September 2019
Region Nine's Fiscal Year 2019 Annual Report
As we enter into a new fiscal year, Region Nine Development Commission (RNDC) continues to thrive. MedTech Connect, a South Central Minnesota Agriculture Resiliency Plan, and an Economic Development Resiliency Plan in addition to a Marketing and Communications Strategy and Comprehensive Plan for the City of Madelia were only some of the projects that RNDC completed this last fiscal year. Although these were multi-year initiatives, several other projects were executed throughout the year including a feasibility study for the Saint Peter American Legion and Social Media Breakfast events held in New Ulm and Mankato. Within this Fiscal Year 2019 Annual Report, you will find numerous examples of how our team partners with diverse individuals and institutions to deliver consistent and sustainable progress.
In addition to winning our fifth consecutive Innovation Award from the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO), I was selected as an Ambassador to the Americas Competitiveness Exchange on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ACE), a two year appointment, and represented the region in the Transatlantic Cluster Initiative in Germany. RNDC is dedicated to improving the lives of all residents throughout our nine-county region, and continuously seeking out new projects, programs, and partnerships. Thank you for a fantastic Fiscal Year 2019, and I look forward to what Fiscal Year 2020 brings.


Nicole Griensewic Mickelson
Executive Director
Region Nine Welcomes Joel Hanif
Joel Hanif joined Region Nine in September of 2019 as a community development planner. His work includes community and economic development planning.

Joel is a native of Columbus, Georgia and a new transplant to Minnesota. Prior to joining Region Nine, he worked as a regional planner and community developer for the River Valley Regional Commission in Americus, Georgia. There, he worked on local and regional comprehensive plans, Community Development Block Grants, and other planning and grant projects. He became an AICP certified planner in January 2019. Joel holds a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and a Master of Environmental Planning and Design from the University of Georgia.
Region Nine Presents at State Fair
Over Labor Day weekend, Region Nine was the only presenter at the State Fair's Eco Experience exhibit where Region Nine had the opportunity to speak individually with hundreds of fair goers about sustainability in the region and the type of projects that Region Nine supports.

Interest surrounded the Home Town Bio Energy (HTBE) presentation, and supplementary materials provided by Avant Energy, describing how and what it does. A vice president of Avant Energy, which operates HTBE as a contractor for Minnesota Municipal Power Association (MMPA) stopped by and personally thanked Region Nine for doing the presentation and highlighting electricity co-ops.

The Sisters of Notre Dame attended a Renewable Taskforce meeting, hosted by Region Nine, that focused on solar energy and, in turn, spurred their project idea. The School Sisters of Notre Dame now have negative electricity bills for a 60,000 sq-ft nursing home, chapel, and school. This presentation was a hit with many solar supporters who came through the exhibit.

Alongside larger Metro-area presenters, including Edina and St. Anthony, in addition to Bemidji, St. Cloud, and a dozen others, Region Nine was able to make valuable connections and educational opportunities.
Children's Public Healthy Insurance Coverage Lower Than in 2017
Edward R. Berchick, Laryssa Mykyta

About 4.3 million children did not have any health insurance coverage in 2018, an increase of 425,000 (or 0.6 percentage points) from the previous year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual Health Insurance Coverage in the United States : 2018 report released today.

The new report highlights that 5.5% of children under the age of 19 were uninsured, largely because of a decline in public coverage.

Children obtain health insurance coverage from a number of different sources. Many have coverage through a parent’s private plan, and many lower income children may qualify for certain public programs, such as Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

The new report highlights that 5.5% of children under the age of 19 were uninsured, largely because of a decline in public coverage.

Taking a closer look at children’s coverage highlights some key changes in coverage between 2017 and 2018 by coverage type and by age, region and income-to-poverty status.
2019 Kiester Action Plan
The City of Kiester was awarded a grant, the Small Cites Grant, by the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation last fall to create an action plan.

This plan will act as a guide and tool to aide Kiester as they look to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities. This plan identifies next steps that both residents and city officials can take toward maximizing growth potential while completing priorities chosen by the community in order to create a vibrant and resilient future.

With the community survey now complete, the plan will be finalized and completed. Stay tuned for the plan in October's e-newsletter!
Marketing to the Millennial
Friday, October 11th
8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

MSU-M College of Business,
Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
424 North Riverfront Drive, Mankato, MN
Millennials (born between the years 1981 and 1996) make up 25 percent of the population. That means this generation is responsible for 25 percent of the buying power!

As a millennial, Samantha Felt strives to better educate businesses and organizations on the minds and buying habits of the millennial generation. During this month's Social Media Breakfast - New Ulm, Samantha will touch on the trends within the millennial generation, what attracts them online, where they are finding their information, tactics to specifically target them on social media, and how to adjust your marketing plans to reach this generation!

This event is FREE and open to the public. Light breakfast provided.

Save the Date

Region Nine Development Commission, in partnership with University of Minnesota Extension for Community Vitality and the Greater Mankato Diversity Council and support from the Bush Foundation, Mankato Area Foundation, Saint Peter Public Schools, and Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, will hold the first ever Southern Minnesota Equity Summit on November 1, 2019 in Saint Peter, Minnesota.

The Southern Minnesota Equity Summit will convene regional leaders as a catalyst for learning, networking, and innovation to promote welcoming and equitable communities.
Featuring Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan as keynote speaker!
Breakout sessions will cover strategies and tools for use in the sectors of:

  • Nonprofits and businesses
  • Governments
  • Community organizations
  • Education
In the Media
TCU District seeks champion for Czech Heritage Trail- Read the Lonsdale News Review article

Growing the local foods economy- Read the Fillmore County Journal article

St. James festival celebrates multiculturalism- Read the Free Press article

Effects of Del Monte closing ripple through Sleepy Eye- Read the Free Press article

Feature Story: Open Door Health Center- Read the Connect Business Magazine article
$$ Grant Opportunities $$
Laura Jane Musser Fund
Rural Initiative Program

The Laura Jane Musser Fund wants to encourage collaborative and participatory efforts among citizens in rural communities that will help strengthen their towns and regions in a number of civic areas including, but not limited to, economic development, business preservation, arts and humanities, public space environments, and education.

Limited to communities 10,000 or less. Projects can be eligible for either planning or implementation funds during any one grant period.

Deadline: October 3, 2019
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Pioneering Ideas Grants

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Pioneer Portfolio accepts unsolicited proposals for projects that pursue innovative approaches to solving problems in health and healthcare.

Shared characteristics of unsolicited proposals include:
  • Challenge assumptions or long-held cultural practices
  • Take an existing idea and give it a new spin—or a novel application
  • Offer a new take or perspective on a long-running, perplexing problem
  • Apply cutting-edge ideas from other fields to health
  • Explore the potential for emerging trends to impact the ability to build a Culture of Health

Deadline: October 15, 2019
Calendar of Events
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
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