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Lt. Gov. Wrigley Highlights Budget Priorities for 2015 Session

January 9th, 2015 by Danielle Teigen

Just one day before North Dakota’s Legislature convened, Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley offered a candid explanation of what the governor’s priorities are when it comes to the state’s budget during the inaugural Eggs & Issues forum. Eggs

More than 100 people listened as Wrigley described the “structural balance and structural surplus” components of the budget, including $408 million in tax relief, a reconfiguration of the gross oil production tax, funding for western North Dakota communities and airports as well as water supply project funds for the east.

“The people of this state have come to realize more than ever before that we have a linked economy,” Wrigley said. “There is one North Dakota, and we’re absolutely in this together.”

One of the major points Wrigley asserted throughout his discussion is that the state’s budget will fluctuate by $100 million for every dollar fluctuation in the average oil prices. The day of the presentation, oil prices hovered at $52 a barrel.

Here’s a breakdown of what Wrigley highlighted:

  • Structural surplus will result from a $5.37 billion revenue stream with only $5 billion in expenditures. The state also has $3.697 billion in reserves currently, with $3.47 billion in reserves by the end of the 2015-2017 session.
  • Tax relief is a “recognition of right-sized government,” Wrigley said, citing $100 million in personal income tax relief with $25 million in corporate income tax relief.
  • After having budgeted for $1 billion and $2.5 billion for infrastructure improvement projects the last two budget cycles, the governor has increased that amount to $3 billion for the 2015-2017 session.
  • Wrigley predicted that the $873 million budgeted as “jump start” funding for cities in western North Dakota will spark “some lively conversation.”
  • Another area of the budget Wrigley predicted debate is the reconfiguring of gross oil production tax for counties. The governor recommends that after counties receive $5 million from 100 percent of oil production tax revenues, they should receive for at least the 2015-17 biennium, 60 percent of the revenue from the oil production tax. That change will provide $1.7 billion for the oil-producing counties.
  • The budget also continues the Energy Impact Grant program, which budgets $119 million in new grant funding to address the impacts of rapid growth in the oil producing region.
  • Nearly $70 million is budgeted for permanent flood protection, in alignment with the state’s $450 million total pledge.
  • Another water project that has been budgeted for is a $150 million water supply project that will move water from west to east.
  • The budget also includes funds for a law enforcement training center in Bismarck as well as grants for local police forces.
  • In the realm of education, the budget calls for a tuition freeze for two-year schools, $145 million for capital improvement plans as well as a private/public matching funding program.

Eggs 2Attendees were invited to ask questions, so Wrigley fielded inquiries about reducing sales tax and eliminating income taxes as a way to attract workers to the area.

Wrigley said reducing sales taxes was determined to have less impact on individual taxpayers, and he explained that caution is warranted when deciding to eliminate an entire category of taxes. “People need to think about whether it’s appropriate to pay for everything on the back of a high-priced commodity,” Wrigley said.

You can access the governor’s proposed budget online.

The next Eggs & Issues forum will be Feb. 3.

Chamber Members Can Help You Get Fit in the New Year

December 22nd, 2014 by Danielle Teigen

Thinking about getting fit in 2015? You’re not alone.

Last year, the number one New Year’s resolution was to lose weight, according to the University of Scranton’s Journal of Clinical Psychology. However, only 64 percent of people who made resolutions kept them beyond the month of January.

Make getting fit easier for yourself by finding the perfect fitness center for you. We even have options to keep your children active during the colder months. Check out this list of Chamber members who offer a variety of services to meet your fitness needs.

Looking for a full-body workout in just 30 minutes? 9Round is the place to be. A trainer is always included, and workouts change daily. No need to worry about getting class times, because there are none!

American Gold Gymnastics
Founded in 1983, American Gold Gymnastics is a nonprofit organization that includes the FM Acro Team, the AGG Competitive Team and the Recreational Class program.

Anytime Fitness – Dilworth and two Fargo locations
If you need a 24-hour fitness facility that offers, cardio equipment, weights, machines and personal trainers, Anytime Fitness is a great option.

Courts Plus Community Fitness – Express and Fargo
The focus at Courts Plus is helping individuals and families live a healthy lifestyle through exercise and nutrition. Choose from weight training, personal training, cardiovascular exercising and more.

CrossFit Fargo
CrossFit Fargo offers performance-driven strength and conditioning programs for people at all fitness levels. Want to get the whole family healthier? Both adult and youth classes are available.

Family Wellness LLC
Family Wellness, LLC, is dedicated to connecting people in a fun environment to inspire healthy lifestyles and help you meet your personal fitness goals and help the entire family live actively while having fun.

Family Wellness Yoga
Family Wellness Yoga offers an inspirational experience that carries you off your mat and into your life using physical practice, personal development and practitioner support.

Looking for a personal training and bootcamp studio to get fit in a focused and personalized environment? Then joefitness is for you!

Mojo Fit Studios
Mojo Fit Studios offers a variety of yoga classes for all ages, including beginner yoga, heated vinyasa yoga, prenatal yoga, yoga sculpt, baby boomer yoga, kids yoga and barre classes.

TNT Kids Fitness Gymnastics
TNT Kid’s Fitness offers physical fitness classes for children ages 18 months to 18 years. Classes are designed to include children with special needs so all kids can participate, and a wide range of programming is available.

Welcyon Fitness After 50
Designed specifically for adults 50 and over, Welcyon helps you enjoy a better experience and achieve healthier results through personalized workouts in a warm, supportive setting that will feel like a second home.

YMCA of Cass and Clay Counties – Fargo and Schlossman Branch
YMCA of Cass and Clay counties provides a variety of services from youth sports and activities, summer day camps, swim lessons, fitness training, a free cancer survivor wellness program, child care, preschool, afterschool care and much more.

Dennis Walaker Earned the Title of Hero for His Bravery

December 22nd, 2014 by Danielle Teigen

IMG_4788No one understood the Red River better than Dennis Walaker.

Having worked for years as the City of Fargo’s public works director, then director of operations before becoming its mayor in 2006, Walaker understood acutely how the river worked and how it affected his beloved city.

His passing on December 2 was heart-breaking.

Not only was he recently elected to his third and final term as mayor after a campaign that required him to answer questions about his health, his decision-making process and his motive for running a campaign at all, but the diversion project he fought so hard for is just beginning.

Walaker was the gentle giant behind Fargo’s many successful flood fights, and the diversion is a symbol of how far the city has come from filling millions of sandbags to save the city. During the 2009 flood, Walaker famously refused to evacuate the city. It was his voice that assured us that we had done everything possible, and it was his confidence that inspired our own. He made a tough call during a turbulent time, but he had the bravery to do it with gusto.

That is heroic.

While Walaker’s third term will be remembered for the revelation of his battle against cancer, his real legacy is the confidence and leadership he provided when the city and its residents needed it the most. He won’t get to see the diversion completed, but we will never forget his pivotal role in bringing the community out of the darkness of flood fighting to the light of a new flood-free day.


Honor Star Program Makes Impact in 2015

December 22nd, 2014 by Jessica Lee

The Chamber’s Honor Star program is an opportunity for businesses that are or aspire to be “military friendly” to showcase their patriotism by displaying a unique membership sticker alongside the Chamber membership sticker. We further highlight these businesses with a special page on our website and at select Military Affairs committee meetings and military appreciation events. In our second year, the program included 160 members and accomplished more than ever before. If you have not done so already, join our efforts as we kick off 2015. To sign up, visit www.fmwfchamber.com/honor_star.

Honor Star Supports Junior ROTC

When members of the Fargo Public School Jr. ROTC program received notice their well-worn Battle Dress Uniforms (BDU) were being phased out and cadets would need new uniforms, resources from the Honor Star program were leveraged to help offset the hefty costs of the new Airman Battle Uniforms (ABU).

Honor Star Supports Wreaths for Veterans

In 2014, North Dakota was the only state to secure a wreath for every headstone at our Veterans Cemetery. Through the program “Wreaths Across America,” fallen veterans are remembered and honored around the holiday season. This year, the Honor Star program supported 100 of the 5,500 wreaths necessary to honor each of the Veterans laid to rest at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery. For more information about the program, visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.

Thank You 2014 Honor Star Members

Without the support of these members, the work of the Honor Star program would not be possible. Thank you for your commitment to fostering a military friendly community.

  • 702 Communications
  • Advanced Auto Body & Glass
  • American Legion ND State Headquarters
  • American Red Cross – Red River Valley Chapter
  • Anderson & Fercho, PLLC
  • The Apartment Movers, Inc.
  • AVE Photography
  • BEK Communications
  • Bergseth Bros. Co., Inc.
  • Bethany Retirement Living
  • Bethel Church
  • Beverage Wholesalers, Inc.
  • Beyond Boundaries Therapy Services
  • Beyond Shelter, Inc.
  • BioLife Plasma Services
  • Border States Electric
  • Boulger Funeral Home
  • Bradley Business Advisors, LLC
  • Bremer Bank, N.A.
  • Capital Credit Union
  • Cardinal IG
  • Cargill, Inc. – North American Multiseed Division
  • Carpet World
  • Casey’s General Store
  • Center For Pain Medicine, P.A.
  • Choice Financial
  • CNH Industrial America, LLC
  • Coldwell Banker First Realty
  • Congressman Cramer Office – Lisa Gibbens
  • Core Consulting Group, LLC
  • Corwin Wilson Management LLP
  • Crane Johnson Lumber Co.
  • Cummins NPower, LLC
  • Dakota Supply Group
  • Dakotas Chapter NECA
  • Darrol Schroeder
  • Dawson Insurance
  • Days Inn Fargo/West Acres Mall
  • Discovery Benefits, Inc.
  • D-S Beverages, Inc.
  • Easter Seals Goodwill ND, Inc.
  • Edgewood Vista & Village
  • Eid-Co Homes
  • Element Fargo
  • Engraphix
  • Enventis
  • Eventide Senior Living Communities
  • Express Employment Professionals
  • Family Fare Supermarket – West Fargo
  • Far From Normal Supply, Inc.
  • Fargo Hose Co.
  • Fargo Housing & Redevelopment Authority
  • Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks Baseball
  • Fiebiger, Swanson, West & Co., PLLP
  • First Choice Apparel & Embroidery
  • First International Bank & Trust
  • Fleet Street Courier, Inc.
  • F-M Area Association of Realtors
  • F-M Human Resource Association
  • FM Rotary Foundation
  • FM Truck Sales, LLC
  • Gateway Chevrolet, Cadillac
  • General Equipment & Supplies, Inc.
  • Globe University
  • Grant’s Mechanical, Inc.
  • Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation
  • Heritage Homes, LLC
  • Holiday Inn Fargo
  • Hospice of the Red River Valley
  • Indian Triumph of Fargo
  • Indigo Signworks
  • Industrial Coating Specialists, Inc.
  • Information Management Systems
  • Insight Technologies, Inc.
  • Integrity Windows and Doors
  • James F Johnson DDS PLLC
  • Jeff’s Plumbing & Drain Cleaning Inc.
  • John Deere Electronic Solutions
  • Kava Construction, Inc.
  • KLJ
  • Knight Printing
  • Konrad Olson Commercial Real Estate, Inc.
  • Labor Masters
  • Lake Agassiz Development Group
  • Laney’s Inc.
  • Lightowler Johnson Associates, Inc.
  • Longhorn Steakhouse
  • Luther Collision & Glass
  • Microsoft
  • Mid America Steel Inc.
  • Miller & Sons Drywall Contracting
  • Mills Fleet Farm
  • MOOG, Inc.
  • Moorhead Area Public Schools
  • Moorhead Dairy Queen
  • Municipal Airport Authority – Hector International Airport
  • NetWork Center, Inc.
  • North Dakota Center for Sleep
  • North Dakota State College of Science
  • Northern Pipe Products
  • Northern Plumbing Supply
  • Northwest Scale Inc.
  • Northwestern Bank, N.A.
  • Ohnstad Twichell, PC
  • The Olive Garden
  • Olaf Anderson Construction Inc.
  • Olson Pools & Spas
  • Orthopedic and Sport Medicine Specialists of Fargo
  • Padgett Business Services
  • Park Co. Realtors
  • Prairie St. John’s
  • The Prescription Shop, Inc.
  • Pure Chiropractic & Rehab
  • Radio Connections
  • Ramada Plaza & Suites and Conference Center
  • Rasmussen College
  • Realty Executives North Plains
  • Record Keepers, L.L.C.
  • Red River Commodities, Inc.
  • Red River Lanes – Slammers Bar
  • Red River Refrigeration Inc.
  • Red River Title Services, Inc. dba Cass County Abstract Company
  • Retina Consultants, Ltd.
  • Retzlaff Financial Group, LLC
  • Ron McClure, D.D.S.
  • Rose Management LLC / Anda Properties
  • S & S Promotional Group, Inc.
  • The Salon Professional Academy
  • Sam’s Club
  • Sanford Fargo Medical Center
  • Scheels All Sports, Inc. – Fargo
  • Scheels Corporate Office
  • Schumacher S. E. Ltd.
  • The Shack on Broadway
  • ShareHouse
  • Sheyenne Hearing Service LLC
  • Shooting Star Casino, Hotel and Event Center
  • Sign Pro
  • Simonson Wall Covering
  • Spectrum Aeromed
  • State Farm Insurance – Don Gronke, Agent
  • Steen & Berg
  • Stein’s, Inc.
  • Super 8 Motel
  • TCI Insurance
  • Thom Eye & Laser Clinic
  • Thrivent Financial
  • Total Imaging
  • Tri-College University
  • TrinSpin Inc
  • T.R.S. Industries, Inc.
  • The UPS Store
  • U.S. Bank
  • Ulteig
  • University of Mary/Fargo
  • University of Phoenix-Military Division
  • Valley Premier Bank
  • Valley Rental Service, Inc.
  • VISIONBank
  • Vogel Law Firm
  • VOLT Workforce Solutions
  • Walmart
  • Wanzek Construction, Inc.
  • Warner and Company Insurance
  • Wastweet Appraisal & Consulting, Inc.
  • West Fargo Exchange Club
  • Widmer Roel PC


Community of Respect: Understanding Diversity and Volunteerism on a Deeper Level

December 22nd, 2014 by Danielle Teigen

LFMWF Tweet 1The Leadership class started their December session at the American Red Cross-Red River Valley Chapter hearing from leaders of three local nonprofits.

Erin Prochnow, YWCA Cass Clay, Thomas Hill, United Way of Cass-Clay and David Vining, FirstLink, shared their insights on the ins and outs of serving on a nonprofit board and/or committee, how to match volunteers to volunteer opportunities and how to make the experience of giving back through volunteering more meaningful for yourself and your staff.

The speakers were followed up with a tour of the American Red Cross where the class was able to learn about the many ways the organization serves our communities in times of need.

Next, the class headed over to CCRI Inc., or Creative Care for Reaching Independence, where Kara Gravley-Stack and Regina Ranney from North Dakota State University’s Equity and Diversity Center guided participants through the Community of Respect program.

Through activities and discussion, the class was able to get a better understanding of cultural differences and encouraged them to think critically about the impact of their cultural values in their relationships with others.

To end the day, the class toured one of our community’s hidden gems, the Vocational Training Center (VTC), led by Tom Thompson. The class saw firsthand all the opportunities VTC offers to individuals with disabilities including vocational development, day support and direct job placement.

Calling All Chamber Members: Volunteers Needed for YEA!

December 22nd, 2014 by Danielle Teigen

Fargo Image (1)The Young Entrepreneurs Academy provides community members with a variety of opportunities to volunteer and get involved. From exciting guest lecturers to dynamic field trips to investor panelists, local leaders have countless ways to help these students launch their own enterprises and become impassioned business leaders.

Here are a few ways to get involved:

The Art of the Start

  • Investor panelists
  • Business mentors
  • The CEO roundtable
  • Elevator pitches
  • Graphic designers
  • Web developers
  • Media meet and greet
  • Business plan editors

Guest Speakers

  • Accountant
  • Attorney
  • E-commerce
  • Insurance
  • Niche marketing
  • Designation and awards
  • Taxes and business
  • Social entrepreneur
  • Banking partner
  • Sales

Business Field Trips

  • Professional style
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Franchising
  • Business of sports
  • County clerk’s office

If you’re interested in volunteering or want to learn more, please contact Elly at 218.233.1100 or epeterson@fmwfchamber.com.

Know a student you’d like to nominate or encourage to apply? Visit www.fmwfchamber.com/YEA to download a YEA! application today.

Climbing the Ladder in Stilettos: Define Your Dreams and Who You Need to Achieve Them

December 22nd, 2014 by Member Contributor

Article by Lynette LewisWomen Connect presenter Lynette Lewis

Some of my most impacting programs, workshops, insights, and tools, came out of chaos – those seasons when odds were against me and attitudes were low. By choosing to stay rather than leave, I saw slow but meaningful breakthroughs, not to mention acquired survival skills for making lemons into lemonade. Barriers to achieving your dreams naturally exist; it’s how you respond to those barriers that will determine whether you can achieve the dreams you have.

It’s what I call, “dreaming outside the job description,” not being limited by what we are told to be or do, but to leverage what we have and evolve it into more. In short, chaos becomes a catalyst for creativity when we realize we are in charge.

Join me on January 27 at the inaugural Women Connect session to be inspired by meaningful connections you will make with other female leaders throughout the community who want to help you succeed in business and life.

You’ll be asked to climb into the driver’s seat of your life and career so you can realize how many choices we have at many different junctures. Success and significance are not meant for later; they can be achieved by using everything we currently have at our disposal.

You need to determine what your dreams are as well as the people and resources you need to achieve them. By knowing who and what you need to achieve professional and personal goals, you’ll be able to seek out connections with individuals who can make that a reality.

With a little creativity and a “why not?” attitude, we can instigate positive change — positive for us, positive for those we serve. Plus our example can inspire everyone on the team to follow our lead.

You’ll leave the session with a roadmap for your professional and personal dreams so you can put the plan into action immediately. You’ll also have a robust network of other leaders who can assist you on your journey to realizing the infinite power already within you. Deepen your connections after the session at a social until 6 p.m. Lewis will also be available to sign copies of her book during the social.

Join Us

Insurance Rates on the Rise

December 22nd, 2014 by Jessica Lee

The necessity of completing permanent flood protection will become a reality for many residents in thAdvocacy_Flood Structures Graphic-1e metro this month when FEMA’s updated flood plain maps take effect.

On January 16, flood insurance will become mandatory for properties that carry mortgages within the Special Flood Hazard Area. The new maps expand the 100-year flood plain, which will bring an additional 2,300 structures into the new flood plain.

Expect that mortgage lenders will be communicating with affected property owners on the new requirements; however, homeowners are encouraged to contact their insurance agents now to learn more about their options on purchasing flood insurance. The new maps can be viewed online at www.fargofloodinsurance.


January 2015: Message to Members

December 22nd, 2014 by Craig Whitney

Craig WhitneyWorkforce development and the lack of skilled workers needed for our businesses to operate successfully and efficiently is a major concern for this community. According to the local Fargo Moorhead Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), 5,765 job openings are currently listed. While some may perceive that as a good problem to have, I want to point out that job openings mean less productivity for businesses, less money in our local economy and less economic stability for our families.

Yet another concern highlighted by the Fargo Moorhead (MSA), which includes Cass and Clay Counties, is that workers here make about 12 percent less in hourly wages on average than the rest of the nation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wages that are more in-line with the rest of the nation will help attract workers to the area, so we must work to ensure that differential is reduced in the near future if we hope to fill job vacancies.

The Chamber and many other organizations in the community are working to address the needs of businesses when it comes to attracting skilled employees who will call this community home. The Chamber has joined forces with the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation, the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau, United Way of Cass-Clay and the Fargo-Moorhead Area Foundation to commission the first regional workforce study, which kicked off in November. The study will wrap up this spring and highlight what is going well but also include a plan of action for how to truly address workforce development in the area.

We are excited to see the results of the study, but, more importantly, we look forward to enacting the plan this study will reveal so our community can continue to grow and prosper.

Thank you for your membership,

Craig Whitney
The Chamber

Chamber Seeks Government Affairs and Advocacy Manager

December 20th, 2014 by Julie Doggett

The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber is seeking a person to fill the role of Government Affairs and Advocacy Manager.

Responsibilities include enhancement and maintenance of positive relations with public policy decision-makers and other organizations in order to communicate The Chamber’s position and ensure that it is understood and fairly represented, coordination of committee and task force activities, and communication of Chamber positions through Chamber publications and other media.

The ideal candidate must have strong working knowledge of local, state and federal government relative to the needs of the business community, knowledge of the chamber of commerce industry, strong communication and public relations skills and ability to network effectively.

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in political science, public administration, business administration, journalism or related area.

Learn more about the Government Affairs and Advocacy Manager position.

To apply, email to cover letter with salary requirements, resume and references to jparsons@fmwfchamber.com. Deadline for applications will be Wednesday, December 31, 2014.

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