The Meeker/Kandiyohi County 4-H Dairy Project Bowl Teams came back after each losing matches early in the contest to successfully defend their state title at the state 4-H project bowl competition. Meeker/Kandiyohi County had one Senior and one Junior Dairy team that competed in this event. The senior team lost to Carver County by five points early in the contest, but came back to defeat them twice later in the contest to win the senior division. Likewise, the junior team lost to Watonwan County, but fought hard through the loser’s bracket and defeated Watonwan twice to win the contest. The project bowl competition is designed to test the participants’ knowledge in all facets of the dairy industry. The participants spend many hours studying periodicals and other resources getting ready for the contest.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is placing burning restrictions over the central part of the state because fire danger is expected to rapidly increase as winds pick up and snow continues to melt. Pope and Douglas counties are included in the initial restrictions. The burning restrictions, which went into effect yesterday (Monday), means the state will not give out burning permits for burning brush or yard waste. Spring fire restrictions limit open burning until summer green up occurs. West central Minnesota is in a moderate risk area for wildfires. Traditionally, most wildfires in Minnesota occur during April and May. More than 95 percent of these fires are caused by human error. Because of the high fire incidence during this time period, the DNR initiates burning restrictions to coincide with this annual fire season.
The Minnesota State Speech Contest was held on Saturday in Blaine. Morris Area High School had several participants. In Creative Expression, Kelsey Kurfman placed second. In Duo Interpretation, Kate Folkman and Alyna Kleinwolterink placed seventh. Jessica Burks was eliminated in the preliminary round of Serious Interpretation - Prose. Also participating in the preliminary round of Serious Interpretation – Prose was Andrew Sheldorf of Chokio-Alberta-Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley. From Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, Tiras Dotson finished third in Humorous Interpretation, Molly Tendwell of placed seventh in Storytelling and Katie Hieserich was fourth in Original Oratory.
The Stevens County Board of Commissioners will meet today (Tuesday) at nine on the upper level of the Stevens County Courthouse in Morris. On the agenda is an Alliance Pipeline Tax Court Settlement, along with department head reports.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation has announced the recipients of $4.8 million in federal grants for Safe Routes To School. The grants will support Safe Routes to School at 138 schools in 50 communities. The West Central Initiative will receive funds for a planning consultant for five school districts, including Ashby. They were among a group of 37 districts receiving $400,000 dollars to complete plans. These projects will help communities increase opportunities for children to walk and bike to school, says MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle. The remaining money goes toward infrastructure for improving the environment and infrastructure around the schools such as crosswalks and trails. Since 2005, MnDOT awarded nearly $15.5 million in federal funds to communities to support Safe Routes to School.
The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners meet today (Tuesday) at ten in the county board room at the Health and Human Services Center. Agenda items include an Apex Leachate system proposal; a recommendation for chief deputy; personnel policy change recommendations; ‘One Watershed, One Plan’; informational presentation on Jennie-O expansion; conditional uses; BNSF Willmar Connection and a cost estimate for the county; discussion on bond refinancing of the law enforcement facility. Prior to the board meeting, they meet at a Human Services committee. That meeting starts at nine.
46 year old Lisa Heidecker of Lake Lillian was killed in a broadside crash Sunday night at the Highway 71 and 7 intersection. She was a passenger in a Ford Pickup driven by her husband, 48 year old James Heidecker of Lake Lillian. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, James Heidecker was traveling east on Highway 7 and a semi driven by 33 year old George Sutton was traveling north on Highway 71. The Heidecker pickup struck the semi in the intersection. James Heiderker, his ten year old son, Mitchell and five year old daughter, Marissa, along with Sutton were taken to Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar with non-life threatening injuries.
More than 325,000 of Minnesota’s lowest-wage workers just got a raise. Governor Mark Dayton signed a bill into law yesterday afternoon (Monday), raising Minnesota’s minimum wage for the first time since 2005. Speaker of the House, Representative Paul Thissen, was at the signing ceremony in the rotunda of the State Capitol. The bill increases the minimum wage to $9.50 per hour by 2016, and indexes it to inflation to ensure Minnesotans’ wages keep up with the cost of living. Thissen said it states that in Minnesota we value hard work, in Minnesota we don’t believe anybody should work 40 hours a week and live in poverty, that says that in Minnesota we believe that pulling workers out of poverty and into a growing middle class is what’s going to make our state stronger into the future. “That is what success and prosperity in Minnesota means, that there’s a strong and growing middle class and this bill moves us in that direction.”
Sunday, agents from the West Central Minnesota Narcotics Task Force conducted a controlled narcotics buy in Alexandria, purchasing two ounces of marijuana and nine Xanax prescription pills from 19 year old Jacob Dale and 21 year old Joseph Basiago. The two men were arrested shortly after the transaction by officers from the Alexandria Police Department and Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, and taken to the Douglas County Jail. Dale was also wanted for conditions of release violation from an incident last year. They will appear in Douglas County District Court today (Tuesday). They are both charged with fifth degree controlled substance sales crimes and fifth degree controlled substance possession crimes.
Minnesota House Majority Leader Erin Murphy, State Representatives Mary Sawatzky and Andrew Falk, and others will hold a news conference at Ridgewater College tomorrow morning (Wednesday), at 9:30. The event is part of a statewide effort to highlight the progress made during the 2014 Session and focus on projects in the Bonding Bill, which is the major piece of legislation yet to be passed this session. The House bonding proposal contains $30 million for MnSCU Higher Education Asset Preservation and Repair (HEAPR), which would include funding for phase two of Ridgewater College’s central heating system — among the top priorities for MnSCU’s HEAPR list.
Yesterday (Monday), the Meeker County Sheriff's Office, Grove City and Atwater Fire Departments responded to a house fire at 52508 Highway 12, Acton Township. 66 year old Peter Simpson of Grove City, reported that his rental house was on fire. Simpson also informed the Meeker County Sheriff's Office that the people that rent the house are out of the house. 34 year old Andrew Hawk, who rents the house, noticed the fire and attempted put it out before the fire departments arrived. When the fire departments arrived they extinguished the wall of the house that was on fire. The Grove City Fire Department determined that the fire was started by a wood stove. The wall of the house sustained a moderate amount of damage.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Someplace Safe invites you to help those in need by showing your support during the “Walk A Mile In Her Shoes” fund raiser. Registration begins at 11:30 this morning (Tuesday), with the walk at noon, starting at 202 Atlantic Avenue, Morris. Pledges are welcome. A free lunch and t-shirts will be available while they last. Someplace Safe operates Community Advocacy Programs in 10 communities, located in Big Stone,Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail, Pope, Stevens, Traverse, Wadena, and Wilkin Counties in West Central Minnesota. Each location is staffed by local advocates and volunteers trained to offer assistance to victims, survivors, family and friends who have been affected by domestic violence, sexual assault, or general crimes.
The Red Cross Bloodmobile will be in Stevens County this afternoon (Tuesday) from 1-6 at the St. Mary’s Parish Center in Chokio. Next week, the bloodmobile will in Morris at the University of Minnesota, Morris on Monday April 21st from 12:30 to 6:30; on Tuesday April 22nd from 10 to 4; and Wednesday April 23rd from 12:30 to 6:30 at the National Guard Armory. If you are 17 years old, or 16 with a parent/guardian consent form, weigh at least 110 pounds, and in good health you’re encouraged to donate blood.
Tom Hennen, author of Darkness Sticks to Everything, will present a public reading and book signing at the Briggs Library Association’s annual recognition of Enhancement Grant Awards. The event will take place this evening (Tuesday) at 7 in the lower level of Briggs Library. The public is welcome, and refreshments will be served. Also, at the UMM, there will be a mixed student recital at 7:30 tonight in the Humanities Fine Arts Recital Hall. This regular concert series features UMM instrumental and vocal students performing varied repertoire. Its free admission; no ticket required.