Morris Fire Department Ladder Captain Jon Anderson was named the 2016 firefighter of the Year, during the department's annual operations meeting on Monday, Dec. 5. Fire Chief Dave Dybdal explains that the criteria for being firefighter of the year includes performance beyond normal duties, appreciation of the work, having a positive impact and being an all-around good person. Anderson has been a member of the fire department for nine years.
Morris Area Elementary School Principal Shane Monson was doused with buckets of water for winning the third annual "Pick a Principal to Plunge" contest. The contest is organized by the Stevens County Family Well Being Committee as part of the Radiothon to End Child Abuse. Voters select a principal to be doused, or plunged, with water by donating money to the principal. Monson received $140.92. The $140.92 combined with the money raised by the other three principals in the contest totaled more than $400. Chokio-Alberta Principal Tate Jerome received $125.49, Morris Area High School principal Bill Kehoe received $89.75, and St. Mary's principal Joe Ferriero came in last with $65.48.
Late yesterday afternoon (Wednesday), Alexandria Police were dispatched to the Viking Plaza Mall for the report of a bomb threat. A thorough search was completed and nothing was located. An unknown person called the mall and told an employee there was a bomb inside some clothing at J.C. Penny’s. The caller, believed to be a young man, then hung up. Police worked in coordination with the Viking Plaza Mall security team and the mall was evacuated for public safety concerns. The police department is investigating this incident. At this time there is no risk to the public and the mall security team is working with police to assure the mall is safe. The mall is open for regular business today (Thursday). If you have any information pertaining to the identity of the suspect, you’re asked to call the police department.
Montevideo City Council Administrator Steve Jones says the council approved the 2017 tax levy budget and fees when they met Monday night. The budget was just under a three percent increase for the year. The council also approved the acquisition of another lot in the Smith Addition. It’s a flood mitigation buyout and is in tandem with a house the city bought which will allow them to clear an entire block. The council also reviewed a labor agreement with LALS and then went into executive session to discuss labor negotiations with ASFME and also to complete a performance review on Jones for the year.
47 year old Stacie Johnson of Brainerd makes her next appearance in Kandiyohi County District Court January 30th for an omnibus hearing. She is charged with felony first degree assault and two misdemeanor 5th degree assaults. The assaults was against a staff member at Community Addiction Recovery Enterprise in Willmar. The assault left a staff member with traumatic brain injury, blurred vision and hearing loss, according to an article in the local newspaper. At the January 30th hearing, two felony 3rd and 4th degree drug charges will also be considered.
United Way of West Central Minnesota will have a Holiday open house on Thursdayafternoon, Dec. 15th from 3-6 at its office in downtown Willmar. There will be Christmas cookies, hot cider, coffee and plenty of Holiday cheer. This is an opportunity to stop and ask questions, check out the annual report, drop off a donation or just to visit with the United Way staff.
The United Way of West Central Minnesota is beginning the Community Impact Grant process for the 2017-2018 funding cycle. Community Impact grants are how they invest local dollars in our communities to address specific community centered issues. The funded Partner Programs helps to improve community conditions and create lasting change across west central Minnesota. Any programs and/or agencies that are interested in applying for funds, that meet the goals within one or more of the United Way of West Central Minnesota’s impact areas are encouraged to apply. Impact areas include education, health and wellness, and basic needs. For more information or to apply contact James Miller with United Way.
Willmar Mayor Marv Calvin says a report from Rice Hospital on its projected operating revenues show they’re looking at a slight increase next year, up to a bit over $107 million. With expenses, they’re projecting a slight decrease, down to $103 million. Mayor Calvin says there was also a Rural Services District ordinance amendment. This is an ordinance that was put into place in 1966 and has not been updated since then. Some of the properties listed in the ordinance are no longer outside the city, they’re now in the city. It would affect them in a positive manner if this ordinance were passed. You have to have at least ten acres of land and then your land can go into this Rural Services District. Staff will be working with the affected property owners that will be affected and there will be a public hearing Dec. 19th to talk about amending this ordinance. Benson City Administrator Rob Wolfington says the city council held a Truth in Taxation hearing, which was attended by a couple of residence. They looked at a budget with increases of 10.1 percent which covers additional debt service on a new fire truck that was ordered and will arrive next year. It’s a new $800,000 dollar aerial ladder truck with ten years of debt service payments comprising most of that increase. They also looked at additional costs in public safety. The council also approved a Minnesota Department of Transportation resolution and contract for paving next year that will pay for the city’s share of the Highways 9, 12 and 29 improvements that are planned.
The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners is holding a truth in taxation meeting tonight (Thursday) at six in the board room at the Health and Services Building in Willmar. The public will have a chance to ask questions or give comments on the budget at this meeting. Adoption of the $72.7 million dollar budget will follow the meeting.