The Morris Area Robotics Team is fundraising today (Friday) for parts for their new robot. Team member DaVonte Robertson says this year's challenge includes Frisbee throwing and climbing a pyramid. The team has ten weeks to build a robot before regional competitions in Duluth and the Twin Cities. The freewill donation meal will be served this afternoon at five at the Morris American Legion.
Local hospitals and care facilities are among those closing their doors state-wide to visitors as the flu season reaches a fever pitch. The Ortonville Hospital and the Northridge Residence have reported a local outbreak of Influenza A/B, and are asking visitors to refrain from visiting if at all possible until further notice. The notice, issued yesterday (Thursday), notes that residents at Northridge will be receiving additional treatments as recommended by both the Minnesota Department of Health and Center for Disease Control. Fairway View in Ortonville will also have limited visiting. Staff safety measures, including face masks--have also been implemented.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation is advising drivers to be extremely careful on the roads as a mix of winter weather is on its way. Motorists in west central Minnesota should prepare for the possibility of difficult driving conditions today (Friday) through the weekend. MnDOT asks motorists to be patient and remember snowplows are working to improve road conditions for your trip. They also recommend motorists stay back at least five car lengths behind the plow, far from the snow cloud.
House Speaker Paul Thissen and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk say the state’s biggest challenges this year include a $1.1 billion deficit, $1.1 billion in debt to schools and a tax system that currently favors big special interests over middle class Minnesotans. Thissen says they’ll work with the governor to expand economic opportunities for middle class Minnesotans, balance the budget honest without gimmicks, modernize Minnesota’s outdated tax system which currently favors big corporations and the wealthiest Minnesotans over middle class families; and roll up their sleeves and get the job done. He said this new order at the state capitol comes with a great responsibility and its really more than anything a responsibility to govern well, and they are committed to making sure that is the case, that when Minnesotans look at the legislature, they see a legislature that’s not always agreeing on everything all the time but is working toward solutions in a productive way.
21 year old Jacob Engler of Benson was sentenced in Swift County District Court Wednesday on a gross misdemeanor 5th degree criminal sexual conduct charge. He was sentenced to 365 days in the Swift County Jail. He was given credit for having served 158 days, and the judge stayed 207 days and put him on supervised probation for two years. Engler had originally also been charged with a felony third degree criminal sexual conduct charge. In exchange for his guilty plea, that charge was dismissed.
Interest is stirring for the demolition of the old Morris Elementary School building, says Morris City Manager Blaine Hill. Five or six companies--both locally and regionally--have expressed interest in the project. Hill hopes a wide bidding range will allow the City Council to pick a relatively low bid. Hill expects to take bids in the next few months.
The Rendsville 4-H Club in Stevens County has been awarded a Spirit Award by West Central Minnesota Communities Action for their volunteer work as a club.
Stevens County Commissioner Jeanne Ennen nominated the group, writing: "One of the great things that 4-H teaches our children is to give back to their communities by having a community pride project every year. They are taught from a young age to participate in community service and learn to give back to the community they live in. This is a lesson that this club has learned very well." This club is involved in Adopt-a-Highway, restoring playground equipment, and fundraising for other community organizations. The club celebrated 80 years of service in 2012.
Next week is Paraeducator Week in Minnesota, celebrating the work of those who work in a variety of settings in a school district to assist in the education of students. Minnesota schools employ more than 25,000 paraeducators who help design, implement, and evaluate educational programs. The Morris Area Schools have 55 paraeducators who work pre-Kindergarten through 12th Grade.
The Paynesville City Council met Monday night in a meeting Mayor Jeff Thompson describes as ‘mundane’ with a lot of annual appointments for the new year. He says the highlight was the oath taking of two new council members: Kay McDaniel and Donovan Mayer, and himself. They also approved a new fee schedule for 2013, without many changes, and appointed new fire department chiefs and officers and heard the first report from the city’s new police chief. He reported they received 82 applications for the open police officer position. Those have been narrowed down to 14 and the interview process will start. They also installed and approved a new credit card policy as more and more things are done electronically and some vendors can’t wait for a check.
The Appleton City Council met Wednesday night. The chief financial officer from Appleton Health Services gave a monthly report. They have a new director of nursing, a new doctor coming sometime this month. They also reviewed some equipment they’re purchasing and they’re reviving their auxiliary. They also discussed the health services fundraiser that’s coming up. City Clerk Roman Fiddler says the council also says work on the city’s swimming pool is progressing. They also approved the annual liquor and wine licenses, and will be advertising for summer season employment for the swimming pool, cemeteries and parks. They also accepted the officers of the Appleton Ambulance Service, and approved some rate changes for the ambulance service. The transport of a deceased person at the request of the coroner will now get charged. A return home non-emergency transport will also be charged. They have not been charged in the past.
Four year old Lucas Terzich was hit by a car in an apartment complex parking lot in Willlmar yesterday morning (Thursday), and was taken to Rice Hospital. The driver of the vehicle that struck the boy was 28 year old Zamzam Ahmed Abdullahi of Willmar. He told officers he was backing out of a parking spot and didn’t see the boy.
90 year old Leroy Ekstrom of Willmar was injured Wednesday morning when he was hit by a pickup as he was walking in the parking lot at the BNSF depot. The pickup was driven by 47 year old Scott Irwin of Willmar. Ekstrom was taken to Rice Hospital.
27 year old Kayla Dahl of Spicer has been arrested after the Waite Park Police Department received a report of shoplifting that had occurred at a local department store. A Stearns County Deputy attempted to stop the vehicle, which fled at speeds up to 100 miles per hour. The vehicle was eventually stopped in St. Joseph Township. Dahl was arrested for felony theft and fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle. She also had several warrants for her arrest from Kandiyohi, Douglas and Stearns Counties. Dahl admitted to shoplifting from the Waite Park store as well as other stores in St. Cloud and Sartell. Deputies recovered nearly $4,000 in stolen property and returned it to the appropriate business. Dahl remains in the Stearns County Jail.
59 year old Janice Wadsworth of Svea made her first appearance in Kandiyohi County District Court Wednesday on a felony theft charge and a felony state lottery fraud charge. It is alleged she took over $29,000 in lotto tickets from the Eagle Lake Country Store where she worked, without paying for them. She was released on her own recognizance. Her next appearance in court is January 22nd.