February 2011 Archives

When the weather gets warm-

This weekend the weather has been above freezing. It immediately smells and feels like breakup (melting of the rivers/ice jams) when I go to walk our collie. Then the last couple days we've had 50mph winds, which gets river ice moving once cracks start up. Last week an entourage of state and federal officials proactively met at UMC (in a forum venue) with all sorts of folks from the Red River Valley. East Grand Forks was pointed out as the "Poster child of flood recovery". Roseau pointed out they are 2 years from finishing their flood project, which has been a financial boone of many recovery dollars. The mayor of Oslo described their circumventing levy that encirles the city.

There were a couple of folks asking questions about the hydrological modeling and thus the Geographic Information center was mentioned. Got me thinking Business Analyst could be used in conjuction with Arcview 3D extension to measure the amount/types of businesses and ag land that would be put out of commission with flooding. With employee #'s and sales listed (as inaccurate as they are), I thought there might be data to put through IMPLAN to see what additional indirect and induced costs there might be (as insurance companies typically recompense the 'replacement cost' of structure and inventory, but not of lost commerce).

Dave Nelson mentioned that FSA does have systems to work up the loss of particular crop production; Dave also mentioned that Bill Lazarus had gone to Fargo during some prep meetings and figured EIA would be too messy for U to do. Steve Taff mentioned that the Army Corp is finishing up EIA work to calculate damages independently of FEMA, and that he/Prof. Kent Kovacs have been working on modelling ag plotsin GIS to see financial implications of changing the crop cover per flooding. So, as the weather warms and breakup gets nearer, I expect not only to smell and feel it- but also hear it coming (as ice starts sounding like rice crispees).

SBDC woes

It sounds like the NW Small Business Development Center (SBDC) may not be housed at BSU's Center for Innovation in the future. This SBDC has been instrumental in providing technical assistance to potential and existing business owners in Beltrami, Clearwater, Hubbard, Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Polk, Pennington, Red Lake, Roseau counties. Yet with pending MNSCU cuts, it'd be tough for BSU to justify the resource support to such a federally related entity. About 50% of the center's funding comes from the federal governement due to the matching of dollars, and the agents are contractors who work throughout the region. (Recently the statewide director noted that keeping the current fed-related contribution level at Bemidji may not be practical). There are several regional centers in the state, and they tended to have a consistent, porportional share of the state passthrough over the years. We will have to see if the non-MNSCU entities who provide the other 50% of funding (other than fed) are able to keep their financial contributions up. Stay tuned....

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