NEWS-June 3
News Director: Bev Alquist Call with news at 320-235-2900 or email

News Archive

The Morris Area Schools will be spending the next three days in session, making up snow days. While the students are in class, administrators will be considering their test scores, with results being returned on MAPS and N-W-E-A tests. The voluntary tests assess students' growth throughout the year. Principal Craig Peterson says the test scores will be going home to parents following staff analysis of the results

Motorists on Interstate 94 will experience two overnight closures at Highway 78 near Ashby this week, weather permitting. Crews will close westbound I-94 overnight tonight (Monday), and eastbound I-94 overnight tomorrow (Tuesday). The closures will occur between 7 at night and 6 the following morning. Both nights, traffic will be diverted onto the Highway 78 exit ramp and immediately back onto the entrance ramp to I-94. The Minnesota State Patrol will assist with traffic control, and motorists may experience delays. During the overnight hours, crews will remove the existing bridge deck, rails and beams above the traffic lanes. Additional overnight closures will occur in early July when crews place the new concrete beams and decking for the bridge. The project is scheduled to be complete in late August. 

The New London-Spicer School Board held a planning session last week during which they began the strategic planning and goal setting for the 2013-14 school year. Supt. Paul Carlson says the board reviewed the current resource alignment document established in 2010 and identified areas of strength and weakness to improve what they do in the future by identifying recent successes and some recent issues that will be an important part to focus on for the next school year and into the future. Also as part of the planning session the board discussed negotiation timelines and planning. Both the timeline and the planning will be identified around focus areas through the strategic planning process and goals that will be established through this process.

Just because summer vacation has arrived, doesn’t mean the learning has to stop, and a program in western Minnesota is bringing the classroom to the kids. It’s called the Traveling Treehouse Mobile Learning Center, a former bus that’s been converted into an educational tool. Pope County’s Jeannie Pederson says its packed with kids’ activities and parent information, and it visits such places as child care centers, festivals and housing sites. Pederson says the health effort ranges from educating families about things like asthma triggers and environmental toxins, to promoting fun physical activities for kids. Funding for the Traveling Treehouse comes from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation.

Dave Wiest, CEO of EMEX Benefit Systems, will be at The Oaks at Eagle Creek on Wednesday morning from 9-10:30 to answer your questions about ObamaCare and how it will affect your businesses and employees. He will also address the MNsure Minnesota Exchange and answer questions you have about its operation. You’re asked to RSVP bytomorrow (Tuesday) with the Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce.

You’re invited to ask questions and provide comments about the future Highway 12 reconstruction project in Willmar at a public listening session on Monday night, June 10thfrom 6-8 at the Willmar MnDOT building. You can speak one-on-one with members of the project team to offer comments, questions or issues related to the reconstruction project, which is a one-mile, two-stage project that spans a half mile east and a half mile west of the Highway 71 Bypass bridge in Willmar. It will resurface driving lanes, add turning lanes, replace culverts and replace culverts and realign entrances.

Comments or a request for hearing on proposed rule changes for falconry, raptor propagation and abatement using raptors will be accepted until 4:30 on Thursday afternoon, June 27th, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said. The proposed changes update Minnesota’s rules following a revision of federal falconry regulations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service required each state, in order to have a falconry program, to adopt language that conforms to the federal falconry regulations. The proposed state regulations supplement federal regulations and clarify areas where the federal regulations give states discretion or where Minnesota regulations are more restrictive than federal regulations.

The Morris Municipal Airport is adding a hangar to current storage facilities. The Morris City Council has issued a call for bids. After reviewing bids, the council will apply to the federal government for funds to finance the project. City Manager Blaine Hill says the project will cost about $845,800. The city is also planning to spend $110,000 to acquire 10 additional acres for future projects. Hill says the federal funds, if approved, likely will be disbursed near the end of summer, with construction to start in early fall.

Thursday of last week was the last day of classes for students at District 611. Following the sixth grade graduation, the Cyrus Math, Science & Technology Elementary School let students out for the summer with a community sendoff. During a video montage, students described CMST as a wonderful, loving school. The consolidation between the Morris and Cyrus school districts is still in progress. The department of education has yet to assign a new district number.

Seniors at the Morris Area Schools have a better idea of how they will pay for their college educations, thanks to community investments. At the annual scholarship breakfast last week, community organizations and Dollars for Scholars awarded thousands of dollars to the graduating class. Kevin Wulf gave away a $10,000 agriculture scholarship to Brook Wente on behalf of Riverview Dairy. Tahni Jungst (tawny young-st) received the Cyrus Scholarship, a four-year disbursement of $28,000.

Saturday, 28 year old Phillip Alstadt of Alexandria died after being stabbed in the chest by 25 year old Kody Klimek of Alexandria, according to the Alexandria Police Department. The stabbing happened at 1705 East 6th Avenue in Alexandria. Alstadt was dead on the lawn when officers arrived. Klimek, who was an acquaintance of Alstadt, was arrested and taken into custody. An investigation is being conducted by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department, Alexandria Police Department and the BCA (Bureau of Criminal Apprehension), assisted by the Minnesota BCA Mobile Crime Lab.

Saturday, the Meeker County Sheriff's Office assisted the Litchfield Police department in trying to locate 30 year old Kyle Garfin of Litchfield who was missing and last seen sleeping at the Litchfield Water Treatment Facility grounds. Litchfield Rescue and Litchfield Fire Department also assisted in the search. While searching the area, Litchfield Police received information that Garfin had woke up and returned to his home before the incident had been reported.

The Meeker County Sheriff's Office and Minnesota State Patrol were called to a rollover just north of Kingston on Highway 15 Saturday morning. 19 year old Jonathon Wanha of Litchfield was driving south on Highway 15 where he rolled the vehicle into the west ditch. The driver and five passengers were taken to Meeker Memorial Hospital with non life threatening injuries. The crash is under investigation by the Minnesota St. Patrol

One person sustained non-life threatening injuries in a rear-end crash on Highway 212 at Buffalo Lake in Renville County on Saturday. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, 47 year old Homero Rivera of Hector was waiting to turn north onto County Road 8 from Highway 212 when he ws rear-ended by 17 year old Andrew Best of Hector. Best sustained injuries. Rivera was not injured, nor was his passenger, 34 year old Johnny Guzman. Assisting at the scene were the Hector Police Department and Renville County Sheriff’s Office.

There will be an old fashioned ice cream social tonight (Monday) at 6:30 at the Willmar Community Center on North Highway 71. This is the kick-off for West Dairy Days, which has a number of events planned throughout the week. There will be barbershop music at the social. Tomorrow night (Tuesday), it’s the Family Fun ‘Mile Run’, on Thursday and Friday it’s the Build a Burger event at Cashwise, and the Stingers baseball game with a Salute to Cows night. Saturday’s event is a visit to the Rod and Naomi Lindquist farm.

Connie Schmoll, executive director of Safe Avenues in Willmar, has stepped down from her position. She started the program in 2000 and has helped it grow to what it is today. Schmoll says Safe Avenues helps and advocates for battered women and children and victims of sexual abuse. Filling in as interim executive director is Carrie Budde.

The Alexandria City Council has approved Alexandria Motors as the low bidder for a one ton pickup truck for the airport with a bid of $32,713. The city will pay 30 percent of that with the state to pay 70 percent. Some airport entitlement funds will be transferred from Hallock to Alexandria. They’re concerned about losing those funds in the future, so they transferred them. The city will use those funds for the proposed airport hangar. Force America is considering constructing a 45,000 square foot manufacturing facility and is asking the city for tax increment financing to be used over a nine year period. The proposed project would increase the market value of the property to roughly $3 million. The city approved the request.

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