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Area briefs: Emergency declaration made in Goodhue County

KMTelecom earns rural excellence designation; Wabasha offers HVAC grants to small businesses.

From left, Kasson City Administrator Tim Ibisch, KM Telecom marketing and sales manager Deb Manitz, KM Telecom marketing coordinator Jon Ehmke, Kasson Mayor Chris McKern, KM Telecom business account representative Jennifer Galloway, and KM Telecom public works director Charlie Bradford show off the new Smart Rural Communities designation for the broadband provider.
Contributed photo / KMTelecom

RED WING — With an expected $60,000 to $70,000 in damage across Goodhue County from the heavy winds of Dec. 15, the Goodhue County Board of Commissioners has declared a state of emergency in the county.

At a special meeting Tuesday, all five commissioners approved the resolution that could help the county seek state relief funds, although it is unlikely the declaration would qualify the county for the FEMA Public Assistance Program, according to a memo from Goodhue County Emergency Management Director Josh Hanson.

Goodhue County Co-op Electric reported preliminary damage costs at $50,000, much of that related to poles, transformers and materials. Goodhue County Public Works reported damages ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 to cover the cost of an estimated 100-200 signs that will need to be replaced.

In addition to signs and power infrastucture, there were dozens of reports of uprooted trees in several communities.

KMTelecom earns award for broadband connectivity

KASSON — KM Telecom, the broadband provider serving the Kasson-Mantorville area, has earned the Smart Rural Communities designation from the Rural Broadband Association.


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With a greater need for rural broadband access – from distance learning for schools, telemedicine, and online working accommodations – the need for broadband access in rural areas is growing.

To earn the designation, KM Telecom demonstrated high-capacity broadband capabilities as well as community subscription to its services. More importantly, the program requires local communications providers to work actively with other local leaders to develop broadband-based solutions to improve local conditions.

“The community of Kasson salutes KM Telecom for its hard work to meet these standards, which enable our residents to fully participate in today’s connected society,” said Kasson Mayor Chris McKern. “Because of access to high-speed internet, Kasson provides its residents with educational and economic opportunities on par with those in the most connected regions of America.”

Wabasha Port Authority commits to supporting small businesses

WABASHA — The City of Wabasha and The Wabasha Port Authority received a $95,000 grant from Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to help up to five small businesses replace their HVAC systems in response to COVID-19.

"We want our small businesses in Wabasha to continue to thrive during the pandemic," said City Administrator Caroline Gregerson. "One strategy is through helping them to improve the air circulation in their buildings. Optimizing air ventilation is a great strategy to keep workers and customers safe."

Five grants for up to $19,000 apiece are available through the program. Small businesse in Wabasha can apply to the City of Wabasha for this assistance. The application and guidelines are available on the city’s website at . The program is federally funded so several federal regulations will apply.

For more information, businesses can contact interim economic development director Cathy Enerson at

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