April 2011 – Volume IX, Number 4

Compiled & Edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy & Emily Kissane.

****Warning – this issue packed to the gills with good information!****






ACROSS THE FIELD:  GREAT FORUM ON RURAL URBAN INTERCONNECTIONS LAST WEEK!! Thanks to all who helped put it together and all who attended!

Thanks to many of you who came to the April 5 “Rural Urban Interdependencies Forum: Understanding Linkages that Drive Job Creation” at the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus. All of us who organized the gathering really appreciated your presence — great questions and great discussions.

If you want to share the Forum with others (or want to watch it again), you can view it here (presentations start just before 4:00 on the counter).  The event will be archived for the next three weeks.

All the presentations have been posted at www.rurb.mn. You can add comments there as well.

A copy of the Minnesota Rural Partners report — “Pilot Study: Estimating Rural and Urban Minnesota’s Interdependencies” — is also available at https://mnruralpartners.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/rurb-02_11-final.pdf

Kate Searls & Jane Leonard will be presenting a paper on the Rural Urban study and the Rural Urban initiative at the Community Development Society/Rural Sociological Society annual conference in Boise, Idaho this July. The theme of the conference is Shifting Boundaries: Rural Diversity and Change in an Urbanizing Society. You can go to www.comm-dev.org for more information.

Please check in at www.rurb.mn for future reports related to Rural Urban Interconnectedness & Interdependencies.

Note:  the April 5 gathering was also a celebration of 15 years of service to Minnesota and the nation for Minnesota Rural Partners. We are shutting down formal operations at the end of the year but as long as we can, we will put out this newsletter, and we’ll endeavor to continue to help people network on and off-line.


–DEED has nearly $16 million dollars in available Angel tax credits for 2011. The number reflects about $4 million in unallocated roll-over credits from last year.  DEED launched the Angel Tax Credit Program in July to stimulate private investment in emerging businesses and to encourage job creation through the growth of those businesses.  In six months the program certified 112 businesses, 67 of which received investments from 258 certified individuals.  These businesses received more than $28 million in investment resulting in $7 million in credits for investors.

In its report to the legislature, http://tinyurl.com/4pu9g3l DEED listed lack of participation in Greater Minnesota as a concern.  The agency says it will work with Minnesota’s angel community to identify ways to increase activity there.  DEED also has a new publication http://tinyurl.com/3ufqu9h For people wanting to learn more about the Angel Tax Credit Program.

— HUD announces the reactivation of the Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program, with $1 billion in funding available for this program. The Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program provides emergency mortgage relief to homeowners who are unemployed or underemployed and at risk of foreclosure and who meet certain requirements of the program. This notice sets out the requirements and procedures by which emergency relief will be made available. Effective Date: April 4, 2011. To read the full notice, go to http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2011/pdf/2011-4816.pdf.

–HUD has announced the availability of funding to nonprofits for the Self-Help Homeownership Program (SHOP) to encourage innovative homeownership through “sweat equity” affordable housing development or rehabilitation projects. Deadline to apply: April 18, 2011. For more information, go to: http://www.hud.gov/offices/adm/grants/nofa10/shopnofa.pdf.

USDA Accepting Applications for Distance Learning & Telemedicine Grants. The USDA is accepting applications for telecommunications grants to provide access to education, training and healthcare resources in rural areas. Funding is authorized through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program. http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/UTP_DLT.html Completed applications must be received by April 25, 2011. More application information is available in the Feb. 24, 2011 edition of the Federal Register. http://tinyurl.com/3odl8bz There is also a resource page available for 2011 applications. http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/UTP_DLTResources.html DLT grants can be used for the purchase of eligible equipment and to provide technical assistance. To be eligible, applicants must serve a rural area, demonstrate economic need, and provide at least 15 percent in matching funds. Awards range up to $500,000.   For more information in northern Minnesota, contact Dominic Henderson. Dominic.Henderson@wdc.usda.gov In southern Minnesota, contact Tom Jensen. thomas.jensen@wdc.usda.gov

US EPA Environmental Education Grants. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting grant applications for $1.9 million in funding for environmental education projects and programs. The purpose of the grants is to promote environmental stewardship and help develop knowledgeable and responsible students, teachers and citizens. EPA expects to award at least 20 grants nationwide ranging from a minimum of $15,000 to a maximum of $100,000 and will accept applications until May 2, 2011. The grants provide financial support for innovative projects that design, demonstrate, and/or disseminate environmental education practices, methods, or techniques. Projects should involve environmental education activities that go beyond disseminating information.

The Environmental Education Grant Program provides funding to local education agencies, state education or environmental agencies, colleges or universities, not-for-profit organizations, or noncommercial educational broadcasting entities. Tribal education agencies, which are controlled by an Indian tribe, band or nation, may also apply, including a school or community college.  Since the program began, EPA has provided more than $50 million in funding to more than 3,000 agencies and organizations.   For more information on eligibility and application materials, see http://www.epa.gov/enviroed/grants.html

–THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE is offering grant funds for the Second Chance Act Juvenile Mentoring Initiative to nonprofit and public agencies to provide employment assistance, substance abuse treatment, housing, family programming, mentoring, victims support, and other services to help adult and juvenile ex-offenders make a successful transition from incarceration to the community. Deadline is May 2, 2011. For more information, go to: http://tinyurl.com/6gngsbg

–THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR has grants for the National Farmworker Jobs Program (NFJP) Housing Assistance Program available to nonprofits and others. Deadline is May 3, 2011.  For more information, go to: http://tinyurl.com/3ntqvzx.

Community Connect Grants Available in Economically Challenged Areas. The USDA is accepting applications for the Community Connect grant program http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/utp_commconnect.html through May 3, 2011. Additional application information is available in the March 4, 2011 Federal Registerhttp://www.rurdev.usda.gov/supportdocuments/CCNOSA.pdf Eligible entities are incorporated organizations, Tribes and tribal organizations, state and local government bodies, for-profit or non-profit cooperatives, private corporations and limited liability corporations.  Individuals are not eligible to apply. Grants range from $50,000 to $1.5 million.  While grants cannot be renewed, applications to extend existing projects are welcome. Each project requires matching contributions, must serve a rural area where broadband service does not exist, must provide services to critical communities free of charge for two years, and must offer basic service to all premises within the proposed service area.

For more information, contact Long Chen or Janet Malaki in USDA’s broadband division at community.connect@wdc.usda.gov, or (202) 690-4673.  Grants are available to communities in the most rural, economically challenged areas where loans would not be sustainable. Funds may be used to construct, acquire or lease facilities to deploy broadband to residents, businesses and essential community facilities such as police and fire stations, libraries, schools, and health care clinics

–THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION is offering grants to permit states, LEAs, nonprofits, and charter schools to enhance the credit of charter schools enabling them to access private-sector and other non-Federal capital to acquire, construct, and renovate facilities at a reasonable cost. Deadline is May 10, 2011.  For more information and to apply, go to: http://tinyurl.com/3tlw2sf.

–HUD has issued the NOFA for Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly to acquire, rehabilitate, and/or construct affordable housing for low-income seniors, as well as to provide long-term rent subsidies for occupants. Deadline is June 1, 2011.  For more information, go to: http://tinyurl.com/42jjowu6.


–The Carsey Institute will host a webinar presentation with Senior Demographer Ken Johnson, “The Growing Diversity of America’s Children and Youth”, on April 12, 2011, at 1:00 PM EDT. This presentation will examine the changing racial and ethnic mix of America’s children by focusing on the unusually rapid growth and changing spatial distribution of America’s young people between 2000 and 2008. Minorities grew to 43 percent of all children and youth, up from 38.5 percent only eight years earlier. The growth was greatest among the youngest age group: 47 percent of all children 0-4 were minority in 2008. The presentation will include both national and county level data, and will also incorporate a first look at some 2010 Census data. To register go to: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/198604694.

MHTA’s Spring Conference, Innovation in Minnesota- Fueling our High Tech Economy, will be April 14th at Minneapolis Convention Center.  Robert Stephens, http://rstephens.blogspot.com/ Best Buy CTO and founder of “The Geek Squad,” will keynote the opening session. For more information, go to: http://www.mhta.org/spring_conference.php

Free Webinar – Social Media for Industry – April 28, 10 A.M. or an introduction to social media strategies for renewable energy businesses. Learn how other businesses are using Blogs, Twitter, Video and Social Media networks such as LinkedIn and Facebook. We’ll talk about how to use social media to other businesses and consumers.  No need to pre-register, simply join the webinar immediately before the webinar: http://connectpro31594469.adobeconnect.com/r53173140/

Southern Minnesota Nonprofit Summit http://tinyurl.com/455js32 a day-long event just for small nonprofits and all-volunteer organizations in Southern Minnesota on Thursday, May 12, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the Country Inn & Suites, 1900 Premier Drive, Mankato.

Learn more and register today! http://tinyurl.com/3qlkhhq Scholarships http://tinyurl.com/444m4j9 are available.

MN Inventors Congress will be June 10 & 11, 2011. Inventions create jobs. New ideas and new products create new markets and new markets retain and create jobs. The Minnesota Inventors Congress is hosting its 54th annual invention expo.

Don’t miss the Invention & Idea Show 2011http://inventornotes.com/2011/02/16/249/ The show provides a format for inventors to test market their latest products. Aspiring and emerging inventors can network with experts in the field of product development, by participating in any of our 17 Inventing Success Workshops held during the expo. Keynote speaker Karen Waksman, www.ProductforProfit.com,  kicks off  the event at 8 am on June 10th and Warren Tuttle, www.monasheemarketing.com housewares expert begins the slate of workshops on Saturday morning. Manufacturers and licensing agents are encouraged to attend. For more information contact the Minnesota Inventors Congress at 800.468.3681

Minnesota e-Health Summit is June 15-16 in Brooklyn Park. http://www.health.state.mn.us/e-health/summit/index.html

Minnesota Rural Health Conference is June 27-28 in Duluth. http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/orhpc/conf/index.html


–The Bush Foundation has posted several job opportunities, serving Minnesota, South Dakota, and North Dakota. Check it out at http://www.bushfoundation.org

–The 2011 Minnesota Nonprofit Awards. Nonprofit organizations make outstanding contributions to Minnesota’s high quality of life. The Minnesota Nonprofit Awards, http://www.minnesotanonprofitawards.org presented by MCN and MAP for Nonprofits, honor these important contributions.
The Minnesota Nonprofit Awards include the Nonprofit Mission Awards and the Nonprofit Excellence Awards. The Mission Awards recognize work in the categories of Innovation, Nonprofit Advocacy, Anti-racism Initiative and Responsive Philanthropy. The Nonprofit Excellence Awards acknowledge one large and one small nonprofit organization for overall excellence in management.

Along with the honor and distinction of being named a leader among Minnesota’s nonprofits, award recipients will receive a one-of-a-kind art glass award, a profile in Nonprofit News going to 12,000 nonprofit leaders, a video production documenting their accomplishments and a financial award (except in the case of the Responsive Philanthropy award).  Nominations for the Nonprofit Mission and Excellence Awards will be accepted through April 29, 2011. Learn more about the criteria, cash awards and other prizes at www.minnesotanonprofitawards.org.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is now accepting applications for organizations interested in participating as a host site for the 2011-2012 year of the Minnesota GreenCorps program. Minnesota GreenCorps is an environmentally-focused AmeriCorps program, coordinated by the MPCA, which places AmeriCorps members with organizations around the state to spend a year of service addressing critical environmental issues, while gaining experience and learning valuable job skills.

Please note, operation of the 2011-2012 program year is contingent on receiving funds. Confirmation of funds may not be available prior to the application deadline.   Applications from eligible organizations interested in hosting Minnesota GreenCorps members are due by 5:00pm on May 5, 2011. Host site application packets are only available by emailing your request to mngreencorps.pca@state.mn.us.   Please direct all questions to this email.

Eligible organizations include public entities (local, regional, state, tribal), school districts, not for profit institutions of higher education, and 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organizations. Organizations may apply for Minnesota GreenCorps members who will serve on projects in the areas of:

– Energy Conservation

– Waste Prevention and Recycling

– Living Green Outreach

– Green Infrastructure

MPCA may place up to 30 full time members with various host sites for the 2011-2012 year. Members serve approximately 40 hours a week for 11 months beginning in mid to late September 2011 through August 2012. Members will be placed either individually or in teams of two at selected host sites. For more information on the program, including descriptions of host site projects from current and previous years, please visit  www.pca.state.mn.us/mngreencorps .  Member application materials for individuals interested in serving with the program will be available online in the coming weeks.

–Minnesota Council of Nonprofits’ fall Annual Conference is scheduled for Thursday and Friday, October 6 and 7 at the Saint Paul RiverCentre. This is the largest gathering of nonprofits in Minnesota…so mark your calendar! The 2011 conference will include MCN’s 25th anniversary celebration, with a look back over our 25-year history. We hope you’ll celebrate with us.  We are currently seeking proposals for conference sessions, and we encourage you to consider sharing your knowledge with your peers by submitting a session on a topic of special interest to you. Visit our website at: http://tinyurl.com/3lxa4o4 to learn more about how to submit a session proposal. Proposal submissions are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, May 6.

Call for Participation in the National Conference on Rural Wealth Creation and Livelihoods, to be held October 3-5, in Washington, DC. The USDA ERS and the Ford Foundation are convening a National Conference on Rural Wealth Creation and Livelihoods, October 3-5, 2011, in Washington, DC. “Wealth” can be considered to include a broad range of assets that contribute to human well-being, including physical, natural, financial, human, intellectual, social, political and cultural capital. Fostering wealth creation that leads to improved livelihoods in rural America is a top priority for USDA and for many regional, state and local research and development initiatives. The conference is intended to begin to develop a practical, results-relevant dialog among the research, practitioner, and policy communities. All those interested in attending the conference are requested to apply by responding to the Call for Participation, which has links to the application. Applications are due by May 15, 2011. Go to: http://www.ers.usda.gov/ConferenceCenter/RuralWealthCreation/

Minnesota Cup Entries Now Accepted.  The entry period for the 2011 Minnesota Cup http://www.breakthroughideas.org/ is now open until May 20. The annual statewide competition seeks out aspiring entrepreneurs and their breakthrough ideas.  The competition includes six divisions: http://tinyurl.com/3m8hzwu BioSciences, Clean Technology & Renewable Energy, General, High Tech, Social Entrepreneurship and a Student category.  The winner from each division will compete for the grand prize in September at the 7th Annual Minnesota Cup awards event.

MNDOT asks Minnesotans for input to 50-year transportation vision! Minnesotans will help determine the state’s transportation system vision for the next 50 years when the Minnesota Department of Transportation rolls out a process for the public to provide input to that vision.  The process will help the agency prioritize many goals, limited financial resources and an aging infrastructure.

Mn/DOT’s transportation system responsibilities include:

* Planning, building and maintaining state roads, bridges, and trails for vehicle operators, bicyclists and pedestrians.
* Planning and funding regional airports, railroads, public transit and ports owned and operated by local governments and private companies.
* Providing technical and financial assistance for local roads.

Minnesota GO will take place through August 2011 and provide Minnesotans with opportunities to get involved through online activities, advisory groups, public workshops and hearings. Mn/DOT also will reach individuals through targeted outreach. A 29-member steering committee representing other public agencies and community organizations will review public comments, advisory group discussions, and quality of life research. The group will then draft and recommend a vision statement and set of objectives for the Mn/DOT commissioner and senior leadership to adopt.

At the end of the process, Mn/DOT will begin updating the statewide multimodal transportation plan and other investments and plans for roads, rails, transit, airports, ports and trails.  Minnesotans interested in becoming involved can check out www.minnesotago.org. The website is hosted by the Citizen’s League and will be updated regularly with new content, discussion questions, surveys and videotaped interviews on a range of topics. Eight public workshops will take place in May 2011.


–USDA has mapped rural county characteristics and provided the data through an online, interactive Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America. Included are maps of unemployment data, population data, homeownership, and more. Specific data can be accessed by clicking on the map. To see the Atlas go to:  http://ers.usda.gov/data/ruralatlas/.

–The Carsey Institute has conducted a survey of rural Americans that shows that education varies by place. The latest analysis shows that people living in chronically poor rural areas have among the lowest education attainment levels from generation to generation, underscoring a lack of educational opportunities that has persisted for decades. To download and read the report, go to: http://tinyurl.com/3kcyyef.

“Impact Investing for Rural Wealth Creation: Investing for financial returns and community impact”, from the Wealth Creation for Rural Communities series from Yellow Wood Associates, outlines investment systems that provide returns to investors and lasting positive impact for communities. The paper addresses financial challenges experienced by rural communities and provides examples of key participants in the investment chain and successful strategies for connecting rural communities with investors. To get a copy go to: http://www.yellowwood.org/wealthcreation.aspx.

The RUPRI Center for Rural Entrepreneurship has created a blog on their social networking site called Opening Dialogue – Positioning Rural America in a New Economic Reality. They encourage your comments, ideas, solutions and suggestions and sharing resources, case studies, examples of places that are working to move regional development strategies forward. To read the blog, go to: http://tinyurl.com/3kgnjmr.   If you want to comment, you’ll need to register for the social networking site (a simple process) at: http://elgg.energizingentrepreneurs.org/account/register.php.

State of Green Business 2011.  The 66-page State of Green Business Report 2011, published last month by the GreenBiz Group outlines what it considers to be the top 10 sustainable business trends of 2011:

* Consumer Giants Awaken to Green
* Companies Aim for ‘Zero’
* The Developing World Yanks the Supply Chain
* Greener Transport Makes Its Move

* Sustainable Food Becomes a Main Course
* Metrics and Standards Become the Rule
* Toxics Concerns Spur Greener Alternatives
* Water Footprinting Makes a Splash
* Companies Learn to Close the Loop

* Bioplastics Become Material

Available for free downloading (after registration), the report also includes a GreenBiz Index, which seeks to “measure and assess a representative basket of indicators that tell us, in aggregate, the progress U.S. companies are (or aren’t) making in 20 aspects of environmental perfrmance – from operational efficiency to employee commuting to investments in clean technologies.”  These 20 indicators include Carbon Intensity, Clean-Energy Patents, Employee Commuting, Fleet Impacts, Green Office Space, Paper Use & Recycling, and Toxic Emissions, among others.

The report observes that “a dramatic shift is occurring in business: Companies are thinking bigger and longer term about sustainability – a sea change from their otherwise notoriously incremental, short-term mindset. And even during these challenging economic times, many have doubled down on their sustainability activities and commitments.”  http://tinyurl.com/4adpf98

2011 Community Supported Agriculture Farm DirectoryEach year the nonprofit Land Stewardship Project (LSP) publishes a guide and listing of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farmsCSA farms provide weekly deliveries of their locally-grown produce to their customers throughout the growing season, with the customers paying the farmers a subscription fee. In some ways the CSA customers become partners with the farmers, and the subscribers benefit by helping to build community and a more personal connection with the source of some of their food.

The 2011 edition of the CSA directory is available online and for free downloading at the web site above. This year’s directory for the first time lists not only farms that deliver to subscribers in the Twin Cities, but also includes farms delivering to customers in Greater Minnesota and western Wisconsin.  Farmers pay a fee to be listed in this directory, and LSP does not certify these farms.  There are descriptions of about 80 CSA farms in the directory, along with links to the farms’ web sites in many cases. The directory is a great way for those considering CSA membership to check out the wide variety of options that exist.  Go to:  http://www.landstewardshipproject.org/csa.html

–“Grocery Stores and Food Access in Rural America” is the title of an article in the February issue of the Center for Rural America’s February newsletter. The author states that “local ownership of a grocery is critical from several perspectives. Economically, food dollars spent at any locally-owned business continue to circulate within the community as the grocer spends money at other local businesses.” To read the article, go to: http://www.cfra.org/node/3184.

Census: Near-Record Level of U.S. Counties Dying.  Carsey Institute Senior Demographer Ken Johnson’s research indicates that roughly 760 of the nation’s 3,142 counties are fading away, stretching from industrial areas near Pittsburgh and Cleveland to the vineyards outside San Francisco to the rural areas of east Texas and the Great Plains. Once-booming housing areas, such as retirement communities in Florida, have not been immune. To read more of the article, go to: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=12969273 .  To read the abstract in Rural Sociology, visit:  http://tinyurl.com/3tojjlf

–Map Offers Evolving Picture of Broadband Access. State and federal officials have released interactive maps http://connectmn.org/mapping/ they say will help Minnesotans find and analyze broadband Internet access.   The information is largely compiled by companies providing the service.  Data will be continually updated.

National Broadband Map http://tinyurl.com/43ulwpf Highlights the differences in broadband availability in rural versus urban areas. It includes speed availability, technology, and provider availability.

Comments of the Rural Broadband Policy Group http://tinyurl.com/3jegvye Several rural and technology interest groups compiled responses to the request for comments in regards to updating the 2009 Rural Broadband Report. They offer four recommendations: focus on local solutions, establish local job creation and social capital formation benchmarks, collect accurate data, and reclassify Internet service as a Title II service, and implement strong Net Neutrality rules.

–An article in the New York Times says that the Digital Age Is Slow to Arrive in Rural America. The article discusses how as the world embraces its digital age — two billion people now use the Internet regularly — the line delineating two Americas, urban and rural, has become more broadly drawn. To read the article, go to: http://tinyurl.com/3h37jb6.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: Working for Rural Communities http://tinyurl.com/3l6o4lj An overview of how Federal investments under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) are helping rural communities across the United States win the future by out-innovating, out-educating, and out-building our global competition, as President Obama articulated in his 2011 State of the Union address.

Foreclosure in Rural America: An Update http://tinyurl.com/3lxwfut Report provides new information to update – What is the Housing Foreclosure Situation in Rural America? – Housing Assistance Council’s initial report and assessment of the foreclosure situation in rural America published in 2009.

–The Housing Assistance Council highlights the process one rural manufactured home community undertook to convert from investor to cooperative resident ownership in Preserving Affordable Manufactured Home Communities in Rural America: A Case Study. To download the report, go to:  http://www.ruralhome.org.

–A paper by the Center for Housing Policy and the Cornerstone Partnership, Balancing Asset-Building Opportunities with the Ability to Preserve Affordability in a Homeownership Program, serves as a primer for local governments and nonprofits establishing or looking to refine long-term affordable homeownership programs that effectively balance the preservation of affordability and individual asset-building opportunities. The report is the culmination of a working group led by the Center and funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. To get the report, go to: http://www.nhc.org/media/documents/AB_Principles_FINAL1.pdf.

Restore Your Shore is a powerful multimedia program for shoreland owners and professionals to use in implementing shoreland restoration and protection projects.  The Restore Your Shore online program will guide you through the process of protecting a natural shoreline or restoring a degraded shore with a natural buffer zone.  To access Restore Your Shore visit: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/restoreyourshore/index.html

2010 Minnesota Water Plan.  A November 2010 report by the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board charts a 10-year agenda for protecting and restoring Minnesota’s water resources. The 2010 Minnesota Water Plan, establishes strategies and principles for ensuring the availability and sustainability of clean water for current and future generations.

There is widespread understanding of the challenges Minnesotans face in safeguarding the state’s water resources. Today, 40 percent of tested surface waters are impaired. Additionally, limits to water supplies have become apparent in the metropolitan growth corridor and locally around the state. The challenge for local and state officials is finding locally appropriate solutions for meeting water demands while protecting water quality and ecosystems.

The water plan, prepared every 10 years, identifies steps the state must take to meet its long-term needs. The report details nine strategies and seven principles for sustainable water management. It calls for new efforts to understand state ground-water systems and the role they play in nourishing surface waters and identifies additional steps to protect Minnesota’s lakes and streams. With the support and engagement of local land and water interests, the plan calls for:

* Setting priorities
* Adapting management practices
* Increasing protection efforts
* Promoting the wise use of water
* Restoring local management capacity

The 164-page plan can be downloaded from the web site above, or directly from http://www.eqb.state.mn.us/documents/2010_Minnesota_Water_Plan.pdf

Webinar: The State of Rural Philanthropy http://tinyurl.com/43rgqwm Archived copy of an hour-long webinar about the current state and future prospects of philanthropy in Rural America. Site provides access to the slide presentation as well as the audio recording.

Emergency Preparedness and Communities.  As emergencies and disasters regularly occur both in the United State and abroad, one important aspect for communities to consider is how to prepare for these in a manner that will foster local resilience. There are many resources available that can help with this, with the following just being a few examples:

1) Local 20/20, a citizen-based organization working toward local sustainability in the North Olympic peninsula of Washington State (Port Townsend and surrounding communities) includes a detailed section on Emergency Preparedness on its web site at http://tinyurl.com/3dwh4aj

On the Local 20/20 site, you will find:

* A link to GetEmergencyPrepared.com (www.getemergencyprepared.com) whose “Step by Step Course will help guide your family, civic group, church and neighborhood to become emergency prepared to face these and other natural and man-made disasters.” There are 8 basic lessons in this free online course at http://www.getemergencyprepared.com/course.html, including:

– Personal Emergency Preparedness Plan
– Food and Water Supplies
– First Aid Kit, Sanitation & More Water
– Grab n’ Go Backpack Kit and Fires
– More Supplies and Terrorism / Hazmat

– Securing Your Home and Pets
– Community and Emotional Preparedness

– Pandemics, Nuclear Disasters, Retrofitting & Securing Your Home

* A wide range of Emergency Preparedness Downloads at:

http://www.l2020.org/index.php?page=downloads that can help with neighborhood organizing as well as other local preparedness efforts

* A link to an inspiring 27-minute video “Partners in Preparedness – Neighborhoods and Emergency Responders” on how the citizens in this community have built a partnership with their county emergency management department http://www.wordpress.peakmoment.tv/conversations/?p=418

2) In Minnesota, the web site of the Department of Public Safety’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management http://www.hsem.state.mn.us/ contains and links to a range of useful preparedness resources, such as:

* An 88-page School Emergency Planning Guide (http://bit.ly/hRJ7Bm)

* Links to volunteer opportunities, such as through the Citizen Corps http://www.citizencorps.gov/

* A link to the Federal government’s comprehensive Ready.gov www.ready.gov preparedness web site

* A link to Minnesota Recovers http://www.minnesotarecovers.org/ which is the “state’s clearinghouse for recovery information for all hazards including natural disasters which may impact Minnesota.”

3) The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides dozens of free self-paced online courses for the general public as well as professionals working in the emergency management field which you can access at http://training.fema.gov/IS/

Two of the introductory courses that may be of interest for those working to increase their local community preparedness are:

-Are You Ready? An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness  (IS-22)

-A Citizen’s Guide to Disaster Assistance (IS-7)

These and other FEMA independent study courses can be accessed at: http://training.fema.gov/IS/crslist.asp

–Classifying and Measuring Agricultural Support: Identifying Differences Between the WTO and OECD Systems.  Most countries provide some level of support to their agricultural sectors. Because support can affect producers and consumers in other countries, a number of systems have been developed to measure agricultural support levels and classify types of support in ways that facilitate comparing them across countries. The WTO and OECD employ similar classification systems, generally addressing the same question and measuring the same programs. However, results can be surprisingly and fundamentally different, rendering comparisons inappropriate, meaningless, or even wrong. Careful attention to the sources of difference can prevent potential misunderstandings and misleading uses. See: http://www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/EIB74/

–NAFTA AT 17: Full Implementation Leads to Increased Trade and Integration, This report is the last in USDA’s series of Congressionally mandated biennial reports on the impacts of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on U.S. agriculture and the rural economy. The report responds to a mandate in the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act of 1993. See: http://wwwers.usda.gov/Publications/WRS1101/

Roundabouts: An Informational Guide – Second Edition.  This 2010 publication from the Transportation Board of the National Academies “explores the planning, design, construction, maintenance, and operation of roundabouts. The report also addresses issues that may be useful in helping to explain the trade-offs associated with roundabouts.” The guide defines a roundabout as “a form of circular intersection in which traffic travels counterclockwise (in the United States and other right-hand traffic countries) around a central island and in which entering traffic must yield to circulating traffic.” Roundabouts can have benefits in terms of safety, traffic calming, aesthetics, and other factors.  To access this comprehensive 407-page guide for free download it directly from: http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/nchrp_rpt_672.pdf

–The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s Center for Community Development Investments http://www.frbsf.org/cdinvestments/ has published a new issue of its journal, the Community Development Investment Review. This issue considers several international community development models that could inform our work domestically and how successful U.S. community development policy could be exported to countries seeking greater financial inclusion and poverty reduction strategies.

Low-income people in the U.S. and abroad face similar challenges: access to credit, housing, jobs, and critical services including health and education. And yet today, those who work on international economic development and community development hardly know each other. This issue of the Review http://tinyurl.com/3mdgunn is dedicated to a simple idea: innovative ideas to solve poverty should not stop at the national border. There are too many good ideas abroad that can help inform our practices domestically, and good ideas here that can be relevant to other countries.