Archive for Montrose

Emmer urging residents to be aware of EDA grant scams

WRIGHT COUNTY – Congressman Tom Emmer has released a statement warning residents of fraud alerts for people claiming to represent the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA).

The EDA has become aware of incidents over the past few weeks of fraudulent emails, letters, and other communications sent to individuals offering to provide EDA grants in exchange for money or personal information. The scammers behind these fraudulent communications often pose as EDA employees or agents in an attempt to extract a payment.

The EDA does not provide grants to individuals nor does it ask individuals to disclose personal information. In addition, the EDA does not require grant applicants to submit a processing or any other fee. Grants from the EDA can only be obtained by following the procedures in the Notices of Funding Opportunities provided for the programs listed on its Funding Opportunities webpage:https://www.eda.gov/funding-opportunities/?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=

If you believe you have been the victim of one of these scams or are aware of such incidents, you are urged to contact the Department of Commerce Office of Inspector General at: (https://www.oig.doc.gov/Pages/Hotline.aspx?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=) and submit a report.

You may also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission by calling 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357) or online by going to:https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=#crnt&panel1-1.

For more information on grant fraud and grant-related scams, go to the following website:https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/learn-grants/grant-fraud.html?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=

Wright County Parks and Rec review face covering mandate

WRIGHT COUNTY – The Wright County Parks and Recreation Department has released a procedures statement as it pertains the Minnesota’s face covering mandate and county parks.

Executive Order 20-81 is very specific in terms of indoor settings, but county parks by design allow for social distancing because of their size, and all efforts are being made to keep equipment and facilities sanitized for the protection of park guests.  The statement, in its entirety, is below.

On Wednesday, July 22, Governor Walz issued Executive Order 20-81 requiring the use of face coverings across the state. Once the news was announced, we read through the order to see what impacts it would have on the operations of our parks, trails, and open spaces. Before going any further, as a department we would like to remind you that social distancing is the greatest way to see our way through this pandemic and we encourage everyone who is visiting the parks, beaches, trails, campgrounds, and open spaces to maintain social distancing to the best of your abilities. Now back to face coverings.

EO 20-81 specifically addresses indoor businesses and public settings. There are very few instances in which you will engage with our parks and recreation department in an indoor setting and not be able to maintain social distancing. One of the few places that you could encounter a problem with social distancing with others is at the public restrooms that are open and operational in our parks. We ask that you do your best to limit the number of people in the communal restrooms to two people at a time, unless you live in the same household. If this is done, there is no issue with maintaining social distancing. If this is not done, the probability of breaking the social distancing guidelines is high. If you come across a time where social distancing cannot be maintained, you will need to wear a face covering. A face covering “must cover the nose and mouth completely, and can include a paper or disposable face mask, a cloth face mask, a scarf, a bandanna, a neck gaiter, or a religious face covering.”

There are many instances in which a face covering may be removed. For those of you wondering, yes we know this seems like common sense, swimming is one of those. So again, if you can maintain social distancing at the public beaches you will not be required to wear a face covering. The executive order does strongly encourage the use of face coverings in outdoor settings when social distancing is impossible or difficult to maintain. Other instances that a face covering may be removed are participation in organized sports, practices, performances, or other physical activities where the level of exertion makes it difficult to wear a face covering.

As a reminder we can only move forward and get past the current state of things with the help of everyone. We are doing our best to provide clean, safe, and fun environments for everyone to enjoy. Our bathrooms are being cleaned twice a day and the cleaning times are being posted. We are wiping down the high touch surfaces as much as possible, and keeping our parks and trails clear of trash and debris as much as possible. You can help us by practicing the “Leave No Trace Principles” even if you are just visiting for the day. This means, make sure trash is placed in trash receptacles, take everything you brought with you to the park home from the park, and if you see or know of anyone that is damaging the park or any facilities to report it to us or the sheriff’s department. Also, the drinking fountains are not operational so come prepared with plenty of water.

Lastly,  do your best to keep 6 feet of distance between you and other visitors and adhere to all other MDH and CDC guidelines in addition to the Outdoor Recreation Guidelines. The phrase of the year is “know before you go.” Also, this month is Parks & Recreation month. We would like to say thank you to everyone that takes part in the services we offer here at Wright County Parks & Recreation and we hope that you will continue to find the time to “explore the opportunities.

Wright County Public Health Releases Weekly COVID-19 Dashboard

WRIGHT COUNTY – Wright County Public Health has released a weekly COVID-19 dashboard. Over the past week (figures through Thursday, July 23), Wright County has experienced its largest weekly total of new confirmed COVID-19 cases with 88, bringing the county’s total of confirmed cases to 664 since the first confirmed case was reported March 13.

After seeing numbers decrease throughout June, with the lowest weekly total being reported Thursday, June 25 of just 19, the number of new confirmed cases has risen steadily through July – from 43 to 53 to 71 to 88 this week. To see the full COVID-19 dashboard, click here: https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/52d559cfbe6e4ca39558c9b2f877e144

Wright County Board pledges $4 million in CARES Act funding to assist schools for COVID-19 costs

WRIGHT COUNTY – The changes that have needed to be made by all Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic have required the federal government to take unprecedented steps to keep the economy from collapsing.

For the last three months, the unemployed have been given $600 a week in federal payments on unemployment insurance. In April, most adults received a $1,200 stimulus check to help pay bills. Several aid programs have been created to help small business that were forced to shut down.

One of the largest relief programs has been the CARES Act, which has provided counties, cities, and townships with funds to help pay the staggering costs of implementing procedures to protect employees and customers from COVID-19 related costs.

Wright County has received $16.55 million in CARES Act funding, and the Wright County Board of Commissioners has pledged approximately $4 million of that money for Wright County school districts that are struggling to make ends meet in the COVID-19 world.

Commissioner Darek Vetsch said that the children of Wright County have suffered considerably being forced to do their schoolwork from home – many of them without the ability to get online to do remote learning from home due to the lack of fiberoptic connections or “hot spots” in rural areas. He believes the best use for CARES Act funding is to dedicate money to assist schools for costs already incurred, and those likely to come if schools don’t fully re-open.

“The county board felt that one of the highest and greatest uses for the CARES Act funds was to assure that it went to our children and our schools,” Vetsch said. “Approximately $4 million will be sent to our schools, because they incurred some of the greatest expenses due to this pandemic in trying to facilitate remote learning. They received far less funding than that of the county. We’re working on creating that allocation to assist them.”

Vetsch added that, to have equity in how the money is disbursed, the plan is to allocate the funds on a per-pupil basis for each school district.

“We need all of the superintendents to turn over a letter certifying their projected enrollment on Tuesday, Sept. 8,” Vetsch said. “Whatever number they’re projecting their student enrollment to be will be turned in now. When we add all those up, that will be the number we will use to calculate the per-pupil disbursement.”

He added that this isn’t simply an operating budget handout to schools. By the rules of the CARES Act, schools must quantify how the money they received was spent and what it went spent on.

Wright County is in a unique position in that many students who physically live in the county attend schools outside of Wright County, as well as schools within the county being part of school districts based in other counties. As much as the local school districts need to account for dollars allocated, so do those districts outside of the county that oversee Wright County students.

“One of the points we want to make to the superintendents is that they will be required to send back an accounting of how that money was spent in their school districts,” Vetsch said. “The schools that are border schools with Wright County, like those in St. Cloud and Elk River, will have to demonstrate how they spent the money for Otsego Elementary and Clearview/Clear Lake Elementary.”

Vetsch added that it is imperative to get the money to schools as quickly as possible so they can make the needed preparations for the 2020-21 school year. With a Dec. 15 deadline to use the CARES Act funds or return the unused portion, it is important to get schools their allocation as soon as possible because the need is significant and it is needed immediately.

“We need to move quickly on this,” Vetsch said. “These school districts need money now, not in October or November. We aren’t going to find out until July 27 from the governor how we’re going to move forward. Nobody knows right now exactly what the state’s plan is. There are doubts that there will be a full return to school with COVID numbers rising, but, whatever decision is made, schools will have to be able to adapt quickly and move forward with whatever plan is put in place.”

Wright County Parks & Recreation offers Family Fishing Clinic Saturday, July 18

WRIGHT COUNTY – The Wright County Parks & Recreation Department will be co-hosting a Family Fishing Clinic from 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, July 18, at Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park in Monticello.

The clinic will be presented by Minnesota Trout Unlimited, which conducts similar clinics throughout the state. A limited number of spots are available and pre-registration is required. To register, contact Wright County Parks & Recreation at parksandrecreation@co.wright.mn.us. The cost of the clinic is $5 per person.

To learn more information about Minnesota Trout Unlimited, go to its website at http://mntu.org.

Wright County Sherrif postpones National Night Out

WRIGHT COUNTY – Due to the current situation with COVID-19, and with a recommendation from National Night Out administrators, the Wright County Sheriff’s Office announces that the National Night Out event that typically takes place in August, will be postponed until Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020.

The Sheriff’s Office strongly believes in the community-building opportunity that National Night Out provides. For more information on National Night Out, visit www.natw.org.  Anyone who has questions about the Sheriff’s Office role in National Night Out is encouraged to contact Sgt. Brian Johnson at brian.johnson@co.wright.mn.us.