Blogosphere

The Hill From A Distance: Honors Day

St. Olaf College - Fri, 05/15/2020 - 8:00am
Each week our new blog series, The Hill From A Distance, will feature a message from a campus leader — and this week Provost and Dean of the College Marci Sortor shares how we came together virtually this year for Honors Day.
Categories: Colleges

This and That

Snapdragons

We would like to thank everyone for their wonderful support and business this season.  It is still so strange to social distance but we are getting used to it.  Gardeners hug – they shake hands  – they group together and discuss plants.  Well – we’re all in this together and hopefully next season – we’ll be able to give each and everyone of you a much needed hug or handshake!  

We have ended our curbside pickup for now.  We are short-staffed with the current world situation, and we had to decide on what we could do to make more time  in the day, and unfortunately, decided to eliminate the phone in or email  orders for pickup.  We respect those customers who do not want to be out amongst other people, even with the social distancing, and would encourage those of you to perhaps give a list to a friend, relative or neighbor and let them do your shopping for you! 

Now for the wonderful offerings of Mother Nature.  With almost a week in May of below freezing nights and cool days, she is giving us above normal temperatures next week!  And, almost no rain!  Your trees and shrubs that you planted last year need water now this spring!   Put them on a watering rotation so they will root in well and start to really grow for you!  Anything newly planted this year – be sure to follow our watering instructions and give them a much needed drink of water!  A tenth of an inch of rain doesn’t do much more than get the top of the soil moist.  For your plants to receive a good watering from the rain – it needs to be an inch or more of rain!  When rain is only a quarter or half an inch it doesn’t quite do the trick.  That being said, the key to good watering and maintaining healthy roots that don’t rot, is to give just enough water and never too much.  That is the very reason we created our detailed watering chart with specific measured amounts of water.  

 

The post This and That appeared first on Knecht's Nurseries & Landscaping.

Categories: Businesses

Student view: An instrumentalist on the St. Olaf Choir tour

St. Olaf College - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 7:35pm
Landry Forrest '22 was part of a chamber ensemble that joined the St. Olaf Choir on its tour of the East Coast at the beginning of the year. She reflects on her experience.
Categories: Colleges

Corona Jujitsu — Not

Tom Swift - Untethered Dog - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 6:26pm
Turns out, I was wearing it upside down. My mask. My N-95. My first one. As I stood in line to get into the grocery store, I snapped a selfie to send to my friend as I thanked him again for the gratis covering. He politely pointed out my error. I didn’t receive his gentle […]
Categories: Citizens

The Weekly List – The Sinatra Show

KYMN Radio - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 6:00pm
This week we remember Frank Sinatra on the 22nd anniversary of his passing.

Renewable energy webinar

City of Northfield Calendar - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 5:23pm
Event date: May 27, 2020
Event Time: 12:00 PM - 01:00 PM
Location:
Northfield, MN 55057

Heritage Preservation Commission

City of Northfield Calendar - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 5:18pm
Event date: June 3, 2020
Event Time: 04:30 PM - 11:59 PM
Location:
801 Washington Street
Northfield, MN 55057

Renewable energy webinar

City of Northfield Calendar - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 5:07pm
Event date: May 27, 2020
Event Time: 12:00 PM - 01:00 PM
Location:
Northfield, MN 55057

Add'l supervisor recommended after problems at city's waste water treatment plant

Northfield News - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 5:00pm
A consultant is recommending the city hire an additional wastewater treatment plant supervisor to accommodate the facility’s size and better document maintenance procedures following a series of incidents within the last 2½ years.
Categories: Local News

Board of 5: Bridgewater Twp. elects 2 new supervisors

Northfield News - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 4:33pm
Bridgewater Township successfully held the first election in Rice County of the coronavirus era on Tuesday, electing two new members to its Board of Supervisors.
Categories: Local News

Add'l supervisor recommended after problems at city's waste water treatment plant

Northfield News - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 4:15pm
A consultant is recommending the city hire an additional wastewater treatment plant supervisor to accommodate the facility’s size and better document maintenance procedures following a series of incidents within the last 2½ years.
Categories: Local News

Environmental Quality Commission Meeting

City of Northfield Calendar - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 3:31pm
Event date: May 20, 2020
Event Time: 07:00 PM - 09:00 PM
Location:
801 Washington Street
Northfield, MN 55057
Description:
Members of the public may monitor the meeting electronically from a remote location by dialing a conference number or by watching a live stream available You can dial in using your phone.
Conference #: +1 (224) 501-3412
Access code: 619-769-669#

Freeborn Wind Pre-construction Mtg?

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 12:09pm
Eagles outstanding in their field…

I heard a rumor that there was to be another “pre-construction” meeting on the Freeborn Wind project. Last time this happened, I’d sent a request, ANOTHER request, for notice of any pre-construction meeting. Turns out the meeting was THAT SAME DAY, starting just half an hour after I’d sent the request for notice. That time, I’d known nothing, no rumors. And of course, Association of Freeborn Landowners, a PARTY in this docket, got no notice.

Commerce_DPA Request_11-25-2019Download

In that letter:

AFCL AGAIN requests notice, of at least 10 days, of the time and location of
any and all pre-construction meetings for the Freeborn Wind project. AFCL is a party in this proceeding.

Oh well… a meeting was had… and Xcel Energy filed this required summary of the pre-construction meeting held on November 25, 2019:

17-0410+Compliance+Filing-Preconstruction Mtg-Section+10.1+120619+NSP_Mtg 11-25-3019Download

Yesterday, I fired off emails to Commerce, Freeborn County, and PUC, left phone messages, and filed a copy on the docket so everyone would be aware that we were asking:

Fwd_ Freeborn Wind – PRE-CONSTRUCTION MEETING TODAY___Download

<iframe width=”420″ height=”240″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/K8E_zMLCRNg” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe>

Minn. Stat. §216E.08, Public Participation anyone?

Categories: Citizens

Engineering group makes recommendations for Nfld’s beleaguered WWTP; NH&C increasing Covid-19 testing parameters; DSI – covid and cleanup day

KYMN Radio - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 12:02pm
By Teri Knight, News Director From malfunctions to floods to fire (which led to trucking out our sludge for months) in the first half of 2018, the Northfield Wastewater Treatment plant suffered millions of dollars in damage. It also dumped a million gallons of sewage water into the Cannon River resulting in Lake Byllesby beach

DEED info about opening up!

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 10:40am

Hot off the press… errrrrrrr… inbox, from DEED, answering questions about what it means to “reopen,” and practices and procedures to reopen safely.

First, the long version:

DEED – Guidance on Reopening Businesses

And the email that just came in:

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Safely reopening and returning to work: What businesses and workers need to know 

As Minnesota businesses begin the process of reopening and safely returning people to work, we know there are a lot of questions. We’ve answered many of the most common questions at mn.gov/deed/safework, and I encourage businesses and workers alike to review customized guidance there. 

We also know that businesses and workers may be wondering about the process for bringing workers back into the workplace, and that many workers may have concerns about returning to the workplace given the threat of COVID-19. On May 13, Governor Walz issued Executive Order 20-54 which provides more clarity on worker protections in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We hope that this post will address some additional questions about how unemployment insurance works in this context.

Here’s what you need to know:

Most importantly, businesses must be safe and healthy for their workers and customers.

  • Businesses must follow all CDC and MDH guidance and OSHA standards about creating a safe and healthy environment for workers and customers.
  • A business may not take adverse action (including terminating, laying off or other retaliatory action) against a worker for raising safety and health concerns, refusing to work under conditions they reasonably believe are unsafe or unhealthy related to COVID-19, participating in union activities concerning work place safety and health issues, filing a safety and health complaint, or participating in an OSHA investigation.

In order to reopen, any non-Critical Sector business or retail establishment must have a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan in place to protect the health and safety of their workers.  

  • Plans are extremely important to provide direction on how workers are going to remain safe. To help in the process, Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), DEED, and the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) have developed a template plan and guidance that businesses can use as a starting point. Businesses aren’t required to use this template, but a business’ plan does need to follow CDC and MDH guidelines and OSHA standards.
  • Wherever possible, workers should continue to work from home.
  • Businesses are encouraged to consult with workers on the development of their plans – it will make the plans better, proactively address many worker concerns and ensure workers are invested in the new norms businesses are setting.
  • We aren’t requiring businesses to submit their plans to the state for approval, but businesses should be prepared to provide a copy of your plan if requested.
  • Copies of the plan must be shared with workers in advance of reopening and posted at the workplace.

Once a COVID-19 Preparedness plan is in place and workers are called back to work, anticipate that some may be nervous or worried about returning to the workplace. Be flexible and provide necessary accommodations for workers.

  • This is an uncertain and challenging time, and many workers may have concerns about being back at work. Workers should also not have to sacrifice their health and safety for economic security. Businesses are encouraged to be as flexible as possible with workers, be responsive to requests for accommodations and ensure that you have provided appropriate protective gear in accordance with CDC and MDH guidance and OSHA standards – such as gloves if handling goods or money with customers, and non-medical face coverings.

Some employees may not be able to return to work.

  • Executive Order 20-05 provides a list of COVID-19 exemptions for workers, including those with underlying health issues or caretaking responsibilities.
  • Workers who qualify for these exemptions do not need to return to work and will continue to qualify for Unemployment Insurance benefits.

If a worker feels that their employer is not operating with a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan and/or not following health and safety protocols, there is action they can take.

  • Any worker who believes that their workplace is not following their COVID-19 Preparedness Plan or is not following CDC or Minnesota Department of Health guidelines is encouraged to attempt to resolve their concerns directly with their employer.
  • If the worker is not successful in that attempt, is not comfortable raising their concerns with their employer, or has additional concerns about the safety of their workplace, the worker should contact Minnesota OSHA at 651-284-5050 or Compliance@state.mn.us.
  • If a worker raises concerns with an employer about not operating with a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan and/or not following health and safety protocols and the employer does not address the concern in a reasonable amount of time, the worker can quit and not lose unemployment insurance eligibility benefits as long as it was reasonable to do so.
  • If a worker is fired for raising concerns about workplace safety–either with Minnesota OSHA or directly with their employer–they will not lose unemployment benefits eligibility.

State Unemployment Insurance law prevents the state from continuing to pay benefits to those who are no longer eligible.

  • Workers who are offered the opportunity to return to work and don’t qualify for an exemption under Executive Order 20-05 or state unemployment insurance law are no longer eligible to receive benefits.
  • We ask every applicant on a weekly basis whether they have refused an offer of suitable employment. Providing inaccurate information may result in an applicant being held overpaid for unemployment benefits.
  • When workers return to work or want to stop requesting unemployment benefits, no additional notification is needed. They simply should stop requesting weekly benefits in their unemployment insurance account. Some additional information about unemployment and returning to work can be found here.
  • Under Minnesota law, businesses can “raise an issue” regarding a former employee’s eligibility for unemployment insurance
  • Raising an issue is the way to tell us that you have a question regarding an employee’s eligibility for unemployment. You can find more information about how to raise an issue here.
  • Businesses must follow all CDC and MDH guidance and OSHA standards about creating a safe and healthy environment for workers and customers. For non-Critical Sector businesses, this includes having a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan.
  • A business may not take adverse action (including terminating, laying off or other retaliatory action) against a worker for raising safety and health concerns, refusing to work under conditions they reasonably believe are unsafe or unhealthy related to COVID-19, participating in union activities concerning work place safety and health issues, filing a safety and health complaint, or participating in an OSHA investigation.

If a worker or employer notifies the department that an offer to return to work was refused, we will review the applicant’s eligibility for unemployment. What happens next?

  • DEED will mail questionnaires out to both the applicant and employer about why the applicant did not return to work – including questions about the applicant’s medical situation. A doctor’s note may be requested during any follow-up process for additional information.
  • Once the department has enough information to make a decision, a written determination about the applicant’s continued eligibility for unemployment will be provided.
  • At this point, either the applicant or employer can file an appeal within 20 calendar days. Minnesota Unemployment Insurance Law provides an opportunity for a fair and impartial hearing to any party who disagrees with a determination issued by the Minnesota Unemployment Insurance Program.
  • A telephone hearing and an appeals process follow from there, which will be outlined in detail to any worker or employer in this situation.

We know that both businesses and workers want to make the process of returning to work safe, effective, and fair. Thoughtful planning, clear communication, and a collaborative and generous spirit are going to get us through this difficult time.

We hope these guidelines make it clear how this process will work, and we encourage everyone to get more information in the FAQ section of UIMN.org.

 – Commissioner Steve Grove

Categories: Citizens

Steve Underdahl and Nicole Strusz-Mueller

KYMN Radio - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 9:58am
Steve Underdahl, CEO and President of Northfield Hospital & Clinics, and Manager of Clinic Practices Nicole Strusz-Mueller discuss Covid19 testing, resumption of elective surgeries, and safety measures and procedures at the hospital and clinics as they begin the resume services.

John Fossum

KYMN Radio - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 9:41am
Rice County Attorney John Fossum describes the gradual reopening process of the court system.

Gov. Noem, back off Rosebud

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 8:41am

There’s case law that looks to me to say that it’s a really bad idea to push Rosebud about monitoring highways through the reservation:

Rosebud Sioux Tribe v. State of S.DDownload

Even TIME magazine is taking notice:

South Dakota Governor Demands Tribe Leaders Remove Checkpoints Set Up to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

Oglala Sioux had the right idea earlier, closing their doors to Gov. Noem, though she’s now allowed on the reservation:

Oglala Sioux Tribe lifts ban of Gov. Kristi Noem from Pine Ridge reservation
Categories: Citizens

Survey: Majority of middle, high schoolers adjusted to distance learning after difficulty

Northfield News - Wed, 05/13/2020 - 7:30pm
A majority of Northfield Middle and High School students say they’ve adjusted to distance learning after experiencing difficulty.
Categories: Local News

New Publication: Poems from the Lockdown

Rob Hardy - Rough Draft - Wed, 05/13/2020 - 4:30pm
My poem "Crossing the Delaware" is included in the anthology Poems from the Lockdown (Willowdown Books 2020), edited by Trevor Maynard. The anthology includes 146 poems by 115 poets from 10 different countries, all in response to the new realities of life in the time of Covid-19. 

Available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk



Categories: Citizens
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