"September 13, 2001 WC Regional Development Partnership Ortonville, MN"
September 13, 2001 WC Regional Development Partnership Ortonville, MN 5-9 p.m. Draft Minutes Members Attending: Carmen Fernholz, Owen Heiberg, Margaret Torgelson, Julie Joplin, Greg Cuomo, Stan Wieser, Mary Page, Mary Ann Scharf, Bill Stewart, Sid Martinez, Bruce Thorfinnson, Nancy O’Leary, John Cunningham, Marie Koenigs, Dick Hanson, Kay Slama, Bev Struxness, Deon Stuthman. (100%)! Staff Attending: Dorothy Rosemeier The afternoon began with a pontoon lake tour on Big Stone Lake with a supper served on board. The meeting was called to order by Chairman Carmen Fernholz at the Public Health Meeting Room in Ortonville. Carmen welcomed the four new board members: Kay Slama, Julie Joplin, Bruce Thorfinnson and Stan Wieser. Minutes of the August 9th Board tour/meeting and the August 31st Exec. Committee meeting were approved. M/S/P: Deon & Mary. The Treasurer’s Report and budget update were reviewed by Nancy O’Leary and Dorothy. The meeting schedule will remain on the second Thursdays of the month. The schedule for the year was distributed. The Board Retreat dates were discussed and several options were given to the planning team of Margaret and Mary Ann working with Dorothy to decide. Project Action Items: 1. Request for $3000 for the Trails/Tourism Project being done jointly with NW and WC Partnerships was approved. The planning funds are expected to address sense of place and an outcome of connecting all the various trails/tourism groups in the prairie part of the state to more effectively market together. The Northern area of western MN is working well and the southern half needs to network and get up to speed. 2. Electrical Energy Project: Owen reported that the focus is mainly on Maynard and Clara City with the possibility of Willmar, Raymond and Granite Falls joining in. There are two focus areas: Maynard and Clara City becoming a municipality and secondly, seeing the feasibility of wind power. (Willmar is currently exploring wind power with help from the Dept. of Commerce. The next meeting is on Sept. 26 and will bring the 2 communities together to firm up the project. A future public meeting will be conducted with citizens and will be enhanced with a computer modeling program that visually illustrates different scenarios. The Board approved $5000 to bring in Dr. Michael Mageau of UMD with the computer modeling program. 3. Telecommunications Project – Board approved $5000 for a Community Assistant Program(CAP) . A CAP student from UMM will research telecommunication development in the region. 4. Youth Philanthropy Project – Owen reported that he had been working with Brian McNeill of Swift County Extension and they were going to develop a more specific proposal that cut across county lines. It has been tested in Swift County this past year where youth operated a grant program for youth led projects. 5. CAP with a statewide emphasis was approved by the Board for$1500. Land Stewardship Project and U of M faculty on “Surveying the Gaps Between Farmers and Lenders” will conduct a survey statewide. Potential Projects/Connections Update/Discussion: Sustainable Regional Food System – a public forum is planned for Nov. 15th at Faith Lutheran Church in Morris. Two surveys are underway: one with farmer producers and one with consumers. On September 4, RP Executive Directors met with reps from the St. Paul Farmers Market to talk about a Year Around Market Hall supported by MN Dept.of Ag available for all Minnesota farmers to participate. The model could be replicated here in western MN. A broader gathering of collaborators is being sought. The Local Food Project Committee meets the 3rd Monday of the month on the UMM Campus. Sustainable Enterprise BR&E Project will report at the October Board Meeting. Dr. Richard Levins, U of M, will be invited to attend. Board Members – please do some more interviewing and turn them in to Dorothy. Ag & Rural Policy Study Groups – John C. reported there are four places where there is interest in setting up a study group. The next step is follow- through on reporting sessions with decision makers, doing it as a study circle format to share ideas. Rep. Doug Peterson of Madison will be asked to the next planning session. WC Growth Alliance received $75,000 and Reg.6 RDC is looking for matches of $2500 from each county in that region.. The West Central Initiative Fund Has put in that amount for counties in that region. (Grant Co. received it). Working Landscape Proposal – Dick gave an overview of this project that was proposed to the Regional Partnerships from a consultant based in the Twin Cities. The primary audience was County Commissioners as sources of funding to encourage land stewardship measures with ag lands. Concerns of the proposal were: counties are not that “flushed” with funds to support such an effort; there are currently several efforts via soil/water conservation boards that are working with this; and there was an assumption that only agriculture contributes to water pollution problems. Septic systems need to be considered as part of the problem as well. Dorothy will send out the proposal to the whole board as well. No action required at this time. The Statewide Coordinating Committee (SCC) September meeting was reported by Mary, Deon and Dorothy. There is much discussion on the role SCC and it’s relationship with the regions. SCC is to support the Regional Partnerships, not govern over the them. The 3 core principles of Active Citizenship, Sustainable Development and Partnering with the U of M put the citizens and Uof M faculty on equal ground and enable them to learn from each other. Paul Imbertson with the Distributive Energy Project is a good example. He is learning and instilling the “land grant mission”. That is why the Regional Partnerships were formed. Mary felt this Sept. meeting was a real turning point for the SCC as it was slipping into a staff-coordination meeting. It seems to be well spelled out on what the roles are. The group is trying to find a word picture to show this citizen/UofM relationship. We are more unique than we realize. Deon, Mary and Dorothy shared that President Yudof is zeroing in on Outreach at the University. Rural communities are important to Minnesota and we need to share the results and impacts of the Partnerships. The next Board Meeting will be held in Renville County at Olivia on October 11th with Mary Page as the local facilitator. The meeting was adjourned at 9:10 p.m. Respectfully submitted Mary Ann Scharf, Secretary