Mark Sannerud with Project Turnabout says the National Gambling Awareness Week is March 3rd through the 9th and is basically in regards to awareness of the disease of compulsive and problem gambling. He says one percent of U.S. adults, about three million people, are compulsive gamblers, only three percent of them obtain treatment, and one third of treatment seeking gamblers have filed for bankruptcy. The facility in Granite Falls has 20 beds in its Vanguard Program for Compulsive Gamblers. National Gambling Awareness Week is held throughout the entire United States but Project Turnabout is doing some extra things that week as well as the state of Minnesota.
A local lobbying group will be making their annual trip to Washington
during the height of the federal budget debate. Next week the Barnes-Aastad Association will make the case for continued funding of the North Central Soil Conservation and Research Lab, in Morris. Hank Moore says the volunteer group has an advantage other lobbyists don't. The Association, formed in support of the federally-funded research lab, shows there is local support to fund the lab. Moore also says the Association's willingness to travel to the capitol at their own expense, rather than hiring a paid lobbyist, will bolster the group's requests for funding. There will be pressure on the Morris group, Moore says, to demonstrate the lab is a valuable national asset and provides a good service to farmers.
A state program administered by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety has provided 4,591 car seats during the last two years to families in need. The Child Passenger Restraint and Education Account addresses the needs of low-income families to transport children safely. Child passenger safety seat violations fund the account to pay for the car seats. Families who receive a car seat also receive an education and demonstration session from a trained child passenger safety technician to ensure they understand how to property use the restraint.
The Kerkhoven City Council held a public hearing Monday night regarding a Small Cities Grant, a joint venture with the city of Murdock, to rehab some low income homes in the two cities. Jennifer Frost with the Swift County RDA (Rural Development Authority) told the board they were submitting the application yet this week and figured they’d hear back in four to five weeks as to if they qualified. Kerkhoven Mayor Brian Thompson says the work will include siding, windows, insulation, etc. in about 15 houses between the two cities. “The total amount for both cities is $429,000, and the maximum a home owner can get is $18,750. If the homeowner doesn’t use it all, that money can be used for others. The city was required to have this public hearing for it, and had to adopt several resolutions to continue that process.
The Minnesota State Patrol is in the final stages of consolidating their dispatch centers, sending all calls north of the Twin Cities to the Cities and all calls in southern Minnesota to Rochester. Part of the challenge for dispatchers is learning a larger service area, says Sergeant Jesse Grabow. The best information to give a dispatcher is an exact location. Grabow says most calls from West-Central Minnesota counties have been routed through the Twin Cities for the last few years.
On Friday, the Morris Area Elementary School will celebrate its first annual Dare Mighty Things Day. The event has been designed to encourage students to dream big and work hard. There will be a K-6 gathering starting at 2:15 that afternoon in the Concert Hall. Elementary Principal Ken Gagner says it is about students inspiring each other. Students have been invited to write descriptions of their dream career and a few of the essays will be selected for the public reading. Community members will also talk about working in their dream careers. The event is open to the public.
A new four month education series featuring information about memory loss, Alzheimer's disease and other dementias will kick off in Alexandria on March 14th and run monthly through June 13th. The classes will be held the second Thursday night of the month from 6-7:30 at the Douglas County Public Works Facility. 'Get the Facts' Educating Series is designed to provide information and education and to raise awareness about Alzheimer's disease and other related dementias. The classes are free and open to anyone who wants to attend.
The First Lutheran Church in Morris will be hosting a meeting to mark the annual World Day of Prayer on Friday. World Day of Prayer is a worldwide ecumenical movement begun by Christian women of many traditions who come together each year to observe a common day of prayer on the first Friday in March. Each year, a different country serves as the writer of the WDP prayer service. The event is open to the public.
The Meeker County Sheriff’s Office has arrested 29 year old Jeremy Munson of Annandale for possession of a stolen 2008 Acura from Kingston Auto Sales in Dassel, and a 2005 Polaris snowmobile stolen from Meeker County. According to a press release from the sheriff’s office, Munson confessed to both incidents. The sheriff’s office also recovered a stolen 1999 van with ‘Larry’s Plumbing’ on the side, taken from an address in Forest City and full of plumbing equipment and tools. The van was recovered in St Cloud. The investigations are still ongoing and Sheriff Jeff Norlin is asking you to call his office if you have any information on these incidents.
16 year old Cody Christianson of Fertile was killed in a head-on crash yesterday afternoon (Tuesday) on Highway 32 in Polk County. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, Christianson was traveling south on Highway 32, crossed the center line and collided with a vehicle driven by 39 year old Brian Doehling of Hector. Doehling was not injured.
Pioneer Public Television’s ‘Your Legislators’ will premiere a new episode tomorrow night (Thursday) at eight. The live question and answer program will feature legislators from both parties including Senator Lyle Koenen, (DFL) District 17, Clara City and Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen, (R) District 8, Alexandria. ‘Your Legislators’ provides an opportunity for Minnesota residents to present questions to the state’s leadership.
The Alexandria City Council heard the annual reports from the city’s fire chief and the fire marshal Monday night. City Administrator Jim Taddei says the fire chief indicated that the department responded to 219 calls for service last year. They also gave training opportunities to firefighters with 90 percent of them attending different classes at fire schools throughout the state. The total for the entire department was about 3600 accumulated training hours for the department.
The Litchfield School Board this week heard a report from Supt. Dan Fraiser, who told them the district has a levy referendum that equates to $600 per student. This is near the state average which is $700 per student but still well below the Wright County conference average of $838 per student. Fraiser says the school is currently involved in reviewing a proposal that would change classrooms by making them more student centered and hopefully be facilitated. They’re proposing the idea going with a one to one technology initiative to facilitate the 21stCentury learning focusing on student centered classrooms. Another part of discussion was safety progress. They’re meeting on safety and security issues and talking about things like who should have badges, when they should be worn, from staff to substitutes to service personnel and guests coming into the building. They’re working on some of those details and hope to have something ready to enact within the next month or so.
Teams against alcohol and drug use made a presentation to the Renville County West School Board Monday night. Supt. John Widby says they gave them some data they’ll be sharing with the faculty later. The board accepted a price quote for some new doors for the entrance to the gymnasium. They talked about upcoming teacher negotiations as well. Prior to the board meeting they conducted a one hour work session on the district’s superintendent search process. The board selected three applicants to interview, possibly on March 12th.
Legislation that would increase state funding of food shelves is set for a hearing today (Wednesday) in the Senate Finance Committee. Advocates say the extra money is needed as more people are using food shelves, but fewer are able to donate to them. Christie Kurth, executive director of the Willmar Area Food Shelf, says the number of people they serve has nearly doubled in the past five years, and more and more, they’re lending a hand to the working poor. She says they’re seeing families that have two incomes coming in, but these families are making just enough to get by. And if they have a major incident like a medical problem or car crash, it puts them in a tailspin downward.
Representative Mary Sawatzky of Willmar has signed up to take a conceal and carry class. She says she wanted to find out what the procedure was and what it all entails, and the responsibility of having a conceal and carry weapon. She will taking this six hour class two weeks from now. Sawatzky sasid she's excited to be able to report back. She knows there are a lot of checks and balances that have to go into play, plus responsibility, not only for her, but her husband as well. That’s going to be a huge learning experience for me.
A Pope County man will stay in county jail for 1 year, following last week's sentencing for three separate cases. Thirty-four year old Ryan Emmett Moore was facing a 1st degree criminal sexual conduct charge, drug possession, and drug sale charges. Following guilty pleas for a number of the charges, the cases were ruled on in a single afternoon, with convictions for one sexual and two drug charges. Pope County Attorney Neil Nelson says a sentencing agreement was reached by all parties, including the sex crime victim and the investigating officers in all three cases. In addition to his prison term, Moore will be on probation for 10 years. Nelson notes that if Moore makes contact with the victim or commits any felony in the next ten years, a lengthy prison sentence will be enforced as part of the criminal sexual charges.