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Oct 22 14

2015 Community Assistantship Program Grant

by Melissa
Community Based Research (CBR) is where community knowledge and University knowledge come together to solve the problems of our time. Merging community knowledge with the resources and expertise of the University sheds new light on today’s challenges and helps to identify innovative directions to solve them.According to a key article in the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, CBR has three defining characteristics:

  • It is a collaborative enterprise between academic researchers and community members. For CURA, this means that the research questions are defined in partnership and that the project is community-driven.
  • It seeks to democratize knowledge by validating multiple sources of knowledge and promoting the use of multiple methods of discovery. For CURA, this means that academic and community knowledge are valued equally, and that student researchers use a variety of approaches to tackling the research questions.
  • It has a goal of social action for the purpose of achieving social change and justice. For CURA, this means that the emphasis is always placed on the community’s use of the research results.

CBR benefits community organizations by enabling them to make informed, data-driven decisions and provides new perspectives on community issues. CBR benefits students by providing opportunities to apply academic learning to real-world problems and ultimately makes students more employable. CBR also contributes to the wider community by acting as a model of what works in communities that can be replicated by others and contributing to policy discussions on community and regional levels.

The Community Assistantship Program (CAP) supports rural communities interested in hiring a student to work on a community-supported research project. The deadline for project proposals is Oct. 30 with work completed Jan. 8 to May 24, 2015.

For more information visit:


The 2013 American Community Survey’s one-year statistics have been released. To find statistics for your area, please visit the Census Bureau’s American FactFinder page.
Oct 22 14

Upcoming Border to Border Broadband Conference

by Melissa
Join us for Border to Border Broadband on November 18-19, 2014 at Cragun’s Resort located near Brainerd.

Earlier this fall, over the course of three weeks, three national organizations working on driving Internet access, adoption and use came to Minnesota for major meetings. Why?

  ~ Is it because our children are above average?

  ~ Is it something in the water?

Or (more likely)… Is there something pretty exciting going on right here in the state of Minnesota? 

Come and be part of the excitement on November 18-19 at Cragun’s Resort in Brainerd. Connect with others from across the state who are doing this work. Get (re)inspired.

This year’s conference features breakout sessions so you can customize your experience. In Making Public-Private Partnerships Work!, attendees will hear from Danna MacKenzie, Executive Director of the Office of Broadband Development, and legal and financial experts talk about how to build partnerships between public entities and private sector providers. What is legal? What is smart? And what are the options for finance, ownership and operations?

Other breakout session topics include Broadband-Based Economic Development; Top-Down Apps in Education; Effective Messaging for Community Engagement; Blandin Broadband Communities Showcase; and Schools, Libraries and Technology Centers.

Visit the conference webpage for more information, including registration and the preliminary agenda.


Oct 22 14

Business Development Public Infrastructure

by Melissa

The BDPI grant program provides grants to cities and counties in Greater Minnesota of up to 50% of the capital costs of the public infrastructure necessary to expand economic development, retain or create jobs, or increase the tax base (§116J.431). Greater Minnesota cities, in particular, depend on this grant program to attract new businesses and create jobs in their communities.

The BDPI program has been used successfully over the last ten years to create jobs in Greater Minnesota. In general, the fund can be used for up to 50% of the costs for public infrastructure for economic development. Retail and housing projects are not eligible.

Here is a link to the program on the DEED website

If you have questions contact Dan Dorman or the DEED Business Development Specialist for your area, and listing of them can be found at



Oct 20 14

Farm to School Grant Program

by Melissa

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture Farm to School Grant Program supports Minnesota school districts and child care centers in the processing of Minnesota agricultural products. Grants are intended to:

  • Create feasibility plan that identifies specific equipment, tools, training or policies needed by school districts and child care centers;
  • Purchase equipment to allow schools and child care centers to purchase, prepare and serve more Minnesota grown and raised food.

Proposals must be received no later than 4:00 PM on Monday, November 3, 2014.

Apply on-line.
For instructions on how to register to apply, review this tutorial (PDF: 867 KB / 8 pages).

Request for Proposal and Application (PDF: 132 KB / 9 pages)
** MAC Users: Please complete the form using Adobe Reader. **

For more information visit Minnesota Department of Agriculture

Oct 17 14

Kerkhoven welcomes a NEW General Store

by Melissa
The outside of Lamecker's General Store, located in Kerkhoven.

The Lamecker’s General Store is located in Kerkhoven, MN right on Highway 12.

Kerkhoven, Minnesota welcomed a new General Store this summer! Owners Scott and Teresa Lamecker opened Lamecker’s General Store doors on June 26th, 2014 with the help and support from family, friends, and the community. The community was 110% behind the Lamecker’s since the town has been without a hardware store since April of 2013, after the Schutt family had closed its doors. To add to the loss Dave’s Family Foods closed its doors last fall, and that’s when Scott realized bringing back a general store is just what their community needed.

A lot of planning and work was done prior to the opening day. Scott coordinated efforts with United Hardware (supplier) to determine inventory variety and amounts. The entire layout of the building was completely reconfigured, along with adding new flooring, lighting, shelving, and freshly painted walls.

Scott and Teresa are also working on building connections with area farmers. They aim to offer the farmers the ability to order some of the general supplies they need for their farm operation through the store’s supplier. Scott and Teresa pride themselves in being able to fill a need in their community and to offer it with small-town quality service.

The store offers a variety of products, some which are the following: hardware, general cleaning supplies, household items, select grocery items, and much more. The grocery line that has been incorporated into the store offers the community the ability to buy the more “essential” or “staple” foods. This service will be greatly appreciated when the blizzard-like conditions occur each year. The milk, meats, fruits, and vegetables that are sold in the store actually come from local producers.

The inside of Lamecker’s General Store which offers a wide variety goods and services.

The financing of this project included owner equity, community group investment, Kerkhoven’s Financial Security Bank, Southwest Initiative Foundation, Swift County RDA, and the Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission’s Revolving Loan Fund.

Lamecker General Store was one of the three loans that were closed this fiscal year for new and expanding businesses in the region by the Upper Minnesota Regional Development Commission’s (UMVRDC) Revolving Loan Fund (RLF). The amount loaned out this fiscal year totaled $186,000.  A combination of 22 jobs were created or retained as a result of these business start-up and retention projects. A total of $1,438,000 was leveraged in public and private funds.

If you’d like to learn more about the RLF and its ability to aid in making business start-ups and expansions a reality, contact the UMVRDC today! Call Randy Larson at 320-289-1981 ext. 102 or e-mail or check out the RLF page on the UMVRDC website


Be sure to swing on into the Lamecker General Store next time you’re in the area and check out their newly remodeled store, along with their great line of services!

Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday – Friday, and 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
Address: PO Box 166-907 Atlantic Ave Kerkhoven, Minnesota
Phone: 320.264.3711
Facebook: Lamecker’s General Store