Business group christens GreenSeam

A business promotion group, pointing to the rich soil, extensive hog and soybean farms and sprawling farm economy of southern Minnesota and northern Iowa, has renamed the region the GreenSeam.

Like the Research Triangle or Silicon Valley, the GreenSeam tag, announced last week, gives the farm region an identity of its own, said Jonathan Zierdt, president and CEO of Greater Mankato Growth Inc., the city's chamber of commerce.

"If you are a person or a business that finds value in being connected to the ag business industry, then the GreenSeam is not only where you ought to be, but need to be," he said.

The group plans to use the name in marketing the region; they've also built a website,

The name evolved from two years of work overseen by Greater Mankato Growth, which budgeted $370,000 for the project, using $250,000 of the group's money and the rest from new revenue and external funding. The money allowed it to hire a staff person and consultants to help create the name, among other costs.

Matt McKinney


Granite Falls

New Yellow Medicine justice center opens

A new justice center that includes space for the courthouse, the county attorney's office and law enforcement opened last week in Granite Falls.

The $6 million facility, built in the parking lot of the old courthouse, offers more space and upgraded security. Jailed defendants will no longer be brought into hallways with victims, families and attorneys, county administrator Peg Heglund explained. "Now we have a secure entrance for all prisoners," she said. "There's no contact with the public."

The building has one courtroom with space for a jury and a smaller one designed for family court hearings. A new entrance and parking lot for the building will be completed after the old courthouse is torn down, Heglund said.

Officials anticipate everything will be finished by the end of September.

Pam Louwagie



Police warn of IRS phone scam

Sartell police are warning residents about a telephone scam involving purported calls from the Internal Revenue Service.

Several city residents reported receiving telephone calls last week that claimed they owed the IRS money. The caller directed them to go to a local store for a money card and then to call back to transfer the funds.

Police warn residents not to give out Social Security numbers or other information over the telephone. The IRS will send a representative and provide proper identification and credentials, police said.

"These scams are nearly impossible to investigate and you will not get your money back," police warned on their Facebook page.

Mark Brunswick @markabrunswick