Archives for April 2020

BEMIDJI GARDEN PLOTS AVAILABLE

Grow your own vegetables and flowers! The City of Bemidji Parks and Recreation garden areas are fenced and water is available. All plots run seasonal May – October. A limited number of plots are still available. Preference will be given to City residents. Garden plots should be available by May 27th! To make sure everyone receive a garden plot, there is only one plot per household. Plot reservations range from $15-$20 depending on the size of the plot. To reserve a plot visit www.ci.bemidji.mn.us

SANFORD HEALTH TAKES A LEAD

Sanford Health continues to lead by bringing antibody testing to patients throughout the health system’s geographic reach. Antibody testing is a new frontier in gathering data to better understand COVID-19. Sanford’s laboratory has equipment in place to process antibody tests. Internal processes and trial runs are being finalized before the antibody tests roll out across the health system in the coming weeks. Up to 1,200 tests could be completed each day. For details, visit sanfordhealth.org

MNSURE STILL MAY BE AN OPTION

Last month, Governor Walz announced a 30-day emergency special enrollment period for individuals who were uninsured in the wake of COVID-19. During that time, 9,482 Minnesotans enrolled in private health insurance plans through MNsure. The SEP ran from March 23 through April 21. Additionally, more than 13,700 applied for public health insurance programs during that time period. Check out MNsure.org to see if you can still enroll, because even though the emergency special enrollment period has ended, there are still opportunities to enroll.

HOUSING FINANCE AND POLICY DIVISION MEET REMOTELY

The Housing Finance and Policy Division met remotely to hear a bill that allocates $100 million to the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency to assist thousands of Minnesota renters with their monthly payments, and to help Minnesotans pay utility bills and property taxes, and help homeowners pay their mortgages. Rep. Alice Hausman, is the chair of the Housing Finance and Policy Division…

Rep. Michael Howard is vice-chair Housing Finance and Policy Division…

SNAP EASIER TO ACCESS

Minnesotans who are struggling to feed themselves and their families or make ends meet should know that help is available and accessible right now. The Minnesota Department of Human Services has temporarily modified procedures to make it easier for people to get, keep and use essential programs including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, which offers monthly food benefits. For details, contact your county or tribal financial worker.

NEW EXEC ORDER BY WALZ

Governor Tim Walz on Monday, issued an Executive Order which expands allowable outdoor recreational activities to allow Minnesotans to continue to enjoy the outdoors close to home while following social distancing guidelines. The new order allows Minnesotans to engage in activities, including golfing, boating, fishing, hunting, and hiking, as long as they follow new outdoor recreation guidelines, which include maintaining 6-foot social distancing, avoiding crowded areas, and staying close to home. It specifies that facilities that may reopen or remain open include Bait shops; Outdoor shooting ranges and game farms; Public and private parks and trails; Golf courses and driving ranges; Boating and off-highway vehicle services, including Marina services, Dock installation and other lake services such as Boat and off-highway vehicle sales and repair, by appointment only. Campgrounds, outdoor recreational equipment retail stores, recreational equipment rental, charter boats, launches, and guided fishing remain closed.

2020 EGG TAKE CANCELLED

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will cancel its 2020 egg take operations for walleye, northern pike, muskellunge and steelhead because the work cannot be done safely under COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. After a careful examination of whether the egg take process could be re-engineered, the DNR determined that is was not possible to safely handle fish during the egg take and practice appropriate social distancing to protect staff from COVID-19. Since hatchery rearing ponds will not be in use, the DNR will lower the water levels in many of these ponds to improve long-term productivity and future fish-rearing capacity. Other hatchery repairs, such as dike and pond improvements, also can be done when water levels drop.

SANFORD HEALTH OFFERING FAST TESTS

Sanford Health can now test for COVID-19 with results available in 45 minutes. The rapid tests will be used for high priority hospital patients. Sanford Health in Fargo and Sioux Falls began 90-minute rapid testing earlier this month. Bemidji and Bismarck are the most recent Sanford regions to implement this test. The addition of rapid testing increases Sanford’s testing capacity up to 1,500 tests per week across the organization. If patients are experiencing symptoms including fever, cough and respiratory distress, they should call their provider instead of going directly to their clinic.

HEMP PLAN MOVES FORWARD

The USDA has approved the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians Hemp Plan, meaning hemp cultivation on tribal lands is now allowed, with the tribe acting as the regulation and enforcement body. Officials with the Turtle Mountain Agriculture and Hemp Department now say they expect hemp will become the main focus of the tribe’s sharecropping program. The tribe began looking to hemp as a potential moneymaker on the reservation two years ago, when President Donald Trump legalized the cultivation and production of hemp and its derivatives as part of the 2018 farm bill.

MEAL DELIVERY SEEN AS GESTURE OF THANKS

On Easter Sunday, 71 Easter Dinners were delivered to all Red Lake Nation Border Patrol stations. Enough food was left for the next shift too. The whole thing was paid for by the Red Lake Community Center and Red Lake Housing Authority, and was seen as a gesture of thanks for keeping our homeland safe.