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Showing posts from September 2012. Show all posts

Polaris Stays on Track

Posted on September 28, 2012 at 2:07 PM
Categories: Jobs, Economy

Breaking ground at Polaris

Elected officials and Polaris leadership gathered together for a groundbreaking ceremony

Many people have been recognized for inventing machines that could travel through snow, but credit for the birth of the modern-day recreational snowmobile still goes to Polaris Industries in Roseau in 1954. Employees built a prototype snowmobile using a grain silo conveyor belt for a track and an old Chevy bumper for skis.

Nearly 60 years later, this quintessential Minnesota company is still going strong. Polaris, now based in Medina, has added all-terrain vehicles, side-by-side vehicles and motorcycles to its manufacturing repertoire and employs more than 5,000 people. Revenue last year hit nearly $2.7 billion.

In the latest bit of good news from Polaris, the company broke ground Friday on a 144,000-square-foot expansion project at its research and development facility in the Chisago County community of Wyoming. The project will double the size of the facility and create capacity for up to 350 more jobs, according to company officials. 

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development had a role in making sure the project happened, providing the company with a $400,000 forgivable loan from the Minnesota Investment Fund. Under terms of the loan, Polaris has committed to creating 150 permanent jobs within two years. Polaris is also eligible to receive JOBZ tax exemption benefits


MN Fallen Firefighter Memorial Day, and Monument Dedication

Posted on September 28, 2012 at 8:00 AM


Sunday, September 30th marks the dedication and memorial service of a site to honor of fallen firefighters from across the state.

On Sunday, September 30, over 4000 people will gather on the State Capitol Grounds to dedicate a monument to the memory of all Minnesota firefighters who have given their lives in the line of duty. Fittingly, this special day is also Minnesota’s annual Fallen Firefighters Memorial Day.

The lives of over 206 Minnesota firefighters who died in the line of duty will be forever remembered by having their names inscribed on the columns of the memorial, which will be located on the south side of the Capitol Grounds.

Each firefighter’s family will receive a Minnesota state flag that has been flown over the Capitol, as a special personal acknowledgement of their service and sacrifice.


Lt. Governor Prettner Solon Tandem Skydives in Support of Our Troops

Posted on September 26, 2012 at 4:29 PM
Categories: Lt. Gov. Prettner Solon

On Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at the state Capitol, Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon joined the U.S. Army Parachute Team, nicknamed the "Golden Knights," in a tandem skydive exercise in St. Paul. In a show of support for the men and women who serve our nation in uniform, Lt. Governor Prettner Solon jumped from an altitude of 12,500 feet and fell at a rate of 120 miles per hour before making a safe landing on the lower mall of the Minnesota State Capitol grounds.

Following the jump, Prettner Solon joined Governor Mark Dayton and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie for a Community Covenant signing ceremony, collectively demonstrating their support for military service members and their families. Community Covenant is an initiative that began in 2008, inviting communities across America to show their support for military families in a time of war. The ceremony included a brief moment of silence for the Minnesotans who have given their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003.


How’s the water? Much better after 40 years of the Clean Water Act

Posted on September 25, 2012 at 3:20 PM
Categories: Environment, Outdoors

Testing Minnesota's waters for plant health

MPCA wetland monitoring staff examining plant species to check wetland health in Anoka County. Photo courtesy MPCA. 

St. Paul-- Two massive oil spills into Minnesota rivers devastated fish and wildlife in the early 1960s. At the time, no laws required that spills be reported or cleaned up.

By the early 1970s, such catastrophes were becoming common. In Ohio, the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland was so polluted that it caught fire – for the tenth time. Time Magazine reported that Lake Erie was dying from all the waste dumped into it. St. Louis took its drinking water from the muddy Missouri River because the Mississippi was far worse.

With the publication of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” an environmental movement swept across the nation to the halls of Congress, which passed the federal Clean Water Act on Oct. 18, 1972. The Act’s goal was simple: that all waters be fishable and swimmable where possible. 

“The Clean Water Act was has forever changed how we monitor and protect our water,” says Commissioner John Linc Stine of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). “The Clean Water Act has raised the bar of our expectations. Those expectations are high in Minnesota because 99 percent of the water found here, started here. This means our water protection efforts have an exponentially positive impact on the many states to our south, east and west all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.” 


Talking Taxes with Myron

Posted on September 24, 2012 at 8:00 AM

Using a video blackboard alive with chalk-like graphics, Minnesota Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans details in plain language why the state's tax system is unbalanced.

This is the first in a series of videos titled "Talking Taxes with Myron." The series coincides with Gov. Mark Dayton's drive to reform the tax code in a way that simplifies it while promoting fairness and supporting economic growth.


Minnesota Wins National Food Safety Grant

Posted on September 20, 2012 at 8:00 AM
Categories: Agriculture, Health

Child eating carrot

A new grant awarded from the FDA will ensure that Minnesota continues to lead the nation in food safety.

Minnesotans will now have new help in fighting contaminated food and food-borne illnesses that, according to the CDC, affect 1 in 6 Americans every year.

The help comes in the form of $600,000 in grant money which was awarded to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture this week by the FDA.

The money will be used to create a Minnesota Food Safety Center of Excellence which will work to: gather foodborne-illness surveillance data, provide rapid identification of pathogens, and respond effectively by removing tainted food as quickly as possible.

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.

So what does this mean for the average Minnesotan?


“America’s Smartland: Let the Midwest Surprise You” video contest

Posted on September 19, 2012 at 1:37 PM

Photo credit: Jim Brekke, Flickr
For those of us who call America’s Midwest home, we know the Midwest is a great place to live, raise a family, get an education, work, and start a business. We rather like this “best-kept secret” but we’re ready to share! And we want your help to tell our story! You could win a $2,500 prize!

For too long, the Midwest has allowed others to define what our region is, who we are and what we are capable of doing. Too often, our region lacks the recognition that makes it a great place- its four distinct seasons, quality education systems, vibrant cities, hard working and dedicated individuals, cultural and sporting activities, inviting people, and relaxing countrysides. Clearly, we have a lot to brag about and we need your help to do so.

That’s why the Midwestern Governors Association (MGA) is launching the “America’s Smartland: Let the Midwest Surprise You” video contest. This effort will help the world to learn about the tremendous strengths of our region.

Midwesterners are great storytellers and video is a powerful medium for sharing great stories. So grab your video camera and get started.


2,000 New Jobs

Posted on September 17, 2012 at 4:39 PM
Categories: Economy, Jobs, Bonding

Getting Minnesota back to work remains Governor Dayton’s highest priority. Last week DEED announced $47.5 million in competitive business development grants that will fund nine important economic development projects statewide. These targeted investments will put an estimated 2,000 Minnesotans to work building projects of regional and statewide significance.
The bonding bill signed by Governor Dayton last session has already saved and created 14,000 Minnesota jobs. If the legislature had adopted the governor’s jobs-focused bonding bill last session, another 7,000 Minnesotans would be on the job right now. In last week’s announcement, the governor told Minnesotans he plans to introduce another bonding proposal in January that will help get tens of thousands more Minnesotans back to work.


Duluth News Tribune
September 15, 2012         
“This project rocks the boat,” Mayor Ness said, noting that the Duluth Corporate Tower will spur the city’s economic growth, retain hundreds of jobs and create more than 200 professional jobs as well as 300 construction jobs.... Without that grant, the project would not be moving forward, Ness said.
Detroit Lakes Online
September 16, 2012
"We are extremely ecstatic," Mayor Wayne Wolden said. The award amount was short of $4.6 million asked for, but Wolden said private fundraising efforts had gone very well and a wellness center will be built.
Star Tribune
September 13, 2012‎
St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce President Matt Kramer said, "I'm going to say what everyone's thinking: It's a great day to be in downtown freakin' St. Paul."


A Colorful Time to Explore Minnesota

Posted on September 12, 2012 at 3:39 PM
Categories: Outdoors

Frontenac State Park

A View of the changing leaves- Frontenac State Park (Courtesy Minnesota Department of Natural Resources)

With the arrival of the Fall Season, Minnesota's autumn leaves are just weeks away from gracing us with the brilliant colors that draws thousands of Minnesotans and out-of-state tourists to our state.

According to the MN DNR, as of September 10th, the state was already seeing some areas of colorful leaves at 10-25% of peak, primarily in northern Minnesota. Typically, top peak color is  seen in Northern Minnesota mid-September into early October, with Central and Southern Minnesota seeing peak from late September into early October.

These fall colors are caused by chemical compounds in the leaves, which are revealed from behind the mask of chlorophyll- a compound that gives leaves their green color throughout the year, until it breaks down as nitrogen is placed into storage for the winter.


Lightrail Gets One "Weld" Closer to Connecting the Twin Cities

Posted on September 06, 2012 at 12:21 PM
Categories: Transportation, Greater Minnesota

Lightrail worker waves a peace sign at a completed stretch of line

Welder Duane Dopp of Herzog Contracting Corp. waves to a passing Hiawatha LRT train shortly before the weld occurred this afternoon on the flyover or train bridge built over Interstate 35W in Minneapolis between the Cedar Riverside and Metrodome LRT stations.

The Central Corridor Light Rail system got one weld closer to completion today, when construction crews joined Central Corridor track to the existing Hiawatha track this afternoon. It happened between the Metrodome and Cedar Riverside light rail stations.

The connection will create a 63-mile passenger rail network for the Twin Cities, 11 miles for Central, 12 miles for Hiawatha and 40 miles for Northstar. The network will increase to 78 miles when the Southwest light rail transit begins service in 2018. Southwest will enable riders to travel from Eden Prairie to downtown Minneapolis, the University of Minnesota, State Capitol and downtown St. Paul – without changing trains.

The Central Corridor light rail, now 68 percent complete, is expected to begin revenue operation in 2014. Between now and then, construction crews will finish the heavy construction, install systems to power the light rail vehicles, and finally begin testing the light rail vehicles.

Today’s weld is more than symbolic. It’s our own, updated version of the “golden spike” for the transcontinental railroad, as it connects the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis. But more importantly, it’s an opportunity to provide environmentally friendly, affordable transit options to the residents of St. Paul, Minneapolis and beyond.


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