Representative Mary Sawatzky of Willmar says they’ve allocated $250 million for middle class property tax relief, and another $46 million in job creation. There have been some cuts to health and human services and transportation, she says, something she’s not happy about. They’re looking to find cost saving efficiencies to help slow the growth in health care. She said they do not want to hurt seniors, or the most vulnerable and they need to continue to look out for our struggling roads and bridges. She said they continue to work hard in St. Paul finding the most benefit possible.
The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners Tuesday discussed the importance of emphasizing broadband connections in greater Minnesota and rural America. Board Chair Harlan Madsen talked about the explosiveness of the GIS and GPS technologies in agriculture for tractors and combines, as well as the construction industry. He says there has been a big increase in utilization and affordability, and economically has made a significant increase. But, he says, there are huge gaps in looking at the missed connections. If those missed connections have to do with a transfer from the emergency room, Madsen says, or possible treatment during the transfer, they need to be able to make that connection with the ER room, so connectivity is very important. Madsen said it’s the way that rural Minnesota and rural America are going to be able to thrive and survive in some situations, being able to hold the population, being able to encourage the X and Y generations to stay and to return. He said it’s a neat tool and a very necessary tool and the board endorsed it.
Throughout the month of March, donations made to local food shelves will be tallied and awarded by Minnesota FoodShare. The Stevens County Foodshelf is among those working to feed hungry families in the area. Co-Director LoAnne Jaeck says the food shelf has seen an uptick in need. Between 2011 and 2012, the food shelf saw a 13% increase in the number of patrons seeking food assistance. Volunteers from the Stevens County Foodshelf will be waiting tables at the Morris Pizza Ranch on Sunday. A portion of all sales will directly benefit the food shelf.
The Stevens County Commissioners have voted to sell a forfeited truck, over the objections of two commissioners. The vehicle was acquired by the county after a DWI offender logged his third offense. County Sheriff Jason Dingman had suggested keeping the vehicle for use in the Sheriff's Office; the department has one fewer vehicles than the number of officers. Commissioner Jeanne Ennen agreed with the Sheriff, noting that using the truck would eliminate the expenditure of further tax payer dollars. Commissioner Bob Kopitzke agreed with Ennen. Commissioner Phil Guasman opposed keeping the truck, preferring to buy a vehicle that would match the department's current fleet. Gausman was joined in his opinion by Commissioner Ron Staples and Donny Wohlers. The board voted 3-2 to sell the vehicle and use the funds toward the possible purchase of a patrol car.
Several local organizations dedicated to preserving and sharing history have been selected by The Minnesota Historical Society to receive grant money to fund future projects. The Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants were up to $7000 each. 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 grants are funded by the Legacy Amendment.
Yesterday, the Meeker County Sheriff's Office, Stearns County Sheriff's Office, and the Kimball Police Department, responded to Meeker-Stearns Street at the intersection with 667thAvenue, in Forest Prairie Township, for a report of a crash. 24 year old Travis Donnay of Watkins was traveling east on Meeker-Stearns Street, when he collided into the rear of a Meeker County Highway Plow truck driven by 58 year old Phillip Valiant of Litchfield. Donnay was taken to the Meeker Memorial Hospital for his injuries. The MN State Patrol did also respond to do a required inspection on the plow truck involved in the accident. This crash is currently under investigation by the Meeker County Sheriff's Office.
14 quilts were donated to the Olivia Community Center by the Cross of Calvary Church. When the State closed Hwy 212 recently because of weather, stranded motorists spent the night at the Community Center, which was not prepared for overnight visitors. They now are more prepared because of this donation. The armory will be used, but because it may take a little more time to get that facility open (permission from the governor), the community center will be a temporary location. The armory is still the first go-to place for tornadoes or severe weather events which will start sometime this spring.
The city of Olivia is doing some spring cleaning with its city codes. There are some that need updating, and a small number could probably be eliminated. The city attorney will be making recommendations for these. The Planning and Zoning Board will also study at least one of them. When they are retooled and in proper form there will be a public hearing. At that time citizens can give the City Council their thoughts. There may need to be revisions after the public hearing. After the City Council approves the final documents, all the City Codes will be posted to the city’s website.
At the regular board meeting scheduled for April 15, Alexandria School District 206 Board of Education is expected to take action to approve a revised 2012-13 School Calendar as a result of school cancellations due to inclement weather. Since the start of the school year, the district has had a total of four weather related school closings. District 206 builds two snow days into its calendar however; additional snow days beyond the first two must be made up. Students will make up the two days at the end of the year, May 30 and May 31, instead of ending the year May 29 as originally scheduled. Parents are asked to plan ahead for these make up days of instruction. Graduation will continue to be on June 2 as planned in the current calendar.
38 year old Stephen Titrud of Willmar will make his next appearance in Kandiyohi County District Court April 1st on two felony charges of possession and dissemination of pornography. 4,000 images and videos of child pornography were found on his computer equipment. of those, 540 of them were identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as images of 114 known child victims of exploitation. Unconditional bail for Titrud was set at $$20,000.
31 year old Francis Garcia-Domes of Willmar appeared in Kandiyohi County District Court yesterday (Thursday) where she pled guilty to felony criminal vehicular homicide or operation of a vehicle for driving while under the influence of alcohol and causing a crash. In a plea agreement, three other felony charges will be dismissed. She will be sentenced April 26th. The crash happened Nov. 29th at Lakeland Drive Southeast near the Pizza Ranch. Both Garcia-Domes and the driver of the other vehicle were taken to the hospital with injuries.
Pioneer Public Television is premiering new episodes of ‘Postcards’ beginning Sunday night at seven with ‘Historic Minnesota Ballrooms.’ This episode takes one on a journey back in time to the Fiesta Ballroom in Montevideo where there will be stories from those who attended that ballroom before it burned down in the 1960s. Then, you’ll learn about the rich history surrounding the Lakeside Ballroom in Glenwood, and dance along with the Lakeside Dance Club, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
The Alexandria Police Department is promoting a new program for prescription medication along with its partners, Pope/Douglas Solid Waste Management, Pro-Tainer Inc. and Winning Edge Graphics. This program will assist individuals and their families the safe disposal of prescription medications so those materials don’t get misused or contaminate our landfills and groundwater. The hours to drop off medications at this site are Monday through Friday during normal business hours. The program is funded 100 percent by drug forfeiture assets.