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November 29, 2011     The Ortonville Independent
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November 29, 2011

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ffl ill lities Minnesota preliminary traffic deaths impact of nearly $1.6 billion; thou- Since the TZD program was estab- passed the 300 death mark this past sands more suffered injuries during this lished in 2003, traffic deaths have weekend, but the 303 road fatalities in same period Traffic crashes are the trended downward: 2003 -- 655 2011 are well below the 357 at this leading killer of Minnesotans ages 2- deaths; 2004 -- 567; 2005 -- 559; time in 2010. 34. 2006 -- 494; 2007 -- 510; 2008 -- The Minnesota Department of Pub- The 2011 deaths to-date include 36 455; 2009 421; 2010 -- 411. lic Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic motorcyclists, 27 pedestrians and three TZD programming calls for local Safety projects 355 deaths for 2011 -- bicyclists -- each lower compared to groups (law enforcement, engineers, which would mark a fourth consecu- its 2010 counts. July (46 deaths) and EMTs, others) to partner and tailor tive annual drop in deaths and a 38 per- October (43 deaths) have been the safety solutions specific to their com- cent reduction in deaths from a decade deadliest months of the year in 2011 to- munities and issues. TZD focuses on ago. The projection also means the date, with January (15) and March (19) the application of four strategic areas state is in reach of achieving its goal of the least deadly, of traffic safety: 350 traffic deaths by 2014 three years Official cite many factors for the Education -- Includes outreach early, trend of fewer road deaths, pointing to through communities, schools and The news comes as state traffic proactive efforts such as targeted en- media; as well as advertising cam- safety officials and stakeholders law forcement and education campaigns; paigns. enforcement officers, emergency med- improved engineering; efficient trauma Enhanced enforcement campaigns ical technicians, engineers, public response; as well as important legisla- -- Targeted efforts with focus on seat health officials, advocates and more -- tion. Officials also credit driver behav- belts, impaired driving speeding and met in Duluth, Nov. 16-17, for the ior, safer vehicles and note the distracted driving. Minnesota's annual Toward Zero economy may be factoring by causing Engineering improvements -- In- Deaths traffic safety conference, motorists to drive at slower, safer cludes road design improvements, as "Fewer people are getting killed, speeds, well as cable median barriers, rumble more motorists are buckling up, and TZD is the state's cornerstone traffic stripes and more to improve the safety there is a drop in alcohol=related inci- safety initiative that is a partnership be- of the driving environment. dents," says Donna Berger, acting di- tween DPS, MnDOT, Department of Efficient emergency medical and rector of DPS Office of Traffic Safety. Healih (MDH), the University of Min- trauma response -- Improving the "But this progress is lost on the fact nesota and others. A primary vision of statewide trauma system, so emer- that preventable crashes are killing the TZD program is to create a safe gency responders and trauma centers hundreds of people annually." driving culture in Minnesota in which can better treat, triage and transfer In the three-year period, 2008- motorists support a goal of zero road crash victims. 2010, 1287 people were killed on Min- fatalities by practicing and promoting nesota roads at an estimated economic safe and smart driving behavior. New Opportunity Index ranks all 50 els to become knowledgeable of the states using indicators such as the un- overall opportunity they are providing employment rate, poverty rate, on-time to those living in their region. It will graduation rate, and others to assign a be issued annually, giving leaders a first of its kind Opportunity Score. way to track progress and measure the The State of Minnesota has placed effectiveness of their efforts. Devel- second on a groundbreaking new oped jointly by Opportunity Nation measure designed to indicate how ef- and the American Human Develop- fectively individuals living in a state ment Project, the Index is available on- can move up the economic ladders of line, for free in a user-friendly and society as compared to the rest of the interactive format at www.opportuni- country, The measure, called the Opportu- "Opportunity'Nation starts from the nity Index, pulls together more than a belief that the zip code you're born into dozen data points to rank every state by shouldn't pre-determine your destiny," awarding a first of its kind Opportunity said Mark Edwards, executive director Score. The Index is designed to em- of Opportunity Nation. "For too long power community leaders, engaged we have sliced and diced the intercon- citizens, and elected officials at all lev- nected issues of education, jobs, fami- lies, and communities - the framework underlying the idea of opportunity - into narrow silos that are disconnected. The reality is that these factors work in tandem to determine the potential suc- cess of our citizenry. That's what the Opportunity Index provides - an un- precedented snapshot of what opportu- nity in America looks like at the local, state and national levels." MINNESOTA EARNS HIGH MARKS Minnesota outperformed almost every other state in the union, earning an Opportunity Score of 81.2 out of 100. A few of the highlights that helped set Minnesota apart include: Weathering the Economic Down- turn: During a time when a majority of the country is struggling to make ends meet, Minnesota's residents earn a slightly higher on average income than most Americans ($57,007 vs. $51,425). In addition, their statewide poverty rate is just over 10 percent compared to the national average of 13.47 percent and their unemployment rate is significantly lower than the na- tional unemployment rate (7.4 percent vs. 9.1 percent, respectfully). Excelling in Education: Minnesota has one of the highest on-time high school graduation rates (87 percent) in the country, and one of the largest per- centages of adults with bachelor de- grees (31 percent). Engaged Young Adults: Only 4.7 percent of Minnesota's teenagers are not in school and not working, the low- est rate of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. "Having scored above the national average in many metrics used to for- mulate their Opportunity Score, Min- nesota is clearly an opportunity leader and has put the building blocks in place for their residents to succeed," said Ed- wards. "Providing quality education, sound economies, and safe communi- ties are the stepping stones to eco- nomic mobility in this country, and Minnesota's leaders deserve particular commendation for their work." These are just a few of the compa- rable metrics that helped propel Min- nesota to the top of the Opportunity Index. The Index culls together data from almost a dozen different sources including the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the Na- tional Center for Education Statistics, the Center for Disease Control and Pre- vention, and other official sources. Complete metrics and scores can be found at NATIONAL TRENDS IDENTI- FIED BY OPPORTUNITY INDEX The Opportunity Index reveals some interesting new facts: Income is surprisingly not the strongest indicator of opportunity. Ne- vada has higher than average median household income, but ranks last in the nation in opportunity due to low scores in education, community dimensions. The strongest indicator of an area with high-opportunity is youth aca- demic and economic inclusion. Con- versely, states with a higher percentage of "Teenagers (16-19) Not in School and Not Working" have low opportu- nity. States with low opportunity scores tend to have higher military recruit- ment rates. The 15 highest scoring states are fairly evenly distributed across the na- tion. Five are from the Northeast, five are from the Midwest, three are in the South Atlantic region, and two are Western states. Of the lowest-scoring 15 states, 12 are located in America's South. The remaining three are Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada. OPPORTUNITY NATION'S IMPACT Opportunity Nation is a broad- based, cross-partisan coalition of. nearly 200 public, private, non-profit, : i civilian and military organizations working together to ensure that every. ! citizen that works hard can achieve their full potential. The diverse group of organizations have joined together, i to restore access to the American Dream by collectively creating and ad- " vocating for an agenda that provides better skills, quality jobs, and stronger communities to all Americans. Over the coming months, Opportunity Na- tion will leverage the collective sup- port from its cross-partisan coalition and work to engage elected officials at all levels of government, as well as the i candidates running for presidential in 2012. "At a time when many Americans are worried about how they're going to pay next month's bills, Washington is stuck in political gridlock and doing l nothing to relieve these very real fears," said Kevin Jennings, CEO of Be the Change, Inc., the parent organ- ization behind Opportunity Nation. "The Opportunity Nation campaign is the start of a dialogue to change all of that. We have a plan for ensuring that every American has access to the American Dream now and into the fu- ture, and we're going to be asking every elected official and candidate for office next year, What's Your Plan for Restoring Opportunity to Americans?" If the "Land Bubble" bursts, where will your farm be left stand- ing? By Justin Williamson, Minnesota West Farm Management Instructor, Welcome, MN Over the past several years we have watched land values in the Midwest soar to all-tune high levels. In Southern Minnesota, tillable acres that would have sold for $5,500 during 2010 are selling for $7,000-$8,000 now. With high commodity prices for 2011 and even into 2012 it does not appear that values will drop any tune soon. How- ever, historical trends suggest there will be a correction at some point. We can ask the question of how much and how fast the market could drop, but it is an unpredictable factor. The question I have been asking my farmers is "How will your farm finan- cials be affected if land values drop to ten year lows?" That may be fifty per- cent drop in some areas. For those who have purchased land during that time, they will have some number crunching to do in order to see if their balance sheet can handle that significant of a drop. For those who have not pur- chased land they should be able to sleep well at night. As farm management instructors, we often discuss how to handle the market value of land on the farmer's balance sheet. Some instructors argue that if you value the land at a conserva- tive market value then you are not pro- viding an accurate net worth to that farmer and their banker. The other side believes that if you are constantly ad- justing land values you are not able to capture the earned net worth from year to year. Most farmers and their bankers are comfortable leaving the land values alone, even if they are at ridiculously low values. This does not allow or en- courage the farmer to mortgage against an inflated land value to make other large purchases, such as additional land. It is also important to leave land values unchanged for the purposes of calculat- ing earned net worth. The assets on your balance sheet may go up and down, but earned net worth assumes the values do not change, and can be a good indicator of the efficiency of the farm: ing operation. If the farmer is nearing retirement, there may be more empha- sis placed on market value net worth in- stead of earned net worth, but for long term farmers, conservative market land values may be the right choice. If you would like more help devel- oping your balance sheets, you can find a farm business management instructor at Ortonville Area Health Services is one of the largest em- in Big Stone County. They recently completed the Hospital Replacement Project and all departments are in their permanent homes. This process was extensive and spanned close to three years, but they are proud to offer such a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility to our area. OAHS currently has 256 employees who reside in Or- tonville, Correll, Graceville, Clinton, Madison, Bellingham, Odessa, Beardsley, Browns Valley, Wheaton, Nassau, Ma- rietta, Chokio and Holloway in Minnesota. Employees also reside in Big Stone City, Milbank, Corona, Twin Brooks, Labolt and Revillo in South Dakota, Types of occupations: RNs, LPNs, CNAs, TMAs and ward clerks in nursing staff; radiology techs, lab techs, phar- macist, pharmacy tech, office staff (billing, insurance and registration secretary, receptionist and administrative assis- tant), HIM staff (health information management) record techs and coders; housekeeping, laundry, janitorial, main- tenance, dietitian, dietary aides and cooks, social services, activities staff, respiratory therapy, financial services, mar- keting and grant writing, human resources, Information Technology, department managers and coordinators. The number of employees hired annually varies with growth and turnover, but averages 32 (including temporary employees and interns), on average they hire six students per year (CNAs, dietary aides, etc.) Internships are offered for college students. Two are of- fered per year through the MN SHCIP program. They also provide several unpaid preceptorships and internships through various colleges and universities in nursing, lab, ra- diology, pharmacy and administration (and clinic) varying each year, but on average 7-8 per year. OAHS serves between 8,000-9,000 patients. They have five family physicians, three nurse practioners and will be adding a physician's assistant beginning Jan. 1,2012. The Big Stone Lake Area is fortunate to have such a fine, dedicated facility that includes Northridge Residence, Northside Medical Clinic, Clinton Clinic and Home Health Agency. Serwioes .,\%&.,,.,l .< H5 li,,,,,,:, E.;.,,ld, Marilyn Hanson I Dalen Roe \ "Heritage of Excellencet. " 113 NW 1st St. Ortonville, MN 56278 Phone 320-839-6123 Toll Free 1-800-335-8920 Member FDIC LCNDR Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011 INDEPENDENT Page 14