The Minnesota firearms deer hunting season begins this Saturday morning. There are about 500-thousand licensed hunters in the state. And it should be another good year for hunters according to Department of Natural Resources Big game program leader Leslie McInenly (Mac-in-en-lee). The season outlook this year is pretty good. Based on harvest regulations last year, the population is estimated to be up a little bit so folks should see a few more deer out there. She also expects the harvest should be about what it was last year or a little bit higher than that. The unknowns right now is if they’re going to get good weather conditions. She says the crop harvest is delayed relative to last year so folks might find a little more challenging environment. McInenly says she expects Minnesota hunters to harvest about 185,000 deer this year, which is about the same number that were harvested a year ago.
Governor Mark Dayton will be in Fergus Falls at the end of this week, hosting the 11th annual Governor's Deer Hunting Opener. The Governor's Opener will be held on Friday; the Minnesota firearms deer hunting season opens Saturday, Nov. 9, one-half hour before sunrise. The Governor will host youth and public field day events in the morning and speak at a community luncheon at noon. DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr and Explore Minnesota Tourism Director John Edman will join the Governor to discuss deer hunting, an activity that annually includes nearly half a million Minnesotans. Deer hunting generates more than $234 million in direct retail sales and supports more than 3,760 jobs in the state.
The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners endorsed accepting the Natural Resources Block grant when they met this week. Chairman of the Board Harlan Madsen says the grant involves the feedlot program, the shorelands, the Wetlands Conservation Act, and the Individual Sewage Treatment Systems. He says it’s a pass through from the state of Minnesota. They’re also looking at the water planning money which is used for erosion control, sedimentation, aquatic invasive species, a number of aspects the water planning group works with and this is part of the funding that we deal with to implement local projects and leverage state dollars. There is some cost share that Kandiyohi County puts in, both in-kind and cash and again they feel it is very appropriate and prudent use of the dollars.
The BOLD School District will have a special school board meeting on Monday night, November 11th at six to approve an agreement with Engan & Associates for a boiler project and weight room project for the Olivia Campus. There will also be a negotiation meeting for the custodians at seven that night.
Many people recognize November 11th as a day to honor and support those who fought, and continue to fight to protect our freedom. While nearly everyone observes this holiday, very few people know exactly where Veterans Day originated from. Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, marked the end of World War I due to an “armistice” on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. President Wilson proclaimed November 11, 1919 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day. The holiday continued to be known and celebrated as this, until 1954 when the 83rd Congress amended the Act of 1938 by replacing the word “Armistice,” with the word “Veterans.” By doing so, they were able to expand the holiday to honor all Veterans of all wars, not just those of World War I. From that day forward, November 11 has been recognized nationally as Veterans Day.
As Minnesotans enjoy their last bit of time on water before the ice, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is warning boaters, paddlers and waterfowl hunters not to let their guard down. Right now, water temperatures on Lake Minnetonka and the Saint Croix River are hovering around 40 degrees. That’s cold, says Kara Owens, DNR boat and water safety specialist. So far this year, 12 people have died in boating accidents in Minnesota, compared to 14 deaths this time last year. One person has died during the late boating season (October to November), compared to four deaths this time last year. The DNR recommends you wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket; even good swimmers need to wear one; don’t go boating alone; boating safety increases with numbers; keep an eye on the weather and go to shore if the wind picks up; and if the boat becomes swamped or capsizes, try to re-board and stay with the craft if possible and await rescue.
57 year old Susan Achman of New Ulm was killed in a car/semi crash Tuesday on County Road 13 near County Road 2 in Redwood County. The Redwood County Sheriff’s Office says Achman, who was driving a 2003 Ford Taurus, was pronounced dead at the scene. 42 year old Steven Gieseke of New Ulm, driving the Peterbilt semi, which was owned by MR Paving & Excavating, suffered minor injuries.
Representatives Mary Sawatzky of Willmar, Andrew Falk of Murdock, and the House Capital Investment Committee will be touring locations in Willmar and Montevideo today (Thursday). The committee will be stopping at Ridgewater College at 8:45, the Kandiyohi Regional Transit Facility at 10:15 and Montevideo City Hall at 11:30. At Ridgewater, the committee will hear presentations on the Glacial Lakes State Trail, a Willmar Veterans Home, and Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement at the College. The last stop in Willmar will be at the Kandiyohi Regional Transit Facility. Next, the committee will stop at the Montevideo City Hall to hear presentations on a local veterans home and the Minnesota Valley Regional Rail Authority.
The state’s legislative auditor has agreed to review the spending practices of state-sponsored agencies and organizations at conferences after a Litchfield resident, in confidence, approached local legislators with concerns. This citizen contacted Senator Scott Newman of Hutchinson and Representative Dean Urdahl of Acton Township, to express uneasiness over taxpayer dollars being used to house official meetings and conferences at “extravagant, privately owned venues instead of utilizing state-owned facilities that were built expressly for this purpose.” Newman and Urdahl sent a letter to auditor James Nobles, relaying the message and requesting a closer look at the issue. Nobles responded to Newman and Urdahl via email, indicating he would conduct a review. The letter requests an investigation from Nobles to see that every penny of tax-payer money is accounted for and to ensure that state agencies, and organizations receiving state assistance, are held accountable for uses of public funds.
Voters in the Chokio-Alberta School District have approved two funding questions, extending two existing referendum votes for 10 years. The current levies are about $2,500 per student. Both questions passed with over 75% of registered voters. West Central Area voters struck down both questions on their ballot. To Question 1, a request to bond to build an elementary addition to the Barrett school, voters said "no," with 479 Yes votes and 1,515 No votes. On the second question, voters split with 810 Yes votes and 1,157 No votes.
Paul Kittleson has been re-elected Mayor of Benson for his 10th, two-year term. Elected to the council were Stephanie Heinzig and Jack Evenson. Gary Landmark, who served on the city council since 1989, was not re-elected. In Sacred Heart, Mayor Dan Agre and council members Randy Johnson and Chad Kingstrom, were re-elected.
Robert Enos, a member of the Economic Development Commission’s Operations Board, has written a letter to the Willmar City Council suggesting that the EDC has not been a good use of taxpayer funds and has not been successful. Economic Development Director Steve Renquist says he would argue that and would be happy to have a conversation with Enos whether it be in person behind closed doors or in a public verbal debate. If the EDC Board wants a summary of EDC activities and the impact to the area, Renquist would also be willing to do that. Renquist said he takes his direction from the EDC Board and the Joint Powers Board, which is made up of three city council members and three county commissioners. He said they come under the direct authority of both the city of Willmar and Kandiyohi County.