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News headlines

JCC places two at State Speech Meet - Apr 17 

Jackson County Central had two place winners at the 2015 Class A State Speech Meet held Friday at Lakeville North High School. 

Junior Nick Reed placed fourth in Storytelling.  This is Reed’s third time advancing to the State meet where he has placed all three years.

Sofia Stumph, an 8th Grader, placed fifth in Creative Expression.  This was Stumpf’s first year advancing to the State meet.

Sophomore Jenna Sassenrath also competed for JCC at the State Speech Meet. 

The Class 2A State Speech meet is being held on Saturday.

There will be a Speech Showcase at 1pm on Sunday, May 3rd at the Historic State Theater in Jackson.  All three state qualifiers will perform along with Senior Maddie Isaacson.  The public is invited to hear these great performances.  Awards will be handed out after the performances.  Concessions will be available.

Highway 60 expansion to continue in May - Apr 16  

MANKATO - The expansion of Highway 60 from two lanes to four lanes between Mountain Lake and Butterfield is expected to officially begin May 11, however motorists may already have seen crews working on drainage and relocating utilities.

Initially, traffic will be maintained on the existing two lanes of Highway 60 while construction of the additional two lanes takes place on the south side.  A two-month detour later in the summer will be necessary to build the connections on both ends of the project.

The project, which includes grading, paving, concrete repair and lighting, is expected to be complete in October.

This is the second of three projects planned to complete the expansion of Highway 60 to a four-lane facility.  The section from Mountain Lake to Windom is planned to begin in 2017. 

Minnesota Crop Report for April 14 - Apr 14

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota farmers have gotten a jump on small grain planting this spring.

Although only 3.5 days were suitable for fieldwork for the week ending Sunday, the U.S. Department of Natural Resources says small grain planting by Minnesota farmers is 3.5 weeks ahead of last year's pace.

Twenty percent of Minnesota's spring wheat is planted, five days ahead of normal. Seventeen percent of oat acreage is planted, almost four weeks ahead of last year. Barley planting is 10 percent complete, which is a month ahead of last year and a day ahead of the five-year average.

Sugar beet planting is 11 percent complete, 30 days ahead of last year.

Most farmers are waiting for warmer weather to start planting corn, although there are scattered reports of corn planting in southern Minnesota.

Holmberg and Brinkman Lions students of the quarter - Apr 14 

JACKSON - Jackson County Central High School Seniors Hannah Holmberg and Joseph Brinkman were honored Monday night as the Jackson Lions' Students of the Second Quarter.

Hannah, daughter of Mark and Ramona Holmberg, is ranked 5th in her senior class of 95 students. She has an overall grade point average of 3.942. Hannah's activities in school include Choir, Band, Jazz Band, Key-Club, and FFA where she serves as Treasurer. She is also a member of the National Honor Society and 4-H. Holmberg's classes include American Government, Spanish II, and academic reading. She is also involved with youth group at church.

 Holmberg will be attending school this Fall in Madison, Wisconsin.

Joe Brinkman is the son of Mike and Mary Brinkman. Joe is ranked 6th out of his senior class of 95. His activities at JCC have included Basketball and Golf. Brinkman serves on the Student Council, is a member of the National Honor Society and is involved with his youth group at church. His classes have included physics, calculus, economics, and American Government.

Brinkman outlined his plans to attend Mount Marty College in Yankton, SD this fall.

As the Jackson Lions' Students of the Quarter, Holmberg and Brinkman were each presented a framed certificate recognizing them as the Lions' Student of the Quarter and a check for $100.

JCC sends 3 to State Speech Meet - Apr 11  

 ST. PETER - Jackson County Central had three entries qualify for the State Speech Tournament next weekend.  The Section 2A meet was held Friday in St. Peter.

Sofia Stumpf was the section champion in Creative Expression and Nick Reed in Storytelling and Jenna Sassenrath in Dramatic Interpretation were section runners-up.  The top three in each category advance to state.

Other placewinners for JCC were Becca Dose finishing 4th in Extemporaneous Reading, Josie Nunez finishing 5th in Poetry and Logan Kooistra finishing 6th in Extemporaneous Speaking.

Also competing for Jackson County Central was Maddie Isaacson in Original Oratory, Tara Porter and Alix Schmidt in Duo, Glory and Liberty Meyer in Duo and Camden Schmidt in Creative Expression.

Martin County West had one finalist, Tristan Rabbe was 6th in Discussion.

The class A State Speech Meet will be held on Friday, April 10th at Lakeville North High School.

Area Churches host events on Sunday - Apr 10  

ALPHA - There are a couple of events happening at area churches this weekend.

The annual Ice Cream Social will be held at Immanuel Lutheran Church in rural Alpha on Sunday from 11am to 1pm.

Everyone is invited to enjoy homemade soups, sandwiches and desserts along with homemade ice cream and toppings.  Free will donations will be accepted.

At 2pm on Sunday, Immanuel Lutheran Church in Dunnell will be hosting a gospel concert featuring Glenn Henriksen, Jeff Hagen and the quartet Songquest, Millie Kittleson and Bill Hanson.

Refreshments will be served after the concert.  A free will offering will be accepted.

JCC Prom is Saturday - Apr 10   

JACKSON - Jackson County Central High School will be holding their 2015 prom “A Whole New World” Saturday night.

The Grand March is scheduled for 6:15pm in the High School Main Gymnasium with the dinner at 7pm.  Hypnotist Jason Mystic will provide entertainment at 8:30 with the dance from 10pm to 12:30am.

Post prom will start at 12:30am in the High School Commons.

Bomb Scare closes Spencer Hy-Vee - Apr 10  

SPENCER - The Hy-Vee in Spencer was closed for several hours yesterday afternoon after a bomb threat was received at the corporate headquarters in Des Moines.

Just after noon, officials report receiving the threat and the store was evacuated.  After a thorough search, the store re-opened around 3pm.

The Spencer Police Department, Clay County Sheriff’s Office, Spencer Fire Department, Clay County Emergency Management, Iowa State Patrol, State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Algona Police Department assisted at the scene.

The incident remains under investigation by Spencer police and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

Commissioner declare April Child Abuse Prev Mo - Apr 7  

JACKSON - The Jackson County Board met at 9:00 Tuesday morning with Commissioner David Henkels absent.

The board approved a resolution accepting the recommendation of the Revolving Loan Fund Committee for a loan to Round Lake Vineyards and Winery, LLC for one hundred thousand dollars for fifteen years with a five year balloon and at 5 percent interest.

The board approved a resolution proclaiming April as Child Abuse Prevention month in Jackson County after hearing a presentation from Angie Hillmer and Sarah Krause from Family Services Network.  Krause and Hillmer also discussed the need for people willing to provide foster care, respite care and day care. More after school and summer programs for kids would also help with prevention.

April was also proclaimed as County Government Month by the Commissioners; in recognition of the role County government plays in the lives of citizens.

In other action, the board approved conditional use permits for Wanzek Construction in connection with the Odell Windfarm Project and for Knife River Construction for an asphalt plant on property owned by Larry Christopher. The site will be used for the Interstate 90 project. They denied a modification request to a conditional use permit for New Fashion Pork. They approved advertising for road overlay and sealcoat projects, approved a resolution for a five year bridge repair priority schedule, and approved the purchase of Handy Hitch Packer/Roller from Bruellman Blading and Road Maintenance of Blue Earth for just over $34,000.

They approved the reappointment of Rocky Seiler to the Revolving Loan Fund Advisory Board, accepted the resignation of Jason Freking from the Planning and Zoning Board, and recognized and thanked retiring board and committee members: Jana Mueller from the Library Board, Gordon Ruskell from the Revolving Loan Fund Board, Ardy Palmer from the Extension Committee and Robert Untiedt from the Housing Redevelopment Authority Board.

The board approved advertising for a replacement for Sherrif’s Office Records Clerk Patty Prom who has resigned effective June 18th. The Sheriff’s Office is also anticipating losing several part-time deputy positions in the upcoming months. The board approved a request to fill part-time Deputy positions, not to exceed five. The Commissioners heard presentations from three search firms with proposals to aid in the search and hiring of a new County Coordinator to replace Janice Fransen who is retiring at the end of December. Waters and Company Executive Recruitment, David Drown Associates, and Sicora Consulting made presentations. The board hopes to choose a firm at their next meeting on April 21 and have a new person hired by October or November.

Jackson Council approved bid for DP4 Project - Apr 7 

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 6:35pm with all members present.

Greg Mitchell with Bolton & Menk presented the council with the bid tabulations for the DP4 project at Highway 71 and Industrial Parkway.  The bid from Svoboda Excavating came in 18% under estimate. The council approved proceeding with the full project.

At 7:05pm the council convened the local board of Appeal and Equalization Meeting.  County Assessor Jason McCaslin presented a report on the current process of assessing property values in Jackson County.  Two Jackson residents brought appeals to the meeting.  Larry Hanson of Circle Drive asked why his property value has increased over 25% in the last 2 years.  Assessors will view his property again and the board will convene again on April 21st at the next council meeting to discuss.

RE Schenk of White Street asked why his property value increased 15% from 2014-15 and 47% from 2015-16.  Schenk acknowledged that some renovations had been done but were not complete.  McCaslin pointed out that when an assessor came to view the renovations, access was denied so they had to make assumptions as to what was done and assess accordingly.  Schenk said that he has a right to privacy and answered all the questions asked by the assessor.  No action was taken by the council.

The council meeting continued at 8:25pm.  In action items, the council approved a burn permit for Jerry Kinney on his property at 115 Deer Run, approved a modified resolution supporting the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership project with a clawback clause for property not being developed, approved an amended and restated development agreement, assessment agreement and assessor’s certification for the SWMHP project. 

The meeting was adjourned at 9pm.  The next regular meeting of the Jackson City Council is scheduled for 6:30pm on Tuesday, April 21.

The Flour Shop Bakery to open in Lakefield - Apr 4 

LAKEFIELD - After many months of planning and developing, the Lakefield EDA announced Friday that a signed purchase agreement for the sale of the bakery was officially approved.

The Flour Shop Bakery will be opened by Lakefield resident, Dayla Smith.  The purchase agreement includes the familiar recipes and the additional space previously occupied by the barber shop, which can be used for potential expansion. 

MNDot announces 2015 road projects - Apr 3  

MANKATO - The Minnesota Department of Transportation has announced their construction projects for 2015.  There are several projects scheduled for our area.

Work is scheduled to start in May on Interstate 90 from the Round Lake exit to the Sherburn exit.  Westbound lanes are scheduled to get concrete and bituminous overlay with eastbound lanes getting bituminous overlay.

The highway 60 expansion project will continue in May with a section of the road between Mountain Lake and Butterfield going to 4-lanes.  There is expected to be a three month detour with this project.

Jackson Library to show devices at Coffee Choices - Apr 1

JACKSON - The Jackson Library will be coming to Coffee Choices on Friday from 9-10am with devices that are available from the library.

Both Kindle Fire HDX’s and iPads are available for 2 week checkouts from the library.

The devices will be at Coffee Choices for customers to play with and learn more about eBooks and eMagazines that are available for free from the library.

Join the library at Coffee Choices on Friday from 9-10am to learn more about devices available through the Jackson Library.

LRH purchases two LUCAS CPR machines - Apr 1 

SPIRIT LAKE - Thanks to the generosity of donors throughout the area, Lakes Regional Healthcare was able to purchase two LUCAS CPR machines after a community-wide fundraising initiative.

Lakes Regional Healthcare Foundation Executive Director Sonja Hamm said it was heartening to see the outpouring of support for these machines. The amount raised covered the cost of one unit and a good portion of the second and Lakes Regional Healthcare Foundation agreed to fund the difference.

The two machines will be kept on the two primary ambulances at Lakes Regional Healthcare.  The Lakes Regional Healthcare Foundation hopes to still raise funds to cover the cost of a third unit to be utilized in the Emergency Room.

The LUCAS CPR machine delivers uninterrupted compressions at a consistent rate and depth and can be used while paramedics provide other valuable care to the patient

Demonstrations of the LUCAS CPR machine will be held at a Public Safety Open House at the Milford Fire Department on Wednesday, May 13 from 5:00 until 7:00 pm.

Those interested in contributing can contact Lakes Regional Healthcare Foundation Executive Director Sonja Hamm at 712-336-8791.

Luverne man killed in accident near Ellsworth - Apr 1 

ELLSWORTH - A Luverne man was killed in a two vehicle accident on Monday north of Ellsworth. 

59 year-old Steve Hup of Luverne was driving a 2003 Chevrolet Silverado westbound on Nobles County Road 6 when he collided with a trailer hauling a skid steer pulled by a 2008 Ford Super Duty driven by 25 year-old Brock Jacobs of Adrian.  Jacobs was stopped on County Road 6 making a left turn to go north on Highway 91 when the accident occurred.

Hup was killed in the accident.  Jacobs and a passenger in his vehicle, 19 year-old Benjamin Taracena sustained no apparent injuries. 

The Ellsworth Fire and Rescue and Nobles County Sheriff’s Office assisted the State Patrol at the scene.

March Teriffic Kids honored at Riverside - Mar 31, 2015   

JACKSON - March’s Terrific Kids were recognized Tuesday afternoon at Riverside Elementary in Jackson.

March’s Terrific Kids honored for being “Positive” was First Graders Kade Freking-Leu, son of Linette Freking and Mike Leu and Aidan Rowland, son of Richard and Tori Rowland, Second Grader Miles Allen, son of Derek and Melissa Allen, and Third Graders Caden Thurmer, son of Matt & Darci Thurmer and Tanner Mathias, son of Lee and Rachel Mathias.

The Terrific Kids honored for being “Responsible” were Third Grader Kasey Grimmius, grandson of Earl and Mary Lee Aylward, Fourth Grader Ashlyn Bohl, daughter of Jason and Andrea Bohl, and Fifth Graders Sarah Genzlinger, daughter of Adam and Amanda Genzlinger and Emma Swan, daughter of Rachel Truong and William Swan.

The Terrific Kids honored for being “Respectful” were First Grader Caledon Lessman, son of Justin and Amber Lessman and Second Grader Aden O’Neill, son of Crystal Ringling.

And the Terrific Kid honored for being “Safe” was Second Grader Samantha Henning, daughter of Brad and Ann Henning.

The students honored as March’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 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.

JCC 2nd, MCW 5th in 2A South Subsection Speech - Mar 31, 2015  

FAIRMONT - Jackson County Central took 2nd place out of ten teams competing in the Class 2A South Subsection Speech Meet on Monday in Fairmont.  JCC advances 11 students in 9 entries to the Section Meet in St. Peter.

Advancing as subsection champions for for JCC were Sofia Stumpf in Creative Expression, Jenna Sassenrath in Dramatic Interpretation, Logan Kooistra in Extemporaneous Speaking, and Nick Reed in Storytelling.  Finishing second were Becca Dose in Extemporaneous Reading and Maddie Isaacson in Original Oratory.  Also advancing were Tara Porter and Alix Schmidt, fourth in Duo, Glory Meyer and Liberty Meyer, fifth in Duo and Josie Nunez, fifth in Poetry.

There was a change this year as Class 2A went from three subsection locations to two.  The Class 2A North Subsection meet will be today in Janesville.  The top six from each sub-section advance to the Section meet on Friday, April 10th in St. Peter where to top 3 advance to state.

 Fairmont was the team champion advancing 29 entries.  Martin County West finished 5th in the team standing advancing seven entries.  Tristan Rabbe was subsection champion in Discussion, Logan Potthoff was third in Discussion, Brandon Kluver and Abby Bachenburg were third in Duo, Sierra Tumbleson was fourth in Extemporaneous Reading, Alexi Schafer was fourth in Storytelling, Kate Ebling was fifth in Storytelling and Jackie Frerichs was sixth in Extemporaneous Reading.

Pleasantview recognizes "Paws"itive Performers - Mar 30, 2015  

 LAKEFIELD - Pleasantview Elementary in Lakefield has announced the students being recognized for WBR (Without Being Reminded) and “Paws”itive Performers.

Those recognized for WBR include Kindergarten Student Kason Farmer, First Grader Paige Ysker, Second Graders Ean Green and Alissa Dutton, Third Grader Emily Blaskey, Fourth Grader Emma Bond and Fifth Graders Levi Lindley and Audien Ybarra-Kraft.  The WBR students will celebrate with pizza on Wednesday.

Students recognized as “Paws”itive Performers include Kindergarten students Kason Farmer and Jayden Leckey, First Graders MacKenzie Ehlers and Paige Ysker, Second Graders Grant Freking, Jocelyn Schwarztrauber, Bailee Pohlman and Emma Ruden, Third Graders Alexis Cother and Tristan Zinnel, Fourth Graders Emma Bond and Braxton Pavelko and Fifth Graders Avery Jensen, Mario Piatz, Tanner Haar and Gavin Thies.

Kids invited to color eggs in Welcome - Mar 29

WELCOME - The Welcome Fire Department is inviting kids of all ages to help color Easter Eggs at 6pm on Wednesday at the Welcome Legion Hall.  The eggs will be used for the Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday at Hansen/Keck park starting at 9am.

33rd Walleye Weekend is May 2-3 - Mar 27, 2015  

OKOBOJI - The 33rd Annual Iowa Great Lakes Walleye Weekend is scheduled for May 2-3 this year.  Cost to register is $25 for entrants 16 and over and $15 for those 15 and younger. 

There is an additional charge of $15 to take part in the extended contest for those who want to try catching a tagged walleye after the contest.  First walleye caught during the extended contest will take home 20% of the proceeds from the tournament, the second 15% and the third 10%.

Different this year is the number of tagged walleye will double from 6 to 12, increasing your chance to snag the $33,000 grand prize commemorating the 33rd anniversary of the tournament.

Registration forms are available online at okobojichamber.com.  For more information regarding the 33rd Annual Walleye Weekend you can call 712-332-2107.

JCC Drama Dept presents "Bird Woman" - Mar 26, 2015   

JACKSON - The Jackson County Central High School Drama Department will present the play Bird Woman: The Story of Sacagawea Friday and Saturday night at the JCC Performing Arts Center.  Show times are at 7:30pm each night.

Tickets are available at the door and activity passes will be honored.  Everyone is invited to see the JCC High School Drama Department’s production of “Bird Woman: The Story of Sacagawea” Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm at the JCC Performing Arts Center.

Mt. Lake Men's Choir to perform Sunday - Mar 25, 2015   

MOUNTAIN LAKE - The Mountain Lake Men's Choir will be performing their annual concert this Sunday at 3pm at Lakeview Gospel Church located 1002 North 10th Street Mountain Lake.

A free will offering will be received, and together with supporting funds from Thrivent, all proceeds will be donated to Loaves and Fishes, the local food shelf.

OPERA Iowa to perform Cinderella - Mar 25, 2015   

SPIRIT LAKE - OPERA Iowa will be performing Cinderella at 7pm Monday at the Sami Center in Spirit Lake.

OPERA Iowa is an outreach program of the Des Moines Metro Opera.  Friends of the Sami Center present this program as part of its sixth season, bringing a variety of high-quality performances to the school and community.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and will be available at the door or online at samicenter.org.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

JCC History Day students advance to state - Mar 24, 2015   

JACKSON - All five students competing for JCC in the Regional History Day competition Monday qualified for the State competition.

The theme this year is Leadership and Legacy in History. Qualifying were Sophomore Katelynn Dorschner with an exhibit titled “Soldiers never die until they are forgotten, tomb guards never forget”, Freshman Jessica Christopffer with a website titled “The Key to our Future on Earth” and freshmen Kristin Stoltenberg, Emily Stubbe and Tara Porter with a play titled “An Element for All People”

Junior Nick Reed, who qualified for the national competition for the last two years is a mentor for this years students.

The State competition will be on Saturday, May 2 at the University of Minnesota at which time they may also qualify for the National competition in June at the University of Maryland College Park.

JCC Board approves Music Dept trip - Mar 23, 2015   

JACKSON - The Jackson County Central School Board met in regular session Monday night.  The meeting was called to order at 6:02pm.  Tim Thurmer was the only board member absent.

Riverside Third Grade teacher Robyn Reed and students Ava Brinkman, Spencer Nestegard, Taryn Lessman and Luke Anderson presented their proposal for a Third Grade Lemonade Stand Fundraiser.  The Board approved the fundraiser for April 9th and 10th with funds raised going toward the purchase of new books for the Riverside Library.

JCC Music instructors Erica Colby and Garrett Geesman presented the proposed itinerary for the Music Departments Spring 2016 trip to New York City.  Students would leave on Thursday, March 10th and return on Tuesday, March 15th.  While in New York, the choir would sing at St. John’s Cathedral and the band would play in the Lincoln Center.  The trip was approved by the board.

Riverside principal Joel Timmerman outlined the plan for both Riverside and Pleasantview Elementary Schools along with the JCC Middle school to participate in a Color Run Fundraiser.  The event would be held on Friday, May 8th.  All students from preschool through 8th grade would take part in either a 3k or 5k run or walk.  After the students have completed the course, they would be given color packets that can be thrown in the air.  Any funds raised would go toward playground equipment, field trips or other activities.  The board approved the run.

In other action, the board approved the 2015-16 school calendar, approved a quote from Four Season roofing to replace the High School roof over the office area for just over $45,000, approved a quote from Haldeman-Homme to replace all the lockers in the High School varsity lockers rooms for the boys and girls, approved hiring Katelyn Lusk Beyer as a para at Pleasantview elementary, approved a one year leave of absence request for Pleasantview 5th grade teacher Teresa Van Epps and approved accepting five AmeriCorps tutor grants for the 2015-16 school year.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:02pm.  The next scheduled meeting of the JCC School Board is Monday, April 27th at 6pm in the Board Room at the JCC High School.

Vehicle driven into apartment injures three - Mar 23, 2015     

SPIRIT LAKE - Three people sustained injuries when a vehicle drove into a Spirit Lake apartment building early this morning.

Around 1am, a 2002 Dodge Durango driven by 24 year-old Quentin Karlyle of Spirit Lake drove into the Summerfield Apartments on Sunner Avenue in Spirit Lake.

Three occupants in two apartments were treated at the scene for minor injuries.  Damage to the building is estimated at $50,000.  Karlyle’s Durango is a total loss.

Karlyle was arrested by Spirit Lake Police on charges of Operating while intoxicated, 1st offense, Reckless Driving and Failure to maintain control and was transported to the Dickinson County jail.

The Okoboji, Arnolds Park and Milford Police Departments, Dickinson County Sheriff’s Office, Spirit Lake Fire Department, Spirit Lake Ambulance and Dickinson County Emergency Management assisted the Spirit Lake Police Department at the scene.

This incident remains under investigation and additional charges are possible.

Kindergarten registration Friday at Riverside - Mar 23, 2015   

JACKSON - Riverside Elementary will be holding Kindergarten Registration for students that are eligible to attend kindergarten next fall on Friday, March 27th during the day.

A letter will be sent to parents informing them of further details of the program.  If a parent of an eligible kindergarten child does not receive a letter, please call the Riverside office at 847-5963.

Entrance age for kindergarten has been set by the Board of Education at five on or before September 1st.  Please bring along proof of age, a photocopy of a birth certificate of similar document.  

JCC Speech team has strong showing at SMSU - Mar 22, 2015   

MARSHALL - The JCC Speech Team had another strong showing Saturday at the SMSU Meet in Marshall.  Sofia Stumpf was 1st in Creative Expression, Nick Reed placed 2nd in Storytelling, Placing third were Josie Nunez in Poetry and Rebecca Dose in Extemporary Reading and placing sixth was Jenna Sassenrath in Drama.

Receiving Ribbons of Excellence were Rebecca Dose in Poetry, Nick Reed in Humor and the Duo team of Tara Porter and Alix Schmidt.  JCC placed 2nd as a team in the limited entries division.

The JCC Speech team will next compete in the sub-section competition next Monday in Fairmont.

JCC hosts first ever Big South Conf Speech meet - Mar 20, 2015  

JACKSON - Jackson County Central hosted the first ever Big South Conference Speech Meet Thursday.  12 schools and almost 250 students took part in the meet.

All-Conference awards were given to first place finisher in each category, with 2nd place receiving runner-up recognition.  The top six speakers in each category made the finals.

Three Jackson County Central speakers received All-Conference Awards.  Sofia Stumpf was the champion in Creative Expression, with Becca Dose in Extemporary Reading and Nick Reed in Storytelling receiving runner-up awards.  Josie Nunez was a finalist for JCC in Poetry.

The JCC Speech Team will compete at the SMSU meet in Marshall on Saturday.

Vehicle stolen in Jackson leads to arrest - Mar 19, 2015   

WORTHINGTON - A Worthington man was arrested earlier this week following a report of a stolen vehicle in the city of Jackson.  19 year-old Jose Pineda was arrested on one count of theft of a vehicle, one count of possession of stolen property and one count of driving after suspension.

Worthington Police observed a vehicle matching the description of the stolen vehicle traveling southwest on Minnesota Highway 60.  Pineda was pulled over and arrested without incident and is expected to appear in Nobles County District Court later this month.

MCW NHS inducts 14 Wednesday - Mar 18, 2015 

SHERBURN - The Martin County West chapter of the National Honor Society grew by 14 members during their induction ceremony Wednesday morning.

New seniors inducted were Dakotah Bahrenfuss, Molly Klima, Rachel Mahin, Jacob Sinn and Taryn Tumbleson.  Junior inductees include Reilly Geistfeld, Jordan Gregory, Ellie Kuehl, Morgan Lange, Morgan Larson, Seth Melson, Ean Sinn, Whitney Smith and Erin Swanson.

Current NHS members include Sam Baker, Haley Jensen, Chris Kahler, Tanner Lange, Sarah Potthoff, Cole Spear, Ellyn Swanson, McKenna Taylor and Matt Vielsselman.

City approves purchase of truck- Mar 18, 2015  

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

A Public hearing has held regarding USDA RD Community Facility Grant Funding for the Library Renovation and Expansion Project.  There were no public comments and no action was taken.

The second reading of an ordinance amending fees, rates and charges for 2015 was tabled by the council.  The ordinance adds a fee of $1 per foot for fiber optic cables being laid in the city of Jackson.  There was concern that this may deter development in the city of Jackson.  City staff will survey other communities to see what is being done.

The council also discussed plans for the Fort Belmont Trail.  No action was taken.  Councilmen Brandon Finck and Dave Cushman were appointed to a committee to further discuss the trail.

The council reaffirmed to PFA for the Sanitary Sewer Extention Project and approved purchase of a new Bucket Truck from ABM Equipment for just over $100,000.  It was noted that $165,000 was in the 2015 budget for this truck.

An open house for the Library Renovation and Expansion project was set for Tuesday, April 7th at 5:15pm.  The Council will convene at the Library and then move the meeting to the Council Chambers at City Hall.

The Meeting was adjourned at 7:17. 

Commissioners approve DNR land purchase - Mar 18, 2015  

JACKSON - The Jackson County Board of Commissioners met in regular session Tuesday morning at 9am in the Board Room at the Jackson County Courthouse with all members present.

The board took action to give Watonwan County six months notice to terminate their shared County Assessor contract. Assessor Jason McCaslin requested the action. McCaslin has been serving both counties, but the workload has resulted in more hours than anticipated. By serving only Jackson County, McCaslin stated that he would have more time with his young family.

The Commissioners approved the purchase of ninety-seven acres by the Department of Natural Resources from Mark and Merle Hassebrook located in Section 31 of LaCrosse Township.

Jackson County Fairboard President Mike Stade presented four priorities for improvements at the fairgrounds. Stade stated that they hope that some of the proceeds from the sale of Jackson Speedway could be used for these projects. Horse Arena improvements and upgrading the camping area top the list.  Stade said blacktopping more of the walking paths and doing something with the wildlife building also top their list. The Commissioners asked Stade to compile more precise bids and other costs for consideration at future meetings.

The board approved the purchase of equipment for mowing the county parks and snow removal of parking lots and sidewalks from Tri-County Implement of Jackson for $31,250.

They met with representatives of Loon Lake Golf Course before approving their liquor license for the coming year. Loon Lake Golf failed a compliance check for selling to an underage person in the last twelve months. Annual training and a policy of frequently reminding employees of the importance of checking I.D.’s has been implemented. Liquor licenses were also renewed for the Hi-Lo Club, Loon Lake Store and Bait Shop and for Round Lake Vineyards and Winery.

The board approved a utility permit for Wanzek Construction of the Odell Wind Project for boring electrical collector lines within the project boundaries in Kimball Township; they approved the re-appointment of Ken Hunter to the Revolving Loan Fun Advisory Board; they met in closed session regarding attorney-client priviledge, then adjourned and reconvened for public hearings on proposed improvements to Judicial Ditches 46 and 35.  They tabled any action on JD 35. They took action to approve the final engineers report for JD 46.

The next regular meeting of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners is scheduled for Tuesday, April 7th at 9:00 a.m.

Library seeks help for new logo - Mar 17, 2015  

JACKSON - The Friends of the Jackson County Library are inviting the public to help design a new logo for the Jackson County Library.  Entries should reflect the libraries service to the communities of Jackson, Lakefield and Heron Lake in Jackson County.  The winning logo will be used for all three Jackson County Libraries. 

The contest is open anyone that resides in Jackson County, MN.  Entries will be accepted starting Wednesday, April 1st and must be submitted by Friday, May 1st.  The winning entry will win a $50 award.

The top five designs will be displayed for feedback from the general public.  The final winning design will be chosen by the Board of Directors for the Friends of the Jackson County Libraries.

Driver's testing to be once per month in Jackson Co - Mar 16, 2015 

MANKATO - Starting on May 1st, the Jackson County Driver’s License office will see a change to the number of days that testing can be done in Jackson.  The State License Examiners will only be in Jackson one day per month and the new day will be the first Wednesday of each month.

Written testing will be done between 10 and 11:15am.  Road testing can be done from 9am to 2:45pm.  Road tests can be scheduled online at dvs.dps.mn.gov or by calling the Mankato exam office at 507-344-2799

Applications for renewal, address change and ID Cards will have no change at the Jackson County Office.

JCC Speech wins awards in St. Peter - Mar. 14, 2015  

JACKSON - The Jackson County Central Speech team had another great showing in St. Peter on Saturday, bringing home second place in the small schools category.

Nick Reed placed first in both Humorous Interpretation and Storytelling, Jenna Sassenrath placed 7th in Dramatic Interpretation and EmmaLee Krosch was 4th in Novice Poetry.  In all, 9 members competed at St. Peter.

Jackson County Central will host the first ever Big South Conference Speech Meet this Thursday.

Federated/Basin Scholarships awarded - Mar 12, 2015 

JACKSON - Two local students received Federated/Basin Scholarships.  Briana Gratz of Fairmont and Brandon Schmit of Jackson were both awarded $1,000 scholarships.

Gratz is the daughter of David and Kathy Gratz and is a sophomore at Concordia University Wisconsin.  She is majoring in Sports Medical-Athletic Training.

Schmit is the son of Michael and Lori Schmit and is a senior at Jackson County Central.  He plans on attending Dakota State University with a double major in business finance and business management.

This is the eighth year that the Federated/Basin scholarships have been awarded, and the sixth time they have gone to two students.

Applications were judged by retired school personnel.  A total of 25 scholarship applications were received.

Spring Truck Weight Limits go in effect Wednesday - Mar. 9, 2015  

MANKATO - Spring truck weight restrictions on state highways will begin on Wednesday, March 11th, in the South, Southeast and Metro frost zones.  Winter load increases in the Central, North Central and North frost zones remain in place.

Most roads in southern Minnesota have a 10 ton restriction, with portions of highway 285 in Martin County and Highway 4 in Watonwan and Brown counties at 7 tons.  Complete road restriction maps showing the locations of weight restricted routes can be found online at dot.state.mn.us/materials.

JCC NHS inducts new members - Mar. 6, 2015  

JACKSON - The Jackson County Central National Honor Society held their 2015 Induction Ceremony last night where 20 new members were inducted.  New members include exchange students Marte Gabrielle, Eduard Gruy and Nora Schaer, Seniors Jessica Jendera and Mackenzie Mohning and Juniors Haley Bass, Emmalie Benson, Abigail Brinkman, Christian Cleberg, Rebecca Dose, Ana Dunlavey, Nicolas Koehne, Michael Miller, Sydney Nyborg, Maggie Post, Luke Pygman, Nicholas Reed, Stephanie Sauter, James VanWesten and Janice Zhang.

Device Advice session at Jackson County Libraries - Mar 5., 2015 

JACKSON - The Jackson and Lakefield Libraries will be holding “Device Advice” sessions on Thursday, March 13th to help with any of those pesky problems people are having with their devices.

It will be held in Lakefield from 12:00 until 2:00 PM and in Jackson from 3:00 to 4:30 PM. Staff will be on hand to help patrons one-on-one through all their questions and to help set up their devices for reading eBooks on OverDrive and eMagazines on Zinio. The libraries also have devices available for checkout for anyone who does not have a device and wants to give eReading a try.

A Device Advice session is an excellent way to get a tutorial on a device that they can then test drive for two weeks. There is limited space and registration is necessary. Please bring along your library card and account passwords. 

For registration or more information, please call either the Jackson library at 847-4748 or the Lakefield Library at 662-5782.

Jackson Council approved ambulance purchase - Mar. 4, 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 6:34.  Councilman Donnie Schoenrock was the only member absent.

Jackson Ambulance Director Kirk Dunlavey addressed the council with a request to purchase a new ambulance to replace Ambulance 17 which currently has over 118,000 miles on it.  The cost of a new ambulance is around $165,000, of which they already have in their funds.  Dunlavey said that the Ambulance would not need any additional funding if given authorization to purchase.  The council approved the authorization.

City Administrator Jennifer Bromeland asked the council to approve a resolution supporting dedicated state funding for city streets.  This was a request from the League of Minnesota Cities for cities with a population under 5,000.  The resolution was approved.

Jackson Economic Development Coordinator Sue Persig asked the council to approve a resolution supporting greater latitude for using MIF (Minnesota Investment Funds) in Jackson.  Grants are given to cities show can loan funds to businesses for expansion.  Currently these fund can only be used for industrial use only, and may not be used for retail or service businesses.  Persig said that by allowing these funds to be used on a wider basis could greatly help the city of Jackson.  The council approved the resolution and will send it to our legislators in the Twin Cities.

In other action, the council approved submittal of a DNR Outdoor Rec grant application for a Memorial Park Project, which has been requested before, approved an ordinance providing for right-of-way management, approved the first reading of an ordinance that amends the fees, rates and charges for 2015 to reflect the ordinance allowing for the city to charge $1 per foot for cables laid in the right-of-way and set March 17th at 6:30pm for a public hearing regarding a USDA RD Grant for the Library Project.

The meeting was adjourned to closed session at 6:54pm to consider the possible purchase of land for a proposed new liquor store and to consider preliminary allegations against an individual subject to the City Council’s authority.

The next regular meeting of the Jackson City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, March 17th at 6:30pm in the council chambers at City Hall.

County Board approves sale of Speedway - Mar. 3, 2015 

JACKSON - The Jackson County Board of Commissioners met in regular session at 9am Tuesday morning with Commissioner Rosemary Schultz absent.

They formally approved the sale of the Jackson Speedway to Tod Quiring of Windom. The five year contract for deed includes a purchase price of $500,000, a down payment of  $100,000 and a 3 percent interest rate. Proceeds were designated to go to the county’s capital projects fund. County Attorney Sherry Haley reported that the purchase agreement is being finalized and county staff was authorized to execute the documents as soon as they are ready.

They tabled a request from the Department of Natural Resources to purchase land in section 31 of LaCrosse township. The 97 acres currently owned by Mark and Merle Hassebrook would be added to the Oxbow Wildlife Management Area.  Board members said they are not opposed to the sale, but would like input from County Ditch Supervisor Dave Macek and other information such as where tiling in the area is located before taking action.

A revolving loan fund request from Scott and Jennifer Ellenbecker of the Round Lake Vineyards and Winery was postponed to a future meeting.

The commissioners approved cleaning contracts for the Public Works buildings in Jackson and Lakefield and for the restrooms in the county parks was approved with S & J Cleaning of Jackson.

They set public hearings on April 21st regarding the City of Lakefield’s petition for an outlet into County Ditch 11, and tile abandonments near Judicial Ditches 22 and 31. A joint Judicial Ditch board with Martin County was requested for JD number 48. Commissioners William Tusa, Kim Hummel, Dave Henkels and Don Wachal will represent Jackson County.

County Attorney Sherry Haley gave the annual report to the board from her office. Haley said transition from retiring County Attorney Bob O’Connor was the main focus last year

 In other action the board approved the re-appointment of Brandon Finck to the Housing and Redevelopment Authority for a five year term; approved the filling of an Environmental Services Summer Worker Position; and they approved a letter of support for the USDA Rural Development Community Facilities funding for the Jackson Library addition and renovation project.

The next Jackson County Commissioners meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 17th at 9:00 a.m.

Local students featured at PLAC in March - Feb. 28, 2015  

OKOBOJI - March is Youth Art Month and to celebrate, the Pearson Lakes Art Center will feature over 300 artworks by Kindergarten through High School students from Okoboji, Harris-Lake Park, Spirit Lake, and Graettinger-Terril in nearly every gallery in the building. 

This exhibition is a celebration of young artists and art education in Dickinson County.  Students chosen to display their work have shown exceptional visual skills in their school classes and have been selected by their art teachers to exhibit.  The show is judged and awards are given at the reception on March 7. 
Join friends and family to view the artworks and recognize our young artists during the opening day of the show, Saturday, March 7 from 12-3pm.   Cookies and punch will be served at this free event, with the Awards Program at 1:00 p.m. in the Lauridsen Performing Arts Theatre.
The Dickinson County All School Show is made possible by a grant through the Dickinson County Endowment Fund.  This exhibition will be on view March 7 through April 11. For more information, call the Pearson Lakes Art Center at 712-332-7013.

February Terrific Kids honored at Riverside - Feb. 27, 2015  

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

February’s Terrific Kids honored for being “Respectful” were First Grader Hailly Russell, daughter of Steven and Maricel Russell and Fifth Grader Georgie Wentzel, daughter of Wade and Brenda Wenzel.

The Terrific Kid honored for being “Positive” was First Grader Melik Malloy-Mclaughlin, son of Zakiyyah Mclaughlin.

And the Terrific Kids honored for being “Responsible” were Kindergarten student Luke Simmons, son of Bryan and Tricia Simmons, First Graders Rylan Hanson Daughter of Kevin and Denise Hansen and Madelymn Rowe, daughter of Mitchel and Laurie Rowe.  Second Grader Patience Adams, daughter of Nathan Adams and Becky Adams, Fourth Grader Thomas Freking, son of Brad and Meg Freking and Fifth Graders Evan Insichienmay son of Nick and Melanie Insichienmay, Heather Willemssen, daughter of Brian and Kaylene Willemssen and Jeremiah Reilly, son of Ford and Tonya Bolen-Florine.

The students honored as February’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 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.

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, Sofia 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.

Sofia 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.

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