Representative Andrew Falk of rural Murdock says the Omnibus Bill the House passed last week puts more money and more resources into actually combating some of the threats of aquatic invasive species. He says they’re helping upgrade the technology our conservation officers have, they’re doing a lot of things that actually address problems and some of these problems have been put off for the last decade because of a lack of investment and a lack of willingness to go and make some tough decisions. He said they put together a good bill, and it’s a bill Minnesotans can be proud of. They can see the results of the work they put in when it comes to clean water, clean air, improvement in our outdoor habitats, Falk said.
The House Omnibus Jobs bill has passed off the Minnesota House floor and contains several provisions to help build business in the state, says Representative Andrew Falk of rural Murdock. One such provision is a a "tax rebate" for Minnesota businesses. The state's unemployment insurance account has met its reserve and will be returning about $150 per employee to employers.
Although a comprehensive transportation bill to fund infrastructure improvements might be "dead in the water" this legislative session, local road stewards are closely watching currently funded road construction programs. Stevens County Engineer Brian Giese says one such program, the Local Road Improvement Fund, is generally administered by an application process. Giese says one of the program's main objectives is to create jobs at the local level, with funding prioritized for "shovel ready" projects--those projects that are ready for completion shortly after funding is allocated. Some legislators have been pushing to earmark those dollars for particular projects, outside of the application process. Giese says hand-selecting projects, rather than allocating the dollars through applications, will mean less money for local road construction.
Students involved in the arts at the Morris Public Schools will be getting a financial boost this year, through the efforts of the Morris Area Arts Boosters Club. Marshall Hoffman says fundraising in the last year has provided for programs that routinely see cuts in funding. The group has brought in Artists in Residence, purchased computers for the art department, and added a potter's wheel to the art department. The Boosters' annual Arts Fest was held this past Saturday at the Morris Area High School. Carnival games and a silent auction raised funds for the coming year. Students gave a live performances during the two hour festival.
Even though this spring's thaw has been slow in coming, Otter Tail Power Company is reminding its customers and neighbors that electricity and water don't mix. Spring thaw can cause high water levels that can reduce line clearances, and that increases the potential for accidental contact with electricity. Otter Tail Power Company's Safety Director Eric Hamm warns area residents not to go near any flooded areas, including basements, if the water level has reached any part of the electrical system such as electrical outlets or the electrical connections on water heaters, water softeners, or heating systems. Hamm notes power can be disconnected in an emergency situation by a public safety official, which may include the mayor, incident commander, or fire chief.
14 year old Jade Ovando is still missing and if you have any information as to her whereabouts you’re asked to call either the Swift County or Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Departments. Ovando, who is Native American/Guatemalan, was first reported missing April 4 from the Willmar and Benson area. She is five foot tall, weighs 100 pounds, has brown eyes, long brown hair and has her nose pierced. Call either sheriff’s department if you have any information.
18 year old Arian Mitlyng of Watson was killed in a broadside crash yesterday afternoon (Sunday) on Highway 29 north of Montevideo. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, 18 year old Charles O’Malley of Montevideo was traveling west on County Road 13, entered the intersection with Highway 29 and broadsided a vehicle driven by 51 year old Thomas Finke of Holland. Mitlyng was a passenger in the O’Malley vehicle. O’Malley, a second passenger in his vehicle, 4 year old Kayden VanHeuven, and Finke were seriously injured. Assisting at the scene was the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has declared April 21–27 as Wildfire Prevention Week to increase awareness of outdoor fire hazards. The DNR encourages people to make a special effort to control their fires during this week and all year long. Minnesota wildland firefighters annually extinguish an average of 1,400 fires that burn 31,000 acres. Ninety-eight percent of wildfires in Minnesota are caused by people, and the number one reason is escaped debris-burning fires, says Larry Himanga with the DNR. Most wildfires in Minnesota occur in the spring, between the time when snow melts and vegetation turns green. Himanga recommends composting or mulching it. If burning is necessary, landowners should check fire burning restrictions in their area, obtain a burning permit, and be careful with debris fires. Piled debris can hold hot coals for several days to months.
The American Red Cross Bloodmobile will be UMM's Student Center today (Monday) and tomorrow (Tuesday), accepting donations from 12:30-6:30 p.m. The bloodmobile will be at the National Guard Armory in Morris on Wednesday, April 24, from 12:30-6:30. Red Cross volunteers will also be in Chippewa and Swift County. On Tuesday, the bloodmobile will be in Maynard at the Events Center from 3-7. On Wednesday, the bloodmobile will be in the Clara City Community Center from 1:30-6:30; and on Thursday in Montevideo at the Training & Community Center from 12:30-6:30. The KMS High School will host the bloodmobile on Friday, April 26 from 8-2.
The Morris School Board is meeting during the heart of test season, as students in the high school take the graduation-determining Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments. The board meets tonight (Monday) at seven in the Morris Senior Center. The agenda includes a review of the 2013-2014 budget.
The murder trial for 47 year old Timothy Huber of rural Paynesville begins today in Kandiyohi County District Court and is scheduled to run through May 10th. Huber is charged with one count of first degree and two counts of second degree murder in the Oct. 8, 2011 shooting death of 43-year-old Tim Larson of Albertville. Huber’s father, 82 year old Delbert Huber, pled guilty to second degree murder in the shooting death and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.