August 2010 – Volume VIII, Number 8

Compiled & Edited By Deb Miller-Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard

–Across the Field – Vote…for Minnesota Community Pride




Across the Field –  The Statewide Primary is Over – Now we need your Vote for Best of the 2010 Minnesota Community Pride Showcase!

Help select the “Best of Show” in the 2010 Minnesota Community Pride Showcase!  Online voting is open thru August 13.  Winners announced on Sunday, August 29 at the 2010 MINNESOTA STATE FAIR!

You can help select the Best of Show award winner with your top three picks out of the 20 communities competing in the 2010 Minnesota Community Pride competition.

Vote here

Online polls open until 5 p.m. August 13 for your top three picks to become Best of Show out of all the communities participating.

All communities will be featured and winners announced at the Minnesota Community Pride Showcase at Carousel Park, at the Minnesota State Fair, August 29, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Competition award winners will be announced on stage at 12:30 p.m.

The contest and event is co-sponsored by the Minnesota State Fair,, and Minnesota Rural Partners, Inc.

The Minnesota Community Pride competition publicly recognizes Minnesota’s communities in both comprehensive community-wide improvement efforts and achievements in specific disciplines, such as broadband deployment and applications, health care & wellness, entrepreneurship support, arts & culture, and community design.

Join us August 29 for a day at the Minnesota State Fair celebrating Minnesota Community Pride, featuring Minnesota communities, newsmakers, and entertainers at Carousel Park, including an interview with U.S. Senator Al Franken at 10:30 a.m. and the awards ceremony at 12:30 p.m.!


DEED Now Accepting Applications for the Angel Tax Credit – The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is now accepting Angel Tax Credit applications. Visit the DEED website for more info on how to quality and apply.

Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grants.  This program supports and assists artists at various stages in their careers. It encourages artistic development, nurtures artistic creativity, and recognizes the contributions individual artists make to the creative environment of the state of Minnesota.  Grants will be awarded for career building and for the creative development of artists. Some artists may choose to request funds to create new work, but that isn’t a requirement of the program. Artists working in all artistic disciplines—dance, media arts, music, photography, poetry, prose, theater, and two- and three-dimensional visual arts—may apply.  Grants range from $2,000–$10,000.  Application deadline: 4:30 p.m., Friday, August 27, 2010.  Go to:

–The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) is pleased to announce the release of the Rural Health Network Planning Grant Guidance. This one-year program focuses on the development of an integrated health care network. Some examples of activities include: conducting a needs assessment, hiring an HIT consultant to determine HIT readiness, developing an economic impact plan, and developing a strategic and business plan. An applicant can request up to $85,000. All applications must be submitted through Click on Find Grant Opportunities, then Basic Search and type in the Funding Opportunity Number: HRSA-11-085 or CFDA number 93.912. All applications must be submitted electronically (no paper applications will be allowed this year). Applications are due October 8, 2010. ORHP strongly encourages applicants to apply ahead of the due date to avoid technical problems.

A Technical Assistance Conference Call will be Tuesday, August 31, 2010 at 2 p.m. Eastern Time, 1 p.m. Central Time, 12 p.m. Mountain Time and 11 a.m. Pacific Time. This call will provide further information on program purpose and requirements. Call 1-888-810-3951 to access the call. Use Passcode Network Planning. This call will be recorded for playback, which will be available until October 6, 2010, at 1-888-567-0495.

For more information on the Network Planning Program, contact Eileen Holloran at or 301-443-7529.

USDA Hunger-Free Communities Grants. Approximately $5 million is available from the Food and Nutrition Service of the United States Department of Agriculture for a Hunger-Free Communities grant competition. The purpose of these grants is to establish hunger-free communities and learn more about effective strategies to reduce hunger in the United States. There are two models of grants: planning and assessment grants and implementation grants.

Eligible applicants include state or local governments, agencies providing social services, public health organizations, educational entities, and other private non-profit entities such as community-based or faith-based organizations, food banks, or other emergency feeding organizations.  Application deadline is September 1, 2010. For more information see:

Minnesota Campus Compact Collaborating for Change Mini-Grant Program. Approximately 8-10 mini-grants of up to $1,000 will be awarded to support innovative and promising student-led campus-community partnerships that address important public issues and engage students in project development and leadership.

All mini-grant proposals must be submitted by a team that includes at least one student, one community-based organization (non-profit, school, governmental unit, etc.), and one Minnesota Campus Compact member institution. Either the student’s institution or the community-based organization may serve as the fiscal agent. The student must have already been involved with the community partner for at least one semester/term. See the web site above to access a complete Request for Proposals, and to learn about three technical assistance conference calls being offered on September 2, 2010, and October 8, 2010. Go to: Applications are due November 15. Questions? Contact John Hamerlinck at

–2011 Grant Guidelines Ready.  Organizational Partnership Grant and Scenic Byway grant guidelines for 2011 grants are now available. The grant program is offered to assist communities in attracting travelers to Minnesota. Information on the program and guidelines for each type of grant will be posted on the industry website at: A significant change this year is reflected in the amount of in-state advertising allowed. Grantees are able to use up to 35% (up from 25%) of their grant dollars for in-state marketing.  If you are a Minnesota nonprofit tourism or scenic byway organization and want further information about guidelines contact your Regional Manager:

Central – Carol Altepeter , 888-629-6466 or David Bergman 888-563-7777
Metro – Gayle Junnila, 800-657-3637; 651-757-1852
Northwest – Carol Altepeter, 888-629-6466 or David Bergman, 888-563-7777
Northeast – Tim Campbell, 888-876-6784
Southern – Dave Vogel, 888-975-6766
OR call Explore Minnesota Tourism at 800-657-3637; 651-757-1848

Clean up your school’s bus emissions for free! The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) are partnering with the Minnesota Environmental Initiative’s (MEI) Project Green Fleet to improve the environmental standards of older school buses. Project Green Fleet provides and installs air quality retrofit equipment, normally valued at $1,500-2,000, at no cost to fleets or districts.

Diesel vehicles account for 10% of traffic on Minnesota roads, but account for more than 50% of all traffic related air pollution. With a simple, free retrofit by Project Green Fleet, emissions can be reduced by 30 – 50% per vehicle. The emission reductions directly benefit students and employees that ride and work around the buses.  Over 1,700 buses across the state have participated in Project Green Fleet so far. Together, CERTs and Project Green Fleet have the goal of retrofitting every eligible bus in the state.  See to check if your local school district has already participated in the program.  To learn more or take next steps, visit the CERTs web site above (note the Action Steps section) or see the Project Green Fleet web site at

–USDA Rural Development application deadline for the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) will be on a quarterly basis, starting with Sept. 30, 2010.


–Midwest Rural Assembly will be held August 16-17 in South Sioux City, NE. For more information and to register go to:

Refresh & Reload – How to Capture More Clicks on – You have a GiveMN page (or you know you should). In August, the Otto Bremer Foundation will host a series of online fundraising trainings on how to best leverage the tools of With a $14 million outpouring during last November’s Give to the Max Day promotion, generous Minnesotans have made GiveMN one of the largest online giving portals in the U.S.

How will the new breed of donors find your nonprofit and find it compelling enough to donate? Join GiveMN Executive Director Dana Nelson to:

• Learn the elements of an effective GiveMN page presentation

• Integrate online efforts into your development strategy

• Build relationships that lead to donors fundraising for you

• Brainstorm and strategize successful ways to outreach to new donors in your community

• Get a jumpstart on Give to the Max Day this November

Training dates and locations:

• Monday, August 16 – St. Cloud

• Wednesday, August 18 – Alexandria

• Wednesday, August 25 – Willmar

Trainings will be held from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. at each location.

The training is FREE, but space is limited. Pre-registration is required. To register, go to: . You will receive a confirmation email within three days with additional information, including the location. If the training is full or you are unable to attend, you can access the taped training starting the week of August 23 at .  To learn more about GiveMN, visit .  If you have questions, please email: .


Connected: Establishing your Business Online – The question is no longer whether or not you should have a website. The question is now, how do I get online and what is the best way to use my website. This workshop focuses on the use of the internet for a business, how to get the most out of your website, setting up e-commerce, and how to market your company online. You will leave this workshop ready to effectively establish your business online. (Fee: $49)

August 17, 2010 | Virginia |1 pm – 3pm

August 18, 2010 | Duluth | 6 pm – 8 pm

August 25, 2010 | Grand Rapids | 10 am – noon

October 19 | Duluth | 1 pm – 3 pm

October 20 | Virginia | 6 pm – 8 pm

October 27 | Grand Rapids | 1 pm – 3 pm

Logged In: Social Media for your Business – The use of social media in marketing is no longer revolutionary. It’s crucial. Social media has positioned itself into our daily lives and has given business owners and marketing teams an effective and interactive way to communicate with their audiences. This workshop focuses on practical guidelines for understanding social media, developing a social media marketing strategy, and implementing social media trends into your marketing campaigns. You will leave this workshop with a strategic plan on how you will use social media to position your business. (Fee: $49)

August 31 | Duluth | 6 pm – 8 pm

September 1 | Virginia | 1 pm – 3 pm

September 8 | Grand Rapids | 10 am – noon

November 2 | Virginia | 6 pm – 8 pm

November 3 | Duluth | 1 pm – 3 pm

November 10 | Grand Rapids | 1 pm – 3 pm

To register for either class contact or


SBA Small Business Resources Fair will be held September 15, 2010 from 8:00 am – 2:30 pm at the Earle Brown Conference Center in Brooklyn Center, MN.  Exhibit Hall open from 8:00 am – 1:30 pm.  FREE TO ATTEND! For more information go to:

Clean Water and Climate Adaptation Summit 2010: September 16 – 17, Chaska, MN at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.  The theme for September 16 will be Green Infrastructure for Clean Water and for September 17 will be Adapting for an Uncertain Climate: Preparing for the Next 100 Years. Join local government officials and staff, industry leaders, natural resource professionals, scientists, and citizens to learn how climate trends might affect Minnesota and the region, how green infrastructure will be a key water-management strategy, and how to make informed decisions and enhance the economic viability of your community.

Concurrent sessions over the two days include, among others:

* Public Engagement: Sustainable Behavior

* Impacts of Climate on Streamflow

* Preparing for Extreme Events

* Policy and Planning: The Economic Argument for Green Infrastructure

* Low-Impact Development/Technical: Green Infrastructure Techniques for Streets and Transit Corridors

* Challenges of Change for Aquatic Resource Management

* Climate Gets Personal: Human Health

Attendees may register for both days, or for Thursday only, or Friday only. Cost is $60/day (or $120 for both days). Go to: Register online at the web site or call 952/443-1422.


USDA Asking for Feedback on Distance Learning & Telemedicine Program.

On July 22, the USDA began collecting feedback on the Distance Learning and Telemedicine program delivered by Rural Development. The USDA is encouraging individuals, organizations, and professionals in the telemedicine community to contribute feedback and ideas on a series of questions provided for discussion.       To participate in the discussion, and to offer feedback, visit the Power of Telemedicine.

New website tracks long-term trends in the well-being of Minnesota families.  The Minnesota Budget Project is excited to announce a new online tool that looks at the challenges that have been facing Minnesota families over the last few decades. The new website, Minnesota Data Trends, provides reliable, baseline information on long-term trends in income, housing costs, transportation costs, access to health insurance, employment and other important measures.  The goal is to focus attention on how many Minnesota families are facing multiple economic pressures that place them in a fragile situation – and many of these troubling trends predate the current Great Recession. Visit Minnesota Data Trends.

–In February 2010, a comprehensive set of County Health Rankings was released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. This is the first project to rank the overall health of nearly every county in all 50 states. Rankings for Minnesota counties can be found at: .

According to the County Health Rankings web site: “This web site provides access to the 50 state reports, ranking each county within the 50 states according to its health outcomes and the multiple health factors that determine a county’s health. Each county receives a summary rank for its health outcomes and health factors and also for the four different types of health factors: health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and the physical environment. Each county can also drill down to see specific county-level data (as well as state benchmarks) for the measures upon which the rankings are based.”

A 16-page Minnesota summary report can be downloaded at: Overall, Jackson County was #1 for Health Outcomes, and Olmsted County was #1 ranked for Health Factors.

The Community Affairs Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis has released a new issue of Community Dividend featuring articles on entrepreneurship during tough economic times, earned income tax credit receipt rates, and the connection between ethics and economic growth.  To read more, visit our Current Issue
–Mn/DOT’s second Annual Minnesota Transportation Performance Report, released in May 2010, is now available at the Mn/DOT web site at: .  The 58-page report illustrates the performance of Minnesota’s transportation system and provides measures that show how well the system is working.  An interesting and easy to view summary of the report is the 2-page 2009 Transportation Results Scorecard available for download at (or at pages 10 – 11 of the full report).  Included in the Scorecard are measures related to traveler safety, infrastructure preservation, maintenance, national and global connections, statewide connections, Twin Cities mobility, greater Minnesota metropolitan and regional mobility, community livability, energy and the environment, and accountability and transparency.

ICMA has released a new report, "Putting Smart Growth to Work in Rural Communities", which focuses on how to adapt smart growth strategies to rural communities. Funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Sustainable Communities, the report examines the challenges rural communities face, including rapid growth at metropolitan edges, declining rural populations, and the loss of working lands. It highlights smart growth strategies that can help guide rural growth while preserving the unique rural character of existing communities.

The report focuses on three central goals: 1) support the rural landscape by creating an economic climate that enhances the viability of working lands and conserves natural lands; 2) help existing places to thrive by taking care of assets and investments such as downtowns, Main Streets, existing infrastructure, and places that the community values; and 3) create great new places by building vibrant, enduring neighborhoods and communities that people, especially young people, don't want to leave. Featuring case studies from across the country, the report highlights how local governments, states, and non-profits have successfully implemented smart growth strategies to support rural lands, revitalize existing communities, and create great new places for residents and visitors.

To read the full report, visit:

--Reducing Energy Costs in Local Government: Update. In 2008, the Office of the Minnesota State Auditor published a useful “Best Practices Review: Reducing Energy Costs in Local Government” is available online at: . This 126-page report includes recommended steps to guide local governments in reducing energy costs, and cost/benefit analyses of different types of energy-reducing technologies and services. Designed to be easy to use, the online version has live links to financial resources and cost calculators. The review also features nine case studies. A March 2010 follow-up report to this document is now available at: The follow-up report contains updated information on the case studies that were featured in the original Review, and details the actual reduction in energy use and energy costs. The 2010 report also includes new financial resources that have become available since July of 2008.

A conference held in January 2009 with the title “Reducing Energy Costs in Local Government” drew over 300 local government representatives and others to hear a wide range of practical presentations on how to reduce their energy costs. Presentations from this conference are still available online at:

Local Food Systems: Concepts, Impacts, and Issues.   This May 2010 report from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic and Research Service, available free and seeks to provide a comprehensive, literature-review-based overview of local food systems in the United States.  It provides a useful and well-documented starting point for those interested in understanding some of the issues related to this emerging topic.  In its 80 pages, the report discusses the following:

* What is Local Food?

* Characteristics of Local Food Suppliers

* Characteristics of Local Food Demand

* Government Programs and Policies Supporting Local Foods

* Benefits of Local Food Markets: A Look at the Evidence

Among its conclusions,

* There is no generally accepted definition of “local” food.

* Local food markets account for a small but growing share of total U.S. agricultural sales.

* Production of locally marketed food is more likely to occur on small farms located in or near metropolitan counties.

* Consumers who value high-quality foods produced with low environmental impact are willing to pay more for locally produced food.

* Federal, State and local government programs increasingly support local food systems.

* As of early 2010, there were few studies on the impact of local food markets on economic development, health, or environmental quality.

The report also contains an extensive bibliography for those interested in exploring this area further. Go to:

Minnesota Main Street has an info-packed e-newsletter and website with tons of resources for revitalization efforts in greater Minnesota communities. Go to:

Structure and Finances of U.S. Farms: Family Farm Report, 2010 EDITION.  Most U.S. farms—98 percent in 2007—are family operations, and even the largest farms are predominantly family run. Large-scale family farms and non-family farms account for 12 percent of U.S farms but 84 percent of the value of production. In contrast, small family farms make up most of the U.S. farm count but produce a modest share of farm output. Small farms are less profitable than large-scale farms, on average, and their operator households tend to rely on off-farm income for their livelihood. Generally speaking, farm operator households cannot be characterized as low-income when both farm and off-farm income are considered. Nevertheless, limited-resource farms still exist and account for 3 to 12 percent of family farms, depending on how “limited-resource” is defined. See:

–America’s Diverse Family Farms, 2010 EDITION.  American farms vary widely in size and other characteristics, but farming is still an industry of family businesses. Ninety-eight percent of farms are family farms, and they account for 82 percent of farm production. Small family farms make up most of the U.S. farm count and hold the majority of farm assets, but they produce a modest share of U.S. farm output. In contrast, large-scale family farms and non-family farms—only 12 percent of all farms—account for 84 percent of farm production. Small farms are less profitable than large-scale farms, on average, and the households operating them tend to rely on off-farm income for their livelihood. Because small-farm households receive most of their income from off-farm work, general economic policies—such as tax policy or economic development policy—can be as important to them as traditional farm policy. See:

--The latest Community Affairs newsletter features articles on research, events and emerging trends across the Tenth District, including a look at how the Kansas City Fed is helping nonprofits in the Tenth District address funding challenges.  Go to: 

Rural America in the 2000s: Age Includes maps showing that America has gotten older since 2000 and rural America has gotten older than its city and exurban neighbors.

Rural America in the 2000s: Population Discusses changes in population, ethnicity, and population trends in rural areas and shows a map of all rural counties in the U.S. and whether they gained or lost population from 2000 to 2009.