Fergus Falls Mayor Ben Schierer was selected as one of 20 state and local elected officials around the country to join a national network of pro-growth, progressive leaders.

Schierer joins nearly 200 other leaders as part of New­DEAL — which stands for Developing Exceptional American Leaders — a decade-old network that is focusing on "pro-growth progressive solutions" at a time when state and local governments are responding to the pandemic and doling out hundreds of billions of dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act.

The network has served as a sounding board for its members in sharing ideas on how states, counties and cities spend pandemic recovery funds.

Schierer was elected as Fergus Falls mayor in 2016 and has been heavily focused on environmental issues such as monarch butterfly preservation, riverfront revitalization and protection of wetlands.

NewDEAL also cited Schierer's emphasis on leveraging public investments for private development, which has filled empty storefronts and created entrepreneurial opportunities.

"We must find solutions for the urgent challenges created by COVID-19 while not losing focus on longer-term issues that will continue to affect the economic security of Fergus Falls and other communities for decades to come," Schierer said in a statement.

"The pandemic has hit our small businesses especially hard, and supporting their ability to withstand this turbulent period and thrive in tomorrow's economy must be one of the top priorities not only in our city, but across the country."

Reid Forgrave


Lutsen to host open house on expansion

The Superior National Forest will host a second virtual open house Tuesday on the environmental impact of the proposed Lutsen Mountains Ski Area expansion.

In late October, the U.S. Forest Service extended the public comment period for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement to Dec. 9. The statement addresses potential impacts of the expansion onto 495 acres of national forest lands, which calls for dozens of new runs served by seven new chairlifts. Lutsen's plans are just partway through a yearslong permitting process with the U.S. Forest Service. The open house, which will offer a project overview and opportunity to ask questions, begins at 6 p.m. via Zoom or the phone. Find those details under the public meetings tab at this website: bit.ly/3FaOnhF.

Jana Hollingsworth