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News headlines

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.


Two injured in one-vehicle accident Friday - Jan. 12, 2015 

JACKSON - Two people were hurt in a one vehicle accident just west of Jackson on Interstate 90 Friday afternoon.

33 year-old Jeffrey Barnes of Rapid City, SD was driving a 2010 Ford Expedition eastbound on I-90 around 2pm on Friday when he left the roadway and entered the median.

Two passengers, 34 year-old Sarah Brashear and 8 year-old Taycen Barnes, both of Rapid City, SD were transported to the Sanford Jackson Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and Jackson Fire and Ambulance assisted the State Patrol at the scene.


Long-term camping applications available from DNR - Jan. 10, 2015  

ST. PAUL - Those who want to stay longer than a week or two at a Minnesota state park should act now to nab one of the few campsites available for longer stays, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

At a limited number of state park campsites, visitors can stay for a whole month or even a full season. Reservations for these opportunities in 2015 are due by Saturday, Jan. 31.

Nine Minnesota state parks have monthly and seasonal openings for camping in 2015.  Kilen Woods State Park will offer monthly and seasonal camping from May 22 to Sept. 6 at three sites with electric hookups. Call Phil Nasby at 507-831-2900, ext. 225, for information.

If demand exceeds availability at a particular park, a lottery will be held on Monday, Feb. 2, and the park will notify applicants whether or not they were selected. If sites are available after this date, they will be administered on a first-come, first-served basis. No preference will be given to monthly or seasonal campers from prior years.

Luverne wind farm investors file for bankruptcy - Jan. 9, 2015  

MINNEAPOLIS - Farmers and land owners who invested in two small wind farms in southwest Minnesota have filed for bankruptcy reorganization.

Regulatory filings say the 360 owners stand to lose their investment and the wind farms may eventually have to shut down.

The two Minwind Energy projects are located near Luverne. Minwind says the turbines have needed extensive repairs and it can no longer afford the maintenance.

Minwind has also failed to file some paperwork with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission since 2006 and has a $1.9 million liability. Minwind's attorneys have told the government the owners are "unsophisticated" about regulatory matters and should be excused for the filing lapse.

The Minwind farms went online with 11 turbines in 2002 and 2004. The electricity is sold to Xcel Energy and Alliant Energy.


Operation Round Up deadline is Feb. 9th - Jan. 9, 2015  

JACKSON - February 9th is the next deadline to request Operation Round Up funds from Federated Rural Electric’s Trust Board.

The application form can be downloaded from Federated’s website, federatedrea.coop. You can also call Federated at 507-847-3520, 728-8366 or 1-800-321-3520. Ask for Andrea to request an application or by e-mail to info@federatedrea.coop.

Since 1995 Federated's Trust Board has distributed more than $450,000 to local organizations including senior dining, hospice, fire/ambulance departments and as high school scholarships. Details on Federated’s Round Up scholarships for high school seniors will be announced in the April 1 electric bills and April Connections newsletter.

Organizations that serve Federated members in Jackson or Martin Counties can request funds for projects involving community service, community leadership programs, disaster relief, environmental programs, youth education or emergency-energy assistance.

Federated is a Touchstone Energy Cooperative serving 5,000 members in Jackson and Martin Counties.


Moore elected JCC Board Chair - Jan. 8, 2015 

JACKSON - The Jackson County Central School Board held their reorganizational meeting Wednesday night in the Board Room at the JCC High School.  The meeting was called to order at 7:02pm.  Tim Thurmer was the only board member absent.

The Oath of Office was given to newly elected board members Brad Anderson, Holli Arp and Rhonda Moore.  Rhonda Moore was elected the new Board Chair, with Jody Thrush elected Vice-Chair, Kirk Dunlavey elected Clerk and Jeff Johnson elected Treasurer.

The board approved increasing board compensation by $10.  Board meeting compensation for regular board members and compensation for committee meetings is now $55, Compensation for Chair and Clerk for board meetings is set at $65 and all day in-services and workshops are set at $85.  This is the first increase for board members since 1998 and it was noted that JCC Board is still among the lowest paid in our area.

The Board recognized and thanked Gary Place for his service on the board this past year.  Place stepped in when there was an vacancy and really went above and beyond while filling in.

The meeting went into closed session at 7:30pm for Superintendent review.

The next regular meeting of the JCC School Board is scheduled for Monday, January 26th.


Jackson Council tables roundabout approval - Jan. 7, 2015   

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.  Donnie Schoenrock was the only council member absent.

The Oath of Office was given to Mayor Wayne Walter, then to elected council members Mike Handevidt, Brandon Finck, Ken Temple and Dave Cushman.

Chris Bower with MnDOT addressed the council regarding the Highway 71 bridge project and the proposed roundabout at the intersection of Highway 71 and Industrial Parkway.  Bower says if the city moves forward with the roundabout, they could delay parts of the bridge project until 2016.  The project would have to be approved in 2015 for funding, but the majoritity of work could be postponed until 2016 leaving Highway 71 to be closed for only 1 year, rather than 2.

The council tabled action approving the roundabout until the next council meeting.

Susan Reiter of Coffee Choices asked the council to consider eliminating the 2 hour parking limit in the downtown business district.  Reiter said that the current parking limit is not welcoming to those wanting to shop and stay downtown.  No action was taken on the request.

In other action, the council approved Ordinance 83 regarding Fees, Rates and Charges for 2015, eliminated the Sidewalk Display Permit requirement, authorized hiring Blaike Smith as a part-time liquor store clerk at the Jackson Liquor Store, approved Fred Bern as Mayor Pro Tem and moved the January 20th meeting to January 27th.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:00pm.  The next regular meeting of the Jackson City Council will be at 6:30pm on Tuesday, January 27.


Jackson man arrested for marijuana - Jan. 6, 2015  

JACKSON - A Jackson man is under arrest following the execution of a Search Warrant in Jackson last Friday.   

The Jackson County Sheriff’s office seized approximately ½ pound of marijuana and two indoor hydroponic marijuana grow boxes during the execution of the Search Warrant. No marijuana plants were found growing at the time.

Arrested was 66 year old Clarence Franklin Higdon of Jackson. Higdon stated he purchased the grow boxes online for approximately $6000. The boxes were manufactured exclusively to grow marijuana.

Higdon was released after posting a $5000 bond.


Henkels elected Board Chair - Jan. 6, 2015 

JACKSON - The Jackson County Board of Commissioners met this (Tue 1/6/15) morning and approved the re-appointment of Roger Hartman to the Heron Lake Watershed Board of Managers for a three year term. The vote was 4-1 with Commissioner Rose Schultz voting against the motion. A letter of interest for the position was also received from Lloyd Kalfs.

County Coordinator Jan Fransen informed the board that a new County 4-H coordinator has been hired. Her name is Sarah Jacobs and she grew up in 4-H in Nobles County and is currently teaching in Marshall. She will begin her new duties on January 12. Another new county hire is Heavy Equipment Operator Randy Schubert, who also begins January 12. The list of candidates for the open Assistant County Attorney position have been narrowed to four.

Information Systems Department Head Dennis Fields requested and the board approved authorizing the filling the full time position of PC/Network Specialist One. The position is currently held by Damon Radcliffe, who has accepted a position with another company. They also reclassified at part-time Information Systems Administrative Assistant position, which is currently vacant, to a full-time Administrative Assistant/Software Specialist position and to also advertise and fill that position.

Sheriff Roger Hawkinson asked the board to approve a request that results in Deputy Brad Nestegard resigning his full-time position and remaining with the county as a part-time deputy. Part-time Deputy Adam Cook is interested in moving from part-time to full time. The board approved the request.

County Attorney Sherry Haley was pleased to report that Jackson County was approved to receive a little over seventy-eight thousand dollars in state grant money to implement e-citations throughout the entire county.

Commissioner Dave Henkels was elected board chair. Henkels also presented a prepared statement outlining county accomplishments in the past six years and his vision for the future.  Rose Schultz was elected vice-chair. Don Wachal was welcomed as a new board member, and retiring board member Gary Willink was thanked for his service.

Regular board meetings in 2015 will be held on the first at third Tuesday of each month at 9:00 a.m. Garren Paulson and Dave Hargan were reappointed to the Planning, Zoning and Parks Board; Commissioner Rose Schultz was reappointed to the Plum Creek Library Board; appointments to board committees were made; the 2015 Summary Budget was approved which includes estimated State and Federal Aid revenues; they accepted the proposals to publish all Board Proceedings, the annual financial statement and list of delinquent real estate taxes in the Jackson County Pilot, Lakefield Standard and Tri-County News; the Jackson County Pilot was designated official newspaper; and it was reported that the Jackson Speedway For Sale official notice will be published in the paper starting this week and that bids will be received until 2:00 p.m. on Friday, January 30th.


Lakefield Council names Bakalyar Mayor Pro Tem - Jan. 6, 2015   

LAKEFIELD - The Lakefield City Council met in regular session Monday night at City Hall in Lakefield. 

The Council named Bruce Bakalyar Mayor Pro Tem, approved a quote for crushing a concrete pile, and received an offer to purchase property near the cell phone tower, which was declined.

The meeting was adjourned around 7:30pm.  The next regular meeting of the Lakefield City Council will be at 7pm on Tuesday, January 20th at the City Hall in Lakefield.


Jackson Co Historical Society sets 2014 Annual Meeting - Jan. 5, 2015   

LAKEFIELD - The Jackson County Historical Society will hold their 2014 Annual Meeting at 1:30pm on Saturday, January 17th at the Museum in Lakefield.

The Agenda includes the business meeting followed by Board elections.  After that is the program consisting of 2014 in review and a retrospect of photographer Harold F. Strom.

Strom operated a photography store in Jackson until he passed away in 1953 at the age of 54.  On display will be a sampling of his photographs which will include both family and professional pictures alike.

Refreshments will be serviced. 

The 2014 Annual Meeting of the Jackson County Historical Society will be at 1:30pm on Saturday, January 17th at the Jackson County Historical Society Museum in Lakefield.


IRRMA names 2015 Hall of Fame Class - Jan. 4, 2015   

 ARNOLDS PARK - The Iowa RockNRoll Music Association has chosen 24 musicians and music related entities for induction into the IRRMA Hall of Fame in 2015.

Bands slated for induction include: Smokin’ Clams (Sioux City), Windfall Jac (Fayette), Inner Lite (Marshalltown), Castels (Milford), FreeStyle (Des Moines) and Interstate Cruisers (Sibley). The Out-of-State honorees this year will be Jan & Dean.

Individual musicians to be honored include: Scott Cochran (Des Moines), Craig Bavender (Waterloo), Dave Christopherson (Waterloo), Carey Crowson (Ankeny), Kevin Lind (Laurens), Andy Avery (Burlington) and Taylor Mills (Des Moines - in the Women Who Rock category).

The Border Band honoree for 2015 is Steve Ellis & the Starfires from Pipestone, Minnesota.

The late Dick Dale from Algona is the recipient of the Matousek Family Lifetime Achievement Award. Receiving the IRRMA Lifetime Achievement Award will be Bob Gamble (Spirit Lake), the late Richard (Dick) Burns from Woodbine, Jerry LeMire of Minneapolis and Darwin Eaton from Pocahontas.

Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines, Catamount Studios in Cedar Falls and Hi-Way Gardens of Stanwood, and the Riviera Ballroom at Janesville will also be inducted.

In addition to the Hall of Fame Induction, IRRMA will honor the band November 35th from Sioux City and Barbara Lancaster of Arnolds Park with the 2015 Spirit Award for their continued efforts to preserve the music and its history now and into the future.

The 2015 IRRMA Hall of Fame Induction Spectacular weekend, full of exciting activities, will take place on Sept. 4-6 in Arnolds Park. For more details, go online to iowarocknroll.com.