Appleton Pioneer Public Television will premiere the next episode of Postcards on Sunday night at seven with ‘Artists of Western Minnesota’. This episode explores some of the skilled artists Minnesota has to offer. Hear the inside story on silversmith artist Jean Menden in Boyd, explore the unique Potato Eaters Gallery in Willmar, and more. The twenty local productions of Postcards at Pioneer Public Television capture the stories about Minnesota art, history and cultural heritage, with funding provided by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
The annual Save Our Tails event, which is held to raise funds for the Hawk Creek Animal Shelter in Willmar, is taking place this Friday night beginning at six at the Willmar Conference Center. There will be a buffet supper, a silent auction on themed gift baskets, a live auction of a variety of deserts, there’s a pet photo contest, and more. There is a $2 fee to enter the photo contest. Tickets for the Save Our Tails event are $25 for adults and $7 for children ages 12 and under.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services is requesting proposals to develop a new residential treatment center at the 16 bed community mental health facility in Willmar, which is due to close June 30th. Corrine Torkelson, Kandiyohi County Family Services Supervisor, told the county board Tuesday they hope to meet the needs of the mental health clients that would be housed there on a longer term basis. Commissioner Jim Butterfield says this would be good for everybody in the West Central Area because the facilities at St. Peter and Anoka are constantly filled and they don’t have adequate coverage and once in a while get released too soon from those facilities but they still need medical and mental attention which they would get at the Willmar facility. Butterfield said it would be a good thing for all of West Central Minnesota and Southern Minnesota to have that 16 bed facility here, not only financially but for the good of the people we serve in the area. “Any time we can help with the mental illness with people in West Central Minnesota area, especially people in Kandiyohi County, it’s a good thing and I think it’s positive not only to keep people working and keep jobs moving in the area but also take care of our people in Kandiyohi County.”
At Tuesday night’s Willmar City Council meeting they approved the street program for 2013 and ordered the improvements. City Administrator Charlene Stevens says they also approved the Lakeland Drive facilities plan for the Lakeland Drive Interceptor; and approved posting two positions, one for an appraiser and one for an accounting clerk. In other business the council also set a couple hearings for a couple of zoning ordinance amendments. Audrey Nelson was sworn in as a new council member and took her seat. There was some discussion at the end of the meeting regarding the vision 20/40 project but no action was taken.
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar made several stops in West-Central Minnesota Tuesday on her "Exporting Minnesota" tour. Klobuchar discussed her efforts to open up new export markets for Minnesota businesses to help them compete in the global economy. At her stop at Superior Industries in Morris, Klobuchar asked about educating young people in the community for technical jobs. She noted the Benson High School has partnered with Case IH to offer internships to upperclassman during the school day. Klobuchar says it's those kind of initiatives--of training and employing local kids--that is what will keep the economy on track.
The Stevens County Commissioners have approved a hiring search for a new Sheriff's Deputy, to fill the position left vacant with the appointment of Jason Dingman to Sheriff. The department has been functioning with four deputies, one less than the five deputies they have had for seven years. At a Commissioners' meeting on Tuesday, County Attorney Aaron Jordan says it is an important role to fill. Without quality investigations, Jordan says he is hampered in prosecuting cases. When the department was fully staffed in 2012, Jordan says the quality of investigations was high. In an exchange with Sheriff Dingman, County Commissioner Phil Gausman says the additional hire needs to be a justifiable expense. Gausman says constituents frequently tell him they are "over-policed." Deputies logged more than 3,000 overtime hours in 2012, a number Sheriff Dingman says will be reduced with a fifth deputy.
There will be a free presentation on Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea this afternoon (Thursday), with special attention given to treatment of the common disease. First Lutheran Church in Morris will host the presentation. Parish Nurse Vicki Maanum says the disease can be serious if left untreated, especially in the development of other health problems. The presentation starts at 1:30.
A convicted sex offender living in Pope County will be back in court this week for his sentence on additional charges. Ryan Emmett Moore was charged with several counts of criminal sexual conduct for a 2011 incident. Moore has entered an Alford Plea, allowing Moore to maintain his innocence while acknowledging the prosecution has a case that is likely to lead to a conviction. Moore will be sentenced Friday afternoon at three. He will also be sentenced on several drug possession and sale charges.
Morris Area Teacher of the Year Kevin Pope has been named one of 39 semifinalists for the 2013 Minnesota Teacher of the Year. Pope is a science teacher at Morris Area High School. The field will be narrowed to 10 finalists in late March, with a final announcement on May 3rd. Two other Central Minnesota teachers were named semifinalists: Marsha Talley, a mathematics teacher in Fergus Falls; and Paul Christiansen, a Language Arts and Math teacher at Mahtomedi.
Representative Mary Sawatzky says they held a meeting on education this week and heard from educators and businesses throughout the state regarding jobs, and the changing nature of work. She says there are 100s of jobs in technology that aren’t being filled, and a Chamber of Commerce representative told them they had one applicant for a job but had over 150 positions that could be filled. She said we really have a skills gap and we’ve been talking about that for a long time. We need to bridge how to get this done, how to educate our high school students so they can go to a Minnesota state colleges and universities and technical schools.