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News headlines

JCC Board approves all-day preschool pilot - Feb. 24, 2015 

JACKSON - The Jackson County Central School Board met in regular session Monday night in the Board Room at the JCC High School.  The meeting was called to order at 6:02 with all members present.

Carrie Dose updated the Board on the JCC Music Boosters club.  They meet the first Monday of each month and are open to Middle or High School Parents or members of the community that want to support the music programs at JCC.

ECFE Director Amber Lessman presented the outline for the all-day preschool pilot program to the board.  The pilot would be held next year at Riverside Elementary.  Right now, the preschool program at JCC is receiving praise from the staffs at Pleasantview and Riverside Elementary schools and drawing interest from other districts who are trying to better their own programs.  The two concerns driving the pilot are that some parents have to choose between paying for daycare or preschool and the teachers would like more time to work with the students.  The Board approved the pilot program for next year.

Tammy Tinko and Tara Boogard updated the Board on Teacher Growth, Development and Evaluation Plan changes.  Most were changes to the law that needed to be reflected in our districts plan.  It was noted that the teachers union had already approved the changes and the board did as well.

The board approved moving forward with Phase I of the Cardio Room Project.  This phase includes converting a storage room to a cardio room to utilize some bikes that were donated to the school.  There would be a cost of around $1,500 to wire and outlet and add a TV to the room for those using the bikes.  If the project is successful, the school will look at moving the elliptical machines and treadmills from the weight room into the cardio room and add different doors and windows to the room.  Board Member Jeff Johnson said that Tri-4-Health would donate $1,000 toward this project.  Board Member Kirk Dunlavey said that while he fully supports the project, he could not justify spending, even $500, on something that would have no bearing on the effectiveness of the equipment.  Students using the bikes would get the same result with or without the TV.  The board voted 6-1 to approve Phase I with Dunlavey casting the lone “No” vote.

In action items, the board approved the contract with the Southwest Service Cooperative for Region VI services for the 2015-16 school year, approved the fiscal year 2016 achievement and integration budget for JCC and the Red Rock Ridge Integration Collaborative, approved the JCC Music Boosters fundraiser selling Husky Car decals, approved hiring Pat Rossow as a long term sub for second grade at Pleasantview Elementary and Amy Gathercole as a long term sub for elementary art, approved the Wellness pilot program memorandum agreement, and approved Family Medical Leave for Tina Bosma starting approximately May 11, 2015.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:50pm.  The next regular meeting of the JCC School Board is scheduled for Monday, March 23rd at 6pm in the Board Room at the JCC High School.

Author Krueger to speak in Martin County - Feb. 23, 2015  

FAIRMONT - Bestselling author William Kent Krueger will present a pair of programs on Thursday.  At 2pm, Krueger will speak at the Sherburn Theater and at 6pm he’ll speak at the Martin County Library in Fairmont.

This program is free and open to the public and is make possible by a grant from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the Traverse des Sioux Library Cooperative.

For more information, or any questions, you can call the Martin County Library at 507-238-4207.

Ruby's Pantry in Jackson Feb. 24 - Feb. 23, 2015  

JACKSON - Ruby’s Pantry returns to Jackson tomorrow from 4:30 to 6pm at the Jackson National Guard Armory. 

There are no income or residency requirements to participate in Ruby’s Pantry.  Everyone participating needs to bring two large boxes or laundry baskets and a $20 donation for the abundance of food that you will receive.  You are asked to make sure that all stickers and markings are removed from your baskets or boxes to ensure you go home with the right ones.

Ruby’s Pantry will be in Jackson from 4:30 to 6pm tomorrow at the Jackson National Guard Amory.

JCC Speech takes first in small schools at Mankato East- Feb. 21, 2015 

Pictured, L-R: Tara Porter, Alix Schmidt, Jenna Sassenrath, Nick Reed, Stephanie Garcia, Camden Schmidt, Sophie Stumpf and Rebecca Dose.

MANKATO - The Jackson County Central Speech team took first place in the small school division, and fifth overall, at the Mankato East Fiesta Meet on Saturday, with only nine members competing.

Sophie Stumpf was first in varsity Creative and third in varsity Extemporaneous Reading, Nick Reed was second in varsity Humor and Jenna Sassenrath was fourth in varsity Drama.

Tara Porter and Alix Schmidt were first in novice Duo and Camden Schmidt was sixth in novice Creative.

Also competing for JCC were Rebecca Dose in Extemporaneous Reading, Stephanie Garcia in Drama and Josie Nunez in Poetry.

The JCC Jr. High team will compete in Marshall on Tuesday and the varsity team will compete at Martin County West on Saturday.

JCC Jr High Speech places 3 at Tracy - Feb. 20, 2015 

Pictured L-R: Sophie Stumpf, Alix Schmidt, Tara Porter, Logan Kooistra                             Photo courtesy of Beth Schmidt

TRACY - The Jackson County Central Jr. High Speech team competed in Tracy Thursday night with three place winners.

Sophie Stumpf was first in Creative Expression, Logan Kooistra was first in Extemporaneous Speaking and the Duo Interpretation team of Tara Porter and Alix Schmidt was 4th.

Megan Schwartz in Poetry and Camden Schmidt in Creative also competed.

The JCC High School speech team will be competing at the Fiesta Meet at Mankato East on Saturday.  The next Jr. High meet is Tuesday in Marshall.    


Jackson KofC to host Fish Fry - Feb. 19, 2015 

JACKSON - The Jackson Knights of Columbus are hosting an all-you-can-eat fish fry Friday, February 20th,  from 5-7pm at the Good Shepherd Hall in Jackson.  They’ll be serving fish, baked potatoes, cole slaw and buns.  Cost is $10 for adults, $5 for children 5-12, 4 and under eat for free. 

The Jackson Knights of Columbus Fish Fry, Friday from 5-7pm at the Good Shepherd Hall in Jackson.

Commissioners move forward with Speedway sale - Feb. 18, 2015 

The Jackson County Board of Commissioners met in regular session at 9am yesterday (Tue) morning in the Board room at the Jackson County Courthouse.

They unanimously approved their intention to move forward with the sale of the Jackson Speedway to Windom businessman Tod Quiring. The bid accepted is a five-year contract for deed at a total sale price of $500,000. The Commissioners directed staff to prepare the formal purchase agreement and other appropriate documents for consideration at their next meeting on March 3. Tod Quiring was represented at the meeting by Luke Lundt, who told the board that they plan business as usual in 2015 with Jon McCorkle still running the track.

Phase one would start in the fall of 2015 and includes making the track a 3/8ths track, widening the track, banking the corners and creating a run-off pond in the middle of the track.  The pits would be moved to the north end of the track.

Phase Two would begin in the fall of 2016 and involve adding seating and raising the current bleachers for better viewing for the lowest rows.  Lundt added that their goal was to make the Jackson Speedway and event and hoped to make it one of, if not the premier track in the US.

Jon McCorkle, who has run the track for the last fourteen years told the commissioners that he has a good relationship with Tod Quiring and looks forward to working with him as the new owner of the track

Jackson County Fair Association President Mike Stade and other Fairboard members were also at the commissioners meeting to show support for the racetrack sale and also talk about proposed improvements to the horse arena at the fairgrounds. Stade says they would like to build up the horse arena as it water drains there when it rains.  Stade noted they do have grant dollars that could cover about $3100 of that cost if the work was completed in 2015. No action was taken by the board.

Ken Kruse, Cec Handevidt and Sharon Henning representing Fort Belmont gave their annual report to the board. One thousand four hundred and ninety-two visitors registered their visit to the local tourist attraction in 2014, representing forty-one states and eighteen foreign countries. Fort Belmont is also working on a grant to add a building to house the telephone exhibit that has been displayed for years at the fairgrounds.

The board voted to accept the proposal for a new Parks Information Committee. The new committee will be a volunteer group. Commissioner Don Wachal will represent the board and their fist meeting will be on Wednesday, March 11th at 7:30 a.m. at the Public Works facility.

County coordinator Jan Fransen announced that she will be retiring on December 31. A search firm will be hired to begin the process of finding her replacement.

Water Resources Technician Jake Grages (Grey’-gus) presented the 2014 Feedlot Annual Report and supplemental information to the board. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency completed the county’s annual review on February 6 and the county met and exceeded program requirements. The report was approved and Grages informed the board that he has enjoyed his work for the county, but has resigned and will be moving to Winona. The board directed the county coordinator to fill the full-time position and also fill up to ten seasonal summer worker positions in the public works department.

In other action the board awarded a bid for the recreational trail in the city of Lakefield to M.R. Paving and Excavating of New Ulm for $365,500. 80% is federal funding and 20% from the City of Lakefield. They approved an agreement to cover preliminary engineering costs for the Safe Routes to School Trail in the City of Lakefield. Estimated cost is $15,000 with 80% from federal funding and 20% from the county. The proposed trail would connect South Lakefield to Pleasantview Elementary.

The board approved the Sentenced to Serve contract, Ditch Assessments, Solid Waste and Recycling licenses, and a Janitorial Contract. The next regular meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 3 at 9:00 a.m.

SWMHP reduced number of new units being built - Feb. 17, 2015 

JACKSON - The Jackson City Council met in regular session Tuesday night at City Hall in Jackson.  The meeting was called to order at 6:30pm with all members present. 

Luke Ewald of Des Moines Valley Health and Human Services presented the council with a plaque of appreciation for their support of tobacco free parks in Jackson.

Rick Goodemann of the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership gave the council an update on the housing project.  Currently the project is around $800,000 over plan.  In order to get back on track, they will reduce the number of units being built from 48 to 42.  This change puts them around $56,000 under plan.  The project is waiting for approval from the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency which is expected in early March.  Once that is received, the closing can take place shortly after and work can begin.

In action items, the council approved city staff working with the Riverside Farmers Market for use of the shelter house at Ashley Park this summer, approved submittal of a USDA RD Grant Application for the Jackson Library Project and approved an Out-of-State Travel Policy for elected officials.  It was noted that a policy currently exists for appointed officials.

The Council introduced and had the first reading for a pair of ordinances.  The first would provide for greater management of city right-of-ways.  This is primarily to help manage the fiber optic lines that are going through the city of Jackson.  The second ordinance enacts and adopts a supplement to the Code of Ordinances for the City of Jackson.

Councilman Donnie Schoenrock updated the council on Southwest Minnesota Broadband Services in Lakefield.  A larger gig loop was placed in Windom, which will allow for greater data flow in Jackson.  They will also be another tower up by the end of March that will help with signal strength.  SWMB also opted not to renew a contract with Windom.net for managerial services.  Travis Thies was promoted to Technical Manager and Naomi Pederson was promoted to Office Manager. 

The meeting was adjourned at 7:10pm.  The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Jackson City Council is on Tuesday, March 3rd at 6:30pm.

Vehicles vandalized in Jackson County - Feb. 17, 2015 

JACKSON - The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office investigated several reports of vehicles being vandalized and property being removed over the weekend.

Six of the vehicles were in the city of Jackson with 1 parked at the Bergan Bar.  There have been similar incidents reported in the city of Windom.

Entrance to the vehicles was made by breaking a window or using a tool to damage the outer door locks.

The Jackson County Sheriff's Office encourages everyone to please remove any valuables from their vehicles.

These incidents remain under investigation.

Westbrook man arrested on sexual conduct charges - Feb. 17, 2015 

JACKSON - The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Westbrook man last week on two felony counts of criminal sexual conduct in the 1st Degree.

In each count, 25 year-old Robert Niles allegedly engaged in sexual contact with a person under the age of 13 between the dates of October 2014 and February 2, 2015.

Niles is currently being held under a $100,000 bond.

Chamber Lunch and Learn Tuesday - Feb. 16, 2015  

JACKSON - The Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce is holding a lunch and learn event from noon to 1pm tomorrow at the Pizza Ranch in Jackson.

Bank Midwest Retail Manager Kathy Nygaard and Attorney Hans Carlson will present information on Account Ownership, protecting your money and avoiding probate.

If interested, please RSVP to the Chamber at 847-3867.

Worthington man injured in Saturday rollover - Feb. 15, 2015            

 BREWSTER - A Worthington man was injured in a one vehicle accident on Interstate 90 in Jackson County on Saturday.

24 year old Jose Lugo was driving a 1998 Ford Explorer westbound on I90 near the Round Lake exit when it left the roadway and rolled.

Ludo was taken by Worthington Ambulance to the Sanford Worthington Medical center with non-life threatening injuries.  His Explorer was a total loss.

The Jackson County Sheriffs Office, Nobles County Sheriffs office and the Brewster Fire and Rescue assisted the State Patrol at the scene.

P.A.W.S. bake sale Saturday - Feb. 13, 2015  

JACKSON - P.A.W.S (Precious Animals Worth Saving) in Jackson will be holding a fundraising Bake Sale tomorrow from 10am to 4pm at the Historic State Theater.

Donations are welcome.  Come get sweets for your sweetie and help locally rescued animals as well.

The P.A.W.S Bake Sale, tomorrow from 10am to 4pm at the Historic State Theater in Jackson.

ILCC celebrates turbine's 10th anniversary - Feb. 12, 2015  

ESTHERVILLE - Iowa Lakes Community College will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the commissioning of the college wind turbine on Monday from 10:30 to 1:30 p.m. at the Sustainable Energy Resources and Technologies (SERT) Center.

Construction of the wind turbine is part of the college’s long history of caring about the environment. The Wind Energy and Turbine Technology program started in the fall of 2004 with 15 students. At 10:30 p.m., on February 15, 2005, the blades on the college’s wind turbine turned for the first time and electricity was generated.

Monday’s open house will observe the anniversary as several individuals will recollect their memories of starting the program and erecting the turbine. This will also offer the college a chance to showcase its vision for the Wind program as well as the advancement of other new academic programs in the sustainable and renewable industries.

Around 11:30 a.m. a recognition ceremony will take place. In addition, shuttle buses will travel to the base of the turbine for visitors to get an ‘up close’ view, weather permitting. Also, tours of the S.E.R.T. Center and the new offices for windtest north-america, inc., will be offered from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. and from noon to 1:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome to attend.


Superior Firemen's Pancake Breakfast Feb. 22 - Feb. 12, 2015  

SUPERIOR - The Superior, Iowa Firemen’s annual pancake breakfast will be held Sunday, Feb 22nd from 9am to 1pm at the Superior City Hall.

The Firemen will be serving pancakes, sausage and eggs with coffee and juice.  A free will offering will be accepted with proceeds used to update fire equipment.

The Superior Firemen’s annual Pancake Breakfast, Sunday, Feb 22nd from 9am to 1pm at City Hall in Superior.

Jackson County libraries to host Device Advise sessions - Feb. 9, 2015

JACKSON - The Jackson and Lakefield Libraries will be holding “Device Advice” sessions on Thursday, February 13, 2015 for those who have questions regarding their technology devices. 

The Lakefield session will be held from 12:00- 2:00 pm and the Jackson session will be held from 3:00-4:30 pm. Bring your device to the library and staff will help you with your questions. They will also help you set up accounts on your device to checkout e-books through OverDrive and e-magazines through Zinio.  Please bring your library card and account passwords.

Call or stop at the library to register for a time slot. Space is limited and registration is required. For more information please call either the Jackson Library at 847-4748 or the Lakefield Library at 662-5782.

Jackson Library to host Teen Read-a-thon - Feb. 9, 2015 

JACKSON - Teens in grades 7 through 12 are invited to a Teen Read-a-thon event being held at the Jackson Library celebrating I Love to Read month.

The event will be held Wednesday, February 11th from 3-5pm.  Teens should bring a favorite book, pillow and blanket.  They can enjoy an afternoon of reading along with some fun interactive activities and delicious snacks.

Participants can register to win prizes as well.  Bring a friend or two.  You can register by calling the Jackson Library at 847-4748.

Worthington man injured in two-vehicle accident - Feb. 7, 2015 

WORTHINGTON - A Worthington man was injured in a two-vehicle accident Thursday afternoon just south of Worthington.

78 year-old Roger Lewis of Worthington was driving a 2002 Chevy Silverado southbound on Highway 60 when he lost control and struck the front end of a semi driven by 41 year-old Jeffrey Luper of Goddard, KS causing both vehicles to go in the ditch.

Lewis was transported by Worthington Ambulance to the Sanford Worthington Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.  Luper sustained no apparent injuries.

Moderate damage was reported to Lewis’s Silverado while minor damage was reported to Luper’s semi.

The Nobles County Sheriff’s Office and Worthington Police assisted the State Patrol at the scene.

Local fire departments receive DNR grants - Feb. 5, 2015

ST. PAUL - Several local fire departments have been awarded a grant from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant program.

The grant program provides financial and technical assistance to Minnesota fire departments in cities or communities with populations under 10,000. The primary objectives of the program are saving lives and protecting property in rural areas. Rural fire departments must use the grant money for fire protection and comply with existing state and county rural fire protection plans. 

The grants are made on a 50:50 match basis.  Local fire departments receiving grants are Mountain Lake receiving $3,000, Brewster receiving $2,500, Trimont $2,400, Dunnell $1,000 and Welcome $500.

Tom Romaine, DNR fire supervisor south said priority was given to fire departments with the greatest need.  In total, over $370,000 in matching grants are being awarded to 173 fire departments across the state for 2015.

More information on the DNR Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant program can be found online at mndnr.gov.

ROTR Small Town Sampler Saturday - Feb. 5, 2015 

JACKSON - The Rhythm of the River’s Small Town Sampler is Saturday night in Jackson.  The fundraiser will be held from 7-10pm at the Jackson Golf Club.

Come sample wine and beer from local wineries and breweries as well as hors d’oeuvres from a number of local restaurants.  There will also be a basket auction and one ticket holder will win a one night stay at the Little Swan Lake Winery Bed & Breakfast.  Entertainment will be provided by Jim Wuerffel.

Tickets are $20 and are available from ROTR Committee members, at the Jackson Chamber of Commerce or at Bridgets Bucksnorts Brew-Ha-Ha & Grill.  All proceeds from the Small Town Sampler go toward the summer’s annual Rhythm of the River Festival which will be held July 10-11.

Winterfest next week at Heron Lake-Okabena - Feb. 5, 2015 

OKABENA - Next week is Winterfest at Heron Lake-Okabena.  This year’s theme is “Shake, Rattle & Roll”.  Activities start Sunday night with the Winterfest Coronation at 7pm at the High School in Okabena.

Queen Candidates are Jaden Broesder, Elizabeth Chepa, Kaylynn Droll and Paige Steinman.  King Candidates are Trey Cranston, Jonathan Hussong, Branden O’Conner and Dakotah Schmid. 

Junior attendants are Ashlyn Uithoben and Akjol Chubakov.  Sophomore attendants are Bailey Collin and Hunter Zin.  Freshman attendants are Abigail Fest and Benjamin Sheldal.  8th Grade attendants are Jaquelyn Fonseca and Carlos Juarez-Perez and 7th grade attendants are Kailee Haberman and Dylan Johanning.

Daily activities include 50’s day on Monday, Twin Day on Tuesday, Disney/Pixar on Wednesday and Class color day on Thursday with the Winterfest Dance to follow the basketball game.


Jackson Council approves ordinance change - Feb. 4, 2015 

JACKSON - The Jackson City Council met in regular session Tuesday night at City Hall in Jackson.  The meeting was called to order at 6:40pm with all members present.

The Council gave final approval to an ordinance amending city code relating to background checks for employment and license applicants and reviewed a request to remove the two-hour parking limit in the downtown area.  A recent survey of downtown businesses showed that the majority wanted the rule left as is.  No action was taken.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:50pm.  The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Jackson City Council is on Tuesday, February 17th at 6:30pm.

Commissioners form new committee - Feb. 4, 2015

JACKSON - The Jackson County Commissioners met in regular session Tuesday morning at the Courthouse in Jackson.  The commissioners voted to form a new committee to work on Water Drainage Authority and the ditch improvement process within the Heron Lake Watershed District. Auditor/Treasurer Kevin Nordquist and others expressed concerns regarding duplication of efforts and efficient use of tax dollars. Attorney Kurt Deter, who specializes in drainage laws, told the board that some of these issues cannot be clarified without legislative changes. The new committee will work to identify duplication of efforts and work for cooperative recommendations for legislative change. Representatives from Nobles, Murray and Cottonwood counties and the Heron Lake Watershed District will be invited to be part of the process. Commissioners Dave Henkels and Bill Tusa will represent the board.

The board approved a conditional use permit for Verizon Wireless for a 250 tower near Bergen in Christiana Township. The property is owned by Jean Johnson. Verizon has a private agreement with the landowner. It was noted that the Bergen area has traditionally been a dead zone for wireless communications and this tower will help alleviate some of those problems.

In other action, public hearings were set for judicial ditches 46 and 35 at 10:30 and 11:00 a.m. respectively on Tuesday, March 17. The processes were started for redeterminations for judicial ditches 42 and 48 and combining project 4 and 4A into one system.

They approved the purchase of truck equipment from Truck Bodies and Equipment International in Lake Crystal and from Crysteel Truck Equipment for a total cost of just over one hundred four thousand dollars.

They approved a proposal from Sandy Phillips to refresh and reorganize the county website at a cost not to exceed four thousand seven hundred sixty dollars, and approved hiring an Extension Summer Assistant.

County Engineer Tim Stahl presented a plaque that recognizes the new Highway Combined Maintenance Facility as the Minnesota County Engineer’s Association’s Special Project of the Year. Stahl said that “our county is proud of this team effort”:

The next Jackson County Commissioners meeting will be on Tuesday, February 17th at 9:00 a.m.

JCC One Act advances to Section contest - Feb. 2, 2015 

SPRINGFIELD - The Jackson County Central One Act play advanced to the Section contest with a 2nd place finish in the sub-section contest held Saturday in Springfield. 

JCC, along with subsection champion Mountain Lake, advance to the section contest this Saturday at Redwood High School.  JCC is scheduled to perform at 11:30am. 

This is the first time JCC has advanced to sections since 2007.  There were six teams competing in Springfield on Saturday.

Rollover on I-90 injures Estherville man - Feb. 1, 2015  

SHERBURN - An Estherville man was injured in a one vehicle rollover Saturday on Interstate 90 in Martin County.

36-year old Darby Conway was driving a 2002 GMC Envoy eastbound on Interstate 90 just east of the Sherburn exit when he rolled off into the ditch due to icy roads.

Conway was transported to the Estherville Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.  His Envoy was a total loss.

The Martin County Sheriff’s Department and the Sherburn Police Department assisted the State Patrol at the scene.

One injured in 3-vehicle accident in Welcome - Jan. 31, 2015  

WELCOME - One person was injured in a three vehicle accident in Welcome on Friday afternoon. 

53 year-old Gregory Geerdes of Welcome was driving a 1999 Chevy Silverado pickup westbound on Martin County Road 26,  68 year-old Sharon Rosen of Welcome was driving a 2005 Mercury Montego northbound on Highway 263 and 52 year-old Roger Zimmerman of Lamberton was driving a 1994 Freightliner semi southbound on Highway 263 when all three vehicles collided in the intersection of Highway 263 and Martin County Road 26.

Rosen was transported to the Fairmont Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.  Geerdes and Zimmerman sustained no apparent injuries.

Severe damage was reported to Geerdes’s Silverado and Rosen’s Montego.  Moderate damage was reported to Zimmerman’s semi.

The Martin County Sheriff’s Department and the Sherburn Police Department assisted the state patrol at the scene.

January Terrific Kids honored at Riverside - Jan. 30, 2015 

JACKSON - January’s Terrific Kids were recognized Friday afternoon at Riverside Elementary.

For the 22nd year, the Jackson Kiwanis Club honors Terrific Kids monthly throughout the school year.  In addition to the Kiwanis Club, sponsors of the program include Jackson businesses Burger King, Livewire Printing Company, Santee-Crossing Embers America, the Historic State Theater, the AmericInn, the JCC Swimming Pool, the Pizza Ranch, Casey’s, Dairy Queen and KKOJ/KRAQ.  The Terrific Kids are chosen from nominations that are submitted by teachers and staff during the past month.

January’s Terrific Kid honored for being “Respectful” was Fourth Grader Natalie Shelhamer, daughter of Eugene and Nicole Shelhamer.

Terrific Kids honored for being “Positive” were First Grader Hunter Freimuth, son of Tonia LaCour and Joel Freimuth, Second Grader Tavion Diggs, son of Montre and Tasha Diggs and Fourth Grader Brittany Arduser, daughter of Emily Arduser.

And the Terrific Kids honored for being “Responsible” were Kindergarten Students Aubrey Erickson, daughter of Ryan and Mackenzie Erickson and Brandon Pettiecord, son of William and Jennifer Pettiecord, First Grader Emmi Randolph, daughter of Brian and Katja Randolf, Second Grader Lauren Johnson, daughter of Dan and Stephanie Johnson, Third Grader Luke Anderson, son of Kevin and Emily Anderson, Fourth Grader Cole Johnson, Son of Dan and Stephanie Johnson and Fifth Graders Jamis Mason, son of John and Christine Mason and Macy Kolander, daughter of Matt and Becky Kolander. 

The students honored as January’s Terrific Kids received a Certificate proclaiming them as a Terrific Kid, a magnet, a button, pencil and certificates from the sponsoring businesses.

SW MN business conditions expected to slow - Jan. 30, 2015 

SAINT PAUL — The 2014 third quarter Minnesota regional economic and business conditions reports were released Friday and show that while several areas of Minnesota experienced a decline in leading economic indicators in the third quarter, the vast majority of the state showed year-over-year growth.

While third quarter economic indicators were not as robust as second quarter, every region in Minnesota saw their unemployment rate decrease.

Southwest Minnesota business conditions are expected to slow over the next several months, according to various economic indicators. The Southwest Minnesota LEI decreased by 4.16 points in the third quarter of 2014 and is now 1.4 percent lower than one year ago.

There were 565 new business filings with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State in Southwest Minnesota in the third quarter of 2014 — representing 12.1 percent more new filings than one year ago.

Employment of Southwest Minnesota residents increased by 0.5 percent over the year ending September 2014. One thousand sixty-one more Southwestern Minnesotans have jobs than one year ago. The regional unemployment rate was 3.2 percent in September, an improvement on its 3.9 percent reading in September 2013.

The reports were developed by the St. Cloud State University School of Public Affairs Research Institute, in partnership with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State. The series is the first to analyze Minnesota on a regional basis to present customized economic reviews and forecasts based on a comprehensive examination of several datasets, including business filings.

Jackson Council votes against roundabout - Jan. 28, 2015   

JACKSON - The Jackson City Council met in regular session Tuesday night in the Council Chambers at City Hall in Jackson.  The meeting was called to order at 6:30pm with all members present.

Chris Bower with MnDOT was at the meeting and informed the council that they needed a decision on the proposed roundabout project on Highway 71 at Industrial Parkway because time was getting tight for planning the project.  Councilman Donnie Schoenrock said that in his opinion that intersection was mildly dangerous and that if we did not do something now, when the city can for a minimal cost, how much would it cost in 8-10 years?  Mayor Wayne Walter said that he looks at other areas in our community that this $385,000 to $400,000 could be spent when we did not need a roundabout.  Bower emphasized again that if the council votes not to proceed with the roundabout project, it could be a long time before anything else could be done.  The council vote was split 3-3 with Councilmen Fred Bern, Ken Temple and Donnie Schoenrock voting in favor and Councilmen Mike Handevidt, Brandon Finck and Dave Cushman voting against.  Mayor Walter cast his deciding vote against the roundabout basing it on the fact that doing anything at the interchange is not a necessity at this time and the money could be used in other places.

In other action, the board introduced and had the first reading for an ordinance that would amend the city code relating to background checks for employment and license applicants.

The meeting was adjourned to executive session at 7:17pm.  The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Jackson City Council is at 6:30pm on Tuesday, February 3rd at Jackson City Hall.

Winterfest royalty crowned - Jan. 27, 2015   

 JACKSON - Winterfest Royalty was crowned last night at the JCC High School.  Hannah Guggisberg was crowned queen and Brandon Schmit was crowned king.  Other senior royalty was Macy Kalfs and Paden Moore, Riley Schneekloth and Scott Ringquest and Jessica Jandera and Jack Ringkob.

Entertainment was provided by Stephanie Block and Calize Insixiengmay singing “Stay”, Trista Paulson singing “Someone Like You” and Glory Meyer singing “I’ll Stand by You”.

Representatives from the winter sports teams also spoke.

Winterfest activities continue throughout the week at JCC.

JCC Board moves ahead with FLY 3 - Jan. 27, 2015   

JACKSON - The Jackson County Central School Board met in regular session Monday night in the Board Room at the JCC High School.  The meeting was called to order at 6pm.  Jody Thrush and Jeff Johnson were absent.

Justin Ambrose addressed the council regarding parking safety concerns at Pleasantview Elementary.  With both buses and parents parking on Milwaukee Street, it is creating a safety hazard for students and drivers. The board asked the transportation committee to look into options.

In action items, the board approved authorized planning with the FLY Consortium regarding renewal of the FLY application for 3 more years.  JCC is currently in year 2 of the second FLY.  The Board supports being part of the consortium, but has reservations regarding starting two weeks early.  In addition, there were benefits seen during FLY 1 that are not present in FLY 2, such as teacher collaboration.  With the vote, JCC can stay a part of the process, but can opt out later if they choose.

In other action, the board approved signing the contract with ISG Group to move forward with security projects at the JCC Schools this summer, approved a resolution authorizing the dissolution of the Red Rock Ridge Learning Center and termination of the joint powers agreement, approved the 2015 Pay Equity report, approved Heather Hendricks as a Reading Corp tutor for Pleasantview Elementary and approved Family Medical Leave for Chris Naumann.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:34pm.  The next regular meeting of the JCC School Board is scheduled for 6pm on Monday, February 23.

4-H Orientation to be held in Jackson County - Jan. 22, 2015  

LAKEFIELD - New 4-H families or those interested in learning about 4-H are encouraged to attend a new member orientation on February 7th.  The event will be from 10:30am to noon at the Lakefield Multi-Purpose Building.

This informal meeting for both youth and parents include information on project ideas, 4-H, county fairs, and much more!  Youth activities will be led by Ambassadors while an informational meeting is being held for adults. 

Please RSVP to the Jackson County Extension Office at 507-662-5293 by February 6th.  

IRRMA Rock the Roof on Friday - Jan. 22, 2015  

ARNOLDS PARK - The Iowa RockNRoll Music Association will be hosting the University of Okoboji Winter Games Rock the Roof tomorrow night at the Pavilion at Arnolds Park.  Doors will open 6:30pm with the dance and show from 7:30-10pm.

Opening the show will be the winners of the 2014 Battle of the Bands, Black Diamond from Carroll.  Sly James & the New City Council will headline the show and dance.   South Dakota and Iowa Hall of Fame Inductee Kevin King (Hot Rod Chevy Kevy) from Des Moines leads this talented group of musicians. On bass guitar and vocals will be Hall of Famer Shane Von Holdt from Sac City.  Spirit Award winner Tyler Pedersen (BB & the Bullfrogs) is the drummer/vocalist.

For complete information you can go online to iowarocknroll.com.

Tickets are only $10 each and available at the door - no advance ticket sales. Kick off the 2015 University of Okoboji Winter Games with Rock the Roof, tomorrow night at the Pavilion at Arnolds Park.  Doors open at 6:30pm with the show and dance starting at 7:30pm.

Sheriff's office investigating break in at MN West - Jan. 20, 2015  

JACKSON -  The Jackson County Sheriff's Office is investigating a break-in at MN West Community and Technical College in the city of Jackson last week.

Last Monday, January 12th, the suspects gained entrance into the college through a rear door and once inside the college, broke into an ATM machine. An undetermined amount of cash was taken from the machine.

Anyone with any information is urged to contact the Jackson County Sheriff's Office at 507-847-4420.  

IA Jazz Band Contest this week - Jan. 20, 2015  

ESTHERVILLE - The annual Iowa Jazz Band Contest for area high schools will be tomorrow and Thursday at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville.  Fifteen schools will perform and compete for first, second and third place ratings in three classes.  Each band will also be given valuable feedback from experienced judges. 

Class 1A and 3A schools perform on Wednesday with Class 2A schools performing on Thursday.  1A schools start at 9am with awards at 10:25.  3A schools start at 10:30 with awards scheduled for 3:45pm tomorrow.

Class 2A schools start at 9am Thursday with awards scheduled for 1:15pm.  All performances take place in the Iowa Lakes Community College gymnasium.

There is no admission for this event and the public is invited to attend. Please contact Linda Kautz at 712-362-8345 or check the Iowa Lakes website at iowalakes.edu for more details. 

JCC HS One Act Play to perform/compete - Jan. 19, 2015  

JACKSON - The JCC High School One Act Play will be competing in the Sub-Section 9 Contest on Saturday, January 31 at Springfield High School.  JCC will be performing the one act play “The Invasion of Earth as It Began in Grover’s Mill, New Jersey” by J. R. Mimbs.

This one act play is based upon the radio play by Orson Welles from 1938. The plot takes you into the lives of the people listening to the Welles radio play to see the effects upon different characters.

17 JCC students will perform during the One Act Play.  They include Hannah Guggisberg, Derek Somnis, Katrina Stoltenberg, Nick Reed, Rebecca Dose, Josie Nunez, Nic Koehne, Abby Brinkman, Janice Zhang, Teague Schultz, Maddie Isaacson, Maggie Post, Isaac Johnson, Ashley Kennedy, Jenna Sassenrath, Kristin Stoltenberg, and Tara Porter.  The One Act Play is directed by Tracy Steiner.

  Seven schools will perform at the Sub-Section Contest on January 31st to see who moves on to the Section contest.  The performances begin at 10:30 with JCC performing sixth at approximately 2:00 P.M.  Each play is about 30 minutes long.  Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for students.

JCC will be doing a preview performance on Friday, January 30, at 7:30 P.M. in the JCC Performing Arts Center.  Admission for this performance will be free.

Lakefield Business Association meets - Jan. 18, 2015   

LAKEFIELD - The Lakefield Business Association held their annual meeting Sunday night at the Hi-Lo Club in Lakefield.  A summary of 2014 events and treasurer reports were reviewed. 

In Board action, Heather Hussong was elected to the Board to fill the seat vacated by Tracy Wheeler. 

JCC gets ready for Winterfest - Jan. 17, 2015  

JACKSON - Winterfest will be next week at JCC.  This year’s theme is “Winter Wonderland”.   Coronation will be at 8pm on Monday, January 26th in the High School Auditorium. 

Senior Royalty is Hannah Guggisberg and Brandon Schmit, Macy Kalfs and Paden Moore, Riley Schneekloth and Scott Ringquist and Jessica Jandera and Jack Ringkob.

Freshman attendants are Kelsey Kannenberg and Hunter Gustin, Sophomore attendants are Jayni Anderson and Chris Gumto and Junior attendants are Emma Pohlman and Bodey Behrens.

Dress up days for Winterfest week are Pajama Day on Monday, Tuesday is Twin Day, Wednesday is White Out, Thursday is Thrift Shop and Friday is Husky Day.

There will be a Winterfest Dance from 9pm to midnight on Friday, January 30th in the Auxiliary Gym.

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