Three members of the Minnewaska Area High School Business Professionals of America, or BPA, are taking what they’ve learned about life and business skills to the national competition. BPA is a co-curricular organization that allows students to participate in events that simulate careers in business management, office administration, information technology and other related career fields. This year, Madelynn Reichmann, Anna Vold and Christina Talberg decided to do an event together, a news broadcast, and are advancing to the national level in Orlando from May 10-14. The three girls had to write their own script and do their own filming and editing for the project. The finished product had to be less than five minutes long. Any student in grades 9-12 can be in BPA and learn more about business and life skills as well as contribute to the community through various projects.
Associate Professor of English and American Indian Studies Becca Gercken is a recipient of the Horace T. Morse - University of Minnesota Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education. The award honors faculty who excel in teaching, research, creative activities, advising, academic program development, and educational leadership. Nominators write that Gercken “focuses on possibility, on opening multiple perspectives, on finding ways to show what literature and critical thinking and writing have to offer and teaching students to believe they can accomplish what they want to accomplish.” In this way, she hopes to help all students to succeed. Gercken is the forty-fourth Morris faculty member to receive the Horace T. Morse Award. As a Morse award winner, she will be named a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers, which provides leadership to the University community as mentors, advisers, and spokespersons for the University’s teaching mission.
Chances are, most Brazilians have never heard of Lowry, Minnesota. But for Raphael and Guilherme Garcia, two brothers who farm in Brazil, a farm in Lowry has been on the radar for months. The Garcias made the 5,700-mile trip to Nate Johnson and his son Zach's Lowry farm this month to see how farming is approached in Minnesota. About a year ago, Zach began a YouTube channel called MN Millennial Farmer. In doing so, he hoped to set straight some misconceptions about farming for people who weren't familiar with agriculture. In October 2016, after establishing a Facebook and Instagram page to accompany the YouTube channel, Zach received a message from Raphael, who has been farming for 10 years in Brazil. The two began talking frequently and formed a friendship. So when Raphael made plans to travel to Chicago to study English for three weeks, it only made sense to detour to Lowry to meet the Johnsons and see the farm in person. After the brothers arrived in the evening, the four men spent a few hours discussing the farming equipment, crops and differences between farming in the two countries.
Senator Torrey Westrom of Elbow Lake has been appointed by Senate leadership to serve as co-chair of the Minnesota Legislature’s Agriculture Conference Committee and serve as a member of the Environment Conference Committee. The committee members will work collaboratively over the coming days to reconcile differences between the Senate and House versions of the Agriculture and Environment Finance Bills. Passed earlier this month, the bipartisan Senate Agriculture Finance Bill invests $118 million in Minnesota’s agriculture industry, ensuring stability and growth in Minnesota’s economy through value-added agricultural investments. The Senate Environment and Natural Resources Finance Bill, which was passed on a bipartisan vote earlier this session, consolidates funding streams and reduces wasteful spending in investing $274.1 million in keeping our air and water clean. Further, it includes language that delays Minnesota’s buffer law by two years and reimburses farmers for the government mandated taking of farmland out of production.
The Alexandria City Council will hold a special meeting this afternoon (Monday) at five. The meeting will be in the large conference room at city hall. There will be an update on strategic planning, and a review of the 2016 budget. No action will be taken by the council at this special meeting.
Yesterday (Sunday), a home was destroyed by fire and two family dogs perished in that blaze. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and Miltona Fire Department responded to the fire at the Nick Kaufman home on Road 65 Northeast near Miltona. Kaufman told officers he had a wood stove in the front of the home that was being used. He and other occupants were outside at the time the fire started. They were unable to get the dogs out in time. The Parker Prairie Fire Department provided mutual aid.
18 year old Madison Nelson of Sartell was injured Saturday in a rollover on County Road 136 west of 43rd Avenue in St. Augusta. According to the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office, Nelson took her eyes off the road to adjust the radio, drove to the right and hit the unpaved portion of the road, lost control, went into the oncoming lane and rolled. She was taken to St. Cloud Hospital. She was wearing her seatbelt at the time of the crash.
Tonight (Monday), the Kerkhoven City Council will decide if they’re going to accept the resignation of Jim Rothers, who has been mayor since January. Rothers submitted his resignation following the last city council meeting. He turned that resignation in after the council had adjourned the meeting. Rothers has until today to rescind his resignation. If he does not and the council accepts the resignation, the council will have to decide how it’s going to fill that position. Rothers also built a 54 foot tall concrete structure off Highway 12 on the west end of the city, and that’s been a bone of contention with the council. There is a civil litigation in federal court against Rothers and his girlfriend, Stephanie Voxland that charges them with fraud. That involves his ABC Bin Company.
Representative Paul Anderson of Starbuck has accepted an appointment to serve as co-chair of a regional committee of legislators. The Midwestern Legislative Conference Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee is a bipartisan group and I will be working with leaders from 11 states and four Canadian provinces. The mission is to enhance the economic relationship between the Midwestern states and neighboring Canadian provinces and to support efforts to ensure viable rural communities, strong agricultural and natural resource industries and environments. Anderson says there are many issues to address, including rural economies, agriculture, energy, forestry and wildlife. There also are numerous federal issues to examine, such as food safety and trade as discussions begin on the 2018 farm bill.