June 2019
Seventh Annual Bus Tour
On Wednesday, June 19, Region Nine held it's seventh annual regional bus tour. The day began with a legislative panel featuring area legislators, Sen. Julie Rosen, Sen. Nick Frentz, Rep. John Petersburg, Rep. Jeremy Munson, Rep. Jeff Brand, and Rep. Todd Lippert, who shared their success and disappointments about this last years session.

The tour then traveled to St. Peter where participants heard from area panelists about initiatives designed to create a more welcoming community. From there, the tour went to European Roasterie in Le Center where we heard from owner, Timothy Tulloch, on his business and the coffee industry. The tour then headed back to Mankato where we visited Midwest Hemp Farms CBD Centers and learned about CBD oil, hemp, and how the industry is growing in Minnesota. The final stop in Mankato, and of the tour, was to Medieval Metalwerx, a Revolving Loan Fund Client, where we learned about their operations and how the loan from Region Nine helped grow their business.

Throughout the day participants learned about Region Nine projects and partnerships.
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Recognizing Region Nine's
High School Commissioner
L to R: Executive Director Nicole Griensewic Mickelson, Sesamae Glackler-Riquelme, Chair Steve Rohlfing
Region Nine would like to thank Sesamae Glackler-Riquelme for serving as Region Nine's High School Commissioner. Glackler-Riquelme was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation on June 19 at her last full Commission meeting.
Region Nine Awarded Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation Grant
A grant of $200,000 over two years was awarded to Region Nine Area, Inc. on June 26 for a project to create more welcoming and socially connected rural communities through training and dialogue.

The grant is part of the Healthy Connections program which supports efforts to create safe, welcoming, and connected communities across Minnesota. Community conditions have a significant impact on health outcomes. Board Chair Dr. Craig Samitt, who also serves as CEO and President of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota explains, “Research shows that feeling safe, welcome, and connected in your community has immediate and life-long health benefits. Focusing upstream on the social determinants of health is key to advancing health equity and achieving community health goals.”
Clean Energy Communities
Region Nine is participating in the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) Clean Energy Communities Grant, a program to highlight local clean energy projects at the upcoming State Fair. Region Nine will join a dozen other presenters at the Fair’s Eco Experience, a series of exhibits designed to inspire a more sustainable future for Minnesota. The project is being funded with a grant from the MDA.

Projects in Region Nine that have been selected for presentation are:

  • 100% clean energy nursing home and residence for the School Sisters of Notre Dame in Mankato. The Catholic religious order owns one solar array and has purchased shares in two other cooperative projects. Taken together, the solar panels power a nursing home and mother house over a total of 660,000 square feet of building space across 146 acres. Additionally, they generate revenue by selling some electricity back to supplier Xcel Energy. They’re carbon negative on electricity and haven’t paid an electricity bill in more than a decade.

  • Hometown Bioenergy from Minnesota Municipal Power Agency. Just north of the City of Le Sueur sits the nation’s largest anaerobic digester, which uses bacterial decomposition to convert agricultural byproducts, like corn silage and chicken droppings, into methane. The clean-burning natural gas is then used to generate electricity. The plant pumps out a peak of 8 MW, enough to power more than 5,000 homes.

Region Nine will staff the Eco Experience presentation which will provide strong visibility not only for the work of Region Nine but also for the organizations working to deliver alternative energy for Minnesota’s future.
Region Nine Presents at National CEDS Forum
Region Nine Development Commission (RNDC) presented at the National Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) Forum that was held June 18-20, 2019 in Columbus, Ohio. The National CEDS Forum is organized by the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) with support from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA).  
The National CEDS Forum gathered local, regional, and federal partners to share best practices and resources to support effective CEDS. The forum organized as part of the NADO Research Foundation’s Stronger Regions program, was funded through a grant from the EDA.

As part of the first ever forum, Shawn Schloesser, community and business development specialist for RNDC, presented on CEDS in Action and the importance of bringing the right people to the table instead of the usual suspects to create a diverse voice. The forum provided fresh ideas and inspiring examples to guide RNDC’s planning, design, and implementation efforts to make the CEDS process one that is more inclusive, engaging, and supportive of local efforts to foster a resilient and prosperous region. 

The CEDS continues to be an important opportunity to engage with EDA and other federal partners to receive infrastructure and technical assistance grants. However, it is much more than a static document developed to access certain types of federal funding. It has real potential to be a road map that brings together many voices from RNDC’s nine-county area to form a common vision for economic prosperity and resilience.

What is the CEDS?

The CEDS is a locally-based, regionally-driven economic development planning process and document. An effective CEDS allows a region to maximize its economic development potential, as well as engage with the EDA and other federal partners to receive infrastructure and technical assistance grants.

An effective CEDS planning process identifies locally-grown strategies that guide regional economic development, encourage partnerships and collaboration, and improves economic outcomes and overall quality of life in a region. The resultant document is updated at least every five years and includes:

  • Summary Background
  • Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) Analysis
  • Strategic Direction/Action Plan
  • Evaluation Framework

In addition, the concept of economic resilience is incorporated into the plan to strengthen the ability to avoid, withstand, and recover from events such as economic shifts, natural disasters, and impacts of climate change.
Region Nine Accepting Applications for
College Age Commissioner
Are you, or someone you know, a college student in the region and interested in serving your community through local government? Region Nine is inviting applications to serve as a public interest commissioner representing college youth. This is an excellent opportunity for college students to participate in local governance, learn political and governmental processes firsthand, and gain skills that can be applied to future careers in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.

The College Age Public Interest Commissioner seat is a two-year appointment to represent college-aged youth on the Region Nine's Commission. The Commission, a unit of government itself, is comprised of leaders from local governments across South Central Minnesota and commissioners who represent public interests such as college youth. It directs Region Nine staff who work with and on behalf of local units of government to address economic, social, physical, and governmental concerns of a regional nature.

All Region Nine commissioners commit to attending quarterly meetings, which are typically held on the second Wednesday of the month from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., and participating in at least one committee. Those interested should submit an online application. These applications will be reviewed by the Region Nine Budget & Personnel Committee, which will make recommendations to the full Commission as they vote to appoint a commissioner.

Applications are due at 12:00 p.m. on September 16, 2019.

Questions? Contact Peter Bode, executive assistant, at peter@rndc.org or 507-389-8864.
Audience Specific Marketing
Friday, July 12th
8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

MSU-M College of Business
Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
424 N Riverfront Drive, Mankato, MN
Join Mark Bietz, Chief Marketing Officer of Fun.com, during a Q&A designed to answer audience specific questions regarding how and where you should be bolstering your digital marketing efforts!

Mark Bietz is a digital marketing executive with 15 years of experience, starting with an internet marketing agency he started in college. He has helped grow HalloweenCostumes.com into the largest online costume company in the world. Mark also serves on Google Performance Advertising Council and is on the Advisory Board for Minnesota State University’s College of Business.

This event is FREE and open to the public. 
In the Media
Region Nine Presents at National Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Forum- Read the Region Nine press release

Lake Crystal developing detailed strategic plan- Read the Free Press article

Mohamed Ibrahim: Adapting, Never Stopping, Serving- Read the River Valley Women article (pages 44-47)

A Strategic Economic Development Plan for Lake Crystal's Future- Read the Region Nine press release

NADO Passes Resolution to Support ACE- Read the Region Nine press release

Region 9 director completes world idea tour- Read the KEYC article

Lake Crystal surveyes residents for economic development plan- Read the KEYC article
$$ Grant Opportunities $$
Pathways to Prosperity

Pathways to Prosperity (P2P) is an innovative strategy that integrates basic skills education, career-specific training, support services, and employment placement and retention to meet the needs of adults.

Deadline: July 19, 2019
Redevelopment Grant and Demolition Loan Program Call for Applications

The Brownfields and Redevelopment Unit is soliciting applications for grant funding for Redevelopment projects through the Redevelopment Grant and Demolition Loan Programs

Deadline: August 1, 2019
Calendar of Events
July 4: Office Closed- Fourth of July
July 9: Office Closed- Strategic Planning
July 23: Office Closed- Strategic Planning
About Region Nine
Region Nine Development Commission takes great pride in working with and on behalf of counties, cities, townships, and schools throughout South Central Minnesota. Since 1972, being a partner for progress has led to the development of programs and identification of solutions in the areas of economic development, business development, healthy communities, transportation, community development, and leveraging regional resources. To learn more about our work and mission, visit www.rndc.org.
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