COL Mower County looks at turbine ordinance

AUSTIN, Minn. -- Mower County is taking another turn at its proposed ordinance on wind turbines after neighbors and others say they fear noise, TV interference and the shadow of the blades.

While applauding the idea of using wind for renewable energy, the neighbors said having the turbines too close to homes or roads could hurt quality of life. The county already has several large wind turbines, and a few small ones, spinning out electricity.

The county board decided an ordinance would ensure the development of more turbines won't hurt others and that one wind farm wouldn't create problems for another. The ordinance would divide them by size and dictate how far turbines can be from property lines, homes or roads.

In rural Dexter, Bryan Huse said he lives on 10 acres with farmers all around him seeking permits to put up turbines. The turbines will hurt local aesthetics, might be noisy and small ones might be too close.

"We have a concern about quality of life going down," he said.


MDA seeks workers for pest survey

ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Department of Agriculture -- Plant Pest Survey and Biological Control Program is seeking people to conduct agricultural pest surveys during June, July and August.

The Plant Pest Survey is designed to quantitatively monitor the distribution and abundance of agricultural insects, pathogens and weeds throughout Minnesota's ag regions.

Each employee in the survey program will be assigned an area of the state that is about five counties in size. A vacant position exists in each of the following parts of the state: Marshall, Montevideo, Albert Lea and Morris. Employees are provided with vehicles, laptop computers and all other equipment to conduct the required surveys.

The work week is Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. for 40 hours a week and the salary range is $14.79 to $21.40 an hour. Applications must be received by April 23. Call Mark Abrahamson at (651) 296-6509 for more information.

State wants to protect against oak disease

ST. PAUL -- Minnesota is considering regulatory action to protect the state's $2.1 billion nursery and landscape industry, as well as its forests, by attempting to stave off a new fungus that has killed thousands of oak trees in California and Oregon.

The state is monitoring shipments from the West Coast of azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias, which are hosts to the fungus, Geir Friisoe, head of the plant protection division at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, said Wednesday.


The division is reviewing shipping records, visually inspecting plants from high-risk areas and randomly sampling plants that could carry sudden oak death disease, he said. In addition, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Forest Service will survey Minnesota's natural red oak stands.

"The disease is new and very threatening," said John Daniels, general manager of growing operations in Lakeville for Bachman's, a Minneapolis-based floral, home and garden business with 21 retail locations in Minnesota.

Food, Farm Festival will be May 1-2

ST. PAUL -- The 2004 Community Food and Farm Festival is planned May 1-2 between 10 a.m.-6 p.m. both days in the Education Building on the state fairgrounds in Falcon Heights.

During the last six years, the Community Food and Farm Festival has evolved into one of the region's most popular venues for meeting farmers who are direct marketing various kinds of food.

Farmers will be available to answer questions about the sustainable methods they use to produce food. This year's event will also be held in conjunction with the Living Green Expo. For more information, call (651) 215-0218.

Marketing Club will meet in Zumbrota

ZUMBROTA, Minn. -- The Riverland Farm Business Management Program and banks are co-sponsoring the Area Dairy Marketing Club, which meets monthly in the Zumbrota Bank.


The next meeting will be April 14 beginning at 11 a.m. and ending about 12:30 p.m. in the Community Room.

For more information, call Jon Hobert at Riverland Community College-Kenyon at (507) 789-8801.

Forest Industries, McDonald's plan to donate trees

Minnesota Forest Industries has teamed up with Minnesota McDonald's restaurants to give away more than 60,000 red pine tree seedlings on Arbor Day, April 30.

The tree giveaway involves 200 participating McDonald's restaurants all over the state. No purchase is necessary and trees will be given away while the supply lasts.

The Arbor Day giveaway will include information in each restaurant about Minnesota's forests and unique facts about trees, wildlife and the forest products industry.

Former police officer sentenced for theft

ST. PAUL -- A former St. Paul police officer has been sentenced in Trempealeau County, Wis., to two years' probation and ordered to do 200 hours of community service after pleading guilty to concealing a stolen Bobcat loader at a Wisconsin farm.

The Bobcat was stolen from a construction site in Minnesota's Scott County in 2000 and was found by Trempealeau County sheriff's deputies on a farm near Blair, Wis., in 2002.

Jeffery Kane was indicted in federal court on charges of transporting stolen property across state lines, but the case was moved to state court.

Kane, 35, agreed to plead guilty to one count of concealing stolen property. He was ordered to pay restitution of $20,747 to the owner of the Bobcat and his insurance company.

Earth Day event planned in St. Paul

ST. PAUL -- Earth Day will mark its 34th anniversary with a special event April 22 in Hidden Falls Park in St. Paul.

The event is sponsored by the Natural Resources Conservation Service in cooperation with the Farm Service Agency, St. Paul Park and Recreation Services and Harding High School.

Earth Day events will begin at 10 a.m.

A brief program will be followed by trash removal, weed pulling and installation of Wood Duck houses.

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