Rural communities are hoping that better connectivity will make it feasible for more people to live and work farther from the city. They hope it'll stave off a pattern of out-migration that's been draining young people from their towns and farms for a century.
Across rural Minnesota, cities, counties, cooperatives and companies are planning or building broadband internet networks. The goal is to provide even those who live in the remotest parts of the state with high-speed internet in order to foster job growth, better health care and increased educational opportunities. The most optimistic observers think telecommuting and other internet-based endeavors could help stabilize the populations of rural areas.
Minnesota cities and counties encouraged by Gov. Mark Dayton's budget plan to restore funding for local-government aid might want to hold off on the celebrations.
With the goal of forever eliminating state local government aid money from the operating budget -- city officials came up with a plan that involved Grand Rapids borrowing money from itself to invest and prepare for the future.
Among the leaders in using volunteers to provide government services, Red Wing gets about $100,000 a year worth of volunteer labor to weed and plant parks, water flowers, repair picnic tables, gather trash, maintain signs and more.
Cities have shared costs for years, but now they're under pressure to save even more money that way, and some are combining efforts on everything from sewage treatment to food inspection.
It might sound like a wonky matter of fiscal management, but a bill that would give Grand Rapids the ability to levy a general fund sales tax represents the leading edge of a larger debate regarding how cities generate money.
Discusiones acerca del futuro seguido llegan al tema de la Tecnologia, especificamente al Internet de banda ancha, la cual algunos ven como la llave al exito economico del Condado Todd.
Los Latinos empezaron a llegar al condado de Todd hace mas de una decada, principalmente para tomar trabajos dificiles y relativamente bajos de sueldo, procesando carne. Ahora son mas de mil personas.
En el bien iluminado sotano que sirve de oficina principal para Whole Farm Co-op en el centro de Long Prairie, unos cuantos agricultores estan sentados alrededor de una mesa, saboreando galletas horneadas en la localidad y bebiendo kefir, producto lacteo hecho tambien localmente.
Cerca de una ventana con cortinas de encaje, un registrador de velocidad de la policia resopla como si reviviera.
Elected officials, business leaders, and regular citizens have debated for decades how to bolster the economy, provide jobs for Todd's youth so they'll stay or return after college and attract people like Dagen and Fletschock.
Latinos began arriving in Todd County over a decade ago, mainly to fill difficult and relatively low-paying meat processing jobs, and now number more than 1,000.
In the well-lit basement that serves as headquarters for the Whole Farm Co-op in downtown Long Prairie, a handful of farmers sit around a table munching locally-baked cookies and drinking a locally-made milk beverage called kefir.
First of four parts: This series has been prepared by Minnesota Public Radio News as part of a project called Ground Level, which explores Minnesota communities facing their futures.