The Humane Society of Kandiyohi/Meeker Counties will be having their annual meeting on Wednesday afternoon, January 9th at 5:30 in the upstairs community room at the Willmar Public Library. 2012 members in good standing as of Dec 31st, 2012 are eligible to vote in the Board election. You can call the Humane Society for more information.
The American Dairy Association of Kandiyohi County is seeking candidates to participate in the 2013 Dairy Princess Program. Dairy Princesses serve as goodwill ambassadors for the dairy industry by appearing at promotional events, speaking to consumers and news media, and participating in parades. The annual Kandiyohi County Dairy Princess Banquet and Coronation will be held Saturday night, March 2nd at the Kandi Entertainment Center in Willmar at 7:30. The dairy princess contest is a program of the dairy promotion check-off, which works to increase demand for dairy products. A candidate must be a high school graduate by July 1st, 2013 and not yet 24 years old by July 1st, 2013. The application deadline is Monday, January 21st.
The Minnesota Department of Health is hoping the new year will bring a drop in cases of whooping cough, with 2012 seeing the highest number in 75 years. Epidemiologist Cynthia Kenyon says they’ve recorded more than 4,300 cases of pertussis this year, although the actual number is higher. The last time the state had this large of an outbreak of whooping cough was in 1937, when the total reached 4,851. In West-Central Minnesota, the largest outbreak was in Stearns County, with 99 cases.
Artists from around the region will be showcased in the next art show at the University of Minnesota, Morris. HFA Curator Michael Eble has gathered work from artists in Stevens, Pope, Traverse, Grant, Swift, Big Stone, Douglas, and Wilkin Counties in a show called LOCAL COLOR: Artists from the Lake Region. The show opens in UMM's HFA Gallery on Thursday, January 17. An artists' reception will be held at 7 that night.
Local officials and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources continue to warn ice anglers, snowmobilers, skiers and other outdoor enthusiasts to use caution when going onto any lake covered or partially covered with ice, especially those that feature aeration systems. Several local lakes will house aeration systems this winter. In Stevens County, Hattie, North and South Baker Lakes; in Pope County, Signalness Lake (also known as Glacial Lakes State Park Lake); and in Big Stone County, Artichoke, East Toqua, and Long Tom Lake. "Thin Ice" and Warning" signs are used to indicate an aeration system may be operating below the surface.
Students at the Morris Area Schools are working hard to feed one another. The Morris Area Back Pack program provides nutritious food to children who don't have enough to eat at home. The program currently serves 83 children in the Morris Area Schools and St Mary's Elementary. Volunteers are needed to help pack the food each week. To get more information or to sign up to help with the Back Packs for Kids Program, contact program director Ag Teacher Nick Milbrandt. All donations can be made through the Stevens County Food Shelf, designated for The Backpack Program.
Minnesota farmers have until January 11th to apply for Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grants that can help offset the costs of on-farm innovations and/or research. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) will award grants of up to $25,000 for projects such as fruit and vegetable production, livestock production systems, conservation tillage and weed management, organic farming, and alternative energy crop production. The MDA's Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Program promotes environmental stewardship and conservation of resources and strives to improve profitability and quality of life on farms and in rural areas. Grant applications are available on the MDA website or by contacting the Agricultural Marketing and Development Division. Completed applications must be received by MDA no later than January 11th.
Two people sustained non-life threatening injuries yesterday afternoon (Wednesday) in a head-on crash at the Highway 55 County Road 8 intersection in Stearns County. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, 41 year old Debra Fraser of Willmar was traveling west on Highway 55, lost control on the icy road and slipped into oncoming traffic. She collided head-on with a vehicle traveling east on Highway 55 and driven by 70 year old Virginia Letourneau of New London. The Letourneau vehicle spun into the ditch. Letourneau and a passenger in her vehicle, 47 year old Sarah Lockwood of Spicer, were not injured. Fraser and her 4 year old passenger, Alexander, were seriously injured. Assisting at the scene were the Belgrade and Brooten Police Departments.
Affiliated Community Medical Centers was recently recognized by the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP) for participation in the Pertussis Protection Campaign held last summer and fall. The purpose of the campaign was to increase Tdap immunization rates for physicians and providers, so they could decrease the opportunity for providers to spread pertussis to patients. Minnesota continues to experience an outbreak in pertussis. The Minnesota Department of Health reports that 4,174 cases had been reported as of mid-December 2012.
The four fire departments in Stevens County--Morris, Donnelly, Chokio, and Hancock--have long considered how best to share their resources. Equipment, training, and personal often train and respond together and the four departments are working to formalize their working relationships. Former Stevens County Sheriff Randy Willis says the county can serve as the fiscal agent with no cost to local tax payers. The fire departments provided the matching funds.
With temperatures below average, homeowners are considering how to heat more efficiently and cost-effectively. Two families are engaged in a Face-Off to see who can save more, and they’re hoping local residents will join the competition. Troy Goodnough with the Morris Penny Pinchers, says two energy saving techniques for winter are washing clothes in cold water and having your furnace checked. Having an annual furnace check is a safety precaution, Goodnough says, and an inspection might reveal ways to heat more efficiently. To learn more about the family face off, visit CleanEnergyResourceTeams.org.
At least 300 people were arrested for DWI in Minnesota on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, according to preliminary DWI arrest information from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety. There was one fatality north of Deer River, and its unknown at this time if alcohol was a factor in the crash, reports the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. In the previous four years there were zero drunk driving deaths on New Year’s Eve-New Year’s Day. The 300 DWI arrest figure is consistent for New Year’s Eve DWI arrests. The state averaged 295 DWIs during the previous five years for the holiday.