Unemployment rates in western Minnesota counties fell in May. The jobless rate in Stevens County was 2.5 percent, down 2-tenth of a point, according to numbers from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Other county rates include: Big Stone 3.7, -1.1; Grant 3.5, -1.2; Pope 2.6, -0.3; Swift 4.1, -1.2; Traverse 2.7, -0.6. The comparable statewide rate is 3.3 percent and the U.S. rate is 4.5 percent.
The Morris Kiwanis has announced an abbreviated round of preliminary competitions, leading up to their Talent Show Finals in July. The Kiwanis will hold preliminary competitions Thursday, June 30 at East Side Park in Morris. The top five acts from each evening will be eligible to perform during the Talent Show Finals, held as the kick-off to Prairie Pioneer Days on Friday, July 8. Both preliminary rounds are open to all ages. Cash prizes of $50 for first and $30 for second will be awarded each night of the preliminary competition. Three cash prizes will be awarded during the Finals, with first place receiving $500, second place will receive $300 and third place taking home $100. Winners will also be eligible to perform at the Minnesota State Fair. All talent is welcome. You need to pre-register to perform. Competition each night begins at 7. All participants should be at the venue at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the performance. The Kiwanis will be serving a meal before each performances and the Kiwanis booth will be open during the competition. All proceeds from the meal and the concession stand are used locally to support the Kiwanis mission.
Tuesday, Assistant Majority Leader Representative Dave Baker of Willmar, and Representatives Tim Miller of Prinsburg and Bob Dettmer of Forest Lake, chair of the House Veterans Affairs Division, will host a Veteran town hall meeting in Willmar. The will discuss Veteran’s legislation that passed during the 2016 legislative session, including one of the largest veterans tax cuts in state history signed into law last month. The meeting is at the Willmar American Legion from 1-2. This event is free and open to the public.
54 year old Lori Wiener of Belgrade was injured yesterday (Thursday) when she ran off the road at the Highway 23/County Road 140 intersection in Stearns County. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, Wiener was traveling east on Highway 23, veered to the right and ran off the road. Her injuries were non-life threatening.
27 year old Shane Halverson of Willmar was sentenced in Kandiyohi County District Court yesterday (Thursday) to 31 months in prison on felony counts of theft and fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle. He was also sentenced on a gross misdemeanor count of driving after cancellation and a misdemeanor charge of reckless driving. He was sentenced to Kandiyohi County Jail on those charges but had already served the time in jail. Officers first attempted to stop Halverson in Spicer. Speeds reached 102 miles per hour. In Willmar Halverson lost control and crashed near Super America, then was arrested and transported to jail.
James VanDerPol of Kerkhoven has been reappointed by Governor Dayton to the Food Safety and Defense Task Force, as a statewide general farm organization representative. The reappointment was for a year.
Endocrinologist Dr. C. Rowan DeBold has been hired by ACMC of Willmar. An endocrinologist is a specialist who has studied the hormones that control the different functions of the body, including the hormones produced by the pancreas that help control blood sugar. Endocrinologists can diagnose and treat many different diseases, such as Graves’ disease, Cushing's disease, and hypothyroidism, they also have expertise in treating diabetes. Dr. DeBold’s areas of interest include thyroid, adrenal and pituitary gland disease and metabolic bone problems, such as osteoporosis, hypercalcemia, hypocalcemia and vitamin D deficiency.
Governor Mark Dayton has reappointed Steven Sunderland of Montevideo to the Board of Water and Soil Resources as Soil and Water supervisor. His term will expire January 6th of 2020. Dayton appointed Rod Hanson of Willmar to the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee, the term to expire in 2020. He replaces Kathryn Smith.
The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners has approved a gambling permit for Freedom Ridge for an event July 15th and 16th. This is for a rock climbing event near Atwater for pickups, jeeps, etc. Commissioner Harlan Madsen says the Charlie Daniels band will provide entertainment. Madsen also shared that Commissioner Jim Butterfield is recovering at home after having surgery on both his lungs because of lung cancer. Madsen says Butterfield is anxious to get back to the board meetings.
There was a brief update at the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners meeting regarding the Willmar Wye project. Commissioner Harlan Madsen says Mel Odens from the Public Works Department informed them the realignment pattern is still not determined, but the environmental study should be finished by the end of the year or earlier. Madsen says they’re looking at construction in 2018, 2019 and 2020. They’re putting the pieces together as to how the total alignment will go, he says, quoting Odens as saying ‘its fast progress really slow’ because of the complexity and the multiple aspects involved. Those include federal, state, private and local including both the city and the county with each entity having very specific needs. He said they want to make sure they have a truck route, make sure they have the highest and best freight movements, highest and best public safety for the traveling public and serving the industrial park for the entire area. Madsen said it’s a huge jigsaw puzzle that’s being put together and progress continues.
Today (Friday), there is an all-day Willmar Fests tennis tournament in Willmar; a dance and free luncheon at the Community Center dance; and the Willmar Stingers game tonight. Saturday the tennis tournament continues; there’s the Willmar Fire Department pancake feed; the Foot Lake 4 Walk/Run; the Grande Day parade; kids carnival, inflatables, food and family fun at Robbins Island. There is also the Ambassador Coronation at the WEAC building; the Beach Party at Robbins Island; music; and a fireworks show over Foot Lake.