May 22 news

WORTHINGTON – The retirement of two long-time Nobles County employees was announced during Tuesday’s Nobles County Commissioners meeting. JoAnne Haugen, who works in the Worthington branch library, will retire June 1 after 36 years of service to the county. And after 37 years of service, Auditor-Treasurer Sharon Balster will retire June 30. Because Balster’s is an elected position with a term that lasts through 2014, the commissioners passed a resolution accepting her retirement so they can begin the process of filling the vacancy. The commissioners hope to appoint someone to fill the role of auditor-treasurer until the November 2014 election.

The commissioners also approved the relocation of the data center inside the Nobles County Government Center. The center will be moved to the training room adjacent to the human services department. The room is directly above the power distribution lines and fibers coming into the government center, according to Angelo Torres, IT director. The relocation, equipment and furnishings will cost approximately $48,000, which will come from reserves and the equipment revolving fund.

In other business, the board approved a resolution authorizing the advertisement of bids for construction of the trail extending from Olson Park to Centennial Park with a bid opening at 1:30 p.m. June 17, approved the closure of a county state aid highway in the city of Rushmore July 14 for the ABATE of Minnesota street dance fundraiser and appointed Dr. James Harris to the Southwestern Mental Health Center board.

SLAYTON – Homeland Security Emergency Management and FEMA personnel met with city officials Tuesday at the Murray County Government Center to kick off the process of filling out the paperwork needed to apply for the funds allotted through the Presidential Disaster Declaration for the clean-up and repair from the April ice storm. Each city was assigned a project specialist to help guide them through the process of preparing worksheets for each category, tailoring the specifics to what Sara Wolf of HSEM referred to as each city’s disaster. A typical timeline for filling out the worksheets would normally be 90 days, Wolf said, but they are hoping to do it in 30. Each city of township may meet with their specialist throughout the process, but Wolf said the next time there was a formal meeting would be during an exit briefing.

FEMA and Homeland Security are meeting with Nobles County Townships this morning at the Government Center Farmer’s Room, and with the cities at 2 p.m.at the same location.

WORTHINGTON – Minnesota West Community and Technical College, Worthington Campus, received a $55,000 gift from the Kruger/Nasers family Tuesday, kicking off a fundraising campaign for the Center for Health and Wellness. The Minnesota West Foundation hopes to raise $400,000 during the campaign.
The Center for Health and Wellness, scheduled to be finished by October 1, will be utilized for athletics as well as by the community college’s law enforcement program. Numerous special events will also take place at the facility throughout each year. For more information or to give a donation to the Center for Health and Wellness Project, call foundation president Jim Smalley at (507) 223-1329.

WORTHINGTON — Luverne Seifert and Darcy Engen, co-artistic directors of a traveling theater collaborative that brings professional and community actors together to perform in plays, will be offering free voice and performance workshops for community actors ages 16 and up. One workshop will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. May 31, Pioneer Village Big Barn, Worthington.

Immediately following the workshops, anyone interested will have the opportunity to audition for roles in a professional theater production of “The Visit,” which will take place this summer on the grounds of Pioneer Village. The production is seeking eight to 10 actors, ages 16 and up, to perform speaking roles alongside professional actors. Rehearsals and performances will all take place July 29 through Aug. 4. Anyone interested in taking the workshop may contact Engen at Engen@augsburg.edu.

JACKSON - Joel Timmerman has been named principal at Riverside Elementary School. The Jackson County Central School Board approved the hiring at its regular meeting Monday night.Timmerman has principal experience in St. Clair, Faribault, Mankato and Waterville-Elysian-Morristown. Timmerman was one of four finalists from a field of 14 who applied for the position.

Dan Beert, who has served as principal for four years, has accepted a position as a principal at Lake Crystal-Welcome Memorial.

During the meeting, JCC Middle School Principal Kari Wilkinson reported that math test score results were the lowest in history at the school. Wilkinson said they are still analyzing the results and waiting to look at comparisons with other districts. Official results have not been released. The Department of Education experienced technical difficulties during testing. Students can re-take the tests.

SANBORN, Iowa — O’Brien County Economic Development and the O’Brien County Value-Added Ag Steering Committee are inviting all landowners interested in wind development to a meeting about the possibility of forming a Landowner Wind Association. The meeting is open to the public, but they especially invite O’Brien County landowners and tenants. It will take place Thursday at 8 p.m. at the Sanborn Community Building. For more information contact: O’Brien County Economic Development Corp at 712-957-1313.

MINNESOTA - Several Minnesota habitat and sportsmen’s groups, along with the Lessard Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, are asking Gov. Mark Dayton to veto items in the $496 million Legacy bill that weren’t approved by the council. Although the proposed legislation is ultimately up to lawmakers, the council was created by the Legislature to vet proposals and send recommendations to lawmakers.

Minnesota’s Legacy Amendment was approved by voters in 2008 to establish a three-eighths cent sales tax to raise money for the outdoors, clean water, the arts and parks and trails.

David Hartwell, chairman of the Lessard Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, says the council takes issue with funding for metro parks, a project that the council previously gave low marks. Also, $3 million for grants in the bill to help fight aquatic invasive species was never presented to the board, according to MPR.

About two dozen groups signed a letter asking Dayton to veto the projects. Dayton had promised while campaigning for the governor’s office he would veto any attempt to usurp the authority of the 12-member heritage council.

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