Crystal Dey is a staff reporter for the Echo Press. Originally from Minnesota’s Iron Range, Dey worked for newspapers in North Dakota, Florida and Connecticut before returning to her home state to join the Echo Press in October 2011. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Staff Reporter Crystal Dey on Twitter @Crystal_Dey.
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Youngsters in Brandon Public Schools are being shown a new way to learn in the classroom. The Early Childhood department received a grant to support its "iDevelop Skills with iPads" program offered through Early Childhood. The program is designed to enhance and expand children's learning skills. The Otto Bremer Foundation gave $4,972 to Brandon Early Childhood for the program.
We're told not to run with scissors when we're in kindergarten. But what about dumpster diving with scissors? Is that version of "extreme couponing" OK? Pope Douglas Solid Waste Management (PDSWM) encountered recycling bin scavengers in November. The problem of "aggressive scavengers" was discussed at a recent PDSWM board meeting. Coupon seekers have been identified as the most common offenders. The board felt the phenomenon was worthy of action.
There weren't any lions, tigers or bears at the January 10 Douglas County Board of Commissioners meeting, but coyotes perked up discussion amidst the usual finances, construction projects and government talks. MONEY TALKS The levy and budget that had trouble getting passed in the later weeks of December surfaced again at the commissioner's meeting. A $332,533 error showed a lower bond debt and higher amount in capital projects. An adjustment was made to increase the bonded debt from $2,414,996 to $2,747,529 and to decrease capital projects from $857,056 to $524,523 in the accepted levy.
Douglas County parks are getting a little help from the Legacy grant program this year. Three of the six applications Douglas County Parks Superintendant Al Lieffort submitted were approved. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources received requests for more than $33 million in funding from 99 applicants. Kensington Rune Stone Park was the last project to be funded, Lieffort said.
A rare opportunity sprung up courtesy of Tuesday's unseasonably warm weather. Skating - of the ice and board variety - were options for outdoor enthusiasts in Alexandria. Ice skaters shed some layers at Noonan Park as they whirled around the pond in 50-degree temperatures. Sunshine and blue skies overhead made a surreal landscape paired with the brown grass surrounding the rink. Across town, skateboarders were zipping along rails at sunset before the temperature dropped.
A standing room only crowd awaited the outcome of the Douglas County board of commissioner's decision at the last county board meeting of 2011. Commissioners were voting on how to proceed with the Lake Oscar drainage issue. Douglas County Engineer and Public Works Director Dave Robley made a recommendation to proceed with adding a 24-inch pipe parallel and adjacent to an 18-inch existing drainage pipeline.
Looking for a way to get shipshape in 2012? Programs in Douglas County may be able to help you shed those pounds, kick that habit and get on the path to a healthier new you. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) distributed $11.3 million in Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) grants among 18 Minnesota communities. SHIP grants are part of a nationwide effort to reduce chronic disease by focusing on tobacco use and healthy living practices. Douglas, Grant, Stevens, Pope and Traverse counties will share the $399,155 grant.
In recent weeks the Douglas County board of commissioners have discussed the jail and how to best provide inmate health care services. At the December 27 commissioners meeting, Sheriff Troy Wolbersen went before the board to discuss extending the current medical services contract with MEnD Correctional Care, LLC. Dr. Steven P. Radjenovich, D.O., a former provider for the jail, also attended the meeting to express interest in being the jail doctor. Radjenovich stated that he could save the county money.
Norm Salto relinquished his title of chairperson to Jerry Johnson on January 3 at the Douglas County commissioners' first meeting in 2012. Johnson represents the largest of the five districts in Douglas County. His district, District 1, includes Lund, Evansville, Brandon, Moe, Millerville, Leaf Valley, Ida, Urness, Holmes City, and Solem townships and the cities of Evansville, Brandon, Millerville, Garfield and Kensington. He lives in Evansville. This election year, Commissioner Bev Bales and Johnson's terms expire; it is not known if they will be seeking re-election.
On a sunny autumn day in 2008 I enthusiastically cast my absentee ballot in the presidential election for a candidate who promised change. I ceremoniously dropped my ballot into the mailbox on the corner of my block in Connecticut with a sense of triumph, and a vision of the change to come. I should have known when I sealed my "I VOTED" sticker inside the return envelope that something was going to be amiss. Now, I don't profess to be a political guru, nor do I even claim to be well versed in the inner-workings of government.