NEWS-May 23
News Director: Bev Alquist Call with news at 320-235-2900 or email

News Archive

May is the month when most fawns are born. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is urging people to leave fawns alone. While a new fawn may appear helpless, it’s important not to interfere with the doe’s natural instinct for raising its young, DNR officials say. A doe's method of rearing offspring is different from a human's, especially for the first few weeks. Wildlife officials say within hours of birth, the fawn is led to a secluded spot and the doe lets it nurse. Then the doe leaves to feed and rest herself, out of sight but within earshot. In four or five hours, she will return to feed her young and take them to a new hiding place. Only when the fawns are strong enough to outrun predators, do the young travel much with their mother. For the first week of life, frightened fawns instinctively freeze, making full use of their white spotted coats, a protective coloration. Newborn fawns are not fast enough to outdistance predators, so they must depend on their ability to hide for protection. A fawn's curiosity may entice it to approach a person who comes upon on it. The DNR urges people not to try to catch a fawn if they encounter one. Walk away. Never feed or collar a fawn.

Ridgewater College, in conjunction with the MinnWest Technology Campus and the National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship, is hosting a regional entrepreneurship summit on Friday, June 7th at the MinnWest Campus. The purpose of the summit is to bring together MnSCU Community Colleges interested in advancing entrepreneurship with regional entrepreneurs to build and create connections necessary to strengthen and improve entrepreneurship opportunities across Minnesota. If you are an entrepreneur or have dreams of becoming a small business owner, you’re invited to attend this unique event.

A fundraiser to repair the old Lebanon Lutheran Church in New London, which houses the Monongalia Museum, will be part of the annual Memorial Day community picnic. This event runs from 11 to three at the Lebanon Church. Art Norby, who is spearheading the fundraiser, says major repairs are needed on the church building, and they’re hopeful people will come to the community event and ‘give until it feels good.’ They hope to raise $150,000, the money to be used to repair the roof, the foundation, install a heating system, and clean up the mold problem in the basement.  The church was built in 1873 and has been used as a museum for about 40 years. If repairs aren’t made they’re in jeopardy of losing the building, hence the fundraiser. They’re looking for some large donors. Once they get on the National Register there will be some legacy funds available. At this point, Norby said, they haven’t found any major organizational contributors but they’re working in that direction. Their goal over the next year is to raise $150,000 which doesn’t do any cosmetics, doesn’t paint it or repair broken glass, just takes care of the structure itself.

Local county governments will only see a 3% levy increase in 2014, but property owners in the district won't necessarily see a 3% increase on their tax statements. Part of the levy increase will come from the state government in the form of increased County Government Aid. Stevens County Coordinator Brian Giese says the legislature has included more money in the Local Government Aid (LGA) programs but has capped the total levy increase in counties with populations of more than 5,000 and cities with populations of more than 2,500 at 3%, less the money added to LGA. Giese predicts Stevens County property owners will see a 1.6% increase in the local levy. The legislature also added a sales tax exemption for city and county governments. Giese says it's not clear how much the county government will save by avoiding sales taxes.

You’re invited to a day of celebration at the Morris Area Elementary School. Principal Ken Gagner says the celebration day will be held at the Elementary Concert Hall tomorrowafternoon (Friday) at two. The special event will include a student-acted skit and an appearance by a performance drum group.

For the first time this summer, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officers will use dogs to detect zebra-mussels on boats and water equipment. The DNR announced the initiative at the same time they urged boaters and anglers to remain vigilant all season long to help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS). This year, the DNR will have up to 150 authorized inspectors stationed at high-use public waters infested with zebra mussels - and 23 hot water decontamination units available to clean infested equipment. Roadside checks will also be conducted. Transporting zebra mussels and other prohibited species of animals can result in a $500 civil penalty or misdemeanor charge.

Friday, June 7th is the Early Bird deadline to register for the 2013 Ridgewater College summer camp, which will be held in July in both Willmar and Hutchinson. The Willmar camp is July 29th through August 1st. The Hutchinson camp is July 22nd through the 25th. The Early Bird fee is $99 per camper through June 7th or $119 after that date. The events provide fun, hands-on and educational career and interest explorations for youth entering grades 5-8.

Montevideo City Administrator Steve Jones says the city council and school officials have been discussing a resource officer for the schools and Monday night reviewed and approved a proposed agreement with the school district. Jones says it appears the city will work with the school to add a fulltime officer to the school during the school year. During the summer months this officer would work fulltime with the police department. That’s really an expansion, he said, and in the past they would have called him a DARE officer or a liaison officer. They will still do the DARE program, Jones said, but this is a major extension of what they’ve done in the past.

With boating season moving into high gear this Memorial Day weekend, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is reminding boaters and anglers to be extra vigilant to help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS). The supervisor of the DNR aquatic invasive species unit Ann Pierce says boaters and anglers must take personal responsibility to know the AIS laws before they hit the water. What you need to remember is to clean, drain and dispose, so clean your boat when you are leaving an access, pull your drain plug, drain your boat, live wells, bait buckets, motors and dispose of your bait. Pierce says the DNR is also stepping up AIS enforcement efforts this year. That includes using about 150 authorized watercraft inspectors at high-use public waters around the state that are infested with zebra mussels. Fines for violating AIS laws can reach up to one-thousand dollar

A provision Representative Dean Urdahl of Action Township authored to provide coaches at Minnesota schools a layer of security in the case of parental complaints, has been added to state statute. The one-sentence measure, the first of its kind in the country, reads ‘the existence of parent complaints must not be the sole reason for a board not to renew a coaching contract.’ Urdahl says the main purpose of this bill is to give coaches comfort in knowing their job won’t be on the line over every decision they make. He says the measure does not shield coaches in cases of illegal activity or broken school policies.

U.S. Senator Al Franken’s bipartisan bill to keep medicine safe for Minnesotans is now closer to becoming law. The health committee has passed the bill to combat lack of oversight that led to 55 deaths in the national meningitis outbreak last fall. Franken’s legislation would improve patient safety by clarifying state and federal responsibilities for the oversight of drug compounding, which includes the making, mixing, diluting or combining of drugs for patients.

A federal grand jury has indicted 24 year old Buford Rogers of Montevideo for allegedly possessing Molotov cocktails and a pipe bomb. Rogers was indicted on one count of possessing two Molotov cocktails, one count of possessing two black powder and nail devices, and one count of possessing a pipe bomb. He was also indicted on one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Tuesday’s indictment does not include any terrorism charges.

Street construction project inspectors, crews, and city workers in Olivia have been evaluating last year’s work and preparing for what needs to be done this year. There are areas that need restoration and/or repair. The inspectors and crews are marking areas with bright pink paint. If a resident has concerns about street or cement work in front of their house, either call the city office or the inspector, Jonas Svararsson. The underground work is primarily completed, but it is the remaining restoration and repair work that needs to be completed before the final asphalt can be done. This final asphalt cannot be laid until June 15 or after. This date is used because of weather and consistency of temperature for optimum results. There will also be an evaluation done on boulevard restoration.  

Yesterday (Wednesday), U.S. Senator Al Franken successfully fought to preserve the federal sugar program in this year’s Farm Bill, voting to ensure that vital protections remain in place for sugar growers. The sugar program contributes thousands of jobs and almost $5 billion to the economy of the region, Franken says, and is critical to Minnesota’s sugar growers and to growers across the nation.

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