The Morris School Board will meet tonight (Tuesday) at seven in the high school media center. The agenda includes a review of a three year contract with Superintendent Scott Monson. The board annually reviews programs and positions in the district to make determinations for cuts or reductions. The board will be asked to appoint Monson to make those recommendations at future meetings.
The Chokio-Alberta School Board will meet tonight (Tuesday) at seven in the Chokio School FACS classroom for their first meeting of the year. Newly elected members Robyn Marty and Christina Pederson will be sworn in; the board will then elect a chair and vice-chair for the coming year. The board plans to consider several pieces of routine business, including establishing board wages, directing the superintendent or his designee to consider reductions in programs and positions, and reviewing the district's financial report.
Republican State Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen says working on the state budget is the main focus and will be so over the next several months. He says he’s looking forward to working with the governor and other legislators to help manage our state’s budget in a fiscally responsible say. He says his priority is to ensure our state government is more effective and efficient with taxpayers’ dollars while not taking unnecessary dollars away from Minnesota families.
Legislative approval for part of a plan to consolidate two local school districts has begun. Last Thursday, Morris Area Superintendent Scott Monson was at the state capitol for talks with District 12 State Senator Torrey Westrom about the possible demolition of the Cyrus facility. Westrom is the lead sponsor of a bill that would grant special authority to the Cyrus School District to bond for demolition and asbestos abatement of the old school building if a buyer isn't found. Lack of authority to bond would be a deal breaker since the Morris district wouldn't want to be saddled with another obsolete building. Demolition cost estimates range from nearly $400,000 dollars up to $850,000 dollars. Westrom doesn't anticipate any problems with passage of the bill. A companion bill in the House is being sponsored by District 12A Representative Jay McNamer.
Morris City Council members will continue to guide the demolition of the old Morris elementary school and the development of the seventeen acre lot this week during their regular meeting. Morris City Manager Blaine Hill says the council will consider development plans following the demolition of the building. Hill will be bringing plans and specifications to the City Council in the next month, with a planned demolition following snow melt. The council meets this afternoon (Tuesday) at 5:15 in the Senior Community Center.
The Morris Area High School will present two One-Act Plays, on Thursday and Friday, January. At 7:30, the Junior Varsity One Act cast will present "The Cinderella Chronicles" by Susan M. Steadman, a family-friendly retelling of the classic Cinderella story. Following the Junior Varsity, the Varsity One Act cast will present, "4AM" by Jonathan Dorf, a dark comedy about teenagers. The play's will be staged in the High School Auditorium.
The Morris Public Library will host a movie matinee this afternoon (Tuesday) for area students. The free movie will start at two in the library. Popcorn and drinks are sponsored by the Morris Friends of the Library. For more information or for the movie title, call the library.
House Majority Leader Erin Murphy says the Health Insurance Exchange will receive its first hearing in the Minnesota House this week. She says the Minnesota Insurance Marketplace will be heard today in the Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance and Policy Committee. This is a fairly substantial piece of legislation that’s going to create a common sense marketplace for Minnesotans to be able to buy insurance in a way that they know what they’re purchasing and they’ll have a sense of the price and know what the benefits are. She said they hope to get that through the legislative process early, get it to the governor’s desk.
The Willmar Area Food Shelf is looking for money to purchase milk. Kristy Kurth, director of the food shelf, says there is state funding that has run out for the food shelf that helped provide milk at a very discounted rate, about $3 for nine half gallons. They’re now paying $12 for those half gallons and that’s a large increase for them. They have a fundraiser going on-line right now. She says you can go to willmarafs.org or to their Facebook site and be directed to that site. She said they serve nearly 900 families a month between the Willmar and the New London Food Shelf. They are there for those that are in need. She said they understand its cold out and the heat bills go up and it gets tough for some families in the winter. “I want people to know we are here. That’s what we’re here for.”
Sunday night the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office was called to a house fire in Watkins. All the occupants were out of the house. The Litchfield Fire Department, with assistance from the Dassel and Watkins Fire Departments, worked five hours to extinguish the fire. The house was heavily damaged from the fire and its unknown if any property inside will be salvageable. Through the investigation it was determined the fire started in the basement where the owner, 61 year old Jeffrey Brandl, was working on a motorcycle. He told officers after the tank was taken off he thought some gas had leaked out near a wood burning stove and caught fire. 47 year old Dianna Ertl suffered minor burns to her arm when the gas tank caught fire. She was treated on the scene. The house is believed to be a total loss.
The Kandiyohi County Area Family YMCA is conducting a $3 million capital campaign to expand so it can serve more people. The original facility was designed to accommodate 3,000 members and today there is over 5,800. A new multi-purpose gymnasium, expanded wellness center, specialized fitness room, and a large wellness studio are all within the plans.
The second annual Dine Out 4 United Way event is going on now. They’re teaming up with local restaurants and coffee shops to raise funds for the United Way of West Central Minnesota. Jazz and Java of Willmar will donate ten percent of their sales through Feb. 9th; The Spicer Castle will donate 10 percent today Tuesdays, today, Jan. 29th and Feb. 5th; Jake’s Pizza, 10 percent on January 23rd and 30th; and Feb. 6th. Lulu Beans will donate a dollar for each Panini sold on Jan. 23rd, 30th and Feb. 6th; Jacks of New London will donate 50 percent of profits Jan 23rd and Feb. 6th; the Dairy Queen will donate $5 for each Dairy Queen Cake purchased Jan. 24th; and McMillan’s will donate 10 percent of sales on Jan. 24th.
A crack in the ice can lead to a fight for survival. The Meeker County Sheriff’s Office has some survival tips for when you get caught in an icy situation. Swim towards the direction from which you came, because it’s likely the strongest ice, and try to hoist yourself up, kicking as though you’re swimming. Carry simple ice picks. They could be a vital lifeline as you wait for the Coast Guard or fire department. Don’t remove your clothing, including your boots. It actually will help you to stay afloat and keep you warm against freezing temperatures. Normalize your breathing. Gasping and hyperventilating will set in immediately, so start controlling your breathing so you don’t go into cardiac arrest. Know the weather and ice conditions. You should also know where you’re going and how to call for help. Have proper clothing to prevent hypothermia. Dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature. Have proper equipment, including marine radio, life jackets, screw drivers, ice picks, etc. Know that new ice is usually stronger ice.
The Redwood County Sheriff’s Office was called to St. John’s Lutheran Church in Vesta Saturday to investigate a forced entry into the church that happened between Friday and Saturday. There was slight damage inside the church and an undetermined amount of money taken. Anyone with information about this burglary is asked to contact the Redwood County Sheriff’s Office.