The Stevens County Fair officially opens next week on Wednesday, and sales of the celebration's button have begun. The fair board's Steve Storck says the grand prize is a trip to Hawaii. The button costs $6 and is also good for a free meal on on opening day at the fairgrounds.
The Minnesota Department of Homeland Security and FEMA agents will be back in Morris next week, making final damage assessments caused by a June storm. President Obama made a major disaster declaration for eighteen Minnesota counties following a storm system that moved across the state June 20-26. Local county, city, and township boards will be able to apply for assistance for damage recovery efforts through two FEMA programs. The federal government will pay up to 75% of recovery costs. Among the eligible counties, FEMA will assess Stevens, Big Stone, Douglas, Grant, Pope, Stearns, Swift, Traverse, and Wilkin Counties. The agents will be in Stevens on Wednesday, August 7th.
The University of Minnesota, Morris's International Student Program has welcomed 29 incoming international students for the 2013 Summer Transition for English Language and Liberal Arts Readiness (STELLAR) program. The goal of the program is to give international students a strong foundation in academic English and to familiarize them with the liberal arts, campus, and community to prepare them for success in the coming academic year. The STELLAR program provides participants cultural and academic enrichment opportunities that complement their academic experiences-the itinerary includes trips to Minneapolis, Duluth, Starbuck, Glenwood, Pomme de Terre Park, and the Stevens County Fair. The STELLAR program began July 22nd, and will run through August 16th.
A third person has been arrested in the murder of 79 year old Lila Warwick of Willmar. According to Kandiyohi County Sheriff Dan Hartog a 17 year old male from Willmar was arrested at 1:15 yesterday afternoon (Thursday). Based on information to date, investigators believe this was not a random act. 19 year old Brok Junkermeier of Willmar and a 16 year old juvenile from Willmar were arrested late Wednesday in the murder. Junkermeier was booked into the Kandiyohi County Jail on second degree murder and first degree burglary. The 16 year old was booked into the Prairie Lakes Youth Program detention facility in Willmar for liability crimes of another for second degree murder and first degree burglary. All three are pending court hearings for formal charges by the Kandiyohi County Attorney’s Office. Hartog said the investigation continues and more information will be released when it becomes available.
The Minnesota Ag and Rural Leadership Program (MARL) has established an endowment in honor of Curt Watson of Renville, who died in 2012. Watson served as a past president of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association and farmed with his family. Proceeds from the endowment will be used to help the MARL Program provide a dynamic leadership development program for active and engaged adult agricultural and rural leaders in Minnesota.
Moody’s Investor Services, a national rating agency, has revised the outlook on the State of Minnesota’s general obligation bonds from negative to stable. They cite the state’s ‘strong fiscal management that has resulted in improved revenue performance, replenishment of budget reserves, and budget balancing solutions that are largely recurring. Moody’s also warned the state’s rating could slip if the state were to return to a reliance on one-time solutions to solve recurring budget shortfalls, or return to political intractability which prohibits the state from making budgetary decisions. Representative Alice Hausman, chair of the House Capital Investment committee, says ultimately, this will help the state make crucial infrastructure investments while allowing taxpayer money to go further.
The 2013 Kids Count Data Book is now available. It provides data and trend information on the condition of America’s children and families. It ranks states in four categories: economic well being, education, health, and family and community. The data book shows signs of improvement in education and health for kids despite an ever-growing poverty rate.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has confirmed the presence of zebra mussels in Lake Mary in Douglas County near Alexandria. After lake residents reported finding a zebra mussel attached to a rock in the northeast bay, DNR crews searched the area July 29 and found another adult zebra mussel. Lake Mary and several other lakes will be designated as infested waters and signs will be posted at all public accesses as soon as possible. The designation begins with Lake Mary and continues downstream, eventually reaching Lake Brophy and the rest of the Alexandria chain which is already infested with zebra mussels.
The Alexandria Police Department and city of Alexandria will join forces Tuesday night, August 6th for Community Night Out ‘Growing Stronger by Building Strong Community Partnerships.’ Special events are planned and organized in a community crime prevention effort that sends a strong message to our children and community, according to Alexandria Chief of Police Richard Wyffels. The event will be held at the city park from 5-7.