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January 7, 2010     Tri-County News
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January 7, 2010
 

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Pa00e 2 Agric. property tax law changes to be mailed to property owners Nearly 3,500 Stearns County property owners will be receiving information in the mail next week regarding changes to the Green Acres program. A property tax bill, signed into law April 3, 2009, changed certain conditions of the Minnesota Agri- cultural Property Tax Law, known as Green Acres. These revisions retained the 2b land classifica- tion for rural land that is not used for agricultural production, rede- fined the payback requirements, readdressed the treatment of con- servation land, and created a new Rural Preserve program for qual- ifying 2b land to be registered. The law also gave property own- ers enrolled in Green Acres more time to consider other options and decide if they want to remove their 2b land from the program without having to repay deferred taxes. In an effort to explain these changes and address the new pro- cedures that must be adminis- tered, the Stearns County Asses- sor&apos;s Office is mailing letters Jan. 4 to all Green Acres enrollees. This letter will include a summary of the law changes and a one-page form, "Notification for Property Enrolled in Green Acres," that needs to be completed. Property owners are encouraged to carefully read this material because important deci- sions regarding their on-going enrollment in the Green Acres pro- gram must be made by May 1, 2010. If the property owner does not notify the county assessor by this date, there will not be any changes to their Green Acres enrollment. However, beginning with the 2013 assessment, any grandfathered 2b land that is a part of their property will be withdrawn and three years of deferred taxes collected unless this land is enrolled in the Rural Preserve program. The Stearns County Assessor's Office will be holding eight infor- mational meetings throughout the county during the week of Jan. 25 to discuss changes in the Green Acres program. Staff members will offer a short presentation and be available to address questions and concerns. The dates, times, and locations of these meetings are: Monday, Jan. 25, Paynesville Senior Center 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 26, Rockville City Hall 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 27, Stearns County Service Center* 2 p.m. Waite Park, MN Wednesday, Jan. 27, Stearns County Service Center* 6:30 p.m. Waite Park, MN * Located one-half mile west of Mill's Fleet Farm on County Road 138 In case of inclement weather, an announcement regarding the postponement of a meeting will be publicized on local radio stations and on the Stearns County Web site, <www.co.stearns.mn.us>. Aerial maps, program infor- mation, and instructions will be available on the Stearns County Web .site to assist property owners in completing their notification form. To utilize these resources, go to <www.co.stearns.mn. us/1503. htm>. Questions can be directed to the Stearns County Assessor's Office at (320) 656-3680. USDA listening for rural development ideas By John Crabtree " This year Congress responded to In early December, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack asked his Rural Development Directors to conduct roundtable discussions in each state focused on strate- gies for growing the economy and putting Americans back to work. A joint Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota roundtable is scheduled for Jan. 6 in Wahpeton, ND. For more information e-mail me <johnc@cfra.org> or see <www. rurdev, usda.gov/jobforums/ND EconomicForum.pdf>. Entrepreneurship, small busi- ness and self-employment are eco- nomic building blocks that can pro- vide immediate economic stimulus and plant the seeds of long-term revitalization across rural America. The 2008 farm bill created the new Rural Microentrepreneur Assis- tance Program to fund training, technical assistance and loans to rural small businesses. But the farm bill woefully underfunded it at $4 million for the entire country. a White House request of $26 mil- lion for the Rural Micro-entrepre- neur Assistance Program by pro- riding up to $13 million for the first year and $9 million for the second. These investments should focus on rural entrepreneurs' greatest needs- business planning, mentor- ing, financial packaging and other technical assistance and training- not just lending. USDA draft rules for the Rural Microentrepreneur program got that point wrong, focusing too much on lending. In our view, USDA should make building rural micro-enterprise capacity a prior- ity, especially in the program's first year and particularly in states that are currently underserved by rural organizations that focus on entre- preneurial development. We'll be sharing that and more at USD/s roundtables, and hope you'll share your ideas as well. I , Opinion I Jill Pertler "Slices of Life" A misplaced watch provides a timely lesson Thursday, January 7, 2010 ticking reminder hangingout con- veniently right there at the end of my arm. After two weeks without a watch, I came to believe that wear- ing time on my wrist was noth- ing more than a security blanket. It provided the warmth that one gets from something comfortable and familiar. Beyond that, it only added to my daily stress. I can do without stress. So, I figured, why ignore the obvious? Maybe the whole lost watch thing provided me with a well-timed opportunity - and I'm not referring to the ability to wear more bracelets. Maybe I didn't need a watch to boss me around. Maybe I was capable of being late on my own. The very next morning after I came to this ingenuous conclu- sion, I found my lost watch. I was standing in the bathroom, right next to the garbage, when I spotted the familiar round time- piece. I picked it up and knewwhat I had to do. I held the watch out at arm's length and with a heavy sigh, placed it on my wrist. I was once again handcuffed to the con- straints of time. What else could I do? I wasn't going to be dumb enough to throw away a perfectly good watch. It was a few minutes later when I glanced down at the silver sphere on my wrist. I knew it was after nine, and was wondering if it was 9:22 or closer to 9:26. My watch showed neither. It read 12:34, which was clearly wrong. During the time that my watch was lost, the battery had run out. It's been a week and I'm still wearing my watch. It continues to read 12:34. I've found that a bat- tery-less watch is the perfect bal- ance of security blanket and free- dom at arm's length. If you ask me for the time, I'll tell you what I see. Who knows, I may even get it right. Because you know what they say: even a broken watch is correct twice each day. Right at this moment, that works for me. Jill Pertler is a syndicated col- umnist and award-winning free- lance writer. She appreciates your comments and can be reached at <pertmn@qwest.net>, or you can check out her Web site at <http:// marketing-by-design.home, mchsi. corn>. I lost my watch a few weeks ago, and I've been late - or early - ever since. I'm never sure which it's going to be. All in all, it hasn't been a bad thing. Oh, I panicked at first. Who wouldn't? It's important to know the time; 1:56 or 2:03, it can make a difference in one's day- can't it? I thought so. A watch is a staple in the ward- robe of life. How can you argue about the necessity of something as popular as a watch? Almost everyone owns one of these day- defining icons. They are undeni- ably useful tools. Awatch can help you get to your dentist appointment on time, but do you want to - really? Knowing the exact time tells you that you've spent 67 minutes in the grocery store (when you only had 45), but you already knew that groceries come in at right about a hundred dollars an hour. We are bound by time. We bow down to its rules and restrictions. The parameters of the clock cre- ate reality as we know it. Time dic- tates our every move. It defines us. This is true, until you lose your watch. When you are watchless - sans watch, naked-wristed, with- out hour nor minute hand, not to mention tick-tockless - time loses some of its authority and power. At least it did for me. I found that not knowing the time actu- ally served to decrease my anxi- ety; 1:56 or 2:03 - if you don't know the exact time, you aren't appre- hensive about the fact that you are three minutes late for your root canal. Not having a watch to con- trol my every move freed me to my own endeavors. Sometimes igno- rance really is bliss. But, back to my bare wrist - as far as my day-to-day punctuality went, nothing much changed after I lost my watch. I still made a habit of planning to be early, but ended up being late. I can't blame that on my wrist; it obviously has more to do with an innate lack of timing. Besides, not having a watch didn't mean I didn't have access to clocks. Time is everywhere. It is on the table next to my bed. It's on the microwave, coffee maker and stove. It's in my car and on my cell phone. It is at the dentist's office. Lacking a watch didn't mean I was lacking in the a.m./p.m, depart- ment. It meant that I didn't have a POSTMASTER: Send address changes to the Tri-County News, P.O. Box 220, Kimball MN 55353. The Tn-County News (USPS 639- 180) is entered at the Post Office, Kimball, Minnesota 55353, as Penodi- cats. It is published Thursdays by the Tri-County News, Inc., P.O. Box 220, Kimbatt MN 55353, Stearns County. LOCATION: Our office is at 70 Main Street South in downtown Kimball. Weekday office hours are Monday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Tuesday through Fn- day 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Our telephone and fax number is (320) 398-5000. E-mail can be addressed to <news@tricounty news.MN>. Our Web site is <www. tricountynews./dN>. We also have a drop site at Ertt Hardware Hank in downtown Watkins. DEADLINE: 2 p.m. Monday. RATES: Subscription rates are S30/year ($20 for age 62 and old- er) in Minnesota; $40/year ($30 for seniors) elsewhere in the U.S. Single copy price is 75 cents. STAFF: Jean Doran Matua, Editor and Publisher Sue Hughes: Creative Designer Maxine Doran: Admin. Asst. Photographer: Marguerite Laabs The staff of the Tri-County News recognizes that it has a responsi- bility to report the news accurate- ty and fairly, and that it is account- able to the public. Please contact our office if you feet we've fatten short of that objective. LEI-rERS: The Tri-County News welcomes letters promoting the ex- change of ideas and opinions. To be considered for publication, letters should address a topic of current or general interest. Private thanks, po- litical serf-promotion, libelous let- ters, or letters denigrating character or reputation wilt not be published. All letters must bear the writer's sig- nature, address and telephone num- ber. We reserve the right to edit for clarity and readability. LEGAL PUBLICATION: The Tri- County News is the publication of record for the city of Kimball, Independent School District #739, Clearwater River Watershed Dis- trict, Stearns County, and the Townships of Fair Haven, Kingston and Maine Prairie. RECYCLING: The Tri-County News is printed with soy inks on recycled paper whenever possible. We encourage recycling. COPYRIGHT: All content herein is the property of the Tri-County News and is protected by U.S. copyright law; content may not be reproduced without our written prior consent. We are proud to be a member of: Minnesota Newspaper Assoc. Kimball Area Chamber Kimball Area Historical Society Stearns County Press Assoc. 2008 MNA Award for Best Adver- tisement; 2008 Award for Portrait and Personality Photography; 2007 MNA Award for Advertising Excellence; 2007 MNAAward, Best Information Graphic; 2006 MNA Award, Classified Adver- tising; 2004 MNA Award, Advertis- ing Excellence; 2000 MNA Award, Best Local News Story. 2010, Tri-County News