NEWS-July 12
News Director: Bev Alquist Call with news at 320-235-2900 or email

News Archive

The New London Spicer School Board has increased its substitute teacher pay from $90 per day to $95 per day for the first time in nine years. Supt. Paul Carlson says the board also adopted a resolution for membership in the Minnesota State High School League, and approved the 2013-14 test composite. The major change is expansion of the benchmark assessment for literacy. Last year and year’s prior, that assessment was used for grades K and 1. That will now be expanded to K through 4. The board also discussed student activity fees for hockey since the Paynesville New London Spicer Hockey Association will no longer support offsetting some of the fees for hockey. They discussed how that applies to the rate they charge students for hockey and looked at setting a $300 fee per family, but that was much higher than their other activity fees which are set at $125, plus the family maximum cap would apply as well. The board approved hockey fees at $125 like other sports at the high school level.

United Way of West Central MN Empower: Women United in Philanthropy in Kandiyohi County is taking applications from daycare settings in the Willmar, New London, Spicer, Atwater, Pennock and Raymond communities for free preschool lessons for the 2013-2014 school year. Lessons will begin the week of September 9th and go through the end of May 2014. Daycares may apply at this time to receive services at their location with deadline for applications 4 the afternoon of August 9th. There are openings for 20 daycare sites. Lessons are brought to the daycare location once every two weeks; curriculum is left behind for the provider to continue the learning experience. Letter and number recognition testing will be done in the fall and spring to determine progress of children participating in the program.

Protecting lakes and streams from construction runoff is the purpose of a statewide permit recently approved by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Citizens’ Board. Construction runoff can contain pollutants. The additional drainage from developed sites can also cause erosion and other problems. This permit aims to protect Minnesota’s waters in two ways. The first is through temporary practices during construction to manage runoff. The second is through permanent treatment of additional runoff, such as letting rainwater and snowmelt soak into the ground through rain gardens and other means.

The wolf population remains firmly established on Minnesota’s landscape, according to a comprehensive population survey conducted by the Department of Natural Resources. The latest survey results estimate that within Minnesota’s wolf range there were 438 packs and 2,211 wolves last winter – down 710 wolves from the survey five years ago. Minnesota’s wolf range generally covers the state’s forested region. The DNR intends on putting in place another conservative wolf season this fall and winter. Although lower than the 2008 wolf population survey estimate of 2,921 wolves, the population exceeds the state’s minimum goal of at least 1,600 wolves and is above the federal recovery goal range of 1,251 to 1,400 animals. Dam Stark with the DNR says results from the 2013 wolf survey continue to demonstrate that Minnesota’s wolf population is fully recovered from its once threatened status and the population is responding naturally to the availability of deer, wolves’ primary food source.’ The DNR will more closely monitor pack and territory sizes in the next few years. More frequent radio collaring of wolf packs will provide additional data on the population’s response to wolf season harvest. The DNR’s fall and winter 2013 wolf season will be based on the framework established for the 2012 season. Season details along with application information for prospective hunters and trappers will be available in late July once DNR biologists develop a final proposal and tribal authorities are consulted on the season framework. The DNR’s goal for wolf management, as outlined in the state’s wolf management plan, is to ensure the long-term survival of wolves in Minnesota while addressing wolf-human conflicts that inevitably result when wolves and people live in the same vicinity. The DNR’s wolf management plan includes wolf-specific population and health monitoring, research, depredation management, public education and law enforcement efforts. 

ACMC Dermatologist Dr. Cindy Firkins Smith, was recently named a Top Doctor in the Mpls St. Paul Magazine, 2013. Research for the list began with more than 5,000 licensed physicians and registered nurses nominating doctors whom they would choose if they or a loved one were seeking medical care. The candidates who then made the final list were evaluated on indicators of peer recognition, professional achievement, and disciplinary history and grouped into 42 specialties. Dr. Smith has practiced Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery at ACMC for 23 years, and is also an adjunct Professor in the University of Minnesota Department of Dermatology. As a part-time University staff dermatologist, she sees patients in the Dermatology Resident Consortium Clinic and recently had two chapters published in the new Lange series textbook, "Clinical Dermatology."  

47 year old Timothy Huber of rural Paynesville will be sentenced this morning (Friday) for his role in the murder of 43 year old Tim Larson of Albertville in October of 2011. Huber will appear in Kandiyohi County District Court in front of Judge Donald Spilseth. Huber is charged with felony first and second degree murder. Huber and his father, 82 year old Delbert Huber, were both indicted for killing Larson. The elder Huber is serving 367 months in prison after pleading guilty last August to felony second degree intentional murder.

Six people were injured in a broadside crash yesterday afternoon (Thursday) on Highway 29 at the County Road 13 intersection in Chippewa County. According to the Minnesota State Patrol and sheriff’s office, 47 year old Shaheen Aftab was traveling east on County Road 13, and 47 year old Tony Moore of Lake Park, Iowa, was traveling south on Highway 29 when the two collided. Passengers in the Aftab vehicle were 44 year old Aftab Khan, 9 year old Hayat Khan and 49 year old Shahnaz Ansari of Mississauga, On. Passenger in the Moore vehicle was 36 year old Jodie Groote of Lake Park, Iowa.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Minnesota Department of Homeland Security were in Morris Wednesday assessing damage done in the county during the June 21 storm. John Moore, from Homeland Security, says the preliminary damage assessment is the first step in determining if Governor Mark Dayton will make a request for a presidential declaration of disaster. Moore says every county that has been assessed thus far has met their damage threshold to be included in a possible disaster declaration. Minnesota's federal disaster threshold is $7.2 million and each county has their own threshold, established based on population. Stevens County's threshold is just over $33,000 to be considered for inclusion in a possible disaster declaration. FEMA determined the county had just under $500,000 in eligible damage.

U.S. Senator Al Franken is working to put you to work, by addressing a "skills gap" in the state. A recent study by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development shows about one-third of manufacturers in Minnesota have open positions that have gone unfilled due to a lack of education. Franken says there are 3.5 million jobs that have gone unfilled because not enough of the population has the right skill set. Franken has introduced a proposal to bring educators, employers, and laborers together. Franken's proposal would appropriate money to offer grants to employers and education institutes to facilitate skills-based learning for students and increase job placement.

Senator Torrey Westrom of Elbow Lake says Minnesota's new fiscal year comes with a plethora of new taxes passed by the legislative majority. Westrom, a Republican, and Representative Jay McNamar, a Democrat, met with constituents in Brandon Wednesday, addressing key pieces of legislation that concern local policy making. Westrom says Minnesota's higher income earners will see their tax rate increase from 7.85 percent to 9.85 percent; and that this plan will make Minnesota's income tax rate the second highest in the nation for comparative income.

The Friends of the Morris Public Library will hold their annual book sale today (Friday) andtomorrow (Saturday) from ten to six at the library. A wide variety of fiction and non-fiction books will be available for adults and children. There will also be an assortment of videos, DVDs and CDs. All proceeds go to supporting programming, collection development and special purchases at the library.

At a meeting in Raymond yesterday (Thursday), the Kandiyohi County/Willmar Economic Development Commission said no to a request to increase the levy by $25,000. That increase in the budget would have included a $5,000 pay increase for Assistant Director Jean Spaulding, whose salary is currently at $60,984, and a $5,000 increase for Ag Specialist Leroy Petersen, whose salary is currently at $45,000. The Commission’s recommendation to not increase the levy will now go to the Joint Powers Board, and from there to the County Board, where the final decision will be made.

Larry Macht, president of the Raymond Civic and Commerce group, spoke at the Kandiyohi County/Willmar Economic Development Commission meeting held in Raymond yesterday (Thursday). He told the board Raymond was the best kept secret in the county, told the board they have a lot of younger families who live in Raymond because they like the quality of life it offers, but work in Willmar, and that Raymond is a friendly, family oriented community that’s celebrating its 125th anniversary August 23rd and 24th. Macht told the board they’re working with the EDC on a proposal for an assisted living facility, that every commercial building in the city is filled, that they’ve had several natural disasters but have ‘risen from the ashes and taken advantage of it.’

The Alexandria City Council Monday night approved a resolution authorizing Springsted to set the sale of $5.4 million in general obligation improvement bonds. This will cover the cost related to a waterline. City Administrator Jim Taddei says they also approved bids for the large aircraft hangar. The low bid was $671,919. Taddei says 90 percent of the cost will be covered by state and federal funds, with the city to pay about 10 percent. The council also referred a request that the alley between 9th and 10th Avenues/Broadway and Hawthorn be repaved to the highway committee; amended an annexation ordinance in Carlos Township, which will be resubmitted to the state for its approval; and discussed the Boys Avenue Street Improvement Project.

The Friends of the Morris Wetland Management District will once again host an annual Prairie Extravaganza during Prairie Pioneer Days. Dale Livingston says some of the most popular activities are back this year, including building birdhouses, wagon rides around the prairie, and music by Skilly and Duff. Prairie Extravaganza will be held on Saturday from noon-4 at the US Fish and Wildlife Service Office near Morris.

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