Kim Ukura began working at the Farmington/Rosemount Independent Town Pages in August of 2016. Previously, she served as the editor of the Morris Sun Tribune for five years. 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 - 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 -- 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 - 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 -- 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.
MORRIS - The Morris City Council approved a three percent increase to the city's tax levy and an approximately $8.9 million city budget for 2013 at their regular meeting on Tuesday. The total 2013 tax levy is about $1.29 million dollars; about $636,000 of the levy will go into the city's General Fund, $50,000 will go to the Library Fund, and $602,000 will go to pay down the city's debt. City Manager Blaine Hill gave the council a presentation on the budget and levy during the city's Truth in Taxation hearing Tuesday.
MORRIS - The United States is getting old. Over the next decade, as many people will turn 65 as have turned 65 in the last three decades. By 2020, the United States will have the same number of people over 65 years old as school aged people.
MORRIS - The Stevens County Board of Commissioners is poised to appoint Jason Dingman, a deputy in the Stevens County Sheriff's office, the next sheriff of Stevens County. On Monday, an interview panel consisting of the Stevens County Board of Commissioners as well as five county staff members interviewed all five applicants for sheriff. After the interviews, the panel ranked the candidates and narrowed the field to three candidates - local Sheriff's deputies Tom Loew and Jason Dingman and retired Minnesota Statewide Drug Gang and Drug Coordinator Bob Bushman.
MORRIS - Dave Dybdal was officially sworn in as the 11th Fire Chief for the Morris Fire Department on Tuesday, Dec. 11 at the Morris City Council meeting. Dybdal is a 17 year veteran of the department who previously served as assistant chief. When recognizing Dybdal and presenting him with a new badge, Mayor Sheldon Giese said it was one of the most important things he had been involved in during his 11 years on the city council. "I want to thank the Morris Fire Department for electing me as their next chief," said Dybdal.