The Kerkhoven City Council has approved an increase in rates for both the fire department and ambulance. Last year the rates for the fire department were $167 per section. This year it will be $211 per section, making it a $44 increase. The increase was necessary because of the increase in the budget to pay for extrication tools. The ambulance rate will increase by $2 per capita. There was a request from the Music Board that the city donate money to help send the kids to Washington, D.C. City Clerk Kim Harkema said the city already donates to the KMS After Prom, and the city really can’t donate because its taxpayer’s money. Doering said the reason they donate to the After Prom is because of a safety issue. Mayor Brian Thompson says in other business the council approved Woody Nelson, maintenance supervisor, to attend Rural Water School in St. Cloud March 5-7, and Sewer School in Brooklyn Park March 19-22. This will give Nelson enough hours to recertify. Approval was given to Nelson to cut three or four trees down in Pillsbury Park this winter, and two dead pine trees in Belschiem Park across from the post office.
Lac qui Parle State Park near Montevideo will host a group snowshoe hike Sunday afternoon from 1-3. The hike, which is suitable for beginner-level snowshoers of all ages, will begin with a talk about the park, its wildlife and how to identify animal tracks. The park is currently one of Minnesota’s best destinations for snowshoeing and cross country skiing. There is no charge for the event, but pre-registration is required, and the hike is limited to 20 participants. Children age 12 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.
The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners heard a sentence to serve report from Crew Leader Dean Klinghagen at its Tuesday meeting. This is individuals who are able to work off their sentence and the cost by participating in the community service and sentence to serve programs. Last year between the adults and juveniles there were about 50,000 hours of donated time which is down substantially over the last number of years because of less prisoners. Klinghagen says they work on the parks, a lot of the nonprofits, multiple projects of snow and lawn and much more. For every two days they put in with work, their sentence is reduced one day. They are paid $6 per hour and if they have a fine or restitution, those fees have to be paid up front according to County Board Chair Harlan Madsen. He said it’s a very successful program and a significant benefit to multiple organizations and ultimately to all of us in the county. Kandiyohi County was one of the very first counties 25-30 years ago that was on the cutting edge and the ground floor with this particular program. He said it’s been a benefit to all individuals.
Yesterday (Wednesday), the year's first installment of the Come Grow With Us series was held at the West Central Research and Outreach Center. This month's topic was planning your shade garden. Master Gardner Bernie Angus led the discussion.
Meeker County Sheriff Jeff Norlin is asking for your help to solve several recent daytime burglaries occurring around Meeker County. He asks that you be on the lookout for suspicious vehicles and persons who may be in your neighborhood. In recent weeks, Grant, Stevens, Pope, Douglas, and Kandiyohi Counties have had over 30 reports of daytime burglaries, leading local agencies to seek a single suspect or group of suspects. The majority of the burglaries have taken place during the daytime when people are at work or otherwise not home. If you come across any suspicious person, vehicle, or activity in your neighborhood, contact your local Sheriff's Office.
Following the election of seated member Bruce Malo to the Office of Mayor, the Hancock City Council will appoint a fifth member to finish Malo's term through November 2014. On November 14, the board passed a resolution declaring the vacancy and announced a call for applications. To apply for the position, fill out an application at the Hancock City Office. Applications will be accepted through February 6th and the council plans to make an appointment at their regular meeting on February 11.
Troopers in northwestern and West Central Minnesota were busy yesterday responding to a number of calls. According to Minnesota State Patrol Sgt. Jesse Grabow, there were 33 crashes, eight of those with non-life threatening injuries, 13 rollovers. and 61 vehicles that slid off the road and required tow assistance.
A house fire yesterday (Wednesday) damaged a home at 306 Litchfield Avenue Southeast in Willmar. The homeowners were alerted to the fire by their dog, and were able to get out of the house. The Willmar Fire Department was assisted by firefighters from Pennock, Kandiyohi and Spicer. The fire is under investigation.
43 year old Rita Smith of Montevideo sustained minor injuries in a rollover yesterday afternoon (Wednesday) on Highway 7 in Chippewa County. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, Smith slid off the road and rolled.
The Minnesota State Patrol was called to a rollover yesterday afternoon (Wednesday) on Highway 7 in Chippewa County. According to the state patrol and Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office, 26 year old Tabatha Tjaden of Montevideo lost control and went into the north ditch and rolled. The two passengers were 23 year old Sarah Lalim and four year old Annika Lalim, both of Montevideo.
Representative Mary Sawatzky of Willmar says its been a great week and the days have been full meeting with constituents. One group was from Willmar. She says they also had a two hour session with Health and Human Services and the commissioner spoke to that committee. She said it was a good overview of the present Affordable Health Care and some changes to that as to what Minnesota can do. She said we can have the Federal government give us their plan, but it’s highly recommended that the state tailor it to per state and our needs.
Eric Rudningen of Kerkhoven, newly elected to the Swift County Commissioners Board, says they’re continuing with the search for the county administrator. He says they’ve interviewed finalists and actually have an offer out waiting to hear back and see if that offer is accepted. He says they’re looking forward to moving forward with a new county administrator as part of the restructuring of Swift County government to have the office of the auditor and recorder now appointed rather than elected. He said that was part of the vote in November. Those two referendum questions were on the ballot in Swift County and both passed, so this new county administrator will be assisting the county board as it moves forward with those appointments, and transition them to a little different style of government.
Alexandria City Administrator Jim Taddei says the council met Monday night and the newly elected mayor, Sarah Carlson, welcomed the newly elected councilmember in Ward 5, Todd Jenson, to the council. There were several resolutions that were passed dealing with the beginning of the year things, including committee assignments. Taddei says they also talked about some work sessions, and the retirement incentive program which is going to be offered to eligible employees. The purpose of this is to allow for early retirement and save the city taxpayers some money over time in regards to those costs.
The Benson City Council met Monday night during which there was an open house discussion regarding the drinking water source protection plan. City Administrator Rob Wolfington says the Department of Health is in the process of updating its wellhead protection plan and part of that process involved an open house. There was some general discussion about requirements and the vulnerability of our system. That process will continue over the next 12 months and will result in a ten year plan which is required as part of their utility.
New London Spicer School Superintendent Paul Carlson says the school board held its reorganizational meeting this week. Officers were elected: Robert Moller is the board chair; David Kilpatrick is the vice chair; Helena Lungstrom the clerk; and Dan DeGeest the treasurer. They also set the times and dates of the school board meetings. Carlson says they currently meet on the second and fourth Monday nights at 6:30 and will continue to do that. In other business the board set the 2013 board member compensation at the same rate as last year and prior years. An incentive for the board was they would be able to join the fitness center at the school for an individual or family rate, and the school would compensate them for that.
Representative Paul Anderson says as expected, the House Rules Committee voted along straight party lines to keep agricultural finance with the Environment and Natural Resources Committee and not move it back into its own committee with Ag Policy. Anderson says he was disappointed. He says he’s not but not sure why the Democrats wouldn't budge on this issue. In fairness, he says, there is a stand-alone Ag Policy Committee, but any bills passing out of that committee and needing funding must also go through the finance committee that also deals with the environment. Anderson is concerned that agriculture funding may take a back seat to other issues dealing with natural resources and the environment, especially if there's only one spending target for the committee.