28 year old Shanna Hubenette and 29 year old Mark Larsen, both of Alexandria, made court appearances in Stevens County District Court on Monday. Hubenette has been charged with two felony counts of Motor Vehicle Theft. Hubenette was released on conditions following her court appearance and will make another court appearance in Stevens County at a later date. Larsen has also been charged with two felony counts of Motor Vehicle Theft. Larsen was held with an unconditional bail/bond of $10,000 and a conditional bail/bond of $2,000. Larsen is scheduled to appear in court again on July 16, in Stevens County District Court.
The Farm Service Agency is working to increase representation of its farmer-elected committees by folks who haven’t usually thought of themselves as potential committee members. The agency is looking for those who are working with new or different crops, who can bring a different perspective to USDA’s work with local producers, or who have a new or different angle on farming. In short, they’re looking to enhance the understanding and perspective of the local, farmer-elected committee by getting new folks on board. If you have something to offer, or know someone who might, contact your local FSA office. Your efforts will benefit everyone in the community.
At Monday night’s Paynesville City Council meeting, the city engineer gave the council information in regards to next year’s improvement project. The council authorized him to put together more concrete plans on that project so the city can get moving and get the bid out and ready for construction next year. In other business the council approved selling a lot the city owns to a developer who will be putting in a Phase One, 24 unit market rate rental facility, with Phase two to be another 24 units to address some of the housing shortages in the area. Construction should begin on that and continue through the winter and be ready in the spring for occupancy.
Motorists on Highway 29 south of Interstate 94 in Alexandria will encounter lane shifts when a four-lane expansion, bridge replacement and interchange reconstruction project begins on Monday, weather permitting. Work will be completed over two construction seasons. Key components of the 2015 work include a four-lane expansion of Highway 29 south of I-94 to County Road 28; realignment of County Road 28 to match up with County Road 87; and construction a roundabout at Highway 29 and County Road 28/87. In 2016, work will concentrate on the interchange of I-94 and Highway 29. Throughout the project, Highway 29 will remain open to traffic in both directions.
The state's medical marijuana program is getting all the attention, but other significant laws also take effect today (Wed) in Minnesota. Doctors will find it easier to practice long-distance medicine and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension will get additional resources to battle child porn and human trafficking. Students in two-year colleges will see their tuition costs frozen. Licensing requirements for some child-care program are loosened and more funding is being provided for the state’s American Indian students. Finally, senior organizations will be allowed to host bingo more than twice a week and Uber drivers will have to get liability insurance.
Yesterday (Wednesday), the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office responded to a crash with injuries at the Highways 55 and 23 intersection in Paynesville Township. 77 year old Annabell Krupke of Paynesville was traveling north crossing Highway 55 when struck by a vehicle traveling west on Highway 55. Treated at the scene were 20 year old Rafael Barragan, 7 year old Lordes Moshier and 25 year old Ashley English, all of Paynesville. Krupke was taken to the Paynesville Hospital with minor injuries.
The Benson Police Department had an outstanding week last week, according to Sgt. Paul Larson with the Benson Police Department. He says they had 106 calls in the past seven days. Incidents included a crash in the city with no injuries; a crash on Highway 9 west of Clontarf; loud music; domestic assault; a vehicle revving its engine and driving at a high rate of speed back and forth in an alley. If you have information on this incident call the police department. An officer found a suspicious man between two businesses, the man attempted to flee on foot but was apprehended. When asked what he was doing he told officers he had been urinating between the two buildings.
The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office was called to a crash involving a cow and a vehicle just before midnight on County Road 33 just south of County Road 16 in Zion Township. 19 year old Jamie Scherer of Paynesville was traveling south on County Road 33 when he struck a cow in the roadway. A passenger, 16 year old Miranda Scherer of Paynesville, received some cuts from broken glass. She was treated at the scene. The cow was owned by 65 year old Stephen Gottwald of Paynesville.
‘Scatter Their Own’ from the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota will be performing at the Goat Ridge Brewing Company in New London on Saturday afternoon, July 4th from 2-4. Their music pays tribute to the concepts and philosophy of Lakota culture while fusing Rock and Roll, Blues and Alternative into what they refer to as Alter-Native Rock and Roll. This performance will benefit Safe Avenues in Willmar and the Heartland Girls Ranch in Benson.
A felony 4th degree criminal sexual conduct charge against 18 year old Cody Sik of Montevideo was dismissed yesterday (Wednesday) by Judge David Mennis in Kandiyohi County District Court. Sik originally faced charges of both felony third and fourth degree criminal sexual conduct. The 4th degree charge was dismissed, and an omnibus hearing on the third degree charge has been set for August 12th. The charge involves a 14 year old girl.
Minority House Leader Paul Thissen says with a $2 billion surplus, they had a great opportunity this year to make college more affordable for Minnesota students. However, students at the University of Minnesota Morris will receive a tuition hike next year. The cost of tuition and room and board at Morris will be nearly $21,000. Thissen says the tuition hike is because HouseRepublicans would rather put those dollars toward corporate and business tax breaks. In fact, he said, they insisted on keeping nearly $1 billion of the surplus on the state’s bottom line for a potential ‘tax giveaway’ in 2016 when an extra $85 million would have frozen tuition for every Minnesota student for the next two years. Making college affordable should be a higher priority for our legislature, as it was over the past two years, he says, noting in 2013, Governor Dayton and the DFL-led legislature froze tuition for all Minnesota students for two years, despite a $627 million deficit. With a $2 billion surplus, it’s simply unacceptable that Republicans chose to raise tuition on students. Thissen urges you to take action by contacting your state representative Jeff Backer and ask him to support reductions in tuition and student debt next session.
Yesterday (Wednesday), a new state budget cycle began in the State of Minnesota which means a number of budget bills that were passed weeks ago have officially been implemented into law. State Representative Tim Miller of Prinsburg says this is good news. Whether its avian flu revenue, nursing home funding increases, or new money for small towns to deal with street repairs, there are many positives for Greater Minnesota in our new budget, Miller says. There’s now $23 million available to fight the avian flu. Local nursing homes and their employees will also benefit from the $5 million in new revenue that has been allocated to care centers in District 17A. Every town with fewer than 5,000 residents will receive thousands of dollars from the state to help them pay for local transportation upgrades under another new law. In District 17A, towns in Renville County will receive $192,000 in new revenue, Swift County communities will see nearly $146,000, while district towns in Chippewa and Kandiyohi counties will receive roughly $55,000 and $48,000 respectively. Local schools will also benefit under the new K-12 Education law, as it increases per-pupil spending in the classroom by an average of $396 for non-metro area school districts. It also provides funding for facilities maintenance, which will help reduce funding disparities for Greater Minnesota school districts and help finance the preservation of their school buildings. Miller also added that his legislation allowing the MACCRAY School District to maintain its four day per week schedule was also approved this session.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Minnesota Department of Health are advising the public to stay out of algae-laden water following the hospitalization of a child and the death of a dog in Alexandria. Certain species of blue-green algae contain potent toxins that can quickly become deadly to both people and animals. Keep pets and children away from waters with a pea soup or green paint appearance. Water may also have a foul odor. Inlate June a child was hospitalized after being exposed to blue-green algae while swimming in Alexandria’s Lake Henry. Earlier in June, multiple dogs were sickened, and two dogs died from exposure to toxic blue-green algae in Red Rock Lake, located in Douglas County. While both of these instances occurred in the Alexandria area, blue-green algae blooms can impact lake waters throughout Minnesota. According to the MPCA, the key to solving algae problems is to improve overall water quality by reducing how much phosphorus gets into lakes from urban and agricultural runoff and wastewater treatment systems.
Minnesota has opened cannabis patient centers in Minneapolis and Eagan, allowing qualified patients to receive medical cannabis for the first time. Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger says qualified patients now can receive cannabis medications in a controlled, healthcare-like environment, and Minnesota is poised to be a research leader. Patients interested in medical cannabis must be certified as having one or more of the list of qualifying conditions and they must complete the state’s registration process before they can visit a cannabis patient center. Once at the centers, patients meet with a pharmacist to determine the correct cannabis form and dose. Minnesota’s program allows for cannabis pills and liquids, but no smoking or dispensing of plant materials. An essential first step for patients interested in medical cannabis is to visit a health care practitioner - a doctor, advanced practice registered nurse or physician assistant. Patients also need to consider the potential out-of-pocket costs, which could be hundreds of dollars a month. Minnesota insurers do not cover medical cannabis.