November 21st is the application deadline for high school juniors interested in gaining hands-on experience with Minnesota's state government by serving as a page at the Capitol in St. Paul. Representative Dean Urdahl of rural Grove City, said high school pages attend meetings with legislators, assist members during the session, participate in mock committee sessions and more. There are 11 four-day sessions from Feb. 9 until early May. He says this is an opportunity for students to gain a first-hand look at how our state government functions. He says the page program brings classroom lessons to life and students from our area who have participated really came away with new perspectives regarding how things work at the Capitol.
The Willmar Area League of Women Voters will again host five Candidate Forums leading up to the general election on Tuesday, November 4th. The purpose of the Forums is to help educate the voting public about the candidates and their views on a variety of public issues. These forums will be held at the Municipal Utilities building located on the corner of Litchfield and 7th Street and will be open to the public. You can submit questions prior to the event at firstname.lastname@example.org. During the event written questions will be accepted from the audience and listeners may call into a number provided at the beginning of the broadcast. The Willmar School Board is featured at the Sept. 30th forum; the Kandiyohi County Commissioners at the Oct. 7th forum; the Willmar Mayor on Oct. 14th; the House of Representatives for District 17B on Oct. 27th; and the Willmar City Council on Oct. 28th.
The Interpretive Center at Sibley State Park is closed for the season. Jack Nelson, park manager, says they anticipate that interpretive programs and interpretive center hours will resume again in the spring.
Friday morning the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office took a call regarding an exotic animal in the Rockville area. The caller was out mowing lawn near a wetland area when he observed an approximate 2 foot alligator in the grass. A deputy responded and found the alligator near a creek and swampy area. The deputy approached on foot and the alligator did not retreat or move. The deputy used his baton to investigate further and found the alligator to be a plastic toy. It was safely removed.
Motorists traveling on Highway 12 near the Dassel/Cokato High School may encounter lane closures or delays today (Monday) as crews prep and install new ice sensors that are part of a pilot project to inform local MnDOT maintenance crews that the pavement is icy so they can respond to the condition. Installation crews will be working between the hours of 9 and 2:30 to minimize traffic impacts near the school. This project will provide a dynamic warning to motorists when the pavement becomes icy. District 8 maintenance will be informed when these conditions exist and be able to provide appropriate corrective actions. The warnings will be provided using standard flashing beacons with a diamond-shaped warning sign displaying the message “Ice on Road”.
The Minnesota Department of Health says it’s received 29 letters of intent from parties seeking to become certified medical cannabis manufacturers in the state’s new medical cannabis program. As the first official step in the manufacturer selection process, MDH directed interested parties to submit letters of intent by September 19. The letters indicated their plans for submitting a full application by the deadline of October 3. After that date, MDH will begin evaluating applications with the goal of selecting by December 1 two applicants to become the state’s official medical cannabis manufacturers. These manufacturers will be responsible for growing the medical cannabis, processing it into pill or liquid form, and distributing the medical cannabis through a network of eight dispensaries (four dispensaries per manufacturer) to be established around the state.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars is asking Congress to update its congressional charter. According to Ted Storck, Commander of the Morris Post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the VFW is asking Congress to update it congressional charter to replace “men” with veterans and widows with “surviving spouses.” When President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the charter in 1936, the military was comprised nearly entirely of men, but now that has changed. Delegates at the 115th National VFW convention in St. Louis this summer voted to ask Congress to update the charter. Storck says the VFW National Commander John W. Stroud pointed out the VFW is asking the charter to be changed because being an eligible veteran is what’s important to the organization, not one’s gender, and changing widows to surviving spouses is more representative of today’s military.
Stevens County and surrounding communities will soon have an upgrade to their cable television channels by Mediacom. Mediacom is the nation’s 8th largest cable television company and one of the leading cable operators focused on serving the smaller cities in the United States. This upgrade will boost the county’s high definition channel lineup and deliver faster internet speeds. Analog signals will no longer be used, but you can get an adaptor through Mediacom. You can receive up to three adaptors at no cost through October 31, 2015. The channel conversion will begin on October 28.
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) released information showing that Minnesota employers added 6,100 new jobs during the month of August. DEED also announced that Minnesota’s unemployment rate has dropped to 4.3 percent, reaching its lowest level since 2006. Representative Andrew Falk of rural Murdock says we know Minnesota has a vibrant workforce, we continue to grow, and one of the most encouraging parts of this new jobs report is that Minnesota is continuing to grow good jobs with incomes that can support families, in professional and manufacturing fields. Falk says it’s great to see rural Minnesota communities leading the way in promoting new investments that bring good manufacturing jobs to our region, and Minnesotans deserve all the credit for keeping our state ahead of the competition.
The Swift County Sheriff’s Department has arrested a suspect related to several burglaries in the City of Kerkhoven over the last couple of days. Many of the items recovered were not reported stolen. The sheriff’s office asks that residents in the Kerkhoven area check their motor vehicles and out buildings for any missing items they may not have noticed. If you notice that you are missing something, call the sheriff’s office with the description of the item, your name and contact information.
About 3:10 yesterday morning (Sunday), a Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Deputy was involved in a pursuit with a vehicle driven by a 20 year old man from Texas. The deputy attempted to stop the driver for speeding on Highway 71 in northern Kandiyohi County. The pursuit continued into Stearns County with speeds reaching 120 miles per hour, and eventually ended when the driver stopped in Brooten. The driver was arrested without incident and is being held in the Kandiyohi County Jail on charges of speeding, no Minnesota driver’s license, fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle, and DWI.