Thief River Falls was recently named a Bike Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists, the 34th community in Minnesota to receive the honor.
The league ranks Minnesota as the fifth friendliest state in the country for cyclists.
The Bike Friendly Community Awards recognize communities’ commitment to improving cycling conditions through advocacy, education programs, infrastructure and pro-cycling policies.
Thief River Falls in northwest Minnesota achieved the Bicycle Friendly Community bronze level, while Walker and Richfield advanced from the bronze level to the silver level. Marshall, Edina and Battle Lake regained their bronze status.
“Being a bike-friendly community takes more than hosting an annual event or building a few bike lanes,” said Bill Nesper, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists. “The best communities for people who bike are places where efforts to build connected cycling networks are complemented by ensuring equal access to cycling education and hosting inclusive community rides and events for all types of riders. They are places where cycling efforts are infused with equity and availability.” is the rule, not the exception.”
USDA funding to help expand market opportunities in rural Minnesota
The federal government recently announced more than $3 million in funding to help create new, better market opportunities and expand essential services in several rural Minnesota communities.
“Rural businesses, producers and entrepreneurs provide many of the everyday essentials we depend on,” said Colleen Landkamer, Minnesota state director of the USDA. “The partnerships … demonstrate Minnesota Rural Development’s commitment to advocating for rural business owners and building a brighter future for everyone across Minnesota.”
One of the rural development loans will help Mattheisen Properties and DoMats Inc., co-borrowers in Benson, by providing a lower fixed interest rate.
Other loans announced this month include a $36,986 revolving loan fund to help Renville-Sibley Cooperative Power lend funds to the Sacred Heart Fire Department to purchase a new fire truck and a $39,552 revolving loan fund to Northeast Entrepreneur Fund Inc . , which aims to stimulate business growth in rural Northeast Minnesota.
City recognized for efforts to protect wastewater treatment facility
City of St. Cloud this week received a Blazing Star Award from Conservation Minnesota, which recognizes local governments for projects that support conservation, the climate and the environment.
The award reflects the efforts of St. Cloud to create a renewable energy infrastructure at its wastewater treatment facility by investing in two biofuel generators, installing solar panels and operating a heat recovery facility. The generators turn biofuel – often liquid residue from a local company’s production lines – into electricity. Generators and solar arrays enable the facility to receive 98% of its energy from renewable sources.
In addition to St. Cloud also won awards for Dakota County for its bison reintroduction project and Eden Prairie for its new electric police fleet.
“This year’s Blazing Star Awards highlight how cities and counties can significantly leverage their resources to impact conservation,” said John Anderson, local government program manager. “By elevating the work of these local governments, we hope to inspire other communities to implement similarly innovative projects.”