Reports addressing pollution from bacteria in sections of the Redwood and Cottonwood Rivers in South Central Minnesota have been approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The agency had placed the sections on the state’s impaired waters list for exceeding the water quality standard for harmful bacteria. Having received federal approval, state and local agencies will now focus on projects to reduce the level of pollution. Bacteria in water can be reduced by improvements in sewage treatment and better managing livestock manure.
Singer Songwriter Jerry Ostensoe of Sacred Heart will be featured on a special On Stage in Western Minnesota program to be aired Thursday morning, May 1st at nine on Pioneer Public Television. A lifetime resident of southwestern Minnesota, Ostensoe is known for his laid back blend of country, folk and blues songs about the people, the windblown prairies, the small towns and railroads of the region he calls ‘just east of west.’ Ostensoe has recently released a new CD ‘Whatever’s Left of the Day,’ and the performance will include songs from this CD as well as long time favorites.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is offering its Organic Transition Cost Share program to farmers again this year. The program reimburses Minnesota farmers who are transitioning their land or livestock to certified organic status, paying part of the cost to work with a USDA accredited organic certifying agency during the transition period, which typically lasts three years.
The Willmar City Council discussed the city auditorium report prepared by Engen and Associates when it met this week. Charlene Stevens, city administrator, says the council authorized bids for the lead abatement at the city auditorium as well as improvements to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. That would be steps one and two and would total about $305,000. The council also took action to authorize Step three which is the indoor firing range and to get that operational again. That would be an additional $250,000 to $280,000. Jones said the city council has not determined yet where the allocation of funds will be coming from. There was only $250,000 allocated in the 2014 capital improvements budget so city staff will need to come back with some more recommendations on projects that can be deferred in order to pay for improvements to the auditorium and the firing range.
The Montevideo City Council met Monday night. City Administrator Steve Jones says it was a spirited meeting, which began with gathering testimony on the future of the city owned rail yard. Right now the city has a lease with the Milwaukee Road Heritage Society, and that lease is up at the end of the year. Jones says there has been interest by other people in the rail yard, specifically for some industrial/commercial development. The council took testimony on that and discussed it for over an hour. There were about 16 people they took testimony from. No decision was made, the council basically took testimony.
At an Earth Day news conference in front of the Capitol yesterday (Tuesday), Representative Frank Hornstein called on his colleagues serving on the Supplemental Budget Bill Conference Committee to include in the final version, his language to increase statewide SCORE (Select Committee on Recycling and the Environment) grants to promote recycling. He says it’s never been more important to take a long view with our environment. Promoting recycling and composting will create jobs in Minnesota, help local governments achieve greater environmental outcomes and help Minnesota meet long term greenhouse gas reduction goals. The first Earth Day in 1970 a statement was made that we need to think globally and act locally. Hornstein said one of the ways we can act locally is by recycling and composting. These are ways we can protect air and water, address global warming and very importantly create jobs and economic activity.
20 year old Travis Moen of Starbuck has been charged in Pope County District Court with two felony charges: first degree assault and third degree assault after an April 12th incident. According to a report in the Pope County Tribune, deputies were called to the Glacial Ridge Hospital emergency room on an alleged assault to 18 year old Derek Burd, that had happened at a party in Starbuck. Burd received multiple injuries to his head, including severe burns to the right side of his face, when Moen allegedly threw Burd into a bonfire and held him there until others forcibly removed Moen. Officers located Moen at his residence and arrested him.