Wall Street gives Minnesota great grades for fiscal health

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports…

For Gov. Mark Dayton and his finance team, last week’s news that Minnesota’s Standard & Poor’s bond rating had been upgraded to AAA — the top rung for states — was a bit like a student learning that he had aced a final exam.

The new rating matched the top marks Minnesota regained from the Fitch agency in 2016 and scored again last week for the third straight year. A third agency, Moody’s, held the state’s rating at Aa1, where it has been since the state budget deficit repair job of 2003. Moody’s explained its reluctance to give Minnesota top marks by noting that the state’s “sound management tools” are “somewhat mitigated by recurring governance issues” — things, we imagine, like a gubernatorial veto of a massive 1,000-page spending bill.

Still, praise from two of Wall Street’s big three rating agencies validates one of the two-term DFL governor’s favorite bragging points: On his watch, Minnesota has regained sound fiscal health.

Women in Agriculture meeting July 17 in Madison MN

Here is your chance to learn and share with other women involved with agriculture:

Tuesday, July 17 , 2018
5:00-7:00 pm
Lac qui Parle County Annex
Multi-Media Room
422 5th Avenue
Madison, MN

Bring a dish to share! We will provide  bottled water, plates and napkins. Bring a friend. All attendees will be entered in a drawing to win a door prize!

Contact the County for more info – 320-598-7976

Madison Area ministerium collecting food for backpacks for kids

We wanted to share this invitation from Pastor Spickelmier…

Back in 1995 a school nurse in Little Rock, Arkansas contacted the local food bank seeking help for children in her school who were suffering from hunger. She had seen for herself how food scarcity apart from cafeteria lunches was affecting their physical health, classroom behavior and ability to learn. In response to her concerns, the food shelf started the Food for Kids program, providing hungry students in that school with groceries for the weekend in non-descript backpacks. Since 1995, thousands of such backpack food programs have been launched in the United States.  The Madison Area ministerium (a monthly gathering of our area’s pastors) is interested in seeing this program begun in our community as well.

Roughly 40-45% of our school age children in Madison (K through 12) qualify for the federal free and reduced lunch program.  While the students have access to breakfast and lunch at school (and a summertime food program as well) there is no current help for them over the weekend or over Christmas and Spring Break.  This is where the backpack program would come in.

An informational meeting for anyone who might be interested in being involved in this program is going to be held Tuesday, June 26 at 7pm at the Madison Nursing Home chapel.  The goal is to have the program up and running by this coming school year.

Needs will include:  funds to purchase the food, purchasers, packers, people to deliver the food to the schools, and people to sit on a what will be a newly created “backpack program board”.

We encourage anyone interested in this program to attend the upcoming meeting.  Contact Pastor Eric if you have questions.

Four Ways to Create a Safe Workplace

Thanks to the SBA for their list of four resources to help create a safe workplace…

  1. Ensure your business meets legal requirements with OSHA
  2. Find the Workplace Health and Safety Requirements that Apply to You
  3. Take advantage of training and educational programs
  4. Request an on-site consultation for review

Read the original article for more details.

U of M’s West Central Research and Outreach Center celebrates fast electric vehicle charger

Minnesota Public Radio reports…

Picture this: It’s a hot summer day. Cows in a field are seeking shade under solar panels. And those panels? They’re feeding two electric vehicle chargers — and powering an office building nearby.

That will be the scene in a few months at the University of Minnesota’s West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris.

Today, the university community is celebrating the arrival of the only fast electric vehicle charger for more than 100 miles around. And later this spring, a 30-kilowatt solar array will be installed in an adjacent cow pasture, sending clean power to the charger.

Read more

Learn more about the Iron Industry in Minnesota

People have been asking us about the Iron Industry in Minnesota, so we wanted to share information from Minnesota Iron Mining

The Iron Mining Association of Minnesota’s (IMA) mission is to promote an iron ore industry that will provide long-term growth and prosperity for all stakeholders through profitability in a competitive, global market.

The membership is made up of the nine producing iron ore mines in Northeast Minnesota that are capable of producing more than 40 million tons of taconite annually from Minnesota’s iron ore deposits. The trade association is also made up of 200 vendors that supply products and services to the mining industry. The companies that operate the mines include ArcelorMittal, Cliffs Natural Resources, Magnetation, Steel Dynamics and U.S. Steel.

The iron mines directly contribute $1.8 billion to the economy of Minnesota every year in the form of purchases, wages and benefits, taxes and royalties. Subsequent business impact induced as the result of iron mining is responsible for more than an additional $1.6 billion – making the total economic impact $3 billion on the state and region’s economy. Currently the mines directly employ 4,200 men and women and support an additional 13,000 employed by vendors.

Read more.