February 2011 – Volume IX, Number 2
Compiled & Edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy & Emily Kissane

–Across the Field


ACROSS THE FIELD: National Rural Assembly Coming to Minnesota in June

Just a heads up that the National Rural Assembly is coming to Minnesota this year, in St. Paul, on June 28-30, 2011. Registration for this event is on a first come, first serve basis and will open on the National Rural Assembly website this month: (http://www.ruralassembly.org).

As in the previous two gatherings of the National Rural Assembly, rural leaders and advocates will work to bring rural issues to the fore, build a stronger voice for rural America, and examine policy solutions that address the opportunities and challenges of America’s 55 million rural residents.

The National Rural Assembly Steering Committee is currently developing the agenda for the 2011 gathering and will draw on the expertise of Rural Assembly participants as they move forward. All potential attendees can take this brief survey. Your responses will directly influence the program agenda for the gathering.

Stay tuned for more information about how you can get involved in the Assembly and help welcome colleagues, friends, and neighbors from other states to Minnesota this summer.


–US EPA Grants to Build Capacity to Reduce Children’s Environmental Exposures in Child-Occupied Settings. US EPA is inviting proposals from eligible applicants for projects that build capacity to address children’s environmental health in underserved, disproportionately impacted low-income communities, including minority or Tribal communities, and that demonstrate, implement or expand innovative methods and approaches to prevent and reduce exposures in homes, schools, and child care settings.  Funds available for awards under this competition are expected to total approximately $1.5million. EPA intends to award approximately 15-20 awards, each for an amount not to exceed $100,000. Eligible applicants include States or state agencies, territories, city or township governments, county governments, and American Indian Tribes (federally recognized). Also eligible are public and private universities and colleges, hospitals, laboratories, other public or private nonprofit institutions, and 501(c) (3) organizations.  Applications are due February 18, 2011. See the Request for Proposals at: http://tinyurl.com/6ghah7n

–Low Income Energy Training Program Grants. The Minnesota Department of Commerce Office of Energy Security (OES) requests proposals from eligible applicants for the Low Income Energy Training – ARRA Grant Program. Up to $700,000 is available, in small grants of up to $25,000 or large grants from $25,001 up to $100,000. The goal of these grants is to provide Minnesota residents with access to free, high quality, skills-based training that will prepare them for the energy efficiency and/or renewable energy workforce.  Eligible applicants are training providers as defined in the Request for Proposals. Eligible activities include (among others): classroom, field or web-based skills training; short-term job training opportunities; entrepreneurial or business skill training; curriculum development; and others as defined in the Request for Proposals. All grants will be conducted between March 2011 and February 2012. The Request for Proposals and related files are available for download at http://tinyurl.com/699mrg7 .  Proposals are due February 22, 2011.

US EPA Source Reduction Assistance Grant Program. US EPA’s Regional Pollution Prevention Program Offices anticipate having up to $130,000 per region to issue Source Reduction Assistance awards in Fiscal Year 2011 to support pollution prevention (P2)/source reduction projects in FY 2012. The Regions will issue the awards in the form of grants and/or cooperative agreements. Award selection, funding and grant oversight will be managed by the Regions.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit proposals that demonstrate new, innovative techniques, surveys, studies or use research, investigations, experiments, and/or training promoting P2/source reduction efforts. (Proposals that principally support recycling, clean-up, treatment, disposal or energy recovery activities will not be considered for funding.)  Eligible applicants include state and local governments, city or township governments, independent school districts, incorporated nonprofit organizations, public and private institutions of higher education, community-based grassroots organizations, and federally-recognized tribes and intertribal consortia.

US EPA Region 5 priorities are:

* Promote projects that prevent pollution in the hospitality, health care, chemical and manufacturing sectors through the use of sustainable tools and programs which achieve measurable results in reducing hazardous materials, solid waste, energy and water use, as well as reductions in associated greenhouse gases and economic costs; and/or

* Promote geographic-based projects that enable businesses within the manufacturing sector to move toward sustainable practices through P2 technical assistance networking projects and/or Economy, Energy, and Environment (E3) initiatives.

EPA anticipates awards will be in the range of $10,000 – $130,000. Applicants are required to provide a minimum 5 (five) percent match, as part of the total allowable project cost. Applications are due February 24, 2011.  For more information go to: http://www.epa.gov/p2/pubs/grants/srap/srap11.pdf

–The National Endowment for the Arts has issued a request for proposals for Your Town: The Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design to nonprofits, community organizations, and local governments to address critical regional planning issues through design by bringing design professionals to a community for a multi-day workshop. Deadline to apply: 2/25/2011.  Applicant towns must have a population of less than 50,000 and/or be located in a non-metropolitan county or a metropolitan county on the urban fringe. For more information, visit www.yourtowndesign.org.

–The Rural Access to Emergency Devices (RAED) Grant Program from Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has grants of up to $100,000 available to help Rural Community Partnerships purchase automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and provide training in their use in rural areas. Purchase must be of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) that have been approved, or cleared for marketing by the Food and Drug Administration; and provide defibrillator and basic life support training in AED usage through the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, or other nationally-recognized training courses.  A community partnership is composed of local emergency response entities such as community training facilities, local emergency responders, fire and rescue departments, police, community hospitals, and local non-profit entities and for-profit entities.  In the past, AEDs have been placed in colleges, universities, community centers, local businesses, law enforcement and ambulance vehicles, fire trucks, 911 dispatch centers, and offices.  The grant creates opportunities to educate the public on AEDs via advertisements, news media, schools, churches, shopping malls, restaurants, home owner associations, businesses, local government bodies, security firms, etc.   Deadline is February 28th. For more information go to:  http://tinyurl.com/38a9ge3

–The National Endowment for the Arts is offering grants to nonprofit design and cultural organizations in partnership with a local government entity for Our Town, a new grant opportunity designed to contribute toward the livability of communities and help transform them into lively, beautiful, and economically sustainable places with the arts at their core. Deadlines: Statement of Interest Deadline: 3/1/2011.  Invitation to Apply Issued: 3/25/2011.  Formal Application Deadline: 4/25/2011
For more information see: http://www.arts.gov/grants/apply/OurTown/index.html.

–Health Resources and Services Administration is also offering grants of up to $80,000 to nonprofit and public agencies that are not current Section 330 grantees to plan for the development of comprehensive Section 330 primary care health centers in medically underserved communities. Deadline: 3/18/2011. For more information go to: http://tinyurl.com/6gljd3q

–US EPA Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grants.

The US EPA is soliciting proposals from eligible entities, including non-profit organizations, to deliver environmental workforce development and job training programs focused on hazardous and solid waste management, assessment, and cleanup-associated activities.

While Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grants focus on hazardous and solid waste remediation and health and safety, applicants may design their own curriculums by choosing what types of supplemental environmental training they want to provide. This supplemental training must include the following three additional training courses: 1) innovative and alternative treatment technologies (e.g., the training in the preparation of sites for renewable energy installation, phytoremediation, etc.); 2) leaking underground storage tank prevention; and 3) training related to solid waste management, assessment, and/or cleanup (e.g., construction and demolition debris recycling, landfill closure, electronics recycling, etc.).

The total anticipated funding available under the FY11 national competition for Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grants is $4 million. EPA anticipates award of approximately 13 environmental workforce development and job training cooperative agreements from this competitive opportunity.  Applications are due March 18, 2011. For more details, see the Request for Proposals at: http://www.epa.gov/oswer/docs/grants/epa-oswer-oblr-11-01.pdf

–HUD has issued a NOFA for Service Coordinators in Multifamily Housing Program for eligible family housing projects. This program allows multifamily housing owners to assist elderly individuals and nonelderly people with disabilities living in HUD-assisted housing and in the surrounding areas to obtain supportive services from the community, enabling them to continue living as independently as possible in their homes. Deadline to apply: 3/24/2011. To learn more go to: http://tinyurl.com/6y8cpvl

–HUD has issued a NOFA for the Assisted Living Conversion Program for the conversion of some or all of the units in an eligible multifamily housing project for frail elderly people. Deadline to apply: 3/29/2011. For all of the requirements and more information go to: http://tinyurl.com/6d8ntpw


The RUPRI Center for Rural Entrepreneurship is offering a free webinar on February 10 at 2:00 PM ET on Getting Down to Business with Social Media Marketing. Becky McRay, a small town business owner (www.smallbizsurvival.com) will look at the ROI for real small businesses and go through a four step process to create a living and working plan that brings social media marketing right into the heart of your business. To join the webinar, go to: http://connect.extension.iastate.edu/ecop

–Participate in the regional planning stage of the HRSA Primary Care Workforce Grant and want to invite you to attend one of our eight special, power-packed, two-hour “Great Ideas for Minnesota: Primary Care Regional Strategic Input Planning Meetings” sponsored by a Minnesota Area Health Education Center (AHEC).  Simply review the schedule below, select the meeting that works best for you, and click “Register Now.” To invite colleagues, download the invitation http://tinyurl.com/67scqfa or forward this link (http://tinyurl.com/5sproed). All registrations are handled online or by calling Nick Gudmundson/HealthForce Minnesota at 507-285-7133. Specifics about the location will be sent to you with meeting materials. If bad weather prevents driving, we will contact you by e-mail and send you a toll-free number so we can conduct the meeting by phone.  (Note: If you unable to attend a face-to-face conversation, the Office of Rural Health & Primary Care is sponsoring a webinar option, too.) See below.)

Feb 10 – 10 am – 12 pm – Webinar
Office of Rural Health & Primary Care Register now: http://tinyurl.com/6lxcnvb

Feb 16 – 9 am – 11 am – Mankato
SO AHEC: Register now: http://tinyurl.com/6hwu5we

Feb 16 – 2 pm – 4 pm – Willmar
SO AHEC – Register now: http://tinyurl.com/4jm6mhe

Feb 18 – 11:30 am – 2 pm – Mt. Iron
NE AHEC – Register now: http://tinyurl.com/4mcrkf4

Feb 23 – 1 pm – 3 pm – Detroit Lakes
NW AHEC – Register now: http://tinyurl.com/4hyezvj

Feb 24 – 10 a, – 12 pm – Brainerd
Central AHEC – Register now: http://tinyurl.com/4pc6mr8

Feb 28 – 1 pm – 3 pm – Winona
SE AHEC – Register now: http://tinyurl.com/47jhw4l

Who Should Participate – input and strategic thinking from professionals involved in a broad spectrum of primary care areas — service delivery, education, and employment — as defined in the most holistic, inclusive sense possible because this is what will truly shape effective change for the citizens of Minnesota. This means professionals involved in: high school career counseling, post-secondary education and training for healthcare, hospitals, clinics, community organizations, county social services, dental care, pharmacy, allied health, mental and behavioral health, aging services, and long term care.  Questions – If you have any questions or want to host a meeting, please call Rebecca Radcliffe at 612-916-1985 or email her at rradcliffe@winona.edu. Thank you for your participation!

Nonprofit leaders and others who do fundraising are invited to the AFP of Central and Southwestern Minnesota’s 2011 webinar series. The series includes four educational webinars, as well as valuable networking time with peers. Two webinars are held in St. Cloud (Catholic Charities office training room), and two are held in Marshall (Southwest Minnesota State University).  All webinars begin promptly at noon, so attendees are encouraged to bring their own lunch. Webinars are free for current members of the AFP of Central and Southwestern Minnesota. Non-members may attend for a fee of $25 per webinar. Payments must be made in advance.  Webinar dates include:

  • Wednesday, Feb. 16th“Planning to Keep Your Donors” will share key results of AFP’s Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP) and provide practical ideas for using these results to improve fundraising performance for your organization. This webinar is held in St. Cloud.
  • Thursday, May 19th“Developing a Planned Giving Marketing Plan” will share tips on how to develop an integrated planned giving marketing plan to help increase gift income and improve your overall performance. Held in Marshall.
  • Tuesday, July 26th“Building Relationships that Pay Off” will convey critical information about grantor-grantee relationships, including how to choose your best foundation prospects and communicate effectively with them, as well as best practices for building long-term funding relationships. Held in St. Cloud.
  • Thursday, Oct. 27th“From Boomers to Echo Boomers:  Giving Across Generations” will include a representative from each generational segment (Baby Boomers, Generation X’ers and Millennials) to offer a personal account of who they are, what they hope to achieve through giving and what approach works best for gift solicitation. Learn how these groups differ in giving style, capacity and motivation, but also in what ways they overlap. Held in Marshall.

Registration is required for AFP chapter members and non-members. Contact Chapter President Liz Maiers at 1.800.594.9480 or lizm@swifoundation.org to register (or for more information about chapter membership). Maiers will provide payment instructions for non-members at the time of registration.

The Annual Energy Design Conference and Expo will be held February 21 – 23 in Duluth with local and regional organizations.  It attracts over 1,000 people and more than 75 exhibitors. This event delivers a diverse selection of quality seminars and workshops to a variety of building, housing, and environmental professionals along with educators, students, homeowners, and others. Detailed agendas for the conference (and for the February 21 preconference workshop Smart Remodeling: It Begins and Ends with Performance) can be found at: http://www.duluthenergydesign.com/agendas/2011_agenda/index.php

Some of the 2011 conference sessions include, for example:

* Building for the Future – Solar Ready Homes

* The Ecology of Multifamily Buildings

* Addressing Energy Efficiency in the Rental Housing Sector

* Just the Facts: Interior Selections to Keep Your Project Green

* Home Energy Performance Scores for Existing Homes-Predicted vs. Actual

* Retrofitting a Home for Passive and Active Solar: A MN Case Study

* Understanding Solar Water Heating

* A Survey of the Health Effects Related to Indoor Environmental Problems

* A True Systems Approach to Green Remodeling

* Engaging the Public in the Psychology of Sustainable Behavior

* Energy Workforce Training and Education Opportunities

Registration, fees (with significant discounts for students) and more information are at: http://www.duluthenergydesign.com/index.php

eStrategy in an iWorld – 2011 Nonprofit Technology and Communications Conference will be held Wednesday, February 23, 2011 from 7:45 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (registration begins at 7:15 a.m.) at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis http://tinyurl.com/4coyn26
1300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis.  For information go to:  http://tinyurl.com/4rsd2cz

MNREM Broadband Seminars – MNREM will be holding bi-monthly webinars complemented with more in-depth on the ground training to follow regionally around the state to serve companies doing business in or interested in participating in the renewable and alternative energy sector. Join us February 22 at 10 am or 2 pm for Strategic Web Sites from Renewable Energy Companies. http://www.mnrem.org/wiki/webinars

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Network Lunches for Nonprofit Staff annual schedule. A new year means a new line-up of MCN’s Network Lunches. Network Lunches are casual, one-hour long guided conversations about specific topics of interest to you and your colleagues. The lunches are free and open to anyone who’d like to attend; no RSVPs or registrations are necessary. Just show up and join in!

Here are the lunches happening in the Metro Area:

Lunches in Greater Minnesota:

Each session centers on a current, compelling topic. Upcoming topics include Communications – Effective Print Newsletters, Financial Management – Working with Board Finance Committees and Treasurers, and Fundraising – The Architecture of a Powerful Appeal.  For more information go to:  www.mncn.org/

–HOLD THE DATE! Minnesota Rural Health Conference is June 27-28 in Duluth. http://tinyurl.com/27bdm7a


2011 Minnesota Clean Air Choice Scholarship.  The American Lung Association in Minnesota and the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association are offering the 2011 Minnesota Clean Air Choice Scholarship as part of their commitment to increasing awareness and use of cleaner-burning alternative fuels in our state.  The purpose of this essay contest is to encourage students to learn more about biodiesel, an important new industry in Minnesota.  Current high school seniors in the state of Minnesota with plans to attend postsecondary education are eligible to submit a personal essay written on the topic of biodiesel. Two scholarships will be awarded.  The first place essay writer will receive a $1,000 scholarship; the second place essay writer will receive a $500 scholarship.  All essays and application materials must be submitted by 4:30 pm on Wednesday, March 30, 2011. Students can apply online at: http://www.cleanairchoice.org/fuels/scholarship1011.cfm

For questions regarding the scholarship or for more information, contact Robert Moffitt at the American Lung Association in Minnesota at (651) 268-7603 or Robert.Moffitt@LungMN.org

HUD is seeking comments on a proposal to revise its regulations governing the eligibility for FHA insurance of mortgages used for the purchase or refinancing of existing multifamily housing projects. HUD’s current regulations limit FHA insurance to existing rental projects, and this change would enable existing multifamily cooperative project owners to obtain FHA insurance for the refinancing of existing debt. Comments are due by 4/4/2011. For more information, see http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2011/pdf/2011-2170.pdf.


–Two new free resources are available for those interested in the topic of local food purchase by institutional food service, including schools.  First, the Minnesota Project’s manual Buying Local Food for Food Service in Minnesota was published in 2010. In its 24 pages, it includes sections on:

* Getting Started;

* Finding Local Products;

* Working with Farmers;

* Menu Planning and Working with the Food;

* Telling the Story;

* Building Relationships; and

* Food Safety Regulations.

This basic, colorful guide focuses on food grown within the five-state Upper Midwest Region, and includes many local examples. It’s available for free download at:  http://www.mnproject.org/pdf/Guide%20to%20Buying%20Local.pdf

Secondly, the 2010 University of Minnesota Extension fact sheet How much impact can farm-to-school programs have on a regional economy? is based on an economic impact analysis of farm-to-school programs in Central Minnesota. Among its key findings:

“The potential annual economic impact of farm-to-school programs in the Region 5 counties range from $23,000 for a monthly special meal to $427,000 for sourcing a large amount of easily adapted products.”

The fact sheet also indicates that:

“The analysis indicates that farm-to-school programs can have a modest economic impact in a region. Certainly as farm-to-school programs mature, we can expect the possibility of expanding to other farm products. Communities looking to support their local farm-to-school efforts can support their schools and local farmers by supporting infrastructure initiatives like processing and distribution. However, community members can also assist in connecting local growers to schools, as a strong relationship between farmers and schools is the bedrock for building a sustainable farm-to-school program.”

Two of the fact sheet’s tables include estimates of the Direct Effect (total spent to source food in schools), the Indirect Effect (additional production at other businesses due to increase in local farm production), and the Induced Effect (additional spending due to workers earning more at benefitting businesses) of farm-to-school programs in the study area.  This 7 page fact sheet can be downloaded free from http://tinyurl.com/64ft58t

In January 2011, the Minnesota Department of Commerce and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency submitted the Annual Legislative Proposal Report on Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions and Biennial Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Report to the Minnesota Legislature. This 39-page document is available for free download at:  http://tinyurl.com/4kp66v4

From the report’s introduction:  “This is the third annual report on legislative proposals to achieve greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions, and the second biennial GHG emissions reduction progress report.  The State of Minnesota continues to be a leader in renewable energy, renewable fuels, energy efficiency and other energy-related efforts that reduce emissions associated with energy production and use. Minnesota’s Next Generation Energy Act of 2007 sets targets for energy conservation, renewable energy and GHG emissions. Minnesota legislative action helped spearhead other GHG reduction actions by state and local government agencies, educational institutions, businesses, communities and non-profit organizations throughout the state.

Statewide GHG emissions have declined by 1.2 percent between 2005 and 2008. Continued reductions at this rate may not be sufficient to achieve the state goal and further GHG reduction efforts are beginning to face structural barriers. These barriers must be addressed if reductions to Minnesota’s GHG emissions are to continue.

This report will discuss the changing trend line of Minnesota’s GHG emissions; provide updates on pertinent programs that impact GHG reductions; identify significant challenges and barrier to achieving greater GHG reductions; and lay out policy initiatives to address barriers.

The report also includes a number of tables and figures that will be useful for those tracking climate and energy issues in Minnesota.

--Farmers have significantly increased their debt levels in recent years. Since 
2004, real farm debt has risen nearly 5 percent annually, the fastest increase 
since the prelude to the 1980s farm debt crisis. The latest issue of the Main 
Street Economist examines the concentration of debt and farm financial stress 
across U.S. producers. It also considers how financial stress would be affected 
by an abrupt surge in interest rates or a drop in farm income. Read the article 
at:  http://www.kansascityfed.org/publicat/mse/MSE_0610.pdf?ealert=MSE0113

–Your Food Environment AtlasYour Food Environment Atlas updated. The Atlas is a web-based mapping tool developed by ERS that allows users to compare U.S. counties in terms of their “food environment” – the set of factors that help determine and reflect a community’s access to affordable, healthy food. With the Atlas, users can visualize and geographically compare a wide range of demographic, health, and food-access characteristics, most at the county level. The updated Atlas includes 40 indicators for which updated data are available and adds a number of new indicators, including four new food access indicators and 34 new indicators measuring the change over time. With 168 indicators, the revised Atlas sheds even more light than the original on food environments across the United States and provides an even broader overview of a community’s ability to access healthy foods and its success in doing so. See:  http://www.ers.usda.gov/FoodAtlas/

–An online portal will soon help Minnesota angel investors and entrepreneurs connect with one another.  The Minnesota Angel Network, http://www.mnan.org/ scheduled to launch in July, is an attempt to increase the activity from early-stage investors nationwide into Minnesota companies. The Web site would also serve startups by connecting the businesses with mentors to help fine tune their companies.

–Arts Count Census by MN State Arts Board.  Starting in February, artists and arts organizations across the state will be asked to stand up and be counted in the Minnesota Arts Count census.  The census will be available in multiple formats and in multiple languages, and will seek to count a continuum of individuals who participate in the arts – as a hobby or full time and those in between – as well as arts organizations.

The Forum of Regional Arts Councils and the Minnesota State Arts Board are conducting this census. As directed by the state legislature, the census will provide a baseline of data that the Forum and Arts Board will use to gauge the size, scope, and impact of the arts sector in Minnesota. The baseline data will allow the Forum and Arts Board to better understand the current dimensions of the state’s arts sector, establish policy, and better deliver programs and services.  Additional details will be posted soon on the Minnesota State Arts Board website at http://www.arts.state.mn.us/

The University of Minnesota’s Water Resources Center has authored a first-ever, comprehensive report designed to protect and preserve Minnesota’s lakes, rivers and groundwater for the 21st century and beyond. Go to:


The Minnesota Water Sustainability Framework was published on January 15, 2011. Commissioned by the Minnesota Legislature, it is intended to serve as a legislative roadmap with timelines and benchmarks for future investments in water resources, including the estimated $86 million a year dedicated for the protection of water as a result of Minnesota’s Clean Water, Land and Legacy Act.  To download the 146-page Framework, click on http://tinyurl.com/6h2f5kf The report is the result of more than 18 months of cross-organizational, interdisciplinary input from more than 250 experts from federal, state, local and tribal governments, private industry, agricultural interests, universities and environmental agencies. The report also includes feedback from more than 5,000 taxpayers who participated in an online survey and statewide listening sessions held in January and February of last year.

In response to its legislative charge, the report addresses a range of water-related issues including drinking water quality, storm water management, agricultural and industrial water use, surface and groundwater interactions, ecological needs, invasive species and Minnesota’s water infrastructure systemall within the context of changing climate, demographics and land use and development.

Specific recommendations include:

* A comprehensive survey of Minnesota’s ground water resources to understand what’s available and how our current withdrawals are impacting the long-term supply;

* An overhaul of the state’s water permitting process that would include an electronic database and a method of calculating the ecological impact of water withdrawals;

* A mandatory statewide plan to decrease nutrient runoff from agricultural sources – a key to the plan being farmer-led, performance-based Agricultural Management Areas organized along the state’s 45 watershed districts that would provide technical resources and incentives;

* Promotion of “green” chemistry through incentives for industry and consumer education and advocacy to prevent future water contamination;

* Integrated water and land sustainability planning at the watershed level; and

* The restructuring of municipal water pricing to more accurately reflect the ecological, as well as infrastructure, costs of water use.

In addition to the Framework itself, those interested in more information may also want to separately access or download 13 associated Background Papers as well as Wastewater Treatment Best Practices which can be found at http://wrc.umn.edu/

— New Tourism Economic Impact Info Available. Explore Minnesota Tourism has developed an updated info sheet called Tourism and Minnesota’s Economic Recovery that provides key data on the positive economic benefits of this key industry. The two-sided piece notes that leisure and hospitality gross sales in the state total $11 billion and generate $3.9 billion in wages and $699 million in state sales tax revenues. Also included are data on the growth of the tourism industry and in leisure and hospitality jobs, lodging demand, return on investment, and traveler spending by sector and season. The back-side of the sheet outlines economic impact in each county of the state. This information can be helpful for tourism planning and policy development at local, regional and state levels. You can view the information and download a copy (see the Value of Tourism box) at: http://industry.exploreminnesota.com/

The Center for Housing Policy has release two publications that summarize findings from recent research on the ways in which affordable housing creates jobs and spurs local economic development. The Role of Affordable Housing in Creating Jobs and Stimulating Local Economic Development Policy in Brief and A Review of the Literature provide insight into the different ways in which the construction, rehabilitation, and operation of affordable housing contribute to job creation and increased tax revenue for communities. To download copies of these free publications, go to http://tinyurl.com/4lmnkxe and http://tinyurl.com/4sux433 .

Saving the Soul of a Barn” is an article in The Daily Yonder that talks about rural outmigration, how the built-environment is fast disappearing, and how the architecture, homes and buildings of men and women and their families who worked the land and built rural villages and towns is being lost. To read the article, go to http://www.dailyyonder.com/vernacular-architecture/2011/01/11/3120.