West Central Blogger

Friday, September 28, 2007

Scout project benefits area recreational trail

It took two years for Josh Hofmann to complete his Eagle Scout project, but now you can see his creation for yourself --a marker designating the trail head of the Central Lakes Trail located by the Stor-n-Lock storage units on the north side of Highway 210 just east of Pebble Lake Road in Fergus Falls. Josh worked with area volunteers and organizations--including WCI who awarded him a Good Neighbor grant--to complete the 3 foot by 4 foot cedar sign. It includes a map and a history of the trail. Josh did the research, fundraising and building himself.

Small business workshops galore!

The Minnesota Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Moorhead is offering several workshops throughout the region.

What Makes A Business Valuable?: Sat. Oct. 6, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Vergas High School Media Center. Cost: $85, includes lunch.

Introduction to Government Contracting: Tues., Oct. 16, 9 a.m.-12 noon, Moorhead State Center for Business, room 103. Register at www.ptac-meda.net.

Doing Business with the States of Minnesota and North Dakota: Friday, Oct. 5, 9 a.m.-12 noon, Detroit Lakes Technical College. Register at www.ptac-meda.net.

For more info, contact Jackie Seifert at the SBDC office, 218-447-2289.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Winona LaDuke to be inducted into Women's Hall of Fame

Winona LaDuke, director of the White Earth Land Recovery Project, will be inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame during a weekend of ceremonies Oct. 6-7 in Seneca Falls, NY.

A graduate of Harvard and Antioch Universities, Winona LaDuke advocates for public support and funding for frontline native environmental groups. In 1994, she was nominated by Time Magazine as one of America’s most promising leaders under forty years of age. In 1998, she was named Ms. Magazine Woman of the Year. Ms. LaDuke was the vice-presidential candidate on the Green Party ticket in both 1996 and 2000.

Blandin broadband pre-conference webinars

Join others on one or all three of these FREE webinars sponsored by the Blandin Foundation! This series is perfect for economic development commissioners or elected officials to learn more about telecommunications and its impact on economic development.

Confirm your registration by sending a note to dpfeifer@minnesotaruralpartners.org

"Get up to speed on Internet technologies and their impact on local economic development before attending the Blandin Broadband Conference in November. Participating in a webinar is both easy and convenient so do not be hesitant to give it a try," said Bill Coleman, Webinar Moderator
Webinar Dates and Topics:

Oct. 3-Global Trends in Broadband

Oct. 17-The Economic Impacts of Broadband and Technology

Oct. 31-Web 2.0 Applications

Webinar Times: 8:30-9:30 AM
Webinar Instructions: Blandin webinars are Internet and conference call based. Click on this link to join us via the web: https://umconnect.umn.edu/blandinwebinar

Conference Call Dial: 866-316-1519 Passcode: 14223904

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Is your workplace a work-life champion?

A few years ago, the management team at American Solutions for Business in Glenwood, Minn., asked themselves if becoming a family-friendly company might help them succeed as a business. They wanted to attract and retain good employees, and a commitment to balance between faith, family and work seemed to be the best avenue. Today, American has put together practices that are enhancing the quality of life for employees, whether married with children or single. Employees use flexibility to fit their needs. The job turnover rate is in the single digits. In 2006, American Solutions for Business became one of the first recipients of the Minnesota Work-Life Champions Awards. The award honors Minnesota employers who create a flexible and supportive workplace and enable their employees to meet a dual agenda – meeting family and personal responsibilities and achieving business objectives.

Is your workplace a work-life champion? Businesses and organizations are invited to apply online to the Minnesota Work-Life Champions Awards by October 31, 2007.

Go to the Minnesota Work-Life Champions Web site to read about other success stories like American Solutions for Business. While you're there, take a look at the online resources, handouts and ideas for work practices that can help turn your workplace into a work-life champion.

This year, each employer applying to the Work-Life Champions Awards will receive by e-mail the following two gifts in PDF format:
A Work-Life History – Reports on Work-Life Trends
Best Practices for Small Companies

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

DL Chamber of Commerce offers fall color tour map

It's just about sweater weather, and the red- and gold-tinged leaves remind us that the beautiful colors of fall are on the way. The Detroit Lakes Chamber of Commerce is encouraging folks to drive over their way by offering a fall color tour map.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Legacy benefits Perham arts patrons

Hazel Schuler was a lifelong resident of Perham who loved music and drama. Hazel passed away last winter, but she earmarked a $32,000 gift in her estate for the 549 Family Foundation to make attending an arts program at the local high school a much more pleasurable experience.

The 549 Family Foundation is a component fund administered by WCI that benefits School District 549 in Perham.

Hazel specified she wanted her gift to go toward a new entrance to the PHS auditorium, where most of the city's concerts and plays are held. Right now, lines extend out the building, making it extremely unpleasant for arts patrons during inclement weather.

Construction estimates indicate that Hazel's gift will provide 35 percent of the money to complete the project. People interested in helping or contributing are invited to attend a steering committee meeting at 7 p.m., Sept. 24 at the Area Learning Center, 520 1st Ave. S. Or contact the 549 Family Foundation at 218-347-0549, or http://www.549family.com/.
Image courtesy of Hammers Construction.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Storytelling helps people envision region’s future

What will west central Minnesota look like in the future? What issues will our kids or grandkids face 40 years from now?

On Sept. 11, more than 30 people from around the region met at West Central Initiative to talk about the future of their communities. Their challenge was to envision Minnesota's future two generations out.

The dialogue was all part of the Meadowlark Project, a learning laboratory initiated by Northern Great Plains, Inc., (NGP) a Fargo-based non-profit whose mission is to make a positive difference in the future of rural communities and businesses by helping them successfully adapt to changing market and social forces. NGP works in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota.

A group of 25 leaders from these states met over a period of more than a year to develop four possible scenarios of the future of the Great Plains region. The participants at the Sept. 11 dialogue listened to the scenarios then met in small groups to discuss them and use the stories as a springboard to conversation about the future of their own communities.

"Our hope is that we can identify four or five projects that we might implement in this area," said NGP President Jerry Nagel, who facilitated the event.

Two of the scenarios discussed the possible impact of the ethanol boom on the plains states. One scenario painted a somber picture of the influence of technology on our culture in the wake of cyber terrorism. The final story told how the western part of the Great Plains was able to recreate themselves into an area nationally recognized for its economic, environmental and social reforms.

"Why do we envision the future through stories? Telling stories is how we give meaning to our lives," Nagel told the participants. "It’s the opportunity to see ourselves in different scenarios to determine the kind of future we want to live."

To read or listen to the scenarios, visit www.meadowlarkproject.com/scenarios.asp.

Another dialogue is planned in Morris on Sept. 19 from 6-8 p.m. at the Prairie Inn, 200 East Highway 28. The event is free, but RSVP to West Central Initiative, 218-739-2239.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

New playground is a community effort

Like Goldilocks' search for the perfect porridge, chair and bed, citizens in Pelican Rapids were looking for a playground that was "just right" for their littlest children. Child care providers and parents were finding the current equipment too big for little hands and feet, and in some cases, too dangerous.

But now there's a new play area in E.L. Peterson Park that is designed specifically for children ages 2-5. And it took a whole community pitching in to help make it a reality. The WCI-supported Pelican Rapids Early Childhood Initiative spearheaded the project. They worked with city officials to plan the new play area, and helped raise $8,000 through private and business donations. WCI processed the donations. The local Jaycees provided volunteer labor to assemble the equipment.

The new play area will be dedicated Sept. 13, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Ice cream will be served. Don't know where E.L. Peterson Park is? It's right next to Pelican Pete.