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April 15, 2010     Tri-County News
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April 15, 2010
 

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Pa00e 14 Le00als ,4 Government Floodplain maps go on Stearns Web site way, areas that flood first or have a greater chance of flooding, Letters will be going out to these property owners notifying them of the modifications. Additional property owners are affected by the map changes but won&apos;t be get- ting letters because they don't have structures in the floodplain, onlyland. That's why it's particularly important for people to check out the maps, or the "Floodplain Mapping Tool," on Stearns Coun- ty's Web site at <www.co.stearns. ran. us>. Properties can be searched by parcel I.D. number or by zooming in on location. There people can see both old and new maps to compare the new and old floodplain boundaries. Before the maps are adopted, a public meeting will be held May 11. That meeting will be done in conjunction with FEMA. There are community-wide benefits to this modernization effort: Builders and developers have detailed information for making decisions on where to safely build and how construction can affect flood hazards. Community planners and .local officials gain an understanding of the flood hazards and risks that affect their community. Insurance agents and compa- nies, real estate agents and busi- flesses, and lending institutions have one-stop access to flood map updates and forthcoming changes. Homeowners, future home- owners and business owners are able to make more informed deci- sions about flood risks. To learn more about floodplains and floodplain management, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has good information on their Web site, <www.dnr.state. ran. us/waters/watermgmt__section/ floodplain/index.html>. Counties are required by law to provide administrative enforce- ment of floodplain rules. Anyone with questions about the Stearns County's floodplain plan or maps can call the Stearns County Environmental Services Department at (320) 656-3613. Land owners in Stearns County can now go online to see if their property lies in the floodplain. The Federal Emergency Man- agement Agency (FEMA) updated the floodplain maps for Stearns County based on LIDAR flight data, which is much more accu- rate. With this more accurate data, some of the floodplain boundaries have changed. That information was put on an interactive map on Stearns County's Web site. Stearns County and FEMA are now in the process of adopting these new floodplain maps. Excluding those properties that don't have buildings or structures in the floodplain area, Stearns County identified approximately 1,000 land owners who lived within city limits. The County sent that parcel information to each responsible municipality for their use. Remaining in the unincor- porated areas of the County, 271 property owners currently are out of the floodplain area and would be going in, 660 are currently in the floodplain and would be mov- ing out, and 31 are in the flood- New catalog highlights ways to enjoy Minn. state parks located on former railroad grades and provide level and easy routes for riders of all ability levels. A list of the Minnesota state parks with mountain bike or paved bicycle trails, and how many miles of each they have. A calendar of bicycling events taking place at Minnesota state parks and trails in 2010. To help with trip planning, the catalog includes information on where to find camper cabins ($45- $50 per night) and other lodging (starting at $95 per night). The Programs & Special Events catalog is available at Minnesota state parks and from the DNR Infor- mation Center, <info.dnr@state. ran.us>, or (651) 296-6157 (Twin Cities) or toll-free (888) 646-6367. It is also available at travel infor- mation centers, at Ramsey County libraries, and at Twin Cities outdoor recreation retail locations, includ- ing REI stores, Hoigaard's, Joe's Sporting Goods, Midwest Moun- taineering and the Cabela's store in Rogers. Programs and special events, including hundreds of list- ings not printed in the catalog, are also posted online at <WWW. mnstateparks.info>. Free trail maps showing where to find parking, restrooms and picnic areas along state trails can be downloaded from <www.mndnr.gov/state_trails> or requested from the DNR Informa- tion Center. From exploring North Shore his- tory during a guided bike ride on the newest stretch of the Gitchi- Gami State Trail to enjoying a vari- ety of open-air concerts in scenic settings, anyone looking for afford- able fun will find plenty of options from which to choose at Minnesota state parks and trails this spring and summer. The latest edition of the Pro- grams & Special Events catalog lists more than 300 things to do now through the end of August, most of which are free, except for the vehi- cle permit needed to enter state parks. Permits are $5 for a one-day permit or $25 for a year-round per- mit. The catalog also features a four- page overview of what's new in 2010. For example, loaner fishing equipment can now be checked out for free at more than 30 parks, and Kids Discovery Kits (including activities, stories and tips to help ensure that a child's early outdoor experiences will be fun and mem- orable) can be checked out for free at 20 parks. In addition, the new catalog fea- tures a bicycling guide with: A map showing where to find paved state trails, most of which are State auction custctne00 can now register, get bidder cards early online tion list, including photographs of many of the items, is avail- able online at <www.minnbid.org/ pub[ic/auct_info.aspx?ID=155>. The April 17 auction features more than 85 cars and trucks; snowmobiles and ATVs; wood- working and metalworking equip- ment; bicycles; lawncare equip- ment; jewelry; and more. The doors for the April 17 auc- tion open for inspection and regis- tration at 8 a.m. at the state Fleet and Surplus Services Building, 5420 Old Highway 8 (southeast corner of Interstate 35W and Ram- sey County Road I), Arden Hills, with bidding starting at about 9:30 a.m. All goods are sold as-is, where-is; all sales are final and must be settled in full with cash or personal check on the day of the auction. Thursday, April 15, 2010 Patty Duke show reunites for Social Security online services By Steven Thayer, District Manager Patty Duke is back - and this time she's brought the entire fam- ily. The cast of The Patty Duke Show reunited to create a series of public service announcements to promote Social Security's new online Medicare application and other services. You can view the new spots at <www.socialsecurity.gov/ medicareonly>. Patty Duke and her televi- sion family entertained Ameri- can households on The Patty Duke Show in the 1960s. Now, they're telling families just how fast and easy it is to apply online for Medi- care. It takes less than 10 minutes. Even if you decide to wait until after you're age 65 to apply for retirement benefits, most peo- ple should start getting Medicare coverage at age 65. If you'd like to begin your Medicare coverage, you State surplus auction custom- ers ean now register and get a bid- ding card online in minutes, up to 10 day s before an event, rather than having to stand in a long line at the auction. The only requirements are a computer with an internet con- nection and a printer; simple instructions are on the Surplus Services Web site, <www.fss.state. ran.us>, then click on the 'Auc- tions' link. Shoppers can also get a bidding card at the auction the day of the event. Current customers of the state's MinnBid internet auc- tion service can get a bidding card online in just seconds. The State of Minnesota holds about 12 live surplus goods auc- tions a year in various locations, including this Saturday, April 17, in Arden Hills. A preliminary auc- should apply within four months of reaching age 65. It's important to note that peo- ple who already receive Social Security retirement or disability benefits do not need to apply; they will be automatically enrolled in Medicare. Why apply online? Because it's fast, easy, and convenient. You don't need an appointment and you can avoid waiting in traffic or in line. If you're Within four months of turning age 65 or older, what are you waiting for? As Patty Duke and her television family will tell you, it takes less than 10 minutes! Visit <www.socialsecurity.gov>, and select the "Retirement/Medicare" link in the middle of the page. And be sure to catch TV's most famous identi- cal cousins and the whole family at <www.socialsecurity. gov/medicareonly>. Mounted Patrol of Wright County Sheriff's Office The Wright County Sheriff's Office is accepting applications for membership in the Wright County Sheriff's Mounted Patrol. Appli- cants need to be at least 18 years of age and be able to pass a criminal background check. The Sheriff's Mounted Patrol is a volunteer civilian group. Mounted Patrol members provide their own horses and equipment. Mounted Patrol horse must be predominantly brown (Bay, Sorrel, or Chestnut). Miche!!eo Fisch?ach Week in review: April 5-9 The Legislature took a break lion in spending cuts in economic during the week of March 29 to development, environment, public celebrate the Easter/Passover hol- safety, higher education, transpor- idays. Prior to that, the Legislature tation, and state and local govern- passed nearly 200 bills that have ment. Other budget bills focusing been signed int 9 law for the cur- on K-12 education and health and rent two-year legislative biennium human services will need to make of the more than 7,000 that have up the rest of the current shortfall, been introduced, although committee chairmen are This week we resumed com- awaiting some federal funding for mittee meetings and anticipate health-careprograms. the inclusion of many bills into Education larger omnibus bills. As we con- Another important issue get- tinue through the final month and ting a big push this week is edu- a half of session the discussion cation. It was recently announced will focus primarily on the current that Minnesota was left out of the budget deficit, first round of qualifiers for federal Here is a more detailed expla- "Race to the Top" funding, and nation of the past fewweeks: Governor Pawlenty is redoubling Budget and unallotment his efforts to pass his teacher eval- A decision could come at any uation and student achievement time from the Minnesota Supreme reforms to bring Minnesota in Court on the issue that could dras- line to qualify for the next round. tically change the course of budget Already moving through the Leg- discussions: the lawsuit over Gov. islature are bills that would create Pawlenty's unallotment authority, alternative pathways for licensing While the case being heard is teachers, strengthen teacher-pre- specifically about the elimina- paratoryprograms, and requiring tion of a $5.3 million program, stronger evaluation measures for judges may decide that the gover- teachers. nor overstepped his authority by Jobs bill - a closer look cutting the program with unallot- Prior to the break, the Legisla- ment, and potentially invalidate ture passed a significant jobs bill. the entire $2.7 billion in unilat- The measure was credited by the eral cuts that he made to balance governor as a good first step, but the budget last year. Such a move merely points the way the state would put the Legislature in fhe must go to actually begin to stim- position to balance a much greater ulate real business development. budget deficit. A significant provision in the Before the holiday break, the bill was an "angel investment" tax Legislature passed and the gover- credit for an investor in a small nor signed phase one of the plan to business of fewer than 25 people fix the current billion-dollar gap. operating fewer than ten years in Phase one makes $312 mil- Minnesota. To qualify, the indi- Applications may be obtained on the Sheriff's Web site: <www. co. wright.ran, usdepartment sheriff/mountedpatrol.asp>, or by calling the Sheriff's Office at (763) 682 -7622. If you have any questions about Mounted Patrol memberships please call either Sgt: Annette Habisch at (763) 682-7605 or Lt. Mike Even at (763) 684-4508. vidual or group must make direct investments of at least $10,000 or $30,000 respectively, and cred- its can be revoked if an investor or fund does not meet the three- year holding period. The idea is to encourage investment in Minne- sota small business by Minnesota investors by not taxing them on the amount of money they choose to invest in up and coming com: panies which provide jobs here in Minnesota. Another key provision of the bill was to allow the city of Bloom- ington to use the money it collects specifically for Phase II of Mall of America for any phase of the mall expansion. This allows the city of Bloomington to continue collect- ing the taxes allowed from 2008 legislation, such as additional gen- eral sales tax, lodging tax, admis- sions and recreation tax, and food and beverage taxes which had been previously earmarked for Phase II expansion of the mall. The requirement of a labor peace agreement with the developers at the Mall of America and a labor organization representing hotel workers is also included in the bill. Relating to current economic conditions, I have introduced leg- islation (S.E 3343) that would pro- vide a one-year extension for qual- ified JOBZ business subsidy to meet their business-agreement goals that were not met in 2009 because of economic conditions. This would provide for the con- tinued creation of jobs and facility investment in Greater Minnesota.