Minnesota Public Radio features by Jennifer Vogel http://minnesota.publicradio.org/about/people/mpr_people_display.php?aut_id=30574 en-us Copyright 2014 Minnesota Public Radio Sun, 21 Sep 2014 15:58:40 -0500 Minnesota Public Radio features by Jennifer Vogel http://minnesota.publicradio.org/standard/images/mpr003/logo_mpr.gif http://minnesota.publicradio.org/?refid=0 A first in Minnesota, cities launch system to treat, stash water underground 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. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2014/04/16/ground-level-beneath-the-surface-st-michael?refid=0 Wed, 16 Apr 2014 00:00:00 -0500 In Cold Spring, it's trout vs Lost Trout in tension over water and beer 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. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2014/03/21/ground-level-beneath-the-surface-brewery?refid=0 Mon, 24 Mar 2014 07:00:00 -0500 Despite bump in state aid, cities raise levies to dig out from past cuts 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. http://blogs.mprnews.org/ground-level/2013/12/despite-bump-in-state-aid-cities-raise-levies-to-dig-out-from-past-cuts/?refid=0 Mon, 16 Dec 2013 06:42:35 -0600 Nursing home closure rocks small town of Hoffman 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. http://blogs.mprnews.org/ground-level/2013/11/nursing-home-closure-rocks-small-town-of-hoffman/?refid=0 Wed, 27 Nov 2013 06:29:09 -0600 Rethinking a company town: International Falls tries to forge new future 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. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2013/11/15/daily-circuit-ground-level-international-falls?refid=0 Fri, 15 Nov 2013 09:00:00 -0600 Nice guy mends fences between Voyageurs and International Falls 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. http://blogs.mprnews.org/ground-level/2013/11/nice-guy-mends-fences-between-voyageurs-and-international-falls/?refid=0 Wed, 13 Nov 2013 18:24:53 -0600 What might keep kids in International Falls? Some say engineering lessons 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. http://blogs.mprnews.org/ground-level/2013/11/teaching-engineering-as-a-reason-to-stay-in-international-falls/?refid=0 Tue, 12 Nov 2013 07:03:22 -0600 I-Falls economic development director takes shotgun approach 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. http://blogs.mprnews.org/ground-level/2013/11/koochiching-economic-development-director-takes-shotgun-approach/?refid=0 Fri, 08 Nov 2013 10:47:11 -0600 Slow start to training ex-Boise workers in International Falls 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. http://blogs.mprnews.org/ground-level/2013/10/slow-start-to-training-ex-boise-workers-in-international-falls/?refid=0 Mon, 21 Oct 2013 10:53:30 -0500 In wake of Boise layoffs, Dayton to visit International Falls "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. http://blogs.mprnews.org/ground-level/2013/10/in-wake-of-boise-layoffs-dayton-to-visit-international-falls/?refid=0 Tue, 08 Oct 2013 08:11:15 -0500 Last days for many at the Boise paper mill in International Falls 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. http://blogs.mprnews.org/ground-level/2013/09/last-days-for-many-at-the-boise-paper-mill-in-international-falls/?refid=0 Fri, 27 Sep 2013 09:57:51 -0500 From sunlight to farm waste, small cities create energy from what's on hand Looking to save on energy bills or trying to cut greenhouse gas emissions, small cities across Minnesota are installing green-energy projects. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2013/08/30/ground-level-energy-community?refid=0 Tue, 10 Sep 2013 04:00:00 -0500 Rural Minnesota faces up to aging challenges In an era of scarce public dollars and ever-more cantankerous budget debates, rural areas have become targets for sharp rhetoric and program cuts. http://blogs.mprnews.org/ground-level/2013/08/fighting-for-an-american-countryside-an-age-old-problem/?refid=0 Wed, 21 Aug 2013 07:29:14 -0500 Relics: Randall creamery now a sewing shop 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. http://blogs.mprnews.org/ground-level/2013/07/reviving-minnesota-relics-the-randall-creamery/?refid=0 Thu, 18 Jul 2013 06:37:48 -0500 Relics photos: The Buckman Hotel in Little Falls 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. http://blogs.mprnews.org/ground-level/2013/07/reviving-minnesota-relics-buckman-hotel-in-little-falls/?refid=0 Wed, 17 Jul 2013 07:56:33 -0500 Relics photos: The K.K. Berge in Granite Falls 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. http://blogs.mprnews.org/ground-level/2013/07/reviving-minnesota-relics-k-k-berge-in-granite-falls/?refid=0 Tue, 16 Jul 2013 06:54:49 -0500 To revive or raze: Like many, Sandstone grapples with empty icon 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? http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2013/06/27/ground-level-reviving-minnesota-relics-struggle?refid=0 Fri, 05 Jul 2013 23:00:00 -0500 Sometimes they can't be saved: Morris to tear down elementary school After years of trying to save an old elementary school, the residents of Morris gave up and called in the bulldozer. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2013/06/28/ground-level-reviving-minnesota-relics-fail?refid=0 Fri, 05 Jul 2013 23:00:00 -0500 Arts spring from a restored Fergus Falls hotel Experiencing an art renaissance, Fergus Falls is a successful example of how some Minnesota cities are turning iconic old buildings into centers for the arts. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2013/06/27/ground-level-reviving-minnesota-relics-success?refid=0 Fri, 05 Jul 2013 23:00:00 -0500 The fight for rural healthcare funding in Washington It's harder to find allies for rural healthcare in a polarized Congress in Washington, a rural health policy official told attendees of the Minnesota Rural Health Conference here this morning. http://blogs.mprnews.org/ground-level/2013/06/the-fight-for-rural-healthcare-funding-in-washington/?refid=0 Tue, 25 Jun 2013 00:00:00 -0500 The Cube Critics: 'Iron Man 3,' 'The Reluctant Fundamentalist' Reporter Jennifer Vogel steps in for the vacationing arts reporter Euan Kerr and compares notes with the Movie Maven about "Iron Man 3" and "The Reluctant Fundamentalist." http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2013/05/03/arts/the-cube-critics-iron-man-3-the-reluctant-fundamentalist?refid=0 Fri, 03 May 2013 16:12:16 -0500 School freezer may be next stop for local food movement A school in Arlington, Minn., is leading the way to show how institutions might extend the season for local food -- by freezing it. But the labor is intensive and financial savings are uncertain. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2013/04/12/regional/ground-level-local-food-movement-uses-freezing?refid=0 Fri, 12 Apr 2013 10:00:00 -0500 CSA farms boom in Minnesota This year, there are more CSAs here than ever before, 100 compared to just eight in 2004 and 42 in 2009, according to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, /collections/special/columns/ground-level/archive/2013/04/subscription-farms-boom-in-minnesota.shtml?refid=0 Tue, 02 Apr 2013 10:01:07 -0500 Ground Level: Making Connections Minnesota's growing Latino population has been around long enough to put down roots, grow businesses and go through school, sometimes for generations. /projects/2012/12/ground-level-latino-connections/?refid=0 Fri, 14 Dec 2012 09:09:11 -0600 Cultures grow on each other in community garden Jaime Villalaz and Lyle Danielson didn't know each other until they started working on a community garden that is helping Long Prairie Latino residents build a farmers cooperative and bridging a town racial gap. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/12/13/ground-level-latino-connections-longprairie?refid=0 Wed, 12 Dec 2012 15:00:00 -0600 Language 'No. 1' in bridging Melrose divide If a handful of people crossing the cultural divide make a big difference in a community, Peggy Stokman in Melrose is one of them. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/12/13/ground-level-latino-connections-melrose-language?refid=0 Wed, 12 Dec 2012 15:00:00 -0600 Living side by side and looking to connect Luisa Trapero is a rarity, an elected Latino official in outstate Minnesota. She'd like to help other Latinos take steps to bridge gaps between Latino and white cultures that often exist side by side. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/12/13/ground-level-latino-connections-parallel-communities?refid=0 Wed, 12 Dec 2012 15:00:00 -0600 Culturas que empiezan a conocerse en los huertos comunitarios de Long Prairie Jaime Villalaz y Lyle Danielson no se conocían hasta que empezaron a trabajar en un huerto comunitario que está ayudando a los residentes latinos de Long Prairie a desarrollar una cooperativa agrícola y a salvar la distancia racial del pueblo. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/12/13/ground-level-latino-connections-longprairie-espanol?refid=0 Wed, 12 Dec 2012 15:00:00 -0600 El viaje de una joven inmigrante la lleva a alcanzar el permiso para quedarse La residente de St. James, Irma Márquez, se convirtió este mes en una de las primeras latinas del pais en recibir estatus diferido, lo cual le permitió quedarse legalmente en Estados Unidos por dos años y encontrar trabajo. La aceptación marco un hito en un largo viaje, lo cual todavía la deja con desafíos. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/12/13/ground-level-latino-connections-irma-espanol?refid=0 Wed, 12 Dec 2012 15:00:00 -0600 Cruzando fronteras culturales en Melrose Si un puñado de personas que cruce la brecha cultural hace una gran diferencia en una comunidad, Peggy Stokman en Melrose es una de ellas. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/12/13/ground-level-latino-connections-melrose-espanol?refid=0 Wed, 12 Dec 2012 15:00:00 -0600 Vidas paralelas, tratando de conectarse Luisa Trapero es una rareza, una funcionaria latina electa en una de las ciudades secundarias de Minnesota. A ella le gustaría ayudar a otros latinos a tomar medidas para salvar la brecha entre las culturas latinas y anglo que frecuentemente existen al lado la una de la otra. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/12/13/ground-level-latino-connections-parallel-espanol?refid=0 Wed, 12 Dec 2012 15:00:00 -0600 Professor builds Latino - white bridge in Morris, Minn. Venezuelan native Windy Roberts uses language to bring two cultures together in the western Minnesota university town of Morris, where a large dairy operation draws skilled veterinarians from Mexico. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/12/13/ground-level-latino-connections-morris-outreach?refid=0 Wed, 12 Dec 2012 15:00:00 -0600 "Se está logrando, pero todavía estamos en pañales." La venezolana Windy Roberts usa el idioma para acercar a dos culturas en el pueblo universitario de Morris al oeste de Minnesota en el que una operacióón de una enorme empresa lechera atrae a veterinarios especializados de México. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/12/13/ground-level-latino-connections-morris-espanol?refid=0 Wed, 12 Dec 2012 15:00:00 -0600 Young immigrant's journey leads to permission to stay St. James resident Irma Marquez this month became one of the earliest Latinos in the nation to received deferred status allowing her legally to stay in the United States for two years and to find work. Acceptance marked a milestone in a long journey, one that still leaves her with challenges. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/12/13/ground-level-latino-connections-irma?refid=0 Wed, 12 Dec 2012 15:00:00 -0600 Democrats win Minnesota House, Senate After two years of Republican control, DFL comes back strong. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/11/07/legislature?refid=0 Wed, 07 Nov 2012 00:00:00 -0600 DFLers regain control of Minn. Legislature Whether Republicans or Democrats will hold majorities in the Minnesota House and Senate come January is a question voters across the state are answering today. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/11/06/politics/election-legislature?refid=0 Tue, 06 Nov 2012 23:15:00 -0600 High voter turnout and a mostly smooth day at the polls The leadup to yesterday's election in Minnesota was atypical in its over-the-top rhetoric and record campaign spending. Yet with few exceptions, the polls ran smoothly. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/11/06/politics/elections-officials-voter-turnout?refid=0 Tue, 06 Nov 2012 15:46:00 -0600 Ground Level Ground Level is an MPR News project providing news coverage, resources, connections and conversations on important topics in Minnesota communities. /collections/groundlevel/?refid=0 Fri, 19 Oct 2012 09:49:12 -0500 Trying to go it alone in rural healthcare In an environment that increasingly rewards mergers, some hospitals and doctors are taking steps to maintain their independence. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/09/17/ground-level-rural-health-independent?refid=0 Thu, 20 Sep 2012 00:00:00 -0500 Let's make a deal: Lessons learned from hospital mergers Communities that want or need to find a larger hospital partner can improve their bargaining efforts, say some who have been through it. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/09/14/ground-level-rural-health-deal?refid=0 Thu, 20 Sep 2012 00:00:00 -0500 Rural Minnesota retools health care in wave of hospital mergers Outstate Minnesota hospitals are experiencing a new round of consolidations that can add services to communities and let patients stay closer to home but that inevitably lead to the loss of local control. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/09/14/ground-level-rural-health-consolidation?refid=0 Thu, 20 Sep 2012 00:00:00 -0500 Rural domestic violence: Dangerous for victims, complicated for police In the Minnesota countryside, sheer isolation can make domestic violence both dangerous for victims and complicated for police. The nearest neighbors may be miles away. Cell phone reception is often poor. Transportation options, beyond driving, can be limited or nonexistent. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/08/15/daily-circuit-domestic-violence-rural?refid=0 Wed, 15 Aug 2012 09:02:23 -0500 Shoestring collaboration with dreams of robots Making do is a recurrent theme for the team of 16 officers, deputies, sheriffs and chiefs from a range of western Minnesota law enforcement agencies making up the West Central S.W.A.T. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/07/31/ground-level-rural-swat?refid=0 Wed, 15 Aug 2012 08:05:42 -0500 Rural security firm stands guard over empty farms and cabins One Minnesota business is experiencing a boom because more farms stand empty and farmers feel the need to provide their own security. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/08/02/ground-level-price-of-safety-farm?refid=0 Mon, 13 Aug 2012 00:00:00 -0500 Budget crunch forces cities and counties to rethink policing Since 2007, 20 Minnesota cities have disbanded their police departments to save money and others have trimmed officers. The state's local government budget crunch has hit the realm of public safety. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/08/02/ground-level-price-of-safety-disband?refid=0 Mon, 13 Aug 2012 00:00:00 -0500 In sparsely populated districts, TV hearings save money District Judge Jerry Seibel rides a circuit to preside over cases throughout western Minnesota. Increasingly, that means turning on the TV and manning a remote control. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/08/02/ground-level-price-of-safety-courttech?refid=0 Mon, 13 Aug 2012 00:00:00 -0500 Police see drones as cheap eye in the sky Many law enforcement officials think airborne drones can make life safer, but the technology scares some. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/08/02/ground-level-price-of-safety-drones?refid=0 Mon, 13 Aug 2012 00:00:00 -0500 Combined response to a hazardous waste spill in the middle of the night A situation tailor made to overwhelm the emergency services of a small town turned into a model of local, state and even federal cooperation. Sometimes Homeland Security money does more than fight terrorism. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/08/02/ground-level-price-of-safety-homeland?refid=0 Thu, 02 Aug 2012 13:41:16 -0500 Copper thefts nag at rural law enforcement High copper prices are driving the trend, but scrap is also conveniently hard to trace, unlike, say, a television set or car. /collections/special/columns/ground-level/archive/2012/05/copper-theft-not-just-an-urban-issue-in-minnesota.shtml?refid=0 Wed, 30 May 2012 09:54:52 -0500 Fixing a ride, fixing a life on the Iron Range Sometimes people need more than just a ride to work. A four-year-old program in northern Minnesota aims to provide transportation but also set low-income people on a better path. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/05/01/ground-level-getting-there-rural-rides?refid=0 Tue, 01 May 2012 00:00:00 -0500 Lift weights, eat carrots, play ping pong to keep driving Keeping elderly people like Glenda Noble in their cars is one way to address the economic and demographic factors that make it harder for many Minnesotans to get where they want to go. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/05/01/ground-level-getting-there-senior-driving?refid=0 Tue, 01 May 2012 00:00:00 -0500 High tech transit emerging in the woods Increasing demand and uncertain budgets have rural Minnesota transit systems looking to combine technology and personal service to become more efficient. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/05/01/ground-level-getting-there-efficiency?refid=0 Tue, 01 May 2012 00:00:00 -0500 Broadband projects take a bumpy ride Nearly two years after more than $200 million in federal stimulus money was awarded to 18 Minnesota broadband projects, fiber shortages, price increases and red tape have delayed some efforts to extend high-speed Internet access in rural Minnesota. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/03/27/ground-level-broadband-update-3-2012?refid=0 Tue, 27 Mar 2012 00:00:00 -0500 What do you want to know about running a brewery in Minnesota? Thursday March 8, between 11:30 and 1:00, MPR will host an online chat on about where our blossoming microbrew culture is headed, as part of our One Job at a Time project on entrepreneurism. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/03/07/ground-level-brewers-and-beer-discussion?refid=0 Wed, 07 Mar 2012 11:27:08 -0600 Muriel Krusemark, the fireball of Hoffman All a city needs is one person with a big idea and loads of enthusiasm to create a turnaround and spur small business growth. As economic development coordinator,Muriel Krusemark has had a hand in reviving Hoffman. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/03/07/ground-level-muriel-krusemark-the-fireball-of-hoffman?refid=0 Wed, 07 Mar 2012 09:56:15 -0600 Arts economy rises on the southwest prairie People in western Minnesota, an area stretching from Ortonville to Granite Falls, are hoping that focusing on creativity, art and handwork will lead to jobs and reverse the longstanding trend toward a declining and graying population. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/03/05/ground-level-arts-economy-rises-on-the-southwest-prairie?refid=0 Tue, 06 Mar 2012 00:00:00 -0600 Older, wiser Minnesotans turn to self-employment A growing contingent of people over 55 are going into business for themselves, becoming what some call "encore entrepreneurs" or "olderpreneurs." http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/03/02/more-oldsters-launch-self-employment-gigs?refid=0 Fri, 02 Mar 2012 14:30:24 -0600 So you want to go into the food business CROOKSTON, Minn -- In a small tucked-away lab on the University of Minnesota campus here, Brent Carlson-Lee wears a wrinkled white lab coat and tinkers with what he hopes soon will be a deep fried appetizer sold at local restaurants. He's cagey about the details of the snack--he often makes people sign a confidentially agreement before telling them about it--but he says something unique happens after it's formed and before it appears on the plate. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/02/20/ground-level-so-you-want-to-go-into-the-food-business?refid=0 Wed, 29 Feb 2012 00:00:00 -0600 How do you make it work? St. PAUL, Minn. - Growing entrepreneurism is like a magic trick. Everyone is thrilled when it happens, but only a few people know how to make it work. We asked two local experts to pull back the curtain and explain a few things about starting a business. Lois Josefson is executive director of TiE Minnesota, an entrepreneurs' education, networking and mentoring organization. Mark Spriggs is chair of the entrepreneurism department at the University of St. Thomas. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/02/20/ground-level-how-do-you-make-it-work?refid=0 Wed, 29 Feb 2012 00:00:00 -0600 Entrepreneurs to watch St. PAUL, Minn. - Hot-dog stands, sunflower seed snacks, wake boarders and Scandinavian gifts. Three entrepreneurs to watch across Minnesota; from the Ground Level Blog http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/02/22/ground-level-entrepreneurs-to-watch?refid=0 Wed, 29 Feb 2012 00:00:00 -0600 Job challenge: Grow more entrepreneurs LITTLE FALLS, Minn. The enormous ceiling lights flash on as Tom Elbert walks through the 260,000-square-foot former Crestliner plant in Little Falls, and they turn off as he leaves each area. He installed the energy-saving lights soon after he bought the shuttered factory about a year ago and wanted to cut an electric bill that can reach $10,000 a month. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/02/15/ground-level-entrepreneur-overview?refid=0 Wed, 29 Feb 2012 00:00:00 -0600 Microloans and a hand to hold fill gap for startups JACKSON, Minn. Chant and Amy Singvongsa are a two-person entrepreneurial storm in the small city of Jackson, in southwestern Minnesota. They run a daycare, a landscaping company and a T-shirt design and printing service, usually doing business at the same bank. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/02/17/ground-level-microloans-and-a-hand-to-hold-fill-gap-for-startups?refid=0 Fri, 17 Feb 2012 10:16:43 -0600 Microloan enables Iron Range couple to move back home In a climate where it's tough to get a small business loan from a bank, microloan programs have stepped in to provide start-up capital. /collections/special/columns/ground-level/archive/2012/02/microloans-fill-the-funding-gap-for-startups.shtml?refid=0 Thu, 09 Feb 2012 12:21:51 -0600 Looking for dollars, Minnesota cities turn to sales tax As financial pressures bear down on local governments, an increasing number of cities are trying to turn to the local sales tax as a means of increasing their revenue. The state is looking for fondly on the idea than it used to. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/12/23/ground-level-forced-to-choose-sales-tax?refid=0 Fri, 23 Dec 2011 07:20:00 -0600 Even policing gets scrutiny as cities scour budgets After whittling away at other services, Hendricks and other cities are even asking just how much law enforcement they need. Some of them are choosing to cut law enforcement to save money. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/12/14/ground-level-forced-to-choose-redesign-police?refid=0 Wed, 14 Dec 2011 00:00:00 -0600 Drive for efficiency changes look of local government A movement is afoot to rethink the way Minnesota's local governments function. More efficient ways to deliver services could mean collaborations to reduce overhead, doing away with services that don't work or even erasing boundaries on the map. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/12/14/ground-level-forced-to-choose-government-redesign?refid=0 Wed, 14 Dec 2011 00:00:00 -0600 Paying for past choices: Cities struggle with infrastructure Many Minnesota cities are stuck with unfinished housing projects and empty industrial parks and infrastructure expansions that once looked promising but now feel burdensome. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/11/15/forced-to-choose-overreach?refid=0 Thu, 17 Nov 2011 12:00:00 -0600 Cash-strapped Minn. cities cut library services Cities and counties across the state are facing tight budgets because of cuts to state aid and a struggling economy. Minnesota communities are scaling back libraries by cutting hours, staff and acquisitions budgets. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/11/01/forced-to-choose-strapped-cities-cut-library-services?refid=0 Tue, 01 Nov 2011 14:13:35 -0500 Minn. cities fray at the edges with budgets under pressure Mayors and city managers are being forced to make hard choices while they deal with cuts in state aid, a lagging economy, degraded property values and demands for lower taxes. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/10/26/forced-to-choose-minnesota-cities-fray-at-the-edge?refid=0 Wed, 26 Oct 2011 14:00:00 -0500 Bemidji food co-op adds kitchen to boost local food producers As Bemidji builds a stronger local foods reputation, a food cooperative hopes a new incubator kitchen can strengthen the network of local food producers. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/09/28/ground-level-local-food-bemidji-harmony-coop?refid=0 Wed, 28 Sep 2011 00:00:00 -0500 Ground Level: Cleaning Minnesota's Water MPR News' Ground Level project looks at Minnesota's water pollution challenges and how some residents are tackling them, river by river and lake by lake. /projects/2011/09/ground-level-water/?refid=0 Tue, 13 Sep 2011 15:25:21 -0500 Farm runoff -- 'If you won't swim in it, you can do better' Bruce and Ann Tiffany practice as many water-conserving efforts as they can on their corn and beans farm near Redwood Falls. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/09/12/ground-level-water-farmersteps?refid=0 Tue, 13 Sep 2011 00:00:00 -0500 Crow Wing County finds new approach to managing waterfront The epicenter of Minnesota's cabin country, Crow Wing County has come to agreement on more aggressive shoreline zoning enforcement. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/09/13/ground-level-water-crowwing?refid=0 Tue, 13 Sep 2011 00:00:00 -0500 Lake stewards band together for impact Long a force in cleaning local lakes, lake associations are banding together to become a statewide force. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/09/13/ground-level-water-lake-associations?refid=0 Tue, 13 Sep 2011 00:00:00 -0500 5 ideas that could make water cleaner There is no shortage of scientists, environmentalists, entrepreneurs and regular citizens working to solve problems related to water quality in Minnesota. Here are five ideas that could help, some already in use and others on the drawing board. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/09/12/ground-level-water-bigideas?refid=0 Tue, 13 Sep 2011 00:00:00 -0500 Cleaning Minnesota's water: Places to watch Track Minnesota's performance at maintaining and improving its water quality. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/09/12/ground-level-water-watch?refid=0 Tue, 13 Sep 2011 00:00:00 -0500 Group aims at farm-environment gap: 'We organize around passion' Montevideo-based Clean Up the River Environment aims to close the gap between environmentalists and farmers. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/09/12/ground-level-water-envirosandfarmers?refid=0 Tue, 13 Sep 2011 00:00:00 -0500 Measuring farm pollution: By the river or by the farm? Measuring the impact of farm practices and determining how fast to change them have moved to the center of the water quality debate in Minnesota. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/09/13/ground-level-water-science?refid=0 Tue, 13 Sep 2011 00:00:00 -0500 On a hill, Duluth collaborates to slow water's flow Controlling runoff on the hills of Duluth is a tough undertaking, but an unusual coalition is making headway. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/09/13/ground-level-water-urban-runoff?refid=0 Tue, 13 Sep 2011 00:00:00 -0500 People taking action to make a difference Cleaning up Minnesota's waters can come down to individuals trying to make a difference in the community they live in, whether it's on a farm, near a lake or in City Hall. Here are snapshots of a handful of Minnesotans who are taking action. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/09/13/ground-level-water-upclose?refid=0 Tue, 13 Sep 2011 00:00:00 -0500 Small cities anticipate LGA funding delay As the Legislature is about to begin a special session to settle the state's budget, the revenue department issues a release stating that Local Government Aid checks be delayed until at least July 27. /collections/special/columns/ground-level/archive/2011/07/small-cities-anticipate-lga-funding-numbers.shtml?refid=0 Wed, 20 Jul 2011 20:14:11 -0500 Electronic records mandate strains rural hospitals The way national health care reform is creating incentives and penalties to encourage the adoption of electronic record keeping can have a disproportionately harsh effect on rural providers. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/06/20/ground-level-rural-health-care-electronic-medical-records?refid=0 Mon, 20 Jun 2011 00:00:00 -0500 A growing force in rural Minn. health care: 8 questions for Sanford Health Andrew Richburg, Sanford's executive vice president of marketing, gives a brief history of his company, which bills itself as the "largest, rural, not-for-profit healthcare system in the nation." http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/06/20/ground-level-rural-health-care-sanford-q-and-a?refid=0 Mon, 20 Jun 2011 00:00:00 -0500 Rural health care: Places to watch A introduction to half-dozen in rural Minnesota where change in the way health care is delivered seems to be in the wind. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/06/20/ground-level-rural-health-care-places-to-watch?refid=0 Mon, 20 Jun 2011 00:00:00 -0500 Rural health care in Minnesota: a primer Rural areas long have had difficulty maintaining hospitals and attracting doctors, but political, economic and demographic changes are adding to the burden. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/06/20/ground-level-rural-health-care-primer?refid=0 Mon, 20 Jun 2011 00:00:00 -0500 Can a small, independent hospital survive? A tale of two northern Minn. hospitals Bigfork and Virginia are 80 miles apart and have community hospitals that seem quite different. One is financially healthy and gets high satisfaction rates from patients. The other is negotiating with a large health care company to deal with its red ink and try to improve its patient satisfaction. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/06/20/ground-level-rural-health-care-can-small-independent-hospitals-survive?refid=0 Mon, 20 Jun 2011 00:00:00 -0500 Small town docs: The search for someone who does it all Outstate communities are finding it increasingly difficult to land doctors who can do it all. Across the country, fewer medical students are choosing to become family practitioners, instead opting for specialties that pay more and afford shorter working hours. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/06/20/ground-level-rural-health-care-rural-doctors?refid=0 Mon, 20 Jun 2011 00:00:00 -0500 Telemedicine, midlevel practitioners start to fill physician gap A lack of physicians in rural Minnesota is leading to new ways to deliver health care, including use of such midlevel practitioners as paramedics and dental therapists and innovative ways to deliver care remotely. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/06/20/ground-level-rural-health-care-midlevel-practitioners-telemedicine?refid=0 Mon, 20 Jun 2011 00:00:00 -0500 Rural health care: People taking action to make a difference Profiles of people who are taking action in the health care industry in rural Minnesota to make their communities better. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/06/20/ground-level-rural-health-care-up-close?refid=0 Mon, 20 Jun 2011 00:00:00 -0500 Doctor as renegade -- accepts cash, checks, eggs or pie, not insurance Dr. Susan Wasson in Osakis is a throwback to a different time in health care but she also represents dissatisfaction with the current system. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/06/20/ground-level-rural-health-care-renegade-rural-doctor?refid=0 Mon, 20 Jun 2011 00:00:00 -0500 Grand Marais wants broadband to open doors but not wreck the allure of remoteness At least by some measures, Cook County in far northeastern Minnesota, has the worst Internet service in the state. Thanks to federal stimulus dollars, this is poised to change. But residents hope high-speed won't change everything about this remote, beautiful county. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/03/24/ground-level-broadband-cook-county?refid=0 Thu, 24 Mar 2011 15:56:54 -0500 Picking up the broadband pace Across the state, companies, cooperatives and municipalities are building broadband networks in rural areas that have been underserved. Ground Level has covered some of these projects on this blog, especially public efforts and those that have received federal stimulus dollars. /collections/special/columns/ground-level/archive/2011/03/picking-up-the-broadband-pace.shtml?refid=0 Thu, 24 Mar 2011 14:53:25 -0500 Telecommuting levels the field for some rural Minnesotans 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. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/03/24/ground-level-broadband-telecommuting-rural-community?refid=0 Thu, 24 Mar 2011 14:00:00 -0500 Who should build the next generation of high-speed networks? 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. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/03/24/ground-level-broadband-building-networks?refid=0 Thu, 24 Mar 2011 12:01:00 -0500 Cities cheered by budget proposal, but brace for cuts 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. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/02/15/dayton-budget-local-government-aid-cuts?refid=0 Tue, 15 Feb 2011 19:45:58 -0600 Grand Rapids' mandate: less money, more innovation 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. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/02/14/cities-in-crisis-grand-rapids-mandate?refid=0 Mon, 14 Feb 2011 15:12:08 -0600 Strapped cities enlist volunteers to pick up slack (and weeds, garbage) 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. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/02/14/ground-level-cities-in-crisis-volunteers?refid=0 Mon, 14 Feb 2011 14:10:07 -0600 When one head is better than two: cities find savings in cooperation 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. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/02/14/cities-in-crisis-collaboration-sharing-services?refid=0 Mon, 14 Feb 2011 08:37:16 -0600 Cities to the Legislature: Give us the sales tax option 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. /collections/special/columns/ground-level/archive/2011/01/cities-to-the-legislature-give-us-the-sales-tax.shtml?refid=0 Thu, 27 Jan 2011 13:57:05 -0600 Grandes Ideas en el Condado Todd 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. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2010/05/10/es-todd-county-tecnologia?refid=0 Mon, 10 May 2010 16:33:15 -0500 Latinos 'Aqui Nos Quedamos' 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. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2010/05/10/es-todd-county-inmigracion?refid=0 Mon, 10 May 2010 15:57:50 -0500 ¿Podran las Cooperativas y el Cultivo de Ajo Organico Rescatar la Labranza? 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. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2010/05/10/es-todd-county-agricultura?refid=0 Mon, 10 May 2010 15:14:54 -0500 Creciente numero de ancianos sera desafio para el condado Cerca de una ventana con cortinas de encaje, un registrador de velocidad de la policia resopla como si reviviera. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2010/05/10/es-todd-county-envejecimiento?refid=0 Mon, 10 May 2010 14:34:47 -0500 Technology could serve the elderly, attract the young 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. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2010/05/04/todd-county-technology?refid=0 Tue, 04 May 2010 09:40:31 -0500 Immigration shifts Todd County's economic equation 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. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2010/04/28/todd-county-immigration?refid=0 Wed, 28 Apr 2010 00:00:00 -0500 Can co-ops and organic garlic rescue farming? 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. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2010/04/20/todd-county-farming?refid=0 Tue, 20 Apr 2010 10:26:09 -0500 Coming wave of aging will test Todd County 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. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2010/04/14/todd-county-aging?refid=0 Wed, 14 Apr 2010 06:00:00 -0500 Baldwin's Next Wave: How the township could manage future growth Ideas abound for handling growth if it resumes and for dealing with consequences of growth already here. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2010/03/04/baldwin-part4?refid=0 Thu, 04 Mar 2010 00:00:00 -0600 Baldwin's Boom and Bust: How the recession changed the township The housing boom screeches to a halt, changing the complexion of a long-running conversation about annexation and incorporation. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2010/02/25/baldwin-township-recession?refid=0 Thu, 25 Feb 2010 12:00:00 -0600 With so many new Baldwin Township residents, building a community has been slow Without a downtown or a Main Street coffee shop, Baldwin Township tries to define what exactly it is. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2010/02/18/baldwin-township?refid=0 Thu, 18 Feb 2010 00:00:00 -0600 In Baldwin Township, cattails amid the housing As housing transformed a piece of exurbia north of the Twin Cities, at least one landowner laid plans for preserving his part of it. http://minnesota.publicradio.orghttp://www.mprnews.org/story/2010/02/10/baldwin-township-part1?refid=0 Thu, 11 Feb 2010 00:00:00 -0600