Local residents and motorists traveling near St. Cloud, Cambridge, Isanti, Belgrade and other areas in mid-Minnesota may see smoke from roadside prescribed burns this fall and next spring until mid-May. The burns are planned for MnDOT rights-of-way in a number of areas, and includes along Highway 55 between Brooten and Belgrade. The burns are scheduled during optimal weather conditions to ensure safety and effectiveness. Traffic should not be affected and all roadways will remain open during the burns. The burns are conducted by fully trained crews and will improve native vegetation and help with weed control.
Kandiyohi and Meeker County 4-H Dairy Bowl teams competed at the state, with both the Dairy Bowl Meeker Senior Team and the Junior Team taking first in state. The Meeker/Kandiyohi Junior Team took third in the state. The project bowl competition is designed to test the participants’ knowledge in all facets of the dairy industry. Teams had to answer a number of questions correctly at the competition. Kandiyohi County had one Junior team that competed. All the teams finished within the top three teams.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will place burning restrictions on 13 additional counties in central Minnesota next Monday (May 6th). Those counties include Douglas, Kanabec, Pope, and Stearns. With the return to normal and above normal temperatures over the last few days, snow is rapidly melting, exposing dry grass and brush and creating a potential for wildfires. Once restrictions are in place, special permits will only be written for extenuating circumstances. This may include time-sensitive construction projects and prescribed burning conducted by professional firefighters. While debris burning will be curtailed, campfires, if smaller than 3 feet in diameter and 3 feet in height, will continue to be allowed. Permits aren’t required for this type of fire if it meets those conditions and is monitored until coals have cooled.
Dr. Kathryn Duevel, an OBGYN physician that worked at Affiliated Community Medical Centers in Willmar for more than 20 years, has been appointed by the governor to a seven member board responsible for managing and operating MNsure. This is a new health insurance marketplace where you can choose quality, affordable health insurance. The board will hold its first meeting this month. Both Representative Mary Sawatzky of Willmar and Senator Lyle Koenen of Clara City are pleased with the appointment. Sawatzky and says Dr. Duevel will bring a down to earth perspective, and rural Minnesota will know she’s somebody they can trust. Koenen said it’s great to have Dr. Duevel appointed to this board. They have a lot of important work to do and a lot of responsibility is being laid at their feet. He said he’s sure the board will do a good job with that, but to have someone from West central Minnesota on that board who understands our part of the state is a huge asset.
The University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences will be presenting the Siehl Prize in Agriculture to Ted Huisinga and Ray Norling on May 23rdon the university campus. The prize is awarded annually and recipients are chosen in three categories: knowledge, agribusiness, and production agriculture. Huisinga and Norlin were in the production agriculture category.
A number of people testified in the Timothy Huber murder trial yesterday (Wednesday) before Judge Donald Spilseth in Kandiyohi County District Court. Huber is on trial for the murder of Tim Larson of Albertville. Huber’s father, Delbert, pled guilty and is serving a 30 year prison term. Among those testifying were staff from the Veterans Administration at St. Cloud, Larry Atkinson, captain of the VA police service, two Bureau of Criminal Apprehension forensic scientists, Dr. Richard Wehseler of Affiliated Community Medical Center, and Lee Gerhardson, a friend of Tim Larson. The VA personnel testified as to threats both Hubers made over the telephone when they demanded medications for the elder Huber be refilled without him coming in to see the doctor. A firearms expert testified as to how he tested the Enfield Rifle used to kill Larson and how it did not discharge until he pulled the trigger. The state rested its case yesterday afternoon. Huber’s defense attorneys will begin presenting their case this morning (Thursday) at nine.
Tuesday in Federal Court in Duluth, 37 year old Tomas Marquez of Cold Spring was sentenced for possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute it and for being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm. Marquez was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison on one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and one count of possession of a firearm by an illegal alien. In his plea agreement, Marquez acknowledged that on September 21st, 2012, police officers found several packages of methamphetamine, totaling approximately 900 grams, in his trailer house in Cold Spring. The discovery was made while the officers were executing an early morning state search warrant. The police also found a .22-caliber revolver, ammunition, a digital scale, packaging materials, and $4,615 in cash.
The Morris and Cyrus school districts have held public hearings over the last two days to discuss the planned July 1 consolidation between the two school districts. Morris Superintendent Scott Monson says five teachers from Cyrus will be joining the Morris staff next year. Four of the teachers have been actively teaching at the school; the fifth teacher was placed on unrequested leave a few years ago, but has seniority on the Cyrus teachers list. There have been no reductions to Morris staff as a result of the consolidation. A thirty day petition window is now open through May 13th. Monson reports that no petitions opposing the consolidation have been filed.
University of Minnesota, Morris choirs will be performing several concerts as their school year comes to a close. Tonight (Thursday), there will be a Choir Concert beginning at 7:30 in the Humanities Fine Arts Recital Hall. Tomorrow night (Friday) at 7:30 the University Choir will perform in the Humanities Fine Arts Recital Hall. Parking will be available in the North Lot on UMM's campus.
The Morris Police Department is seeking the public's help in solving a reported physical assault. An 18 year old female reported that during the early morning hours of April 30th, she was walking on the sidewalk of the 500 block of East 4th Street in Morris when an unknown white male approached and struck her. The victim was able to flee the scene without any further incident. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Morris Police Department.
Today (Thursday) University of Minnesota, Morris students will unveil a community art piece; a collaboration at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Wetlands Office. A public reception will be held from 4:30-6:30. The Fish and Wildlife Office is located at 43875 230th St. in Morris.