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NEWS-Feb 6
News Director: Bev Alquist Call with news at 320-235-2900 or email bahlquist@k-musicradio.com

News Archive

There will be a public works meeting at the Kandiyohi County Public Works Department tomorrow morning (Thursday) beginning at 8:30 to discuss road, bridge and public drainage matters. The agenda includes reports, updates and possible action on the public drainage department; road and bridge maintenance; preliminary 2012 year end maintenance budget category review; proposed 2013 road and bridge budget revisions including a 2012 construction update and 2013 proposed road projects; and a review of the 2013-2017 road and bridge planning program, priorities and funding levels.

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.

A decade long police program is paying benefits. During last week's Morris Police Commission meeting, Chief Jim Beauregard says juvenile crime remains very low for a city the size of Morris. He credits School Resource Officer Anita Liebl for providing a valuable link between families and the school system. Beauregard says Liebl knows the kids in the school and regularly checks in on those who aren't doing well.  Beauregard says Liebl has spent 300 hours doing various investigations at the school, double the previous year. He says there are areas of concern with students involving technology. Police have observed a rise in the number of sexting and cyber bullying cases by students. The number of juvenile arrests dropped from twelve in 2011 to ten last year.

Morris Area Elementary School teachers have all launched individual websites and Principal Ken Gagner hopes parents will log on. To find a teacher's website, visit the district website and locate the teacher on the faculty list. The Morris District website is: morris.k12.mn.us.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency invites comments through March 20th on a permit that regulates construction storm water throughout the state. Stakeholders will have an opportunity to ask questions about the draft permit at a meeting on Friday morning, March 8that nine at the agency’s Saint Paul office. The purpose of the state program is to protect water resources from pollutants, particularly sediment, as well as nutrients, oil, chemicals and litter carried with runoff. The MPCA is changing the permit to comply with changes at the federal level.

Minnesota legislators are considering a bill to expand Minnesota's health insurance program for low income families and individuals. MinnesotaCare currently sets the maximum qualifying income for individuals at $15,000 per year. Elbow Lake Democrat Jay McNamar would like to see coverage expanded. He says he's a big supporter of MinnesotaCare and wants more families to qualify. McNamar suggest raising the maximum allowable income, but he hasn't set a final figure on what it should be. A bill to expand coverage is making its way through the House. The bill would also make the coverage part of the Health Insurance Exchange for qualifying individuals.

Teachers at the Morris Area Schools are preparing students for the next testing cycle by administering practice tests. High School Principal Craig Peterson says the next six weeks are the "winter dolldrums." These weeks will test students' perseverance, but will also see several tests of their knowledge. Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments will be before local students primarily in April and May.

The American Red Cross Bloodmobile will be at the Faith Lutheran Church in Morris tomorrow (Thursday) from 12:30 to 6:20. Dave Kelly, of Blood Services says the need for donors is high; he says the Red Cross is especially seeking the O negative blood type.

Morris Area theatre students came in fifth place during the One Act Section competition on Saturday. The Morris team had previously placed second in sub-section action for their play, 4 A.M. The Section 5A competition is made up of first and second place winners from the sub-section level. Sauk Centre Schools hosted the event. The Sauk Centre One Act team took 1st place and will advance to state competition. The group will perform at St. Kate's in St. Paul on Friday. New London-Spicer took second place in section competition and West Central Area came in third.

The Independence Party of Minnesota is having a public community meeting this Friday night at six at LuLu Beans Coffee Shop in Willmar. According to Party Chair Mark Jenkins, and former House of Representatives candidate Zack Liebl, the event is open to current party members, the public, and the media. The purpose for this community meeting is to give the citizens of Greater Minnesota an opportunity to learn more about the IP, meet party officials, and to meet former IP candidates.  The IP wants to hear input from all regions of the state and believes that Greater Minnesota is a vital part of our state.  

According to the West Central Minnesota Narcotics Task Force, 24 year old Michael Stordahl of Glenwood is in custody at the Douglas County Jail on theft of gun charges. A 17 year old male from Osakis is in custody at a juvenile facility and charges are pending against a 17 year old female from Osakis, but who was not arrested. The task force, Glenwood and Osakis Police Departments and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension searched a residence  in Osakis where they found the guns, which had been traded for an outstanding drug debt. Along with the two stolen guns, officers found marijuana, scales and packaging supplies, and $2,310 in currency.

Two people were injured in a head-on crash on Highway 71 in Renville County yesterday afternoon (Tuesday). The drivers were 33 year old Jennifer Forsman of Olivia and 59 year old Sandra Frank of Olivia. The Minnesota State Patrol was assisted by the Renville County Sheriff’s Office.

Ridgewater College’s Jon Wood has been named Interim Regional Coordinator for the Minn-Kota Region Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) organization, the two-year college international honor society. Wood has been involved in PTK for six years and is one of three PTK advisors for Willmar. He has been a psychology instructor in Willmar since 2005 and also teaches counseling classes in the Human Services department. The role of the Regional Coordinator for PTK is to be a liaison between the International Office in Jackson, MS, and each of the chapter advisors and college administrators throughout the two-year college system in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

44 year old Elio Infante of Milan pled guilty in Kandiyohi County District Court yesterday (Tuesday) to a felony third degree drug possession charge. In exchange for his guilty plea, a felony first degree drug charge and two petty misdemeanor drug charges will be dismissed. He will be sentenced April 11th.

Three additional charges of criminal vehicular operation have been filed against 22 year old Paul Wickenhauser of Cokato for the fatal crash August 17th on Highway 12 near Kandiyohi that killed three people and injured one. This brings the total to 15 charges, these last three for five year old Jason Hoffman, who survived the crash but sustained substantial bodily harm. Killed in the crash were 68 year old Marta Stoffers of Atwater, her daughter-in-law 40 year old Michelle Hoffman of Eden Prairie, and Hoffman’s eight year old daughter, Julia. The omnibus hearing, scheduled for today (Wednesday) has been cancelled and another omnibus hearing set for March 12th.

A $100,000 capital contribution to the Kandiyohi County Area Family YMCA from Prinsco, Duininck Concrete and Duininck Inc. brings the total raised towards the $3 million mark to over 50 percent. Trevor Duininck says the YMCA is a real asset to Willmar and they’re glad to be able to participate. The campaign began last summer and within the last 60 days there has been a dramatic increase in support, says Theresa Wittenberg with the YMCA. The funds raised will be used to expand the present facility by almost 50 percent. It will construct a new multi-purpose gym, a specialized fitness room, a large wellness studio, two racquetball courts, and expand the wellness center.

Yesterday (Tuesday) the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners heard an update from the Kandiyohi County Soil and Water District regarding projects they’re working on to help improve water quality in lakes and streams. Rick Reimer with the soil and water district, listed the various projects in which they’re involved from RIM, to the Grass Lake project, prairie restoration, tree planting, wind breaks, wetland conservation, water erosion, and the wildlife habitat enhancement project to name a few. His presentation included a power point presentation on the various projects.

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