According to Meeker County Sheriff Jeff Norlin they will be participating in an enhanced enforcement and education effort of the dangers of speeding. Officers will be conducting increased patrols, targeting high speeds June 17th through June 23rd and again July 6ththrough July 21st through the Safe & Sober campaign to combat this deadly cause of traffic crashes. Law enforcement is emphasizing the need to drive at safe speeds. Sheriff Norlin says unsafe and illegal speed is the most commonly reported contributing factor in fatal crashes. During 2009-2011, speed was a contributing factor in 4 fatalities in Meeker County and a contributing factor in 254 traffic deaths statewide. In Meeker County, an average speeding citation for 10 mph over the speed limit is well over $100. Motorists stopped at 20 mph over the speed limit face a fine over $200, and those ticketed traveling more than 100 mph can lose their license for six months.
On Monday night, June 17th, it’s the second annual Bark in the Park at the Bill Taunton stadium in Willmar. The Hawk Creek Animal Shelter is joining with the Willmar Stingers to have another fun evening for their friends and their dogs. Bobbie Bauman with the shelter, said the game starts at 7:05. Tickets are $7 for humans and $7 for dogs. You’re encouraged to purchase your tickets before Monday evening. Dog tickets will be available for $7 at the door, but fan tickets might be slightly more. If you have season tickets, you will just need to purchase a ticket for your dog.
This is the time of year when young animals are scampering about lawns, roadsides and just about everywhere else in Minnesota, according to the Department of Natural Resources. Birds are falling out of their nests and many types of wild baby animals can be mistaken as abandoned or lost. In reality, the mother is probably not too far away and will soon return. People should always leave wild baby animals alone unless it can be verified that the mother is dead or the animal is seriously injured, says Carrol Henderson with the DNR. Many small animals like rabbits attend to their young just a few minutes a day and intentionally stay away from their young to avoid drawing the attention of predators. Henderson also says people should contain their dogs and keep cats indoors during this time of year. Curious pets can disturb or harm young and nesting animals, adding to fatalities.
Volunteers helping with the Adopt a Highway program pick up 26,000 tons of litter per year, saving the state an estimated $6 million annually. The Minnesota Department of Transportation says the adopt a Highway program currently is staffed by more than 49,000 volunteers from the public who are helping to clean up 11,000 miles of Minnesota’s highways. Even with these efforts, MnDOT is looking for more volunteers to help with this public service campaign.
Governor Mark Dayton and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack have launched a new agricultural water quality pilot program designed to enhance water quality in the state. Under the certification program, farmers who implement and maintain approved conservation plans will be certified and in turn assured that their operations meet water quality goals and standards for the term of the certification agreement which lasts up to ten years.
The Minnesota Farmers Union is pleased the United States Senate passed the farm bill, and is optimistic the House of Representatives Republican leadership, with the help of the Democratic minority, will use common sense to compromise and negotiate a farm bill that benefits American family farmers and consumers. Minnesota Farmers Union President Doug Peterson says the Senate passing the farm bill is a step in the right direction, and one that family farmers have been waiting for and deserve. He says this legislation provides a strong safety net for farmers, a solid crop insurance program, as well as protections for livestock farmers. Senator Amy Klobuchar and Senator Al Franken both voted for the bill. The House of Representatives is currently scheduled to take up their version of the farm bill the week of June 17th. If the House passes a farm bill, it will then lead to a conference committee between the two bodies to iron out the differences, before final passage, and then to President Obama’s desk for signature.
The Kerkhoven City Council has approved the purchase agreement for a new ambulance. Mayor Brian Thompson says the cost is $163,418 and that includes the power cot they wanted. The ambulance will be delivered around the first of November. Mayor Thompson also gave a report on funding for the Small Cities Development program. The grant of $457,425 was approved for the cities of Murdock and Kerkhoven. Thompson says HRA Director Vicky Syverson will be coming to a city council meeting in the near future. Thompson said it’s great news for the east end of Swift County that they’re getting all this money for improvements. He said the money could easily double when it comes right down to it so it’s great news.