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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The Stevens County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved a preliminary budget of just over $12.3 million for 2012, which includes an 8.91 percent levy increase. County Coordinator Brian Giese emphasized that most of the proposed increase - about 8.22 percent - comes from larger debt service payments as part of the courthouse remodeling project and projected cuts to County Program Aid from the State of Minnesota. "I think there's relative assurance that the County Program Aid in 2012 will be higher than we've projected in this budget, however, there's strong speculation that it will not
The Stevens County Housing and Redevelopment Authority has received more than $350,000 through the Small Cities Development Program for projects in Morris and Donnelly. Over the last four years, the HRA has received more than $1.67 million dollars through this program, which has helped the HRA fulfill its mission of providing access to "decent, safe, sanitary, and affordable housing" for citizens.
MORRIS - The Morris School Board had a chance to assess enrollment numbers, meet new staff and approve a new contract at their first meeting of the 2011-2012 school year on Tuesday night. Although numbers for the first day of school haven't been finalized yet, Superintendent Scott Monson told the board he expects the district to be at around 990 students this year, which is more than last year and more students than anticipated. "Enrollment continues to fluctuate," Monson said. "We've definitely seen a shift. The elementary is comparably sized to where they were last year.
It seems counterintuitive to rely on the sun to cool a building, but that's exactly what the West Central Research and Outreach Center is doing with a new solar-powered air conditioning system, one of the first systems of this kind in the country. Renewable Energy Scientist Eric Buchanan is testing the performance of the system as part of a grant to the WCROC to test small-scale renewable energy through the Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment (IREE) with the University of Minnesota. The solar system at the WCROC doesn't look like the typical large, flat solar panels.
Update: This story has been updated to reflect a clarification about "earned work hours" from USPS spokesman Pete Nowacki. MORRIS - Alberta residents expressed frustration and, it seemed, resignation over the potential closure of their post office at a community meeting with U.S. Postal Service (USPS) officials on Tuesday night. Marty Brumbaugh, manager of post office operations, and Sue Trocke, postmaster of Holdingford, told residents that unless Congress takes action, USPS is just 30 days from insolvency. "It's crunch time now," said Brumbaugh.
The Stevens County Sheriff's Department is down one squad car after an accident on Highway 28 that totaled a vehicle in the fleet last week. According to the State Patrol, Stevens County Sheriff's Deputy Jason Dingman was driving west on Hwy. 28 at about 10 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 24 when he saw another car traveling eastbound crossed over into the westbound lane, onto the westbound shoulder and into the westbound ditch. The gray, 2002 Ford Taurus continued driving on the shoulder for about 350 feet, then exited the ditch and struck the front, left side of Dingman's 2007 squad car.
On Wednesday, Aug. 31, Aaron Jordan was sworn in as Stevens County Attorney by 8th Judicial District Judge Charles Glasrud. Jordan, formerly the assistant county attorney in Cass County, was approved by a vote of 4 to 1 by the Stevens County Commissioners in July. His first day of work was Monday, Aug. 29. Per an agreement with the City of Morris, Jordan will also serve as the city attorney. Jordan will fill out the almost 3-1/2 years remaining for the elected office. Jordan is a North Dakota native who also lived in the Dassel and Cokato area.
Stevens County has a newly redesigned and rebuilt county website that incorporates notifications features, social networking and online access to county records. Scott Busche, Facilities/IT Director for Stevens County, said updating the website had been on his project list since he was hired with Stevens County at the end of 2007, but took a backseat to other more pressing issues until after the county moved back into the renovated courthouse in December, 2010. The board formally approved the new website project in February, 2011.
On Saturday, Aug. 20, the Morris High School class of 1951 gathered to celebrate their 60th reunion and celebrate a re-dedication of their class gift, a flag pole they moved from the old elementary school to the Morris Area Schools Memory Garden. The project was spearheaded by alumnus Joel Killoran who saw that his class' senior gift - the flag pole - was painted over and abandoned at the old elementary school site. After a call to the high school, Killoran said he discovered the district didn't have a record of gifts from various classes and decided to do something about the flag pole.
MORRIS - Business owners on Pacific Avenue expressed concerns to the Morris City Council about the scope and duration of a federally funded road project slated to start next spring. City Manager Blaine Hill said the city sent out about a dozen notices to property owners that will be impacted by this "small, federally funded" project. Because the project is being paid for with federal dollars, planning needs to happen now to begin work next spring. Frost has been "throwing out" the storm sewer underneath Pacific Avenue, causing a hump in the roadway.