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.
How small communities around the state remake old buildings is the focus of our latest Ground Level project, Reviving Minnesota Relics. Today we look at the the Randall creamery.
The Buckman Hotel was built by Pennsylvania-born farmer and former Minnesota state legislator and Congressman Clarence Buckman, who wanted someplace nice to stay when he was in Little Falls. It was known as the city's first class hotel. But it didn't stay that way.
This former mercantile building on the edge of the Minnesota River was slated to be torn down before a group of locals convinced the city of Granite Falls to spend the demolition money on rehabbing it instead. The renovation was extensive and included raising the main floor to avoid occasional flooding.
Like communities all over Minnesota, Sandstone is trying to find new uses for an iconic old building that once expressed its identify. Can imagination and money outrace the bulldozer?