The Alexandria Police Department is hosting a free one-day Crime-Free Multi Housing training for anyone that owns or manages rental properties. Topics that will be covered include fire safety, drug awareness, active property management and background checks, crime prevention through environmental design, leases, evictions and property left behind as well as other topics. The event will be held at the police department on June 11th starting at 8:30 that morning. To register for this course, contact Officer Jim Gripne.
Saturday, the Veterinary Technology program will welcome nine Danish veterinary nursing students and a veterinarian faculty member from Hansenberg College in Kolding Denmark. The nine students will be at Ridgewater College for two weeks, living with second-year Ridgewater College veterinary technology students and attending class with all vet tech students. Dr. Daniel Keller, Hansenberg College, will be in Minnesota for one week accompanying the students and networking with Ridgewater staff. Dr. Al Balay will accompany seven Ridgewater second-year veterinary technology students to Denmark in June. The Ridgewater students spend 2 weeks of their internship with their host veterinary nursing student in veterinary clinics in Denmark. Everyone is invited to attend a gathering on Thursday morning, April 18th at 11 in room B-65 to meet the Danish students and Dr. Keller and learn more about this exchange experience.
A bill to fund energy improvement projects in schools across the state has gained momentum and collected 20 co-authors. The bill sets aside a $3 million appropriation to fund energy efficiency improvements in elementary and secondary schools based on a first-come, first-served loan pool. The bill's author, Representative Jay McNamara of Elbow Lake, says at this point, schools would have 20 years to pay back a loan. Some of the bill's co-authors have suggested a shorter repayment schedule, a change McNamar says isn't without merit. He says most schools will see a significant reduction in expenses and will be in a position to pay back the loans on an expedited timeline. The bill is waiting for approval in the Education Finance Committee of the Minnesota House.
At least eight people were killed on Minnesota roads this past weekend--Saturday, April 6 through early Monday morning, April 8, making it the deadliest weekend of the year, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. The eight deaths include five on Sunday, the deadliest day of the year. The Sunday fatalities included a three-fatality crash in Minneapolis and a motorcyclist, the second rider death of the year. The first occurred April 4th. To-date in 2013, 71 people have been killed in crashes, compared to 75 at this time in 2012.
A Minnesota author will be hosting a public reading at the Morris Public Library this week. Frederick Blanch's book ‘Last Words’ was nominated for the Minnesota Book Award in 2010. Blanch describes his book as a combination biography and dictionary. The author's talk will be Thursday afternoon, April 11th at two at the Morris Public Library.
The National Council on Problem Gambling defines problem gambling as “gambling behavior which causes disruptions in any major area of life: psychological, physical, social or vocational.” Representative Mary Sawatzky of Willmar is sponsoring a bill to help problem gamblers. Sawatzky says she is not against gambling, but does want to make sure help for problem gamblers and their families is available. HF1405 would appropriate money to increase public awareness of problem gambling, educate and train individuals and organizations that offer effective treatment services to problem gamblers and their families, and fund research related to problem gambling.
In response to a crisis situation in Maynard, Senator Lyle Koenen of Clara City has proposed legislation to appropriate money for the reconstruction of the city’s sewer lines, a repair coming in light of a recent emergency. On March 20th Maynard’s lift station stopped pumping, forcing the city to enact temporary measures to get them going again. On March 31st the sanitary sewer main crossing the railroad tracks collapsed, blocking sewage from flowing forcing a temporary bypass. This temporary bypass prevented critical safety and health issues, but is not a long-term solution. On April 4th, Mayor Richard Groothuis declared a local emergency. Koenen says in addition to funds to repair the city’s sewers, this appropriation goes to flood mitigation for the town. Many of the problems Maynard currently faces have been exasperated by repeated floods in the past several years. Koenen says these issues are interconnected, and if they can give Maynard the money they need, they will be able to fix these infrastructure problems as well as be better prepared for future flooding possibilities.
Meeker County Sheriff Jeff Norlin says they’ll be participating in Severe Weather Awareness Week which has been proclaimed by Governor Dayton as April 15-19. He is hopeful all residents will take the time during this week to reassess their personal emergency plans and supplies. On Thursday, April 18th, the sheriff’s office will conduct two statewide tornado drills, one at 1:45 that afternoon and the other at 6:55 that evening. They’ll be setting storm sirens off throughout the county. Sheriff Norlin says the county has been included in two declared disasters, the first in July of 2011 when storms hit the southwest part of the county, and the second was in June of 2012 when storms hit the west central part of the county.
Kandiyohi County Commissioner Harlan Madsen encourages individuals throughout the county to go into the environmental services office and review the proposed FEMA floodplains maps prior to a meeting scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, April 16th. The meeting is from 1:30-4 for city, township, county officials and planners, with the public informational meeting to be from 4-6. At this meeting, he says, people will have an opportunity to review and discuss the floodplain maps with FEMA and DNR officials. These maps are available in the environmental service office in the lower level of the downtown county office building. Madsen said you need to look at them whether a farmer, homeowner, lakeshore owner. Some townships have little or no flood plains and some have tremendous, significant increases in delineations. There are some significant discrepancies and gross inadequacies and errors that are in these maps, he said and you need to view your property prior to the meeting on the 16th.
Alexandria Area Economic Development Director Jason Murray brought a recommendation to the city council Monday night that they set a hearing for an application from FAH Alexandria LLC. City Administrator Jim Taddei says this company is one of the leading suppliers of motion and control systems in North America. They want to construct a 45,000 square foot facility on property they own on Iowa Street. It would consist of 40,000 feet of manufacturing along with 5,000 square feet of office. The $3 million project will retain about 26 employees. Taddei says they want tax increment financing for the project. As a result the council set a hearing for May 28th.
The Kerkhoven City Council held its Board of Review meeting Monday night, with the Swift County Assessor answering questions from two people regarding their tax statements. The council made a change on one property where the assessor’s office had it valued at $86,300. Mayor Brian Thompson says it’s an estate property and the estate had it appraised for way lower than the $86,000 figure. The assessor’s office records showed a porch as a living space and it definitely wasn’t a living space, Thompson said. They recommended to the council that it could have been lowered to $68,000 and the council did change that evaluation. That was the only change the council made.
The discussions are ongoing as far as the possibility of Renville County West Paring with some other school district in the football program, according to Supt. Jon Widby. He’s hopeful they’ll have a decision fairly soon. He says the school’s activities director is having discussions and they feel they’ll know one way or another by the first part of May.
The Renville County West School Board has hired Michelle Mortenson as its new superintendent effective July 1st. She was superintendent and principal in the Ivanhoe School District. Supt. Jon Widby says they looking forward to having her at RCW. The board also recognized Carol Engstrom, who is retiring this year after serving the district for 36 years. They also gave approval to a request from some people in the community to host a community garden on school district property and the district is looking forward to working with them on that.
The 2013 Omnibus Bonding bill, estimated to create 22,800 jobs, was unveiled in the House Capital Investment Committee yesterday (Tuesday). Representative Alice Hausman, chair of the House Capital Investment Committee, says as Minnesota’s economy continues to recover, this bill will go a long way to helping put people to work while improving and preserving our critical statewide infrastructure repairs. She says many of these projects are shovel and paint ready and can be started almost immediately. She said they believe that keeping the entire state healthy is a good thing. The bonding bill tries to be make things better, to be fair to everyone and across all of those sectors, higher education, transportation, public safety and corrections. They need to balance all of those needs, she said.
Representative Mary Sawatzky says it’s been a busy time at the Capitol, and they continue to talk about the $1.6 million for Willmar’s Ridgewater College for phase two of the central heating system. The proposal also contains $1.5 million for a five mile extension of the Glacial Lakes State Trail from New London to Sibley State Park. She said there’s a five mile extension they would like to have connecting those two areas and she’s excited to have that go forward. She said she’s been working a lot with Sibley State Park and it will be nice to see that this comes to fruition.
High school students who live in Minnesota's 7th District are invited to submit their artwork for the 2013 Congressional Art Competition. This competition is open to all high-school students, and the overall winner of each participating district will be displayed for one year in the Cannon Tunnel leading into the U.S. Capitol. The submission deadline is April 22nd. Each spring the Congressional Institute sponsors a nationwide high school visual art competition to recognize and encourage artistic talent in the nation and in each congressional district. Since the competition began in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students have participated.Participation in the contest is at the discretion of each Member office. Contact your representative to confirm your district’s participation and obtain specific guidance.
Yesterday afternoon (Tuesday), the Meeker County Sheriff’sOffice dispatched the Litchfield Fire Department for a car on fire in a garage at an address on Park Avenue North, Litchfield. The car and garage were a total loss. There was moderate damage to the house. The Sheriff's Office assisted Litchfield Police Department with traffic control.
Registration and Roundup for kindergarten students in the Roosevelt attendance area will be Tomorrow (Thursday) from 3:30-6:30 in the Roosevelt cafeteria. Registration and Roundup for kindergarten students in the Kennedy attendance area has been re-scheduled for Tuesday, April 16th from 3:30 to 6:30 in the Kennedy Cafeteria. Bring along your completed registration packet, which you received in the mail. If you didn’t receive a packet and your child will be five years old before Sept. 1st, call either the Kennedy or Roosevelt Schools.
Eric Schwartz, dean of the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs, will deliver the 2013 Jooinn Lee Lecture tomorrow night (Thursday) at seven in Imholte Hall 109. The title of Schwartz's talk will be "Human Rights and the Responsibility to Protect Civilians at Risk: Promise or Pipe Dream?" According to Schwartz, governments of the world expressed their support for stronger measures to safeguard civilians from gross violations of human rights in the aftermath of genocides in Rwanda and Bosnia in the 1990s. He argues, however, that the deaths of tens of thousands of Syrians and the flight of approximately one million people from the country prove that civilians continue to be victimized. His talk will address how to access progress in the effort to protect individuals at risk of gross violations of human rights. This lecture is free and open to the public.
It will be months before a case pending against Stevens County will have its first hearing. At a scheduling conference last week, Judge David Mennis and attorneys for the county and the plaintiff set a hearing date for September 11th. Stevens County Auditor-Treasurer Neil Wiese has filed a civil suit against the county, appealing his 2013 salary and the budget set for his office, alleging the Stevens County Board of Commissioners acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner when preparing their budget in late 2012. During a 2012 review of his office, Wiese indicated he would be asking for a $13,000 raise during salary negotiations for 2013. On setting the final budget, Commissioners voted to give Wiese a raise of 1.5%; other elected officials received raises of 2.5%. The county has hired legal representation from the Twin Cities. To date, the county has received invoices for $1,788 for attorney's fees.