The Watermark Art Center: Northwest Minnesota's Gateway to the Arts

Bemidji has been a regional hub for the arts for generations. Between the Headwaters School of Music and the Arts, Bemidji State Music Department,  Bemidji Sculpture Walk, Paul Bunyan Playhouse, and the annual Art in the Park festival, the city has integrated art into the community's pulse and made the arts accessible for people from all over the northwest region.

One of the key players keeping this area's art scene progressing and expanding is the Watermark Art Center. If you've driven through downtown Bemidji recently, you've probably noticed the old Leuken's grocery store building on the corner of 5th and Bemidji Ave (across from the Carnegie Library) is under construction. This will be the new location for the Watermark Art Center, which is temporarily housed at nearby 516 Beltrami Ave N. The project is the culmination of generous support from individual donors, foundations, and other community partners, including early support from the USDA Rural Development C…

An Evening to Remember - The Warroad Area Community Fund Gala

It was a perfect northern Minnesota summer evening in Warroad on Saturday, June 3, 2017.The brand new Warroad Community Park Pavilion had recently opened its doors, and it was ready for people to see it all lit up and decorated for its very first event.

 The Warroad Area Community Fund (WACF) Gala was that event! The advisory committee hosted this gala to raise awareness for the fund and its impact on the Warroad community. This was also an opportunity to share with community members the potential that the fund has to continue fostering community initiatives when additional gifts are made.
The evening included a social hour, silent auction, three course meal, a live strings performance by the Rainy Lake Community Orchestra, and an awards program followed by a DJ and dancing! There were 90 people in attendance which included a mix of donors, sponsors, community leaders, and grant recipients. 
The WACF awarded 14 grants in 2017. Recipients included:
The Warroad LibrarySkater Tots Progra…

The State of Manufacturing: Northwest Region Event Recap

Over 40 manufacturing professionals, business executives, and community leaders came together in Bemidji for the 2017 State of Manufacturing northwest region celebration event on Tuesday, May 23rd. Enterprise Minnesota presented the 2017 survey results, as well as hosted a Q & A panel.
The survey results were overall very positive and showed an optimistic horizon for the manufacturing industry in Minnesota. 
Here are a few highlights: For the first time, 94% of manufacturing executives are “very confident” about their firm’s financial perspectiveThe majority of respondents feel optimistic about the future of the economy35% of executives are expecting double-digit growth in revenue and profitability
Among the concerns facing the manufacturing industry: 68% of executives say it is difficult to attract qualified candidates to their firm’s vacanciesThe cost of health care coverage is the #1 concern companies are facingOnly 17% of companies have formally structured leadership developmen…

Enterprise Minnesota to present the State of Manufacturing at NMF on May 23rd

Enterprise Minnesota is an ISO Quality Management consulting organization based out of Minneapolis that works to increase efficiency and profitability for manufacturing companies across the state. They serve as the voice of Minnesota’s manufacturing industry.
One service they provide is an annual survey called The State of Manufacturing. Since its introduction in 2009, The State of Manufacturing is the most comprehensive survey of Minnesota's manufacturers. It reveals their perceptions and opinions on the economy and other major issues impacting business. The survey is accompanied by a series of focus groups, comprised of executives, managers, students, and thought leaders revealing their thoughts on the economy and other major issues impacting Minnesota's manufacturing industry.
The results of the 2017 survey will be presented around the state for local industry professionals to engage in the findings, and have an opportunity to discuss ideas with Enterprise Minnesota’s experts…


The IDEA Competition announced the names of three 2017 winners on Tuesday, April 25th at the IDEA awards banquet held at the Beaux Arts Ballroom, Bemidji State University.  Each winner receives $10,000 in cash to advance their business idea, plus additional specialized technical assistance.                 The 2017 Winners are: Chiara and Travis Bolton, Hubbard County, for Bolton Bees – provides MN-hard bees to backyard beekeepers; creates local, distinct, raw, location-specific honey; forms partnerships with solar companies to create pollinator friendly habitats. Bolton Bees is invested in our community. Todd Sandwick, Fosston, for DeanUltraThinRetainer – the Dean retainer solves several problems seen in standard acrylic Hawley retainers, and does so by making use of pre-existing, time-tested materials. The advantages of a Dean retainer are evident in less breakage and loss, comfort and compliance, hygiene, and cost.Mychal Stittswort…

Senator Klobuchar Addresses Need for Better Broadband in Rural Manufacturing

The worlds of politics and manufacturing collided last week, when Senator Amy Klobuchar visited chainmaille company Weave Got Maille in Ada Minnesota. The visit, part of Klobuchar’s 10-County-Rural Economy Tour, focused on discussing the need for better broadband, access to health care, and support for rural companies.

“Broadband is definitely a huge need,” said Weave Got Maille founder Edie Ramstad. “We have international retail and wholesale orders being made on our website every day. As a rapidly growing company, we need better broadband to support our work.”

Klobuchar said she is pushing for change by working with the agriculture and commerce committees as two sources of funding. The upcoming reauthorization of The Farm Bill, for instance, is intended to help push broadband access in rural areas.

She also led 48 other Senators to join in a letter stating that broadband must be included in all new infrastructure packages.“We need to get her [Ramstad] the kind of internet she deser…

Flexible Learning

By: Ryan Bergeron October 12, 2016 issue of The Tribune (Greenbush, Minn.)

Some lay back in a banana-shaped chair, others sit on square-shaped pillows, mats, or milk totes topped with cushions, in a corner with their backs against a pillow and their bottoms atop pink or blue tires topped by cushions, or in a large green bean bag chair called “Big Joe”. Some stand at desks heightened by black bed lifts. All the students are quiet, reading or working on different subjects without sitting at their chair and desk. This describes a scene in Greenbush-Middle River teacher Robin Waage’s fifth grade classroom in Greenbush.
Thanks to a Greenbush Area Community grant, Waage purchased furniture for a “Flexible Seating” environment, similar, she said, to Starbucks-style seating, but without the coffee.  She pursued this idea to allow students to not only move, but also choose a learning environment that fits their leaning style.
“I was excited about movement for kids because I’m not a traditional…