LHS grad triumphs in Minneapolis election
The first Hispanic to win a seat on Minneapolis City Council recently grew up in Litchfield and, during her time there, overcame many challenges associated with being an outsider, reported the Litchfield Independent Review.
Moving from Mexico at age 10, Alondra Espejel Cano didn’t know English when she entered fifth grade at Wagner Elementary School in 1991.
She remembers one of her first school projects was to collect leaves, and their changing colors fascinated her. “Back then, I didn’t speak English, and so the visual was very important,” she said. “I really couldn’t communicate with other students.”
New Crown College president inaugurated
Crown College in St Bonifacius inaugurated Dr. Joel Wiggins as its 16th president Nov. 21, reported the Norwood Young America Times.
Hundreds from the community gathered for the event to welcome Wiggins, and learn the values and goals that will define his presidency.
More than a dozen speakers welcomed Wiggins in person and by video, including State Sen. Julianne Ortman, US Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and US Rep. Erik Paulsen. They applauded his unique ability to lead Crown College, as an alumnus and former pastor, university educator, and business incubator manager.
Annandale homicide suspect surrenders
Almost two months to the day after 42-year-old Kyle Greene of Annandale was shot and killed in his garage, the final suspect in the case has been captured, reported the Annandale Advocate.
Preston Saengchanthalath, 18, of Albertville turned himself in at the Wright County law enforcement center in Buffalo Nov. 27, after an intensive two-month manhunt that extended as far as Pennsylvania.
“There were multiple agencies assisting us in looking for him, and he decided to turn himself in,” said Annandale Police Chief Jeff Herr. “We had information that he was betwen families and relatives which encompassed Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota.”
Central HS offers culinary class
The smell of onions was strong in the Central High School Family and Consumer Science (FACS) classroom in Norwood Young America recently, but so was the wonderful aroma of hot soup, reported the NYA Times.
Under the direction of FACS teacher Hilary Birdsell, 18 students cooked up some delicious soups before sampling them at the end of the hour.
Open to 10th through 12th graders, a new semester-long culinary class, in its first year, gives juniors and seniors the opportunity to earn college credits and learn about the restaurant industry.
Monticello bowling alley may be reused
Monticello city staff wants to conduct a review of the former bowling alley site at 101 Chelsea Road for potential re-use as multi-user recreation and event center, reported the Monticello Times.
Specifically, a mix of prospective users includes a Brazilian jujitsu and fitness training organization and the Monticello Soccer Club.
According to City Administrator Jeff O’Neill and Development Director Angela Schumann, if council members are interested in allowing an adaptive re-use of the building until a future date when redevelopment pressure arrives, then a study of the current state of the building needs to occur to determine if the idea is worth pursuing.
Nine Hutchinson employees retire early
For the third time in five years, the Hutchinson City Council will trim staff and replace higher paid longtime employees with new workers earning less as a way to help balance its budget, reported the Hutchinson Leader.
Nine city employees out of 24 eligible made their decision by the Oct. 31 deadline to accept the city’s incentives to retire early. While that is projected to save the city $286,000 in 2014, the cost of the severance payments and benefits are expected to hit $337,000, City Administrator Jeremy Carter said recently.
That means the buyout cost may not be fully recovered until the 2015 budget. The $50,000 gap is the major reason the proposed 2014 budget still has a $65,000 gap between revenues and expenses.
Glencoe accepts building as gift
Glencoe City Council last Monday night, on the recommendation from the chamber’s Economic Development Commission (EDC), accepted the gift of the former Sun-Life Tanning building at 1230 Greeley Ave. in order to demolish it, reported the McLeod County Chronicle.
The building is owned by Leon “Bud” Kopitski of Bloomington, who offered it to the city rather than demolish it himself.
David Nelson, president of the Glencoe Area Chamber of Commerce, said the city was contacted by somone interested in purchasing the adjacent former Al’s Sports Bar, but there were water drainage issues found in the basement, some of which “was being compounded by the dilapidated building to the north (Sun-Life Tanning),” Nelson stated.
Firefighters battle fire in New Auburn
Firefighters from three departments battled a residential garage fire early last Monday morning in New Auburn, reported the McLeod County Chronicle.
New Auburn Fire Chief Roger Trebbensee said his department was called out at about 3:30 a.m. for the fire on Eighth Avenue, just a block north of the fire hall. The property is owned by Scott Somerville. Firefighters arrived to find the two-vehicle, detached garage engulfed in flames, which were threatening the nearby residence. Mutual aid was called for from the Gaylord and Glencoe fire departments. “
The house was 8 to 10 feet away from the garage,” said Trebbensee, who added that a southwest breeze was driving flames toward the residence.
BHM school enrollment may decline
An enrollment projections report was presented during the Buffalo Hanover Montrose School Board meeting Nov. 25, reported the Wright County Journal-Press.
According to Laura Lindquist, BHM communications coordinator, Director of Finance and Operations Gary Kawlewski gave the enrollment projections for the 2014-15 school year. He said the district enrollment has been relatively stable over the last five years. However, the next five years show a slight decline.
The total resident population is growing, but last school year, 354 students open enrolled out of BHM Schools. Kalewski noted that most students go to Delano, Rockford, and Watertown-Mayer.