NEWS-May 9
News Director: Bev Alquist Call with news at 320-235-2900 or email

News Archive

The Stevens County Board of Commissioners has moved to introduce a new recycling system county-wide. A 64-gallon bin will replace the current bins, with twice monthly pick-up in the county's five cities. Rural residents will continue to drop off recycling at rural drop-off sites. Environmental Services Director Bill Kleindl says the new program will increase the type of materials that can be recycled and will include magazines, phone books, and cardboard. The new system will come at a cost: county residents will see a $20 annual increase to their Solid Waste Fee. Kleindl expects to see recycling in the county increase to 30% of waste. The program could be implemented as early as July 1.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Fergus Falls area fisheries office advises anglers of some recently reviewed and modified special angling regulations on several Otter Tail County lakes. The new regulations are effective for 2013. The new regulations will effect Norway Lake, North and South Ten Mile Lakes, Annie Battle Lake, and Big and Little Pine Lakes. Regulated varieties vary but include walleye, largemouth and smallmouth bass, and northern pike.

Representative Mary Sawatzky says they had a full day working on the energy bill yesterday (Tuesday) and they did pass an energy bill that will provide over 2,000 new jobs across the state. She says there are a lot of things to consider and a lot of jobs and viewpoints that were discussed. She says they heard from all sides of the issue. The dynamics on the floor is incredible, she said, and it’s hard for people to maybe pick up as they’re watching over the noon hour and seeing how this is all playing out. This is a Minnesota that’s very diverse, she said, its comprehensive and it’s amazing what we can finally come to a consensus with.

Kandiyohi County Administrator Larry Kleindl and Commissioner Dean Shuck reported on the progress of merging the Kandiyohi County and Willmar HRAs (Housing and Redevelopment Authorities) during Tuesday’s county board meeting. County Board Chair Harlan Madsen says there are some very complex issues but it definitely was supported by the board. The city has hired a consultant because of the complexities. Madsen said it was felt that it was most prudent to proceed with an outside source. Springsted Companies was contracted with to assist with the merging. It’s been in discussions for about a year and a half. Now it hopefully will be completed by the end of this year, providing a more streamlined service.

The Murdock Fire Department, along with Hazmat teams, are still working at the semi-tanker/train accident scene on Highway 12 between Murdock and DeGraff. There is minimal public danger and all activities in the area are normal. At this time, the Hazmet team is still relieving pressure from the anhydrous ammonia tank. Highway 12 between Murdock and DeGraff will remain closed until further notice. According to Swift County Sheriff John Holtz, the highway could be closed for another four days due to the careful process to ensure all personnel’s safety in this matter. Also, due to this incident, the Koch Plant is not operational until the truck and trailer is cleaned up and removed. The truck driver was Eric Westin of Pine City. Holtz said they have no updated information as to his condition at this time. Westin was airlifted to the St. Cloud Hospital.

Three persons sustained non-life threatening injuries, and one was not injured in a rollover last night (Wednesday) on Highway 4 south of Cosmos in Renville County. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, 24 year old Joshua Lies of Cosmos swerved to miss a deer, went into the ditch and rolled several times. He was not injured. His three passengers were injured: 24 year old Joseph Sullivan,  23 year old Shea Riley of Atwater and 30 year old Jed Kujawa of Kandiyohi. Assisting at the scene were the Buffalo Lake and Hector Police Departments and the Renville County Sheriff’s Office.

You’re reminded to buckle up this spring as extra ‘Click It or Ticket’ seat belt patrols take to the roads statewide May 20-June 2. Kandiyohi and Swift County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Willmar, Atwater and Benson Police Departments are among those that are increasing patrols to encourage you to buckle up. Kandiyohi County Sheriff Dan Hartog says statistics show that teens and young adults continue to represent a large percentage of unbelted traffic deaths. In a crash, odds are six times greater for injury if a motorist is not buckled up, he says. Hartog asks that you be the true enforcers of the law and speak up to remind others to belt up.

Montevideo City Administrator Steve Jones says the council held a public hearing Mondaynight for proposed special assessments for development projects for the year, which are mostly street projects. He says the council opted to move forward with the projects, accepted the assessment role and awarded the low bid to Duininck Inc. The council also reviewed a resolution associated with that for the sale of about $1.5 million in general obligation bonds. About $800,000 of that is for the street projects. The rest of it is for refinancing of some existing debt they have on the water plant. They were able to get better rates and save close to $60,000 by refinancing that debt.

Glenn Peterson, Benson’s finance director/city clerk, says on Monday night the city council approved an estimate of $3,500 to wash the water tower later this year; plus a couple of roof replacements. The cost to reroof the garage area in the Armory is $18,860. For the small communications building next to the fire hall the cost is $5,980. He says they also approved an alcohol permit for a wedding in Ambush Park June 8th. In other business the council approved the budget report, approved a resolution for a part time police officer to be included in PERA, then went on a bus trip to look at different projects around town.

Representatives from Dore and Associates will meet with Morris City Manager Blaine Hill and other city employees today (Thursday) to begin planning the demolition of the old Morris school complex. The Michigan-based company was awarded the demolition contract after placing a low bid of $773,700. No start date has been announced for demolition, although the project has an end date. The Morris City Council has set a project completion date of September 30.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has concluded that the Renville County District Court did not abuse its discretion in the sentencing of 22 year old Sergio Turrabiates Jr of Olivia in the death of 19 month old Tiana Moore. The court imposed a 240 month sentence that included a 24-month upward durational departure from the presumptive guidelines sentence. Turrabiates appealed the district court decision, challenging the upward departure. The child died on Dec. 24, 2010, at Children’s Hospital in St. Paul of multiple blunt-force trauma to her head. Turrabiates was taking care of her while her mother worked. In the May 6 decision, the Court of Appeals says the district court did not fail to properly weight mitigating factors when sentencing Turrabiates.

Last night (Wednesday), the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office was called to a crash on Highway 4 in Hector, Renville County. The Cosmos Ambulance transported one person to the Hutchinson Hospital.

Representative Andrew Falk of rural Murdock says he will be voting for the gay marriage bill that’s on the House floor today (Thursday). He says the bill doesn’t force a religious institution to marry two individuals of the same sex, plus, he says, language has been added to the bill to offer additional comfort that no religious institution will be forced to act in violation of its own religious beliefs. Our federal and state constitutions protect and embrace religious autonomy and the freedom to exercise our own religious beliefs or lack thereof; all with equal protection under the law, Falk said, adding, ‘we have a separation of church and state in this country for a reason.’

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