Kim Ukura is the editor of the Morris Sun Tribune.
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Sometime within the next month, the Morris City Council has an important and challenging decision to make - who will they appoint to fill Twig Webster's seat when he retires on July 31? Based on the rules of the city charter, the appointed city council member will only officially serve until the general election on Nov. 6.
MORRIS - Minnesota corn was in excellent shape, but two weeks of dry weather during a critical stage of the crop's development is threatening a potentially tremendous crop. "The corn looks as good as it's looked in a long time," said George Nelson, a crop scientist with the West Central Research and Outreach Center. This year's corn crop is also ahead of normal, thanks to a dry and warm April and May.
MORRIS - What changes could be made to Minnesota's electrical system to make it more reliable, affordable and sustainable in the future? That is the question the Citizens League, a multi-partisan civic policy organization, hopes to answer with the help of feedback gained at a series of workshops across the state.
MORRIS - The City of Morris could have the option to demolish the old elementary school building by the beginning of October if the process to move forward with an Environmental Assessment Worksheet continues as planned. On Tuesday, the Morris City Council voted 4 - 0 (council member Matt Carrington abstained from the vote) to authorize City Manager Blaine Hill to publish an EAW with the Environmental Quality Board for the demolition of the old elementary school building. Next, the EAW will be published in the EQB Monitor and sent to more than 25 different organizations.
MORRIS - By Kim Ukura Sun Tribune The Morris City Council formally voted to declare a vacancy on the city council at their meeting Tuesday, and is seeking applications from those interested in filling council member Twig Webster's seat through the election in November. Eligible citizens interested in serving on the council can submit a letter of intent to Mayor Sheldon Giese. The council hopes to fill the vacancy as soon as possible, and will likely make the appointment at their next meeting on July 24.
The University of Minnesota, Morris is gearing up research on sustainable energy by partnering on a scaled-down version of the campus' biomass facility that could be used to provide electricity in disaster areas. Last Thursday, campus researchers and their national partners demonstrated the PowerTainer, a transportable diesel engine generator (genset) powered by biomass developed with a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Once they finish organizing Prairie Pioneer Days, Rhoda Smith and Carolyn Peterson, the two new directors of the Morris Area Chamber of Commerce plan to focus on tourism, membership, and economic growth across all of Stevens County. Smith officially took the reins as administrative director of the Chamber at the beginning of June, and was joined by Peterson as tourism and membership director at the end of the month. This is the first time the chamber will be operating with two directors, but it's a relationship both Smith and Peterson think will be beneficial.
MORRIS - The Stevens County Board of Commissioners voted 4 to 1 to approve an easement for wildlife habitat protection on about eight acres of property in section 17 of Synnes Township. Current landowners Lawrence Pavek and Darlene Kossan of Brooklyn Park, Minn., requested the easement, which would protect the existing wetlands and uplands while also allowing haying on the property after July 15 each year. The other 13 acres of the property are already a protected wetland, said Lynn Sebek, realty specialist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
MORRIS - The Morris area is full of healthy, well-maintained trees, but the looming threat of emerald ash borer presents a danger to nearly half of the trees on city property and almost a quarter of the trees on private land. Gary Johnson, professor of urban and community forestry with the University of Minnesota Department of Forest Resources, presented these results from an volunteer-driven study of Morris' trees to Morris City Council at their meeting Tuesday.
MORRIS - The Morris Area School District is facing a preliminary budget deficit for 2012 - 2013 of more than $654,000, but most of that number is a result of three planned capitol improvement projects scheduled for next year. The total deficit for 2012 - 2013 is $645,657, but around $628,000 of that number is related to building improvements and an investment in technology, which already had money set aside to fund them. In total, that leaves an approximately $17,657 operating deficit for the upcoming school year.