In Center City, Pelican Rapids and other Minnesota cities, entrepreneurs and utilities are building community solar gardens that let residents invest in solar without putting panels on their roofs.
A new project measures precise shifts in weather and soil moisture to help central Minnesota irrigators try to limit groundwater contamination.
To avoid building a new water treatment plant, three cities have begun storing treated water 500 feet underground for use when summer demand is high.
For more than a century the brewery in Cold Spring has drawn increasing amounts of water for its operations from a nearby trout stream. But the state says it's time to stop, so the hunt is on for a new source of water. That's proving difficult.
Cities throughout Minnesota are getting substantial budget help next year because the state for the first time in years raised local government aid, help aimed at letting cities lower property taxes. But as cities nail down their budgets, they are raising their tax levies instead.
Nursing homes are having trouble all over the state. The facility in this small town west of Alexandria lost $1.5 million over the last several years. The loss of 55 jobs and hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries will be hard for the town to weather.
Last year, this iconic border town lost nearly 300 good-paying paper mill jobs. The shock has subsided and tears have dried, but the work of rethinking what this company town might become is just beginning.
(The Daily Circuit,
More than anyone else, Mike Ward is the face of the effort to smooth over long-held hard feelings in International Falls about Voyageurs National Park.
This city, like many smaller communities around the state, has been losing young people who go elsewhere for education and high-paying employment. At the same time, mining companies and manufacturers tend to look outside the area when hiring engineers.
Koochiching Economic Development Authority Director Paul Nevanen has been working to diversify the job base in a city that has relied heavily on the Boise paper mill for more than 100 years.
Since the Boise paper mill completed a round of layoffs on Oct. 1 that left 265 people without jobs, Rainy River Community College has offered a variety of training and assistance. But few of the laid off workers have participated and some courses have been canceled due to lack of interest.
"I want to find out what the sense is of the people closest to the situation, people who work at the plant and government officials, how they view this change," Gov. Mark Dayton said.
Until yesterday, 58-year-old Fred Rusch, above, Rusch worked the pulp end of paper machine number two at the Boise plant in International Falls, which will close Monday. His eyes were moist as co-workers approached carrying fat slices of cake, some putting their hands on his shoulder and wishing him well.
Looking to save on energy bills or trying to cut greenhouse gas emissions, small cities across Minnesota are installing green-energy projects.
In an era of scarce public dollars and ever-more cantankerous budget debates, rural areas have become targets for sharp rhetoric and program cuts.