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.
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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.
MORRIS - A proposal to develop a commercial site on Perkins Lake has been halted until the Stevens County Board of Commissioners votes to decide whether an environmental assessment for the property is necessary. A scheduled Planning Commission meeting on July 12 to consider a conditional use permit request from B&H Holdings, the current owners of 45572 140th Street in Donnelly (the former Luther Crest Bible Camp property), has been cancelled until the board considers the Environmental Assessment Worksheet request from the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board.
MORRIS - The Morris Area School Board formally accepted Morris Area High School Principal Mike Coquyt's resignation at a special meeting on Tuesday, immediately beginning the search for a new full-time replacement. Coquyt submitted his resignation to Superintendent Scott Monson on Wednesday, June 20. His final official date of employment is June 30, 2012, although the board voted to contract with Coquyt for up to 15 days of work after that date to assist with the transition to a new administrator.
MORRIS - Morris Area High School Principal Mike Coquyt has resigned his position at MAHS in order to take a position at Minnesota State University, Moorhead. The Morris Area School Board will vote to accept Coquyt's resignation at a special school board meeting on Tuesday, June 26. In his resignation letter, Coquyt said he has accepted an offer to serve as an assistant professor at MSU. "After careful consideration, I realize that this opportunity is too exciting for me to decline," Coquyt said. Coquyt has been with the district since 2007.
MORRIS - When French political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville toured the United States in the early 1800s, he noted citizens' tendency to form associations to do almost everything. De Tocqueville called this "the mother science of democracy," and it has come to be "part and parcel of how we do leadership," said Kenneth Pigg, an associate professor emeritus of rural sociology at the University of Missouri, Columbia, during his morning keynote at the ninth annual Symposium of Small Towns at the University of Minnesota, Morris last Thursday, June 14.
MORRIS - The Stevens County Board of Commissioners declined to take action on a request from a local resident to reconsider changes to the county's zoning ordinance at their meeting Tuesday, leaving in place a change that opens up shoreland property in Stevens County to commercial development. Resident Michael O'Reilly, through a letter from Fargo attorney Tami L. Norgard, requested that the county vacate its zoning amendment and initiate an Environmental Assessment Worksheet for the former Luther Crest Bible Camp property on Perkins Lake now owned by B&H Holdings.
MORRIS - The Morris Area School Board approved a final budget revision to the fiscal year 2011-2012 budget at their meeting Monday. The district was projecting a surplus of about $94,000 for the general fund. The budget revision passed on Monday now includes a deficit of about $8,700. This is a result of an increase of about $90,000 in revenue and an increase of about $194,000 in expenditures.
MORRIS - Morris Area High School plans to ban students from having cell phones with them during class beginning with the upcoming school year. New language in the MAHS Parent Student Handbook, which got a second reading at the Morris Area School Board's meeting on Monday night, states that students who bring cell phones or other electronic communication devices to school must leave them in their lockers during class time. Students will be allowed to check their phones between classes, and cell phones can still be used during lunch.
MORRIS - The moment Linda Winter-Hodgson knew the story of her father's tragic first love would make a compelling story was when a neighbor, after hearing the bare bones of the story, told her it would make a great movie. "I didn't know how to make a movie, so I decided to write a book," Winter-Hodgson said. "Two Groves of Trees: A Story of Love and Second Chances" is Winter-Hodgson's third book and her first novel, although the tale is based on a true story and heavily informed by years of research.