Area News

Dec. 15, 2017

‘Welcome’ resolution fails by one vote in Hutchinson

With a full house at Hutchinson City Center, the resolution in support of affirming the city to be a welcoming and inclusive community failed by a 3-2 vote during the Hutchinson City Council’s meeting Tuesday night, the Hutchinson Leader reported.

The result was met with applause by some in attendance and disappointment by others.

Those who voted in favor of the resolution – Council Members John Lofdahl and Steve Cook – said it was needed to reaffirm the council’s duty of equal representation for all current and future citizens of the town, as described in the Constitution and Pledge of Allegiance.

Monticello coaches save teen whose heart stopped

Ryan Monahan’s heart stopped two days before Thanksgiving, but due to the quick thinking and calm actions of many, the 15-year old Monticello basketball player survived, the Monticello Times reported.

Monahan had just started an early-morning practice with his high school teammates when coaches and players noticed him wobble, and then collapse. Assistant coach Bruce Balder-Lanoue immediately told head coach Jason Schmidt to retrieve the AED from the fieldhouse wall, while assistant coach Nathan Rengel dialed 911. Later that day at the hospital, Mohanan’s parents were told that the quick actions and the AED saved their son’s life.

Glencoe storm sewer project detailed at city workshop

The Glencoe City Council conducted a workshop Monday to further discuss the updates made to the 2018 Central Storm Sewer project after council members expressed concerns about the increased financial and structural aspects of the project, the McLeod County Chronicle reported.

In December 2016, the project cost was estimated to be $4.7 million. After many changes, the updated estimated cost as of November 2017 is $6.7 million.

At the workshop, Justin Black, supported by John Rodeberg, both of Short Elliott Hendrickson (SEH), Inc., presented a deeper analysis of the changes made to the project, along with select options the city has to reduce the scope and cost of the project while continuing to preserve the trunk storm sewer line and address some of the main flooding and drainage issues in the city of Glencoe.

Longtime Watertown fire chief plans to step down

Longtime community leader, Watertown Fire Chief Wade Stock, is preparing to say farewell to the fire service, the Sun Patriot reported. A Watertown native, born and raised, Stock has a passion for helping others.

According to the Watertown Fire Department Facebook page, the fire department is accepting applications for new firefighters. To learn more, email watertownchief@ci.watertown.mn.us.

Litchfield pastor retires after decades of service

After 58 years in the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Pastor J. David Nelson is retiring at the end of the month, the Litchfield Independent Review reported.

“There was no set time to quit,” he said. “I just knew it was time.”

Nelson, who is a visitation pastor for those unable to attend Zion Lutheran Church in Litchfield regularly, has spent the past 20 years calling Litchfield his home. Before coming to Litchfield, his career has taken him on an extensive journey across the states and overseas.

Man sentenced for carrying 10 pounds of meth to Hutchinson

A Minneapolis man was sentenced in a McLeod County courtroom Dec. 1 for a March 8 crime related to the transportation of 10 pounds of methamphetamine toward Hutchinson on State Highway 7, the Hutchinson Leader reported.

According to court documents, Fernando Rangel, 42, agreed to meet with a Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension special agent, who had posed as a buyer, in Hutchinson to deliver 12 pounds of methamphetamine for a price between $50,000 and $60,000.

The street value of 10 pounds of methamphetamine ranges from $259,000 to $363,000, according to crystalmethaddiction.org.

MnDOT unveils driverless shuttle bus in Monticello

The Minnesota Department of Transportation unveiled its 12-passenger Easymile test bus Tuesday, trundling around a 2.5 mile test track in Monticello at a little over 3 miles per hour, the Post Bulletin reported. It’s the center of a four-month, $200,000 test of autonomous vehicles that will also feature a very limited, block-long test in downtown Minneapolis the week before the Super Bowl in February.

The shuttles are not highway vehicles. They go about 10 to 15 miles per hour and are a “last mile” alternative. The shuttle will have an operator on board for all the testing in Minnesota and has a tennis-ball sized emergency stop button inside and outside.

Shifting property values drive tax changes in McLeod Co.

Shifting property values seem to have had more of an impact on individual property taxes than increases in levies, if Thursday night’s McLeod County truth-in-taxation hearing was any indicator, the McLeod County Chronicle reported.

After a few opening comments by County Board Chair Joe Nagel, County Assessor Sue Schulz explained some of the changes in market valuations, upon which property taxes are, in part, determined.

Schulz said that valuations are based on property sales. In general, the price paid on farm acres is declining, while prices paid for residential housing is going up.

“Ag land went down, and residential went up, so there has been a shift from agriculture to residential because of that,” said Schulz.

And there is another impact on residential values — once a home’s value reaches $76,000, the homestead exclusion, which provides relief to homeowners, is lessened.

McLeod Co. probation officer says farewell to long career

If Terry Sandquist had his way, he’d continue work as a probation officer for McLeod County at least two more years, the Hutchinson Leader reported.

“Originally, I had thought even longer,” he said.

But after 10 years battling Parkinson’s disease, his doctor told him it was time to get off the job and rest. Parkinson’s is a neurological disorder that leads to progressive deterioration of motor function.

“I originally had intended to work until 2020, but the 60-year warranty on this body of mine seems to have expired,” Sandquist said. “First a hip was replaced during March, then a loss of balance in April contributed to a fall that alarmed my office manager.”