GrinnellMutual awards $1,500 grant to Murray County Fairgrounds
Grinnell, Iowa — Murray County Fairgrounds in Slayton, Minn., will receive a $1,500 grant through Grinnell Mutual’s Fairground Facelift initiative to enhance their creative arts building.
The building is over 45 years old and in need of many updates. It is used by 4-H members and open-class exhibitors. In 2019, there were nearly 1,800 open-class entries alone.
“The Murray County fair is the best free fair in Southwest Minnesota. We have such a huge turnout with 4-H members and open-class exhibits,” said Kim Konkol, Murray County Fair Board secretary. “We plan to redo the roof and install new lighting in the creative arts building to enhance the viewing pleasure for all the fairgoers.
“We have such great support from near and far,” said Konkol. “A huge thanks to everyone that voted for Murray County! And a huge thank you to Carisa Clarke, Minnwest Insurance Agent. If not for her, we would not have known about the opportunity to apply for a Fairground Facelift grant. Thanks to Grinnell Mutual for believing in the local fairs.”
Grinnell Mutual received more than 50 fairground project submissions from 11 states. Fairground supporters then cast nearly 13,000 votes for their favorite projects among the 11 finalists. The six winning recipients shared a total of $7,500 worth of grants and were chosen based on the number of votes received.
The annual promotion gives county fairgrounds in Grinnell Mutual’s writing territory a chance to rally their communities and raise money to make improvements.
“We understand the importance of local fairgrounds in communities. Fairgrounds provide a place for community members to interact and gather with each other,” said Grinnell Mutual Director of Advertising and Community Relations Barb Baker. “The Fairground Facelift grant is Grinnell Mutual’s way to help local fairgrounds improve and maintain current facilities.”
About Grinnell Mutual
Grinnell Mutual, in business since 1909, is the 108th-largest property-casualty insurance company in the United States and the largest primary reinsurer of farm mutual companies in North America. Its products are available in 17 states.
Local Student Graduates from Bemidji StateUniversity
BEMIDJI, Minn. (September 18, 2020) - Amy Rucker from Lake Wilson graduated Summa Cum Laude with a bachelor of science from Bemidji State University in Bemidji, Minn., at the conclusion of the Spring 2020 semester.
Bemidji State University, located amid the lakes and forests of northern Minnesota, occupies a wooded campus along the shore of Lake Bemidji. Enrolling around 5,000 students, Bemidji State offers 70 undergraduate areas of study and eight graduate degrees encompassing arts, sciences and select pre-professional programs. At Bemidji State University, we educate people to lead inspired lives. BSU’s Shared Fundamental Values include civic engagement and leadership, international and multicultural understanding, belief in the power of liberal arts, and environmental stewardship. BSU is a Minnesota State university. For more, visit bemidjistate.edu or find us at BemidjiState on your favorite social media networks.
Minnesota Rural BroadbandCoalition LaunchesStatewide Speed Test Initiative
Saint Paul, MN - “The Minnesota Rural Broadband Coalition is pleased to announce the launch of the Minnesota Speed Test Initiative,” said Vince Robinson, Chair of the MN Rural Broadband Coalition. “There is no doubt that the lack of broadband in rural Minnesota hampers telework, distance learning, and telehealth. Our goal is to find out exactly where broadband service is available in rural Minnesota and what speeds people are receiving.”
TAKE THE TEST: http://mnruralbroadbandcoalition.com/speedtest
A pilot program for speed testing is ongoing in St Louis, Koochiching, and Itasca Counties. The Range Association of Municipalities and Schools has been leading the way to create a different set of broadband maps based on approximately 7,000 broadband speed tests submitted by area residents and businesses.
These speed tests, mapped by GEO Partners, clearly show the speeds available in cities and townships across the three northern Minnesota counties.
“For years we’ve been relying on incomplete data to make big decisions on broadband infrastructure in Minnesota,” said Nathan Zacharias, Project Manager for the Minnesota Speed Test Initiative. “Most broadband maps stop at the census block, township, or county level. The Minnesota Speed Test Initiative will give us house-by-house data that just isn’t available anywhere else. We’re very excited to get this project in the field.”
The speed test can be taken with any device that has an internet or cellular connection and takes less than one minute to complete. No personal information will be collected. Testing data will be statistically valid and provide a map of what service levels are for any given area in the state. This information will be an important tool for communities that are planning a broadband expansion project through the FCC, USDA, or MN Border- to-Border Broadband Grant Program.
COVID-19 has shown us how important access to broadband is for every Minnesotan now that we’re being asked to work, learn, or receive care from home. Broadband is no different than any other basic utility that people need. It is an essential part of our daily lives.
The Minnesota Speed Test Initiative has been made possible by:
•The Blandin Foundation
•Minnesota Initiative Foundations
•Range Association of Municipalities & Schools
Popcorn Sales Slayton Cub Scouts
Slayton Cub Scouts will be selling our amazing popcorn again this year from September 25th - October 20th! Funds raised from selling popcorn provide our local Scouts with the opportunities to explore the outdoors and become strong community leaders. Support our Slayton Cub Scout program and enjoy delicious popcorn! Contact Katie Chapman, Cubmaster, at 507-828-5905 to learn more!
Health officials begin statewide COVID-19 survey of Minnesota households
Survey includes free COVID-19 testing and will assist in responding to COVID-19 in Minnesota
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is conducting a voluntary statewide survey between Sept. 14 and Sept. 30 as part of an ongoing effort to better understand the prevalence of COVID-19 in Minnesota.
The modified Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response, or CASPER, survey will include a household questionnaire as well as free virus and antibody testing for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Information learned from the survey will help health officials and others who are part of the COVID-19 response make decisions that best meet the needs of our communities.
“Through the CASPER survey, we hope to better understand how COVID-19 is spreading in Minnesota and how it is affecting people,” said Dr. Ruth Lynfield, MDH state epidemiologist.“With a new virus, we have to learn as we go and adapt our response based on new data. Information we gather in this survey will allow us to refine our recommendations to best meet the needs of our Minnesota communities in the prevention of COVID-19.”
The goals of the survey are to:
Understand how COVID-19 has spread in Minnesota communities.
Understand what caused COVID-19 to spread in certain areas.
Explore how COVID-19 transmission and infection rates differ among regions in Minnesota.
Identify the percentage of people infected with COVID-19 that have no symptoms.
Improve health messaging and help stop COVID-19 spread.
During the survey period, teams of public health professionals will visit randomly selected households in 180 preselected sites around Minnesota. After agreeing to participate, one member of the household will complete a questionnaire. All household members who consent can receive a COVID-19 test using a swab to test for current infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and an antibody test using a finger stick to draw a few drops of blood to see if someone has previously been infected with SARS-CoV-2.
Participants with positive results for either test will be contacted by a nurse to receive additional information. All questionnaire responses and results will be kept private.
“We encourage people to participate in the survey if their household is selected. Along with being able to receive free, in-home testing for current and past COVID-19 infection, this is a unique opportunity for people to help us learn more about the impacts of COVID-19 and aid in our efforts to fight this pandemic,” said Lynfield.
The areas that teams will visit throughout the state are census blocks, used by the U.S. Census Bureau, and were selected using a sampling method that takes into account population size. Households were randomly selected within each area. Only households approached by the investigation teams are eligible to participate. Teams will be wearing facemasks, vests, and badges identifying them as members of the MDH COVID-19 Survey Team.
CDC developed this CASPER approach as an evidence-based tool to assess community needs. The tool has been used to collect household information during public health emergencies such as hurricanes, oil spills, and the Zika virus outbreak. Several other states are also conducting COVID-19 CASPER surveys.
By: John Stenen
I have had the privilege of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ for nearly forty years. As a minister, I know what it is to battle discouragement from time to time. I have known some ministers over the years who have become so discouraged that they quit the ministry; this is not uncommon. Many had dreams of having a large ministry and it didn’t happen. “The people are just not interested in attending church.” “I have had too much opposition and the grief is not worth it.” These reasons and many others have driven them from what they believed was their ‘calling.’
Consider the prophet Jeremiah. He preached for forty years to a rebellious people and had nothing but forty years of grief. Noah preached to the people of his time and only his family believed his message. How about the apostle Paul? He was beaten and imprisoned many times; he was betrayed by many and laughed at by others. Yet, he remained steadfast in his calling to preach the gospel; and look at the many still coming to Christ because of his letters written in the Bible. Paul was not a quitter.
May all Christians realize that God does not hold us responsible for success but for faithfulness. Are you and I faithful in your service to Jesus Christ? We are all called to be witnesses for Jesus. We are all called to be ambassadors for Christ bringing to this world the message of reconciliation. Are we doing all we can to build the Kingdom of God? Jesus said, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mt. 4:19). God bless.
A Day at the High School in the Hybrid Model
We at MCC consider ourselves fortunate to be able to start the school year with all of our students back in the building.While this is certainly not the case with every district, due to the large square footage of our building and our relatively smaller student population we are able to have everyone back under the state’s requirements for operating in the Hybrid Model.Little did we know that March 16 would be our last day in the building until now, but this is truly a time to celebrate.It has taken a lot of work and modifications to get everyone back, but seeing students in the hallways again makes it all worth it.We know that things won’t look the same as before, and that we have a new sense of normal, but at least we can all be together.
The biggest change everyone is already aware of is that we are required to wear masks in school and maintain social distancing of 6ft from one another.While this has been an adjustment for students and staff, everyone seems to be handling it pretty well.There are a few times when masks may be removed- after students get their food and sit down to eat, at certain times during phy. ed class when exercising or doing strenuous physical activity that makes wearing a mask difficult, and during band.
The morning routine also looks very different from years past.At the beginning of each day parents need to conduct a daily screening of their child for COVID and have them stay home if they are not feeling well.If a student rides the bus to school, they need to wear their mask on the bus at all times.Doors open at both West and Central at 7:45am for students to enter the building.When students come into the school they need to go to their locker to gather/drop off their things and then go wash or sanitize their hands.After this, they can grab breakfast or report directly to their first block class.Students are not permitted to hang out in the hallways before class this year. New also for this year is that students may bring their backpacks to their classes.This should help to reduce the passing time transition as well as prevent congregating at lockers.
Another change is that our lunch periods are split this year.Some students are eating in the Lunchroom and others in the Commons.Where students eat is based on the classes they are in for 3rd block.Daily schedules are posted around the building to determine the location in which students are to eat.Students need to bring their own water bottles this year as only the water filling stations will be able to be used for drinking and not the fountains. Murray County Central has purchased one water bottle for every student.
Passing times between classes and dismissal at the end of the day are staggered.Students still have 5 minutes between classes but JH, 9&10, and 11&12 are dismissed separately from each block and at the end of the day.The purpose of this is to minimize the intermingling of different grade level groups as much as possible.
Hand washing/sanitizing breaks are emphasized and prioritized.Students need to wash or sanitize their hands each day before school, before and after lunch, and at the end of the school day.This is an easy and very important way to help prevent the spread of germs and keep students from getting sick.
I know this is a lot of new information and a lot to remember.Rest assured that we will be here to help remind everyone of the new things we need to do.I just keep focusing on the fact that we all get to be back together in school.It would be easy during times like these to focus on the negatives- mask wearing, distancing, things that are different or things we can’t do like we used to.I want to encourage everyone to think about the blessings we do have and positive things we get to do in spite of COVID.We are together, learning in person, talking with friends, able to look each other in the eye instead of through a computer screen.It takes a strong character to choose to focus on the positives- but I want to challenge everyone to do just that as we wade through this next year.It will not be easy- I think we all know this, but we need to make the most of every day.No one knows what tomorrow will hold so make the most of today.The words of Theodore Roosevelt ring true especially during these difficult times: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
Jake Scandrett- MCC High School Principal
Area Schools and Programs Receive COVID-19 Grant Funding From United Way
United Way of Southwest Minnesota established a COVID-19 Response Fund in April to provide immediate funding for local nonprofit organizations that have experienced increased demand for services, operational distress, and/or increased costs to continue current services as a result of COVID-19. The UWSWMN COVID-19 Response Fund provides flexible resources to health and human service programs across the UWSWMN service area. This round of funding also included the opportunity for schools to apply for needed supplies/upgrades to create a safer environment for students/teachers.
After full review by a panel of community volunteers, the following programs were awarded grant funding to be used for the specified purposes during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Greater Minnesota Family Services $1,500 to purchase ongoing supplies for sanitization, cleaning and air purification needs for Marshall SEED program.
Lakeview Public Schools $1,800 to purchase protective Plexiglas for various vital offices throughout the district.
Lincoln Elementary $2,000 for COVID related needs, including purchasing an additional lunch table for their preschool students to maintain social distancing guidelines.
Marshall Public Schools $1,800 to purchase disposable face masks for students that forget their mask and are required to wear one to board a school bus.
Minneota Public Schools $1,800 to purchase Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer and lanyards for student masks.
Murray County Central Schools $1,800 to purchase disposable masks and/or cloth face coverings, floor markings, sneeze guards and mask lanyards.
Russell Tyler Ruthton Public Schools $1,800 to purchase cleaning supplies specifically designed to combat the COVID-19 virus.
Samuel Lutheran School $1,250 to purchase a specific cleaner by Stir Technologies along with spray bottles, containers to mix the solution and paper towels.
St. Peter’s School $2,000 to purchase nine chrome books to eliminate student sharing of materials.
St. Stephen’s Lutheran Preschool $700 to purchase PPE & equipment (thermometer, alcohol wipes) for children and staff.
True Light Christian School $1,250 to assist with cleaning fees, increased phone and internet access fees and desk shields.
Westbrook-Walnut Grove Elementary School $1,800 to purchase additional nurse time (currently one morning a week).
WoMen’s Rural Advocacy Program $1,000 to be used towards rent/utility assistance and food/cleaning supplies.
To learn more about our COVID-19 fund and/or to donate, visit our COVID-19 tab at UnitedWaySWMN.org.United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. In southwest Minnesota, we focus on health, education, financial stability, hunger and safety & well-being.
United Way of Southwest Minnesota is an autonomous, local organization working to create lasting change in people’s lives and the communities we serve in Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Yellow Medicine and portions of Cottonwood, Lac qui Parle, Nobles and Redwood counties of Minnesota.