After 25 years of supporting parents and providers, the Minnesota Child Care Resource and Referral Network has a new name. It’s now called Child Care Aware of Minnesota, but its focus is not changing according to Elizabeth Cooper with the organization. About 65 percent of Minnesota children ages 12 and younger are in some type of arrangement regularly, spending an average 22 hours a week in child care. Cooper says when her organization opened its doors most parents and providers were on their own in trying to figure out the best options. In the 25 years since, more than 600,000 families and 100,000 providers have been helped.
If a piece of equipment is federally mandated, the state shouldn't charge taxes for it, says District 12A Representative Jay McNamar. The federal government has mandated local emergency services use 800 mega-hertz radio systems and local governments have been paying state taxes on equipment as they make the transition from other systems. McNamar says it's not the best use of taxpayer dollars. The equipment is expensive, he says, and the fewer taxes local agencies have to pay, the more equipment they will be able to purchase. A bill introduced in the House by McNamar and 12B Representative Paul Anderson would not make the tax rebate retroactive for previously-purchased equipment but would be applied to all future sales.
Students in Hancock have been hard-at-work on a One Act Play they will bring to sub-section competition on Saturday. One Act Sub-sections will be hosted in Morris and will include a number of Class 5A schools, among them Morris, Hancock, Chokio-Alberta, Wheaton, Benson, Herman-Norcross, CGB, Osakis, and West Central Area. Hancock students will give a public performance on Saturday night at seven at the Hancock High School. Morris students will have two public performances, one on Thursday night and one on Friday night, both at 7:30 in the high school auditorium.
The USDA Farm Service Agency is reminding area ag producer that the sign-up for the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payment (SURE) program for the 2011 crop year runs through June 7th of this year. In 2011, the USDA declared Pope and Meeker Counties primary disaster areas. Stevens, Swift, Wilkin, Grant, Douglas, and Stearns Counties were declared contiguous disaster areas. SURE is a disaster program that provides assistance to farmers and ranchers who have experienced crop losses caused by natural disasters. To qualify, producers must have purchased crop insurance for all crops of economic significance and have had at least a 10% crop production loss caused by a natural disaster event in a primary or contiguous disaster county.
A community notification meeting regarding a Level 3 Predatory Offender has been set for Thursday night, Feb. 7th at six in the Bird Island Municipal Building. According to the Renville County Sheriff’s Office, 53 year old Jeffrey Lingl moved into rural Bird Island (Bird Island Township, Renville County) last Friday. Lingl has been convicted of criminal sexual conduct and that requires registration with law enforcement. He has a history of sexual contact with female victims (ages 4 - adult). Contact included fondling and penetration. This offender was known to his victims. This offender is not wanted by the police at this time and has served the sentence imposed on him by the court.
The murder trial for 46 year old Timothy Huber of rural Paynesville will begin April 22nd in Kandiyohi County District Court. Huber and his 82 year old father, Delbert, were both indicted on murder charges in the shooting death of 43 year old Timothy Larson of Albertville last October. The elderly Huber pled guilty and is incarcerated at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Faribault, where he is serving a life sentence. The trial for the younger Huber is expected to last three weeks. A motion hearing has been set for March 22nd, and a pre-trial hearing for April 16th.
Governor Mark Dayton released his budget proposal at the Capitol yesterday (Tuesday). Speaker of the House Paul Thissen says the budget makes investing in education a priority, promotes job creation and property tax relief for Minnesotans. Thissen said he is really confident they are going to succeed as they work together in building a budget that puts Minnesota on a path of progress for the future, that sets our priorities straight, he said, and sets us up for a decade of growth and broadening prosperity.
Governor Mark Dayton has unveiled his budget proposal, which includes changes to the state’s tax system, along with renewed focus on education. Under Dayton’s plan, education spending would be increased by $600 million for the next two year budget cycle. Dayton said some people say we cannot afford to make these additional investments, but he said they cannot afford not to make them. A well education, productive workforce has been and continues to be our key advantage in attracting new and expanding businesses, Dayton said, and if we shortchange our kids’ education, we shortchange their futures and ours. Dayton has also proposed raising the income tax rates for the wealthiest, while dropping the sales tax rate, but applying it to more goods and services.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety reminds you about important driving skills for winter road conditions, and the important survival items to store in a vehicle in case you become stranded during cold weather. Buckle up and make sure child restraints are secured tight enough; drive at safe speeds according to road conditions; increase safe stopping distance between vehicles; use extra precaution around snowplows; if skidding, ease foot off the gas and turn the steering wheel in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go; if vehicle has an anti lock braking system, apply a steady firm pressure to the brake pedal. Make sure you clear snow and ice from vehicle windows, hood, headlights, brake lights and directional signals; headlights must be turned on if its snowing or sleeting; don’t use cruise control on snow/icy/wet roads; move over for emergency responders on the shoulder of the road, it’s the law.
The Litchfield Police Department yesterday (Tuesday) was called to a two vehicle crash on South Davis Avenue near East Depot Street. The drivers were Kayla Hanson-Dufresne of Litchfield and Cynthia Krug of Litchfield. There were no injuries. The damage to the vehicles is unknown.
Willmar City Administrator Charlene Stevens says the city council met last night (Tuesday) and discussed chamber dues. She says they had some additional information from the city attorney prior to the meeting regarding those dues and who can and cannot be members. Stevens says it’s very clear the city of Willmar cannot be a member of the Chamber and the city has not been a member. The council also discussed the municipal utilities and Rice Hospital as component entities of the city. Stevens said the conclusion was the council requested that the hospital and municipal utilities provide a rational for their membership with the chamber and are working with the city attorney to review the authority to become members of the chamber or participate with the chamber. She said there was also some discussion about the HRA (Housing Redevelopment Authority) as a member of the chamber as well as the Economic Development Commission, but those two entities have separate governing bodies. Although they have a relationship with the city they are not component entities of the city in the way that Rice hospital and MUC is. The city attorney clarified that the council cannot be liable for decisions made by those governing bodies.