The Morris Police Department is looking for one or more suspects in a string of petty crimes. On Sunday and possibly into Monday morning, more than 10 mailboxes were destroyed in the City of Morris. The damage appears to have been done by a baseball bat. All of the reported crimes were in the City proper; no surrounding communities have reported similar crimes. If you have any information, or if you have been a victim but have not yet reported the crime, call the Morris Police Department.
The Paynesville City Council is dealing with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in regards to benzene contamination in one of the city wells. Mayor Jeff Thompson says their public works director and their city engineer, in going through some old documents, found problems stemming from when PCA had replaced one of the contaminated wells. The well was tested to full capacity, and in doing so the city found that the well was drawing down the well capacity of some surrounding private wells and did some damage to their pumps and wells. It was discovered that capacity was not as much as it should be and that’s one of the things they’re going back to the PCA on now in trying to bring the city to a level of being whole again and providing good, clean water to their citizens. We’re not concerned that the water the city is producing now as being contaminated but just looking to the future of being able to provide good, clean, uncontaminated drinking water.
House Majority Leader Erin Murphy says the governor’s budget invests in the priorities that will make our state and our people successful. She said those are priorities Minnesotans have been talking about for years – education, reducing property taxes, jobs and the economy.
Matt Schafer, Minnesota government relations director with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, says the governor’s plan to increase the price of cigarettes by 94 cents is a step in the right direction towards helping Minnesota kids break the cycle of addiction and tobacco related disease. He says fewer Minnesota kids will start smoking and more adults will quit thanks to the governor’s decision. Schafer also says they encourage the governor to raise the price of tobacco products at the same level as suggested in legislation introduced last week, which was $1.60 more.
At this week’s Willmar City Council a certificate of recognition was given to the Kandiyohi County Area Family YMCA. City Administrator Charlene Stevens says the council also wished them well on their new capital campaign for the expansion of the YMCA. The council has also set a public hearing for Feb. 4th for a Lakeland Interceptor. In other business they heard from the Community Development Committee regarding some changes to the city ordinances regarding exterior maintenance. They referred that to the city attorney to draft an ordinance for commercial, industrial and institutional exterior maintenance. That is something that goes along with the city’s downtown plan.
The Montevideo City met this week and discussed snow hauling issues in the residential area. City Administrator Steve Jones says the council did listen to an individual that came in with a concern, and they will look at the ordinance to see if they want to make some changes. Jones says the council also held a public meeting to review a grant application with FEMA. The city is looking at doing with FEMA to build a multi safe room, basically a storm shelter in Montevideo on Benson Road close to one of our larger trailer courts, and also do another round of possible buy-outs in Smith Addition.
The Willmar Police Department is asking for your help in identifying three suspects possibly involved in 20 plus tires that were slashed near Rice Hospital this past weekend (Jan 18 to 20). A security video of the suspects can be found on the Willmar Police Department’s Facebook page. Any tips would be appreciated. You’re asked to call the police department or crime stoppers if you have any information.
A fire yesterday (Wednesday) near Nest Lake destroyed the garage portion of a Quonset hut that was divided into both a living quarters and a garage. Firefighters from Spicer, New London and Willmar, plus the Kandiyohi County Rescue Squad, Spicer First Responders and New London Ambulance responded to the blaze. The cause of the blaze reminds under investigation.
A head-on crash on Highway 61 in Winona County resulted in one injury yesterday (Wednesday). According to the Minnesota State Patrol, 18 year old Corey Speltz of Minneiska lost control, jumped the curb and collided with a semi driven by 49 year old Gregory Scharnke of Glenwood. Speltz was injured, but Scharnke was not.
Representative Andrew Falk of rural Murdock is pleased the Upper Minnesota Regional Development Commission received a $7,000 grant from the Minnesota Legacy Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. He says the money will go towards hiring a qualified interpretive specialist to develop an interpretive plan for the history along 287 miles of Minnesota River Valley National Scenic Byway. Falk says this is the kind of project that helps us learn more about our history and our culture.
Stevens County Auditor-Treasurer Neil Wiese is not convinced the county board has all the information they need when making salary decisions. Following a December 31 decision to increase Wiese's 2013 salary by 1.5% when other elected and non-union employees saw salary increases of 2.5%, Wiese filed a civil suit. Wiese says he hopes the judge will find merit in the case, especially when considering salaries in comparably-sized counties in west-central Minnesota. Wiese says his salary is quite low when compared to other Auditors, Treasurers, or combined roles in similarly-sized counties. The case has not yet been assigned a court date. It will be heard by Swift County Judge David Mennis.
The Morris School Board has approved 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. Board Vice Chair Stan Wulf is on the salary negotiations committee and notes that Monson's current contract, for school years 2010-2013, did not include any increases. The board also approved a preliminary budget for school year 2013-2014.
Representative Mary Sawatzky of Willmar says the budget proposed by the governor is a work in progress. She says his budget shows his priorities for a better Minnesota. With that, she says, they want to grow the economy, create jobs and have a fair tax system for all Minnesotans. In looking at his budget, she says, it was pretty well laid out and is a budget with no games and no gimmicks. She says they have a plan to replay back the schools in full by 2017 under the governor’s plan. She said you need to remember this is a work in progress and the governor is willing to work with the House and Senate to have other proposals and see where things can be fine-tuned in other ways. There is a tax deduction for everyone, she said, a $500 deduction off the property tax right off the top so that would be property tax relief for all homeowners.
The Glenwood Police Department is asking for your help in solving the theft of rims and tires from Marthaler Chevrolet. According to the Pope County Tribune, 32 rims and tires were stolen from vehicles in the car dealership lot on January 15th. Similar crimes have been reported at dealerships throughout Central Minnesota. The theft was caught on surveillance cameras by the dealership. The total loss to the dealership is estimated to be about $47,000. If you have any information pertaining to the case you’re asked to call the police department.