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Grant opens for positive change

The West Central Initiative is looking to fund great ideas to make meaningful and lasting change in west-central Minnesota communities.

Nonprofits, school districts and local units of government are welcome to apply for the latest round of funding through the foundation's Community Change Makers Grant Program. The organization says that the program aims to help communities become more socially connected, equitable, hopeful and empowered.

Projects must serve the people and areas in Douglas, Becker, Clay, Grant, Otter Tail, Pope, Stevens, Traverse and/or Wilkin counties. Individuals are not eligible to apply.

The submission deadline for this grant round is Friday, Nov. 9.

For more information, visit wcif.org/change-makers.html or contact Wendy Merrick at wendy@wcif.org or 800-735-2239.

Motorists, farmers asked to share the road

The state is asking motorists on Minnesota highways this fall to watch out for large farm equipment transporting crops to markets, grain elevators and processing plants.

"Harvest season is getting in full swing across the state and farmers and their equipment are out on the highways," said Ray Starr, acting state traffic engineer for the Minnesota Department of Transportation. "Motorists need to be prepared to encounter slow-moving farm vehicles, especially on rural, two-lane roads."

Large, heavy farm equipment is difficult to accelerate, slow down and stop, and makes wide turns and sometimes crosses over the center line, the department said in a news release. Large blind spots can also prevent operators from seeing approaching vehicles.

From 2015-17, there were six fatalities and 386 crashes involving at least one farm vehicle, according to the Department of Public Safety's crash data. Of the six fatalities, three were farm vehicle riders. Of the 166 injuries, 56 were farm vehicle riders.

"Most of all farm equipment crashes and fatalities are distraction-related," Starr said. "Other factors are speed-related and alcohol-related."

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