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Deep Dive with Region Five
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Deep Dive with Region Five

Author: R5DC Staff

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Sharing community and economic development information and program updates for Region 5 in Central Minnesota.
19 Episodes
Arlene Jones, Executive Director of Sprout, shares the impacts the CARES Act funding had on their organization during the pandemic. To learn more about loan programs through R5DC's non-profit lending arm, visit
Listen as we share an overview about the North Central Regional Food Business Center. Learn more at
In this episode, my colleague BJ Allen, R5DC's Deputy Director, sits down with Betsey Suchanic and Dee Shaw from New Growth Innovation Network (NGIN) to talk about their Inclusive Recovery Guide. You can learn more about NGIN, check out the guide and become part of their online community at
In this episode, we share information about the Agricultural Mental Health & Wellness Program, supported in partnership by the MN Department of Agriculture, Minnesota State Agricultural Centers of Excellence and Region Five Development Commission. Keith Olander and Monica McConkey join us to share stressors and strategies for overall well-being. Staci Headley from R5DC also joins us. For more information about this program, visit
Cheryal Hills, R5DC's executive director, shares why we focus on equity work as a regional economic and community development organization in central Minnesota. Learn more about our work in this space at
AgVet Program

AgVet Program


Cheryal Hills, Executive Director of R5DC, and Arlene Jones, Executive Director of Sprout MN, share details about the new AgVet Program, enhancing agricultural opportunities for military veterans and their families. To learn more, visit work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans Program, project 1029231 and will be implemented over a three-year period.
In this episode, we hear from Dawn Espe and Hannah Smith as they share more details about the Cultivating Communities | A North Central MN Welcoming Summit that R5DC is hosting September 19-20. Visit or to learn more. We hope to see you at the summit!
Listen as Katie Retka, Adrienne Benjamin, and Erica Bjelland share details about the beautiful Wayfinding Project created by the Welcoming Advocacy Group in Little Falls. This project ties together the themes of cultural resources with the history of how energy and natural resources have shaped our local community. Visit to learn more.
Learn more about Welcoming Advocacy Group Go North. Guests include Kathy Hachey, Go North; Tom Lillehei, Breezy Point, and Dawn Espe, Sr. Regional Development Planner at R5DC.Visit to learn more.
Learn more about the launch of the Rural Communities Equity Action Guide. Guests include Martin Jennings, Program Officer at the Northwest Area Foundation; Jane Leonard, President at Growth & Justice; and Dawn Espe, Sr. Regional Development Planner at R5DC.Visit to learn more.
We share details about renewable energy and energy planning in our region. Guests include BJ Allen and Jason Edens, JBJ World; Cheryal Hills and Erica Bjelland, R5DC & NCEDA.Learn more at
We share details about the Transportation Advisory Council in Central MN. Guests include Steve Voss, MN Department of Transportation; Tim Bray, Crow Wing County; Chuck Parins, Morrison County Public Works and R5DC Township Representative for Morrison County; Tad Erickson, R5DC Senior Regional Planner. Learn more at more information about MnDOT, listeners can go to MnDOT’s website at From this website, you can access the MnDOT District 3 website by going to ...
We share details about the Regional Transportation Coordinating Council for Region 5 in Central MN. Guests include Matt Kallroos, R5DC Regional Planner, Theresa Eclov, Executive Director of Faith in Action; Jan Lambert, R5DC Commissioner and Brainerd City Council member; Tom Gottfried, Executive Director at Minnesota Department of Transportation - Minnesota Council on Transportation Access (MCOTA). Learn more at
Sprout Marketplace

Sprout Marketplace


In this episode, we talk about a creative placemaking and local foods endeavor at Sprout Marketplace in Little Falls, MN. Sprout is strategically shaped around food, art and culture to develop community. Guests for this episode include Dawn Espe, R5DC, and Arlene Jones and Fallon Ryan from Sprout. You will also hear some of the ways Sprout has adjusted since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Join us for Part 2 of our military connected programs! This episode features special guests Tiffany Kovaleski, MN State Coordinator for Building Healthy Military Communities and R5DC Senior Regional Planner Staci Headley. Our discussion centers around three programs: Regional Beyond the Yellow Ribbon, Regional Military & Veterans Exchange and the VetCSA program. Visit for more information.
Military Connections

Military Connections


Learn more about our military connected programs! This episode features special guests former Command Sargeant Major Matt Erickson and Veterans Service Officer and Mayor of Sebeka David Anderson and R5DC & NCEDA Executive Director Cheryal Hills. The focus of our conversation is on two programs: Regional Beyond the Yellow Ribbon and Regional Military & Veterans Exchange. Visit for more information.
In this episode, we share R5DC and NCEDA staff member introductions. Learn more about who we are, what we do, and what we love about working here!
R5DC Overview

R5DC Overview


In this first episode of Deep Dive, R5DC Executive Director Cheryal Hills shares an overview of Region Five Development Commission and North Central Economic Development Association.
Community Bridgemakers

Community Bridgemakers


Katie Baier, Program Manager for Community Bridgemakers, shares more information about this collaborative, regional program led by the Initiative Foundation, Region Five Development Commission, and Sourcewell.