The New London Spicer School Board approved a request for proposals for banking services, also for insurance and auditing services when it met this week. The board also approved a resolution discontinuing and reducing educational programs and positions. Supt. Paul Carlson says the last few meetings they’ve been reviewing budget reductions for next year, keeping in mind a high priority on low class sizes and maintaining programs. The board approved the resolution which consists of $178,325 they’ll be reducing out of the budget for the 2013-14 school year. The board reviewed three policies as updates. Based on some statutory changes its important to review all the board policies and update the policies accordingly.
The Kerkhoven City Council this week set a variance hearing for May 13th for an individual to build a shed on his property in town. They also set a budget of $500 for the Kerkhoven Fire Department Auxiliary to purchase flowers for a park in the city. Mayor Brian Thompson says the city was also updated on the plans the ambulance has to purchase a new ambulance.They’re getting specs for the ambulance they’re going to purchase. He’s hoping to have that information by May 8, and at that point they’ll have to go out for bids.
The Litchfield School District is currently searching for three personnel positions, a 4thgrade classroom position, a 5th grade class room position, and a high school art position. Interim Supt. Dan Friazer says the district is receiving bids for its property and causality insurance. Their costs are shooting up by $14,000 for next year, adding further complication to a stressed budget. He says they expect to have the budget ready to present to the board by Monday, May 27th and meanwhile the district is investigating advanced foreign language classes. They cut their upper level foreign language classes due to low enrollment but they’d like to encourage students to get involved in foreign language regardless so they’re looking to add some online services that would open the opportunity to their students to take not just Spanish and German, but possible French, Chinese, Latin or Japanese.
The city of Alexandria received one quotation for the field maintenance of the Knute Nelson baseball field. The quotation came from the Youth Baseball organization. Last year’s cost was about $9500. The new cost of $10,500 which was approved by the council. City Administrator Jim Taddei says they also entered into a cost sharing agreement with Hudson Township to make improvement to 50th Avenue, a portion of which is in the city limits. They also opened the 2013 overlay bids for several roads throughout the city. The contract was awarded to the low bidder, Riley Construction.
There have been several discussions over the last few months regarding the interchange of Trunk Highway 29/50th Avenue in Alexandria, according to city Administrator Jim Taddei. He says MnDOT will be redoing the interstate at that location so in addition they wanted to do improvements at 50th avenue. That realignment will be cost shared with the city and the state, the city to pay about 20 percent. A public hearing will be held in the near future. There was discussion regarding the Kenwood Drive right-of-way. The council received petitions to improve Kenwood Drive a while back by installing sanitary sewer. The council will do the feasibility study and undertake that project, but first they need to acquire right-of-way so the city engineer was directed to do a design as to what’s necessary for acquisition of the right-of-way.
A class on how to start and maintain your own garden compost will be hosted by the Community-Owned Grocery at 10 Saturday morning, May 4th, at Stacy’s Nursery on East Highway 12 in Willmar. The instructor is Jonathan Morales, a master composter and member of the community-owned grocery. He will teach about several different composting methods, how to mix “greens” and “browns” and how to add worms to enrich the composting mixture.
An information session designed for Renville County mayors and city councils known as the “Renville County 10” will be held Monday night, April 29, at 7 at the Olivia Community Center. The agenda includes an update on the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Network. Proclamations will be awarded to all 10 cities in Renville County. Also on the agenda are updates on the Renville County Hospital and Renville Alliance for Prevention of Alcohol and Drugs (RAPAD). Mayors, city council members, community leaders and anyone who wants to learn more about local government and community needs in Renville County are welcome to attend. The Renville County 10 group first met in July as a way for elected community leaders to learn and collaborate together. Election of chair, vice chair and secretary, as well as setting a 2013 meeting schedule, will also take place at this meeting.
Representative Mary Sawatzky says yesterday (Wednesday) on the House floor they talked about the House tax bill. She says this will tidy up the rest of the DFL education plan as it will include money to pay back the money owed to Minnesota schools. In the previous legislature they borrowed a lot of money from Minnesota schools, she said, and now with the tax bill they will look at a temporary surcharge on the wealthiest Minnesotans who are filing earnings of more than $500,000 per year.
21 year old Cody Garvick of Belgrade appeared in Kandiyohi County District Court Tuesday where he pled guilty to a felony fifth degree drug possession charge. In exchange for his guilty plea, two other felony charges of storing meth paraphernalia in the presence of a child or vulnerable adult and bringing contraband articles into a correctional facility were dismissed. Garvick will be sentenced May 23rd.
Representative Paul Anderson of Starbuck says with the weather forecast finally hinting that spring is on the way, road construction projects will begin to ramp up across the state. Anderson says residents of District 12B should be aware of the mill and overlay project on Highway 28 from the Stearns-Pope County Line going east into Sauk Centre will get underway, and will end at the junction of Highways 28 and 71 in Sauk Centre. Anderson says the western stretch of that road, from Glenwood to the Pope-Stearns County line was done last summer.
State Senators Torrey Westrom of Elbow Lake and Bill Ingebrigtsen of Alexandria are critical of the lack of support by the DFL leadership for legislation to give nursing homes, group home and their employees a long overdue and adequate pay raise. They both say they and others will push for real funding increases and offer amendments for nursing homes when a comprehensive health and human services finance proposal is debated on the Senate floor in the coming days.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation District 8 in southwestern and west central Minnesota is using Twitter to share information on flooding, road closures, construction projects and public meetings. Motorists are encouraged to follow @mndotsouthwest or visitwww.twitter.com/mndotsouthwest. District 8 covers 12 counties in southwestern and west central Minnesota: Chippewa, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, McLeod, Meeker, Murray, Pipestone, Redwood, Renville, and Yellow Medicine.
If you are a rural resident who’s concerned about the potential impact of flooding on your septic system and home, advice is available in a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency fact sheet, ‘What to do with your septic system during a flood. To see the fact sheet, go to the M-P-C-A’s website and search for “septic system during a flood.” Information is also available from your county’s environmental services or planning and zoning department.
At a news conference yesterday (Wednesday), Steve Larson, director of ARC Minnesota, told the group at ARC, they strongly support new revenue so they can adequately fund services and supports for persons with disabilities. He says they need to raise $2 billion dollars in new revenues the governor is proposing, but in addition to that, they need to have the health and human services committee get the $150 million that was taken away from them reinstated so they can address some of the critical problems in programs for persons with disabilities. If that doesn’t happen, he says, they’ll continue to have high turnover in the group homes and their employment programs for persons with disabilities. He said families will not get the services and supports they need for children with disabilities in their home. Some parents will end up paying higher fees than they currently do to access services and support for their children. They’re urging everyone to contact their legislatures during the last three weeks of the session, and urge them to support the proposals for increased revenue and the reinstatement of $150 million in the health and human services budget.
The Alexandria City Council this week talked about lowering the interest rate they charge for improvement projects on assessments spread over ten years. That rate is at 7 percent, and given the changes in the economic climate the council reduced that interest rate to five percent. City Administrator Jim Taddei says there have been inquiries about a possible micro brewery in the city. Rather than the council decide what regulations are necessary to allow for such a facility, that was referred to the legislative committee for its review ad recommendation. Also Taddei says, several high school students representing the Team Electronics program was at the meeting. They illustrated their work on the robotic equipment they’ve developed and competed with statewide with. They took third in the state in that competition.
Gov. Mark Dayton has proclaimed this week as Wildfire Prevention Week, as most wildfires in Minnesota occur in April and May. Once this year’s snow melts, hazardous fire conditions are likely. Minnesota wildland firefighters extinguish an average 1,400 fires that burn 31,000 acres each year. Most of those wildfires, 98 percent, are caused by people. The most common cause is escaped debris-burning fires. Wildfires jeopardize public health and safety, destroy homes and property and cost millions of dollars each year to extinguish. Dayton recognizes the best way to reduce the damage and cost of wildfires is to prevent them. He urges Minnesotans to exercise caution in all burning operations this week and throughout the year.
The American Red Cross Bloodmobile will be in Chippewa County and Swift County today (Thursday) and tomorrow (Friday). The bloodmobile will be in Montevideo at the Training & Community Center from 12:30-6:30 this afternoon. The Kerkhoven Murdock Sunburg High School will host the bloodmobile on Friday, April 26 from 8-2.