Newsletter: Wednesday, September 21st, 2022
--As the city of Little Falls continues to investigate ways to improve the childcare shortage in Little Falls, the school district has emerged as a potential partner. Previously the city of Little Falls received a HUD grant for $1.5 million dollars for a childcare facility. The current timeline requires the city to have a plan in place by December 31st. Although nothing has yet been decided on, the Little Falls Community School District is considering partnering with the city of Little Falls in this venture. Little Falls Community School District Superintendent Greg Johnson spoke at the school board meeting Monday giving a brief overview of the potential project and the need for it in the community. According to information shared in Monday's meeting, there is a need for childcare for approximately 300 kids in Little Falls and up to 600 in Morrison County. With expansions in area businesses in the next couple years, there will be additional jobs available locally and that will likely attract more families and thus grow the need for childcare even more than it presently is. The potential future childcare facility the city and school district have been looking at would house between 70 to slightly over 100 kids so this wouldn't end the childcare shortage but it could have a significant impact. Childcare shortages have an impact on many individuals in their home lives and also in the workforce, and thus becomes an important issue to all employers in the area too. There has already been evidence of potential workers not able to go to work because of the shortage of childcare. If this partnership moves forward, the Little Falls Community School District can offer a few unique things including access to social workers, connectivity to preschool, food service and more. This past Monday a presentation was given but nothing has yet been decided on. The school board will continue to look into financial particulars for the next month with a potential vote at the next meeting October 17th. The city has a similar timeline.
--The Little Falls City Council met on Monday night. At the meeting, the council approved the preliminary levy at $5,063,000. That is a 20.92% increase from the finalized levy in 2022. The preliminary levy can be lowered when finalized by the council on December 5th but can't be raised above the preliminary levy. The council set the preliminary tax rate at 65.92%, which is 1.08% more than the 2022 tax rate. The preliminary budget is broken down into three sectors: General/ Special Revenue and Enterprise. The preliminary General budget was set at $7,959,700. The preliminary Special Revenue of the budget was set at $1,335,860. The preliminary Enterprise section of the budget was set at $6,088,180.
--A 56-year-old Ramsey woman was injured Saturday after she crashed while driving an all-terrain vehicle on a trail near Highway 6 in Crow Wing County. The Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office responded to the crash, reported at 1:20pm in the Emily area on a trail. According to the report, the ATV left the trail and hit a tree. The driver of the ATV, Marry Bellows, was transported to the Medical Center in Crosby with possible broken ribs and a shoulder injury.
--Pierz Healy High School has announced the candidates for homecoming queen and king. Queen candidates are Kendra Cekalla, Addie LeBlanc, Carissa Andres, Ashley Kimman and Sydney Suska. King candidates are Kirby Fischer, Gene Skiba, Johnny Cheney, Jacob LeBlanc and Eddie Westmorland. Coronation will take place Monday at 2:45pm in the MAC at the high school. Pierz will have a week full of activities culminating in the homecoming football game vs Morris Area September 30th, then a dance until midnight for grades 7-12.
--The Minnesota Court of Appeals has ruled against two businesses that stayed open during the COVID-19 lockdown. Norm’s Wayside in Buffalo and Mission Tavern in Merrifield filed an appeal after each business had its liquor license suspended for remaining open during the lockdown in 2020. Court records show several complaints were received, and health investigators issued a “cease and desist” order. The businesses remained open after receiving the order, and as a result, the Minnesota Department of Health suspended the liquor license for both businesses, revoked the license for Norms Wayside, and fined each business $10,000. The suspensions and revocations were stayed. Norm’s Wayside and Mission Tavern sued the state, saying the orders were unconstitutional because they “lacked a rational basis”. The Minnesota Court of Appeals has ruled the Minnesota Department of Health had the authority under the Health Enforcement Consolidation Act of 1993.
--A Florida man has died following a single-vehicle crash that happened near Zimmerman earlier this month. The incident took place around 9:30am at 108th Street and County Road 9 on September 4th. The Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office says 90-year-old Philip Wagner of Cape Canaveral, Florida was driving a transit van east on County Road 9 when he went through the t-intersection at 108th Street and entered a field. Authorities say Wagner showed no signs of impairment when they arrived at the scene. He was taken to a hospital with spinal injuries and died there nearly a week later.
--Sister Carol Schmitt have an update on items at the St. Francis Convent. After two years of not having many events or even anything outside this year is different as outdoor concerts, the night out event with first responders and law enforcement and firefighters was a big success. Inside the blood drives returned to St. Francis Hall, events like the church ladies performances this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Blessing of the Animals October 2nd at Washington Park and others are on the horizon and even more events are being planned. Masses have reopened earlier this year to the public both weekday and Sunday mornings. The hope is to continue this into the fall and especially with the holiday season to have open Masses and Christmas concerts for the public in the holiday season. Sister Carol wants to thank those who have helped and continue to help items in the convent and have given blessings, messages, donations or just very kinds words to the sisters this year. If you have questions on events call 320-632-2981 or fslf.org.
--Morrison County Sheriff Shawn Larsen want to congratulate Tim Brummer, Morrison County Jail Programmer who was named and awarded the honor of 2022 Jail Programmer of the Year. Brummer was given the award at the 40th Annual Jail Administrator Conference by Sheriff Larsen at Cragun's Resort on September 15th.
--Brenda M. Spoden, age 57 of Sartell