■ Location for education forum set
The location of the education forum hosted by Rep. John Ward, DFL-Brainerd, has been set.
It will be conducted from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 25 at the Pequot Lakes High School Auditorium with Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius and an area panel representing five area school districts. Teachers from the Pequot Lakes School District are co-sponsoring the event. The public and all area officials are invited and encouraged to attend.
Others who are scheduled to be at the meeting, which will include a question and answer session, include Pine River schools student Meghan Wheeler, Pillager schools parent Don Gaalswyk, Crosby-Ironton School Board member Kelly McCalla, Pequot Lakes educator and Teacher of the Year Karen Rubado and Brainerd schools educational support staff member Connie Christensen.
■ Cravaack staff to conduct
mobile office in Wadena
WADENA — The staff of Rep. Chip Cravaack, R-Minn., will conduct a mobile office from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 21 at the Wadena City Hall at 222 Southeast Second St.
■ DEED flood funding available for
northern Minnesota businesses
Businesses and other entities that sustained damages in the storms and heavy flooding that struck northern Minnesota and other areas in mid-June may be eligible for loans from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).
The agency has $15 million in flood-recovery funding available under its Minnesota Investment Fund for businesses, cooperatives, utilities and nonprofits in the 15 counties and three tribal lands included in a presidential disaster declaration in July.
The declaration covered Aitkin, Carlton, Cass, Cook, Crow Wing, Dakota, Goodhue, Itasca, Kandiyohi, Lake, Meeker, Pine, Rice, Sibley and St. Louis counties and the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe.
Under the program, funding will be awarded to communities, which will evaluate requests and award loans for local businesses and entities damaged by the storms that occurred June 14 through June 21. Eligible expenses include repair of buildings, replacement of fixtures and equipment, loss of inventory and cleanup costs. All loans for affected businesses must be closed by Dec. 31.
The loans are part of a $167 million disaster relief bill that was approved by the Legislature during a special session on Aug. 24 and signed by Gov. Mark Dayton. DEED officials have since met with local leaders to ensure that funding is distributed quickly.
Communities that are interested in applying for funding can find application materials and other information at www.tinyurl.com/FloodRecoveryFunding. Business owners who think their operations are eligible for loans should contact city or county officials in their communities.
DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more details about the agency and our services, visit us at www.PositivelyMinnesota.com. Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PositivelyMN.
■ MDA receives new grants from federal government to bolster food safety capabilities
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) learned this week that it has won $600,000 in grants from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to enhance the state’s food safety capabilities.
The three-year grants will help the Agriculture Department more quickly trace contaminated foods to grocery stores and other distribution points, and will help bolster MDA efforts to ensure that recalled products are quickly and fully withdrawn from the marketplace.
MDA Commissioner Dave Frederickson said the grants will be a welcome boost for the Minnesota food safety model, which has come to be regarded as a national leader.
“Minnesota has developed a national reputation for leadership in food safety thanks to a strong collaboration between the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the Minnesota Department of Health, the University of Minnesota, and our federal and local partners,” Frederickson said in a news release. “We are grateful for these grants because they will further strengthen our food safety capabilities here and across the country.”
In its grant application, MDA proposed to explore the use of web-based technologies to improve the flow of information between the food industry and regulatory agencies. This approach is expected to accelerate food investigations and recalls, meaning that fewer people will be at risk from contaminated products.
According to MDA Dairy and Food Division Director Heidi Kassenborg, the grant award also enables MDA to share its project innovations with food safety officials across the country.
“Every minute we can shave off the time it takes to trace contaminated products and get them off the shelves means fewer people getting sick,” Kassenborg said. “These proposals are focused on developing and sharing processes that improve information flow during a foodborne illness investigation, and we believe that will translate into better food safety for people around the country.”
■ State House tax panel
chair to be at Lueck event
DEERWOOD — Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, will be the guest of Dale Lueck, the Republican-endorsed candidate for House District 10B, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Deerwood City Auditorium. The program begins at 6:30 p.m.
The topic of the session will be “It’s About Taking Care of Business.”
Davids is chair of the House Tax Committee. Lon Schmidt of radio station 3WI’s “Back Porch” show will be moderator.
The auditorium is at 23770 Forest Road in Deerwood. More information may be obtained by calling Lueck at 927-2495.
■ Fundraiser to help abandoned pets
Pets Abandoned Wanting Support ( PAWS), a nonprofit that helps stray and abandoned animals by placing them into available foster homes, is hosting a fundraiser Oct. 6 at the Pillager fairgrounds.
PAWS provides for the medical care of the animals it helps and advertises them for placement into a forever home.
Often there are more animals than foster care homes available, if a family would like to open heart and home and become a foster parent, PAWS may be reached by calling 218-639-PAWS (7297). The animals PAWS has up for adoption may be viewed on its website at www.pawsmn.petfinder.com.
The Oct. 6 fundraiser starts at 6 p.m. and plans to feature the band Tami and the Bachelor. There will be food specials from 6-7 p.m., but the feature of the night is an “Idol’s Contest.” Six people may sign up to compete. Each person will need to prepare two songs to sing with the band. They can choose their songs from the bands playlist which can be seen at www.Tamiandthebachelor.com. First place prize is a recording with Tami and the Bachelor at their studio and $50 cash. Second place prize is a chance to perform with Tami and the Bachelor and $30 cash, and third place prize is $20 cash. A person may register by sending their name, address, phone number and email along with $20 entry fee to PAWS, P.O. Box 62, Wadena, MN 56482.
■ Transportation Advisory
Committee to meet
The Transportation Advisory Committee of the City of Brainerd will meet 3:30 p.m. Thursday at Brainerd City Hall.
■ WDC seventh-graders take part in retreat
WADENA — Wadena-Deer Creek seventh-graders participated in a day-long retreat Sept. 11 that focused on teamwork, friendship and other challenging and motivational activities.
WDC Middle/High School Counselor Toni Kraska said the retreat, which is held at Inspiration Point Retreat Center near Fergus Falls, helps seventh-graders feel comfortable in a high school setting.
“By participating in this unique experience, it is the hope that, as a seventh-grade class, they will feel a sense of cohesiveness, belongingness to the school community and have the opportunity to display positive leadership with one another,” said Kraska, who coordinated the trip.
Kraska is looking forward to having the entire high school, and now grades 5 and 6, together under one roof. She said because the June 2010 tornado displaced the students at Deer Creek, it’s been a challenge to attain that cohesiveness.
“Our plan is do more activities with the younger students throughout the school year with the senior and junior students who serve as peer mentors. We’d like to build upon some of those values learned at this retreat,” said Kraska.
WDC seventh-grader Alex Burckhard, 12, thought the outdoor retreat was a fun experience where he learned valuable lessons about his classmates.
“I learned a lot about friendships, about strengths and weaknesses of my classmates, how to be a good person and to look out for others,” said Burckhard.
Junior and senior students who serve as “peer mentors” go to the retreat with the seventh-grade students as a way to connect with the students. Senior peer mentors include: Sayde Anderson, Lacey Barthel, Sarah Craig, Macy Hartman, Ryan Jahnke, Molly Kraemer, Drew Larson, Halley Maas, Melissa Moenkedick, Mike Paavola, Joey Price, Brooke Umland and Evan Van Erp. Junior peer mentors are: Brittany Andrews, Jacob Goeden, Paige Hartman, Austin Hendershot, Isaac Laughlin, Michaela Lehmkuhl, Caleb Monson, Ricky Price, Heather Theisen, Hope Theisen, AJ Tollefson and Wyatt Weber.
Teachers and staff who accompanied the students, as well as participated were: Norm Gallant, activities director; Jay Patterson, English teacher; Dawn Paurus, science teacher; Doug Haas, physical education teacher; and Nathan Carlstrom, education assistant.
■ Crow Wing County GOP
open house is Sept. 23
Crow Wing County Republicans will conduct an open house at its campaign headquarters Sept. 23. The campaign headquarters is in Baxter at 14039 Edgewood Drive near the Baxter Cub Foods, just west of Highway 371 and Excelsior Road. The open house will be from 4-7 p.m., area candidates will attend and everyone is welcome.
Regular hours for the campaign headquarters for the rest of September will be from 4-7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and from noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays. Hours for October and November have yet to be determined.
Campaign headquarters will serve as a central repository for candidate campaign materials and support of Minnesota constitutional amendments.