Morris’ ethanol plant, Denco II, may be the staging grounds for a new approach to filtering waste water. Morris City Manager Blaine Hill says the project in a true public-private partnership. The project includes installing equipment that will process water and wastewater on-site, reducing the amount of water needed for production. The plant has been granted a $500,000 grant from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and is under review for another half-million dollar grant from the Department of Employment and Economic Development.
For the first time in five years, the number of traffic deaths increased in Minnesota as 378 people were killed in 2012, according to preliminary reports from the Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety. In 2011, 368 people died in crashes on Minnesota roads. In 2012, Big Stone County experienced one fatal crash. Three people died on Pope County roadways, and two people died on roadways in Stevens County during the year. There was one fatal crash in Grant County. Swift and Traverse County reported no fatal road accidents. Officials expect common traffic safety issues will again be the primary contributing factors for the 2012 deaths: drunk driving, seat belt non-use, speeding and distracted driving.
The Stevens County Board of Commissioners has set their allocations and appropriations budgets for 2013. The budget represents their contributions to area organizations including the Stevens County Historical Society, the regional library, and the Ag Society. The largest change for the coming year is a 23.64% increase to the Stevens County Soil & Water Conservation District. The organization will receive $136,000 in the coming year.
The Plaiding Pillagers Robotics Team, comprised of students from Stevens County schools, is planning a community dinner. On Friday, from 5:30 to 8, the team will host a free-will offering dinner at the American Legion in Morris. The evening will include a demonstration of the robot the team built last year.
The Morris School Board will meet tonight (Monday) at seven in the Morris Area High School Media Center to reorganize following elections in 2012. The annual meeting includes the appointment of a board chair, vice chair, and treasurer/clerk. The board also reviews annually the salary of board members.
The Minnesota Historical Society has awarded Minnesota Historical and Cultural Grants of up to $7,000 and four new Partnership Grants totaling $155,410 to 48 counties across the state. Included in those counties are Grant, Otter Tail and Swift, each county receiving a ‘Fast Track’ grant of up to $7,000. The next grants deadline is January 11th, which may be the final deadline for the 2012-13 biennium depending on available funds.
Three new emergency outdoor storm warning sirens are being erected in Meeker County according to Sheriff Jeff Norlin. He says they complement an existing system of 20 sirens now in operation throughout the county. One siren has been erected at the Clear Lake County Park, one on the north side of Big Swan Lake on County Road 21, and the third on the north side of Lake Francis in Kingston Township. All of the county’s storm sirens can remotely be activated throughout the county from the Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center as the emergency warrants. The outdoor warning siren systems are part of the early warning system for persons who may be outdoors prior to a severe weather event.
Eric Lipke of Hutchinson, formerly of Stewart, has been named to the Ridgewater College Foundation’s board of directors. Lipke is the General Manager of Midwest Industrial Tool Grinding, Inc., a specialty tool manufacturing facility in Hutchinson. Lipke also serves on the Education Committee at St. Anastasia Catholic School in Hutchinson.
USDA Rural Development has grant funds available statewide for very-low income homeowners for home repair to correct or remove existing health, safety, sanitary, and accessibility issues. Grants up to $7,500 may be available to eligible households. This program is available to eligible elderly homeowners living in rural areas and small towns. Dan Labat, area director for USDA Rural Development, says there is a narrow window of opportunity to receive these funds. Interested persons may apply at any time for this program but funding may become limited after this month. To be eligible for a grant, applicants must own and occupy their home and be age 62 or older.
19 year old Calvin Larkins, a level three sex offender, is moving to the 500 block of 3rd Avenue West in Alexandria on January 14th according to the Alexandria Police Department. A level three offender is considered at the highest risk to reoffend, based on past criminal behavior. Larkins has a history of sexual conduct and contact with minor male and female victims, including indecent exposure, fondling and penetration. In each incident, the victim knew who he was, according to the Bemidji Police Department, the investigating agency. Larkins is not wanted by the police at this time and has served the sentence imposed on him. The Alexandria Police Department is the supervising release agent.
About 1:30 yesterday afternoon (Sunday), the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office, Grove City Rescue, and Paynesville Ambulance responded to a snowmobile accident with injures off of County Road 3 and west of Highway 4 in Union Grove Township. 20 year old Evan Blackwell of rural Eden Valley, was driving a 2005 Ski-Doo 800cc snowmobile when he struck a power pole in the north side ditch of County Road 3. The snowmobile was traveling westbound in the ditch of County Road 3 at the time of the accident. Blackwell was transported by Paynesville Ambulance to Meeker Memorial Hospital in Litchfield, with non-life-threatening injuries. This crash is under investigation by the Meeker County Sheriff's Office.