Fire chief: Clear hydrants

FAIRMONT – The Fairmont Fire Department is offering a mid-winter safety reminder to local residents.

Fire Chief Brandon Scott says residents should be sure to clear away snow and ice from the fire hydrants along city streets. Scott says some hydrants may become buried or otherwise inaccessible, making it difficult or impossible for the fire department to access them in the event of an emergency.

The Fairmont area has been inundated with snow this winter, and more is expected today and over the weekend.

Mayo offers grief support group

FAIRMONT — Mayo Clinic Health System Hospice invites people who have experienced the loss of a loved one to attend “Journey Through Grief,” a no-cost, eight-week grief support group.

The weekly meetings will be held 10 a.m. to noon Thursdays, March 7 to April 25 at Fairmont United Methodist Church, 119 E. Second St., in Fairmont.

Participants will share their stories and explore the process of grief and healing.

Pre-registration is required as the group is limited to 10 participants. For more information or to register, call (507) 238-8154.

Groups can apply to receive books

OWATONNA — Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, in partnership with publishing firms ABDO and Capstone, is accepting applications for the Early Childhood Literacy Grant Program.

The program is designed to support early literacy efforts that enhance school readiness for children birth to age 5 by providing children with books.

Organizations working with children in SMIF’s 20-county region may apply for books to be given to families to keep and read to their children. Award recipients will choose from a selection of more than 10,000 books donated by the publishing companies, including bilingual and early childhood-appropriate books. Applications are due to the foundation by April 16. Awards will be announced in May, with a book pickup celebration in June.

For more information or to apply visit our website at or contact Jennifer Heien at (507) 214-7040;

In 2002, Capstone helped launch the BookStart program, working with the foundation to distribute thousands of books to children in the region over a period of fifteen years. In 2018, the Literacy Grant was formed as a new collaborative effort between SMIF and the two Mankato-based publishing companies to put even more books into the hands of children birth to age 5.