Kim Ukura is the editor of the Morris Sun Tribune.
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MORRIS - Although returning to Morris feels like coming home for new Morris Area Elementary School Principal Ken Gagner, the view from behind the principal's desk will take some getting used to. "When I was here for 22 years, I took care of my classroom; that was my number one priority," said Gagner, who served as a coach and fifth grade teacher in Morris from 1988 to 2010. "Now I'm taking care of 25 classrooms, all the teachers in the building and all the kids in the building," he continued.
MORRIS - When Stevens County residents come to see Environmental Services/ Planning and Zoning Director Bill Kleindl to ask about a new project on their property, Kleindl uses an aerial map of the county and geographic software to help make his decision. Using mapping and spacial analysis software, Kleindl and the property owner can look at an aerial view of the property to measure setbacks and variances to give a preliminary call on the project immediately.
Correction: This story originally stated that the Stevens County Historical Society sent a letter to the city in response to the Environmental Assessment Worksheet on the old elementary school building. This was incorrect. The letter about the EAW was from the Minnesota Historical Society. We apologize for the error. MORRIS - Big ticket improvement projects are on the horizon for the City of Morris, and were the topics of discussion for the Morris City Council at their regular meeting on Tuesday.
MORRIS - A man stands behind a tall, white barricade the size of a door with two orange Xs painted at chest height. A loaded pistol is holstered to his side. A timer standing behind him issues instructions: "Hands on the Xs. When you hear the buzzer, give 'em hell." Second pass. The buzzer chimes and the man draws his pistol, taking aim at cardboard targets in front of him. Moments like this one were common at the Morris Rifle Club last Sunday, when a group of target shooting enthusiasts gathered for an action pistol match.
MORRIS - The Horizon Community Health Board - an organization comprised of officials from Stevens, Traverse, Grant, Pope and Douglas counties - is continuing to move forward on a proposal to develop a five-county public health department, Stevens-Traverse-Grant Public Health Director Sandy Tubbs told the Stevens County Board of Commissioners Tuesday.
MORRIS - The Stevens County Planning Commission has approved a conditional use permit for a commercial development on Perkins Lake that will allow the owners to rent out an existing pavilion and cabins and create space for four overnight recreational vehicle camping sites.
MORRIS - An elderly Stevens County woman has died after contracting West Nile virus, the first death in the state of Minnesota this year. A second Stevens County resident contracted the less severe version of the disease, West Nile fever, in early August, but has since recovered, said Dave Neitzel of the Minnesota Department of Health. As of Wednesday, there have been 27 confirmed cases of West Nile virus in 18 Minnesota counties, the Minnesota Department of health reported. The virus as also been found in 12 blood donors across the state.
MORRIS - The Morris Area School District's former Director of Buildings and Grounds has been charged with a felony in the theft of more than $2,800 of school district property. David Stoffer of Hancock, Minn., who resigned from his position in the district on June 13, 2012, pled not guilty to the single county of receiving stolen property in his first court appearance Wednesday. Stoffer faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
MORRIS - The University of Minnesota, Morris won't have a record-breaking year for enrollment, but preliminary numbers indicate that student numbers and quality remain strong for the 2012-2013 school year. There are currently 525 new students (incoming freshmen and transfer students) registered for this fall, but that number may change during the first few weeks of school. Enrollment numbers are finalized 10 days after the first day of classes - Wednesday, Aug. 22. A majority of UMM's new students, more than 85 percent, are from Minnesota.
MORRIS - Despite the general cynicism that seems to go hand-in-hand with election season, I've always been a bit of a political junkie. My current boyfriend and I had our first "date" - in quotation marks, since I'm not sure that he really considered it a proper date at the time - watching the election returns on Nov. 4, 2008 when Barack Obama defeated John McCain. After the race was called (very early in the evening, if I remember correctly) we went for a walk down State Street in Madison, Wisconsin.