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Breaking News: Playing Outside is Good for Kids!

By Katie Chapman, 
Director, Environmental Education
Shetek Lutheran Ministries

I can hear you already. You’re saying, “Yeah...and?” But here’s the deal.

Kids these days aren’t getting outdoors enough.

Let’s look at the benefits of unstructured outdoor play for children:

• Promotion of social, cognitive, physical, and emotional well-being

• Growth in self-confidence and self-esteem

• Better problem solving and appropriate risk taking

• Cooperative and creative thinking

• Deeper development of natural knowledge

• More closely connected to place and environment

We hear it from our doctors, public health staff, teachers, and researchers: Your kids need to get outside for all these reasons and more. Somehow, however, our children are spending more time than ever indoors. Although we have local, state, and national parks, bike trails, playgrounds, and other avenues for outdoor recreation, families across the area are staying inside. 

In this column, I hope to highlight the importance of outdoor time for children, tackle the barriers that we face in getting kids outside, and provide resources and opportunities for folks who want to help our community’s children explore the great outdoors. As a disclaimer, I work as the Environmental Education Director for Shetek Lutheran Ministries and will occasionally highlight the different outdoor programs and events we offer at camp, while also providing relevant and current information about other local outdoor pursuits and opportunities for kids. Please visit my blog for stories, pictures, printables, guest interviews, Pinterest projects, links, and more:, and stay tuned to our Facebook page for happenings at camp:!

Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging Works to End Older Adult Falls

A nationwide celebration of Falls Prevention Awareness Day

One day every year, across the country, thousands of educators, caregivers, health and aging professionals, and older adults focus their efforts on one goal: preventing falls. That’s why the Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging (MNRAAA) is partnering with the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and the Falls Free® Coalition to celebrate Falls Prevention Awareness Day on September 22.

Falls are a leading cause of injury for people aged 65 and older, but they are not an inevitable part of aging and there are proven ways to prevent them. Across the country, partners are hosting classes and seminars, performing thousands of falls risk screening, and educating older adults about evidence-based falls prevention programs. MNRAAA’s Program Development staff are available to provide group presentations on evidence-based fall preventions programs such as A Matter of Balance and Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance. For more information about falls prevention programs and to find a class in your area, visit

“If falls prevention isn’t something that you’re thinking about now, I promise there is someone in your life who’s worried about it,” said Lynn Buckley, MNRAAA Health Care Partnership Developer.  “This kind of education can change a community, and that’s why we’re proud to support NCOA’s Falls Prevention Awareness Day efforts as part of our year-round commitment to supporting older adults in Southwest Minnesota.”

“Falls prevention is a team effort that takes a balance of education, intervention, and community support,” said Kathleen Cameron, Senior Director of NCOA’s National Falls Prevention Resource Center. “This annual coordinated celebration is an opportunity to look at the world around us, be aware of falls hazards, and take action to stay safe from falls.”

NCOA is hosting a Falls Prevention Awareness Day national photo contest, a Twitter chat about medication management and falls prevention on September 25 at 2:30 p.m. ET, and a Facebook Live discussion with a pharmacist about the importance of medication management in reducing falls on September 20 at 3 p.m. ET.

To find out more about Falls Prevention Awareness Day, go to 

About Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging

As the designated area agency on aging for 27 counties in southwest Minnesota, the Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging, or MNRAAA, is a catalyst in building communities where older adults live with dignity, mutual respect and shared responsibilities across generations and cultures. Learn more by contacting Lynn Buckley at or 507-387-1256 ext. 114. 

About NCOA

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is the national voice for every person’s right to age well. NCOA empowers individuals with trusted solutions to improve their own health and economic security—and protects and strengthens federal programs that people depend on as they age. Working with a nationwide network of partners, NCOA’s goal is to improve the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020. Learn more at and @NCOAging.

FINAL NOTICE - Flood Debris Final notice for disposal - ends on September 9th

Murray County has designated the Murray County Recycling Center as the drop-off site for flood debris through September 9. The Murray County Recycling Center is located at 1820 Erlandson Avenue in Slayton. There will be no charge to county residents for disposal of this flood debris.

Flood debris will be accepted from the following 6 categories:

Demolition materials (from building structures) including: Sheet rock, Wood, Insulation, Carpet

Garbage from flood damage including: Furniture, Household items, Clothing

White goods/or appliances: Washers; Dryers; Microwaves

Electronics: Computers, TVs

Household hazard waste: Paints, Chemicals, Pesticides, Herbicides


Make sure your load is secured.

Debris delivered to this site must be pre-separated as defined in the categories listed above.

Debris drop-off site personnel will ask from where the debris has been hauled. Large loads of garbage and demolition materials may be re-routed directed to the county’s demolition landfill. The demolition landfill is located at 1080 71st Street, Slayton, and is open Tuesdays and Thursdays and 1st and 3rd Saturdays, from 8 a.m. to noon. Hours for flood debris drop-off at the Murray County Recycling Center will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday through September 9. Flood debris may not be dropped off outside of these designated hours. Please contact Jon Bloemendaal, Murray County Ag and Sold Waste Administrator, with any questions: 507-836-1164.

Kids in the Kitchen

Growing up, Mom seemed to always have a “job” for us kids in the kitchen. We learned about ingredients, recipes, measuring, timing of meals, and setting table. More than life skills, the most important thing I learned from Mom in the kitchen was the love of family and filling bellies with good food. ~MaryAnne Smith

Kids in the Kitchen is a hands-on meal-prep workshop where children learn life skills with loved ones. It can be mom, dad, grandma, aunt, or neighbor, but each child needs an adult. Kids love helping and spending time with those who love them. Here is an opportunity to engage your child in planning and prepping dinner. You’ll love how they light up when supper is served because they did it with you!

Cost is $28 per child/adult pair. Sign up by 9/21. Grocery list will be provided. Meals are 4-6 adult servings each. If you have ANY CONCERN about providing groceries for your 5 meals, please ask for assistance. Kids in the Kitchen will take place 9/29 at 10 am. We are going to have so much fun and get meal prep done!

Murray County Medical Center to Host Life Saving Blood Drive

Slayton, MN - Murray County Medical Center and Community Blood Bank will partner up to save lives at a community blood drive event held on Wednesday, September 12 from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm at MCMC.  The public will have an opportunity to donate blood to help local patients in the hospital during the fall season.  All blood donations will go directly to saving patients’ lives at Murray County Medical Center.  

Every three seconds someone needs blood, and the only way to ensure that those needs are met is to rely on volunteer donors to donate blood. The need for local blood donors is immense.  The Community Blood Bank supplies over 550 units of blood each week to people in the region.  Among those who benefit from donated blood are trauma and burn victims, cancer patients and persons undergoing surgery.   

“The fall can be a difficult to maintain an adequate blood supply for the community,” states Ken Versteeg, Executive Director, Community Blood Bank.  “With people addressing elective surgeries before the end of the year and a consistent need for blood for many types of medical treatment, data shows a steady increase in usage as we go through the fall season.”      

Donors must be at least 17 years old (16 years old with a signed parent consent form found at, weigh 110 lbs or more and be in good general health the day of the donation.  Please bring an I.D.  It is recommended that a person eat and drink plenty of fluid prior to donating.  For more information log onto or call Murray County Medical Center at 605-836-1286.  

Community Blood Banks is a nonprofit, cooperative of Sanford Medical Center and Avera McKennan Hospital and the sole blood provider to Murray County Medical Center.  Community Blood Bank is not associated with any other blood bank organizations.  

Widowed, divorced or separated??

Beginning Experience of SW MN, is offering a Weekend Retreat that provides an individual with the opportunity to encounter self and to grow with a purpose to achieve inner peace.  The experience is to help close the door gently on the past and move on with renewed hope and purpose.  The weekend retreat will be held at Shetek Lutheran Ministries and is scheduled for October 5-7.  Deadline for registrations is September 28. Email 

Or call/text MaryAnn  507-828-2866 Laurie 507-829-6692.

USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Online Hay and Grazing Acres Locator Tool

FSA’s Hay Net website  is the “go to” online resource for agricultural producers to list information concerning the need for hay and grazing acres or the availability of hay and grazing acres. 

If, due to extenuating circumstances, producers are in need of hay and/or grazing acres to support livestock, please use Hay Net to post an advertisement seeking these resources. Likewise, landowners who have hay and/or grazing acres available for livestock producers should post a Hay Net advertisement as well.

A few things to remember when using the Hay Net website:

• There is a one-time registration process that should be completed by all users who want to post an ad online. 

• Users who just want to browse ads DO NOT NEED to have an eAuthentication user id. 

• Hay and grazing acre ads will be automatically removed after a period of 13 months. 

• Please help your fellow farmer and rancher by keeping ads current and up to date and remove ads you no longer need or want advertised on Hay Net. Please, no corporate advertisements on this site.

Hay Net is brought to you by FSA as a public service. The sole purpose of this online resource is to provide a site for the exchange of information. FSA does not endorse, guarantee, or otherwise make representations of any kind regarding any user of this site and FSA is not responsible for defining the terms of grazing agreements or lease contracts. 

For more information about Hay Net and other FSA services and programs, please contact your local FSA office.  For local FSA Service Center contact information, please visit: 

SBA Offers Disaster Assistance to Minnesota Residents Affected by Severe Storms, Straight-Line Winds, Tornadoes and Flooding

WASHINGTON – Minnesota businesses and residents affected by severe storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes and flooding from June 15 through July 12, 2018, can apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Administrator Linda McMahon announced today.

Administrator McMahon made the loans available in response to a letter from Gov. Mark Dayton on Aug. 23, requesting a disaster declaration by the SBA. The declaration covers Lyon and Redwood counties, and the adjacent counties of Brown, Cottonwood, Lincoln, Murray, Pipestone, Renville, Yellow Medicine and the tribal governments of the Lower Sioux Indian Community and the Upper Sioux Community

in Minnesota.

“The SBA is strongly committed to providing the people of Minnesota with the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist businesses of all sizes, homeowners and renters with federal disaster loans,” said McMahon. “Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA.”

SBA’s Customer Service Representatives will be available at the Disaster Loan Outreach Center(s) to answer questions about the disaster loan program and help individuals complete their applications.

The Centers are located in the following communities and are open as indicated:

Lyon County

Merit Center

1001 W. Erie Rd.

Marshall , MN 56258

Opens: Wednesday, Sept. 5 at 11 a.m. Hours: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., weekdays

Saturday, Sept. 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Closed: Sunday, Sept. 9

Closes: Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 4 p.m.

Redwood County

Redwood County Government Center (Use Southeast Entrance)

403 South Mill St.

Redwood Falls, MN 56283

Opens: Wednesday, Sept. 5 at 11 a.m. Hours: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., weekdays

Saturday, Sept. 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Closed: Sunday, Sept. 9

Closes: Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 4 p.m.

 “Businesses and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets,” said SBA’s Minnesota District Director Nancy Libersky.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.

“Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property,” said Kem Fleming, center director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.

Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes. Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room or storm shelter to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.

Interest rates are as low as 3.61 percent for businesses, 2.5 percent for nonprofit organizations, and 1.938 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amount and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at

Businesses and individuals may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by emailing Loan applications can also be downloaded at Completed applications should be returned to the center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Oct. 29, 2018. The deadline to return economic injury applications is May 28, 2019.

Rebel Roundup

Dear Parents and Guardians of Murray County Central Public School Students,

It’s hard to believe that it is the start of another school year and the summer break is now over. As we start another school year and by observing during staff workshop week, I continue to be appreciative of our great staff and supportive community that join to help support our most precious resource: our kids.

It is a humbling yet exciting responsibility to oversee the education and well-being of our students. With the overarching mission of providing educational excellence through diverse learning experiences to develop respectful, responsible, and productive citizens with high values and integrity; we maintain the vision of working together to carry out that mission. Staff, students, parents, and the community all play a vital role in the success of a great school.

With the release of our 2018 Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments and ACT scores, our district again performed at the top amongst other schools in Southwest Minnesota and well above the state averages in each of these assessments. This is another testament to the teamwork put forth by everyone to make our schools a part of the best in the entire state. 

Construction on the new practice gym/community facility has been going on since the spring. There have been setbacks because of the weather but the finish date of mid to late December is still in reach. This facility will serve the needs of our limited space for physical education and health classes along with providing additional space for practices and some competitions. We will also be able to provide space for community events including an indoor walking track. We wait in anticipation for the completion of this project and look forward to the opportunities that this will provide for our students. There have been other upgrades completed this summer as well to upkeep our facilities and to provide the best learning environment possible for our students.

I truly believe that we have a top-quality school system with top quality staff and students. This is not to say that we are perfect – as there is always room for improvement. We welcome your feedback and respectfully ask that when you have a concern that you share it with the appropriate person – most often your first point of contact will be your child’s teacher(s). Building administrators are also there to help, as are those of us in the district office. The administrators are available to help problem-solve if your concerns are not being addressed to your satisfaction following the correct chain of command.

With that said; teachers, support staff and administrators that are in the trenches of West Elementary and Central High School every day work diligently and compassionately with our children and deserve all of our appreciation. So, I also want to encourage you to share good news and positive thoughts with your child(ren)’s teachers and others they work with.

Again, thank you for your support and generosity. Everyone in the District is looking forward to partnering with you toward another exciting and successful school year at Murray County Central Schools.

Joe Meyer – Superintendent of Schools

Pizza Garden

SLAYTON, Minn. (August 29, 2018) — Every year for the last five, Murray County Master Gardeners have worked with third through sixth graders at the pizza garden out at the Slayton Community Garden. This year Master Gardeners Marilyn Moger, Jan Scherbart, Colleen Gengler and Betty Kassel assisted the kids in growing tomatoes, beans, onions, carrots, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplant, beets, herbs, kohlrabi and even a few marigolds. Like lots of gardens this year, the weeds were a big challenge!

The gardeners finished off the summer with a pizza party with a few more items on the menu. When asked what their favorite vegetable was, just about everyone said carrots. The purple kohlrabi was new to several gardeners. “More flowers” was a suggestion for next year. 

The pizza garden is a joint effort with University of Minnesota Extension - Murray County and the Master Gardeners. 

For more news from U of M Extension, visit or contact Extension Communications at University of Minnesota Extension is an equal opportunity educator and employer. 

NAPS (Second Harvest)

Nutrition Assistance Program for Seniors (NAPS) distribution will be held at the office of A.C.E. of Southwest Minnesota - Murray County 2989 Maple Rd., Slayton MN on Wednesday September 19, 2018. From 1:30 – 2:30 pm. Remember if you cannot be there, please have your proxy pick your items up for you. Call A.C.E. of SW Minnesota – Murray County at 507-836-8705 for more information.

Good News Column

By John Stenen

Many years ago a young man left his home to seek his fame and fortune. However, he didn’t find it;  and for years had become a beggar on the streets of a large eastern city.

One day he touched a man on the shoulder and begged for money. When the gentleman turned to face the ragged tramp, the beggar said, “Father, don’t you recognize me? His dad hugged him tightly and said, “My son, my son, I have found you. For eighteen years I have searched and searched for you. Don’t you know that all I have is yours? Please come home.”

The purpose of mankind on earth is to come to know God as our Heavenly Father. God desires that we love Him, praise and worship Him and have an intimate relationship with Him as His son or daughter. Not all of us are children of God. We are His creation: created in His image; but when we come into this world we come as sons of Adam. The only way we can become a child of God is: to come to Him through Jesus Christ. (John 14:6}. John the apostle also wrote: “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them who believe on His name.” When we surrender our lives to Christ and become His follower; we are born-again. Ephesians 2:8 tells us we are saved by grace through faith...-there is no other way to be saved.

Has your life become one of hopelessness, misery, without purpose, empty? Then surrender your life to Christ now, and find peace and joy and so much more. He is waiting for you to come home.

FREE Classes for People New to Medicare

Slayton, MN, September, 2018 – There are important decisions that need to be made when you become eligible for Medicare. Making the wrong decision can lead to not having any or enough health care coverage and financial penalties. The Senior LinkAge Line® through the Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging® (MNRAAA) is sponsoring two classes for people who will soon be eligible for Medicare. Participants will learn the basics of Medicare and their coverage options in Minnesota during the first class. They will also learn how to research these options using non-biased tools, such as the Medicare website and the Medicare Plan Finder Tool during the second class.

Classes are held in Slayton on the second and third Monday of the month. Call the Senior LinkAge Line® at 1-800-333-2433 to register.

The Senior LinkAge Line® is a free statewide service of the Minnesota Board on Aging and Area Agencies on Aging. The Senior LinkAge Line® is the federally-designated State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) for Minnesota and is the place to call for Medicare and health insurance issues. Call 1-800-333-2433 for assistance or go to® to chat live with a Senior LinkAge Line® specialist.

WHO: Senior LinkAge Line® and Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging (MNRAAA)

WHAT: Free Classes for People New to Medicare

WHEN: Second and Third Monday of each month from 3:30-5:30pm

WHERE: Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging, 1939 Engebretson Ave., Slayton, MN 

Visit our website at: