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News headlines

One injured in Highway 60 accident - Jan 28, 2016  

JACKSON - A Minneapolis man was injured in a one vehicle accident Wednesday on Highway 60 near the Jackson/Nobles county line.

30 year old Jabarti Addirahman was driving a 2002 Mercury Sable westbound on Highway 60 when he hit a wet spot on the road and ended up upside down in the median.  Addirahman was transported to the Sanford Worthington Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.  The Sable he was driving sustained severe damage.

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


JCC Drama Dept to perform One Act Play Friday - Jan 27, 2016  

JACKSON - The Jackson County Central High School Drama Department will present the one act play “The Secret of Madame Defarge” on Friday, Jan. 29th at 7:30pm in the JCC performing Arts Center.  This performance is free to the public.

On Saturday, Jan. 30, the Drama students will compete in the one act play contest held in Mt. Lake. The contest begins at 10:00 with JCC scheduled to perform at 1:00. The performances are open to the public. Admission will be charged.

Madame Defarge is one of Dickens' supreme villainesses. Her secret drives her to seek a revenge so strong that it ties her to the French revolution. In this short play, the main story of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities becomes the peripheral story to that of Madame Defarge and her single-minded revenge.

The public is invited to the free performance of “The Secret of Madame Defarge” this Friday at 7:30pm in the JCC High School Performing Arts Center. 


Big Bend Snowmobile Riders to meet Monday - Jan 27, 2016  

LAKEFIELD - The Big Bend Snowmobile Riders of Cottonwood and Jackson Counties will meet on Monday, February 1st at 7pm at the Horse Barn and Hunt Club in rural Lakefield.

Anyone that is interested in the trails or being a member is encouraged to attend.


Conservation programs drawing interest in MN - Jan 27, 2016 

ADRIAN, Minn. (AP) — Low grain prices are making it more attractive for Minnesota farmers to put their land in a program that pays them to replant it with trees and grasses benefiting wildlife and reducing erosion.

Minnesota farmers enrolled just over 1 million acres in the longtime federal Conservation Reserve Program last year. Val Dolcini, who oversees the program, says about 23.5 million acres are in the program across the country.

Southwestern Minnesota farmer Walt Kellen has about 130 of his nearly 1,000 acres in the program. He says he's happy to take payments from the program instead of trying to grow crops on marginal land.

Kellen gets about $80 an acre for his land in the program. The average in Minnesota is roughly $95 an acre.


Reminder of IA Snowmobile rules in advance of Winter Games  - Jan 27, 2016 

SPIRIT LAKE - With the University of Winter Games approaching the Dickinson County Snowhawks want to remind everyone of the current snowmobile rules and regulations set by the Iowa DNR.  

Iowa Residents must have a current registration and an Iowa DNR Snowmobile User permit.  

Non Residents must have a current registration from the state in which they reside and are also required to have a Iowa DNR Snowmobile User permit.  

  • IDNR Snowmobile User Permits are required for all resident and nonresident snowmobilers operating on public land, public ice, and designated snowmobile trails. 
  • Your user permit decal must be affixed to your machine for it to be legal.  The decals shall be affixed to the windshield so they are clearly visible. If there is no windshield, the the decals shall be affixed to the area on the hood near the headlamp so that they are clearly visible.
  • User permits can be purchased through the Iowa DNR Online Hunting/Fishing License System.  Permits purchased online will be delivered via USPS mail in 5 - 10 business days. User Permits can also be purchased anywhere hunting/fishing licenses are sold or if you are an Iowa Resident at your local County Recorder's office. 

For additional questions please contact dcsnowhawks@gmail.com or iowadnr.gov


DNR Grant deadline is Friday - Jan 26, 2016 

ST. PAUL - Groups that will help people start hunting or fishing, or continue these pursuits have until Friday, Jan. 29, to apply for grants from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Angler and Hunter Recruitment and Retention Grant awards will range from $5,000 to $50,000 out of a total $175,000 available during the first round of this newly created grant program. To learn more about the grant and how to apply, go online to mndnr.gov.

Eligible projects must have a purpose that supports angler or hunter recruitment and retention. Types of activities could include fishing and hunting educational programs, clinics, workshops, and camps, and funding for fishing and hunting equipment and transportation.

Among other requirements, projects must have either a dollar-for-dollar match of the state grant award amount, or a match of the value of labor, materials or services of the state award. First-round projects must be completed in Minnesota, and be finished by July 2017.


Minnesotans divided on surplus - Jan 26, 2016 

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A new poll shows Minnesotans are divided on how to spend a $1.2 billion state surplus.

The Star Tribune's Minnesota Poll finds 30 percent of respondents want the money refunded to taxpayers. About the same number of people say the state should save the surplus and another 31 percent say spend it. The spenders would direct the revenue to roads and schools.

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton has credited the state's economic performance for the surplus while Republicans say Minnesota has overtaxed its citizens. The surplus will likely be a contentious issue when legislators convene for a session beginning March 8.

The poll includes the opinions of 800 registered voters interviewed by phone Jan. 18-20. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.


Van Westen and Bezdicek rule JCC Winterfest - Jan 26, 2016 

JACKSON - Winterfest Coronation was held Monday night at the JCC High School performing Arts Center.  James Van Westen was crowned King and Jadin Bezdicek was crowned Queen.  Other Senior Royalty included Kayla Drexler and Keane Greenbush, Emma Pohlman and Colton Timmer and Haley Bass and Nathan Monson.

Freshman attendants were Ella Lilleberg and Grant Schlager, Sophomore attendants were Bailey Berkner and Lane Hanson and Junior attendants were Natalie Neal and Logan Preuss.  Jordan Hutzler and Sydney Nyborg served as emcees.

Representatives from all the girls and boys winter sports gave updates on their season and invited everyone to attend their upcoming events.  Junior Josie Nunez and Senior Becca Dose each performed for those in attendance.

Dress up days continue this week.  Today is Tacky Tourist Day,  with Salad Dressing Day tomorrow, Nerd Day on Thursday and Friday is Husky Day.

The week’s activities will conclude with a Winterfest Dance Friday night in the High School Auxillary Gym.


Ruby's Pantry in Jackson Tuesday - Jan 25, 2016   

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.

Participants and volunteers will need to fill out new paperwork for 2016.


Soup and Chili Dinner Sunday at Our Redeemer - Jan 22, 2016  

JACKSON - Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Jackson will be hosting their Soup and Chili Dinner this Sunday.  Serving will be at the church from 11:15am to 12:30pm.  They will be serving Chicken Noodle Soup, Chili, Desserts and Beverages.

A Free Will Donation will be accepted with proceeds going toward the LLL Fellowship Clubs Mission and Home Projects in 2016.

Everyone is invited to the Soup and Chili Dinner, this Sunday, from 11:15-12:30 at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Jackson.


Jackson Co Birdwatchers to meet - Jan 22, 2016  

LAKEFIELD - The Jackson County Birdwatchers will meet this Sunday at 2:30pm at the Prairie Ecology Bus Center’s educational classroom building in Lakefield.

There will be a social time, short business meeting, time to eat and possibly a wildlife show.

Those attending are asked to bring a dish to share, along with serving utensils.  Beverages, plates, silverware and cups will be furnished.

Everyone is invited to attend.  Anyone with questions is asked to contact President Donald Vrchota at 507-847-2638.           


Winterfest next week at JCC - Jan 22, 2016  

JACKSON - Winterfest is January 25-29th at Jackson County Central.  This year’s theme is “Welcome to the Jungle”.

Winterfest Coronation will be at 8pm on Monday.  Freshman attendants are Ella Lilleberg and Grant Schlager, Sophomore attendats are Bailey Berkner and Lane Hanson and Junior attendants are Natalie Neal and Logan Preuss.

Senior Royalty is Jadin Bezdicek and Nathan Monson, Haley Bass and James VanWesten, Emma Pohlman and Keane Greenbush and Kayla Drexler and Colton Timmer.

Dress up days include University Day on Monday, Tacky Tourist Day on Tuesday, Salad Dressing Day on Wednesday, Nerd Day on Thursday and Friday is Husky Day.

The week’s activities will conclude with a Winterfest Dance Friday night in the High School Auxillary Gym.


Lakefield moves forward with street project - Jan 20, 2016  

LAKEFIELD - The Lakefield City Council met in regular session Tuesday night at City Hall in Lakefield.  A public hearing was held at 6:30 regarding 2016 Street Projects on the east side of Lakefield.  The Council approved moving forward with the preparation of plans.

In action items, the council approved hiring Short Elliot Hendrickson to do the engineering for the Waste Water Project, approved increasing the volunteer ambulance on call hourly pay to $1.75/hr for weekdays and $3.00/hr for weekends and holidays, approved increasing the ambulance mileage rate to $12.00/loaded mile and the base run rate at $650, approved the Sewer Fund, Sewer Maintenance Fund and Municipal Liquor Fund budgets for 2016 and approved purchasing dogwood bushes for privacy along the walking trail.

The council also set Monday, February 8th at 7pm as the public hearing for the Small Cities Development Program.

In other action, the council approved a bid of $11,780 for a John Deere 5200 tractor and approved declaring miscellaneous office equipment as excess for sale.


Jackson Council hears about possible airport upgrade - Jan 20, 2016   

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.

Bob Cohrs with Short Elliot Hendrickson gave an update on the Airport Master Plan.  The runway is currently rated as “Good” and is expected to be in need of reconditioning by the year 2020.  The runway has a length of 3,561 feet and the forecast shows a need for a runway length of 4,400 feet.  Funding is currently available to cover at least 90% of the cost.

Reconditioning the current runway would cost around $2.2 million dollars and to build a 4,400 foot runway would cost between $6-8 million dollars, each of which the city would be responsible for around 10% of the cost.  The current location cannot accommodate a longer runway, and that would have to be built slightly north and east of the current location, requiring the acquisition of surrounding land.

While no action was needed at this meeting, it was recommended that a city representative contact the affected landowners to gauge interest in selling.

The council reviewed a request from the Jackson American Legion for city help in placing flags around Jackson during flag holidays.  Councilman Dave Cushman recommended seeing if other civic groups or organizations would be interested in volunteering to help with these projects.

The meeting was adjourned to closed session around 7:50pm.  The next meeting of the Jackson City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, February 2nd at 6:30pm in the Council Chambers at City Hall in Jackson.


Commissioners approve campus upgrade - Jan 20, 2016   

JACKSON - The Jackson County Commissioners met in regular session Tuesday morning in the Board Room at the Jackson County Courthouse in Jackson.

The Board approved a proposal from NAC Mechanical & Electrical Services to perform a system upgrade for the Courthouse/Government Center Campus, approved public works director Tim Stahl to advertise for 2016 Overlay and Seal Coat Projects at his discretion, approved the purchase of a replacement Tandem Axle Truck along with accessories and approve the purchase of furniture for the Jackson Public Library.

The Board also discussed appropriation payments for the Des Moines Valley Health and Human Services.

In other action, the board approved the joint powers agreement for Lincoln Pipestone Rural Water improvements project, approved personnel requests and approved the 2016 Legislative Platform.  It was noted that State Representative Rod Hamilton and State Senator Julie Rosen are schedule to attend the February 2nd meeting and State Representative Bob Gunther is scheduled to be at the February 16th meeting.

The next regular meeting of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners is scheduled for Tuesday, February 2nd at 9am in the Board Room at the Jackson County Courthouse.


St. James man injured in one-vehicle accident Friday - Jan 16, 2016 

MANKATO - Slick roads were the cause of a one vehicle accident that injured a St. James Man Friday morning.

31 year-old Adam Blackstad was driving a 2000 GMC Pickup westbound on Highway 60 near Mountain Lake when he lost control on an icy patch and rolled into the median.

Blackstad was transported to the Windom Area Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.  Severe damage was reported the GMC he was driving.

The Cottonwood County Sheriff’s Office assisted the State Patrol at the scene.


Death of Emmet Co inmate being investigated - Jan 16, 2016 

ESTHERVILLE - Authorities are investigating the death of an inmate at the Emmet county jail. Emmet County Sheriff Mike Martens tells the Community First News Center 51-year-old Lee Roy Hum of Estherville was found unresponsive in a jail cell shortly after 8:00 a.m. Friday morning. Martens says jail staff administered first aid, however he says Hum was pronounced dead after being taken a short time later by ambulance to Avera Holy Family Hospital in Estherville.

Hum had been arrested and booked into the Emmet county jail on Wednesday on an outstanding warrant.

Martens says Hum’s death is being investigated by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, the Emmet County Medical Examiner’s Office and the Emmet County Sheriff’s Office. Martens says an autopsy was to be performed Friday at the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Ankeny.


No injuries in Milford fire on Thursday - Jan 15, 2016 

MILFORD - No injuries were reported Thursday afternoon in a fire in a residential area of Milford. Milford Fire Chief Jim Carpenter tells KUOO news firefighters were called shortly after 2:00 p.m. to 614 L Avenue. Carpenter says an attached garage was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived. He says the fire had started to spread to the house, adding they were able to quickly knock it down and put it out.

Carpenter says no one was home at the time the fire broke out.

The garage and its contents were pretty much a total loss. Smoke and water damage was reported to the attached house. Some vinyl siding on a neighboring house was melted from the heat of the fire. Dollar amounts of estimated damages weren’t immediately known.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Milford firefighters were on the scene about an hour and-a-half.


Jan 16-24 is Snowmobile Safety Week - Jan 15, 2016 

ST. PAUL - Snowmobile Safety Awareness Week from Jan. 16 to Jan. 24 is a good time to sign up or take a class on how to safely operate a snowmobile, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said.

To legally ride a snowmobile in Minnesota, residents born after Dec. 31, 1976, need a valid snowmobile safety certificate. There are two ways to do this. First, the traditional classroom course, taught in local communities by volunteers, is available for anyone 11 or older.

Second, the course can be taken online followed by a hands-on ride and review day with volunteer instructors. Students will have an opportunity to review the material they learned online and demonstrate the skills they’ve learned by operating a snowmobile through a designated course. These are listed on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/safety/vehicle/snowmobile/index.html.

Remember to reduce speed according to riding conditions and never consume alcohol when snowmobiling. Consider joining a snowmobile club. For more information, visit www.mnsnowmobiler.org.

For a copy of the DNR’s 2015-2016 Minnesota Snowmobile Safety Laws, Rules, and Regulations handbook, call 888-646-6367 or 651-296-6157, or visit the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/regulations/snowmobile.

More than 1,000 volunteer instructors teach DNR snowmobile safety courses across the state. For more information on the dates and locations of these courses, visit: www.mndnr.gov/safety/vehicle/snowmobile/traditional.html.


I-90 Weigh Station near Worthington Open - Jan 14, 2016  

WORTHINGTON - The Minnesota Department of Transportation has opened the Weigh Station on Interstate 90 just east of Worthington.  It has been in limited use since summer 2013.

Improvements to the station include new ramps, parking lot, site lighting, new garage, building addition and renovation.  This coming construction season the weigh station will close again to renovate the scale and scale pit.

The project is part of MnDOT’s statewide effort to improve all six of its fixed weigh stations. Mobile weigh-in-motion scales and portable mat scales are used along other roadways throughout the state.

The weigh stations, under the jurisdiction of the Minnesota State Patrol, keep illegally overweight trucks off roads and bridges.

Staff at the weigh stations performs safety inspections, driver qualification checks, load securement checks, proper and valid vehicle registration checks and contraband checks.

The State Patrol will do similar enforcement with mobile weigh scales during the closure of the Worthington station this summer. 

Other MnDOT weigh stations are located at Saginaw, Dayton Port, Erskine, St. Croix and Red River. Three are located along interstates and three along state highways.


Carnival Company sued by state of MN - Jan 14, 2016 

ST. PAUL - A carnival company based in Anoka, Minnesota was sued by Attorney General Lori Swanson for stiffing county and town fairs around Minnesota, including Jackson County, for thousands of dollars each and not showing up on fair day with the promised rides, games, and food concessions.

The fairs paid the company—which goes by the names Minnesota’s Magic Midway, Inc. or E.A.R. Carnival Company—up to $8,500 in down payments to run summer carnivals. The company, which is owned by Edward A. Reinke of Anoka, failed to appear at a number of these fairs but kept the money.

The Jackson County Fair hired the company to run a carnival in 2013. Fair organizers became suspicious and called Reinke the weekend before the fair. After evading their calls, he eventually told them the company was not going to show up and the company never refunded the $3,000 down payment.

The lawsuit was filed in Anoka County District Court. It names the company and Reinke as Defendants. The lawsuit seeks an injunction and restitution for the counties and towns.    


Sons of Norway meeting Saturday - Jan 13, 2016  

WINDOM - The Sons of Norway Stavanger Lodge will have their next meeting on tomorrow morning at 9:30 at the Cottonwood Co. Historical Society in Windom.

 The morning program will be presented by Stavanger Lodge member and retired Windom High School teacher, LaVern Christianson.  LaVern has done extensive research regarding the Norse Gods and Mythology.  During long, cold, dark Nordic winters, these stories became a favorite way to pass the time.

Sure to please one and all with his presentation, LaVern will summon a costumed story teller from the past who will tell a few of these unique stories of the gods, beasts, and objects from Norse Mythology.

The mission of the Sons of Norway is to promote, preserve and cherish a lasting appreciation for the heritage and culture of Norway and other Nordic cultures while growing soundly as a fraternal benefit society and offering maximum benefits to its members. The local Stavanger Lodge was chartered in 1974 and currently has approximately 80 members.

 For more information about Sons of Norway or the January meeting, please contact Harvey Pedersen, Sons of Norway President, at 445-3188.


Bank Midwest names new president - Jan 11, 2016     

Spirit Lake - A Spirit Lake woman has been named President of Bank Midwest. Chairman and CEO Steve Goodenow announced Monday Mary Kay Bates has been serving in the capacity since January 1st. Bates was previously Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Bank Midwest.

Bates is active in various civic organizations and is past President of the Bedell Family YMCA and Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce. She has also served on numerous boards. She is currently a trustee for Lakes Regional Healthcare and serves on the hospital’s healthcare foundation.

Bank Midwest is employee-owned and was recently named in the Top 100 Workplaces in Iowa. It has 11 locations throughout Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota with total assets of $700 million.


JCC FFA Team places at National Roundup - Jan 11, 2016 

DENVER - An FFA team from Jackson County Central placed 8th at the Western National Roundup Meat Judging contest held last week in Denver, Co.

Individually, Emily Pederson placed 17th, Kayla O’Connor was 28th, Justin Pederson placed 31st and Jadi Koep was 37th Nationally.

Only one team from each state is invited to participate in the Western National Roundup.  More than 1,000 youth from over 32 states, including Alberta, Canada attended this year’s roundup.


Jackson Council approves cemetery annexation - Jan 6, 2016 

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

The Council approved second reading of an ordinance establishing fees, rates and charges for 2016.  The only change was to the electric rate.  The council also approved the annexation of part of the cemetery in Section 25 of Des Moines Township.  With last year’s annexation, this tract is now surrounded on all sides by city land.  At the time, it was believed that this tract was already city property.  This annexation has no effect on property owners and has been forwarded to the township and cemetery association for approval.

 The Council also reviewed the Mitigation Strategies in the updated Jackson County All Hazard Mitigation Plan.  No action was necessary.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:38pm.  The next meeting of the Jackson City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, January 19th at 6:30pm in the Council Chambers at City Hall in Jackson.


Schultz to chair Jackson Commission - Jan 5, 2016 

JACKSON - The Jackson County Board of Commissioners met in regular session Tuesday morning.  The meeting was called to order at 9:30am with all Commissioners present.

Commissioner Rosemary Schultz was selected as the Board Chair for 2016 with Commissioner Bill Tusa serving as Vice-Chair.

The Board approved the release of collateral for MDF Truck and Trailer, LLC, approved an Agreement for Services with the Southwest Regional Development Commision related to the Jackson County Revolving Loan Fund and approved the final payment to Pearson Brothers for the 2015 seal coat project.

The board also heard an update from County Attorney Sherry Haley, along with District Court Administrator Mike Kelley and Judge Darci Bentz, regarding the Faribault/Martin/Jackson County Drug Court.

The Commissioners set the first and third Tuesdays each month as meeting dates and set a final hearing regarding County Ditch 124 for Tuesday, January 19th at 1:30 pm in the County Board Room.

The next regular meeting of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners is scheduled for 9am on Tuesday, January 19th in the Board Room at the Jackson County Courthouse.


Ashley's Hallmark has new owners - Dec 22, 2015  

JACKSON - Ashley’s Hallmark in downtown Jackson is getting new owners.  Doug and Lynette Lusk will take ownership in January and hope to have the store restocked and open by end of January or first part of February.

The Lusks plan on maintaining the same quality cards and gifts as in the past with some new products to help fill the niches for the Jackson community.  Lynette and Doug are excited to start a new adventure and have a heart for the Jackson community and want to see Jackson prosper downtown in the future.

Ashley’s Hallmark continues is Going Out of Business Sale until the end of the year.  They will be offering 75% storewide starting Dec. 26th

Current owners, Lance and Jodi Edlin, want to thank their loyal and faithful friends and customers over the past two decades and are are thrilled that someone has come forward to carry on the tradition of serving their customers with the same excellence they deserve.   


Windom man killed in accident Monday am - Dec 21, 2015   

WINDOM - A Windom man was killed in a two-vehicle accident Monday morning on Highway 71 north of Windom.

21 year-old Cody Galer of Windom was driving a 2000 Ford Focus northbound on Highway 71 around 6:30am when he lost control, slid into the southbound lane and was struck by a 2005 Peterbuilt Semi driven by 29 year-old Daniel Kronbach of Lamberton.  Galer died from the injuries sustained in the crash.  Kronbach sustained no apparent injuries.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation assisted in detouring traffic on Highway 71 Monday morning.  The Cottonwood County Sheriff’s Office and the Windom Police Department assisted the State Patrol at the scene.


One injured in accident near Sherburn Sunday - Dec 21, 2015  

SHERBURN - A Sherburn woman was injured in a one-vehicle accident Sunday Morning on Interstate 90 near Sherburn.

52 year-old Julie Breneman was driving a 2001 Ford Ranger westbound on I-90 shortly after 9am when she lost control and struck a guardrail.

Breneman was transported to the Fairmont Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.  Severe damage was reported to the Ranger she was driving.

The Martin County Sheriff’s Office assisted the State Patrol at the scene.


KKOJ 97.7FM now on the air - Dec 17, 2015  

JACKSON After months of planning, KKOJ-FM 97.7 went on the air Wednesday afternoon.  KKOJ-FM will simulcast the programming of KKOJ-AM 1190 and offer 24-hour music and information when KKOJ-AM is off the air.

As we continue building the new Extreme Country KUXX, FM 105.7 will no longer be simulcasting the 7-8am and noon-1pm information blocks.  Those can be heard on KKOJ Radio, 1190AM and 97.7FM.  Stay tuned to all our stations for more information on these exciting changes.

We greatly appreciate your patience as we continue improving to better serve Southwest Minnesota and Northwest Iowa.


Jackson Council approves 2016 levy - Dec 16, 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 6:31pm with all members present.

The Council approved the tax levy for taxes collectible in 2016 in the amount of just under $1.4million.  This represents no change from the levy in 2015.  The council also approved a loan subordination request from the SCDP, approved the first reading of an ordinance establishing fees, rates and charges for 2016 and approved budget amendments for 2015 expenditures and revenues.

Economic Development Coordinator Sue Persig gave the council an update.  They continue to market Jackson to businesses.  Currently there are 16 interested businesses or entrepreneurs they are working with. They approved their 2016 Legislative Platform and have four new advisors this year.

The meeting went into executive session at 6:52pm.  The next regular meeting of the Jackson City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, January 5th at 6:30pm in the council chambers at City Hall.


Jackson Libraries offer help with devices as gifts - Dec 16, 2015  

JACKSON - Jackson County Libraries in Jackson, Lakefield and Heron Lake are providing helpful handouts to add to device gift boxes. Anyone who is gifting a device this year is encouraged to stop into one of the libraries and pick up how-to guides to help their loved ones navigate their new device. The guides are device specific and help walk people through getting eBooks from the library, as well as how to get free one-on-one help at the library.

The handouts can be picked up at the front desk at each of the Jackson County Libraries until December 23rd.  


Lakefield man injured in one-vehicle accident Tuesday am - Dec 15, 2015 

LUVERNE - A Lakefield man received minor injuries in a one vehicle accident early Tuesday morning on Interstate 90 in Nobles County.

57 year-old Allen Weinzetl was driving a 2002 Ford Ranger Super Duty westbound on Interstate 90 when he lost control near mile post 26 and rolled into the median.  Weinzetl was transported by Adrian Ambulance to the Luverne Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.  The Ford driven by Weinzetl was a total loss. 


Commissioners recognize retiring coordinator Fransen - Dec 15, 2015  

l-r: Kim Hummel, Rosemary Schultz, Jan Fransen, Dave Henkels, Bill Tusa and Don Wachal

JACKSON - The Jackson County Board of Commissioners met in regular session this morning in the Board Room at the Jackson County Courthouse.  The meeting was called to order at 9:02am with all members present.  Board Chairman Dave Henkels started the meeting by recognizing retiring County Coordinator Jan Fransen.  Fransen has been the Coordinator for 18 years, since the position was created in 1998 and was recently awarded an Outstanding Service Award from the Association of Minnesota Counties.  Henkels presented Fransen with a plaque thanking her for all her work and dedication over the last 18 years.

Bob Flohre with Building Maintenance presented three bids to the Commissioners for the purchase and installation of a natural gas generator and enclosure for the Government Center East and Boiler House Buildings.  The Commissioners approved the bid from Ron’s Electric, Inc which represented an approximate savings of $36,000.

Auditor/Treasurer Kevin Nordquist addressed the Board regarding a one-time transfer of $25,000 of wind production tax revenues to the general fund budget for tax relief, which the Board approved.  Nordquist also presented the final 2016 tax levy, in the amount of just over $10 million dollars.  This represents an increase of 4.7% over the 2015 levy.  The Board approved the levy, although Commissioner Kim Hummel issued a public statement following the vote that she should have voted no.

In other action, the board approved setting the salaries of elected officials as required by Minnesota Statutes, approved leaving the per diem rate for 2016 at $75 per day, approved step increases to employees who achieved an average score of at least 3.0 during performance evaluations and approved a proposal from Wold Architects/Engineers to provide design services for HVAC improvements to the 1962 building in the amount of $49,500.  On a 4-1 vote, the Commissioners also approved raising the salary for the Commissioners from $18,500 to $19,000 and the salary of the Commission Chair from $19,000 to $19,750.  Commissioner Hummel was the lone dissenting vote.  It was noted that Jackson County has one of the lowest Commission salaries in the state of Minnesota.

The meeting went into closed session around 10:15am.  The next scheduled meeting of the Jackson County Board of Commissions is at 9am on Tuesday, January 5th.


JCC Board approves 2016 Levy - Dec 15, 2015   

JACKSON - The Jackson County Central Schoolboard met in regular session Monday night.  The meeting was called to order at 6:08 p.m. with all members present. The Truth in Taxation public hearing was held including a presentation from Business Manager James Hoffbeck. The proposed 2015 levy for taxes payable in 2016 is just over 3.2 million dollars, a
3.57% increase over last year’s levy and also about 68 thousand dollars less than the 2011-12 levy. There were no public comments or questions and the board approved the levy limitation and certification.

2006 JCC Graduate Josh Fiala made a presentation to the board regarding Line Loss Pro harmonic filters that are designed to help improve the efficiency of the use of electricity. Fiala now works for a company called Interchange Brokers that sell these filters that are installed on electrical sub-panels. The board voted to test the product on four sub-panels in the indoor pool area at the high school at a cost of about $800. If they do indeed improve energy
performance, the board will consider installing them in all the school buildings. They approved a family medical leave request for Wes Albers from approximately February 18th through April 4th; accepted the resignation of paraprofessional Tiffany Mathias; accepted several
donations for the School Robotics Team, and approved adding the Fulda Area Credit Union as a depository for school Funds.

Middle School Principal Chris Naumann reported that eight students qualified for the Regional Science Fair. Pleasantview Elementary Principal Bryan Boysen reported that they raised $4500 in the CHIP fundraising campaign.

Highlighted calendar items included the Pleasantview Elementary Christmas Concert this Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. at the Middle School Auditorium in Lakefield; the High School band and Choir Christmas Concert this Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the JCC Performing Arts Center
in Jackson and Christmas Vacation which begins on December 24th through January 3rd.

The Board’s Reorganizational Meeting was officially set for Monday, January 4th at 6:00 p.m. in the High School Board Room. The meeting adjourned at 6:48 p.m.


Local Counties receive SHIP grants - Dec 13, 2015 

ST. PAUL - The Minnesota Department of Health’s community-led health improvement efforts are receiving 27.2 million dollars in funding from Minnesota’s Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP), a state and locally-funded partnership now operating in all 87 counties of Minnesota. 

SHIP helps Minnesotans live longer, healthier lives while building healthy, vital communities.  As part of that mission, this year’s funding will allow cities and counties to focus on the health of seniors and efforts that help delay the onset or progression of dementia for those over age 60. 

SHIP grants, with amounts based largely on population, provide funding to the state’s Community Health Boards.  The amounts awarded are through October 31st, 2017.  Grants total 405,481 dollars for Cottonwood-Jackson and Nobles Counties….413,089 dollars for Faribault, Martin and Watonwan Counties….423,775 dollars for Blue Earth County….and 618,254 dollars for Brown, Nicollet, LeSueur and Waseca Counties.   


Jackson Co Bird Count is Saturday - Dec 13, 2015

JACKSON - The annual Jackson County Christmas Bird Count will be held on Saturday, December 19th.  Interested persons can participate in several ways.  One way is to meet other birdwatchers at 8 a.m. at the Prairie Ecology Bus Center in Lakefield.  You can choose an area from the map to cover.  Another way is to watch birds at your backyard bird feeders.  For the second option, contact the Bird Count Coordinator ahead of time to make sure you are located within the count circle.

Jackson County’s coordinator is Don Vrchota.  He can be reached at 507-847-2638.


Federated seeks applications for Youth Tour Contest - Dec 10, 2015 

JACKSON - Federated Rural Electric in Jackson will again hold their Youth Tour Contest.  The local teenage selected will experience firsthand the pride of being an American on a free trip to Washington, D.C. June 11-16.

High school freshmen, sophomores, juniors and, now even seniors, attending a high school in Federated’s service area can enter. Pick up an application from the school counselor or contact Federated (info@federatedrea.coop or call 1-800-321-3520). The application and information are also found on Federated’s website (www.federatedrea.coop).

The student must write a 300-word essay on an energy-related topic, which is due with the application by February 29. The first 15 students to enter receive $20 gift certificates to Amazon.com.

Five finalists will be selected for short interviews. The combined scores from the essay, interview and application determine the trip winner, along with second and third place who receive $150 and $100, respectively.

The winner will travel with 40 other Minnesota teens sponsored by other rural electric co-ops. Federated’s delegate is one of 1,500 delegates nationally.


Lakefield Council approves Levy increase - Dec 8, 2015

LAKEFIELD - The Lakefield City Council met in regular session Monday at City Hall in Lakefield.  The Council approved the 2016 Levy, which is a 4.5% increase over 2015, but a 1.5% decrease from the preliminary 2016 Levy.  The primary reasons for the increase are a proposed street project and normal cost increases.

The council also approved a 1% Cost Of Living increase for 2016, approved the amortization scheduled for sewer maintenance to make payments to the 2015 Street Project Bond fund, approved the ambulance department request to purchase two laptop computers for ambulance rigs and approved the purchase of a Ford Interceptor SUV for the Lakefield Police Department.  This SUV will replace a Chevy Impala with 109,000 miles on it.

In other action, the council approved a number of liquor and tobacco licenses and set Monday December 21st at 7pm as the time for a public hearing for vacation of the southern end of Minnesota Street.

The meeting went into closed session at 8:10pm.  Following the closed session, the council approved making an offer to the Rensink Trust for an option to purchase real estate and approved staff to work with Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc Engineering on the waste water project.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:35pm.  The next scheduled meeting of the Lakefield City Council is on Monday, December 21st at 7pm.


Changes coming to KKOJ-KRAQ Radio - Dec 8, 2015

JACKSON - Some changes are on the way for KKOJ and KRAQ Radio. Effective January 4th, 2016, KRAQ FM 105 7 will change their call letters to KUXX, Extreme Country 105 7, playing Hot Country Hits featuring artists such as Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and more. The new KUXX will also offer a variety of local information including news, weather sports and ag headlines. 105 7 Extreme Country will also now be home to Martin County West Maverick sports.

KKOJ, 1190 AM, will change to classic hits from the late 60’s through the early 80’s, with a heavy emphasis on local news, weather, sports and Linder Farm Network markets.

A new radio station, KKOJ FM, 97.7, will be signing on the air in the next couple of weeks. The station will simulcast KKOJ AM during the daytime. After KKOJ signs off the for the day, KKOJ FM will continue with its own programming. KKOJ FM will be the home to Jackson County Central Huskies sports.

General Manager Marty Spies says it’s an exciting time for Community First Broadcasting, which owns the stations...Marty Spies cut

Community First Broadcasting, who recently acquired KKOJ and KRAQ, also owns and operates radio stations in Spirit Lake, Spencer, Storm Lake and Sioux Center, Iowa, as well as in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Community First Broadcasting is based out of Sioux Falls.


November Terrific Kids honored at Riverside - Dec 5, 2015  

JACKSON - November’s Terrific Kids were recognized last week at Riverside Elementary in Jackson.

November’s Terrific Kids honored for being “Positive” were First Grader Chloe Nestegard, daughter of Brad and Holly Nestegard and Second Grader Thomas Sauter, son of Krystal Kocak and Greg Sauter.

Students honored for being “Responsible” were First Graders Shiloh Hoody, son of Olivia Saddler and Antonio Hoody and Tressa Withers, daughter of Rob and Sarah Withers, and Fourth Graders Taryn Lessman, daughter of Justin and Amber Lessman and Myles Sathoff, son of Jessica Haukoos.

Students honored for being “Safe” were First Grader Wyatt Fredrickson, son of Brandon and Wendy Fredrickson and Fifth Grader Noah Orlikowski, son of Kelly Soucek and Jeremy Orlikowski.

And Students honored for being “Respectful” were Kindergartener Nicholas Haley, son of Brandon and Sherry Haley, Third Grader Alex Mohning, son of Chris and Nicole Mohning and Fourth Grader Seth Stai, son of Tim and Katie Stai.

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

This is the 23nd 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 Radio.  The Terrific Kids are chosen from nominations that are submitted by teachers and staff during the past month.


Jackson 2016 Levy to remain the same - Dec 2, 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.

A Public Truth-in-Taxation Hearing was held for the final 2015 Tax Levy Collectable in 2016.  The proposed levy is just under $1.4 million dollars, which represents no change over the 2015 levy.  Following no public input, the levy is scheduled to be approved at the December 15th meeting.  Mayor Wayne Walter and Councilman Fred Bern both expressed gratitude to the Finance Committee for their hard work keeping the City of Jackson in good financial shape.  A copy of the levy is available for public inspection at City Hall.  The Council also approved the second reading of an Ordinance amending the MN Energy Franchise Fee Ordinance. 

In other action, the council approved allocating $10,000 in 2016 funding for the Jackson Center for the Arts contingent upon them securing a downtown building, approved a one day temporary liquor license for the Jackson American Legions for the Jackson Speedway Banquet on December 19th at the Jackson National Guard Armory and approved 8-hours of paid time off for all full-time city employees on December 24th in an effort to express appreciations for their service to the City in 2015.

The meeting went into closed session at 6:48pm to discuss labor negotiations.  The next scheduled meeting of the Jackson City Council is on Tuesday, December 15th at 6:30pm.


One injured in 2-semi accident near Windom - Nov 30, 2015 

WINDOM - One person was injured in a two-vehicle accident near Windom on Sunday night. 

58 year-old Bradley Bucholz of Truesdale, IA was driving a 2005 Freightliner semi northbound on Highway 86 and attempted to enter eastbound Highway 60.  29 year-old Derek Rogers of Logan, UT was driving a 2005 Kenworth semi eastbound on Highway 60 and collided with Bucholz’s Freightliner.

Rogers was transported by Windom Ambulance to the Windom Area Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.  Bucholz sustained no apparent injuries.

Moderate damage was reported to Bucholz’s trailer.  Roger’s Kenworth was a total loss.  No damage was reported to Bucholz’s trailer or Roger’s semi.

The Cottonwood County Sheriff’s Office, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Windom Fire Department and Windom Police Department assisted the State Patrol at the scene.


MVTV Wireless gets broadband grant - Nov 28, 2015 

ST. PAUL - The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced yesterday (SAT) that $11 million in grants have been awarded for projects to expand broadband access in 15 Greater Minnesota communities. Lt. Governor Smith made the announcement at the Blandin Foundation’s “Border to Border Broadband: Better Together” Conference.

This broadband funding was awarded under DEED’s Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program, which was signed into law in May 2014. This year, DEED received 44 applications for funding, totaling more than $29 million in requests. Recipients were selected based on an internal review and scoring process.

Among those receiving funding is MVTV Wireless Middle Mile, in Southwestern Minnesota receiving over $800,000 to improve services to customers in 20 southwestern Minnesota counties.  The total project cost is estimated at $1.85 million with MVTV covering the remaining $1.04 million.

The latest round of broadband grants will improve access to high-speed broadband for over 3,000 households, almost 800 businesses and nearly 90 community institutions throughout the state. Now in its second year, the program’s first round of funding awarded $19.4 million to 17 Greater Minnesota communities in February of this year.


Fairmont man injured in rollover near Jackson - Nov 28, 2015 

JACKSON - A Fairmont man was injured in a one vehicle accident Friday afternoon on Interstate 90 just east of Jackson.

18 year-old Nathan Sukulski of Fairmont was driving a 1997 Chevrolet Malibu westbound on I-90 near milepost 76 when he lost control, entered the median, rolled and came to a rest in the east bound lanes.

Sukulski was transported to the Sanford Jackson Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.  The Malibu he was driving was a total loss.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s office assisted the State Patrol at the scene.


 

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