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Local Briefs

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Republican women to meet

WORTHINGTON — The Prairie Winds Republican Women will meet from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Hickory Lodge, Worthington.

The meeting, with an order-off-the-menu meal, starts at 5 p.m. followed by Republican Jeopardy and hands-on work with voter lists. Everyone is invited.

DFL party announces safety measures for precinct caucuses

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota DFL party is instituting changes to its Feb. 1 precinct caucuses to protect the health of caucus participants and communities across Minnesota.

The DFL Party has created the option for local organizing units to use a contactless caucus system, where attendees participate via Caucus Non-Attendee Forms. Local units not using the Contactless Caucus system are required to adopt enhanced COVID-19 safety measures.

Minnesotans looking to participate in their local DFL caucuses should visit dfl.org/caucus, and use the Caucus Finder to determine whether the local unit moved to contactless caucuses or will host in-person caucuses with added safety measures.

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To participate in contactless caucuses, visit dfl.org/caucus and fill out the Precinct Caucus Non-Attendee Form and, if you choose, a Resolution Form. These forms allow caucus-goers to run as delegates to future endorsing conventions and submit resolutions to the DFL Party’s Action Agenda and Platform. While on dfl.org/caucus, use the Caucus Finder to learn where to submit forms. Send in forms via email or print and drop them off on caucus night.

Each local unit will have an in-person drop box for forms from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Feb. 1.

If a local unit hosts in-person caucuses, attendees will be required to wear a well-fitted face-mask over the nose and mouth, even while speaking; socially distance as much as the caucus venue allows; and show proof of vaccination upon entry, or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the start of precinct caucuses.

USDA offers funding for low-income individuals, families to buy or repair homes

WORTHINGTON — USDA Rural Development has funding availabile for very low- and low-income individuals and families seeking to purchase or repair a home in a rural area.

The Direct Home Loan program offers financing to qualified very-low and low-income applicants that are unable to qualify for traditional financing. No down payment is required, and the interest rate could be as low as 1% with a subsidy. Applicants must meet income and credit guidelines and demonstrate repayment ability.

The program is available in rural communities of generally 35,000 people or less.

The maximum loan amount is $20,000 at a 1% interest rate, repayable for a 20-year term and can be used to improve or modernize homes and do essential repairs. Grants of up to $7,500 are available to homeowners 62 and older and must be used to remove health or safety hazards, such as fixing a leaking roof, installing indoor plumbing, or replacing a furnace.

Time is limited to receive funds for the current fiscal year.

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Contact USDA Rural Development in Worthington at 372-7783, ext. 4, to see if you qualify.

For more information, visit rd.usda.gov/mn.

Okoboji Summer Theatre to announce 2022 season

OKOBOJI, Iowa — The 2022 Okoboji Summer Theatre productions will be unveiled at the Winter Games, at 1 p.m. Jan. 29, at the Okoboji Bible Conference, Arnolds Park, Iowa.

Operated by Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, the Summer Theatre will present four musicals and three non-musicals during the 2022 season.

The annual omelet brunch benefiting student scholarships to the Okoboji Summer Theatre will be from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. that day. Discount Voucher booklets for $140 will be available at the meeting and the omelet brunch.

Library advocates and policy makers to highlight Minnesota’s libraries

ST. CLOUD — The Great River Regional Library will host an event with Minnesota library advocates on the work of libraries across the state at 4 p.m. Tuesday at the St. Cloud Public Library.

This event is open to the public.

A featured speaker is District 14B Rep. Dan Wolgamott, who is the chief author of the bill advocating for library support (SF1131/HF1710). Wolgamott will discuss how the legislature can collaborate with libraries, and other speakers will share how their regional library system has helped their community through the pandemic.

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GRRL provides library services at 32 public libraries.

Local projects receive 2022 Seed Grants for community-based clean energy efforts

ST. PAUL — Minnesota’s Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) awarded seed grants to 74 Innovative Energy Efficiency and renewable energy projects to communities across the state. The number of grants awarded were over twice as many as the last round and will go towards funding a wide range of energy projects, from improving buildings for energy efficiency to job skills training for careers in clean energy.

This year's seed grants with a focus on underserved communities received additional funding as a result of successful public and private partnerships. The communities of Jackson, Slayton, Worthington and Windom were among those awarded seed grants. The City of Jackson will receive funding towards developing a bicycle incentive program. Slayton’s Shetek Lutheran Ministries and Windom’s South Central Electric Association were awarded funds for clean energy education and electrical vehicle education respectively. In Worthington, Unidos MN Education Fund was selected for a project involving pueblitos.

These awards mark the eleventh round of CERTs seed grants totaling over 1.6 million to 467 projects since 2006.

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