Kim Ukura is the editor of the Morris Sun Tribune.
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At 7 p.m. on a Thursday, the gathering in the main gym at the RFC sounds more like a dance club than your traditional aerobics class. Dancing to a mix of international music and current pop songs, most of the female Zumba participants have a smile on their face while instructor Sara Konsbruck gestures instructions through the workout. Although Zumba, a "Latin-inspired dance fitness-party" can initially seem intimidating, Janelle Dubbs, head of group fitness at the RFC, said the workout "tends to get addicting" for those who give it a try.
STEVENS COUNTY - The Stevens County Board of Commissioners approved a new joint powers agreement for Steven Traverse Grant Public Health, learned about the state of the Bois de Sioux Watershed District and took a county road tour at their meeting on Tuesday morning. Sandy Tubbs, Stevens Traverse Grant Public Health director, said the current revision to the joint powers agreement was prompted by the fact that the old joint powers agreement had a reference to a board that no longer exists. In the process of making that change, the board made a few other small changes.
Although texting and driving hasn't caused a serious accident in the Morris community, four local students will be working this year to address teen distracted driving in partnership with the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS). "We've seen [texting and driving] around us, but we've been lucky enough to not have [an accident] happen in our community," said Morris Area senior Sydney Beyer. Still, the issue can be a problem for area teens. "When I'm in the car with people and [friends] are texting, I'll tell them, 'I'll take your phone, I'll text for you!" Beyer added.
Almost every taxpayer in the state of Minnesota will face increased property taxes next year - even before any tax changes made by counties, cities and school districts - thanks to a tax shift approved by the state legislature in July. During this year's legislative session, the legislature eliminated a tax break called the Homestead Market Value Credit (HMVC) and replaced it with the Homestead Market Value Exclusion (HMVE).
The Morris City Council approved two resolutions at their meeting Tuesday that will help get a Pacific Avenue improvement project underway next spring. The first resolution approved an agency agreement with the Minnesota Commissioner of Transportation to accept federal aid for the project, and the second accepted a bid and awarded a contract for the work. City Engineer Jeff Kuhn told the council the project consists of federal, state and some local funding. The federal funding is roughly $400,000 and state funding is about $200,000.
MORRIS -- Minnesota Department of Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman visited the West Central Research and Outreach Center and the biomass facility at the University of Minnesota, Morris, as part of a state-wide tour of Minnesota's clean energy marketplace and infrastructure. Thursday's tour included a look at the WCROC's solar heating and cooling systems, the renewable hydrogen and ammonia pilot plant and the biomass gasification system at UMM. The purpose of the visit was "learning what the future can be in the days ahead" and "how to find ways to make that work," explained Rothman.
MORRIS -- The Stevens County Board of Commissioners discussed proposed policies for licensed child care homes, approved a gravel lease agreement and appointed a county coroner at their meeting on Tuesday morning. The discussion over new policy began when Stevens County Human Services Director Joanie Murphy presented the board with a draft of policies for licensed child care homes. Current rules require a provider that takes care of children from more than one family to have a license.
MORRIS -- The biggest sticking point for the Morris Planning Commission's proposed zoning plan for the City of Morris is what to do about the railroad corridor through downtown. At a public hearing on Tuesday night, discussion about the proposed change prompted a small debate about the role of industry for the future of Morris. The Planning Commission has proposed 20 changes to the city zoning map .
Although there was some disagreement about the use and nature of incentive performance pay at a school board meeting Monday, the Morris Area School Board approved incentive performance pay for both district principals. High school Principal Mike Coquyt received $1,402 and elementary school principal Brad Korn received $1,427 out of a possible $1,900 in incentive performance pay. Superintendent Scott Monson told the board the incentive performance pay process involved setting focus areas and goals, drafting action plans for each focus area, working on each of the action items, then meeting wi
In the midst of budget discussions in Morris and Stevens County, Morris Public Library director Melissa Yauk has been working hard to get the word out about everything that happens at the library each day. In addition to showing just how the library works, Yauk also shared the new technology and electronic resources the library has added within the last year, thanks to work with the Viking Library System, the Stevens County Economic Improvement Commission and the Friends of the Library.