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Local/state briefs

SMSU Farm Outlook & Education Seminar rescheduled for Tuesday at SMSU

The 36th annual Farm Outlook & Education Seminar has been rescheduled for Tuesday from 9 a.m.-2:45 p.m. in the Conference Center Ballroom at Southwest Minnesota State University.

It was originally scheduled for Feb. 12 but was postponed because of a winter storm.

The Farm Outlook & Education Seminar is a scholarship fundraiser for students in SMSU’s agriculture programs.

Two speakers with broad agriculture backgrounds will highlight the event. They will share their expertise on a number of ag-related topics, including relieving farm stress; growth, cultivation and marketing of industrial hemp; and analysis of current grain and livestock market conditions.

Registration begins at 9:30 a.m., with a welcome and introductions at 10 a.m. Tickets are $75 per person, which includes lunch.

Speakers this year are: Meg Moynihan, the senior adviser for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. From personal experience at her family’s organic dairy farm, she discovered firsthand how stressful life can be as a farmer. In her position as senior adviser, she helps provide resources and coping mechanisms to people struggling with financial, legal, emotional or relationship problems associated with stress.

Jim Emter is the CEO of Van Ahn and Company, Inc., which he started in 2003. The company has been assisting producers with risk management techniques since 1987. Their goal is to help commercial operations, producers and end users establish sound, detailed marketing plans. He’ll talk about marketing, and grain and livestock markets.

The Farm Outlook & Education Seminar is sponsored by Ag Plus Cooperative, Buffalo Ridge Concrete, First Independent Bank, Hoffman & Brobst, Northwestern Farm Management Co., and Runnings.

Brrrr! Arctic front brings dangerous wind chills to Midwest

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Students stayed home from school Thursday and several businesses were closed in parts of the upper Midwest as arctic air pushed wind chill readings to dangerously low temperatures.

A wind chill warning was in effect for northeastern North Dakota and northern Minnesota, with wind chill readings plunging to more than 40 below zero in some areas. Forecasters from the National Weather Service urged people to limit time outdoors and bundle up, as exposed skin could be subject to frostbite in as little as 10 minutes.

It’s possible that at least one death could be attributed to the cold. Police in Omaha said they found the body of Robert Freymuller, 80, early Thursday in a street not far from the assisted-living center where he lived. His death is being investigated, but police said he was not dressed appropriately for the weather; the wind chill had dropped to minus 26 degrees at that time.

In Minnesota, the coldest wind chill reading was in Fosston, in northwestern Minnesota, where the wind chill reached 48 degrees below, the National Weather Service said.

Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin School District notified parents that classes were canceled “due to extreme winter weather conditions in the early morning hours.” Several other districts were closed, and some had e-learning days, meaning that students received instruction online.

Schools, businesses and organizations were also closed or were opening late in Nebraska and Iowa on Thursday, as temperatures dropped to about 10-20 degrees below average in the northern and central Plains. Montana, South Dakota, Wisconsin and northern Missouri were also under wind chill advisories.

The upper Midwest will see some relief from the bitter cold over the weekend, as the cold air is expected to push into the Ohio Valley and interior New England and the lower Great Lakes region by today.

Smoke from large lake house fire shows up on radar

WAYZATA (AP) — Firefighters faced bitter cold and gusty winds when battling a large house fire on Lake Minnetonka’s northeastern shore in Wayzata.

The house under construction was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived Wednesday night, according to officials.

Neighbors say the house was nearly finished. Hennepin County property records show the house that burned was replacing a razed home that sold for $5.4 million several years ago.

Wayzata Fire Chief Kevin Klapprich said because there are no hydrants in the area, water was hauled in by tanker.

Flames were so intense they could be seen from the other end of the lake, and the smoke was showing up on weather radar.

Despite calmer weather, top 5 Red River flood still in play

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — A top five flood is still possible in the Red River Valley, even though there have been no storms since mid-January and the short-term forecast is favorable, National Weather Service officials said Thursday.

Precipitation has been below normal for the last four weeks but has done little to change the rankings for one of the wettest fall and winter seasons on record, the weather service said. Fargo’s moisture totals since Sept. 1 fell from No. 2 to No. 3 all-time, but the Grand Forks area remains No. 1 historically for that period.

The uneventful weather is expected to continue for at least two weeks before the likely onset of colder and wetter conditions into spring, said Amanda Lee, weather service hydrologist.

“We are starting to run out of winter thankfully but we still have to worry about spring,” Lee said. “It’s not completely off the table yet. This top five flood could still happen.”

The Red River Valley has seen several major floods in the last 25 years, including the 1997 flood and fire that devastated Grand Forks and East Grand Forks, Minnesota. The Fargo and Moorhead, Minnesota area survived record flooding in 2009.

The next flood outlook is due Feb. 27.

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