It’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and several service opportunities have been planned in and around Morris for community members and students. Groups of volunteers will be sorting donations at the Salvation Army, creating an exhibit honoring oppressed peoples, and visiting with elders at West Wind Village. January's Community Meal will end the day's events. A short program, followed by a community meal, will begin at 5 this afternoon at Faith Lutheran Church in Morris. All members of the community are welcome to attend the program and meal, regardless of participation throughout the day.
A quote of $98,616 for new furniture in the dispatch center has been approved by the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners. There were two quotes, the other bid was at $167,000. The furniture in the dispatch center is 12 years old. Board Chair Harlan Madsen says the money to purchase the new equipment comes from money set aside in a reserve fund from the prisoners purchasing candy, pop, etc. plus money dispatch centers receive from the 911 funds paid from the telephone tax on 911 calls billed monthly. Neither of these public safety and public service take any levy dollars, they are all associated with existing funds dedicated to those particular sources.
Representative Andrew Falk of rural Murdock is happy with his appointment to the Legislative Audit Commission. This is a bi-partisan commission with six members from the House and six from the Senate, equally divided between the majority and minority parties. The commission appoints the Legislative Auditor and selects topics for the Auditor to review. Falk says that’s kind of the equivalent of the government accountability office at the federal level. Falk said the legislative auditor is able to go in and look at programs, look at different police directives, how they fund things and how they determine if those objectives that the legislature sets forward are actually being achieved. He said iIt’s an important role and he kind of view it as a little bit of the legislature’s watchdog.
The Alexandria City Council has authorized its staff to apply for $750,000 in grant funds, the money to be used for improvements to a hangar at that airport. City Administrator Jim Taddei says the city is responsible for ten percent of the grant or $75,000. Police Chief Rick Wyfels attended a gun violence event in Minneapolis, and has shared with the council what he learned at that event. He says there is concern about gun violence and control throughout the nation, and he updated the council with some of the items that the state is looking at doing to minimize that threat.
The New London Spicer School Board last week visited with some of its Middle School students as part of the Driven to Discover program sponsored by the University of Minnesota. Supt. Paul Carlson says they reviewed science research projects and the board had the opportunity to see those projects. The board also recognized students, staff and community the board is proud off. One of the items that came up in the meeting was the Triple A Award for Arts, Academics and Athletics. Two senior students representing the district were Jessica Johnson and Grant Vagle. Carlson said one female and one male were selected to represent their subsection after the individual schools were represented. Vagle was selected as the male recipient to go on to the section level.
One person sustained non-life threatening injuries Saturday in a rear-end crash on Highway 71 four miles north of Olivia in Renville County. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, 28 year old Eli Dale of Bird Island rear-ended a vehicle driven by 40 year old Teresa Koplin of Willmar. Dale was not injured. Koplin sustained non-life threatening injuries, and a passenger, 17 year old Jordan Koplin, was not injured. Assisting at the scene was the Renville County Sheriff’s Office.
The Minnesota State Patrol was called to a crash on Highway 23 north of Maynard in Chippewa Country Saturday that involved four vehicles and 12 people. The state patrol says 60 year old Karen Haukos of Raymond and her passenger, 60 year old Wayne Haukos of Raymond, had pulled their van off on the shoulder due to white out conditions. They were rear-ended by 28 year old Mohamud Mohamed of Marshall, who was injured, as were three passengers in his vehicle; 27 year old Hibo Mohamed of Marshall, 25 year old Abdinoor Shuriye of Marshall and 21 year old Ismail Feisal of Willmar. Karen and Wayne Haukos suffered non-life threatening injuries. The Mohamed vehicle pushed the van into the traffic lane where it was struck by a vehicle driven by 78 year old William Burggraff of New London. Burggraff and his passenger, 69 year old Jacqueline Burggraff, were not injured. The fourth vehicle, driven by 59 year old Ruth Roufs of St. Cloud, rear-ended the Burggraff vehicle. Her injuries were not documented, nor were those of passengers 82 year old Margaret Haugemeier of Albany, and 55 year old Paul Roufs of St. Cloud. A third passenger, 21 year old Ali Abdi of Marshall, suffered non-life threatening injuries.
The Minnesota State Patrol and Montevideo Police Department were called to a crash between a deer and a vehicle Saturday on Highway 212 in Lac qui Parle County. 20 year old Tenisha Kabow of Brooklyn Center struck a deer and was taken to the hospital where she was treated and released. A passenger, 34 year old Robert Johnson of Minneapolis, was not injured.
Late Saturday afternoon the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office was called to a report of a vehicle that had partially gone through the ice on Green Lake. The location was about a quarter of a mile south of the Park 5 boat access. There were no injuries and the vehicle was successfully removed.
Glenn Haugo, the administrator of RC Hospital & Clinics in Olivia, has been placed on paid administrative leave. The hospital executive committee made the decision in a special meeting Friday. The hospital board of directors is scheduled to meet tomorrow (Tuesday).
It’s time to pay schools back, says Democratic Representative Andrew Falk. The state budget deficit of $1.1 billion is almost entirely due to delayed school-shift payments; and that number doesn't account for inflation. Falk says the People of Minnesota have a reasonable expectation the state legislature will fund education. In order to accomplish fully funding schools, Falk says the Legislature will need to explore additional sources of revenue. That's part of the conversation, he says, legislators need to have with their constituents. Falk is a third-term Representative from District 17A, including portions of Swift, Renville, and Chippewa Counties.
Stevens County Auditor-Treasurer Neil Wiese has filed a civil suit against Stevens County, appealing his 2013 salary established by the Board of Commissioners and the budget set by that board for the Office of the Auditor-Treasurer. The appeal alleges the board acted in an "arbitrary, capricious, oppressive" manner when setting the salary and budget. In a review of elected officials in late 2012, Wiese reported to the board on his job performance over the last year and suggested he would be asking for a pay increase during salary negotiations for 2013. In 2012, the Stevens Auditor-Treasurer salary was $71,001. At their December 31, 2012 meeting, Stevens Commissioners voted to increase Wiese's Cost of Living Adjustment 1.5%, to a total salary of $72,066. Despite the suggestion of two board members to keep all elected officials' salary increases to 1.5%, the full board voted to increase other elected officials' salaries by 2.5%. The legal action will not determine if Wiese will receive a higher salary or budget, but will decide if the board must review their previous decision.
An Alexandria man, currently serving a prison term for kidnapping and burglary, will have his day in court in Stevens County. Dennis Aasen was sentenced last week in Pope County District Court to over 10 years in prison, following a guilty plea to kidnapping a Pope County woman in 2012. Aasen will now stand trial for allegedly making obscene and harassing phone calls. The suit claims Aasen called several businesses in Stevens County over the course of several months in 2012 and began to engage in obscene conversations with females who answered the phone. He has been charged with 8 misdemeanors. Aasen has pleaded "not guilty"; a jury trial has been set for April.
A Pope County man has pled guilty to criminal sexual conduct and now awaits his sentence. Thirty-four year old Ryan Emmett Moore, previously convicted of criminal sexual conduct with minors, pleaded guilty last week to a single felony count of sexual contact with a victim under the age of 13. Moore, who was previously a registered offender living in Starbuck, will be sentenced in February.
The Morris School Board will meet tomorrow night (Tuesday) at seven in the Morris High School Media Center. Agenda items include approval of a three year contract with current Superintendent Scott Monson. The contract calls for a base salary of $112,500 for school year 2013-14, with a 4.8% increase for the 2014-2015 school year, and a 2.1% increase for the following year, with a salary of $120,500 for school year 2015-16. The board also plans to approve the 2012 Pay Equity Report.
This past Friday, 25 year old Darek Nelson of Montevideo pled guilty to first degree murder for the stabbing death of 18 year old Vinessa Lozano in the parking lot of the Pizza Ranch in Montevideo where they both worked. The plea was entered before Judge Dwayne Knutsen at the Chippewa County Courthouse, who immediately sentenced Nelson to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The judge dismissed second degree murder and second degree assault charges.