Earth Day Celebration on both Friday and Saturday

posted Apr 17, 2017, 9:16 AM by Jeanne Newstrom

Earth Circle and the Central Square Mall are teaming up for the third annual Earth Day at Central Square Mall.  This year’s event will be bigger and better than ever.  In order to coordinate schedules with another big event, the March for Science, the Earth Day Celebration will be on Friday, April 21, as well as a shortened version on Saturday, April 22. 

The event will begin on Friday at 11 a.m. and continue until 5 p.m., then resume on Saturday, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.  There will be information tables and displays on a variety of environmental issues as well as children’s activities and games.  There will be movies and free popcorn throughout the event.  Special Earth Day animated children’s films will be shown from

4 – 5 on Friday afternoon and from 10 until noon on Saturday morning.

The Village Bookstore will host an Author Event on Friday from noon until 2 p.m.  Featured authors will be Michael Meuers and Barry Babcock.   Meuers will discuss his latest book, Road to Ponema: The Teachings of Larry Stillday, a well-known healer, leader and teacher from Red Lake Nation who touched many Ojibwe people in northern Minnesota.   Barry Babcock will discuss his new book, Teacher in the Forest:  Essays from the Last Wilderness in Mississippi Headwaters Country, about his experiences living simplistically with and not against nature. 

Other special Earth Day activities in Grand Rapids are the unveiling of the new interactive exhibit ‘Lake Life’ at the Children’s Discovery Museum from 10 until 3 p.m. and the March for Science through downtown Grand Rapids, beginning at noon at KAXE.  This will be followed by speakers and activities at the Grand Rapids Senior High School in the afternoon.

For further information call Central Square Mall at 326-4765 or Vicki Andrews at 218-259-4254

Collecting Feed Sacks

posted Feb 24, 2017, 8:31 AM by Jeanne Newstrom

Itasca Environment and Earth Circle will support a fundraising project of Northern Lights Community School by collecting animal feed sacks and lending students Earth Circle's sewing machine.

Attractive animal feed sacks will be sewn into reusable bags and sold as a fundraiser. Northern Lights Community School is a tuition free public charter school for grades 6-12 located in Warba, Minnesota.  NLCS is an environmental project based school that is authorized by the Audubon Center of the North Woods.
Appropriate sacks [they need to be that plastic-y…shiny, coated material…NOT paper] can be dropped off at DFL Headquarters in Grand Rapids on Tuesdays and Thursdays, between 2 pm and 5 pm. The headquarters is located at 809 NE 4th Street, Grand Rapids.  MAP

More about Northern Lights Community School HERE.

MDI Hired Hands

posted Jul 29, 2016, 9:21 AM by Jeanne Newstrom   [ updated Jul 29, 2016, 11:04 AM ]

MDI Hired Hands held a Grand Opening on July 28 of their facility in Cohasset.  It was well attended and a fun event with music by Blind Joe (see photo), food by Barb’s Korner Kitchen (see photo), and tours.

Minnesota Diversified Industries (MDI) operates in five communities: Cohasset, Deer River, Grand Rapids, Hibbing, and the Twin Cities.  It is “a manufacturing organization that provides standard and custom packaging solutions, production and fulfillment services, and environmental services for business customers. The organization has operated a successful non-profit social enterprise for over 50 years, providing meaningful job opportunities for individuals with disabilities in an integrated and inclusive business setting, both at MDI and in the community”.  

MDI merged with Deer River Hired Hands  (est 1987) in 2013.   The Deer River facility has become dilapidated and the abandoned Techimar property in Cohasset was purchased.  The building  is huge, in fact there is extra space to lease even though MDI’s  product line is expanding.  The company extrudes plastic and makes various items including the  USA Postal Service plastic trays for the entire country (see photo). 

78 people are employed (see photo).

General Manager Kyle Erickson updated my checklist of recyclables [see it HERE] and the tour was very informative.   Anyone can take paper to the facility for shredding (see photo of shredder).  Directly dropping off recyclable at the Cohasset facility will be available next month (August).

Paper Shredder Machine

Cardboard Baler

Assemble line for sorting; a better photo would be had if the employees were working.  The room had dividers for the various materials.

About the MDI/Deer River Hired Hands merger:

About the move from Deer River to Cohasset:

No More Bags

posted Apr 24, 2016, 1:35 PM by Jeanne Newstrom   [ updated Apr 25, 2016, 8:56 AM ]

This local display was up for Earth Day at Central Square Mall on April 22-23, 2016.  Dave Isacskon is an upholsterer and he and his wife are manufacturing these canvas bags for sale.  They live at 35892 N. Bass Lke Road, Grand Rapids, Minnesota.  For contact email at and check out their website:

Kudos to No More Bags!

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