237 wolves were reportedly killed by hunters. In the 2012 wolf hunt, there was a target harvest of 400 and a total of 413 wolves were reportedly killed by hunters.

Howling For Wolves (HFW) is a wolf advocacy organization that aims to educate the public and policy-makers about wolves to foster understanding and tolerance, and to ensure their long-term survival in Minnesota.

HFW seeks innovative non-lethal solutions for conflict prevention and coexistence where wolves are perceived to be a threat. HFW opposes the random killing of non-problem wolves for sport and the cruel methods utilized. Efforts focus on Minnesota’s gray wolves, which is the largest and only original wolf population remaining in the lower 48 states. http://www.HowlingForWolves.org.

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‘North Star Summit: A Vision for Minnesota’ set for Dec. 8 http://hometownsource.com/2014/11/26/north-star-summit-a-vision-for-minnesota-set-for-dec-8/ http://hometownsource.com/2014/11/26/north-star-summit-a-vision-for-minnesota-set-for-dec-8/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 23:13:53 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=79484 St. Paul, MN – Stakeholders representing the private and public sectors will convene Dec. 8 to identify common goals for Minnesota’s higher education system to meet the state’s looming workforce needs.

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce is among the sponsors of “The North Star Summit: Mapping Economic Prosperity for Minnesota.”

The event is scheduled for 8:30 a.m.-noon Dec. 8 at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul. It is open to the public. For details and to register, go to http://mnbiz.cc/1xY5zSl .

“Our membership has been telling us for years that it is a challenge to find qualified workers in many industries. Add to that the fact that our labor force in Minnesota will not grow much these next 15 years,” said Sarah Radosevich, policy research analyst at the Minnesota Chamber. “The result is that Minnesota really needs every potential worker – young and old – to know what the job opportunities are and to be able to access the education or training necessary to fill those roles. Employers have to play a key role in this, but all the stakeholders are at the table.”

Participants will look at potential policies – everything from career exposure to retraining – and help determine the most promising steps the state can take to help Minnesota meet its demographic and labor force challenges into the future. The summit is being spearheaded by Sen. Terri Bonoff, DFL-Minnetonka, chair of the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee.

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Klobuchar heralds arrival of Minnesota tree at U.S. Capitol tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 2 http://hometownsource.com/2014/11/24/klobuchar-heralds-arrival-of-minnesota-tree-at-u-s-capitol-tree-lighting-ceremony-on-dec-2/ http://hometownsource.com/2014/11/24/klobuchar-heralds-arrival-of-minnesota-tree-at-u-s-capitol-tree-lighting-ceremony-on-dec-2/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 22:24:50 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=79472 Washington, DC – On Tuesday, Dec. 2nd, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar will herald the arrival of the Minnesota tree at the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Washington, D.C.

This year’s tree comes from the Chippewa National Forest in northern Minnesota and arrived at the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol after completing a 2,000-mile cross-country journey.

The tree will soon be decorated with thousands of ornaments that have been handcrafted by people from across Minnesota.

WHO:
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar
U.S. Sen. Al Franken
Congressman Rick Nolan
Speaker of the House John Boehner
Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers

WHERE:
West Front of the U.S. Capitol. Press locations include:
·         West Front Lawn: Entry points located at Garfield and Peace Circles on First Street via First Street and Maryland Avenue SW and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. View includes tree, podium and the U.S. Capitol Dome.
·         Lower West Terrace: Access the Terrace by exiting the West Front door of the Capitol.

WHEN:
Tuesday, Dec. 2
5 p.m.

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Cyber Monday brings busy holiday shopping weekend to a close; 10 online shopping tips offered http://hometownsource.com/2014/11/24/cyber-monday-brings-busy-holiday-shopping-weekend-to-a-close-10-online-shopping-tips-offered/ http://hometownsource.com/2014/11/24/cyber-monday-brings-busy-holiday-shopping-weekend-to-a-close-10-online-shopping-tips-offered/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 22:17:28 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=79470 Burnsville, MN – After Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, savvy shoppers go online to take advantage of Cyber Monday specials.

Cyber Monday, which takes place the Monday after Black Friday, has grown increasingly popular among consumers in recent years, as they look for clearance sales some retailers offer online.

Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) offers their top 10 tips for people doing their shopping online, be it on Dec. 1 – Cyber Monday – or throughout the holiday season:

1. Protect your computer – Your computer should always have the most recent updates installed for spam filters, anti-virus and anti-spyware software and a secure firewall.

2. Stick to trustworthy websites – Research the seller’s reputation and track record for customer satisfaction at bbb.org. Look for the BBB seal and other widely-recognized “trust marks” on retailer websites. Always remember to click on the seals to confirm that they are valid and check out customer reviews online, including those offered by Better Business Bureau.

3. Protect your personal information – Take the time to read the privacy policy of websites you visit and understand what personal information is being collected and how it will be used. If you don’t see a privacy policy posted, be aware your information may be sold to others without your permission.

4. Beware of deals that sound too good to be true – Offers found on less-traveled websites and in unsolicited emails sometimes advertise suspiciously low prices. When visiting a website, look for misspellings and grammatical errors, as these are signs the site might be fraudulent. Trust your instincts and be leery of unsolicited emails, as they may contain viruses or malware. Don’t be afraid to pass up “deals” that might wind up costing you money instead of saving you money.

5. Beware of phishing – Legitimate businesses do not send emails claiming problems with an order or a past transaction to lure the “buyer” into revealing financial information. If a consumer receives such an email, BBB recommends picking up the phone and calling the retailer you dealt with or your credit card provider to get to the bottom of the matter. Stay calm, don’t panic and always be protective of your personal and financial information.

6. Confirm your online purchase is secure – Shoppers should always look in the address box for the “s” in https:// and in the lower-right corner for the “lock” symbol before paying.

7. Pay with a credit card – It’s often best to use a credit card, because under federal law, the shopper can dispute the charge if he or she doesn’t receive the item. Shoppers also have dispute rights if there are unauthorized charges on their credit card or merchandise they receive is damaged or defective.

8. Keep documentation of your order – After completing the online order process, there should be a final confirmation page or the shopper might receive confirmation by email. Save a copy of that as well as any emails for future reference and as a record of your purchase.

9. Check your credit card statements often – Don’t wait for paper statements; the BBB recommends consumers check their credit card statements for suspicious activity by checking statements online regularly or by calling their credit card companies if fraud is suspected.

10. Know your rights – Federal law requires that orders made by mail, phone or online be shipped by the date promised or, if no delivery time was stated, within 30 days. If the goods aren’t shipped on time, the shopper can cancel and demand a refund. There is no general three-day cancellation right, but consumers do have the right to reject merchandise if it’s defective or was misrepresented. Otherwise, it’s the company’s policies that determine if the shopper can cancel the purchase and receive a refund or credit.

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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Mary Lahammer receives 2014 Outstanding Media Communications Award from Minnesota Farmers Union http://hometownsource.com/2014/11/24/mary-lahammer-receives-2014-outstanding-media-communications-award-from-minnesota-farmers-union/ http://hometownsource.com/2014/11/24/mary-lahammer-receives-2014-outstanding-media-communications-award-from-minnesota-farmers-union/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 21:44:37 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=79459 Award recipient, Mary Lahammer and MFU President, Doug Peterson.

Award recipient, Mary Lahammer and MFU President, Doug Peterson.

St. Paul, MN – Minnesota Farmers Union honored Mary Lahammer of Twin Cities Public Television with their 2014 Outstanding Media Communications Award at the Minnesota Farmers Union 73rd annual state convention, held Nov. 22-23 at the Ramada Plaza in Minneapolis.

“Mary Lahammer is a farm and city girl who appreciates rural communities and family farmers.  It’s rare that you have a professional personality that is so widely respected and revered for her support of family farmers, consumers and chefs.  Throughout her professional career, Mary has articulated and advocated for the role of family farmers and has dedicated much of her life to educating consumers about farm issues.” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “We are honored to have Mary Lahammer on the side of family farmers.”

Mary has been a program host and political reporter for public television since 1998. She has been called the “Best Newscaster” by City Pages and the “Best TV Reporter” by Minnesota Monthly.

Mary started at the University of Minnesota’s Honors College at 15 and graduated as a Phi Beta Kappa with summa cum laude.  She learned the business of journalism through her father, who worked as an Associated Press Capitol reporter for more than 30 years.

Mary has won numerous Emmys and other awards for her work, including as a producer of Farm Fresh Road Trip.

She comes from a long line of family farmers and her family still currently owns a working farm.
 
About Minnesota Farmers Union
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) works to protect and enhance the economic interests and quality of life of family farmers and ranchers and rural communities.

MFU is a nonprofit membership-based organization.  Membership is open to farmers and non-farmers.

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Coalition Against Big Trucks, law enforcement officials launch awareness about big trucks http://hometownsource.com/2014/11/24/coalition-against-big-trucks-law-enforcement-officials-launch-awareness-about-big-trucks/ http://hometownsource.com/2014/11/24/coalition-against-big-trucks-law-enforcement-officials-launch-awareness-about-big-trucks/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 17:33:27 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=79418 NEWS RELEASE — St. Paul, Minn. — With the holiday travel season getting under way, leading safety advocates  and the Coalition Against Big Trucks gathered in St. Paul today (Monday, Nov. 24) to voice their concerns regarding a proposal to increase size and weight limits for semi trucks that would endanger motorists.

Those speaking out against bigger trucks on Minnesota roads included Minnesota State Patrol Sgt. Mathew Hodapp, chairman of the National Troopers Coalition, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, Carver County Commissioner Randy Maluchnik, Ramsey County Commissioner Blake Huffman and representatives of AAA Minneapolis.

“Bigger trucks are a recipe for disaster,” said Sgt. Hodapp. “As a State Trooper, public safety is my top priority. There is nothing safe about bigger trucks on our roads. And with thousands of Minnesotans traveling to visit family and friends over the next several weeks, now is the time to raise awareness about the dangers of bigger trucks on our roads.”

Nationwide, holiday travel is expected to see its highest levels since 2007, according to AAA.  Of the 46.3 million estimated travelers in 2014, 89% will be using their automobiles, including those who live in Minnesota.

“With holiday travel season upon us, we need to keep motorists safe.  AAA Minneapolis has a long history of advocating for strong highway safety standards in Minnesota,” said AAA Minneapolis President & CEO Wendy Weigel. “Allowing heavier trucks access to our highways jeopardizes motorist safety through pavement distress and contributes to the deterioration of roadways and bridges.”

During the last legislative session lawmakers introduced a bill to increase semi truck size and weight limits from 80,000 pounds to 97,000 pounds on state and local roads. Similar legislation is expected to be introduced in 2015.

County officials, including Sheriff Stanek, Commissioner Maluchnik and Commissioner Huffman also spoke out against the proposed change.

“Bigger semis mean one thing – bigger risks for Minnesotans on our roads,” said Sheriff Stanek. “As the Sheriff of Minnesota’s largest county, I encourage legislators to consider the safety impact of bigger trucks on our roads.”

In 2012, there were more than 1,900 large-truck crashes in Minnesota, including 60 fatalities. While 2013 fatality data has not yet been published, there were 2,452 large-truck crashes last year, a 28-percent increase compared to 2012. Studies have shown that larger trucks cause more severe accidents and fatalities.

Research published last year was conducted at Marshall University by the Multimodal Transportation and Infrastructure Consortium (MTIC), a University Transportation Center recognized by the USDOT Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA).

That study found 95 percent of law enforcement officers believe heavier and longer trucks would be more dangerous. The research also found that 90 percent of truck drivers believe increasing the weight of trucks to 97,000 pounds would negatively impact highway safety.

“Bigger-truck proponents talk about ‘modernizing’ our transportation policy, but we don’t think there is anything ‘modern’ about compromising public safety,” Commissioner Maluchnik said. “Representing a county with miles of rural roads, bigger trucks cause not only safety issues, but are a leading factor in our deteriorating roads and bridges. Our local governments and taxpayers cannot afford this.”

“Keeping Minnesotans safe on our roads is not a partisan issue, it’s a common sense issue,” said Commissioner Huffman. “Helping prevent additional serious accidents is a cause that policymakers from all political persuasions can get behind.”

In addition to safety concerns, bigger trucks cause significant infrastructure damage to roads and bridges.

There were 1,513 structurally deficient or functionally obsolete bridges in Minnesota as of last year, according to the Federal Highway Administration. An article in the Star Tribune states that 11 percent of the state’s bridges fall into one of those categories, up from 7.7 percent a decade ago.

The Coalition Against Bigger Trucks announced that their effort will include a radio ad airing today through the end of the Thanksgiving weekend.
 
Radio Ad – “Holiday Roads”
Are you on the road this holiday season?

Well next year things could get more dangerous for Minnesota’s motorists.

When the legislature comes back in January, special interests will be pushing for heavier, more dangerous semi trucks on our roads.

Research on bigger semis shows they cause more severe crashes and fatalities.

But you can protect your family from heavier big rigs.

Go online to house-dot-mn or senate-dot-mn to contact your legislators and tell them bigger trucks are wrong for Minnesota. — Coalition Against Bigger Trucks

CABT is a national, nonprofit grassroots organization with coalitions of nearly 5,000 local supporters in over 30 states. CABT local supporters include law enforcement officers, local elected officials, truck drivers, motorists, safety and consumer groups, railroads, and citizens groups. To learn more about the fight against bigger trucks, visit http://www.cabt.org.

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Better Business Bureau offers tips to Black Friday shoppers http://hometownsource.com/2014/11/19/better-business-bureau-offers-tips-to-black-friday-shoppers/ http://hometownsource.com/2014/11/19/better-business-bureau-offers-tips-to-black-friday-shoppers/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 21:03:28 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=79369 Burnsville, MN – The Thanksgiving holiday is right around the corner, and some retailers have already announced at least some of their Black Friday deals.

Though more and more stores are opening their doors to shoppers on Thanksgiving Day, the day after Thanksgiving – Black Friday – will remain one of the biggest shopping days of the year.

Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) is offering advice for people making plans to capitalize on Black Friday savings offers.

“Though the impact of Black Friday shopping might be at least somewhat diluted with some stores opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day, we still believe it will be a day where many folks will focus their holiday shopping – and bargain-hunting – efforts,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota.

The National Retail Federation forecasts that holiday sales will increase by more than 4 percent this year. As always, retailers will compete feverishly to get shoppers to visit their stores – and their websites! Whether you’ll be doing your holiday shopping on Black Friday or beyond, be sure to keep these BBB tips in mind to help ensure a satisfactory experience:

• Research the company. Visit http://www.bbb.org or call 800-646-6222 to obtain free Business Reviews. Remember, BBB Business Reviews have been optimized for smartphones.

• Getting the real deal.  Do you know if a sale is really a sale?  Many times companies boast “70 percent off,” but 70 percent off what? It always pays to comparison shop. If a company is advertising a “Going out of Business” sale, don’t automatically assume they are offering the best prices in town. Take the time to check prices on the same items at other stores.

• Search for Black Friday Ads Ahead of Time. Some retailers have ‘gone for it,’ announcing their Black Friday specials well in advance of Friday, Nov. 28. Newspapers often have coupons that outline store discounts for Black Friday, and some specials are posted on the Internet. By keeping your eyes open and nose to the ground, you can sniff out deals others might miss.

• Return policies, restocking fees and refunds.  Ask for the store’s return policy before you make your purchase. Companies are not required to give you your money back, but they need to post their return policy prominently near the cashier. Also, always ask about restocking fees, and save your receipts in one place so you don’t lose them.  Many companies will require you to produce a receipt for a return. Ask for a gift receipt.

• Watch out for deals too good to be true. While many retailers offer ‘doorbusters’ – specials that are eye-opening – some websites offer suspiciously low prices on sought-after goods in an effort to entice shoppers into turning over their credit card information. Stick to trustworthy websites and look for the BBB seal and other recognized “trust marks.” Be sure to click on the seals to confirm they are valid.

• Gift cards. Gift cards regularly top consumers’ wish lists. Federal rules govern gift card sales, and those rules state:

—  An inactivity fee cannot be charged until the card has not been used for 12 months.
—  Gift cards cannot expire for at least 5 years.
—  No more than one fee (of any kind) can be charged to the cardholder in a single month.
—  Information printed on the card must disclose fees and expiration date and provide a toll-free phone number or website where you can get more information.
—   A one-time fee can be charged when you buy the card, though this generally only applies to gift cards purchased through your credit card company – not those purchased directly from stores and restaurants.
—   If you receive a gift card, you should redeem it promptly if, possible.

Finally, consumers should keep in mind there will be many more opportunities for savings as we go through the long holiday season.

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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Gov. Dayton calls for applications to head Iron Range Resources and rehabilitation Board http://hometownsource.com/2014/11/17/gov-dayton-calls-for-applications-to-head-iron-range-resources-and-rehabilitation-board/ http://hometownsource.com/2014/11/17/gov-dayton-calls-for-applications-to-head-iron-range-resources-and-rehabilitation-board/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 20:33:23 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=79353 NEWS RELEASE — St. Paul, MN – Gov. Mark Dayton today (Monday, Nov. 17) announced that the Office of the Governor is accepting applications to serve as Commissioner of the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB).

The commissioner must lead the Board in its important mission to diversify and improve the economy of the Iron Range.

“The IRRRB has a crucial role in bringing new economic growth and more jobs to the Iron Range,” said Gov. Dayton. “I will work with the IRRRB Board to select a new Commissioner, who will continue the outstanding leadership Tony Sertich has provided the agency.”

Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) is a State of Minnesota development agency located in Eveleth, Minnesota. IRRRB’s mission is to promote and invest in business, community and workforce development for the betterment of northeastern Minnesota. The board is comprised of state senators and representatives elected from state senatorial or legislative districts in which one-third or more of the residents reside within the IRRRB service area. One additional state senator is appointed by the senate Subcommittee on Committees of the Committee on Rules and Administration.

IRRRB provides vital funding, including low or no interest loans, grants and loan guarantees for businesses relocating or expanding in the region. Additionally, a variety of grants are available to local units of government, education institutions, and nonprofits that promote workforce development and sustainable communities.

Individuals wishing to apply may submit a resume and cover letter to Adam Prock, Assistant Chief of Staff to Gov. Mark Dayton, at 116 Veterans Service Building, 20 West 12th Street, St. Paul, MN 55155, or by via e-mail at adam.prock@state.mn.us. Application materials are due by close of business, Monday, Dec. 1, 2014.

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State Auditor Otto releases 2013 Town Finances Report http://hometownsource.com/2014/11/17/state-auditor-otto-releases-2013-town-finances-report/ http://hometownsource.com/2014/11/17/state-auditor-otto-releases-2013-town-finances-report/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 15:45:45 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=79304 State Auditor Rebecca Otto

State Auditor Rebecca Otto

NEWS RELEASE — St. Paul, MN – State Auditor Rebecca Otto has released the
Minnesota Town Finances Report, a comprehensive report on revenues, expenditures and debt for Minnesota’s towns.

The report analyzes town financial operations for the calendar year ended December 31, 2013.

In 2013, there were 1,783 towns compared to 853 cities and 87 counties. The 2013 population estimates from the State Demographer show that 919,329 individuals reside in towns, representing about 17.0 percent of the state population.  Town populations range from 11,165 in the Town of White Bear to 5 in the Town of Hangaard.

Fifty-two percent of towns have a population of 300 or less.

Highlights from the report include:

Current and Five-Year Trends
—  In 2013, Minnesota towns reported total revenues of $279.8 million.
This amount represents a 0.2 percent increase over the total revenues
reported in 2012.  Increases in tax revenues offset a decrease in
intergovernmental revenues.  The number of towns that failed to report
in 2013 (136) was 40 less than 2012 (176).   An analysis that examined
only those towns that reported both years showed a decrease in total
revenues of 0.7 percent.

—  Minnesota towns reported total expenditures of $267.2 million in
2013. This amount represents an increase of 5.3 percent over the amount
reported in 2012.  An analysis of only those towns that reported in 2012
and 2013 shows that total expenditures among these towns increased 4.5
percent in total expenditures.

—  Debt service expenditures are the principal and interest payments
on outstanding indebtedness.  Towns had debt service expenditures of
$12.8 million in 2013. This amount represents a 3.5 percent decrease
from 2012. Over the five-year period of 2009 to 2013, debt service
expenditures decreased 11.9 percent.

—  Total outstanding short- and long-term indebtedness totaled $70.7
million in 2013. This represents an increase of 2.3 percent over 2012.
Outstanding bonded indebtedness totaled $48.6 million in 2013, which was
an increase of 6.0 percent over the $45.9 million outstanding in 2012.
Other long-term debt totaled $21.2 million in 2013, which was a decrease
of 6.1 percent from 2012. In addition, towns reported $868,480 in
short-term indebtedness in 2013, which was an increase of 34.9 percent
over 2012.

Ten-Year Trends   
—  Between 2004 and 2013, total town revenues in actual dollars
increased 27.5 percent.  In constant, or inflation-adjusted, dollars,
total town revenues decreased 4.8 percent over this ten year period.

—  Since 2004, the share of total revenues derived from taxes has
increased from 65.1 percent in 2004 to 76.4 percent in 2013.  In
contrast, the share of total revenues derived from intergovernmental
sources has decreased from 20.0 percent in 2004 to 14.4 percent in
2013.

—  In constant, or inflation-adjusted, dollars, total town
expenditures decreased 11.4 percent between 2004 and 2013.  In actual
dollars, total expenditures grew 18.6 percent over the ten-year period.

For the complete report, which includes an Executive Summary, graphs
and tables, go to:

http://www.auditor.state.mn.us/default.aspx?page=20141114.000.

The Office of the State Auditor is a constitutional office that is
charged with overseeing more than $20 billion spent annually by local
governments in Minnesota.

The Office of the State Auditor does this by performing audits of local government financial statements, and by reviewing documents, data, reports, and complaints reported to theOffice.  The financial information collected from local governments is
analyzed and is the basis of statutory reports issued by the Office of the State Auditor.

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Better Business Bureau offers advice on the Layaway Process http://hometownsource.com/2014/11/12/better-business-bureau-offers-advice-on-the-layaway-process/ http://hometownsource.com/2014/11/12/better-business-bureau-offers-advice-on-the-layaway-process/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 16:58:53 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=79275 Burnsville, MN – The Great Recession is over, but its effects are still being felt.

One of those effects saw layaway plans reintroduced into the marketplace. With many shoppers still minding budgets and searching for more affordable methods of paying for big-ticket items, layaway plans are worth exploring. Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) is offering advice on how to use this payment plan in lieu of credit cards.

Once considered a dated, old-fashioned method of payment, layaway services are back, with many retailers dusting offering payment plans for today’s more frugal consumers. Buying items on layaway is different from putting them on a credit card because the buyer isn’t charged interest on the purchase and can’t take the item home until it is paid off. When purchasing items on layaway, the buyer must typically make a down payment of 10 to 20 percent and pay any service or plan fees for the store to hold the item for them. The customer then typically has 30 to 90 days to make periodic payments to pay off the balance. Once it is paid off, the customer can take the item home.

“For many people, layaway plans are a preferable alternative to taking on more debt via their credit cards,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota.

As a complement to in-store layaway, some stores provide online layaway services for purchasing items through the retailer’s website. Additionally, third-party businesses have sprung up for the purpose of setting up layaway plans online between customers and retailers that don’t already have a layaway program. Customers make periodic payments to the third-party layaway service provider. Once the item is fully paid for, the business then buys the item from the retailer and ships it to the customer.

When buying items on layaway, the BBB advises consumers to get everything in writing and offers the following checklist of questions to ask:

• How much time do I have to pay off the item?

• When are the payments due?

• How much do I have to put down?

• Are there any storage or service plan fees?

• What happens if I miss a payment? Are there penalties? Does the item return to inventory?

• Can I get a refund or store credit if I no longer want the item after making a few payments?

• What happens if the item goes on sale after I’ve put it on layaway?

• Does the retailer or third-party layaway service have a good BBB rating? Research them for free at www.bbb.org.

For more advice on how to be a savvy consumer this holiday season, 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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Sen. Klobuchar issues statement on Veterans Day http://hometownsource.com/2014/11/11/sen-klobuchar-issues-statement-on-veterans-day/ http://hometownsource.com/2014/11/11/sen-klobuchar-issues-statement-on-veterans-day/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 15:39:09 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=79241 Sen. Amy Klobuchar

Sen. Amy Klobuchar

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar issued the following statement for Veterans Day, 2014:

“With grateful hearts, Minnesotans will gather together across the state on Veterans Day to honor the brave Americans that have served in uniform to protect our freedom. Today I am especially mindful of the soldiers returning from battle permanently injured and suffering life-altering disabilities.

“Last month in Washington, 14 years after being authorized by Congress, the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial finally opened near the National Mall. This monument honors soldiers from all conflicts and all branches of the military that have returned home from war only to fight a new battle against the wounds of war.

“One of those heroes is Sylvester Mechavich, a 97-year-old World War II veteran who is now in hospice care at the Saint Cloud VA. Serving as a squad leader in the Army during the Battle of the Bulge in 1944, he lost both his eyes to a grenade and suffered other physical disabilities. Despite these injuries, Sylvester went on to live a full life never wavering in his dedication to service or his devotion to his family.

“As a country, we must stand with veterans like Sylvester that stood tall for us on the front lines. That means making reforms to the VA that will increase accountability and ensure veterans have access to high-quality and timely health care. We must also take steps to reduce the unemployment rate for veterans of the post-9/11 wars.

“While the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial is long overdue, a monument alone is not enough – we must provide these heroes with the care needed to recover and opportunities needed to succeed.”

Klobuchar on Monday (Nov. 10) released a report on the employment status of our nation’s veterans.

Klobuchar’s report revealed some progress, with the recent 12-month average unemployment rate for all veterans at 5.6 percent, down from its peak of nearly 9 percent four years ago. However, the study also found that the recent average unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans is still elevated at 7.6 percent, and even higher for female post-9/11 veterans at 8.3 percent.

“As our economy continues to improve, we have seen some progress in reducing the number of our veterans who are unemployed, but we still have a lot of work to do,” said Klobuchar. “This Veterans Day, we should not just thank veterans for their service, but recommit to putting in place policies that make it easier for veterans to find good-paying jobs.”

Klobuchar’s report also found:
• In 2013, Minnesota veterans overall had an unemployment rate of 5 percent. When just post-9/11 veterans were considered, the unemployment rate was 8.8 percent. In 2012, the unemployment rates for all Minnesota veterans and post-9/11 Minnesota veterans were 6.8 percent and 14.1 percent, respectively.

• In 2013, African American and Hispanic veterans had unemployment rates of 8.2 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively. Both were higher than the unemployment rate for all veterans.

• The recent 12-month average unemployment rate for female post-9/11 veterans was 8.3 percent, down from the 2013 average of 9.6 percent and from the 2012 average of 12.5 percent.

• The youngest veterans who have served in the post-9/11 era have had a particularly difficult time securing employment. Last year, 21.4 percent of veterans ages 18-24 were unemployed.

Klobuchar’s report laid out policy proposals that should be enacted to improve transitions to the workplace for returning veterans. One proposal is bipartisan legislation Klobuchar introduced with Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), the Veterans to Paramedics Transition Act, which would streamline the process for veterans with medical training to get in-demand paramedic jobs.

Other proposals recommended in the report include: strengthening and expanding tax credits for employers that hire unemployed veterans; promoting higher education and training opportunities for returning veterans; and providing assistance to help veterans through the challenges of transitioning from active duty to civilian life.

Klobuchar became Senate chair of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) at the beginning of the 113th Congress. The JEC is a bicameral Congressional Committee composed of ten members from each the Senate and the House of Representatives.

There are 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans on the Committee. The main purpose of the JEC, which was established by the Employment Act of 1946, is to continually study matters relating to the U.S. economy. The Committee holds hearings, performs research and advises Members of Congress.

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‘Modern Spirit: The Art of George Morrison’ opens at the Minnesota History Center Feb. 14, 2015 http://hometownsource.com/2014/11/10/modern-spirit-the-art-of-george-morrison-opens-at-the-minnesota-history-center-feb-14-2014/ http://hometownsource.com/2014/11/10/modern-spirit-the-art-of-george-morrison-opens-at-the-minnesota-history-center-feb-14-2014/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 17:13:49 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=79171 "Modern Spirit: The Art of George Morrison," comes to the Minnesota History Center, Feb. 14 - April 26, 2015.

“Modern Spirit: The Art of George Morrison,” comes to the Minnesota History Center, Feb. 14 – April 26, 2015.

St. Paul, MN — Drawing on his physical and spiritual homelands, artist George Morrison (1919–2000) created works that speak to both American urban settings and the solitude of Northern Minnesota.

His paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures have been displayed in numerous public and private exhibitions, and he is one of Minnesota’s most cherished artists. Yet because Morrison’s artwork typically does not include overt references to his Indian heritage, it has stirred debate about what it means to be a Native American artist.

View a survey of his prolific career in the exhibition, “Modern Spirit: The Art of George Morrison,” at the Minnesota History Center, Feb. 14 – April 26, 2015.

“Modern Spirit: The Art of George Morrison” was organized by the Minnesota Museum of American Art and Arts Midwest, with the Plains Art Museum.

The exhibit includes about 80 drawings, paintings, prints and sculptures that bring together concepts of abstraction, landscape and spiritual reflection. Kristin Makholm, executive director of the Minnesota Museum of American Art said, “This first, comprehensive retrospective of his work will reveal how visions of identity and place play an essential role in assessing American art of the 20th century and beyond.”

“We’re pleased to host this exhibit at the Minnesota History Center,” said Brian Szott, head of collections and art curator for the Minnesota Historical Society. “We hope this exhibit will help provide Morrison—a major player in the modern art movement—with the critical attention he deserves.”

The core of this retrospective issues from one of the largest and most important collections of Morrison’s artwork in the country, at the Minnesota Museum of American Art in St. Paul.

Some of these pieces were lent for a two-person show with Allan Houser that helped inaugurate the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., in September 2004. Supplemental works are borrowed from important private and public collections throughout the country, including four pieces from the collection of the Minnesota Historical Society.

Public Programs
Modern Spirit Exhibit Preview, Feb. 12, 7 to 9 p.m., $15/$12 MNHS members
Enjoy exclusive early access to the exhibit and a complimentary dessert and a coffee bar. Copies of the exhibition companion book signed by curator W. Jackson Rushing III will be available for purchase in the History Center gift store. Tickets are $15 or $12 for MNHS members. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 651-259-3015 or online at tickets.mnhs.org.

History Lounge: George Morrison, A Life in Art, Feb. 17, 7 p.m., free
Join Margot Galt as she relates stories of working with Morrison on his biography, Turning the Feather Around: My Life in Art, and what it revealed about one of Minnesota’s most important and beloved artists. Margot Galt teaches creative writing at Hamline University. This program is free.

North Coast Nosh, Feb. 19, 7 to 10 p.m., $20/$15 MNHS members
Celebrate the traditions and flavors of Minnesota’s indigenous people with “The Sioux Chef” Sean Sherman. Sherman will curate a program that includes tasting and conversation with indigenous food and drink purveyors, in the setting that the Heavy Table’s popular “North Coast Nosh” series is known for. Tickets are $20 or $15 for MNHS members. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 651-259-3015 or online at tickets.mnhs.org.

Credit
“Modern Spirit: The Art of George Morrison” is organized by the Minnesota Museum of American Art and Arts Midwest, with the Plains Art Museum. The exhibition and its national tour are supported by corporate sponsor Ameriprise Financial, foundation sponsor Henry Luce Foundation, and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. Major support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and the generous contributions of individuals across the Midwest.  Learn more at www.mmaamorrison.org.

The Minnesota History Center showing of “Modern Spirit: The Art of George Morrison” is funded in part by the Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on Nov. 4, 2008.

Hours and location
The Minnesota History Center is located at 345 Kellogg Blvd. W. in St. Paul. Exhibit gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays (admission is free on Tuesdays from 5 to 8 p.m.), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Auxiliary aids and services are available with advance notice. For more information, call 651-259-3000 or 1-800-657-3773.

Admission
Admission to “Modern Spirit: The Art of George Morrison” is included with regular History Center admission of $11 for adults, $9 for seniors and college students, $6 for children ages 6 to 17; free for children age 5 and under and MNHS members.

The Minnesota History Center holds the collections of the Minnesota Historical Society. The History Center is home to an innovative museum, engaging public programs, a modern library, distinctive gift shops and an award-winning restaurant.

The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. The Society collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, the Society preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history.

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Better Business Bureau offers new resource to veterans, service members http://hometownsource.com/2014/11/10/better-business-bureau-offers-new-resource-to-veterans-service-members/ http://hometownsource.com/2014/11/10/better-business-bureau-offers-new-resource-to-veterans-service-members/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 16:35:47 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=79169 NEWS RELEASE — Burnsville, MN – As part of their outreach to the military community, Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota’s local Military Line (BBB) program has partnered with the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance to create a specially-designed tri-fold handout containing tips on scams targeting servicemembers and their families, as well as a list of community resources they can turn to when they have questions, concerns or need assistance.

The handout, which will first be distributed at a MACV StandDown event in Mankato on Wednesday, Nov. 12 – and then made widely available to the military community – is designed in muted colors, to be user-friendly for veterans suffering from symptoms due to traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Reports indicate that up to 20 percent of returning veterans exhibit symptoms of having sustained traumatic brain injuries. People suffering from these symptoms find brighter colors and densely-worded materials off-putting and have difficulty processing information formatted in standard fashion.

“This information is important to all service members and veterans, and when we designed this handout, we did so in such a way that it would be accessible to all,” said Lisa Jemtrud, Director of BBB’s Institute for Marketplace Ethics. “Our goal is to reach and help protect everyone, but especially those that need our help most.”

BBB’s new handout for veterans and servicemembers, as well as their families and caregivers, includes:

• Tips on scams targeting military personnel and their families – and how to avoid them

• An index of resources available to veterans

• Information on payday loans and pension scams

• A list of Do’s and Don’ts designed to protect personal information and help ensure financial security

For more than two years, BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota staff has made presentations at more than 100 events, reaching 10,000-plus people through workshops and military expos.

BBB regularly provides information regarding employment scams at job fairs, offers resources to struggling veterans at StandDown events, conducts workshops on buying a car to veterans transitioning from various support programs and educates service members and their families on how to be smart consumers in today’s fast-paced economy.

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. Mondays through Fridays. Contact BBB at http://www.bbb.org or 651-699-1111, toll-free at 1-800-646-6222.

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Wolf supporters rally on Saturday to mark start of Minnesota’s third wolf season http://hometownsource.com/2014/11/05/howling-for-wolves-to-rally-nov-8-in-opposition-to-minnesota-wolf-hunt/ http://hometownsource.com/2014/11/05/howling-for-wolves-to-rally-nov-8-in-opposition-to-minnesota-wolf-hunt/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 19:55:13 +0000 http://hometownsource.com/?p=79130 The Minnesota-based advocacy organization Howling For Wolves volunteers gathered in both St. Paul and Duluth to express opposition to the wolf hunt. (Photo submitted)

The Minnesota-based advocacy organization Howling For Wolves volunteers gathered in both St. Paul and Duluth to express opposition to the wolf hunt. (Photo submitted)

NEWS RELEASE — St. Paul, MN – To mark the start of the third consecutive wolf hunting and trapping season, Minnesota-based advocacy organization Howling For Wolves volunteers on Saturday gathered in both St. Paul and Duluth to express opposition to the wolf hunt.

“A recreational wolf hunt is reckless and does not protect Minnesota’s wolf population. Indiscriminately killing wolves makes wolf packs unstable as they scatter when their family units are broken, and the DNR’s wolf hunt recklessly endangers our wolves and confuses the public into believing that a hunt is management.  Our state’s gray wolves are the only original population in the continental U.S., and 80 percent of Minnesotans think the wolf should be protected for future generations. Suspending the wolf hunt and banning the baiting, snaring, and trapping of wolves for recreation should be a priority for our government leaders in St. Paul,” said Howling For Wolves founder and president, Dr. Maureen Hackett.

The St. Paul rally was held on the grounds of the Minnesota State Capitol with 300 participants. An affiliated Duluth rally was held in downtown Duluth on the corner of Lake and Superior streets with 25 participants.

At the St. Paul rally, Howling For Wolves Founder and President Dr. Maureen Hackett announced their new #LiveAndLetLive media campaign to include billboards and radio advertisements, as well as new branding.

About the wolf hunt season
In Minnesota, a total of 3,800 wolf hunting and trapping licenses were available this year, 500 more licenses than last year’s season (an increase of 15 percent).

The statewide target harvest of wolves for this season is 250, 30 more than last year (an increase of 13 percent), which means the DNR is hoping for a 10.3 percent reduction of the population.

The latest wolf population survey results estimate that 470 wolf packs and 2,423 wolves lived in Minnesota’s wolf range this past winter.

Howling for Wolves legislative priorities
Howling for Wolves is urging the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and state lawmakers to:

• Implement the DNR’s 2001 Wolf Management Plan,

• End the cruel and indiscriminate methods of baiting, trapping and snaring, and

• Suspend the recreational wolf hunt in Minnesota.

Howling For Wolves (HFW) is a wolf advocacy organization that aims to educate the public and policy-makers about wolves to foster understanding and acceptance, and to ensure their long-term survival in Minnesota.

HFW seeks innovative non-lethal solutions for conflict prevention and coexistence where wolves are perceived to be a threat. The group opposes the random killing of non-problem wolves for sport and the cruel methods utilized.

HFW current efforts focus on the Minnesota’s gray wolves, which is the largest and only original wolf population remaining in the lower 48 states. http://www.HowlingForWolves.org.
 

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