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 human interest, multimedia, business and public affairs reporting.
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MORRIS - Stevens County has a new sheriff and a new emergency management director after Jason Dingman and Dona Greiner were sworn into their new roles at a ceremony at the Stevens County Courthouse on Monday, Dec. 31. Dingman has worked law enforcement in Stevens County since 1992 when he was hired as a reserve deputy. He was hired to work full time for the sheriff's office in 1996 and has been working in Stevens County since.
MORRIS - In part one of our look back at the year that was, record high temperatures hit in January, redistricting left Stevens County without incumbent legislators, and both Morris Area principals announced they would be leaving the district. January Shopko and Pamida announced that they would merge and, over the next 12 months, convert 193 Pamida stores in 17 states to the Shopko Hometown format. The conversion for Morris' Pamida store began in August, with a grand opening for the new Shopko in September.
MORRIS - In the two months since Sheriff Randy Willis announced he would be resigning at the end of 2012, he has gotten many phone calls and e-mails from residents saying thanks for the little things - opening a car door or quieting a neighbor's dog. In his 12 years as sheriff, Willis has overseen some big office changes and high-profile cases, but still appreciates the ability to take care of the small problems for the citizens of Stevens County.
MORRIS - The Morris City Council approved another five year building lease with the Stevens County Historical Society and amended two loan agreements with the organization at their last meeting of the year on Thursday. Under the terms of the lease, the Historical Society will continue to pay $1 for use of the building for five years, City Manager Blaine Hill explained. The new lease includes two changes. First, it authorizes the Historical Society to sub-lease the building with the city's approval. Currently, the University of Minnesota, Morris leases space in the building for research.
MORRIS - A Stevens County man pleaded guilty to one count of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree for sexually assaulting a girl multiple times over a two year period. Cruz Mar Del-Angel, 39, agreed to a plea arrangement with prosecutors to be placed on 20 years probation, participate in a sex offender treatment program, and register as a sex offender.
MORRIS - Morris Area High School science teacher Kevin Pope loves physics, but doesn't think of himself as a math person even though he acknowledges physics is mostly math. He's a science person, but muddled through college chemistry. He loves teaching, but doesn't like to be in the spotlight and doesn't know why he was voted the 2012 Teacher of the Year for the Morris Area School District.
MORRIS -- In the week after a school shooting in Newtown, Conn., staff in the Morris Area School District have worked to get things back to normal for students, as well as provide a consistent message about school safety for concerned students. All school districts in the state are required to have plans in place to deal with "potential violent crisis situations" - everything from natural disasters to shootings.
MORRIS -- The Stevens County Board of Commissioners voted 3 - 2 for a 2013 tax levy of about $6.35 million, a 7.29 percent increase over 2012, at their meeting Tuesday. The budget includes about $13.3 million in expenses, a 7.1 percent increase over the final budget for 2012. The budget also includes about $6.6 million in revenues, a 4.9 percent increase over 2012. An anticipated cut in County Program Aid, from about $695,000 in 2012 down to $516,200 in 2013, accounts for nearly 37 percent of the proposed levy increase.
MORRIS - The Morris Area School Board approved a final tax levy increase of about $53,000, a 1.67 percent increase over 2012 and the maximum amount allowed by the Minnesota Department of Education at their regular meeting on Monday. On Monday, the board also approved a revision to their 2012 - 2013 school year budget, which currently projects an increase to the budget deficit the district was already expecting.
MORRIS -- The Stevens County Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 to appoint Stevens County Sheriff's Department Deputy Jason Dingman the next sheriff of Stevens County at their meeting Tuesday. Commissioners Larry Sayre, Jeanne Ennen and Paul Watzke voted for Dingman, while Commissioners Phil Gausman and Ron Staples voted against his appointment. Dingman has worked law enforcement in Stevens County since 1992 when he was hired by then-Sheriff Sayre as a reserve deputy. He was hired to work full time for the sheriff's office since 1996 and has been working in Stevens County since.