Local news briefs
Building improvement grants are available
WALKER — Property owners inside the city limits of Hackensack or Walker may be eligible to get a grant to improve their owner-occupied home or their business if they apply before July 1.
The improvements must be for health and safety issues, handicapped accessibility or to increase energy efficiency. Some projects that qualify are a new roof, windows and doors, insulation, foundation work or handicapped accessible entrances.
The Small Cities Development Program grants will pay 80 percent of a project and up to $20,000 toward home improvements or 50 percent of and up to $25,000 toward a commercial building improvement. Building owners must provide a 20 percent match toward the total cost.
Cass County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is administering the grant. Bi-County Community Action Programs (Bi-CAP) is processing applications.
To be eligible, families’ net income must be $33,600 or less for single persons, under $38,400 for a family of two, under $43,200 for a family of three or under $48,000 for a family of four.
Guidelines for larger families and more information about the program can be obtained by calling the EDC at (218) 947-7522 or Bi-CAP at (800) 332-7161.
Gail Leverson, Cass County EDC director, said there are enough funds remaining in the grant to fund four more residences and six more business projects. She said many people who have equity in their home can obtain a bank loan to pay the homeowner’s 20 percent toward the improvements. Bi-CAP also has some other funding sources that might cover the owner’s match, she said.
MPCA awards $572,000 in volunteer water monitoring grants
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) recently awarded $572,000 in grants to continue the important work of volunteer water monitoring in the state. Volunteers play a crucial role in assessing the health of Minnesota’s lakes and streams and assisting the agency’s efforts to protect and restore water resources.
Through the Surface Water Assessment Grant (SWAG) program, seven Minnesota volunteer programs will receive funding for training, equipment and other monitoring expenses for 2012-2013. Organizations receiving grants include
Cass County Environmental Services, Crow Wing County Soil and Water Conservation District, Crow River Organization of Water, Headwaters Science Center in Bemidji, Red Lake Watershed District, Roseau County Soil and Water Conservation District, and Zumbro Watershed Partnership.
Funded since 2006, SWAG projects have provided water quality data for 1,133 lakes and 1,009 stream sites. The MPCA uses these data to determine whether lakes and streams are suitable for designated uses, such as swimming and fishing. The MPCA is responsible for administering the grant program, while local governmental units and nonprofit organizations recruit volunteers and coordinate monitoring and sampling efforts.
The combined efforts identify healthy lakes and streams that need protection as well as those water resources that fail to meet state water quality standards.
BHS Grad Blast planned
It’s spring and that means Grad Blast is in full swing.
For 26 years the Brainerd area community has provided a drug-free, alcohol-free, chemical free night of fun, food, games and prizes for the graduating class of Brainerd High School.
For those interested in volunteering, mark your calendars for May 31 and contact Jean Maaske at 825-8504 or email email@example.com. Volunteers are being sought for decorating, registration, security, games, casino, food, bank, and prizes. Shifts vary depending on the duties. The majority of time frames are 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. and 12:30-3:30 a.m.
Cuyuna Range Youth Center hours
Starting in June the Cuyuna Range Youth Center will be open on Fridays only from 6-9 pm. for those in the 7th through 12th grades. This will be for the summer only and normal hours will resume in September. Activities for the 3rd through 6th grades will resume this fall. If you have any questions, call Lucy at (218) 545-2438 or (218) 839-2218.
The Cuyuna Range Youth Center will have their last dance for this school year on June 1. The dance will be from 7-11 p.m. at the Youth Center. There will be concessions for sale to those attending the dance.
Alzheimer’s education forum planned
The Lakes Area Memory Awareness Advocates will host two presentations of “Living Well with Alzheimer’s” on Tuesday and Wednesday at Central Lakes College (CLC) in Brainerd.
The education forum will be held from 4-8 p.m. Tuesday and from 8 a.m. to noon Wednesday. Terry Barclay will be the keynote speaker.
For more information or to register contact Bev Berg at 855-8142 or register online at http://clcmn.augusoft.net.
Sponsors of the event are Central Minnesota Council on Aging, Lakewood Health System, Home Instead Senior Care, Edgewood Vista, Good Samaritan Society, Horizon Health, Inc. and CLC.
Cravaack to conduct mobile office in Garrison
Staff members of Rep. Chip Cravaack, R-Minn., will conduct a mobile office from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Friday at Garrison City Hall at 27069 Central St.
CLC withdraws international grant
Central Lakes College has withdrawn its acceptance of a grant for the 2012-13 academic year to host students from Central American and the Caribbean.
Originally the college was to receive 18 students in August. These students would have had minimal or no English skills, necessitating an all-out English immersion program for them.
CLC was not quite ready, so the $604,000 grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will be voided.
Administration remains hopeful that, once groundwork is laid for such a project, the college would once again be considered.
The college continues to be a participant in the Community College for International Development program, which annually provides eight or nine international students with a one-year experience.
Meanwhile, progress continues toward establishing a Global Studies emphasis within the Associate in Arts degree at CLC. The Academic Affairs and Standards Council at CLC has approved this emphasis for implementation in the fall.
Other new emphasis AA degrees approved are Military Studies and American Indian Studies.
CLC also will be offering an associate in applied science degree in special education and a medical assistant AAS.
“These new degrees will significantly enhance our offerings and serve students well here at CLC,” said Martha Kuehn, psychology instructor and
AASC chair in a press release.
Outing project to reduce flowing stormwater into Roosevelt Lake
OUTING — Currently, a major stormwater reduction project is taking place in the Outing area near the Roosevelt Narrows Bridge on Cass County Highway 6. This commercial area in Outing near the bridge has more than 3.5 acres of impervious surface consisting of pavement, concrete, roofs and an ATV trail which all collect and funnel stormwater directly to Roosevelt Lake.
A cooperative project between Cass County Environmental Services, Cass Soil and Water Conservation District, Crooked Lake Township, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation is currently underway to promote a major reduction in untreated stormwater from reaching Roosevelt Lake.
Kelly Condiff, Cass County technical resource specialist, is serving as project manager. Cass County Commissioner Jeff Peterson commented that he is “very appreciative of the cooperative efforts of Crooked Lake Township, Cass County SWCD, and State agencies involved.”
This project, funded by the State Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, Clean Water Fund dollars administered by the MN Board of Soil and Water Resources, and matched by the Cass County Environmental Fund, has four primary components.
The existing MNDOT stormwater retention pond has been cleaned and expanded to increase the retention time of collected stormwater. The stormwater culverts are being redirected into the stormwater pond and a sediment trap is being installed before the water enters the pond. The sediment coming from the ATV trail on the southwest side of the bridge has completely filled the sediment basin on the northwest side of the bridge. Excavation of the sediments from this stormwater pond will allow for greater retention time of untreated stormwater prior to being discharged to Roosevelt Lake. To keep the retention pond from accumulating ATV trail sediments, the trail will be re-graded to force water away from the trail, installing Envirogrid panels on the trail and filling them with pea gravel to stabilize the ATV trail. The Outing area has a rich archaeological history. Since this project falls entirely within the Highway 6 bridge right of way, MNDOT had completed the archaeological survey and assessment prior to the new bridge being constructed.
Cass County Construction, Inc. of Outing has been contracted to install the project and all work should be completed by the fishing opener on May 12. In 2009, Cass County SWCD, in conjunction with the Narrows Restaurant, installed a dry creek bed and rain garden project in the vicinity to reduce the stormwater runoff from the Outing impervious areas. It quickly became apparent that in big rain events with high volume flow, the project became overwhelmed and failed to reduce sedimentation and runoff directly to Roosevelt Lake. This year funding became available to improve on early efforts to manage stormwater.
Cass County ESD Director, John Ringle, commented that “this project will provide sediment retention, settling and nutrient reduction of over 45,000 gallons of stormwater runoff during every half-inch precipitation event, prior reaching Roosevelt Lake”.