United Way of West Central Minnesota, serving five counties, is conducting a survey for measuring its impact and to identify current needs in the communities it serves. Renee Nolting, executive director of United Way, says the 12 question survey is open to the public and available online. To request a paper copy or to complete the survey over the telephone, call the United Way office. The survey ends on Sunday.
The Kerkhoven City Council this week approved the purchase of four batteries for the warning siren. There were two bidders, with the council awarding the low bid of $534 to Nolan Baker Ford. The second bid was for $641. They set the next city council meeting for Tuesday, Jan. 29th, since the Fire Board is meeting on Monday, Jan. 28th. Mayor Brian Thompson says in other business the council approved repurchasing insurance for volunteers such as those that work during Town & Country Days. That’s $145. They also got some thank you note and donations. They got a $50 donation to the library and a $50 donation to the swimming pool from the Senior Citizens.
The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners has approved a state grant of $105,000 to construct 1.31 miles of a 10 foot wide bituminous trail that begins at the Northeast corner of Eagle Lake at County Road 93 and 9 and goes south along the east side of 9, then east along the north side of County Road 26 to the Glacial Lakes State Trail parking lot. These funds are proceeds from the Natural Resources Fund. There’s a little bit of a cost match for the county. The county also approved a request from the AIS (Aquatic Invasive Species) committee for $2,500 to start a website to provide education and connections for individuals to help prevent the aquatic invasive species from entering waters in Kandiyohi County.
Mary Fischer, executive director of Southern Prairie Community Care, was at the county board meeting this week to talk about the development of a rural care model. She told the board the mission was to enhance the quality of life for our citizens by facilitating the integration of services and supports within our community. This joint powers agreement includes 12 counties in southwestern Minnesota, working to provide better and more thorough preventative care at less of a cost, greater savings and better health outcomes for the Medicare patients in southwestern Minnesota. Commissioner Harlan Madsen says its similar to other county based purchasing plans, including Prime West which is run by the county as a joint powers agreement in existence for about ten years and extremely successful. She said some of their counties in southwestern Minnesota are considered to be critical access hospitals, from Kandiyohi County to the west and there are a couple of smaller hospitals, and they are very crucial, she said. Lac qui Parle for example has two hospitals, Renville has one. She said it is vital for the safety of the citizens to be able to have those local accesses.
Stevens County Human Services Director Joanie Murphy says the county's current part-time position of Senior Coordinator may need to expand. The baby boomer population is aging, Murphy says. It's an age group that will be facing a new health insurance marketplace and a potentially increased need for medical or social support. Murphy says many of the issues the Senior Coordinator addresses relate to health insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid. Area counties have addressed senior needs to varying levels: Douglas County employs two full-time Coordinators, Pope County has one full-time position, and Traverse and Grant share a Senior Coordinator.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. UMM (University of Minnesota Morris) Day of Service planned for January 21 includes several projects close to the heart of King's work. The day's program includes several learning and service opportunities in and around Morris. Coordinator Argie Manolis (R-G mun-OH-liss) says several of the projects--including visiting seniors in area care facilities and volunteers at local charitable thrift stores--connect with the mission of King's life. He wrote and thought about intergenerational relationships, Manolis says, and visiting area elders will honor his life and continue in his tradition.
The Benson City Council this week appointed fire department officials for 2013, made some pay requests for demolition work on the old elevator. City Administrator Rob Wolfington says a number of enterprise fund budgets were approved as part of the first meeting of the year. These are non levied budgets like the cemetery perpetual care fund, the concrete fund, the storm water fund, the library endowment fund, and others. Some of those budgets were approved, Wolfington said.
Rice Regional Dental Clinic of Willmar is joining with dental professionals across the state to provide free care to children whose families face barriers to dental care. Dental services of oral screenings, cleanings, sealants and fluoride treatments will be provided. Persons interested in scheduling an appointment between 1-4 the afternoon of Feb 1, can call the Dental Clinic to do so by calling 214-2620. The Minnesota Dental Association is sponsoring this statewide outreach effort, called GIVE KIDS A SMILE because dentists are committed to providing all children with dental care and helping eliminate barriers to care throughout Minnesota. Now celebrating its eleventh consecutive year, GIVE KIDS A SMILE has provided free dental care to tens of thousands of children. About 200 clinics across the state will open their doors for this program on Feb. 1st and 2nd. “This is a special way to reach children in need of dental care. Healthy teeth are vital to overall health and even a key to success in school” stated Dr. Linda Jackson, Dental Director of the RRDC. Patients seeking appointments should be under the age of 18 and accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
The next episode of ‘Postcards’ will air on Pioneer Public Television on Sunday night at seven with ‘Music & Dance.’ There will be rebroadcasts on Monday afternoon t 1:30, and Thursday night at seven. This episode explores the love for old-time music and some long-running musical groups in this region. Highlights include some foot-stompin’ fun at Larry Olson’s annual Music Fest in Lake Benton, the local male vocal group the Chord-Ayres, and fellow Minnesota Music Hall of Fame inductee Roger Kodet and his songs from the Big Band era.
Join us this Sunday morning at 7:30 for Community Roundtable. News Director Bev Ahlquist will be talking to Jill Wohnoutka, director of the Kandiyohi County Historical Society, about the addition of the new community room, and the various programs the historical society offers. That’s at 7:30 this Sunday morning on Solid Gold 1590 KDJS.
A three-year lawsuit that has waged between the Bois de Sioux Watershed District and landowners within the watershed has been resolved in court, with a decision to a group of landowners. District Administrator Jon Roeschlein (Rush-line) says a few years ago, the Watershed District attempted a re-determination that would have expanded the range of those paying into Judicial Ditch 14 on the Mustinka River. The re-determination would have expanded the original size of those paying into Judicial Ditch 14 from 46 square miles to 792 square miles and included land in Stevens, Big Stone, and Otter Tail Counties, as well as expanding the benefiting territory in Traverse and Grant Counties. At a recent meeting, the Bois de Sioux Watershed Board voted to re-determine benefits on Ditch 14 to reflect present day land values. As of yet, no public hearings have been set on the issue
The Stevens County Food Shelf has had an active year, despite a still struggling economy and increased applications for food assistance. Co-Director LoAnne Jaeck (Low-Anne Jake) says the food shelf served over 1,200 families in 2012, or about 100 families per month. Of those families, roughly 20 per month were new clients. The family number, Jaeck says, translates into over 300 people per month. The Food shelf also serves as the fiscal agent for the Backpacks Program at Morris schools. The program provides a backpack of food for 85 students every Friday to take home for the weekend.
Construction has begun on a new residence hall on the University of Minnesota, Morris campus. The Green Prairie Living and Learning Community is scheduled to be complete for the fall semester of this year. T.J. Ross, from the Office of Residential Life, says the plan is to interest more students in campus living. The new hall will house up to 72 students and is expected to cost an estimated $6.9 million. Residential life funds, a fee paid by students, will pay off a bond over the next 20 years.
New Spelling Champs are emerging around the region. Acacia Wyckoff won the Morris Area Schools Spelling Bee on Wednesday, spelling "pantheon". The first runner-up was Kellen Erdahl. In Hancock, Grace Worner won the spelling bee. Her winning word was "daffodil." Kyerra Carter came in second place. The first place winners will advance to a regional competition in Fergus Falls.
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar will feature pastries from Thompson Bakery and Coffeehouse in Atwater at the open house she is hosting in her Washington, DC office for Minnesotans traveling to see the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Klobuchar previously served Thompson Bakery’s treats to her guests at “Minnesota Morning,” her weekly Thursday morning coffee gatherings in her Washington office. The open house will feature foods from all over Minnesota, and the Senator will greet Minnesotans and welcome them to Washington. The Thompson Bakery and Coffeehouse is a family bakery and café. Audrey and Terry Thompson help run the business and their son, Joel, is the baker.
Representative Dean Urdahl of Acton Township, has accepted re-appointment to serve on a commission which will continue to advance a massive restoration project at Minnesota’s aging Capitol. Estimates indicate it will cost approximately $240 million to restore various structural facets of the Capitol, which was built in 1905. The Capitol Preservation Commission on which Urdahl will continue serving began the restoration process by successfully obtaining $44 million in last year’s capital investment bill. The group may plan to seek $109 million in bonding this year to keep the project on track. Projects experts deem necessary range from repairing a leaky roof dome to restoring aging artwork, improving deficient electrical and plumbing systems, and securing crumbling marble on the building’s exterior.
Representative Andrew Falk of rural Murdock has recently been appointed to serve on both the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) Board and on the Legislative Audit Commission. The AURI helps develop new uses for agriculture products through science and technology, partnering with businesses and entrepreneurs to bring ideas to reality. Falk said it was one of the programs that was put together out of the farm crisis in the 1980s and the House Speaker was able to designate either the chair of the agriculture finance committee or a person that’s a designee and as a vice chair of that committee. Falk was appointed to fill that role. He said it’s good to have an actual farmer on that board and to make sure farmers have a seat at the table.
Candidates for the Ward 2 Council position were appointed at this week’s Alexandria City Council meeting. City Administrator Jim Taddei says this position was vacated due to the election of the mayor. They also approved a resolution regarding commencing acquisition proceedings with the Phase 4 waterline project. They need to acquire various easements for that project. Taddei says the council also approved the cable operator contract with the school district.
The New London Spicer School Board met this week. Prior to the board meeting they hold a listening time, and this week some bus drivers came to express concerns about the times when the buses are dropping off students at the Middle School entrance. Supt. Paul Carlson says there is a lot of congestion with parents dropping off kids, as well as bus traffic. The bus drivers were concerned about student safety, and also concerned about the amount of congestion at the end of school when parents are picking up students and buses are picking up students at the Middle School. He said there needs to be some education with the students to keep them safe, talking to the parents and identifying a student drop off area by the ag shop doors, the band and choir entrance. Carlson said they’ll do some education on that. Other short term solutions were discussed along with some long term solutions to redesign the Middle School parking lot.