Congressman Collin Peterson says high school students who live in Minnesota's Seventh District are welcome to submit their artwork for the 2013 Congressional Art Competition. The 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 Congressional Art Competition is an opportunity to recognize and encourage the artistic talent in the nation, as well as in each congressional district. Each spring, this nation-wide high school arts competition is sponsored by the Members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
As the topic heats up nationally, local inquiring minds will be gathering in UMM's Library this week to discuss gun violence. An "Asking the Big Questions" discussion will take place Thursday night at seven in in the McGinnis Room of Rodney Briggs Library. The discussion will explore the topic of gun violence in the United States, answering questions regarding its prevalence, what can be done about it, and what precautions can be taken against it. Speakers for this event will include Jennifer Lund, campus police lieutenant; Henry Fulda, assistant vice chancellor for student life; and Solomon Gashaw, associate professor of sociology. All are welcome to attend the discussion.
The AARP Foundation will be offering free tax assistance at the Senior Center in Morris this year. Tax preparers will be available, by appointment every Monday from 9-3 For appointments, call the Stevens County Human Services Department.
Senator Torrey Westrom will be holding several town hall meetings on Friday, Feb. 22nd. The day begins at seven at the Hans House in Elbow Lake. From there its to the Breckenridge City Hall at 9:30; the Country Corner Café in Wheaton at 11:30; the Pizza Ranch in Ortonville at 1:30; and the Pizza Ranch in Morris at 3:30. Westrom says in addition to job creation, balancing the budget, and second Amendment rights, there are a number of other issues and concerns important to the people, and these town hall meetings allow them to share their concerns and provide input without leaving their communities.
Alexandra District 206 Learners Preschool Program will have an open house for the 2013-14 school year on Tuesday, Feb. 26th from 4-7. Classes for children who turn three by Sept. 1st will be Tuesday and Thursday mornings or afternoons for three hours a day. Classes for children who turn four by Sept. 1st will be Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Registration forms have been mailed out. If you didn’t get one, call the school.
If you are a woman involved in farming, ranching or forestry, register now through March 5thfor the inaugural gathering of the Women’s Farm and Forestry Alliance. It will be held March 11th and 12th at the St. Paul Hotel in St. Paul. The mission of the group is to build strong women leaders, strong networks, and an even stronger agriculture and forestry sector by ensuring that women have access to the highest level financial and business management training along with an embedded leadership training program.
Funding for higher education is at a thirty year low, says Representative Andrew Falk of rural Murdock. Accounting for inflation, state allocations for the University of Minnesota and MNSCU systems are the lowest since 1981. Those numbers will affect the state's economy and intellectual community, says Falk. Minnesota has a strong industrial base and a high percentage of Fortune 500 companies because of the state's longtime commitment to building an educated, highly-skilled workforce. That commitment has waned over the last 30 years, Falk says, especially in the last 10 years. Falk says increased support for higher education will keep Minnesota's intellectual advantage strong.
A freshman legislator had his first committee hearing yesterday (Tuesday) on a bill he co-authored and Elbow Lake Representative Jay McNamar brought the experts to help him: deputies from the Grant County Sheriff's Office. The bill, if passed, would end state taxes on ARMOR Radio Systems, the federally-mandated emergency response systems across the nation. McNamar says the bill would apply to both new equipment purchases as well as maintenance. The bill is co-authored by Representative Paul Anderson of Starbuck and is sponsored in the Senate by Republican Torrey Westrom of Elbow Lake.
The American Red Cross Bloodmobile will be in Stevens County again this week. Dave Kelly with the Red Cross says the bloodmobile will be at St. Mary's Parish on Friday, February 15, from 8 to noon. The Red Cross is seeking all blood types but have a special need for O-negative.
The University of Minnesota, Morris will host Christian Lander and Elon James White in a convocation on Tuesday night, February 26 at 7:30 in the student center’s Edson Auditorium. Lander, creator of the pop culture phenomenon ‘Stuff White People Like’, and White, the award-winning creator of ‘This Week in Blackness’, address the question of what it means to be "post-racial" in their Post Racial Comedy Tour.
According to Olivia Chief of Police Derek Lee, 64 year old Billy Camper of Olivia died of natural causes and not from the fire that broke out in his apartment at the Westcourt Apartments on Feb. 7th. A full autopsy report is pending the final results of toxicology tests. Investigation of the fire scene has determined that the fire was accidental and that foul play is not suspected. The process of cleaning the apartment building continues and is expected to be completed soon. The displaced residents will begin moving back into their apartments over the next few days.
27 year old Wong Thao of St. Paul, 29 year old David Thao of Oakdale and 24 year old Allen Thao of Maplewood were able to exit the SUV they were in and walk safely off the ice after their SUV went through the ice on Lake Koronis yesterday (Tuesday). According to the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office the SUV went through the ice between ‘First Island’ and ‘Alexander Point’ on the northeast side of the lake. The vehicle went through in an area where the water was three to four feet deep. The sheriff’s office reminds people that ice is never 100 percent safe and they need to be careful when driving any vehicle on ice.
33 year old Jennifer Harpestad of Willmar was injured in a rollover yesterday morning (Tuesday) on Highway 71 near the Ella Avenue intersection. She hit a patch of ice, went into the snow bank on the edge of the road, and rolled.
The Willmar Eagles Club wants nominations for its annual Humanitarian Award. This award is given to an individual who has not previously been recognized for outstanding humanitarian efforts in Kandiyohi County. You can submit nominations, along with a complete list of their contributions, to the Eagles Club by March 9th. The award will be presented at the club’s 74thanniversary in March.
Audrey Nelsen has been elected to the Ward 4 Willmar City Council seat, which was left vacant when Doug Reese resigned to run for the Kandiyohi County Commissioners seat. She was elected in yesterday’s (Tuesday) special election, defeating Jay Lawton and Todd Bergeth. Nelson received 151 votes, Bergeth 104 write in votes, and Lawton 49.
The Alexandria City Council met Monday night when they heard from Mike Miller, a representative of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities. He talked about the Minnesota Cities Economic Development Partnership program. City Administrator Jim Taddei says the program is an effort by cities and various Chambers of Commerce throughout the state as well as Economic Development Authorities to see if they can develop some new legislation addressing economic development issues in Greater Minnesota Cities. He says this includes an internship program, a new employee training program and expansion of the Greater Minnesota Angel Investment Credit program, all of which are designed to provide more jobs in Greater Minnesota Cities. The council agreed to be a member of that group along with the Alexandria Chamber and Economic Development Commission.
The 2013-15 student transportation contract has been approved by the New London Spicer School Board. Currently the district has a two year contract with Palmer Bus Service. Supt. Paul Carlson says the district has the opportunity to extend that contract for two additional years without going out for quotes on student transportation. After direct negotiation with the bus company they were able to agree on rates for the 2013-14 school year and 2014-15 school year, which represented an approximate increase of one percent each year with no change to the gas clause. He said they will remain a partner with Palmer Bus Service in providing transportation for their students. He said they’ve been impressed with the company maintaining their fleet and upgrading their fleet.
U.S. Senator Al Franken says the Senate included two key provisions he wrote when it passed the ‘Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act’ to help protect women who are survivors of sexual and domestic violence. The bill includes Franken’s ‘Housing Rights for Victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence Act’that would make it unlawful to evict a woman from federally-supported housing just because she is a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Also included is his ‘Survivors of Sexual Assault Act’, which ensures that survivors of sexual assault are never forced to pay for their own rape kits.