There will an open house Saturday afternoon from 2-5 for the grand opening of the Multi-Purpose Community Room at the Kandiyohi County Historical Society in Willmar. You’re invited to come celebrate and to not only check out the new community room but also the museum, Sperry House, Engine #2523, log cabin and schoolhouse. There will be a slideshow, games and refreshment.
An Arts Summit that found a start in Fergus Falls two years ago will be coming to Morris this summer. The University of Minnesota, Morris's Center for Small Towns (CST) and Springboard for the Arts are co-hosting the 2013 Rural Arts and Culture (RAC) Summit, "Leveraging Arts and Culture to Build Thriving Communities," June 5-6 on the Morris campus. The summit will guide its attendees in how to best mobilize arts and culture to create and sustain vitality in rural areas. The summit is intended for individual artists, arts and culture organizations, and leaders in the community and economic development industry. Speakers will come from a variety of areas, including North Carolina, Missouri, North and South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
United Way of West Central Minnesota conducted its community review process this past March with the help of over 50 volunteers. The volunteers reviewed applications, visited agencies and conducted interviews to determine how to best allot $390,000 in program funding. They considered applications submitted under United Way’s four impact areas: Education, Income, Basic Needs and Health. The United Way funds will be used to fund 48 area program. In addition to the grants, United Way will fund programs including Imagination Library, Gift in Kind, the Volunteer Center and the Growmobile. In total, United Way will provide almost $700,000 to programs for the upcoming year.
Minnesota Farmers Union President Doug Peterson recently returned from the Wold Farmers Organization’s general assembly in Nigata, Japan. The purpose of the WFO is to bring together farmers from all over the world to discuss policies, practices and practicalities of farming, says Peterson. The WFO adopted its first policy on international trade and among its key policy objectives was the need for country-of-origin labeling requirements that allow countries to distinguish their products without distorting trade.
The Minnesota House of Representatives has passed a bill authored by Representative Mary Sawatzky of Willmar to streamline state government and eliminate obsolete government reports. The bill updates statute by repealing sections that direct the Department of Administration to provide information for the eliminated Minnesota Milestone’s report. The bill also eliminates a requirement that the Department of Administration publish a state agency guidebook. That information is already published on the North Star website.
Yesterday’s (Tuesday) first and second degree murder trial of 47 year old Timothy Huber of rural Paynesville continues this morning (Wednesday) before Judge Donald Spilseth in Kandiyohi County District Court. Both Huber and his 82 year old father, Delbert Huber, were indicted in the murder of 43 year old Tim Larson of Albertville Oct. 8, 2011. The elder Huber pled guilty and is serving a 30 year prison term. Testifying at the trial yesterday were neighbors of both Norman Larson, father of Tim Larson and the farm on which Tim Larson was shot and killed, and neighbors of the Hubers, plus Dr. A. Quinn Strobl, chief medical examiner with the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office in Ramsey, and Myha Le, state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension forensic scientist. Numerous photos of Larson’s body, plus video footage and photos of the crime scene were shown. Dr. Strobl told the jurors Larson’s death was a homicide caused by a gunshot wound to the left side of his chest area.
The Minnesota Senate passed their version of Tax Bill Monday over objections from the state's Republicans and a few Democrats. Senator Torrey Westrom of Elbow Lake says tax increases will be felt by everyone in the state. Income taxes will be raised on the upper and middle classes, and Minnesotans will now pay sales taxes on auto repairs, clothes, and haircuts. Westrom says he would rather see a more efficient government, rather than a more expensive government. The bill passed off the Senate floor on a 35-31 vote. The bill now heads to Conference Committee where differences between the Senate and House bill will be worked out before a comprehensive tax bill is sent to Governor Mark Dayton.
The Minnesota State Patrol will be kicking off a new Driver Awareness campaign today (Wednesday), focusing on the state's youngest drivers. Sergeant Jesse Grabow says spring is historically the deadliest time of year for teen drivers in Minnesota. As road conditions improve, speeds increase. Grabow says increased speed is a factor, and impact has the potential to be exponentially more dangerous and more deadly. Grabow says education initiatives in schools and through social networks are the bulk of the Teen Driving Campaign.
A two-day drive in Morris starts today (Wednesday). Volunteers will be collecting DNA to determine if local adults are eligible to donate bone marrow. Marrow transplants can be a cure for patients with leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia, and many other blood-based disorders. Robe Bowman says the process is easy. After signing a consent form, donors submit to a cheek swab. Bowman says the entire process will take about 20 minutes. Eligible donors are added to the national donor registry and will be called if a patient-donor match is made. To see if you are eligible, stop by the Regional Fitness Center today or tomorrow (Thursday) noon-6. You must be between the ages of 18 and 44 to join the registry.
The 84th Minnesota FFA Convention wrapped up yesterday (Tuesday) in St. Paul after three days of leadership challenges, parliamentary proceedings, and recognition for work completed in the last year. The Morris Area FFA was recognized during the second general session of the FFA Convention for taking second place in a state-wide agricultural literacy challenge. The State Officer team challenged chapters throughout the year to conduct agricultural literacy programs. In total, 19 FFA chapters from across the state were recognized during the session, including teams from Herman-Norcross, Hutchinson, and Morris Area. The Hutchinson FFA team placed third, the Morris Area FFA team placed second, and first place went to the Martin County West FFA.