Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson will discuss Minnesota’s renewable energy policies and future opportunities in agriculture during two forums at Farmfest this week. Farmfest is tomorrow (Tuesday) through Thursday at the Gilfillan Estate in Redwood County. Frederickson will join other government and industry representatives in a panel discussion on ‘The Future Direction of Renewable Energy Policy’ tomorrow afternoon at1:15. Thursday morning he will sit on a panel discussion on ‘Future Opportunities in the Minnesota Agriculture Industry,’ at 10:30. Both events will be held in the new Wick Buildings Farmfest Center.
The 27th annual New London to New Brighton Antique Car Run is happening this week Wednesday through early Saturday morning when the vintage cars leave New London at seven sharp for New Brighton. Wednesday morning is a 30 mile morning tour to Willmar.Thursday is a 35 mile long tour to Belgrade. Friday is the tour around the lakes, and Saturdayis the grand tour of 120 miles to New Brighton. The vintage run includes cars from 1908 or earlier and any two-cylinder vehicles through 1915. There will be stops along the way and those include Grove City, Litchfield Central Park, Kingston, Buffalo, the Crystal Community Center, then New Brighton.
Tomorrow night (Tuesday) is National Night Out, an event designed to heighten crime prevention awareness and provide an opportunity to promote and celebrate police-community partnerships in crime prevention efforts. Many neighborhoods throughout Willmar and other communities will be hosting a variety of special events to spend time with their neighbors.
Minnesota youth have until August 16th to apply for 18 mentored deer hunts this fall, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Youth ages 12-15 may apply for one of 15 special firearms youth deer hunts at selected state parks and refuges. Youth ages 12-17 may apply for three special archery youth deer hunts. A limited number of either sex permits are available for each hunt. Sibley State Park has ten firearms permits for Oct. 26-27.
Work continues on the old Morris Elementary School demolition project, with crews expected to spend about a week demolishing the portions of the building that are above ground. City Manager Blaine Hill says the crews are starting with the newest additions to the original 1914 building and working, in essence, backward from the newest portions of the building complex to the original structure. When the demolition crew gets to the original building, they will be looking for a time capsule that is likely buried in one of the building's walls. Several other time capsule burials have been reported from various years but, so far, crews have not uncovered any other memorabilia from ages past.
Last Thursday was the deadline for Minnesota county boards to approve or decline a $10 wheelage tax. The tax was introduced by the legislature during the 2013 session as a way for local boards to increase transportation revenue. In West-Central Minnesota, the county boards in Pope, Swift, Douglas, La Qui Parle, Clay and Kandiyohi voted to approve the wheelage tax. In Stevens, Big Stone, Traverse, Grant, Wilkin, and Chippewa Counties, the boards declined to implement the tax. Counties that voted to enact the tax will begin collection on January 1, 2014. The tax will only be collected on eligible vehicles registered in a county that enacted the tax. Beginning in 2018, the $10 cap will be raised to $20 and counties will have the flexibility to set the amount of the tax anywhere up to the cap. Of 87 Minnesota Counties, 47 passed the wheelage tax.
19 year old Broc Junkermeier, 16 year old Devon Jenkins, and 17 year old Robert Warwick, grandson to 79 year old Lila Warwick, who was murdered earlier this week, appeared in separate arraignments in Kandiyohi County District Court Friday morning. Warwick and Jenkins are charged with two felony counts of murder in the 2nd degree, and Junkermeier is charged with one count of murder in the second degree. All three remain in custody. Bail for Junkermeier was set at $2 million. A Rule 8 hearing for Junkermeier was set for August 13 at 9 a.m. A probable cause hearing for Jenkins was set for August 14 and the hearing for Warwick for August 12. Junkermeier's father, Attorney Bradley Junkermeier, said following the arraignment for his son that he and his family conveys their deepest sympathy and condolences to the victim's friends and family for this horrific catastrophe.
The new Prairie Ridge Hospital and Health Services hospital and clinic in Elbow Lake continues to develop, with crews building the 53,000 square-foot hospital. Missy Wetterling of Prairie Ridge, says the new building will provide better service for the area's population and will include a surgery suite. The hospital and clinic are being funded by a loan from the USDA's Rural Development program and local donations. In addition to their Elbow Lake location, Prairie Ridge has locations in Ashby, Elbow Lake, Evansville, Hoffman and Morris.
When the Stevens County Fair opens this week, one exhibit building will be bursting with crafts and food. The Stevens County Homemakers Clubs exhibition hall will feature something for nearly everyone, says Homemaker Sandy Thorstad. The building will feature baked goods, handy crafts, and a large photography display. The Stevens County Fair opens on Wednesday and runs through Sunday.
Minnesota Department of Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans will be traveling around the state this week to discuss anticipated property tax relief in the coming year. Frans will be joined by local and state government officials as they present work done by Democrats and Governor Dayton during the 2013 legislative session to encourage local governments to consider property tax relief in 2014. Frans and other elected officials will be in Willmar today (Monday) at 9:15 at the Kandiyohi County Health and Human Services Building. The group will be in Elbow Lake at the Grant County Courthouse this afternoon at 3.
The Alexandria Police Department was called to a commercial fire at Blue Smoke BBQ on Friday. Investigation into the fire found an employee on scene had attempted to put out a fire which had started near the smoker area and was unsuccessful. It caused a large amount of damage to the interior of the building. The Alexandria Police Department and State Fire Marshal are investigating the matter to determine the cause of the fire.
Saturday the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office was called to a crash with injuries on County Road 37 and Mary’s Lake Road in Millwood Township. The crash happened while one vehicle was turning left and another was passing. The vehicle turning left was struck in the driver’s door. Four people were injured. Two of them were taken by ambulance to the Melrose Hospital and the other two were airlifted to the St. Cloud Hospital. The crash remains under investigation and the names are not being released at this time.
Kandiyohi County Attorney Jenna Fischer is among four finalists for the two vacant judgeships in Minnesota’s Eighth Judicial District. The other three are Rodney Hanson, an attorney with Anderson, Larson, Hanson and Saunders in Willmar; Jeffrey Kuhn, president of the law firm of Nelson, Kuhn and Nordmeyer in Glenwood; and Antonio Tejeda, owner and attorney with the law office of Tejeda Guzman. The two judges that are retiring are Kathryn Smith, who is chambered in Willmar, and Jon Stafsholt, who is chambered in Glenwood. The candidates will go through an interview process. Once that is finished the Governor will announce his appointments.
Governor Mark Dayton has proclaimed this week, August 4-10, as Farmers Market Week in Minnesota to celebrate the benefits of farmers markets and the agricultural products farmers provide. Local farmers are able to offer consumers a variety of products, including heirloom vegetables, heritage breeds of livestock and other specialty products. Minnesota Grown spokesman Paul Hugunin says more than 160 farmers markets are found in the Minnesota Grown Directory. These markets not only offer farm-fresh, healthful products, Hugunin says, they also provide an important opportunity for customers and farmers to interact.
The Kandiyohi County Fair starts Wednesday and runs through Saturday. Many activities are going on during the fair from 4-H activities, to rides on the midway, free entertainment on the Heritage Square Stage, wrist band rides, the naming of the 2013 Outstanding Senior Citizens, and Century Farm recognition. There will be pig racing, a sweet corn feed, bingo, monster truck performances, FFA children’s barnyard, 4-H Share the Fun on the 4-H Stage, a talent contest, 4-H awards program, ranch sorting and more.