Summer is about half over (at least on the school calendar) and I am still in the hay field, but getting close to finishing. On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of visiting the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49 Training Center near Hinckley.
It is an impressive 384-acre campus with over 100,000 square feet of classrooms and training bays. The equipment they train on includes the full range of construction equipment including just about everything that moves earth or lifts things.
Operation of the training center is operated and is paid for by the Local 49 members and private sector construction companies through a joint Local 49 and private industry board of directors. Unlike traditional college training programs, Local 49 apprentices are in the field working on the job earning wages during the construction season and then primarily train at the center during the winter months.
The facility includes a huge building, “the sand box” that allows heavy equipment operation during the winter without having to deal with frozen ground. It’s a great group of professionals and, if you’re interested in their apprentice program, visit this link.
Thursday evening I attended the Aitkin County ATV Alliance meeting at Hill City. ATV clubs from across Aitkin and surrounding counties discussed near-term events and long-range plans for Central Minnesota ATV trails. Mary Straka and Andrew Brown of the DNR, along with Aitkin County Land Department officials, attended providing a state and county perspective.
Minnesota’s ATV trails are funded through ATV registration fees and a portion of the state gas tax paid by ATVs. The clubs in partnership with local county governments and the DNR are responsible for maintenance of existing trails. They also develop and construct new trail routes. The clubs provide a huge amount of donated labor and raise funds locally to augment the costs of keeping our trail systems in shape during the ATV season. To learn more, click here.
A quick note if you need to renew license plate tabs, transfer titles or complete other DMV transactions: Those services will be limited July 17-24. DMV will be updating its computer system. People are advised to call ahead to your local office for hours and service availability during that week. Click here to find contact information and other details regarding all the office locations statewide.
Please be safe and enjoy this nice weather.