News & Articles

  • 19 Jul 2019 7:00 AM | John MacKenzie

    Par Aide Products Co. Acquires FusionCast

    Lino Lakes, MN – June 17, 2019 – Par Aide Products Co, (Par Aide), the worldwide leading manufacturer of golf course accessories, announced that it has acquired FusionCast, a custom engineered metal signage casting company located in Cambridge, Ontario (Canada). The purchase adds to Par Aide’s line of golf course accessories designed to assist golf course management around the world in creating the ideal experience for golfers. 

    “The acquisition of FusionCast is a perfect fit for Par Aide and gives us incredible opportunities to further support our customers branding of their facilities by equipping their courses with the revolutionary and patented signage that FusionCast has invented.” Said Dan Brown, Sales & Marketing Manager at Par Aide. “FusionCast’s proprietary process of casting bronze and aluminum signs is done by “fusing” metal to high-density urethane, creating an elegant product that mimics solid metal, but with added benefits only available through FusionCast. This unique process is a more economical alternative to cast metal products, lighter and easier to ship, eco-friendly and offers a durability equal to that solid bronze and aluminum.” 

    To ensure the highest level of customer service and quality control, Par Aide will be moving the assets and casting process of the Canadian based company to their world headquarters in Lino Lakes, MN. 

    About Par Aide 

    Since 1955, Par Aide has been providing superior golf course accessories "Wherever Golf is Played." The family-owned company offers a full line of premium golf course accessories, including tee, green and practice area products, tools, and signage. Headquartered in Lino Lakes, Minn., with warehouses also located in Holland and Singapore, Par Aide distributes products to golf courses through a worldwide network of dealers. For more information, visit www.paraide.com

    About FusionCast 

    Since 2008, FusionCast has been providing an alternative to traditional foundry produced cast bronze and aluminum signs and plaques with a proprietary technology that fuses metal with high-density urethane. With clientele reaching golf courses across the globe, FusionCast products have become a top choice for complete club signage solutions. For more information visit www.fusioncast.com 

  • 08 Jul 2019 7:18 AM | John MacKenzie

    On July 4th, Donnacha and Holly O’Connor received a phone call that no parent ever wants to receive – “your daughter has been involved in a serious accident!”
    Onna O’Connor, their 20 year-old daughter was involved in a terrible motor scooter accident in Thailand. While visiting near Ko Samui, Thailand she was thrown from the motor scooter she was riding and suffered a number of serious injuries including:
    ·     Fractured skull
    ·     Fractured vertebrae
    ·     Broken ribs
    ·     Punctured lung
    ·     Liver and kidney damage
    ·     Facial lacerations
    ·     Significant road rash
    She has been in the Intensive Care Unit at Bangkok Hospital Samui and received blood transfusions and, fortunately, has somewhat stabilized. 
    Onna has a long recovery ahead and will certainly need significant healing thoughts and prayers. Onna is expected to be in the hospital for the next couple weeks and, due to her injuries, she will not be able to travel home for two to three months.   
    Her father, Donnacha, flew to Thailand and has been with her for the past couple days.  Her mother, Holly, is hoping to fly to Thailand in the days ahead so Donnacha can return to work and care for their other two daughters while Holly is with Onna during her recovery. 
    The O’Connor family will incur a significant financial burden as Onna recovers in Thailand prior to healing enough to travel home to Minnesota.  

    Please help the O’Connor family and make a monetary donation to assist them as Onna recovers in order to come home to her family and friends!

    Wee One has also been notified for their support.

    Link to GoFundMe support opportunity

  • 25 Jun 2019 8:33 AM | John MacKenzie


    This document constitutes guidance on general rights and responsibilities of employers and employees and related issues pursuant to Minneapolis Code of Ordinances Title 2, Chapter 40, Article IV (Municipal Minimum Wage Ordinance).

    This document is intended to provide the public with information about how The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights (“the Department”) may guide its personnel in processing and investigating charges and interpreting the Municipal Minimum Wage Ordinance.

    Effective Date: The Municipal Minimum Wage Ordinance takes effect Jan. 1, 2018. Frequently Asked Questions were most recently revised December 1, 2017.

    Scope: This document provides general information and guidance on the implementation and enforcement of the City’s Municipal Minimum Wage Ordinance. Employers and employees may have additional rights under other local, state, or federal laws. This guidance does not address employer or employee rights or obligations with respect to these other laws.

    1.) Q: What is the minimum wage ordinance?
    The minimum wage ordinance sets a new hourly minimum wage standard for work performed

    in Minneapolis.

    Find the City of Minneapolis geographical boundaries here:

    http://cityoflakes.maps.arcgis.com/apps/PublicGallery/map.html?appid=4172cd1ed97749a6a4623dd7a a5a246f&webmap=0e9be43abc834e85bc6ad003d9358c76

    Find out if an address is inside or outside of Minneapolis here:


    Department of Civil Rights

    350 S. Fifth St. - Room 239 Minneapolis, MN 55415

    TEL: 311 or 612.673.3012

    2.) Q: What are wages?

    A: Wages include salary, hourly pay, piece rate pay, commissions, and non-discretionary performance bonuses. Tips and employer payments toward medical benefits plans are not wages.

    The costs of the following items are not considered wages: 1) uniforms or specially designed clothing required by an employer which is not appropriate for use except in that employment; 2) equipment used in the course of employment, except tools of a trade, a motor vehicle, or other equipment which may be used outside the employment; 3) consumable supplies required in the course of the employment; or 4) or travel expenses in the course of employment, except for those incurred in traveling to or from the employee’s residence. An employer may not deduct these items from an employee’s paycheck if those deductions reduce the employee’s wages below minimum wage.

    Employers found to have implemented a system of excessive payroll deductions for the purpose of circumventing the minimum wage law may be found to be in violation of the ordinance.

    3.) Q: What is an hour for purposes of the minimum wage law?
    Employees must be paid for all time for which the employee performed work for the

    employer’s benefit.

    4.) Q: Do tips count toward the minimum wage?

    A: Tips and gratuities do not affect the new minimum wage owed to employees. No employer may directly or indirectly credit, apply, or utilize gratuities towards payment of the minimum wage.


    Tina is a server at a restaurant in Minneapolis. On average, she receives about $8 an hour in tips. Does that count towards the minimum wage her employer must pay her? No, it does not. The employer must pay her at least the minimum wage--not counting tips or gratuities.

    Note: State law regulates “tip pooling.” Please see http://www.dli.mn.gov/ls/TipsCredit.asp or contact the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry for information on compliance with State law.

    5.) Q: Who is considered an employee subject to the minimum wage ordinance?

    A: An employee is any person who performs work for an employer for compensation, unless otherwise excluded by the ordinance. Persons who are exempt from the state minimum wage under Minnesota Statute Section 177.23 (the state minimum wage law) are also exempt from the Minneapolis minimum wage. Additionally, a) independent contractors and b) certain workers participating in a Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development program for persons with disabilities are also exempt from the minimum wage ordinance. Note: The definition of employee in the Minneapolis Minimum Wage Ordinance is not the same as the definition of employee in the Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time Ordinance.

    6.) Q: Do part-time, seasonal, or temporary personnel count as employees?

    A: Yes. Full-time, part-time, seasonal, and temporary staff, and persons who are jointly employed by one or more employers (e.g. employees hired through the services of a staffing agency or similar entity) can all be employees, if they fall into the definition above.

    7.) Q: What is an independent contractor?

    A: Simply labeling someone an independent contractor does not make it so. Whether a person is an ‘independent contractor’ is determined on a case-by-case basis based upon a variety of facts, including but not limited to, the extent to which the independent contractor retains supervision, direction, and control over the work and the means to complete it. For more information about what makes an employee an ‘independent contractor’, please see the State of Minnesota Administrative Rules part 5200.0221, available here: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/rules/?id=5200.0221.

    8.) Q: What if employees based outside of Minneapolis pass through Minneapolis as part of their job?

    A: The minimum wage does not apply to workers who pass through Minneapolis without making any work-related stops.

    9.) Q: What if an employee based outside of Minneapolis works within Minneapolis on an occasional basis?

    A: If an employee works two or more hours within the City in a particular week, the employee must be paid at least the minimum wage for the time worked within the City. Employees who work less than two hours in a particular week within the City are not covered by the ordinance.

    10.) Q: Does the ordinance apply to an employer who isn’t located in Minneapolis but has an employee performing work in Minneapolis?

    A: Regardless of where an employer is located, it must pay at least the Minneapolis minimum wage rate, for time worked in the City of Minneapolis, to any employee who performs at least two hours of work in a calendar week within the City of Minneapolis. For purposes of this rule, a calendar week runs from Monday to Sunday.

    11.) Q: How does an employer know how much time an employee spends working within the City limits?

    A: An employer may make a reasonable estimate of an employee’s time spent working in the City for purposes of determining if any employee has performed at least two hours of work in a calendar week within the City. Documentation of how the reasonable estimate was derived may include, but is not limited to, dispatch logs, delivery addresses and standard estimated travel times, or historical averages. Smart phone apps also exist for the purpose of GPS location and payroll time tracking.

    12.) Q: How much is the Minneapolis minimum wage?

    A: Until July 1, 2024, the minimum wage rate depends upon an employer’s size, as defined by total number of workers. See questions 13, 14, and 15 below. The required minimum wage rate will increase until reaching $15 and then continue increasing yearly to account for inflation. Here is a schedule of the initial increases:

    Jan. 1, 2018 July 1, 2019 July 1, 2021 Jan. 1, 2023 Jan. 1, 2024

    13.) Q: What

    Large business

    Increase indexed to inflation Increase indexed to inflation

    Small business

    $11 $12.50

    July 1, 2018

    $11.25 $10.25

    July 1, 2020

    $13.25 $11.75

    July 1, 2022

    $15 $13.50

    July 1, 2023


    July 1, 2024

    Equal to large business

    is a “large business” under the minimum wage ordinance?

    A: “Large business” means all employers that had more than one hundred (100) persons performing work for compensation in the previous calendar year. To calculate the size of a business, please see question 15.

    14.) Q: What is a “small business” under the minimum wage ordinance?

    A: “Small business” means all employers that had one hundred (100) or fewer persons performing work for compensation in the previous calendar year. To calculate the size of a business, please see question 15.

    15.) Q: How do I determine my business size under the minimum wage ordinance?

    A: To determine an employer’s size, count the total number of persons performing work for compensation. Add each person per week for each week of the previous calendar year and divide by 52. Include full-time, part-time, jointly-employed, paid interns, seasonal, and temporary workers, no matter where they are located. This calculation determines whether an employer is considered “large” or “small” for purposes of the ordinance (see questions 13 and 14). If an employer is a franchise or a full-service restaurant, see questions 18 and 19 below.

    Scenario (a):

    Robot World, a business in Minneapolis, employed 30 full-time workers, 22 part-time workers, and two temp workers each week last year. Robot World averaged a total of 54 (30 + 22 + 2) workers per week. It is a “small business” for purposes of the minimum wage ordinance because 54 is less than 100. (See also, question 14.)

    Scenario (b):

    Tree World is a business in Minneapolis. It is open all year round, but there is a lot of variation in the number of persons working during the year. For 12 weeks of the year, it employs 150 full-time workers. During the slowest 10 weeks, it only employs 25. For the remaining 30 weeks, it employs 50 workers.

    Tree World has to do some math. It looks like this:

    12 weeks x 150 workers = 1,800 10 weeks x 25 workers = 250
    30 weeks x 50 workers = 1,500

    1,800 + 250 + 1,500 = 3,550

    Divide 3,550 by 52 (weeks in a year) to get the average number of employees, like this: 3,550 / 52 = 68.27 employees (weekly average for one year)

    Because 68.27 is less than 100, Tree World is a “small business” under the minimum wage ordinance. (See also, question 14.)

    16.) Q: For purposes of determining business size, do owners or members of boards count?

    A: In most circumstances, individuals who are proprietors, partners, officers, members of boards of directors, or major shareholders are not counted. However masking a worker with one of these titles does not prevent them from qualifying as workers, and the following factors can be considered:

    • Whether and, if so, to what extent the organization supervises the individual's work

    • Whether the individual reports to someone higher in the organization

    • To what extent the individual is able to influence the organization

    • Whether the parties intended that the individual be an employee, as expressed in

      written agreements or contracts

    • Whether the individual shares in the profits, losses, and liabilities of the organization

    20.) Q: I am part of a city-approved training or apprenticeship program. Does the minimum wage apply to me, too?

    A: Yes it does apply, but there are some special considerations. For city-approved training and apprenticeship programs, employers must pay employees under the age of twenty (20) not less than eighty-five (85) percent of the minimum wage rate, rounded up to the nearest nickel, for the first 90 days of employment. After the first 90 days, the employer must pay no less than the applicable minimum wage rate.


    Jade, age 18, just started work at a city-approved training program at a large business in Minneapolis. What is the minimum wage the employer must pay Jade?

    On Jan.1, 2018, the minimum wage for large businesses will be $10 an hour. For Jade’s first 90 days at the training program, the employer must pay her at least $8.50 an hour (or 85 percent of the applicable minimum wage). After 90 days, the employer must pay her at least $10 an hour (the applicable minimum wage rate for large employers in 2018).

    21.) Q: How does an employer become a city-approved training or apprenticeship program (for the purposes of the Minneapolis Minimum Wage Ordinance)?

    A: Applications are available to download at http://minimumwage.minneapolismn.gov/employer-resources.html. Any employer may apply to become a city-approved training or apprenticeship program (for purposes of the Minneapolis Minimum Wage Ordinance) by completing an application and emailing it to minwage@minneapolismn.gov. Applicants will receive confirmation of their submission and directions regarding any next steps within several business days. Applications are evaluated by the Minneapolis Department of Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED).

    Criteria for approved youth training programs is developed by CPED and approved by the city's Workforce Investment Board with input from current service providers. A complete listing of the criteria is available online at http://minimumwage.minneapolismn.gov/employer- resources.html. The criteria should be reviewed by applicants before submitting an application.

    Note: a listing of all city-approved training or apprenticeship programs is also available for download at http://minimumwage.minneapolismn.gov/employer-resources.html.

    22.) Q: Does the minimum wage law apply regardless of an employee’s Immigration status?

    A: Employees are covered under the minimum wage ordinance regardless of their immigration status. The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights will process an employee's report of suspected violation without regard to his or her immigration status. An employee filing a report will not be questioned about his or her immigration status. Additionally, if an employer were to suggest to a person that, if they file a wage claim or complaint, the employer will report suspected citizenship or immigration status of an employee or a family member to a government agency, this would be considered retaliation, which is also a violation of the ordinance.

    23.) Q: Can minimum wage requirements be waived by an employee or her representative? A: No.
    24.) Q: Are collective bargaining agreements exempt?

    A: No. Employers operating under a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) must pay all employees at least the minimum hourly wage.

    25.) Q: Are employers required to post notices for employees?

    A: Yes. Employers must display a workplace notice poster within each of their facilities in Minneapolis in a visible and accessible location. The poster should be displayed where employees can easily read it. Employers must display the poster in English and in each of the primary language(s) spoken by employees at the particular workplace, if published by the Department. Please find notice posters in a variety of languages here: http://minimumwage.minneapolismn.gov/employer-resources.html.

    26.) Q: What documents are employers required to keep?

    A: Employers are required to keep records showing the wages paid to each employee and the number of hours worked by each employee for at least three years. Employers must allow employees to see these records on request. Employers must also allow the Civil Rights

    Department (“Department”) to inspect these records on request to monitor compliance with the law.

    27.) Q: If an employee believes an employer failed to pay at least the minimum wage rate, may the employee file a report?

    A: Any employee or person may report an alleged violation of the Ordinance, using the Department’s “Report of Violation” form, to the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights Labor Standards Enforcement Division online at minimumwage.minneapolismn.gov or in person at Minneapolis City Hall room 239.

    “Report of Violation” forms may also be requested and returned by U.S. mail or email. For more information (or to report anonymously), call 311 or email minwage@minneapolismn.gov.

    28.) Q: How will the minimum wage ordinance be enforced by the City?

    A: Enforcement of the ordinance is the responsibility of the Director of the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights. Enforcement is complaint based; however the Department also has broad authority to proactively investigate possible violations and issue fines as necessary to gain compliance.

    As in other types of labor law enforcement, compliance reviews and investigations may be utilized to identify all affected employees and protect the anonymity of complainants. Damages and civil penalties will be imposed to make employees whole. Administrative fines may also be imposed. Repeat or intentional violators will receive harsher penalties.

    Violations of the ordinance may also result in license sanctions, up to and including revocation of a business license by the City of Minneapolis. All legal options and penalties to gain compliance, including enforcement in a court of law, will be considered.

    29.) Q: I want to report a violation, but I’m afraid of retaliation. What should I do?

    A: Retaliation against an employee for exercising or attempting to exercise any rights available under the Municipal Minimum Wage Ordinance is strictly prohibited. Material changes in job duties or hours, formal disciplinary action such as documented warnings, or employment termination may be considered retaliatory. Aggressive enforcement to protect employees’ rights will be pursued by the Department in these types of cases.

    30.) Q: Where can I get more information?
    Online: minimumwage.minneapolismn.gov Phone: (612) 673-3000 (311) or (612) 673-2157 (TTY)

    Email: minwage@minneapolismn.gov
    Labor Standards Enforcement Division staff in the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights will promptly respond to concerns, provide technical assistance, or answer questions from anyone.

  • 01 May 2019 5:41 AM | John MacKenzie


    Contact Information: 

    EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov

    WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking an important step in the agency’s review of glyphosate. As part of this action, EPA continues to find that there are no risks to public health when glyphosate is used in accordance with its current label and that glyphosate is not a carcinogen. The agency’s scientific findings on human health risk are consistent with the conclusions of science reviews by many other countries and other federal agencies. While the agency did not identify public health risks in the 2017 human health risk assessment, the 2017 ecological assessment did identify ecological risks. To address these risks, EPA is proposing management measures to help farmers target pesticide sprays on the intended pest, protect pollinators, and reduce the problem of weeds becoming resistant to glyphosate.

    “EPA has found no risks to public health from the current registered uses of glyphosate,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Today’s proposed action includes new management measures that will help farmers use glyphosate in the most effective and efficient way possible, including pollinator protections. We look forward to input from farmers and other stakeholders to ensure that the draft management measures are workable, realistic, and effective.”

    “If we are going to feed 10 billion people by 2050, we are going to need all the tools at our disposal, which includes the use the glyphosate,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said. “USDA applauds EPA’s proposed registration decision as it is science-based and consistent with the findings of other regulatory authorities that glyphosate does not pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans.”

    Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in U.S. agriculture and has been studied for decades.  Glyphosate is used on more than 100 food crops, including glyphosate-resistant corn, soybean, cotton, canola and sugar beet. Non-agricultural uses include residential areas, aquatic areas, forests, rights of way, ornamentals and turf. 

    Once the Federal Register notice publishes, the public will be able to submit comments on EPA’s proposed decision at www.regulations.govin docket # EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0361. Public comments will be due 60 days after the date of publication in Federal Register. EPA’s responses to the comments received on the draft ecological and human health risk assessments and the benefits assessment will be in the docket.

    For more information about glyphosate, including today’s proposed interim decision and supporting documents, visit: https://www.epa.gov/ingredients-used-pesticide-products/glyphosate.

    The glyphosate draft risk assessments and supporting documents can be found at: https://www.epa.gov/ingredients-used-pesticide-products/draft-human-health-and-ecological-risk-assessments-glyphosate.

  • 30 Apr 2019 5:08 AM | John MacKenzie

    Briana Bierschbach April 12, 2019

    Minnesota joined 17 states and the District of Columbia on Friday in requiring drivers have their cellphones in hands-free mode while their vehicle is moving. 

    Gov. Tim Walz signed the bill in a ceremony on Friday surrounded by family members who lost loved ones to distracted drivers and have been pushing for nearly two decades to change the law.

    But there’s still work ahead: the Department of Public Safety, law enforcement and the families are launching a public education campaign to make sure Minnesotans have heard about the new law before it goes into effect in August. 

    Here’s a primer on what you can — and more importantly, can’t — do under the new law. 

    Under the new law, what can’t you do? 

    It was already illegal in Minnesota for drivers send text messages and emails while driving, as well as access or browse the internet, but phone calls were allowed if the driver wasn’t distracted. Under the new law, drivers can send messages or place calls while driving only if their device is in hands-free or voice-activated mode. The law makes an exception for emergency calls.

    The new law also means things like manually punching in a phone number or an address into a navigation app are not OK, as well as scrolling through a list of contacts or text messages. Hands-free technology, such as Bluetooth, allows a driver to do these things without actually holding their phone. 

    After August 1 police can stop anyone they see holding a phone while driving. 

    What about my GPS device? Can I use that? 

    Yes, the bill does make an exception for GPS devices that are solely used for navigation purposes. But since scrolling is still prohibited, drivers should have their addresses punched in before the vehicle starts moving. 

    What if I can make calls through my vehicle? Is that allowed? 

    The bill does make an exception for devices that are affixed or physically integrated into a vehicle. 

    Can I still listen to a podcast on my phone while driving? 

    You’re still allowed to stream a podcast from your phone, but make sure you’ve opened up your podcast app, picked the one you want to listen to and press play before you start moving in the vehicle. Don’t go searching for the In the Dark podcast while your vehicle is moving. 

    So, can I receive and send text messages as long as I’m not touching my phone? 

    The bill does not specifically ban voice-to-texting, which are text messages that are read to you by your phone or software in your car. Some lawmakers have expressed concerns about this because there’s no indication that a text was sent with voice or manually, meaning officers could pull someone over and have no indication that they weren’t touching their phone. 

    Can I pick up my phone to make a call while I’m at a stoplight? 

    No: You are still technically operating a motor vehicle even while you’re stopped in traffic or at a red light. 

    What about tucking the phone into a hijab or scarf wrapped around your head? 

    Despite an amendment explicitly allowing this practice added to the Senate bill, that provision was taken out of the bill in negotiations with the House. Law enforcement has argued it’s not necessary because it won’t violate the law if the phone is in hands-free mode and if people are not handling the phone between conversations.

    What’s the penalty if I get caught?

    The penalty for violating the law is a petty misdemeanor, carrying a $50 fine for the first violation and a $275 fine for subsequent violations.

    • 23 Apr 2019 8:33 AM | John MacKenzie

      By DAVE ORRICK | dorrick@pioneerpress.com | Pioneer Press

      PUBLISHED: April 22, 2019 at 5:01 pm | UPDATED: April 22, 2019 at 5:18 pm

      The Minnesota Court of Appeals has overturned a court decision regarding White Bear Lake’s fluctuating water levels.

      Monday’s decision — split 2-1 by a panel of three appellate judges — is a victory for the Department of Natural Resources and local municipalities and a loss for property owners and residents who believe the state has hurt the lake by allowing too much water to be pumped out of the ground.

      The issue of the lake’s water levels might have lost some of the urgency it once had, as water levels have rebounded recently. But the case is hardly over, and its implications are far-reaching.


      The immediate impact is this: Nothing happens.

      In 2017, following a trial, Ramsey County Judge Margaret Marrinan ruled in favor of the property owners in a sweeping decision that said the DNR had shirked its duty to protect groundwater, put a freeze on new groundwater pumping permits within five miles of the lake, raised the specter of future water restrictions, and seemed to set a path toward many communities switching to surface water, probably via the Mississippi River. (A plan in the Legislature to fund that transition has never gained enough traction to become law.)

      Monday’s reversal of Marrinan’s decision means that’s all on hold.

      An attorney for the property owners said they’ll appeal Monday’s decision to the Minnesota Supreme Court.


      Assuming the Supreme Court takes up the case — and attorneys on both sides believe that’s likely — critical statewide questions of groundwater sustainability could be answered once and for all.

      Among those critical questions:

      ·       What happens when we — as a society — pump too much water from underground wells? Arguably, that’s what has happened around White Bear Lake, which can actually have water sucked out of it via underground aquifers from miles away. The wells tap into those aquifers, but water from the lake can actually come out the tap, scientists have discovered.

      ·       Does the DNR have a duty to protect groundwater in the same way that it protects surface water? Marrinan essentially said that it does, but the majority of the appellate panel said groundwater is different because it’s not publicly owned.

      ·       What if the DNR fails to enforce existing environmental-protection laws? Can the public sue the agency over that? The property owners did, but the appellate panel ruled that they can’t. Not in a wholesale way. Instead, the judges sided with the DNR’s argument that people who object must object to each individual water permit.


      Marrinan retired after reaching her 2017 decision but came out of retirement last year to hear a post-verdict request by the DNR to stay the decision.

      She rejected that request in a stern rebuke of the agency.

      “For more than 20 years the leadership of the DNR has failed to discharge its clearly defined duties by ignoring them,” Marrinan wrote. She added that “the DNR’s lengthy past history of failing to comply with state laws and rules designed to protect the environment is stunning.”

      In Monday’s reversal, the appellate court concluded Marrinan had made two errors. The DNR had lodged nine objections, but once the appellate court majority determined those two errors, the other seven became irrelevant, legally, and the case was reversed and remanded.

      Here are the two errors, according to Monday’s decision, written by Judge John Rodenberg.


      Marrinan had found the DNR violated what’s known as the “public-trust doctrine” by not protecting White Bear Lake and the Prairie du Chien Jordan Aquifer, an ancient underground waterway that is connected to the lake.

      The public trust doctrine is a principle of common law, adhered to throughout the United States, that holds that natural resources, such as wildlife, rivers and lakes, are owned by everyone. Thus, the government must protect them.

      It can be a bit amorphous when it comes to applying specific laws, and in Monday’s decision,  Rodenberg concluded: “In Minnesota, the common-law public-trust doctrine applies to navigable
      waters and does not apply to groundwater withdrawals.”

      Unlike navigable waters, he said, groundwater rights are tied to private property ownership, much like mineral rights. Groundwater has never been held in the public trust in Minnesota, he said, and the appellate court isn’t the proper body to change that.

      “To extend the reach of the public-trust doctrine to groundwater would vest in the state ‘absolute title’ in essentially all groundwater, and would run contrary to the entire history of Minnesota law concerning groundwater.”

      However, he noted, the state Supreme Court could conceivably change that.


      Judge Diane Bratvold wrote a lengthy dissent to Monday’s opinion that is likely to be seized upon by property owners in their appeal.

      In it, she said the public-trust doctrine has — and should — apply in the White Bear Lake case.

      That’s because, Bratvold wrote, the pumping of groundwater around White Bear Lake can harm the lake itself — and the lake is clearly held in the public trust.


      The second error the appeals court found was largely a procedural one: Because the issue here is permitted water pumping, the remedy is in challenging each of those permits — not suing the agency in court.

      In some ways, it’s simply a technical reading of the state’s Environmental Rights Act.

      Chad Lemmons, an attorney representing White Bear Township, applauded the decision. State law allows, he noted, for the creation of water-management districts, which provide another layer of input for the DNR when considering water permits. The DNR used that law to create one of the first such districts in the state surrounding White Bear Lake.

      But the Minnesota Environmental Protection Act — and its portion that allows anyone in Minnesota to sue over an alleged violation — is widely recognized in the environmental community as being a bedrock principle.

      In her dissent, Bratvold said that what the property owners did — sue the DNR to get the agency to follow a state law — “is consistent with MERA’s purpose, which the supreme court has described as promoting citizen action.”


      Katie Crosby Lehmann, an attorney representing the property owners, said that they’ll appeal and that it’s appropriate the case reach the state’s highest court.

      “Of course we’re disappointed,” Crosby Lehmann said Monday. “But this is an issue that everyone should want to get decided by the Minnesota Supreme Court because it’s about sustainable-water issues.”


      Barb Naramore, DNR deputy commissioner, issued a statement Monday that didn’t get into the merits of either side in the case.  But she defended the DNR, saying the agency has improved its understanding of how the lake is affected by groundwater pumping.

      “In October 2018, the DNR published an extensive sustainability analysis using a new, state-of-the-art groundwater model,” the statement read, in part. “That model indicated that current groundwater use in the White Bear Lake area meets state sustainability standards, but also that current use patterns can impact recreational uses of the lake under some conditions. The DNR will use this analysis, and other available information, in further reviewing the matter upon remand pursuant to today’s Appeals Court ruling.”

    • 15 Apr 2019 9:38 AM | John MacKenzie


      From the GCSAA:

      Tips For Spring Lawn Prep

      April 5th, 10:49 AM CDT by Ryan Sjoberg


      It's that time of the year again as some locals are getting antsy to get out and do a little yard work.

      However, most of the area soil still isn't warm enough to do everything the average home owner would like.

      For example, it's too early to fertilize, cultivate or seed.

      Now would be the perfect time to get the yard ready for those tasks and prepare it properly.

      "Rake up some of those matted down leaves," said Mankato Golf Club Superintendent Fred Taylor. "If there are any snow mold, which you would see is a white furry matter on top of the leaves, and then also look for any vole damage, some people call them snow mice, get that stuff raked up and then take an assessment of what you got out there that you may need to work on in the future."

      Taylor went on to add that the prime time to plant your garden is between April 15th and May 15th depending on the kind of plant it is.

    • 10 Apr 2019 4:02 PM | John MacKenzie

      Winter injury on turfgrass is one of the most challenging, and poorly understood, aspects of managing turfgrass in northern climates. A team of researchers from six universities (University of Minnesota, Michigan State University, University of Wisconsin, University of Massachusetts, Rutgers University, and Iowa State University), as well as turfgrass scientists from the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, are submitting a grant proposal to the USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative to help fund critical turfgrass winter injury research. Our objectives include monitoring conditions under ice and snow cover, developing best management practices to prevent and recover from winter injury, breeding more winter hardy turfgrass species, and exploring alternative snow mold control strategies. 

      However, we need your help. As part of our project we are proposing to collect environmental conditions during the winter on hundreds of golf courses throughout the winter. Your participation in this project would help in two ways. First, you would be providing important data for improved winter injury management for your golf course. Second, your donation of time would also be contributing towards our matching funds requirement for the proposal. The USDA requires that for every $1 we get in funding from them, we need to raise $1 in matching funding or in-kind donations (i.e. people’s time) from other sources. 

      Below is a description of what a commitment to help out with this would look like. Your commitment to this project is needed before we submit the grant (due in late April), but you will only need to take the measurements if we receive the grant. We should know if the grant is awarded by mid-summer of 2019. 

      How you can help 

      We need you to commit at least one hour per week from Oct 15, 2019 through May 15, 2020 to collect data on a golf green on your course. This would be the minimum we need. If you are interested in taking data on more than one green, or for a second year, all the better! 

      What are you committing to do? 

      Before and after winter (approximately Oct. 15 and May 15) you would estimate visually the percent annual bluegrass and creeping bentgrass (or other desired turf species) on the green, and send in some pictures of the green. Between these dates, you would visit the green each week and record information such as the following: (1) snow depth at 10 locations on the green, (2) presence of standing water, and (3) presence and thickness of ice. 

      How does this help superintendents? 

      The data collected on (hopefully) hundreds of golf greens across the northern U.S., Canada, and Scandinavia will help us better understand how golf greens (and turf in general) die during the winter. This information then can be used to design and test new turfgrass management strategies before, during, and after winter. We will also use data you collect, along with satellite imagery and weather data, to help build a sensor-based winter-stress damage prediction model that can help turfgrass managers identify times of greatest turf injury risk. Turfgrass breeders can also use these results to better target traits that are affecting winter performance and biosystems experts can develop low-cost sensors that help monitor winter stresses as they are occurring. 

      Submitting a letter of commitment 

      To show your commitment to our project, we need a letter to include with the grant proposal by the end of the day April 15, 2019. We have provided a letter template (Word document) to use to write your letter. The following elements must be included: 

      1. Address letter to: Eric Watkins 

      University of Minnesota 

      1970 Folwell Ave. 

      St. Paul, MN 55108 

      2. The title of the project “WinterTurf: A holistic approach to understanding the mechanisms and mitigating the effects of winter stress on turfgrasses in northern climates” 

      3. Your name and role at your facility 

      4. The name and location (city, state) of your course 

      5. How many hours you are willing to commit to this project each week during the evaluation period. One green (the minimum commitment) will take about one hour, so you should also state the number of greens you are willing to monitor. For example, “I commit to monitoring 1 green during the evaluation period. I estimate that this will take 1 hour per week for each of the 30 weeks.” 

      6. The “cost” of doing this, which would be your hourly rate and cost of benefits (fringe). If you make $25/hr with a fringe benefit rate of 18%, you would state, “This contribution is valued at $29.50/h.” and calculate the total amount contributed (see letter template). Please note that we will keep this information private and it will only be viewed by the project lead and the panel reviewing the proposal. 

      7. Address and phone number 

      8. Signature 

      9. (Optional) It would be great if you could share an example of winter damage on your course, the impact it had, etc. and any other thoughts you have about the value of this project. Statements such as these establish the critical need for the research by our stakeholders. 

      We would prefer that the letter be signed and then scanned/saved as a pdf and emailed to Kristine Moncada at monc0003@umn.edu. If you need help or would prefer to send the letter another way, please contact her. 

      We need these letters by April 15, 2019. If funded, we will send further instructions for how to submit data using your phone or other device. 

      Thank you for your help on this project. 

      Dr. Eric Watkins 

      University of Minnesota 

    • 05 Apr 2019 2:24 PM | John MacKenzie

      MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Turf and Grounds Foundation (MTGF) is proud to announce that it is donating $104,475 towards Minnesota Turf and Grounds research. Since 1992, the Minnesota Turf and Grounds Foundation has donated $1,650,516 towards turf and grounds research.

      In March, the MTGF Board of Directors approved four funding requests at its March Board Meeting. The Board approved a donation of $65,000 towards TROE Center operations at its March Board Meeting. The Board feels the continued research at TROE Center is very beneficial for Minnesota turf managers. 

      The MTGF Board approved a MTGF donation of $34,475 towards Teaching, Research, and Outreach Programs at the Urban Forestry, Outreach, Research & Extension (UFore) Nursery and Lab. The funds will go towards Youth Engagement ($7,250); Conservation ($9,975); UM Elm Selection ($6,250); UM ESP Research ($5,500), and Pruning ($5,500).

      For a second year, the MTGF Board approved a $5,000 for students at the University of Minnesota/ Crookston to continue to work on a Pre-Game Agronomic Field Safety Assessment for Sports Fields: Future Implications of Risk Management. Field safety is a concern. This research and information will benefit sports field managers.

      The mission of the Minnesota Turf and Grounds Foundation is to promote the green industry in Minnesota through support of research, education and outreach at the University of Minnesota and elsewhere. The MTGF pursues its mission in various ways. One of these is an annual "Call For Proposals," titled the "MTGF Research Gift Program," whereby researchers, instructors and outreach faculty and staff involved in turf and grounds work may submit requests for unrestricted gifts to support their activities. As a 501(c)(3) corporation, funding approved by the MTGF will not be subjected to overhead or other indirect charges or costs. The dates for submission, review and approval may change on an annual basis as well as the protocol stipulated for the submission of gift requests.

      For more information about the Minnesota Turf and Grounds Foundation, visit www.mtgf.org or contact the MTGF Business Office at 763-703-4983.

    • 15 Mar 2019 9:17 AM | John MacKenzie
      • ·      Would you like to have a blast with industry colleagues?
      • ·      How about enjoy incredible food?
      • ·      Want to receive awesome tournament swag?
      • ·      Add to your resume?

      After hosting 18 3M Championships on the PGA Tour Champions we at TPC Twin Cities will be making the transition to the PGA Tour this summer and hosting the inaugural 3M Open.  Notable players already committed include Jason Day, Patrick Reed, Bryson Dechambeau, and Phil Mickelson.  We would not be able to produce the conditions we do tournament week with out the support of volunteers.  If you don’t feel that you can be here the entire week that’s ok, we are happy to have you for the time you are able to give.  If you would like to rotate shifts with another member of your crew that’s great as well.  If you both could just fill out the volunteer form by following the link at the bottom of the page.  It’s our privilege to have you as part of our team for the week and we will do everything we can to ensure you have an enjoyable and rewarding experience.  Thank you greatly for considering joining us and look forward to having you July 1st-7th.

      Volunteer Link


      Mark Michalski

      Golf Course Superintendent

      Cell: 763-442-7533

      Email: markmichalski@pgatourtpc.com

    Copyright © Minnesota Golf Course Superintendents Association, All rights reserved.

    Designed by Parsons Marketing Concepts

    PO Box 2028
    Maple Grove, MN 55311
    Office: 651- 324 - 8873

    Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software