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Minnesota to get $52 million from in federal stimulus money for weatherization

Minneapolis (AP) — Federal stimulus money will be funneled to weatherization work on thousands of Minnesota homes.

Congressman Jim Oberstar said Tuesday the state Department of Commerce will get $52.7 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to weatherize 16,800 homes this year.

He said in addition to cutting heating costs, the work will create thousands of construction jobs.

Once a first two-year phase of the program is done, the state will be eligible for another $65 million in weatherization money.

Sheboygan state park project leads to 30 new campsites to open this week

Sheboygan (AP) — A popular Sheboygan state park is opening a new 30-unit campground, adding to 105 existing campsites.

Kohler-Andrae State Park has sand dunes and miles of beach along Lake Michigan.

Jim Buchholz is the park superintendent of the state Department of Natural Resources. He said the park attracts 440,000 visitors and 60,000 campers each year, leaving the park often filled to capacity.

The new campsites were scheduled to open Wednesday afternoon. Each has a paved drive, fire pit and picnic table.

Buchholz said the $474,000 project is the first campground addition to the park since the existing facilities were rebuilt in the early 1970s.

UW System seeks student fee increase for dorm projects, maintenance, meal programs

Madison (AP) — University of Wisconsin System students who live in residence halls and have meal plans could be hit with fee increases averaging $335 this year, budget documents show.

Some students said Wednesday the proposed increases for student activities, services and room and board seemed excessive during a recession. But one national observer said they are a bargain compared to those in other states and will help pay for improvements.

A $2.2 billion operating budget expected to be approved Thursday by the UW System Board of Regents would increase average room and board rates by $284 dollars. Mandatory fees will go up an average of $51. Both increases will vary by campus.

The fee increases come on top of a proposed 5.5 percent tuition increase, which would be less than $300 at the majority of the system’s 13 four-year schools.

Wisconsin’s increases are at the “low end of the spectrum” nationally, said Barmak Nassirian, associate executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. Many other public schools are raising tuition and fees by double digits, he said.

UW System spokesman David Giroux said the room and board hikes will help pay for new and renovated residence halls, maintenance projects throughout the system and for some campuses to add meal plans and extended dining service hours.

The increases will pay for student-approved building projects on five campuses and cover rising costs in other programs.

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