Kim Ukura has served as the editor of the Morris Sun Tribune since August 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota, Morris in 2008 with degrees in English and journalism. She earned a master's degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2010. Prior to returning to Morris to work at the Sun Tribune, she worked in trade publishing. She has been recognized by the Minnesota Newspaper Association for both business and public affairs reporting.
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When a disaster strikes, first responders need to gather information quickly to help make decisions about how to proceed. Over the next six months, the Stevens County Sheriff's Office and the Office of Emergency Management will be working to gather this key information to develop a database to assist emergency responders in disaster situations in Stevens County. And the work being done in Stevens County will help serve as a model for other counties across the state.
MORRIS - Special legislation that would allow the Cyrus School District to bond for the costs of their operating debt and the cost of demolishing the Cyrus school building has been introduced in both the Minnesota House and Senate and sent to the necessary committees, Superintendent Scott Monson told the Morris Area School Board on Tuesday. House File 113, co-authored by Reps. Jay McNamar, Paul Anderson and Paul Marquart was introduced on Jan. 17, 2013 and referred to the House Education Finance committee for further review. The companion bill, Senate File 0062 is co-authored by Sens.
MORRIS - The last day of the 2013 - 2014 school year will push into June after the Morris Area School Board approved an extra vacation day in March for next year at the request of parents and staff surveyed. The school calendar is developed with input collected in an online survey that includes questions on the fall workshop, open house, parent night, spring break, snow days, long weekends, conferences, and winter break, Monson said. This year, 111 parents (up from 67 last year) and 69 staff members (down from 101 last year), complected the survey.
MORRIS -- After five years of planning, the University of Minnesota, Morris' "Green Dorm" is under construction and expected to be ready for students in Fall 2013. The Green Prairie Living and Learning Community is the first new dorm built on the campus in about 40 years, said T.J. Ross, associate director of the Office of Residential Life. The $6.9 million project will house 72 students of all classes in suite style dorms that will offer more single rooms than other campus housing options.
MORRIS -- Stevens County spent about $791,400 for social service programs in 2012, Stevens County Human Services Director Joanie Murphy told the Stevens County Board of Commissioners during her annual update on Tuesday. This figure does not include money used for income maintenance, which Murphy said is primarily money that passes through the county from the federal and state governments. None of the money for these program comes from county levy money.
ST. PAUL -- After eight terms in the Minnesota House of Representatives, Torrey Westrom was elected to the Minnesota Senate this November. His Senate run left a seat in the House open, which his former teacher and wrestling coach, Jay McNamar, was elected to fill. In interviews at the capitol this week, the two discussed how they are adjusting to their new roles, their goals for the session, and legislation that they are working on together to help their constituents in west central Minnesota.
MORRIS -- Stevens County Auditor/Treasurer Neil Wiese has filed a civil suit against Stevens County, alleging that the Stevens County Board of Commissioners set his salary and the budget for his office in an "arbitrary, capricious, oppressive" manner with "unreasonable disregard" for Wiese's performance and the responsibilities and duties of his office. According to Stevens County Attorney Aaron Jordan, the statute for governing the auditor/treasurer's office requires that the matter be expedited, which means the lawsuit could be resolved within a month or two.
Because their Jan. 9 meeting was the first of the year, the Morris City Council addressed some procedural issues and gave the oath of office for council members Bill Storck and Kevin Wohlers, who were elected in November. The council elected Jeff Miller as Mayor Pro Tem, to serve as chair of council meetings when Mayor Sheldon Giese cannot attend. The council also elected Miller president of the Morris Economic Development Authority, with Bill Storck serving as vice president.
Bill Rickmeyer of Morris was awarded the 2012 Thomas B. McRoberts Human Rights Award by the Morris Area Human Rights Commission on Tuesday. Rickmeyer was nominated for the award by a group at Zion Lutheran Church of Morris. 2011 award winner Eugene Pasche said Rickmeyer was nominated for his work across the community. Rickmeyer has been active with West Central Homes, the Stevens County DAC, Meals on Wheels, the VFW and Orphan Grain Train, said Pasche. Through the VFW, Rickmeyer has also helped fund raise for local baseball programs and helped veterans by driving the vets van.
The Stevens County Board of Commissioners unanimously elected Commissioner Phil Gausman to serve as chair and Commissioner Jeanne Ennen to serve as vice chair in 2013 at a largely procedural meeting on Tuesday. Commissioners Ron Staples, Donny Wohlers, and Bob Kopitzke also took the oath of office. Staples was elected to a second term in November, while Wohlers and Kopitzke are beginning their first terms.