NEWS-July 9
News Director: Bev Alquist Call with news at 320-235-2900 or email

News Archive

The American Red Cross has issued an alert noting they urgently need donors to help boost the blood supply following the Independence Day holiday. The organization has issued an emergency appeal for blood donors of all blood types, and those with O negative, B negative and A negative blood are especially encouraged to give. The Red Cross' David Kelley says donations made in West Central Minnesota are largely utilized in the county they are collected in, or shipped to an area of critical need in the region, including Minnesota, the Dakotas, and western Wisconsin. Kelley says says there is a critical need for platelet donors as well. The bloodmobile will be in Elbow Lake today (Tuesday), at the United Lutheran Church from 1-7. On Thursday, the bloodmobile will be at Messiah Lutheran Church in Hoffman from 1-7. The bloodmobile will be in Morris, Chokio, Hancock, Belgrade, and Milan next week.

Highway 75 between Ortonville and Odessa is open to traffic. The detour has been temporarily lifted. Crews have replaced several culverts on Highway 75. They are now resurfacing Highway 7 west of Ortonville. Work will resume on Highway 75 again in about one week. At that time, traffic will detour again to Highway 12 and Big Stone County Road 21. The work on Highway 75 is expected to be complete by late July, weather permitting.

 The U.S. House of Representatives have not yet scheduled a vote on immigration reform bills, though the Senate has passed a bill. Senator Al Franken says the Senate's bill will benefit immigrants who work in the agriculture industries as well as the ag-based businesses that largely employ immigrant populations by stabilizing their work forces and setting up legal means for employment into the future. At the same time, Franken says, legislation needs to address illegal immigration that keeps the immigrants from once again slipping through the cracks. Speaker of the House John Boehmer told reporters last week: "The House is not going to take up and vote on whatever the Senate passes. We're going to do our own bill… and move the legislation that reflects the will of our majority and the will of the American people."

Stevens County has, and is on-trend to maintain, one of the most youthful populations in West Central Minnesota. Representatives from West Central Initiative spoke to the Stevens County Board of Commissioners last Tuesday, bringing the latest statistics on population demographics, poverty rates, and industrial growth. Economic Development Officer Greg Wagner says the 65 and over population in Stevens County is just over 16%, making the county the second youngest county in West Central Minnesota. Clay County has the youngest population in the region. Wagner attributes the youthful population in both counties to the presence of universities. West Central Initiative is a regional community foundation serving Becker, Clay, Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail, Pope, Stevens, Traverse and Wilkin counties.

The Morris City Council will meet tonight (Tuesday) at 5:15 in the Morris Community Center. The council will review bids from contractors to build a new hangar at the municipal airport. Following their regular meeting, the council will call to order the Economic Development Authority. The EDA has received 3 bids from developers for the old Elementary School property and might set a closed meeting for a future date to discuss the bids and consider additional stipulations for development timelines and financial breaks from the city for developing the seventeen acre site.

The Stevens County Historical Museum is commemorating a Morris building that will soon disappear from the landscape: the old Morris Elementary and High School Building. The exhibit takes its name from a Dr. Seuss quote, "Don't Cry Because It is Over: Smile Because it Happened." The museum's new exhibit will be open during this week's Prairie Pioneer Day celebrations. The first public viewing of the Men and Women of the Land Hall of Honor DVD stories and portraits will also be available during the celebration. The museum will have extended weekend hours during Prairie Pioneer Days. Special weekend hours at the museum for this exhibit viewing are Friday, July 12th from nine to 4:30; Saturday, July 13th from 11-3; and Sunday, July 14th from 11-2.  

The American Red Cross will be in West Central Minnesota this week. Donors will be able to give in South Dakota's Grant County and Minnesota's Lac Qui Parle County. The bloodmobile will be in Grant County today (Tuesday) from noon to six at the Milbank High School and tomorrow (Wednesday) from 2-7 at the American Legion in Big Stone City, S.D. The bloodmobile will be in Lac Qui Parle County on Thursday, from 1:30-6:30 at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Boyd.

A town meeting with Senator Torrey Westrom and Representative Jay McNamara has been set for tomorrow morning (Wednesday) at ten at the Brandon City Hall. The legislators will talk about the legislation that was passed this session, how it will affect local jurisdictions, and talk about the legislative process. There will also be a time for questions or responses from the public.

Kandiyohi County is seeking to honor an Outstanding Senior Citizen Man and Woman Volunteer. This award is presented annually at the Senior Citizen Day program August 8th at the Kandiyohi County Fair. This award recognizes the achievements and vital role of an outstanding man and woman in the county who has made valuable contributions to their communities. Nominees must be residents of Minnesota, 70 years or older by June 1 of this year, and do volunteer activity that is unpaid and demonstrates commitment of their time and talents to benefit their local community after reaching the age of 65. The deadline for nominations is July 22nd.

The Kandiyohi County Fair is seeking and encouraging singers, musicians, comedians and entertainers of every age to put their talents before a live audience in the annual talent contest. The contest is Saturday, August 10th at four. Auditions for the contest is July 27thfrom ten to one at the Willmar Community Center. Prizes at the talent contest are awarded to the top three winners of each category. All first place winners at the county fair level advance to the Minnesota State Fair’s county fair amateur talent contest.

The Alexandria Lakes Area Tea Party will meet today (Tuesday) in the Broadway Ballroom in Alexandria. Social time is at 5:15, with the regular meeting at 5:30. The program is a celebration of our independence and will include reading the Declaration of Independence in its entirety; patriotic readings; a skit; and patriotic music performed by local musicians. The public is invited.

‘Keys to the City: Solving the Mystery of Big Success in Small Towns’ is the program that will be presented by Pioneer Public Television in Alexandria on Thursday night at eight. Jack Shultz, author of Boom Town USA, and 7-1/2 Keys of Big Success in Small Towns, will share stories of successful economic development in small towns across America. He is joined by nationally recognized educator and filmmaker, Craig Lindvahl, who discusses the importance of entrepreneurship in the millennial generation.

Dr. Brian Herman, vice president for research for the university of Minnesota, along with University Regent Vice President Dean Johnson of Willmar, spent yesterday (Monday) touring the MinnWest Technology Center, including the University’s Mid-Central Research and Outreach Center (MCROC). Johnson says the focus of the tour was to discuss goals and objectives and clarify where the University might fit in with MCROC, coming up with three or four ideas on how they might move forward in the future. He says MCROC will be the new gateway for the University. Dr. Herman says he was very impressed with what he saw. He says MCROC was originally started as an experience to try create training opportunities for people in the community. Over time the focus has become extension, and it’s now a regional center for the University, and research that’s relevant to the poultry industry and avian infectious diseases. He said they’ll be adding another faculty member soon at MCROC, they’re in the process of recruitment; they’re adding another person to extension out and have identified some additional funds for investment in some other individuals who can help bring together the various investments the university has made with the rest of the MinnWest activity on the campus and try to create greater synergies going forward.

Tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday), at two, Representatives Andrew Falk of rural Murdock, and Mary Sawatzky of Willmar and House Majority Leader Erin Murphy will hold a roundtable discussion with seniors at the Pleasant View Nursing Home in Willmar. They will highlight new legislation that will positively impact Minnesota seniors and nursing home workers. The new budget provides a five percent increase for nursing home workers and a one percent increase for long term care workers for the first time in four years.

The Humane Society of Kandiyohi & Meeker Counties announces the hiring of Sharon Mace as Executive Director, working out of the Hawk Creek Animal Shelter in Willmar. Mace is the organization’s first Executive Director and comes on board 4 years after the building of the Hawk Creek Animal Shelter. She will work closely with the Board of Directors, on organizational structure, fund development and marketing. Her background is working with nonprofits and most recently served as the Executive Director of the Redwood/Renville counties, Chapter of the American Red Cross where her focus was working with various organizations and individuals to schedule training various health and safety classes, fundraising and deploying teams to disaster locations. 

38-year-old Stephen Titrud of Willmar was sentenced in Kandiyohi County District Court yesterday (Monday) after pleading guilty to two felony charges of possessing pornographic work on a computer. He was sentenced to 51 months in prison, with conditional release after five years. He has to register as a predatory offender, and pay fines and fees totaling $2,000.

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