Statewide Category Archive: International Falls
The International Falls Economic Development Authority as been awarded a $657,000 state grant to construct a warehouse that will aid international shipping and create jobs.
A private company called Nexus Distribution will use the facility to provide repackaging services that enable Canada and other international companies to meet U.S. regulatory requirements, according to The Journal newspaper in International Falls.
The warehouse and processing center will be built on an 80 acre site adjacent to what city officials say is the largest rail port in North America. They expect the development will create about 50 much needed jobs over the next five years.
The project was among 14 in Minnesota that received funding through the state's Transportation Economic Development Program, a two-year-old initiative between the state Department of Employment and Economic Development and the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The program aims to improve transportation infrastructure and create jobs.
International Falls Mayor Shawn Mason told The Journal that the grant will help the city capitalize on its location in the center of North America. Rail containers carrying Asian-made product travel through International Falls from Vancouver, British Columbia and then on to Chicago.
Mason says the warehouse and processing center will provide services that help manufacturers comply with U.S. labeling and packaging codes. Much of that activity now happens in Chicago, where the process can be slower and more costly.
Local officials hope the project will lead to additional investment and economic opportunity along the rail corridor.
Groundbreaking on the facility is set for July 2.
Scientists are gearing up for construction this spring of a 15,000-ton neutrino particle detector that will be housed in a facility on the Ash River Trail, about 40 miles southeast of International Falls.
The detector will be part of a scientific investigation into the role of subatomic particles in the origin of the universe, according to a story in the The Journal newspaper in International Falls.
The lab is part of the University of Minnesota's School of Physics and Astronomy. The detector will be on the receiving end of particles shot through the earth from the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill. The Ash River site was selected because it's the furthest possible location in the United States that's in a direct line from the Illinois lab.
Researchers say the new facility will expand the University of Minnesota's international reputation as a leader in neutrino research. The university also operates the Soudan Underground Laboratory near Tower, Minn.
Project spokesman Gary Feldman, a Harvard University professor, told The Journal the facility itself is now finished and preparations have begun to build the detector. Construction will begin in April and is expected to continue over the next year and a half.
Lab officials are now in the hiring phase. There's currently a crew of 14, but the construction team will grow to 40 by this spring.
Here's a Fermilab report that explains the scientific goals of the project.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided more than $40 million for the project.
The non-profit International Falls arts group Icebox Radio Theater continues its "Koochi-Koochi Tour" on Wednesday with the premiere of the romantic comedy "Love Lines.
Written by International Falls Icebox founder Jeffrey Adams, "Love Lines" is the story of three couples who find themselves stuck in an extremely long line to re-enter the United States after running errands in a neighboring Canadian community.
"Long line-ups at the border are a fact of life here in the summertime," said Adams, a playwright who moved from Oregon to International Falls in 2004. "'Love Lines' is about three local couples, people who cross back and forth all year to visit friends or shop. Usually folks like that try and avoid summer afternoons. U.S. and Canadian customs both do a great job, but sometimes the number of vehicles is just to great and the wait gets long."
Adams and his troupe of about 30 performers have produced original audio plays in the tradition of old-time radio theater. They often reflect the quirky side of life in International Falls. Wednesday's show will also feature original songs, skits and comedy.
It will be simulcast on the web on Sound Stages Radio.
The play will be performed at 7 p.m. in the bandshell in the Falls' Smokey Bear Park. Admission is free, and spectators are advised to bring their own seating.
Here's another example of mixed signals being sent by the state Department of Natural Resources on the status of fishing license laws during the state government shutdown: Voyageurs National Park officials apparently had an arrangement with their local DNR conservation officers to allow fishing to continue in the park for people who didn't have a license.
Voyageurs National Park Superintendent Mike Ward told The Journal newspaper of International Falls that a lot of people visiting the park were concerned about how to get a license during their visit. License sales have been halted since the state government shutdown began July 1.
Ward told the paper he was informed by local DNR officers that they would allow people fishing without a license to get one later, without penalty.
"We queried the DNR, and we assume these people would be following the rules if the state was open," Ward told the paper. "So they're gathering the information so when the state reopens, they will have a time period when they can get a license, and won't be fined or cited."
Crow Wing County leaders last week talked publicly about similar messages coming from their local conservation officers. That prompted DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr to issue a statement saying there would be no free pass for unlicensed anglers during the shutdown.
It appears local DNR officers are trying to be sensitive to resorts and other tourism related businesses worried the unavailability of fishing licenses will chase away out-of-state visitors. It's likely those conservation officers are as anxious as anyone for the shutdown to come to an end.
Voyageurs National Park officials will begin moving next month into a new park headquarters complex on the Rainy River in International Falls.The city development includes a natural grass amphitheater and future plans for a hotel, restaurant and other private development.
The federal government will lease the complex of buildings from the International Falls Economic Development Authority.
The development will be known as the James Oberstar Riverfront Complex, in honor of the longtime U.S. Democratic Congressman who was defeated last November. Here's a look at the layout: internationalfallscomplex.pdf
Mayor Shawn Mason says the development will be another tool for economic development for the area. She told International Falls' newspaper, The Journal, that the amphitheater performance area "adds another dimension to our way of life."
City officials are planning a big dedication celebration for July 2. It will include an amphitheater performance by the Canadian band Loverboy, and an international tug of war competition across the Rainy River between International Falls and Fort Frances, Ontario.