Happy 1st day of Spring!
A local legislator is carrying a bill to benefit parks and trails in West-Central Minnesota. Elbow Lake Democrat Jay McNamar is seeking an unspecified appropriation for fiscal year 2014 to fund a new trail between the City of Elbow Lake and Pomme de Terre lake. The one time appropriation would be used for the acquisition of land and improvements to the trail route and would be primarily used in Grant County.
The Stevens County Board of Commissioners meet in regular session this morning (Tuesday) at nine in the Stevens County Courthouse board room. Stevens County Sheriff Jason Dingman will present the board with an updated West Central SWAT Team Agreement and will continue to advise the board on possible vehicle purchases for the department. An informational meeting for Stevens County Ditch 6 will be held in the boardroom at 11as part of the board's regular meeting.
There will be a Willmar Lakes Area Chamber and CVB volunteer appreciation event hosted by NeXt on Friday from noon to 1:30 at the Willmar Conference Center. Tickets are $20 per person. They need to be purchased in advance, they will not be available at the door. For more information contact the chamber office
A study released by Ridgewater College estimates the economic impact of the college on the regional economy to be $90 million, and 1,172 jobs. The study also concluded the college generates about $5 million in tax revenues for state and local government. Dr. Doug Allen, Ridgewater president, says the operations and economic activity generated by their faculty, staff and students touch virtually every corner of our regional economy and supports local business and industry.
The Minnesota Historical Society has awarded 64 new Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants of up to $7000 each. The latest round of grants marks a 1,000 grant milestone since the grants, funded by the Legacy Amendment. Grants are helping organizations in every Minnesota county preserve and share history. Small grant recipients for January include Big Stone County Libraries; the Grant County Historical Society; the Kandiyohi County Historical Society and Willmar Design Center; the Lac qui Parle County Historical Society; and the Sacred Heart Area Historical Society in Renville County.
The Parks and Trails Division of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has selected Jeremy Losinski to oversee outdoor recreation in eight west central counties. Until recently Losinski was manager of the Lac qui Parle State Park in Montevideo. In his new job, Losinski will supervise and administer outdoor recreation programs in Big Stone, Chippewa, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Renville, Swift and Yellow Medicine Counties. He is responsible for public water accesses, state trails, state recreation areas, state water trails, fishing piers, shore fishing areas and grants related to local units of government.
Meeker County Sheriff Jeff Norlin urges Meeker County residents to be aware of scam attempts in the county. Recently, an 85 year old resident of Meeker County received a number of such calls over a two year period, and hung up on the callers each time. Sheriff Norlin cautions residents not to give out any personal information or send money to anyone who contacts you without thoroughly checking them out. If you suspect fraud, call the sheriff’s office.
Barb Chaffee with Central Minnesota Jobs & Training Services, gave the annual report to the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners yesterday (Tuesday); Household Hazardous Waste Contracts with the county and six co-sponsoring counties was approved; and Benson Ag Air was given the approval to spray for tent caterpillars. County Administrator Larry Kleindl told the board they’re updating the Vision 2040 plan; and in other business a letter was read from Representative Mary Sawatzky asking for support to find efforts to continue the funding to close the Highway 23 corridor gap.
Representative Mary Sawatzky of Willmar says it will be a very busy end of the week as the finance committees are expected to turn in their budgets. Today (Wednesday), there is a bill in the transportation finance committee where Sawatzky has been working with Kandiyohi County to propose a wheelage tax. The original bill was $20 when purchasing a car with the money used for roads and bridges within the county. The county would have local control on where those moneys are used. But, she says, they’re amending the tax to a lower amount for some bookkeeping necessities. Also today they’ll be having a bill out for Rice Dental Critical Care Center.
A bill to increase funding to the University of Minnesota continues to make its way through the Minnesota Legislature. Representative Andrew Falk of rural Murdock has introduced a bill to restore an annual appropriation of $5 million to the University's Renewable Energy program, an important economic resource, Falk says. Research at the university encourages other economic development in the state, including companies who implement or support the research at the U. The funds would come out of the Renewable Energies Fund, a pot of money sustained by power companies for the right to store nuclear waste in the state.
Winners of this year’s 2013 Siehl Prize for Excellence in Agriculture, announced by the University of Minnesota, are Ted Huisinga and Ray Norling, leaders of Life-Science Innovations & Affiliates. Siehl prizes are awarded each year in three different categories: agribusiness, knowledge and production agriculture. Huisinga and Norling say the honor actually belongs to the entire organization which includes Nova Tech, Willmar Poultry, Epitopix, PALS and the MinnWest campus. The award will be presented to Huisinga and Norling in May during a ceremony at the university.