December E-Newsletter

Read about media highlights, funding opportunities, and more in the latest issue of Region Nine’s E-News!


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Can child care shortage be fixed?

Something rare happened at an event last week in Alexandria.

Two DFL leaders and two Republican leaders all agreed on something — Minnesota’s child care shortage is a big problem that should be a priority in the next legislative session.

The legislators talked about possible solutions at a panel discussion Thursday, Nov. 15, during the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities Fall Conference at Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center. The two-day event drew hundreds of city leaders from throughout the state.

Minnesota has a greater need for child care because it ranks third in the nation for having both parents in the workforce, said Sen. Kent Eken, DFL-Twin Valley. Adding to the complexity of the problem is that many workers have non-traditional work hours or have children with special needs, he added.

Another panelist, Rep. Joe Schomacker, R-Luverne, said the child care shortage is a statewide problem and solutions for metro and rural areas require different approaches.

Continue reading the Echo Press article.

November E-Newsletter

Read about upcoming events and workshops, media highlights, and more in the latest issue of Region Nine’s E-News!


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2018 Annual Performance Report

Local communities aim to tackle racism, create growing communities

Some local communities have leaders ready and willing to tackle local racism.

Tri-City United, Waseca and St. Peter Public Schools brought “It’s Time to Talk,” a community conversation about race through their Community Education departments, in 2017. They were organized by Region Nine Development Commission with partners YWCA Mankato and Greater Mankato Diversity Council.

But both organizers and participants said those conversations should not be the end.

“We were hearing from communities that there are not a lot of resources available for small communities to learn and talk about changing community demographics, what does that mean socially and economically and how can we continue to be a vibrant and growing community,” said Jessica O’Brien, community engagement manager.

So the commission collaborated with Greater Mankato Diversity Council and the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality to create a seven-time monthly educational event. The series, called the Rural Equity Learning Community, wrapped up in October. But participants said the hours of education, activities and relationship-building will stick with them.

“One of the biggest lessons was how big my network is now,” said Keri Johnson of St. Peter. “We all have a different role to play and we’re all linked together so this is a way to expand our impact. By connecting with other people, that will make everything we’re trying to do seem more possible.”

Continue reading the Lonsdale
Area News Review article.

Feasibility study to determine specifics of Czech Heritage Trail

If plans fall into place, more than a common school district will connect Le Center, Montgomery and Lonsdale. A proposed biking/walking path will literally connect the three communities.

The concept for, the path, called the Czech Heritage Trail, came into being last year. Mark Preissing, while working as community education director for Tri-City United Schools, met with the three city administrators and applied for a Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) grant to connect Le Center, Montgomery and Lonsdale. SMIF has funded a feasibility study with a $10,000 grant, and the estimated time of completion for the study is January 2019.

For the first time, members of all three communities attended a meeting to share their opinions on the trail’s development. At Hilltop Hall in Montgomery Wednesday, representatives from Hoisington Koegler Group and Region Nine Development Commission conducted the meeting and facilitated discussions.

Gabrielle Grinde, landscape architect for Hoisington Koegler Group, said the study requires looking at mapping options, casting an analysis and estimating construction costs.

“We’re anticipating this trail could be a 20-year master plan,” said Grinde.

Continue reading Lonsdale Area News Review article.

October E-Newsletter

Innovation, funding opportunities, media highlights, and more in the latest issue of Region Nine’s E-News!


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September E-Newsletter

Celebrating the MedTech Connect Release, grant opportunities, and more in the latest issue of Region Nine’s E-News!


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August E-Newsletter

Grant opportunities, our Feast! Smart Start Program kick-off event and more in the latest issue of Region Nine’s E-News!


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MedTech Connect