■ Arbor Day Foundation offers blue spruce trees
It may not seem like it but spring planting is near.
Anyone from Minnesota who joins the Foundation in February 2013 will receive 10 free Colorado blue spruce trees to plant when the weather turns warm for a $10 contribution for membership.
The free trees are part of the nonprofit Foundation’s Trees for America campaign.
“The blue-green hue and distinctive shape of Colorado blue spruce trees will help beautify Minnesota for many years to come,” said John Rosenow, founder and chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “The trees will also add to the proud heritage of Minnesota’s existing Tree City USA communities.”
The Tree City USA program has supported community forestry throughout the country for more than 35 years.
The trees will be shipped postpaid at the right time for planting, between March 1 and May 31, with enclosed planting instructions. The 6- to 12-inch trees are guaranteed to grow or they will be replaced free of charge. Foundation membership is $10
Members also receive a subscription to the foundation’s colorful bimonthly publication, Arbor Day, and The Tree Book, which contains information about planting and care.
For more information, contact the Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Ave., Nebraska City, NE 68410, by Feb. 28, 2013, or visit arborday.org/february.
■ Crow Wing County reports customer service reviews
Crow Wing County reported it received 97 percent positive reviews for customer service received regarding building permits and 100 percent positive reviews for septic permits, wetland and surveying issues and landowner assistance during the Development Review Team (DRT) process, according to a recent survey released by the Land Services Department.
The survey, conducted annually in January, polled nearly 700 landowners, consultants, and contractors who interacted with the Environmental Services Office within the Land Services Department in 2012. The county reported 97 percent of those surveyed indicated that county staff provided them with complete and accurate information in a timely manner and that staff members were friendly and respectful.
Comments suggesting areas of improvement were also received and suggested changes to the website, ways to improve communication and education, and ideas to allow an E911 address to be issued for vacant property. Crow Wing County stated it plans to continue to make improvements to the website and communication, including the launch of a new online permitting system this spring. In addition, because of public feedback, the Land Use Ordinance was recently changed to allow E911 signs to be placed on vacant property.
The county reported respondents to the survey for the Development Review Team (DRT) had 100 percent of those responding indicating the process was helpful or very helpful. The DRT process brings together zoning applicants, township officials, and relevant government agencies along with county staff in a pre-application meeting to discuss proposed land use map amendments, variance, conditional use and plat applications prior to actually submitting such applications.
This was the second year the survey included questions related to land surveying, wetlands, and septic systems. The county reported respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with the level of customer service and technical expertise offered by county staff in these areas and noted significant improvement in these areas.
■ Girl Scout
cookies are on sale
Starting Feb. 2, girls in Brainerd will begin the annual Girl Scout Cookie Sale. On Feb. 8, girls will start “Booth Sales.” That date has been designated Girl Scout Cookie Day.
Thin Mints, Caramel Delites, and the other favorites will returning, plus this year a new cookie has been added to the lineup, Mango Crèmes with Nutrifusion. Cookies cost $4 per package. Many girls are listing their Cookie Booth locations at www.girlscoutcookies.org. Customers can also download the GirlScoutCookie Finder app on their Smartphone.
The famous Thin Mints remain, but Girl Scouts are giving their cookie boxes an overhaul to highlight the real purpose of the $790 million cookie program, which is to teach girls five essential life skills: goal setting, decision making, money management, business ethics, and people skills. Girls will ask 50 million cookie fans across the nation to buy or order more boxes in honor of their success in running the largest girl-led business enterprise in the world.
All the revenue earned from cookie activities — every penny after paying the baker — stays with the local Girl Scout council that sponsors the sale. Councils use cookie revenue to supply essential services to troops, groups, and individual girls, such as providing program resources and communication support, training adult volunteers, and conducting events.
For nearly 100 years, Girl Scouts, with the enthusiastic support of their families, have helped ensure the success of this annual sale.