Mary Fischer and Dr. Norris Anderson gave a presentation on Southern Prairie Community Care at this week’s Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners meeting. Southern Prairie is dedicated to decreasing the total cost of care, decreasing the poor health in the area and decreasing the amount of services which would reduce taxes, especially in the Medicaid area. County Board Chairman Jim Butterfield says they’re sought after by Commissioner Lucinda Jesson in the way of changing health care and how it’s delivered to an individual. Also, there’s a lot of people in the nation looking at what Southern Prairie Community Care is doing out here in western Minnesota. Right now things are moving along, Butterfield said, noting they’re partnering with Blue Cross/Blue Shield and the biggest thing is the electronic health records that they’re establishing. Southern Prairie Community Care is moving forward, some days inch by inch and some days by leaps and bounds. Hopefully it will improve the health care of the total population in the 12 counties and right now it’s funding itself. Two years ago Kandiyohi County was helping support it along with the other counties. Right now no tax dollars are going into it from Kandiyohi County.
The annual 4-H Share the Fun event at Bethesda Pleasant View in Willmar featured Kandiyohi County 4-H clubs and individuals who performed skits and musical numbers. 28 youth participated in this event. On the club acts competition, the Fahlun Go-Getters Club received 1st place with their skit “The Sound of 4-H.” This act also received the “Best Laughs” Award and will advance to the State Fair. Second place went to St. Johns Roadrunners club with their performance of “The Fair Must Go On.” They were also awarded “Best Costumes/Props” and “Most Original” In the individual specialty acts category, the Thompson Trio made up of Tristan, Gabriel and Micah Thompson from the Little Crow club won “Best Music” award with their vocal performance of “Happy.” Others performing were Tristan Thompson, Little Crow club; Alexa Kath, St. Johns Roadrunners club; Brenden Kath, St. Johns Roadrunners club; Gabriel Thompson, Little Crow club; Micah Thompson, Little Crow club; Eliza Carlson; and Grace Thompson, Mamre Merrymakers club.
Yesterday (Thursday), Governor Mark Dayton declared a state of emergency over the avian influenza outbreak impacting farms in communities across central, western, and southern Minnesota. The order activated emergency operations to further assist federal, state, and local efforts to respond to the epidemic. Assistant Majority Leader Representative Dave Baker of Willmar says he wants to thank Governor Dayton for taking that action. He says the governor as well as federal, state, and local health officials deserve tremendous credit for their rapid and well-coordinated response to this crisis. He’s hopeful the House and Senate can quickly pass the emergency funding to further aid in the efforts and help stop the spread of this disease. This has devastated turkey flocks in Kandiyohi County, he said, but he wants residents and farmers to know there are many talented individuals working seven days a week as hard as they can to contain this problem.
The Meeker County Sheriff’s Office received information from the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office in reference to a juvenile female who had been sexually assaulted by two adult males. The alleged assault reportedly occurred at a residence in the City of Dassel. The investigation led to a search warrant at an address in the 500 Block of Maple Street in Dassel. During the search, drug related items and approximately 8 grams of methamphetamine were also located. 22 year old Michael Rarer and 48 year old Kenneth Cope, both from Dassel, were arrested. Both were booked into the Meeker County Jail pending formal charges. The sheriff’s office says the victim and suspects were previously unknown to each other. They met through a social media website and arranged an in person meet. While at the residence, Rarer and the juvenile engaged in sexual acts. Later that evening, Cope also engaged in sexual acts with the juvenile.
Next Thursday morning (April 30), Minnesota Housing Commissioner Mary Tingerthal, Stephanie Vergin, Housing Program Director for USDA Rural Development, and the President of the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund Warren Hanson will be in Willmar. They’re partnering with the Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce for a continental breakfast discussion about housing needs in the Willmar Lakes area. The meeting will take place in Gallery 7 at the Willmar Conference Center.
The omnibus Transportation Finance Bill will allocate seven billion dollars over the next ten years for a number of road and bridge projects all across the state. Representative Dave Baker, who supported the bill, says it will fund more than 15,000 lane-miles of highways repair or re-building projects, more than 300 bridge projects - new and repaired, County State Aid Highway money, and a new Small Cities Transportation Aid program - which will help cities of less than 5,000 people pay for local street improvements over the years. And it will do this without raising the gas tax. One of the things I’m most excited about is the small cities were not left out of this. In Kandiyohi County alone Spicer will receive almost $39,000, Raymond $28,000, New London $38,875, Atwater $41,000. These small cities, communities of under 5,000, they were not left out so we’ve got the townships covered, the counties covered. I think it’s a great bill.
Weather permitting, road work will begin next Tuesday on County Road 8 in the City of Kandiyohi from Atlantic Avenue to the north city limits. Through traffic will be diverted west on Highway 12, north on County Road 9 and east on County Road 26. The work will consist of grading and base, storm sewer and utility operations. Residents of Kandiyohi will have access to Highway 12 during this phase of construction which will be completed near the end of May. Residents will not be able to access their homes from the north. Work will then be focused around the railroad tracks and a revised access route for local residents will be announced. Motorists are reminded to slow down for their safety and the safety of the workers.
33 year old Jeovanny Ventura of Willmar sustained minor injuries when the semi he was driving overturned near Spicer. Ventura was hauling turkeys to the Jennie-O Turkey Store in Willmar. This happened Wednesday night on County Road 6 near 132nd Avenue. Ventura was taken to the hospital for treatment of his injuries.
A pre-trial hearing for 44-year-old Craig Hargreaves of New London was held yesterday (Thursday) in Kandiyohi County Court in front of Judge Michael Thompson. Hargreaves was convicted of two felony 2nd degree criminal sexual conduct charges that involved a youth under the age of 13 in May of 2010. He was sentenced to 143 months in prison, and has to serve 10 years of probation once he is released. Hargreaves is saying he was unaware of the ten year conditional release term, and would not have entered a plea if he had been fully informed. His attorney is asking for post-conviction relief and asking for an evidentiary hearing. Thompson took the matter under advisement.
Retirement is in the plans for Steve Renquist, executive director of the Kandiyohi County Willmar City Economic Development Commission. His retirement date is August 1. He submitted his resignation to the Joint Powers Board. A special meeting will be held May 21 to begin the discussion on searching for a new executive director.
Montevideo City Manager Steve Jones says the council approved a resolution to borrow money from the Public Facility Authority for its water transmission line when it met this week. There are two lines from the well site to the water plant. One is over 100 years old. Both lines are in poor condition so they will be replaced with one, new larger line. Jones says they’ll be going into one of the existing lines and running a new line so the council approved an agreement with the state for the financing of that. The council also approved an agreement with the Army Corp of Engineers for part of phase three of the levy project. This has to do with cultural mitigation work on the levee project. He said they’ve found evidence of some Native American activity from 100 of years ago and needed to do some mitigation on that site so the council approved an agreement with the Corp to continue with that work.
The Benson School Board met this week. The board is currently going through a strategic planning process working on a vision and mission statement. Supt. Dennis Laumeyer says they’ve narrowed it down to a couple choices and will be finishing this up at the May meeting. The board also talked about some space for the girls’ gymnastics team, is working to finalize the handbook, and also working on emergency preparedness. He said they’re working on how our schools are set up to handle any emergencies in the community that the school would be identified as a shelter for any emergencies that might come up whether they’re natural or man-made. The board also talked about a revision to the food service policy and will be working on that at the May meeting as well.