The New London Spicer School Board has approved the Education Minnesota New London Spicer Teacher Seniority list, the New London Spicer Educational Support Professional seniority list and the Early Childhood Family Education seniority list. Supt. Paul Carlson says all internal postings have been completed and reviewed by each of the unions and the lists have now been adopted by the school board. In other business the board accepted a letter of retirement from one of its high school guidance counselors, Linda Grothe, with thanks and appreciation for her dedication and service to the students in the New London Spicer Schools for the past 18-1/2 years.
The Alexandria City Council approved the ordinance for the Cable TV Franchise, and approved a consent of ground lease near the airport when it met this week. City Administrator Jim Taddei says the city owns the ground around the airport, they lease that property on some long term leases to developers, and one of those developers is sub-leasing their building to Douglas Machine. The council approved that sub-lease. The council’s Board of Equalization will be April 17th at city hall to review any requests or appeals for valuation of property within the city. The council also reviewed some quotations for replacement of some tile in city hall. There were two quotations, one from D&M Tile and the other from Armquist Carpet Plus. both were the exact amount of $1,200 so the council flipped a coin, awarding it to Armquist Carpet.
The Litchfield School Board met with the kindergarten teachers this week, and during the meeting heard positive results about the benefits of the All Day Every Day program. Supt. Dan Fraiser says they reported greater growth across all different types of students, helping to bridge that gap between students who are coming in less prepared compared to those who may be coming in from families who have better prepared them for the school experience. The bigger question, he said, is how do they expand this down and start offering All Day Every Day preschool. A number of schools across the nation have started offering that. It can be blended with preschool special head, Head Start and some other home day care programs to provide a quality preschool experience for four year olds to better prepare them. Fraiser said they want to take a serious look as we look down the road at this.
Local infrastructure projects could be funded this year, including projects on the University of Minnesota Morris campus. Elbow Lake Democrat Jay McNamar sits on the House Capitol Investments Committee and says a bonding bill is likely this session. McNamar says the University of Minnesota has a large bill which includes construction or renovation on most of the University's five campuses. The University of Minnesota, Morris has several projects planned, including maintenance and improvements to current buildings.
Funding for the City of Morris, in the form of Local Government Aid, will likely decrease over the next five years. Under the formula established by current law, the city would see consistent losses beginning next year. If Governor Dayton's budget proposal and new LGA formula passes at the Minnesota legislature, the city would see a bump in LGA in 2014, before losses in funding over the next four years. City Manager Blaine Hill says the danger of changing the formula is current legislators can re-prioritize what will be funded. Other cities in West-Central Minnesota are likely to see the same trends: both current law and Dayton's proposed changes would incrementally move more funds to urban areas through 2018.
The Pomme de Terre River Project is still working toward organizing as a true joint powers board. Stevens County Commissioner Jeanne Ennen says, with several million dollars worth of projects already completed by the project, it's time to form a formal watershed district. Ennen says as a project is housed in Stevens County, and over 40% of the watershed's land mass is in Stevens County, any liabilities for the Pomme de Terre River Project would fall to Stevens. The river runs through Stevens, Otter Tail, Grant, Douglas, Swift, and Big Stone Counties.
Put it on your calendar now: a Grammy-award winning act is coming to Stevens County. The Okee Dokee Brothers were 2013 recipients in children's music for their album "Can You Canoe?" The Twin Cities-based duo will be at the Hancock and Morris libraries for performances on June 27th.
The third annual Prairie Gate Literary Festival will be held February 21-23, at the University of Minnesota, Morris. During the festival, aspiring writers and literary enthusiasts can enjoy free public readings from nationally and internationally recognized authors. This year the festival will welcome novelist Brian Malloy, poet Mary Biddinger, poet/novelist/spoken word artist Ed Bok Lee, memoirist Patti See, and fiction writer Adam McOmber. Both Lee and Malloy are recipients of the Minnesota Book Award. For scheduling and registration.
Wednesday night the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a large herd of cattle on Highway 22 in the area of 380th Street, Manannah Township. Upon the arrival of the deputy the owners were on the scene trying to get the cattle rounded up. There was also a vehicle on scene that had struck one of the cows. No injuries were reported.
Tom Vilsack, head of the United States Department of Agriculture, will be meeting with Minnesota Farmers Union tomorrow (Saturday). Minnesota Farmers Union President Doug Peterson says they’re looking forward to discussing how Minnesota Farmers Union’s legislative efforts are making changes on a federal level. The top legislative priorities for the farmers union are to implement a workable tax solution for the current budget deficit, approach water quality programs in a proactive manner, and make affordable healthcare solutions available for small businesses and families.
31 year old Matthew Martin of Sacred Heart sustained minor injuries yesterday afternoon (Thursday) when he ran off the road and rolled. The crash happened on Highway 212 in Renville County, according to the Minnesota State Patrol.
Appleton City Clerk Roman Fiddler says at the Wednesday city council meeting they had a report from Appleton Area Health Services on its progress. They have a new doctor on staff who will start as soon as she gets her final license from the state. The Appleton Pool Committee was also at the meeting. The council discussed making the committee a permanent committee to work with the city and staff at the pool as far as programming and fundraising. They will bring that back to the council in March. Fiddler says the swimming pool is progressing. They are working on the building and did start shingling it. The council also approved funding of $2,000 to assist the Chamber with advertising out of the local area, probably in a lot of the books that are handed out at shows in South Dakota, North Dakota and Eastern Minnesota. They also approved gambling permits for local organizations, approved a raffle permit for the local hospital foundation, approved officers for the Appleton Firefighters Relief Association, and the Mayor did his appointments for 2013.
Representative Andrew Falk of rural Murdock says the Environment and Natural Resources Policy Committee will be assembling the Omnibus Lands Bill during its March 6th meeting. He encourages counties to submit land bills to him if they have any land sale or exchange that might need to be approved by the legislature. He gave an example of such a sale, saying it might be certain tax-forfeited lands, which are owned by the state in trust for the taxing districts which individual counties have the legal authority to sell subject to certain restrictions. In most instances, he says, tax-forfeited lands are sold by public auction.
Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen says the Judiciary Committee began hearing bills in earnest this week, including a bill he presented which addresses issues surrounding when a person has been charged with murdering someone from whom the person may benefit. He gave an example saying if a man is charged with killing his wife and stands to inherit everything from her, this bill will allow an interested person to file an inventory of the murdered victim’s personal property with the court so the alleged killer can’t sell off the victim’s personal property before the trail and make off with or hide the potentially ill gotten gains.
Yesterday morning (Thursday), the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office was called to a crash onMeeker Avenue and Veterans Drive in Watkins. There were no injuries. Also that morning, they were called to a crash on North Gilman Avenue and East 5th Street in Litchfield. That morning officers also arrested 27 year old Justin Lipinski of Eden Valley on a Minnesota Department of Corrections warrant for probation violation. Later that same morning they were called to a crash at the intersection of Highway 12 and County Road 34 in Litchfield.
The Litchfield Police Department was called to a crash yesterday morning (Thursday) at the intersection of County Road 11 and North Gilman Avenue. The drivers were Janet Wagoner of Litchfield and Christian Duffy of Litchfield. There were no injuries. Later that morning they were called to a crash at the intersection of Highway 12 and Country Road 34. the drivers were David Syverson of St. Paul and Steven Schultz of Grove City. There were no injuries.