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The Minnesota House's first bills under Republican control are to help business through government red tape. "One of our top focuses throughout this session is to make Minnesota a more business-friendly state to boost revenue and help people get back to work," Rep. Larry Howes, R-Walker, said Thursday in an e-mail message to constituents. "A common complaint we hear from our small businesses is that our permitting process tends to be cumbersome and quite lengthy compared with neighboring states," Howes said.
Minnesota's two senators don't plan heightened security measures after last weekend's massacre in Tucson, Ariz. But they do believe that the public discourse needs to be toned down, that it may be causing the mentally unbalanced to read a different message that may lead to violence. Last Saturday, a lone gunman at a Tucson shopping mall shot U.S. Rep. Gabriele Giffords, R-Ariz., and mortally wounded a federal judge, a 9-year-old girl and four others, and injured more than a dozen bystanders. "It's really, really sad," Sen.
Wells Technology Inc., nestled between fields and trees in Eckles Township, continues to grow manufacturing jobs. U.S. Sen.
Andy Wells, chief of Wells Technology Inc., is the subject of visits this week by both of Minnesota's U.S. senators. U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, both Democrats, are visiting manufacturing sites across northwestern Minnesota early this week in an effort to promote jobs. Wells, president and CEO of Wells Technology Inc., was the 2009 Minnesota Small Business Person of the Year, and was recognized by President Barack Obama at the White House in the U.S.
The 2011 session of the Legislature, which opens Tuesday, will draw on the strengths of local legislators. Sen.-elect John Carlson, R-Bemidji, was tabbed to serve on the State Government Innovation and Veterans Committee, which he requested, and the Higher Education Committee. Rep. John Persell, DFL-Bemidji, continues work on environmental issues in a newly arranged House Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee.
Eleven community organizations want nearly $116,000 from a $75,000 Beltrami County fund. When Beltrami County commissioners divvy up the County Development Fund sometime in January, they'll only have $75,000 to work with, unless they dip into the fund's reserves. A group of 11 community organizations have requested in 2011 a total of $115,890 for their projects from a county fund that provides subsidies for agricultural, tourism or industrial development projects. The County Development Fund is derived from proceeds from timber sales from county managed lands, with the Legislature allowing
Now is not the economy to issue bonds for new Beltrami County facilities, commissioners decided last week. In the works was a plan to co-locate the County Highway Department and County Natural Resource Management Department on County Road 11, where the County Highway Department is now located. Commissioners hired Bemidji architect Michael Johnston to perform pre-design work on several options for the two county departments. The Highway Department needs energy upgrades and the NRM offices need to move from the Lakeside Service Center, where its lease ends Dec.
A Montana state natural resources official will be Beltrami County's new land commissioner. Beltrami County commissioners approved the hire of Richard Anders Moore by voting for a $68,411.20 salary for the post. Moore since 2007 has been an area resource conservation manager for the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation in Billings, Mont. He supervises eight employees responsible for managing 381,000 acres of school trust land. He starts Feb. 1, replacing Greg Snyder, who has left the county for a post with the state Department of Natural Resources.
Beltrami County will be the only Minnesota county in 2011 with a property tax levy less than the year before, says Board Chairman Jack Frost. Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved a 2011 property tax levy of $16.9 million and a 2011 county budget of $54.2 million. The levy is 0.43 percent lower, or $73,513 less than this year's levy. "I believe Beltrami County is the only county of 87 in the state to lower its property taxes for 2011," Frost said. "I know of few counties, if any, that have managed to reduce the levy," said Commissioner Joe Vene.
A feisty Beltrami County Board started the process Tuesday to prohibit bars from selling alcohol after 1 a.m., and lambasted the Bemidji City Council for its ordinance to allow bars to remain open until 2 a.m. Commissioners also placed an immediate moratorium to prevent bars in the county from requesting a state permit to stay open until 2 a.m., as permitted by state law in counties which have not set the later closing time or prohibited sales after 1 a.m. The moratorium will last until the process to amend the county's liquor ordinance No. 44 is resolved through a three-reading process.