The Morrison County Record http://mcrecord.com Covering community news, sports, current events and provides advertising and information for the Morrison County, Minnesota. Mon, 30 Mar 2015 19:41:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 90th Birthday . http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/30/90th-birthday/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/30/90th-birthday/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 19:41:28 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=573519 90th Birthday  .

An open house to celebrate Dorothy Schraut’s 90th birthday will be held Saturday, April 11, 2015 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Brickyard in Pierz. No gifts please.

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Noell / Barry http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/30/noell-barry/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/30/noell-barry/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 19:41:21 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=573516 Noell / Barry

Roger and Judy Virnig of Little Falls announce the engagement of their daughter, Angela Noell to Timothy Barry, son of Sharon Burke of Shorewood, IL.
Angela is a 2000 graduate of Little Falls High School. She is employed at Control Products Corporation in Grand Prairie, TX.
Timothy is a graduate of DePaul University. He is employed at Corporate Strategies and Solutions, Inc., a Sandler Training Center in Naperville, IL.
A June 2015 wedding is being planned in Fort Worth, TX.

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Vivian Kimman http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/30/vivian-kimman/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/30/vivian-kimman/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 19:41:14 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=573513 Vivian Rae Kimman was born to Tina and Tim Kimman of Little Falls, March 10, 2015, at 8:43 a.m. at St. Gabriel’s Hospital. She weighed 5 pounds 14 ounces and was 19 inches long.
Grandparents are Annette and Reinhart Kimman of Alexandria and Robert and Kay Hoheisel of Lastrup. Great-grandparent is Bonnie Isder of Round Lake.

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Harper Hart http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/30/harper-hart/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/30/harper-hart/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 19:41:06 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=573510 Harper Marie Hart was born to Kimberly DeMeMarre and Joshua Hart of Little Falls, March 22, 2015, at 7:11 p.m. at St. Gabriel’s Hospital. She weighed 7 pounds 10 ounces and was 18 1/2 inches long.
Grandparents are Vivian DeMarre and Raymound DeMarre of Little Falls and the late Nancy Hart and Myron Hart of Minneapolis.

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Otremba / Brannan http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/30/otremba-brannan/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/30/otremba-brannan/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 18:06:59 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=573507 Otremba / Brannan

Tom and JoAnn Otremba of Pierz, announce the engagement of their daughter, Denise, to Justin Brannan, son of Jeff and Kimberly Brannan of St. Augusta and Dana Wallack of Sauk Rapids.
Denise is a graduate of Pierz Healy High School and Central Lakes College. She is employed at Dentistry For Children in Sartell.
Justin is a graduate of St. Cloud Tech High School and Minnesota School of Business. He is employed at Britz Store Equipment.
A May 30, 2015 wedding is planned.

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Olivia Seviola http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/30/olivia-seviola/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/30/olivia-seviola/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 18:06:52 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=573504 Olivia Mae Seviola was born to Stacey and Christopher Seviola of Royalton, March 26, 2015, at 4:26 a.m. at St. Gabriel’s Hospital. She weighed 7 pounds, 14 1/2 ounces and was 19 1/2 inches long.
Grandparents are Dean and Sharon Zimmerman and David and Anita Seviola of Royalton. Great-grandparents are Tom and Barb Bye of Minneapolis, Dorothy Schraut of Pierz and Clara Zimmerman of Royalton.

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Pflipsen http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/30/pflipsen/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/30/pflipsen/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 18:06:45 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=573501 Daniel and Amanda Pflipsen are happy to share the birth of their daughter, Emma Jo Pflipsen. She was born March 27, 2015 at 9:57 a.m., weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces and was 18 inches long.
Grandparents are David and JoAnn Cagle of Sauk Rapids, Janelle Goulet of Sauk Rapids and the Late Randy Pflipsen of Rice.

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Eric Tiny Storkamp http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/30/eric-tiny-storkamp/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/30/eric-tiny-storkamp/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 18:05:22 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=573498 Eric Tiny   Storkamp

Eric “Tiny” Storkamp, 38-year-old resident of Pierz, died March 2, 2015, at the St. Cloud Hospital due to complications from surgery.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Tuesday, March 31 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Pierz, with Fr. Kenneth Popp officiating. The burial will take place in the parish cemetery. A visitation will be held Monday, March 30 from 4 -8 p.m. at the Emblom-Brenny Funeral Service in Pierz, and from 9:0 a.m. – 10 a.m. Tuesday at the funeral home. A prayer service will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday evening at the funeral home.
Eric Storkamp was born Sept. 27, 1976, in Little Falls, to Glenn Paul and Jane (Schneider) Storkamp. Eric was raised in Pierz, where he attended Pierz High School. He worked various jobs in construction working with RL Excavating, Bauerly Brothers and most recently with Kowalczyk Gravel. Eric enjoyed hunting, ice fishing, mud runs, camping and clearing his mind on his 4-wheeler. He treasured his time spent with his daughter, Aleah and niece Jynesa Storkamp.
Left to cherish his memory are his wife, Shannon of Pierz; daughter, Aleah Storkamp in Pierz; mother, Jane Storkamp of Pierz; mother-in-law, Denise Okonek of Oak Park; father-in-law, Roger Wasner of Holdingford; sisters-in-law, Stacey Wasner of St. Cloud, and Ashley Okonek of Oak Park; brother-in-law, Aaron Okonek of Oak Park; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
He was preceded in death by his father, Glenn Paul Storkamp; brother, Aaron Storkamp in 2008; grandparents, Chester and Viola Schneider, Paul and Roselyn Storkamp and step-father-in-law, Darrel Okonek.
The casketbearers will be Aaron Okonek, Jon Lyon, Teddy Hoheisel, Ian Severson, Adam Storkamp, Cory Hofer, Chad Hoheisel and Cory Tretter.The honorary casket bearers will be Toby Block, Steve Block, David Block, Kelly Laubach, Cody Schneider, Bob Schneider, Alan Schneider and Steve Hoheisel.

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Ethelreda (Reda) M. Regnier http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/30/ethelreda-reda-m-regnier/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/30/ethelreda-reda-m-regnier/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 18:04:41 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=573495 Ethelreda  (Reda)   M.  Regnier

Ethelreda M. ‘Reda’ Regnier, age 88, of Sartell, died Friday, March 27, 2015 at Country Manor Nursing Home, Sartell after a long and courageous battle with cancer.
Mass of Christian Burial 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 31, 2015 at St. Lawrence Catholic Church, Duelm. The Rev. Virgil Helmin will officiate. Burial in the parish cemetery. Friends may call from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. Monday at the Foley Funeral Home in Foley and after 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday at the church. Parish Prayers will be at 6 p.m. Service with Dignity provided by the Foley Funeral Home.
Reda Regnier was born June 27, 1926 in St. George Township, Benton County to Paul and Agnes (Hennek) Jurek. She married Dennis Regnier on September 28, 1949 at St. Lawrence Catholic Church, Duelm. Reda was a homemaker, a member of St. Lawrence parish all her life, a member of St. Lawrence Christian Mother Society, St. Lucille Mission Circle and a Miraculous Medal promoter. She cherished her family and friends.
She enjoyed cooking, baking, gardening, embroidering, camping, R.V. traveling and took many trips to Branson, Missouri. Her faith and the Rosary were very important to her.
She is survived by her sons and daughters, Elaine (Jim) Winkelman, Barb (Tom) Brand, Kathy (Reggie) Siemers, all of Rice, Karen (Joe) Foster, Joan (Mick) Abfalter, Connie (Chad) Pflipsen and David (Christina) Regnier, all of Sauk Rapids, Allan (Donna) Regnier of Sartell, Janet (Dan) Denfeld and Judi Regnier (Kevin Foster) of Foley, Roger (Holly) Regnier of Crystal, Jerry (Cindy) Regnier of Harris; 30 grandchildren; 28 great-grandchildren; sister, Rosemary Girard of Fort Collins, CO, and sister-in-law, Dorothy Jurek of Sartell.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Dennis on April 12, 2010; parents; brothers, Dominic, Raymond, Rudy, Stanley, Arthur and Peter; sisters, Clara Corrigan, Martha Lavigne and Lorraine Dorr.
The family wishes to thank Margaret Henning and St. Croix Hospice for all of their care and compassion.

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Little Falls Area Auction • Saturday, April 11, 2015 http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/30/little-falls-area-auction-%e2%80%a2-saturday-april-11-2015/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/30/little-falls-area-auction-%e2%80%a2-saturday-april-11-2015/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 16:11:51 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=573492 Auction • 11:00 a.m.

8 miles W of Little Falls to CR 1, then right .7 miles

Houdek Auction Service

www.midwestauctions.com

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Auction • Thursday, April 9, 2015 http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/30/auction-%e2%80%a2-thursday-april-9-2015/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/30/auction-%e2%80%a2-thursday-april-9-2015/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 16:02:36 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=573490 Auction • 10:00 a.m.

7545 135th Ave. NE, Foley, from the intersection of Hwys 23 & 25 in Foley, follow Hwy. 23 E 2 miles to CR 66 the N 1/4 mile to auction site

Siemers Auctioneers

www.siemersauctions.com

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Staples Area Auction • Tuesday, April 7, 2015 http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/30/staples-area-auction-%e2%80%a2-tuesday-april-7-2015/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/30/staples-area-auction-%e2%80%a2-tuesday-april-7-2015/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 15:55:54 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=573488 Large Farm Equipment Auction • 11:00 a.m.

2 blocks W of Staples at the Jackson Welding Shop, 911 2nd Ave NW in Staples

Mid-American Auction Co.

www.midamericanauctioninc.com

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Farm Auction • Saturday, April 4, 2015 http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/30/farm-auction-%e2%80%a2-saturday-april-4-2015/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/30/farm-auction-%e2%80%a2-saturday-april-4-2015/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 15:45:49 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=573485 Farm Auction • 10:30 a.m.

Located at 16807 370th St, Avon, being 4 miles N of Avon on CR 9 then 1/2 mile E on 370 St or 5 miles S of Holdingford on CR 9 to St. Anna then 1/2 mile E on 370th St.

Meagher Auctioneers

www.meagherauctioneers.com

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Consignment Auction • Saturday, April 4, 2015 http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/30/consignment-auction-%e2%80%a2-saturday-april-4-2015/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/30/consignment-auction-%e2%80%a2-saturday-april-4-2015/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 15:41:19 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=573483 Bargain Billy’s Consignment Auction • 9:00 a.m.

16004 Hwy. 10 NW, located 2 miles S of Royalton on Hwy. 10

Paul Strunge Auctioneer

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Hay Auction • Thursday, April 2, 2015 http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/30/hay-auction-%e2%80%a2-thursday-april-2-2015/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/30/hay-auction-%e2%80%a2-thursday-april-2-2015/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 15:37:33 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=573480 Quality Tested Hay Auction • 12:30 p.m.

Interstate 94 and US Highway 71 at Sauk Centre, MN 1/2 mile south on US Highway 71 to Modern Farm Equipment, then 1/10 mile east on 408th Street

Mid-American Auction Co.

www.midamericanauctioninc.com

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Inside the Fed’s Thinking http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/30/inside-the-feds-thinking/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/30/inside-the-feds-thinking/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 15:00:03 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?guid=b4342c26f5d623c3e6bd63a693126903 The Federal Reserve bases its monetary policy on augury. Thousands of years ago, Roman soothsayers visited the oracles and interpreted the entrails of slaughtered animals. We haven’t advanced much since then, as a review of the Fed’s most recent prophecy shows.

Fortunately, no animals are slaughtered today, but many brain cells seem to die in the reading and interpretation of policy statements of the Federal Open Market Committee, the central bank’s policymaking body, which oversees short-term interest rates. Today’s economists, journalists and pundits pass along the committee’s thinking to the credulous public. Trouble is, it’s unclear whether the FOMC knows what it is saying.

Many well-paid experts make a living off interpreting what the Fed is going to do. They will tell you, with certainty, that the Fed will definitely maybe raise interest rates sometime this year – or perhaps next year – but they’re just guessing.

Consider, for example, when Fed Chair Janet Yellen used the word “patient” to describe the Fed’s approach to raising rates. They know, without a doubt, that at least two meetings will pass before rates would be raised.

How did they know? Why two meetings and not three? And what’s to be made of the absence of the word “patient” or any derivative of it in the latest pronouncement from the Fed?

Since the Fed doesn’t do much, except issue occasional policy statements and print money, being an interpreter of Fed-speak has to be a good gig. I want in. So here’s my interpretation of the Fed’s latest policy statement, issued in the wake of its latest meeting – what FOMC says, versus (in italics) what it is really thinking:

“Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in January suggests that economic growth has moderated somewhat.” The Fed laid out $3 trillion- plus in bond buying, a stimulus effort called quantitative easing, designed to keep rates low and pump money into the system. And the economy still stinks: Since the Great Recession, gross domestic product has inched up barely over 2% annually, with no real improvement is sight.

“Labor market conditions have improved further, with strong job gains and a lower unemployment rate.” It’s a good thing we have the U-3 unemployment rate to fall back on. This measure conveniently excludes discouraged people who no longer are looking for work. The workforce participation rate is still abysmal, but no one pays any attention to it. It has shrunk below 63% of the population, a level not seen since the stagflation-ridden late 1970s.

“A range of labor market indicators suggests that underutilization of labor resources continues to diminish.” The best that can be said is that fewer people are flipping burgers at McDonald’s – although that may be because of a downturn in McDonald’s business, not because of any improvement in the U.S. economy.

“Household spending is rising moderately; declines in energy prices have boosted household purchasing power.” Personal income is still down: Inflation adjusted, since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking it this way in 2000, the household statistic shows no room for optimism. Dated from when the recession officially ended in June 2009, for instance, it fell 5.6%. But because our efforts to boost inflation have failed, consumers have more money to spend.

“Business fixed investment is advancing, while the recovery in the housing sector remains slow and export growth has weakened.” We’ll need to be “patient” a little longer before we increase interest rates.

“Inflation has declined further below the Committee’s longer-run objective, largely reflecting declines in energy prices.” Do not mention that, even after buying more than $3 trillion worth of bonds, we’re now in a period of deflation. Oh, well. At least we’re not Europe. Maybe it’s time to reconsider that arbitrary 2% inflation target.

“Market-based measures of inflation compensation remain low; survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable.” Sooner or later (OK, later), inflation will increase. When it does, we’re ready to take credit for it.

“Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability.” Let’s not dwell on how 2% inflation equals “price stability.”

“The Committee expects that, with appropriate policy accommodation, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace, with labor market indicators continuing to move toward levels the Committee judges consistent with its dual mandate.” There’s no way we’re going much beyond the 2% growth we’ve had since Barack Obama took office. That’s the best you can hope for when you hand control of the economy over to the Fed.

“The Committee continues to see the risks to the outlook for economic activity and the labor market as nearly balanced.” We’re not sure how the labor market is supposed to balance economic risks, but saying something is “nearly balanced” sounds like we’re in some sort of equilibrium, so we’ll leave this sentence in.

“Inflation is anticipated to remain near its recent low level in the near term, but the Committee expects inflation to rise gradually toward 2 percent over the medium term as the labor market improves further and the transitory effects of energy price declines and other factors dissipate. The Committee continues to monitor inflation developments closely.” So the best thing that could happen to the economy would be for oil prices to increase. Didn’t we just say that lower oil prices boosted consumer spending?

“To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee today reaffirmed its view that the current 0 to 1/4 percent target range for the federal funds rate remains appropriate. In determining how long to maintain this target range, the Committee will assess progress – both realized and expected – toward its objectives of maximum employment and 2 percent inflation.” We have no idea when we’re going to raise interest rates, but if we wait until we achieve our “dual mandate,” they may remain near zero for as long as we’re alive.

“This assessment will take into account a wide range of information, including measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial and international developments.” Maybe I should refer here to macroprudential supervision? Nah. That one was never much of a market mover. This idea means that the Fed is supposed to more tightly regulate financial institutions and stop speculative bubbles before they occur. The Fed didn’t go such a great job forestalling the dot-com crash and the housing crisis, though.

“Consistent with its previous statement, the Committee judges that an increase in the target range for the federal funds rate remains unlikely at the April FOMC meeting. The Committee anticipates that it will be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate when it has seen further improvement in the labor market and is reasonably confident that inflation will move back to its 2 percent objective over the medium term.” We’re in no hurry to raise rates. When we do, the stock market will tank and we’ll have to start picking up the tab when we visit Wall Street for lunch.

“This change in the forward guidance does not indicate that the Committee has decided on the timing of the initial increase in the target range.” We’ve been saying the same thing for months, but now all we did was ax the word “patient.” Not much of a difference in our wording here. Nevertheless, it qualifies as a “change in the forward guidance.”

“The Committee is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities and of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction. This policy, by keeping the Committee’s holdings of longer-term securities at sizable levels, should help maintain accommodative financial conditions. “ Let’s ignore the risk of all of those long-term holdings. When we leave the Fed, it will become someone else’s problem.

“When the Committee decides to begin to remove policy accommodation, it will take a balanced approach consistent with its longer-run goals of maximum employment and inflation of 2 percent.” In other words, you can expect this drama to continue for many years to come, at least through this administration, anyway.

“The Committee currently anticipates that, even after employment and inflation are near mandate-consistent levels, economic conditions may, for some time, warrant keeping the target federal funds rate below levels the Committee views as normal in the longer run.” We did it: Got through a policy statement without using the word “patient.” Is it time for lunch yet?

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Brenda P. Wenning is president of Wenning Investments LLC in Newton, Mass. 

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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The Federal Reserve bases its monetary policy on augury. Thousands of years ago, Roman soothsayers visited the oracles and interpreted the entrails of slaughtered animals. We haven’t advanced much since then, as a review of the Fed’s most recent prophecy shows.

Fortunately, no animals are slaughtered today, but many brain cells seem to die in the reading and interpretation of policy statements of the Federal Open Market Committee, the central bank’s policymaking body, which oversees short-term interest rates. Today’s economists, journalists and pundits pass along the committee’s thinking to the credulous public. Trouble is, it’s unclear whether the FOMC knows what it is saying.

Many well-paid experts make a living off interpreting what the Fed is going to do. They will tell you, with certainty, that the Fed will definitely maybe raise interest rates sometime this year – or perhaps next year – but they’re just guessing.

Consider, for example, when Fed Chair Janet Yellen used the word “patient” to describe the Fed’s approach to raising rates. They know, without a doubt, that at least two meetings will pass before rates would be raised.

How did they know? Why two meetings and not three? And what’s to be made of the absence of the word “patient” or any derivative of it in the latest pronouncement from the Fed?

Since the Fed doesn’t do much, except issue occasional policy statements and print money, being an interpreter of Fed-speak has to be a good gig. I want in. So here’s my interpretation of the Fed’s latest policy statement, issued in the wake of its latest meeting – what FOMC says, versus (in italics) what it is really thinking:

“Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in January suggests that economic growth has moderated somewhat.” The Fed laid out $3 trillion- plus in bond buying, a stimulus effort called quantitative easing, designed to keep rates low and pump money into the system. And the economy still stinks: Since the Great Recession, gross domestic product has inched up barely over 2% annually, with no real improvement is sight.

“Labor market conditions have improved further, with strong job gains and a lower unemployment rate.” It’s a good thing we have the U-3 unemployment rate to fall back on. This measure conveniently excludes discouraged people who no longer are looking for work. The workforce participation rate is still abysmal, but no one pays any attention to it. It has shrunk below 63% of the population, a level not seen since the stagflation-ridden late 1970s.

“A range of labor market indicators suggests that underutilization of labor resources continues to diminish.” The best that can be said is that fewer people are flipping burgers at McDonald’s – although that may be because of a downturn in McDonald’s business, not because of any improvement in the U.S. economy.

“Household spending is rising moderately; declines in energy prices have boosted household purchasing power.” Personal income is still down: Inflation adjusted, since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking it this way in 2000, the household statistic shows no room for optimism. Dated from when the recession officially ended in June 2009, for instance, it fell 5.6%. But because our efforts to boost inflation have failed, consumers have more money to spend.

“Business fixed investment is advancing, while the recovery in the housing sector remains slow and export growth has weakened.” We’ll need to be “patient” a little longer before we increase interest rates.

“Inflation has declined further below the Committee’s longer-run objective, largely reflecting declines in energy prices.” Do not mention that, even after buying more than $3 trillion worth of bonds, we’re now in a period of deflation. Oh, well. At least we’re not Europe. Maybe it’s time to reconsider that arbitrary 2% inflation target.

“Market-based measures of inflation compensation remain low; survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable.” Sooner or later (OK, later), inflation will increase. When it does, we’re ready to take credit for it.

“Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability.” Let’s not dwell on how 2% inflation equals “price stability.”

“The Committee expects that, with appropriate policy accommodation, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace, with labor market indicators continuing to move toward levels the Committee judges consistent with its dual mandate.” There’s no way we’re going much beyond the 2% growth we’ve had since Barack Obama took office. That’s the best you can hope for when you hand control of the economy over to the Fed.

“The Committee continues to see the risks to the outlook for economic activity and the labor market as nearly balanced.” We’re not sure how the labor market is supposed to balance economic risks, but saying something is “nearly balanced” sounds like we’re in some sort of equilibrium, so we’ll leave this sentence in.

“Inflation is anticipated to remain near its recent low level in the near term, but the Committee expects inflation to rise gradually toward 2 percent over the medium term as the labor market improves further and the transitory effects of energy price declines and other factors dissipate. The Committee continues to monitor inflation developments closely.” So the best thing that could happen to the economy would be for oil prices to increase. Didn’t we just say that lower oil prices boosted consumer spending?

“To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee today reaffirmed its view that the current 0 to 1/4 percent target range for the federal funds rate remains appropriate. In determining how long to maintain this target range, the Committee will assess progress – both realized and expected – toward its objectives of maximum employment and 2 percent inflation.” We have no idea when we’re going to raise interest rates, but if we wait until we achieve our “dual mandate,” they may remain near zero for as long as we’re alive.

“This assessment will take into account a wide range of information, including measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial and international developments.” Maybe I should refer here to macroprudential supervision? Nah. That one was never much of a market mover. This idea means that the Fed is supposed to more tightly regulate financial institutions and stop speculative bubbles before they occur. The Fed didn’t go such a great job forestalling the dot-com crash and the housing crisis, though.

“Consistent with its previous statement, the Committee judges that an increase in the target range for the federal funds rate remains unlikely at the April FOMC meeting. The Committee anticipates that it will be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate when it has seen further improvement in the labor market and is reasonably confident that inflation will move back to its 2 percent objective over the medium term.” We’re in no hurry to raise rates. When we do, the stock market will tank and we’ll have to start picking up the tab when we visit Wall Street for lunch.

“This change in the forward guidance does not indicate that the Committee has decided on the timing of the initial increase in the target range.” We’ve been saying the same thing for months, but now all we did was ax the word “patient.” Not much of a difference in our wording here. Nevertheless, it qualifies as a “change in the forward guidance.”

“The Committee is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities and of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction. This policy, by keeping the Committee’s holdings of longer-term securities at sizable levels, should help maintain accommodative financial conditions. “ Let’s ignore the risk of all of those long-term holdings. When we leave the Fed, it will become someone else’s problem.

“When the Committee decides to begin to remove policy accommodation, it will take a balanced approach consistent with its longer-run goals of maximum employment and inflation of 2 percent.” In other words, you can expect this drama to continue for many years to come, at least through this administration, anyway.

“The Committee currently anticipates that, even after employment and inflation are near mandate-consistent levels, economic conditions may, for some time, warrant keeping the target federal funds rate below levels the Committee views as normal in the longer run.” We did it: Got through a policy statement without using the word “patient.” Is it time for lunch yet?

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Brenda P. Wenning is president of Wenning Investments LLC in Newton, Mass. 

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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‘MakerSpaces’ in LF school libraries engage students in learning http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/29/makerspaces-in-lf-school-libraries-engage-students-in-learning/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/29/makerspaces-in-lf-school-libraries-engage-students-in-learning/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 17:58:50 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=573366 By CASSANDRA KING, LFCS Intern

Libraries are no longer solely for reading. MakerSpaces are now making their way into many libraries, including the libraries of Little Falls Community Schools (LFCS).

A MakerSpace is a designated area where students can go to create, build and learn using a variety of supplies and technology.

Tyler Fimon, a Lindbergh Elementary School fourth-grader builds with Legos in a “MakerSpacer” designated area at his school’s library.

Tyler Fimon, a Lindbergh Elementary School fourth-grader builds with Legos in a “MakerSpacer” designated area at his school’s library.

The first MakerSpace to open in the community was at Lindbergh Elementary School, followed by Lincoln and S.G. Knight MakerSpaces, which opened in the last week of February.

Mark Diehl, district technology coordinator and instrumental in coordinating the space, said that the idea began circulating around December of 2013. The idea was brought to Supt. Steve Jones in the spring of 2014.

The MakerSpace at Lindbergh Elementary School offers a wide array of activities, so there is something to engage a student at any grade level. Craft supplies include anything from wooden Popsicle sticks and cardboard tubes to marshmallows and spaghetti. Students can use their imaginations to create something, or they can take inspiration from one of the challenges posted around the room.

MakerSpaces at every school incorporate technology to help students explore and learn. Lincoln’s MakerSpace focuses on letting older students create working electronic systems using parts provided in Snap Circuit kits. Some kits can build a motion detector or lie detector, and others focus on using alternative energy sources.

Combining pulley systems, wheels and axles and levers with standard Legos, students can build moving and working Lego creations. Computer programs allow students to build Lego towns in Google maps and three-dimensional Lego models using virtual Lego blocks.

When they aren’t using the computer to build with Legos, students can use them to learn about computer coding. Coding is telling a computer what to do using step by step instructions. The activities resemble games and use popular characters from Angry Birds and Frozen to encourage kids to learn the basics of coding.

Students who enjoy music can play a song on the keyboard and use the computer program Garage Band to mix their music.

The purpose of a MakerSpace and everything in it is to let kids use their creativity to build and solve problems. Mark Diehl said the MakerSpaces are new environments where kids can go to do something that they are interested in. “It gives them a dedicated place to go and be creative,” said Diehl. He noted its importance with so many jobs based around creativity.

In the classroom setting, students are often given specific instruction, but Diehl says that MakerSpaces “let them think and problem solve on their own.”

Tony Bergman, a fourth grade teacher at Lindbergh Elementary School, said his students use the MakerSpace once or twice each week. One of their favorite activities, he said, is using the circuit boards, an extension of the electricity and magnetism unit.

Bergman said his students are encouraged to work independently, but they are always willing to help each other out. His students view it as a reward and Bergman said they do not want to lose the privilege of using the MakerSpace.

Still a fresh addition, Lincoln’s MakerSpace is focused on building using Legos and circuit boards. Shawn Alholm, Lincoln and Dr. S. G. Knight elementary schools technology coordinator, said the space has huge potential. He hopes to introduce the space to the kids so they understand how to use it.

“We hope it’s a place for them to blossom with whatever talents they have,” said Alholm. He believes it will help kids focus on their strengths and use their imaginations.

The materials and supplies are what make a MakerSpace special. Diehl said that many of the craft materials were donated by families, while some materials like cardboard tubes are recycled. The computers and Lego kits were purchased using the district’s technology budget. In total, Diehl estimated the cost to create MakerSpaces district-wide to be around $23,000.

There are plans to bring MakerSpaces to the middle and high school. Diehl said these MakerSpaces will be based more around technology, featuring computer programming and robotics.

Cassandra King is a student intern with the Little Falls Community Schools.

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Pine Grove Zoo welcomes ‘Babies, Babies, Babies’ in 2015 http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/29/pine-grove-zoo-welcomes-babies-babies-babies-in-2015/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/29/pine-grove-zoo-welcomes-babies-babies-babies-in-2015/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 15:18:24 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=573279 By Eric Beuning, Correspondent

The Pine Grove Zoo will once again have baby bears, like these in the 2014 bear exhibit.

The Pine Grove Zoo will once again have baby bears, like these in the 2014 bear exhibit.

Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal. This is especially true for the Pine Grove Zoo in Little Falls after the success of the Zoo Gone Wild fundraiser.

“I’m happy to announce that thanks to all the community support the Zoo received, we will be purchasing a pair of eight-week old tiger cubs,” said Pine Grove Zoo Director Marnita Van Hoecke.

In the past, the Pine Grove Zoo has only featured adult tigers — this will be the first time the Zoo will have tiger cubs.

“The cubs will be permanent residents at the zoo, so people can come watch them as they grow up and connect with those memories over the years,” said Van Hoecke. “The new tiger cubs are going to be cute as buttons.”

The new cubs are expected to arrive in middle to late May.

The tiger that many people have enjoyed in recent years was originally on loan from the Chahinkapa Zoo in Wahpeton, N.D. The tiger is returning to its home zoo this year, making room for the new tiger cubs.

The Pine Grove Zoo will also feature a baby bear exhibit.

“Each year we get two cubs on loan from Bear Country in Rapid City, S.D. The cubs will exhibit alongside the three black bears we already have in residence.”

Tiger and bear cubs aren’t the only new animals expected to grace the zoo in May.

The zoo is also expecting the arrival of a new baby zebra to the zebra exhibit as well as a pronghorn sheep.

“The pronghorn sheep probably won’t be seen much until the early fall. They tend to be very skittish when they are young, so we want him to grow up a little bit and get some confidence before becoming a regular exhibit,” Van Hoecke said.

“Our female yak is pregnant and she usually gives birth at the end of May,” said Van Hoecke. “There is really going to be a lot going on in the month of May. Right now we’re calling it “Babies, Babies, Babies.”

This year will also see the return of many of the zoo’s other popular exhibits including the bison, cougar, bobcats, elk, arctic wolf and the two gray wolves.

The Pine Grove Zoo will also host several special events and daily presentations running from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend.

Every Monday at 2:15 p.m., the Zoo will offer zookeeper presentations that are designed to teach zoo visitors about the animals at the Pine Grove Zoo. People can watch and learn how zookeepers feed the animals and the techniques used to care for them in captivity. This includes opening their mouths on command, side presentations, putting their paws on a fence and even stepping on a scale.

Every Wednesday at 2:15 p.m., the zoo will have operant training demonstrations. This will show people how the animals participate in their own health care. Techniques will demonstrate how trainers drastically reduce stress when performing routine health care while at the same time helping to stimulate the animals mentally. Trainers can also use training to encourage normal behavior such as pouncing and leaping while eliminating stereotypical behaviors. By using operant conditioning trainers can help keep the animals in shape by getting them up and moving.

On Saturdays at 2:15 p.m., the zoo will feature enrichment presentations that are designed to teach visitors about how trainers enrich the animal’s daily lives. People will have the opportunity to watch resident animals enjoy their enrichment and find out why these activities are essential for their health and well-being.

The Pine Grove Zoo will also host several special events and fundraisers throughout the course of the year.

The zoo will host “Royalton Lumber Day” at Royalton Lumber from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Saturday, April 11.

In the fall, Breakfast With the Animals will be held from 8 a.m. – 10 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 19, which will given zoo members and volunteers the opportunity to eat breakfast at the zoo while trainers are feeding the animals.

The second annual “Zoo Fest” will be held Saturday, Oct. 3, from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. This event serves as a replacement to the Zoo Boo, and will feature a series of games, exhibits and entertainment for families and people of all ages.

The Pine Grove Zoo is scheduled to open for the season on Monday, April 20.

For more information about zoo events, activities and membership, contact the Zoo at (320) 616-5595, info@pinegrovezoo.com or visit www.pinegrovezoo.com.

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Upsala wishes a ‘Happy Retirement’ to long-term School Board member http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/29/upsala-wishes-a-happy-retirement-to-long-term-school-board-member/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/29/upsala-wishes-a-happy-retirement-to-long-term-school-board-member/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 13:31:57 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=573309 By Kerry Drager, Correspondent

Bill, left, and Joyce Krivanek raised four children in Upsala and are now watching their grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow up. Wanting to ensure that their family and the children of other families have the best possible future, Bill has played an active part in the Upsala School Board for more than three decades.

Bill, left, and Joyce Krivanek raised four children in Upsala and are now watching their grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow up. Wanting to ensure that their family and the children of other families have the best possible future, Bill has played an active part in the Upsala School Board for more than three decades.

After 32 years, Bill Krivanek has officially retired from his seat on the Upsala School Board. He has put his thoughts and efforts into his community and has helped make the school successful. Now he feels it’s time for him to leave his seat for the next generation to learn the ropes and become a positive influence.

Krivanek took an interest in serving on the School Board when he lived in Kansas. For six years, he helped his Kansas school board before deciding it was time to move back to Minnesota.

He spent 20 years working in the insurance industry. When he came to the decision that he no longer enjoyed this line of work, he returned to Minnesota in 1976.

His mother was originally from Upsala, and he had spent many summer days during his youth in the area. Krivanek settled into Upsala and eventually purchased the General Store and ran it for 15 years before retiring.

“It took me 20 years to figure out I didn’t like the insurance business,” said Krivanek. “I had always wanted to have a hardware store.”

Retirement from the store did not mean that his life would become dormant. Krivanek continued to serve on several civic activity boards in his free time. Being a part of the School Board brought him both enjoyment and challenge.

“One of the proudest moments I’ve been a part of was spearheading the renovation of the old (school) and building the new for Upsala School,” he said. “We are now hosting some of the Mid-State’s programs.”

With so many years of experience in dealing with the many changes that schools face, Krivanek has provided knowledge that helped Upsala become a better school. This has not gone unnoticed by the members of his community.

“My peers on the Upsala School Board as well as the superintendent put me up for the All State School Board,” Krivanek said.

Changes are occurring in Minnesota schools all the time, but there have been some proposals for changes that Krivanek has felt strongly for and against. Before retiring from the Board, he has taken extra incentives to ensure that the right type of legislation happens for his community.

A recent trip to the Metro to discuss the proposal  changes to transgender student participation in sports has introduced Krivanek to some important individuals and groups. Entities that have not only helped him gather his thoughts about significant changes such as these, but also have given him an avenue to learn more about future issues that may arise.

“There were a lot of gifted speakers down there. I was acquainted with the Minnesota Family Council and the Child Protection League. I keep in contact with them through email,” Krivanek said. “If there is something I can do or if they need another voice, I will be a willing voice.”

On a local level, the hurdle Upsala and Swanville Schools are facing has Krivanek ready to offer his advice and opinions. He said he understands the importance of the two schools’ union.

“I think this can all come out successfully. The Swanville girls have significant problems now. They will never fill their teams. We have to do something,” Krivanek said.

Although he is no longer on the Board, he still plans to offer his insight whenever necessary.

“I can probably speak my mind better from the outside looking in. I can make a suggestion and have it look like nothing more than a suggestion,” he said. “Just because I’ve gotten old doesn’t mean I have lost any of the relationships I have created over the years.”

The Upsala community has made some improvements over the years. These improvements have led the school to becoming a successful, happy place for children to grow and learn, Krivanek said.

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Ancient art ‘leaves’ one with a sense of peace, bringing spiritual calm to a noisy world http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/29/ancient-art-leaves-one-with-a-sense-of-peace-bringing-spiritual-calm-to-a-noisy-world/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/03/29/ancient-art-leaves-one-with-a-sense-of-peace-bringing-spiritual-calm-to-a-noisy-world/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 12:00:22 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=573261 By Gabby Landsverk, Staff Writer

With Palm Sunday coming up, now is the time of year when the Franciscan Sisters and other members of the community breathe life into an ancient practice of both artistry and worship: weaving blessed palms.

“It’s a very old tradition. It goes way, way back,” said Sister Mary Lou Eltgroth, who has been weaving palms for more than 50 years.

Sr.MaryLou

Sister Mary Lou Eltgroth has a unique design of palm braiding, weaving the fronds into fish. “I learned from making ribbon fish. Now, my ribbon just happens to be a piece of blessed palm,” Eltgroth said.

 

It began in ancient times, when people in tropical climates braided palms into both practical and artistic objects, said Eltgroth.

Palm branches are also a symbol of honor and homage, Eltgroth said, and came to be associated with Jesus as part of his triumphant procession into Jerusalem riding a donkey as crowds of people waved palms to acknowledge him as king.

The tradition was brought to the United States by immigrants, particularly those of German and Swedish descent, many of whom settled in Central Minnesota, according to a history of palm weaving by Sister Cecilia Schmitt.

Since then, said Eltgroth, the tradition has been passed down through families or communities such as the Franciscan Sisters.

Sister Georgine Larson was taught by an older Sister many years ago.

“I took to it and kept up,” Larson said. “Palms are a little sacrament, a reminder that God is in our presence.”

The palms are blessed for the celebration on Palm Sunday, and are therefore considered sacred objects to be treated with deep respect.

The ashes from burned palms are kept to be used on Ash Wednesday the following year.

Palms can also be kept as blessings to keep for protection in the home, a car or even a fishing tackle box, said Eltgroth.

Palm weaving makes these sacred objects beautiful as well as holy.

PalmCrowns

“It looks a lot better than just a stringy frond,” Eltgroth said.

As an art, palm weaving is an opportunity to combine creativity, meditative prayerfulness and community all at once.

“It’s another way of praying,” Eltgroth said.

Palm weaving also brings people together, and Eltgroth said working with others can inspire a new level of art and spirituality.

“That works in all ways, whatever endeavor you’re doing. You learn from each other and get ideas,” Eltgroth said.

Larson added that with the right kind of attention, any activity can bring people closer to God and to each other.

“Any creative craft is a time to be to be alone or with others, think of God and pray for people” Larson said.

SrGeorgine

Larson described making a doily at a retreat and praying for someone with every stitch.

Palm braiding and similar arts are also an opportunity for peace and reflection, the Sisters said.

“There’s so much noise in the world as it is. Being able to have some time for quiet and spend some time in quiet is an OK thing,” Eltgroth said.

Although the woven fronds can last years, palm weaving is becoming a lost art, and the Franciscan Sisters have kept it alive through practice. One of the few books written on the subject was authored by Sister Cecilia Schmitt of the Franciscan Sisters.

“She was really an expert,” Eltgroth said. “I spent days with her just braiding palms. … It’s coming back to life by teaching people how to do it.”

Jan Roering, of the Community Relations Department at St. Francis, said Schmitt’s book, and her legacy, have played a large role in keeping the tradition strong today.

“One of Sister Cecilia’s reasons for doing the books … was so that it wouldn’t become a dying art. She wanted it to continue on for generations. That was her hope,” Roering said.

Now, the Franciscan Sister continue to teach classes. While many grandparents remember the art, it seems to have skipped a generation, Eltgroth said, but young people are showing a renewed interest.

“It’s for whoever wants to learn it and do it,” Eltgroth said.

Young or old, Eltgroth said, palm weaving is still a means of peace and spirituality in today’s noisy world.

“Use it as a prayer,” Eltgroth said. “Use the time that you’re working and say ‘This is good.’”

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