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Heidi Shaffer and Dave Olson, Published January 27 2012

Trade Talk: Public to choose ‘Pay It Forward’ winner

State Bank & Trust is trying something new for a portion of their annual “Pay It Forward” program. They’re letting you choose where the money should go.

For the past five years, the Fargo-based bank has given each employee $1,000 to invest in any person or organization in need.

“We’re continually trying to expand and be more impactful,” said Michael Solberg, president of State Bank & Trust.

This week, State Bank started the “Fans’ Choice” video contest on its Facebook page. The public can submit a video, which has to be three minutes or less, explaining why their organization, family or individual deserves to win.

Fans are asked to upload videos to YouTube with the tag “SBTPIF2012” by March 16.

A selection committee at the bank will then watch the submissions and choose the top six videos. On April 2, fans can begin voting on their favorite.

On April 23, the video with the most votes will win $5,000 for the charity and the remaining five choices will also get $1,000.

“Technology allows us to identify some things that wouldn’t have otherwise been identified,” Solberg said.

“We also thought it would be a great way to connect with the community,” said Jeanine Larson, Web content coordinator for State Bank.

As usual, all 650 bank employees will still distribute their $1,000 throughout the community.

Since “Pay It Forward” started in 2008, employees have given away $2.4 million throughout the community.

New store coming downtown

McNeal & Friends, an interior design and home accessory store, will open in the next couple of months at 506 Broadway, according to the Goldmark Schlossman Commercial Real Estate Facebook page.

The space was vacated last year when Beyond Running moved a few doors down Broadway.

Newman sponsors poster contest

Keep North Dakota Clean Inc. has partnered with Newman Outdoor Advertising for its annual poster contest for children in grades 1-8 and special needs.

The students will create artwork that reflects their knowledge about reducing waste, recycling, preventing wildfires and using natural resources wisely.

The first-place poster in each grade will be turned into a billboard and placed near the winner’s hometown.

KNDC and the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department are also sponsoring a statewide digital artwork project for students in grades 9-12. Entries can be posters, videos or audio clips that promote keeping North Dakota trails and parks clean and green.

Cash awards will be given to first-, second- and third-place winners in both contests.

Rules, themes for each grade and entry forms are available at www.keepndclean.org. All entries must be received by March 15.

Readers can reach business editor Heidi Shaffer at (701) 241-5511 and Forum business reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555.