According to officials of the city of Willmar, Ella Avenue Northeast and Hawaii Street Northeast will experience lane closures starting Wednesday for sanitary sewer lift station improvements. The temporary lane closures will affect traffic in all directions from the intersection. The project is expected to take about eight weeks to complete. Traffic will be allowed through the construction zone and motorists will need to use extreme caution. You’re asked to slow down for your safety and the safety of the workers.
Last week the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners approved a name change for the county’s Family Services Department and the Public Health Department. The name that was chosen is the Health and Human Services Department, the same as the building in which they’re located. County Board Chairman Harlan Madsen says the name change is significant and speaks to a common mission of moving ahead.
A committee representing a cross-section of interests in Stevens County continue work on the county's Hazard Mitigation Plan, a document that must be updated every 5 years to comply with the Federal Emergency Management Agency's guidelines. Stevens Emergency Management Director Donna Greiner says the current plan was written in 2008 and, since that date, the county has seen several new emergencies that were not covered in 2008. The plan provides information to Stevens County, FEMA and the State of Minnesota as well as ensures grant funding is available to the county, cities and townships in the event of an emergency. Greiner says the committee plans to submit the updated document to FEMA in November.
Recreational netting for whitefish-tullibee opens Friday on designated lakes that are less susceptible to sudden changes that impact water temperature, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. These lakes, known as Schedule II lakes, offer recreational netting. Schedule I Lakes, which are more susceptible to factors that impact water temperatures, will be opened and closed on a 48-hour notice posted at lake accesses and other public places. Lakes closed to recreational netting in 2013 include Burgen, Latoka, and Victoria Lake in Douglas County and Osakis Lake in Douglas and Todd Counties.
Motorists can now travel on Highway 7 between Appleton and Milan. Crews have lifted the detour which had been in place since early September. Over the past month, crews have resurfaced nine miles of Highway 7, replaced several culverts and made pedestrian accessibility improvements in Appleton.
For the first time since surplus permits were offered in 2007, no leftover either-sex deer permits are available for purchase after the lottery deadline, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The DNR offered 38,850 either-sex permits in 58 deer permit areas this year. Every permit area received applications for at least 100 percent of the permits available. In lottery deer areas, firearm and muzzleloader license holders who intend to take an antlerless deer must have an either-sex permit; otherwise, they are restricted to hunting bucks. The total bag limit for deer in lottery areas is one deer per year. Availability of leftover permits has declined since the development of the hunter choice management designation, which was first used in 2011. Similar to lottery areas, hunter choice-designated areas have a bag limit of one deer; however, no limit is placed on the number of available either-sex permits and lottery applications are not required.
The Minnesota Project and West Central Clean Energy Resource Team are hosting a free tour on Friday from ten to noon at the Mid Central Research and Outreach Center in Willmar. Those attending will learn how to save money with energy efficiency best practices for poultry barns and lighting improvements, including LED lighting. Free lunch will be provided for all pre-registrants. To register call 612-626-0555.
This month, cooperatives across Minnesota and the world are working together to promote a better public understanding of their unique member-owned business model. Russ Bennett, president of the Willmar Community Owned Grocery (COG), says the grocery has been working to form a physical presence in the Willmar area. COG has 493 member owners and continues to grow. Once the grocery has 600 member owners, the organization’s board will select a site for the store, with a goal of 1,000 member owners when the store opens. Cooperatives, unlike many businesses, are locally owned and operated, Bennett says, and as a business model, cooperatives are truly dedicated to the communities in which they exist.
Representative Paul Anderson of Starbuck says he’s hearing from people in the area agriculture industry who are facing significant increases in the cost of equipment repair due to a tax increase enacted earlier this year. He says labor on repair of farm implements can be quite expensive, so this new tax amounts to more than loose change. Anderson says this is very damaging to the ag industry and he is opposed to this new tax. He hopes they can revisit this issue in the 2014 session and get the tax back off the books.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety is reminding motorists and motorcyclists to be especially cautious of deer in coming months, as they are breeding and more active this time of year. Seven people have been killed in deer-motorcycle accidents so far in 2013. That matches the record number of fatal deer-motorcycle accidents in 2008. And the most dangerous months are coming up. Over the last three years, more than one-third of all deer-vehicle crashes took place in October and November. There were 16 fatalities over the last three years and all but one were motorcyclists. The public safety department is reminding all riders and motorists to stay focused on the road — especially at dusk, dawn and at night when deer are more active.
There will be an open public meeting relating to the Kandiyohi County Mitigation Plantomorrow afternoon (Tuesday) 1:30 at the Kandiyohi County Rescue Building located at 213 NE Lakeland Drive. The purpose of the meeting is to capture public input as it relates to the pending Mitigation Plan. That plans is the identification, assessment, and prioritization of risks followed by coordinated and economical application of resources to minimize, monitor, and control the probability and/or impact of unfortunate events; or to maximize the realization of opportunities during a disaster such as Tornado, Hazardous Material release, etc.
Representative Andrew Falk attended his first town hall meeting in Raymond Saturday, since he now represents that district. He says the people attending had some great questions and talked about a lot of issues. Falk, Senator Lyle Koenen and Representative Mary Sawatzky were there to let the people know what they’re doing at the state level, find out what the needs are at the local level, and how they can work together. Falk says if people have concerns or ideas they want them to work on for legislation it’s good to start now because it will be a short session. There’s a lot of things happening at the state and we do have some concerns about the federal government shutdown, hopefully that gets resolved, but overall a lot of our state issues will continue to move forward.
One of the items of discussion at the Raymond Community meeting Saturday was the school and the MACCRAY School Board’s plan to close the Maynard and Raymond schools and build a new facility in Clara City. Both Deb Brandt and Larry Macht told the legislators that would be a mistake. Senator Koenen, who lives in Clara City, said it’s a good idea to keep schools in all three communities. He also said he thought it was a great idea to have election districts so there is representation from the entire district on the board. Transportation was another topic, and one individual asked if there was a possibility of having passing lanes between Willmar and Raymond. Konen said that was a good idea.
The KMS School District has set several public informational meetings regarding their building project, and will have a special election on Tuesday Nov. 5th to issue $9.4 million in general obligation bonds for additions and improvements, and $1.2 million in bonds for a multi-purpose gymnasium. There will be a meeting Monday night, Oct. 21st at seven in the Murdock Elementary School Cafeteria; on Thursday night, Oct. 24th at seven in the Sunburg Community Center; and a third on Tuesday night, Oct. 29th at eight at the Kerkhoven High School Media Center. The school board has been planning for the past year or so to meet the current and future learning needs of its students from Early Childhood through 12th grade.