In the news


3/27/2016: Walking the length of the river: Spiritual journey calls attention to contamination of the Minnesota River. She is supported on this journey by Dakota members of the Upper and Lower Sioux communities, as well as volunteers from organizations such as Clean Up our River Environment and the Land Stewardship Project, organic farmers and other residents of the river valley. (West Central Tribune)

3/5/2016Water, water everywhere… LSP, CURE call for 20 percent more cover crops by 2020 at water summit. (Marshall Independent)

3/3/2016: Common ground – Local farmers, environmentalists turnout for Gov.’s Water Summit. CURE Executive Director Duane Ninneman pointed to the federally subsidized agricultural system as a major culprit in propping up practices that force farmers to act against their own interest. “If you’re stuck in system where you have very little flexibility as to how you can adjust your part of the system and still stay profitable and make a living––then it comes real hard to look at the system wholistically and say: I’m going to be part of the solution, rather than continuing to be part of the problem and being a cheerleader for the status quo,” he said. There are ways to fix our problems, and there are farmers out there that who invest in soil and water health––and they’re our champions.” (Granite Falls Advocate Tribune)

1/26/2016: CURE leader to serve on state’s natural heritage committee. A Sacred Heart woman who is part of the Clean Up the River Environment administrative team will be part of the state advisory committee on natural heritage. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr has appointed Peg Furshong. (West Central Tribune)


11/12/2015: CURE outing uncovers Jewels of the Minnesota River. The workshop on Friday was the first collaboration that the Minnesota River Valley Education District (MRVED) and CURE partnered on to engage teachers in learning more about the river ecosystem. (Granite Falls Advocate Tribune)

10/16/2015: A grassroots campaign to close Minnesota’s largest coal plant. And sign they did. More than 11,000 petitions — collected by Sierra Club, Conservation Minnesota, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light, Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, Clean Up the River Environment and Fresh Energy — were submitted to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. (Midwest Energy News)

8/28/2015: Board denies Duininck Inc.’s appeal. The property owners were joined at the meeting by Clean Up the River Environment, the Friends of the Minnesota River Valley, and other county residents in voicing opposition to a variance. Peg Furshong, a Renville County resident and staff member with CURE, was among those who pointed out that the mine site is in the floodplain. (West Central Tribune)

7/18/2015: Outdoors: Simon Lake Bio-Blitz. This was the second annual Bio-Blitz at the site. The Land Stewardship Project, Chipper River Project, Clean Up the River Environment and Glacial Lakes Environmental Trust Fund helped make it possible, with help from the adjoining landowners, public and private. (West Central Tribune)

6/15/2015: More than 100 people turn out to paddle length of Minnesota River. Clean Up the River Environment (CURE) also partnered with the DNR, the group said on Facebook. CURE led two groups totaling 20 paddlers, some of whom paddled from Memorial Park to the Upper Sioux Agency Park while others took to the river from Skalbekken County Park to Vicksburg County Park in Renville County, for a total of 26.4 miles, Peg Furshong, one of the trip leaders, told BringMeTheNews. (Bring Me The News)

6/8/2015: Willmar Utilities Commission OKs solar and wind payment rate. Kristian Nyberg from the environmental nonprofit group Clean Up the River Environment, headquartered in Montevideo, said CURE has many members interested in supporting and developing solar energy. He said they believe that distributed solar energy is a right, and he said a need to support solar energy is a form of supporting energy freedom for municipal customers in the Willmar area. (West Central Tribune)

5/29/2015: CURE promoting ‘Public Paddle’ for this year’s River History Weekend on Sat., June 13. “Back in January, CURE was contacted by Alex Watson, a Regional Naturalist for the Southern Region of the MN DNR and asked if we would help lead a couple of the public paddle portions of this dynamic first-time-ever event. We’re so glad that we can help make this celebration of our region possible,” noted Peg Furshong, CURE Events and Adventures Coordinator. (Granite Falls Advocate Tribune)

4/23/2015: CURE hands out honors. Sisters Kay and Annete Fernholz, of Earthrise Farm near Madison, were honored with the RiverKeeper Award at the 23rd annual meeting of Clean Up the River Environment (CURE) on Saturday at the Maynard Event Center. (Montevideo American News)

3/10/2015: Montevideo group promotes vegetative buffers to protect waterways. “We strongly support buffer legislation,’’ said Ariel Herrod, of Clean Up our River Environment, based in Montevideo. The local organization hosted a meeting last week of members supporting its “Buffers Now!” campaign. Supporting the legislation to be introduced this week is the first priority, Herrod said. (West Central Tribune)


10/16/2014: Pollinator public forum held at CUREMinnesota State Repre­sentatives Jean Wagenius (DFL, 63B), Andrew Falk (DFL, 17A) and Rick Hansen (DFL, 52A) were in town at Cure Organization headquarters to hold a pollinator public policy forum midday Friday, Oct. 11. Hansen lead the discourse on pollinator conservation. (Montevideo American News)

10/10/2014: Making Minnesota nice for pollinators. Minnesota State Representative Rick Hansen, DFL-South Saint Paul, right, outlined legislation approved in the last three years that has put Minnesota in the lead in addressing the declines being seen in commercial honeybee and native pollinator populations. (West Central Tribune)

9/18/2014Minnesota River congress convenes in MontevideoCheryl Landgren, CURE board member, did not. “Thought it was a good exchange of ideas, got a chance to voice my opinion,” said Landgren, “Collaboration is always good, but I was a no on the new entity because there are already so many different organizations. It’s so hard to start anything new. Collaboration, yes, but the entity part held me back.” (Montevideo American News)

9/11/2014Memorial Park to be site of CURE river cleanup. “There are jobs for people of all abilities and ages,” notes Peg Furshong, CURE Events & Adventures coordinator, “we will need volunteers on land, in the water and at the Lions Shelter in Memorial Park to host volunteers and to prepare lunch for the participants and cleanup afterwards.” (Granite Falls Advocate Tribune)

5/19/2014GF, Upper Sioux recognized at CURE annual meetingEvery year since 1994, Clean Up the River Environment (CURE) has awarded individuals, organizations or government agencies who have worked in an exemplary manner over the past year to carry out CURE’s mission to “focus public awareness on the Minnesota River Watershed and to take action to restore and protect its water quality, biological integrity and natural beauty for all generations. (Granite Falls Advocate Tribune)

5/9/2014Youth leaders see solutions, need support. Organized and facilitated by CURE Director of Communications and Engagement Sarina Otaibi and Watershed Sustainability Program Coordinator Ariel Herrod, it was the first of what is hoped to be many social networking opportunities geared toward the 1981 to 2000 age cohort, “the  Millenials”, whether in a physical or online scenario, that are still being defined. (Granite Falls Advocate Tribune)

4/28/2014CURE’s River History Weekend for all ages. As CURE’s Executive Director, Duane Ninneman explains, “our usual Annual Meeting and River History Weekend events this year are redesigned to be more family-friendly, outdoors-focused, and with more opportunities to engage a broader cross section of CURE’s membership and the public. Both events will also answer member calls for more workshops and featured presentations.” (Granite Falls Advocate Tribune)

4/27/2014CURE hosting river history weekend of events. A conversation with emerging leaders from the millennial generation, a visit by author and poet Gwen Westerman, canoeing, bluebird watching, and an awards banquet and celebration with the music of James Hersch. (West Central Tribune)

1/24/2014Now’s the time to plan for a pollinator-friendly yard. Flett spoke as a guest of Clean Up our River Environment, and naturally enough clean water was a focus of the discussion. (Outdoors by Tom Cherveny)


12/4/2013Preserving the Dakota language. The event was co-hosted with Clean Up the River Environment (CURE) Granite Area Arts Council (GAAC), Granite Falls Lutheran Church and Yellow Medicine East. (Marshall Independent)

11/1/2013Scary below the surface. Peg Furshong, director of operations for CURE, pointed out Asian carp thrive on algae blooms fed by fertilizer runoff but can’t thrive in clean water. “We do see more farmers willing to sit own and have a conversation,” Furshong said. “We worked with Xcel Energy to get the (Granite Falls) Minnesota Falls Dam removed. Now native fish species are getting up river as far as the Granite Falls Dam.” (Marshall Independent)

10/28/2013Artists shaking up and strengthening communities in rural America. The performance, “With the Future on the Line: Paddling Theater from Granite Falls to Yellow Medicine,” sprung out of a partnership among four nonprofit and public organizations: Clean Up River Environment (CURE), a local environmental nonprofit;Wilderness Inquiry, a Twin Cities-based nonprofit; the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; and PlaceBase Productions, a theater company out of St. Paul that had previously worked with the community last fall. (Createquity)

9/26/2013Learn about mussels and river health this Saturday at Memorial Park. The event is being hosted by Clean Up the River Environment as a component of its Events and Adventure Series, which is a new program to engage people of all ages and to inspire them to learn more about and experience the Upper Minnesota River Watershed. (Granite Falls Advocate Tribune)

9/20/2013Steger headlings forum on climate, energy and health. This past Sunday over 200 area individuals turned out for the Clean Up the River Environment (CURE) hosted Climate, Energy and Health forum held at Granite Falls Lutheran Church. (Granite Falls Advocate Tribune)

9/17/2013‘Eyewitness’ to climate change in polar regions urges citizens to take action here. Event hosted by Clean Up the River Environment (CURE) in Granite Falls. (West Central Tribune)

9/17/2013Steger speaks on energy issues at CURE event. The meeting was held at the Granite Falls Lutheran Church and organized by Clean Up the River Environment (CURE). (Marshall Independent)

9/12/2013Polar Explorer Will Steger returns to Granite Falls this Sunday; will headline forum on climate change, renewable energy opportunities in Minn. Hosted by Clean Up the River Environment (CURE), the evening’s forum will also include presentations from Fresh Energy science policy director J. Drake Hamilton, CURE Senior Director Duane Ninneman and Granite Falls Lutheran Pastor Steve Carmany. Ninneman will provide a history of NSP and Xcel Energy production and the impact of climate change on watershed health. (Granite Falls Advocate Tribune)

8/11/2013Giving voice to the RIVER. Voices of the River was a year-long project headed by Anne Queenan that compiled in-depth stories of a dozen people who have had instrumental roles in river issues. (Mankato Free Press)

7/12/2013Riverfront Disc Golf Classic in Montevideo, Granite Falls this weekend. Both courses were part of a BlueCross and BlueShield of Minnesota Foundation “Connect for Health” challenge grant that was proposed by Clean Up the River Environment (CURE) to provide alternative activities that engage people around the river and the outdoors in addition to connecting the two communities. (Granite Falls Advocate Tribune)

6/27/2013Paddling Theater looks back, Place Base planning next production. Hanson began by sharing the results of 194 surveys returned by show-goers. Of note was that it was the first time that 54 percent, or over 100 of the participants, had been on the Minnesota River and that 72 zip codes, 46 cities and five different states were represented across a full spectrum of ages from under 18 to over 60. (Granite Falls Advocate Tribune)

6/17/2013The return of MCAD and the Greater Minnesota Arts Initiative. Three MCAD fellows joined project community liaison Sarah Wolbert  during an open house visit at the K.K. Berge building along with staff members of CURE, which serves as the local partner of the project. (Granite Falls Advocate Tribune)

5/30/2013Dam removal: A better way to control invasives. Del Wehrspann, a founder of CURE and river advocate, noted that the City of Granite Falls is in the process of replacing two small hydro-electric turbines in the municipal dam without so much as discussing the need for a fish passage. “With all we know…,’’ he said, “Why isn’t this even considered.” (West Central Tribune)

5/23/2013Paddle Theatre takes audience on newly-chartered waters in Granite Falls, Minn. “They were just so amazed at how it could happen,” said Peg Furshong, associate director of Clean Up our River Environment. A major grant from the Kreske Foundation and help from other partners made it possible to offer the Paddle Theatre production and its events. When all of the in-kind help, grant funds and work by the partners is tallied, it represents an approximate $30,000 investment to make it all happen, according to Furshong. Whether another Paddle Theatre event like this one can be held again is hard to know, but Furshong said there is no doubt. “People left wanting more,” she said. (West Central Tribune)

5/20/2013Paddling to a scene from history. Dixie Tilden, CURE office manager, was thrilled to report that the maximum number of participants had registered for seats on the voyageur canoes. “We had 160 register for the big voyager canoes, and another 25 paddling individually,” she said. “They’ll be leaving in three staggered segments from Kinney’s Landing, and they’ll finish up at the Upper Sioux Agency State Park.” (Marshall Independent)

5/19/2013On the Minnesota River, ‘paddling theater’ offers entertainment and adventure. On May 18, 2013, performers staged a “paddling theater production” on the Minnesota River as part of Minnesota River History Weekend and Minnesota State Water Trails 50th Anniversary. (Minnesota Public Radio)

5/17/2013Minnesota Water Trails 50th Anniversary this weekend. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Minnesota’s State Water Trails system, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is participating in Clean Up the River Environment’s (CURE’s) annual Minnesota River History weekend, May 17-19 in Granite Falls. (Granite Falls Advocate Tribune)

5/6/2013Floating theater celebrates state’s Water Trails system. The daylong event is part of a weekend-long Clean Up the River Environment festival ( with a film festival, historic exhibits, food and live music in Granite Falls. (Star Tribune)

4/5/2013CURE and director go separate ways. “There will be challenges, but I truly believe that CURE is more than one person,’’ said Jennifer Hoffman, chair of the CURE board of directors. (West Central Tribune)

3/6/2013: Arts economy rises on the southwest prairie. CURE’s partnership with the Bush Foundation has allowed the organization to hire 26-year-old Sarina Otaibi, whose mother is from Granite Falls but who was raised in the Middle East, and earned a historic preservation degree from the University of Maryland. (Minnesota Public Radio)

2/5/2013Theater as small town therapy. Local environmental organization Clean Up the River Environment (CURE) helped pay for and pave the way for the production. (Minnesota Public Radio)

2/1/2013State OKs power plant plan. “Mercury emitted from the Hoot Lake coal plant affects our water in western Minnesota,” said Duane Ninneman, Renewable Energy Program Director of Clean Up the River Environment (CURE). “Today’s decision will lower the risk of mercury contamination in our waterways. Phasing out coal vastly improves the health of the surrounding community and helps us keep our water clean. Every day that pollution comes from the Hoot Lake plant, our health is put at risk.” (Fergus Falls Journal)

1/24/2013: CURE event draws focus to ‘next generation’. This event will focus on “The Next Generation” and will feature brief presentations by “Kayak Kate” Eggers and current CURE board president Joshua Preston. They will share how their involvement with CURE has made a difference for them personally. (West Central Tribune)


11/13/2012MPCA says results are being seen on troubled Minnesota River. CURE was organized in part due to concerns about the wastewater plant in Montevideo, where raw sewage was discharged into the river during high flow periods. Today, Montevideo is among the dozen communities that have made major investments to upgrade their wastewater plants and in particular, meet new, more stringent phosphorus standards. (West Central Tribune)

9/29/2012CURE hosts listening session on sustainable communities. In a listening session, organizers frame the topic, but citizens set the agenda, said Duane Ninneman, CURE’s lead organizer for Tuesday’s event. “Participants step up to name relevant topics and act as conveners for table discussions,” he continued. “Following each round of small group dialogue, conveners report back to the whole group and end with action plans or next step commitments.” (Morris Tribune)

9/24/2012Camp Release remembered. Dakota War Dialogue. (West Central Tribune)

9/13/2012Meander Artists to be Featured at MCAD Gallery Exhibit/Reception Friday September 14 in Minneapolis. Montevideo based Clean Up the River Environment (CURE) served as the welcoming and connecting organization for MCAD’s project in the Upper Minnesota Valley. CURE has several projects designed to connect people through river, art and the re-use of empty buildings in the towns of western Minnesota. (Granite Falls Advocate Tribune)

8/14/2012Those with community ideas given a forum to share them. The floor at all of the sessions is always open for ideas, said Duane Ninneman of CURE. He said one of the overall goals is to connect people who are interested in similar goals, or have experience in them. The sessions also serve to introduce successful ideas and projects to new people and locations. “Our rural towns tend to talk about their problems when they get together, when they should be talking about their successes,” said Ninneman. (West Central Tribune)

7/16/2012Reaching sustainability in Minnesota, one city at a time. The meeting also drew Granite Falls resident Sarina Otaibi, a 26-year-old who works for a regional conservation group called Clean Up the River Environment, or CURE, which focuses on protection of the Minnesota River watershed. “Sustainability is a big thing among young people. Its time has come,” she says. “I just think this might help to attract a younger generation.” (MinnPost)

5/2/2012: Conditional use permit approved for quarry in Big Stone County, Minn. “We really feel the county commissioners have let us down,” said Duane Ninneman, a Big Stone County resident and one of the project opponents with Clean Up our River Environment. (West Central Tribune)

5/1/2012: Proposal approved for controversial granite quarry. “It will have a direct impact on people who live close to the quarry. And that’s what we’ve been doing from the beginning, is representing their interests,” Ninneman said. “We feel that their property values are in jeopardy. And that their health and welfare, and tranquility, their way of life, is being threatened.” (Minnesota Public Radio)

4/3/2012KK Berge to launch Drop-in Art Night this Wednesday in Granite Falls, Minn. Every Wednesday night beginning this week, Clean Up the River Environment staff and Granite Arts Council members will be hosting a “Drop-in Art Night” from 8 p.m. to midnight for anyone interested in gathering at the K.K. Berge Building in downtown Granite Falls. (West Central Tribune)

3/23/2012Listening sessions identify quality-of-life goals in Upper Minnesota Valley region. It promotes face-to-face gatherings in which participants identify the values and interests they share, and work together to reach their common. Hosted by Clean Up our River Environment, three In-Commons “listening sessions” have been conducted to date in the Upper Minnesota River Valley. (West Central Tribune)

3/1/2012Minneapolis art students share ideas with a small city. “Out of the creativity phase, hopefully something comes and clicks and becomes a new model,” said Patrick Moore, of Clean Up the River Environment, based in Montevideo. (Minnesota Public Radio)

2/27/2012MCAD shares ideas in Montevideo. Students and staff from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) met with interested residents of Chippewa County and the surrounding region last Saturday to discuss what could be done to benefit the area and MCAD students. (Montevideo American-News)

2/19/2012Big trouble in Big Stone County: Strata mining, Ortonville Township and House File 389. Big Stone County resident Duane Ninneman also takes a long view, but sees things from a different perspective as a member of the Minnesota River revival movement. If it issued cards, he’d carry one, but the intentional community building that’s been going on among sustainable development advocates hasn’t gotten around to that part yet. (Bluestem Prairie & republished on Twin Cities Daily Planet)


4/9/2011: A track record of success: Meet Duane Ninneman, charming change maker and Fresh Energy friend. “On the second Earth Day, I coordinated a multimedia presentation on environmental destruction and overpopulation for my school’s 1,500 students and faculty.” Back in the day of 16mm film and reel-to-reel taped sound tracks, Duane was already upping the ante for the environment. (Fresh Energy Blog)

2/17/2011CURE Annual Meeting draws a crowd in 20th year. Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak addressed the audience of the CURE Annual Meeting held this past Saturday in Montevideo. (Clara City Herald)



12/7/2009Demise of Big Stone II worries local utility. After nearly five years of publicly voicing opposition to the project, the Clean Up the River Environment board of directors is setting its sights on collaborating with rural electric co-ops and municipalities that are now turning to alternative power sources to supply energy that would have come from Big Stone II. “We have said for the past four years that the cheapest new form of reliable electricity generation is wind backed by natural gas,” said CURE renewable energy consultant Duane Ninneman. “Now it looks as if several of the former Big Stone II partners will be going in that direction.” (West Central Tribune)

2/25/2009: Summit begins discussion of U.S. energy problem. Ninneman said sustainability of the local economy should be central to the discussion. “The dialogue about national energy policy is well under way and to ramp up to influence that discussion I think really behooves us to have a clear understanding of where that policy making is heading now,” he said. (Hastings Star Gazette)

1/24/2009EPA files objections to Big Stone II. Duane Ninneman, Renewable Energy Consultant for Montevideo-based CURE (Clean Up the River Environment), said the EPA ruling sends a strong message about the Obama Administration’s policies toward the future of coal energy. “We believe the ruling will make it extremely difficult for Big Stone II to go forward,” Ninneman said. “With a new commitment to science and accountability at the federal level, combined with conditions placed on the plant by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, investors may finally give up on the Big Stone II plan.” (The Journal)


7/3/2008Commentary: Energy — Why ownership matters. CURE believes that there is a direct correlation between local ownership, rural prosperity and the resulting benefits to a healthy watershed. (The Land)

4/22/2008Top 10 distinction raises more concern for river. In a news release from Montevideo-based Clean Up the River Environment, the distinction was placed on the river “because of the water draw down, mercury pollution and global warming threats to the Minnesota River posed by Big Stone II.” (Marshall Independent)

3/4/2008: Minn. Green Policy Looms Over Neighbor. “By stopping this thing, you give wind or other sources a boost in Minnesota. But South Dakota is fine with the old technology. So it’s one state’s approach against another’s,” said Duane Ninneman of rural Ortonville, a consultant for a rural environmental group opposed to the project. (Washington Post)


9/4/2007Big Stone agreement ‘falls short,’ says opponent. “It really falls short of where most residents in Minnesota are,” said Duane Ninneman of the agreement’s environmental requirements. Ninneman, the renewable energy consultant with Clean Up our River Environment in Montevideo, said the local citizen’s organization continues to favor the development of renewable energy instead of coal-fired generation. (Park Rapids Enterprise)

3/17/2007New guide shows the way to area waterways. Thanks to a summer-long project by interns and volunteers for Clean Up our River Environment, all of this information has been assembled in “Paddling the Prairie, a Canoe and Kayak Guide to the Upper Minnesota River Watershed.” (West Central Tribune)


10/14/2006CURE challenging Big Stone II. ‘But Ninneman and Falk said that there is more than 6,000 megawatts of new energy being proposed for the region. That power is already in the Midwest Independent System Operator’s queue system and seeking an allocation of transmission capacity. Smaller, community-owned projects face formidable challenges getting on the grid as a result, they argued.’ (West Central Tribune)

6/10/2006CURE takes a grassroots approach with river cleanup. CURE started its work by working to educate people about the river and introduce them to it. It hosted its first spring observation trip on the river in 1992. It has since introduced many hundreds of people to the river through the annual, guided canoe trips on the river and its major tributaries. (West Central Tribune)

4/4/2006South Dakota power plant worries Minnesota residents. “It would open up a great opportunity for local wind production and biomass production of energy,” says Wojtalewicz. “A lot more decentralized, community based, small ‘d’ democratic way of producing our energy. Instead of centralized, expensive pollution producing plants.” Wojtalewicz co-chairs a group called “Clean Up the River Environment” or CURE. (MPR News)

3/18/2006CURE starts campaign for renewable energy. CURE chose Benson to launch the campaign because it is “forward thinking” on renewable energy issues, according to Duane Ninneman of Ortonville, CURE development director, and Andrew Falk of Murdock, a CURE representative and private wind-power developer. Benson is home to a farmer-owned ethanol plant and what will soon be the state’s first plant to produce electricity from turkey litter and other biomass. “Coal does not support the Minnesota economy,” said Ninneman. (West Central Tribune)

2/18/2006CURE honors sugar co-op for environmental success. The Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative and its producers have been successfully working to reduce the amount of nitrogen applied to fields. Last year the cooperative reported that the average amount of nitrogen applied per acre has dropped from 150 pounds to 130. (West central Tribune)

2/10/2006Area residents testify before Senate committee. Ninneman said many groups can make the case for clean, renewable energy. Minnesota generates a lot of revneue from outdoor enthusiasts, which supports keeping mercury out of rivers, streams, and lakes. And 75 percent of the state’s energy comes from coal which has to be imported which does little to help our economy. (State Senator Gary Kubly News Release)

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