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Craig McEwen and Tracy Frank, Published May 09 2009

Trade Talk: Job Service North Dakota seeks young people

Job Service North Dakota is seeking businesses and young people ages 14 to 24 to participate in the statewide summer youth employment program through Sept. 30.

As part of the federal economic stimulus plan’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Job Service will pay wages for eligible youth enrolled in the summer youth program.

Private- and public-sector businesses can use the program to provide temporary jobs or as a training period for future regular positions.

Businesses willing to provide work sites and supervision for the summer jobs should contact their local Job Service office listed at jobsnd.com.

Interested youths are encouraged to call or visit their nearest Job Service office.

Thrivent Financial donates $10.2 million

Thrivent Financial for Lutherans awarded $10.2 million in charitable outreach in the Northwestern Minnesota-Eastern North Dakota Region in 2008.

The region encompasses 14 counties in North Dakota and 33 counties in Minnesota.

The funding represents support from Thrivent Financial members and community programs, and from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation grants.

In 2008, region members volunteered 826,030 hours and participated in 4,020 chapter activities. They contributed $668,293 to the construction of nine Habitat for Humanity homes in the region; raised an additional $111,018 and committed 12,863 volunteer hours to build the homes.

The agency awarded $51,037 in regional grants to Lutheran and community organizations.

Thrivent for Lutherans Foundation awarded 75 grants totaling $291,279 to regional organizations.

Otter Tail Corp. earnings decline

First-quarter 2009 was a mixed bag for Otter Tail Corp. based in Fargo and Fergus Falls, Minn.

Operating cash flow increased from $14.5 million in first-quarter 2008 to $21.9 million this year.

Revenues dropped from $300.2 million last year to $277.2 million this year and net income dropped from $8.2 million in first-quarter 2008 to $4.4 million in first-quarter 2009.

“While we expected difficult business conditions in 2009, the impacts of the recession have become more widespread and significant than we had anticipated and now affect nearly all of our operating companies,” said CEO John Erickson. “Consequently, first-quarter results fell below our expectations.

“Although 2009 will be a challenging year, Otter Tail Corp. remains fundamentally strong, appropriately diversified and well positioned for growth when the economy recovers,” Erickson said.

Otter Tail Corp. is a diversified corporation with business operations that include an electric utility, manufacturing, health services, food ingredient processing, plastics, construction and transportation.

SBA assistance tops $2 million

The Small Business Administration has approved more than

$2 million in federal low-interest disaster loans to Minnesota and North Dakota homeowners, renters and businesses who sustained damages from severe storms and flooding.

The deadline for filing for assistance is June 9.

Affected individuals and business owners should register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency by calling (800) 621-3362 or (800) 462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing or speech impaired.

Readers can reach Business Editor Craig McEwen at (701) 241-5502 and business reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526