• Thousands of seed potato acres in Red River Valley will go to waste

Sander Dagen, a seed potato farmer from Karlstad, Minn., checks a warehouse where he and his father and brother store potatoes Monday in Karlstad. Photo by Eric Hylden / Grand Forks Herald
Sander Dagen, a seed potato farmer from Karlstad, Minn., checks a warehouse where he and his father and brother store potatoes Monday in Karlstad. Photo by Eric Hylden / Grand Forks Herald

Sander Dagen raised an exceptional seed potato crop this year.

That makes it sting even more as he is forced to abandon approximately 80% of his acres because he cannot harvest them.

“You spend a year planning this out," Dagen said. "To have to destroy them is a little bit sad for sure.”

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The Karlstad farmer, like other seed potato farmers in the Red River Valley, had to abandon acres because wet weather delayed the harvest for several weeks. After rains and snow, freezing temperatures destroyed the crop.

Read more from The Grand Forks Herald

• Trump approves disaster declaration for flooding, tornadoes in SD

The bridge along 406th Avenue, also called Red Arrow Road, between 259th and 260th streets was wiped out by the flooding in September southwest of Mitchell. Matt Gade / Republic
The bridge along 406th Avenue, also called Red Arrow Road, between 259th and 260th streets was wiped out by the flooding in September southwest of Mitchell. Matt Gade / Republic

Gov. Kristi Noem said Monday that President Donald Trump approved a presidential disaster declaration for September storm damage done in South Dakota, including the three tornadoes that struck Sioux Falls and the extreme flooding in communities such as Madison and Mitchell.

The declaration, which includes both individual and public assistance, covers the period of Sept. 9-Sept. 26. Preliminary assessments total at least $17 million in requested federal assistance.

“This is good news for South Dakota communities, and I’m grateful to President Trump for responding so quickly,” Noem said. “Every aspect of our South Dakota way of life has been impacted by this year’s devastating storms. We have a long way to go, but this will be helpful as we rebuild and recover.”

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• DNR advises people to stay off the ice

Unseasonably cold weather means ice making has begun on many lakes across the state, but Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officers advise people to stay off of the still-forming ice.

That’s because ice thickness is highly variable and subject to the whims of Mother Nature. Emergency responders already have responded to incidents where anglers have fallen through thin ice or been stranded on ice sheets that broke off from the shoreline due to heavy wind.

Anglers and others who recreate on the ice should stay on shore until there’s at least 4 inches of new, clear ice. Anytime people are on the ice, they should check its thickness every 150 feet.

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• Gov. Walz urges collaboration in lakes area visit

Gov. Tim Walz speaks Monday, Nov. 18, to the Minnesota Rural Education Association Conference at Cragun's Resort on Gull Lake in East Gull Lake. Walz, a former teacher, talks about his plans for education and his emphasis on bridging the achievement gap between white students and students of color. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch
Gov. Tim Walz speaks Monday, Nov. 18, to the Minnesota Rural Education Association Conference at Cragun's Resort on Gull Lake in East Gull Lake. Walz, a former teacher, talks about his plans for education and his emphasis on bridging the achievement gap between white students and students of color. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

For a state that prides itself on its emphasis on academia and largely positive record for education, Minnesota’s achievement gap between white students and students of color has been a growing concern for decades.

And, as far as Gov. Tim Walz is concerned, meeting the needs of non-white students being left behind isn’t just a moral imperative, it’s one that will have resonating implications for decades to come. Walz also took aim at disparities between rural and urban students, as well as students from struggling economic backgrounds compared to their more fortunate peers.

“We have no choice but to move toward the future,” Walz said during his address Monday, Nov. 18, to the Minnesota Rural Education Association Conference at Cragun’s Resort on Gull Lake. “We have a really strong economy, but the horizon looks a little bit challenging because we don’t have the workforce. Here’s a statistic for you: 70% of the workforce over the next 20 years will come from communities of color. We can’t afford to have the nation’s largest achievement gap.”

Read more from Brainerd Dispatch