"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
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Wednesday, May 6th, 2015
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Job creation


Mon, May 4th, 2015
Posted in All Commentary

National job creation numbers were flat in March and Minnesota’s numbers are tracking similarly. Obviously, job growth follows business growth. Through our various lending and other programs, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) plays a role in job creation for 20 counties in southern Minn. We are recently experiencing significant growth in our portfolio, specifically with small business loans and equity investments. This small business sector represents 65% of the jobs in America and our programs are assisting numerous job creating start-up businesses in our region.

Each year we support, on average, more than 30 new business loans and over the years we’ve supported over 525 businesses in total. Over the years the businesses that received funding from SMIF have retained 4,500 existing jobs and created more than 3,330 jobs. One of our recent loan clients, Urban Finds, located in Medford, is just one example. This small retail business employs 13, with 7 of those positions being newly created jobs.

In addition to our lending activity, SMIF’s Southern Minnesota Equity Fund and SEED Fund provide capital and expertise to early-stage and start-up companies. In the past year, these Funds have helped to launch or expand five businesses. Not only are these companies creating new products and hiring workers, they are also choosing to grow their innovative companies right here in southern Minnesota. And as these businesses expand in the future, that will set the stage for greater economic growth.

Besides our equity and lending partnerships, we have also been part of the growing discussion about our region’s workforce needs. One of the grants given through SMIF’s Regional Community Growth Initiative went to support the SE MN Together project. This project will align and coordinate workforce solutions that address the labor shortage in southeastern Minn. by forming a coalition to work with the business and community leaders to better identify and respond to workforce shortages in critical sectors. This group is also coordinating its efforts with Rochester Area Economic Development’s project called “Journey To Growth”, that will cover Dodge, Houston, Fillmore, Mower, Olmsted, Wabasha, and Winona Counties. SMIF wants to ensure that these two workforce efforts are well coordinated and collaboratively implemented.

And finally, SMIF partnered with MNCup, a U of M Carlson School of Management .....
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The dangerous ideology of the extreme right

By Herb Panko

Mon, Apr 27th, 2015
Posted in All Commentary

One of the greatest threats at present to our democracy and our way of life is national and global right wing extremism. This ideology expresses itself as ultra extremism in the Middle East with the Isis beheadings of those who hold opposing belief ..... 
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For the media, traditional values still matter

By Lee Hamilton

Mon, Apr 27th, 2015
Posted in All Commentary

I have been involved in politics and policy-making for over 50 years, and as you can imagine I hold strong feelings about reporters and the media. They’re not what you might think, however. Far from considering journalists to be irritating pains ..... 
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Making local foods matter

Mon, Apr 27th, 2015
Posted in All Commentary

Recently Target Corp. announced the expansion of its Made to Matter program, an initiative that highlights exclusive “better-for-you products” from mostly up-and-coming brands. The program is part of Target’s plan to boost its reputation as a ..... 
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Through a small window

By Yvonne Nyenhuis

Mon, Apr 27th, 2015
Posted in All Commentary

Politics have always been driven by our perception of reality which evolves from our personal experience. We all see the world through the relatively small window of our own experience. It is not easy to keep an “open mind” and to be tolerant o ..... 
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The drug thing

Mon, Apr 20th, 2015
Posted in All Commentary

I hadn’t planned on writing this article, but when I saw that it was going to be published in the 4/20 issue of the Journal, I felt I had no choice. You see, 4:20 is a prominent time in the day for marijuana users. Why? I don’t exactly know. As ..... 
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One Moment, Please... God’s Not Dead

Mon, Apr 20th, 2015
Posted in All Commentary

My intention with this commentary has nothing to do with persuading people to go to church. It has everything to do with thinking about our relationship with God and the church. Is our relationship one of convenience? I recently discovered the ..... 
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STANDING GUARD: Patriots among us, Part 2

By Jeff Erding

Mon, Apr 13th, 2015
Posted in All Commentary

Kenny Erding, U S Navy,1940-46. WWII The year was 1946. The stocky young sailor stepped off the train and shouldered his duffel bag for what he hoped was the last time. Though the town, Wykoff, was new to him, he felt a wave of relief that he was b ..... 
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Netanyahu and Obama

By Col. Stan Gudmundson

Mon, Apr 6th, 2015
Posted in All Commentary

In a recent National Review article economist Kevin Hassett asks “what would a railroad look like if it were run by…the Department of Motor Vehicles”? The answer? Amtrak. I’m certain most of you knew the answer. Not only is Amtrak ineff ..... 
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