While asbestos abatement continues in the old Morris elementary school, City Council members are considering proposals for development of the 17.75 acre lot. Representatives for Summit and Calvary Cemeteries--the two burial plots in city limits that border the elementary property--approached the city council Tuesday to ask for 4.92 acres. The two cemeteries are reaching capacity, with an estimated 10 years left of available space. Calvary Cemetery board member Jay Dietz says the City needs to plan for a responsible, respectable place to bury the dead. Board member Brian Solvie noted that even if the city were to give a portion of the land, the cemeteries would again face capacity in an estimated 30-40 years. Solvie recommended the boards consider expanding to locations on the edge of Morris. The land has been valued at over $20,000 per acre. The City Council directed the cemetery boards to submit a proposal for land use along with those submitted by developers.
Crews started work on the Morris West Side road construction project Tuesday by digging into pavement on 9th Street. Phase 1 of the project is expected to last through mid-September, with overlapping work on Phase 2 starting in late July. Phase one includes 9th Street and cross avenues; Phase 2 includes 10th Street and corresponding avenues. Motorists and pedestrians accustomed to using the streets under construction as a through road will have to find alternate routes, says City Manager Blaine Hill. Emergency vehicles will still be allowed access to the construction zone at all times.
Museums across the nation are marking the fourth year of the Blue Star Museums summer program, an offer of free admission to active duty military personnel and their families. Museums began the program on Memorial Day and will extend it through Labor Day, this year on September 2. Several local museums are participating. Those include the Grant County Historical Society in Elbow Lake, the Otter Tail County Museum in Fergus Falls, the Big Stone County Historical Society Museum in Ortonville, and the Traverse County Historical Society Museum in Wheaton. The Stevens County Historical Society & Museum in Morris is also offering free admission, as they do year-round. The Blue Star Museum collaboration includes the NEA, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and a record-breaking 2,000 participating museums across America this year.Preston Peterson, a Willmar Senior High School student, has been offered and has accepted an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy. Congressman Collin Peterson nominated Preston for his exemplary academic and extra-curricular work over the years, and for his dedication and hard work for his community. Peterson is the son of Dr. Jon and Natalie Peterson.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is accepting grant proposals through June 11 for projects that reduce pollutants in streams and lakes from nonpoint sources. These are indirect sources, such as storm-water runoff and failing septic systems. This type of pollution accounts for almost 90 percent of the state’s water pollution. The MPCA expects to award two and one-half million dollars in grants, depending on federal funding. Local governments, nonprofit and for-profit groups are all eligible to apply.
The Kerkhoven City Council held its annual tour of the city with the maintenance department on Tuesday night prior to the council meeting. They toured the sewer plant, looked at the shelter being built next to the swimming pool, and took a look at the pool itself. Mayor Brian Thompson says Woody Nelson, head of the maintenance department, will be getting some quotes on repairing the tile around the pool, which is cracking in some places. They went to the EDA apartments where Woody wanted to do some ground maintenance, seeding and replace some boards, just barrier type of things he’s going to get pricing on.
38 year old Stephen Titrud of Willmar pled guilty pled guilty in Kandiyohi County District Court Tuesday to two felony counts of possessing child pornography he had downloaded on his computer. Close to 4,000 images and videos of child pornography were found on his computer. A presentence investigation was ordered, and sentencing set for July 8th before District Court Judge Donald Spilseth.
A pre trial hearing for 18 year old Tyler Bratsch of Raymond has been set for June 13th in Chippewa County District Court. He is charged a third degree felony criminal sexual conduct charge with a victim between the ages of 13-15. He has pled not guilty to the charge.
The New London Spicer School Board visited Mrs. Molenaar’s science classroom where 20 students explained their inquiry based science projects. Supt. Paul Carlson says these students qualified for the science fair contest in Mankato in the fall. The board also heard from Wanda Johnson on the summer academy which begins in June for students in grades K-4. It’s a two week program in June and August with the program covering four themes – Animal Life Cycle, Animal Habitats, Nutrition and Fitness. All the activities associated with those areas include math, English, reading, writing, science and social studies. He’s hopeful they’ll have a number of students who will be taking part in the summer academy this year.
The Red Cross Bloodmobile will be in West Central Minnesota this week. You can donate from 2-7 today (Thursday) at the Kerkhoven Civic Center. A donation site will also be set up in Osakis today at the Osakis Community Center from noon-6. Double red cells will also be collected. Tomorrow (Friday), the bloodmobile will be at Sacred Heart Church in Murdock from 1-6. Next week, on Tuesday, the bloodmobile will be in Glenwood from 12:30-6:30 PM, at Glenwood Lutheran Church. All donation sites are open to the public.
Employees from five county public health departments will be meeting tomorrow (Friday) to discuss a potential consolidation. Stevens, Traverse, and Grant have been a joint public health department for several years; they are in talks to join with the health departments in Pope and Douglas Counties. Sandy Tubbs is currently the director of the STG Joint-Powers Public Health Department and the Department in Douglas County. She says the all-staff meeting will be to involve employees in the process, to hear their ideas and concerns. Tubbs says the health departments hope to consolidate in early 2014, with final approval in the hands of the five County Board of Commissioners.
Tom McLaughlin with the Mankato VFW Post 950 was one of several that participated in the Ride for Healing event that’s going on this week, and which stopped at the Willmar VFW Post late yesterday afternoon (Thursday). McLaughlin says he rode in the rain Monday, and yesterday morning he left Mankato for Marshall to meet the other group, stopped at Redwood Falls, then came to Willmar on his 2009 Harley Road King. He says this Ride for Healing is a good project that raises money for the Vietnam Memorial Education Center. McLaughlin said he was there in 1982 when they dedicated it and the history really needs to be kept and told for future generations to come. They’re raising the money through donations, they’re selling coins and shirts, and some of the VFW Posts are having fundraisers.