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  • 12 Oct 2018 10:56 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    Is traditional college is an absolute must? Is a bachelor’s degree THAT important? Sure, everyone needs a skill to support themselves and their families, but do those skills need to come from training at expensive four-year universities. Here is why Trade School makes so much sense practically and financially.

    What is a Trade School?

    A post-secondary institution that’s designed to give students the technical skills to prepare for a specific occupationVocational degrees can lead to well-paying jobs like carpentry, HVAC, electrician, mechanic, machinist, pharmacy technician, nuclear technician, and dental hygienist, with room for growth and managerial potential in each field. Trade schools have smaller class sizes, averaging around 30 students.

    Get into the Workforce Quicker

    Programs can be completed in six weeks to two years. 

    Dollars and Sense

    Technical and trade school jobs have a median annual salary of $35,720, varies by industry - Construction mean wage in MN is $49,640.

    Tuition in Trade school runs, on average, around $33,000 from start to finish, with 100% acceptance rate.

    Job Security

    Trade school positions, ones that need a physical body present, are not easily filled by going elsewhere. Trade skill workers such as plumbers, mechanics, and electricians need to be available to work onsite; this type of work cannot be done via the Internet.

    Not only that, but there’s a growing domestic demand for high-precision skills. According to Forbes, skilled trade workers are a disproportionately older population, and will only continue to get older, creating increased opportunities for young workers to fill their shoes.

    Final Thoughts on Trade School vs. College

    If you’re a hands-on learner, excited by the prospects of getting out of the classroom and starting to work immediately after high school, trade school is a relatively inexpensive alternative education that may work well for you.

  • 11 Oct 2018 4:16 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    by  Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. is President of GraphsandLaughs, LLC 

    Over the past few decades, the term “gentrification,” i.e. high-income persons and households moving into poor minority neighborhoods, who, in doing so, push out significantly poorer lifelong residents, has become one of the most negatively loaded words in urban circles. Almost everyone has heard about a formerly inexpensive community that over a decade became very pricy and celebrated its recovery with the arrival of a Whole Foods selling overpriced kombucha and GMO-free produce. 

    As appealing and as plausible as this story may be, it’s an urban myth. The best empirical analyses conducted by urban economists have failed to detect a rise in displacements within gentrifying neighborhoods. This finding goes so much against conventional wisdom it seems impossible, but it’s true. As a matter of fact, researchers find that poor residents are more likely to stay put as their neighborhood improves. Moreover, the benefits of gentrification, in terms of reduced crime and better amenities, more employment opportunities, and reduced commutes are rarely, if ever, considered by naysayers.

    There are three primary reasons why many believe that the poor suffer when wealthier residents move in. The first is that while all Americans move quite a bit, on average about 11.5 times during their lifetime, not everyone moves an equal amount. For example, from 2012 to 2013, 28 million Americans over age 15 moved: 11% of the population. Among households with incomes over $100,000, the percentage that moved was just 7%, compared to 13% for those with incomes below $5,000 excluding government benefits. As a result, merely observing that there are fewer poor in a neighborhood in no way suggests that gentrification is to blame.    

    A second explanation is that poor neighborhoods have had so little investment for so long, there is considerable slack in both their residential and commercial property markets. In most middle- and upper-class neighborhoods, virtually all housing units, store fronts and office spaces are occupied. So, the arrival of a new household or business means the departure of another. But in poorer neighborhoods there are many vacant storefronts and apartments, so much so that relatively large numbers of wealthier households can move in and not push out existing residents or businesses. One study calculated that a low-income New York City neighborhood could go from a population that is 30% poor to 12% poor over a decade without displacing anyone. 

    Another reason the poor are not as adversely impacted as one would expect is that local governments often promote affordable housing programs such as rent control, inclusionary zoning, or other rent stabilization programs in neighborhoods that experience rapidly rising rents. Moreover, in neighborhoods experiencing rapid price appreciation, some market rate units are also built. Because of this increase in supply, rents rise less quickly.  

    Separately, but closely related to the above, many persons who bemoan gentrification simultaneously lament racial segregation and the lack of investment in non-white neighborhoods. The introduction of wealthier residents lessens the percentage of poor persons, and that has been shown to reduce teen pregnancy and incarceration rates and other such negative outcomes. Moreover, in these communities these improved social outcomes happen through market forces and frequently absent governmental intervention. To argue against gentrification is to encourage the status quo and insist that poor neighborhoods remain poor and segregated, and needlessly cut off from opportunity. 

    Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. is President of GraphsandLaughs, LLC and can be reached at Elliot@graphsandlaughs.net.  His daily 70-word economics and policy blog can be seen at www.econ70.com.  You can subscribe and have the blog delivered directly to your email by visiting the website or by texting the word “BOWTIE” to 22828.

  • 10 Oct 2018 1:30 PM | Miller (Administrator)

    1.  Governor's Task Force Report:  More New Housing Needed

    The Governor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability released its report titled “More Places to Call Home: Investing in Minnesota’s Future” on Aug. 21. Leading the recommendations included in the report is a call to build 300,000 new homes by 2030, create a regulatory review panel and address the industry- wide labor crisis.

    2.  MN Dept of Labor and Industries Reduces Contractor License Fees

    Due to the health of the state’s Contractor Recovery Fund, effective July 1 the Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry (DLI) eliminated the $80 assessment that licensed residential building contractors pay as part of their two-year license.

    The Contractor Recovery Fund compensates homeowners and lessees of residential property, up to $75,000, who have experienced direct out-of-pocket losses because of a Minnesota licensed contractor’s fraudulent, deceptive or dishonest practices.

    The fund’s balance has stabilized over recent years as the state’s housing market has recovered and fund payouts have decreased accordingly.

    With fewer funds withdrawn, DLI Commissioner Ken Pederson used his authority to eliminate this assessment. This is in addition to the DLI reducing most license fees by 40 percent over the past four years.

    3.  MN Dept of Labor and Industries Announces 2019 Minimum Wages 

    The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry announced that the minimum wage rate will increase to $9.86 per hour for large employers and $8.04 for others effective Jan. 1, 2019. The state’s minimum wage is adjusted for inflation each year.

    As of Jan. 1, 2019, the rates will be:

    $9.86/ hour  for Large Employers  ( $500K or more in annual gross revenues)

    $8.04/ hour for Small Employers ( less than $500K in annual gross revenues)

    $8.04/ hour for Training Wages (employees younger than 20 years old for the first 90 

    consecutive days of employment)

    $8.04/ hour Youth Wages (employees younger than 18 years old) 

    The City of Minneapolis has higher minimum wage rates, at $11.25 per hour for large businesses (more than 100 employees) and $10.25 for small businesses. The next increase for Minneapolis will be July 1, 2019, when rates increase to $12.25 for large businesses and $11.00 for small businesses.


    4. Radon Licensing Rules Challenged

    The Minnesota Association of Radon Professionals and Standard Water Control Company, a radon mitigation firm, have filed suit against the Minnesota Department of Health over proposed radon licensing rules, created under the Minnesota Radon Licensing Act of 2015.

    The proposed rules would require individuals performing radon-related services to be licensed by the State of Minnesota, through the Department of Health.

    The proposed radon licensing rules would also require licensed radon testers to pay a $150 per year fee, licensed mitigation professionals would pay a $250 per year fee, companies analyzing test kit results pay up to $500 per year in fees and a $75 per home fee for mitigation system installation in existing homes. In addition, radon testers and mitigation system installers would submit quarterly reports of all homes where services were performed.

    The proposed rules are set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2019. An administrative law hearing was held on July 17. Final comments on the proposed rules were due in August.


    5.  The Real ID MN License now available and what you need to know about it...

    MN began issuing Real ID compliant state licenses this month, October 2018.

    The federal government was set to enforce the 2005 Real ID law in January of 2018. The 2005 Real ID Act was a law passed that modifies U.S. federal law as it relates to security, authentication, and procedure standards for state driver's licenses and identity documents, including various immigration issues pertaining to terrorism. Essentially, it changed the federal standards for state-issued driver's licenses and non-driver identification cards, leaving each state to work to become compliant with federal standards.

    Currently, Minnesota has an extension for REAL ID enforcement, allowing Federal agencies to accept driver's licenses and identification cards from Minnesota at Federal facilities, nuclear power plants and federally regulated commercial aircraft until March 1, 2019.

    For additional information and what documents you will need to bring with you, go to:

    https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/dvs/real-id/Pages/default.aspx

    To begin applying for the REAL ID:

    Officials are encouraging people to start the application process online, before actually going to their License Center.  Here’s the full link: https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/dvs/online-self-services/Pages/default.aspx. Or you can just google: mn dmv self service.  You’ll still need to go in-person to complete the process.


    The End...






     







  • 12 Sep 2018 12:26 PM | Miller (Administrator)

    Lacking Labor


    Y-o-Y job openings are up 11.9%, hires are up just 3.3%, and the number hired has declined three months in a row. Moreover, job openings exceed the number of unemployed by 659,000; they surpassed zero for the first time in March. Additionally, quit rates hit 2.4%, their highest rate since 4/01, and a record 25% of small businesses say finding qualified workers is problem #1. Labor's in very short supply. 


  • 27 Aug 2018 2:45 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    By Chris Froelke,  President Central Minnesota Builders Association

    As children head back to school, it’s time for home owners to head outside and do a little “homework” themselves. Focusing on a few maintenance projects now will help prepare your home when the cold temperatures hit.

    Not only will these projects help you manage your energy bills, they also enhance and protect one of your biggest investments: your home.


    Minimize the Amount of Escaping Air

    Heated air can escape from gaps that develop where building materials meet. Some of the most common areas include where exterior siding meets windows and doors, around roof and foundation lines, around chimneys and where pipes protrude through walls or roofs. Check all of those locations to see if any gaps have formed and if so, apply the appropriate caulk or sealant.

    Heat rises, which mean heat from your home also can escape through any vulnerable areas of the roof. The most efficient way to stop that heat loss is by installing ceiling and roof insulation with an R-value of approximately 49 in Minnesota. The R-value refers to the ability of any material to resist the passage of heat.

    Strengthen Your Windows and Doors

    Your windows and doors are another area to ensure that the warm air stays in and cold air remains out. Look for any cracks around glass, sashes and window frames. Apply adhesive foam weather strips to the top and bottom window rails, or nail felt weatherstripping where window sashes and frames make contact. Newer homes are much more likely to have double or triple-paned windows, which can dramatically improve energy efficiency.

    Don’t Neglect Your Gutters

    Gutters and downspouts can easy become clogged over time, even if they have guards intended to keep out debris. Regularly inspect and clean gutters thoroughly, paying special attention to elbows and bends in the downspouts. Keep hangers fastened securely and plug any holes or cracks. You can also touch up any sections showing signs of rust with rustproof paint.

    Performing routine home maintenance projects like these will help you manage your energy bills during the cooler months and help to prolong the life of your home and enhance its value.

    Watch this blog For more tips on home maintenance.

  • 27 Aug 2018 1:50 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    by Chris Froelke, president, Central Minnesota Builders Association

    Recent natural disasters remind us that our lives can quickly be turned upside down with little warning. September is National Preparedness Month, which makes now a perfect time to prepare your family and household for emergency situations that are most likely to impact our area.


    The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) Ready.gov website and Ready.gov/minnesota provides information on how to be prepared for both natural and man-made disasters. FEMA recommends following these steps to plan ahead for emergency situations.

    Sign up for emergency alerts.

    Discuss with your family or household members how you will each receive emergency alerts and warnings. Check to see what wireless emergency alerts are offered by your state or local public safety officials and sign up to receive the latest news.

    Devise a shelter plan.

    Depending on the emergency, you may be required to evacuate or seek shelter in another location. Or, you may be advised to stay at home and shelter-in-place. Review the recommended shelter plans for the type of disasters that are likely to affect your area. For example, with a tornado warning, you should seek shelter in a basement or an interior room on the lowest level away from corners, windows, doors and outside walls.

    Create an evacuation plan.

    If necessary, you’ll need to know an evacuation plan. You may have a few days to prepare for an evacuation or you may need to leave your home immediately. That’s why it’s important to assemble supplies ahead of time, both a “go-bag” you can carry if you need to you evacuate on foot or public transportation and supplies for traveling by longer distances if you have a personal vehicle.

    Develop a household communication plan.

    Your family or other household members may not all be together, or at home, when disaster strikes. That’s why it’s important to know how you will communicate with the members of your household during a disaster.

    A disaster can strike without warning, and the best way to protect your family is to be prepared. These tips, along with additional information available on www.ready.gov, are a good start to make sure your family is safe and comfortable following an emergency situation.

    Follow this blog for more home safety and maintenance tips.

  • 22 Aug 2018 9:41 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    By Chris Froelke, RetroEnergy President

    Where did the summer go? Personally this has been the fastest summer of my life, as I mentioned back in June my family broke ground on a new home and was contemplating selling my home and living in a camper with a 7 month pregnant wife once we hit August. Currently, the house is well underway and cabinets are installed and looking to close on October 1st. We voted against selling our current home until our new home is completed. I grossly underestimated the amount of cleaning, organizing and detailing it takes to get a home that you have lived in for 14 years ready for market, meanwhile building a new one. We are very excited to see how this new home preforms, we opted for a very high performance building envelope doing 2” exterior polyiso insulation board on the walls and roof deck plus wall cavity and additional 5.5” of spray foam in the ceiling.

    Some of the challenges with an unconventional building enclosure is communicating with the subcontractors on how to actually assemble an exterior insulation system and make it work with window openings and nailing backer for the siding. I chose a fluid applied weather barrier from Sto for all of the exterior 2” window and door bucks that needed to be furred out to correct wall thickness. This is something that is very rarely used in residential application and used every day in the commercial world. Since this will be my “Forever Home” I really wanted to take advantage of the new technology to make a dry, tight and energy efficient home. I also installed a free standing wood burning fireplace in the living room that my inspector said she hasn’t seen in years. I expect the cost to heat and cool this home will be extremely low and will also offer very constant comfort throughout the home.

    Since I am an energy nerd and have extensive background in testing buildings for air leakage I was able to pick out additional opportunities to seal up energy and comfort robbing leaks before they get covered with sheetrock. I even did a preliminary blower door whole house air leakage test before sheet rock and tested at a .77 ACH (air changes per hour) which is almost 4 times below the code maximum. The German passive solar standard for building tightness is .6, not quite there but might be close after everything is done.

    I have to admit, these details defiantly suck up a lot of time which is why I had to strap on my tool belt and do all of the weather barriers, flashings and insulation and air sealing details myself. However those few extra days of “Dealing” with the details I know will pay off. I have made a career out of fixing homes where many of the details where forgotten or done incorrectly, therefore I feel very fortunate to have this once in a life time opportunity to be very hands on with this process of designing a high performance building envelope for my family.


  • 15 Aug 2018 8:48 AM | Miller (Administrator)

    Here are the results of those heading in to the November General Election as reported on the MN Secretary of State website:

    1.  US Representative District 6

    Tom Emmer  R 

    Ian Todd       DFL


    2.  US Senate

    Amy Klobuchar  DFL

    Jim Newberger   R


    3. Gubernatorial 

    Jeff Johnson & Donna Bergstrom   R

    Tim Walz & Peggy Flanagan   DFL


    4.  Attorney General

    Doug Wardlow   R

    Keith Ellison  DFL





  • 06 Aug 2018 9:41 AM | Miller (Administrator)

    On August 1, 2018, the MN Pollution Control Agency's (PCA) New Construction Stormwater Permit Regulations went into effect. 

     The MPCA has stated the permit was completely reconfiqured into a new format in order to be more linear and easier to follow.   Also according to the MPCA, the five most common construction storm water violations are:

    1. Missing or inadequate soil stabilization.

    2. Missing perimeter controls.

    3. Missing or inadequate inlet protection.

    4. Vehicle tracking

    5.  BMPs not contained.

    The MPCA also shares the following reminders:

    1. Ensure that you have a Construction Stormwater Permit and Plan if one is needed.

    2. Remember to inspect your site within 24 hours of a rainfall greater than 1/2 inch.

    3. Repair, replace or supplement all nonfunctional BMPs by the end of the next business day after discovery, or as soon as field conditions allow access.


    For further information --Visit https://www.pca.state.mn.us/water/construction-stormwater 



  • 02 Jul 2018 2:26 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    By Chris Froelke, President, Central Minnesota Builders Association (NAHB)

    After the dust settles on your Independence Day celebration, you may notice that your home has begun to show the signs of an active summer – both inside and out.  Take the time now to do a few maintenance tasks to keep your home humming through the rest of the summer.

    mis summer check

    Keep hot air out. Hopefully you’ve already had your air conditioner serviced this year to ensure it can hold up during a heat wave. Now it’s time to re-check your windows and doors for drafts and air leaks that may have developed with kids more frequently coming in and out of the house. Caulk any seams and re-glaze windows if needed, and replace any worn weather-stripping around doors to help keep cool air from escaping. Also, replace or repair any screens that have tears.

    Swap your HVAC filter. If your air conditioner has been working overtime this summer, check to see if the filter needs to be replaced. While some manufacturers recommend replacing your filter about once a month, the actual time will depend on your household: how often air conditioner runs, the number of furry pets in your home, the age of your unit, etc.

    Secure loose fittings. It’s a good idea to check the railings and posts on your deck to ensure that they are not becoming loose. If you have playset in your backyard, check to see if any connections need to be tightened. This is especially important during the summer months when playsets get the most use.

    Drain the rain. Summer rains bring extra water that can take a toll on gutters and downspouts. Visually inspect your downspouts to be sure they are draining away from the foundation. Clear your gutters from the debris that gathers during summer storms. Also be sure there is no standing water around your yard, which attracts mosquitoes and other pests. Water pools around your house also attract termites, so be sure to drain all the excess water.

    If you need help with your home maintenance, CMBA has a long list of local, trusted service professionals. 

    CMBA Member Directory

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