The recent descent to below zero wind chills was a chilly reminder that, yes, we do live in Minnesota. And, for this cold spell at least, we reclaimed our birthright as Minnesotans to complain about the cold and everything that goes along with arctic weather. We can settle into a more natural winter climate once again. The chips on our shoulders are frozen solid. The unseasonably warm temperatures of the past couple months encouraged too much unnatural behavior for Minnesotans during this time of year.
by Sara Hacking, Staff Writer Fourteen Wadena National Guard families heard the disappointing news last week that their soldiers' deployments in Iraq won't end in March, as anticipated. Several other Wadena families with soldiers deployed in other units are also affected. In spite of the letdown, soldiers and families are holding up well, according to Wadena Family Readiness Group leaders. "They all seem to have pretty good attitudes," said Karla Richardson, FRG co-leader. "It's still a disappointment when they [were] all looking towards that March date.
by Sara Hacking, Staff Writer Budget concerns have forced the city of Sebeka to consider dissolving its police department and look into contracting law enforcement services with the Wadena County Sheriff's Department, according to Sebeka city officials. The police department consumes one third of the annual city budget, said Sebeka City Councilman Andrew Huhta. Department expenditures are almost double what they were 10 years ago, he said. "It's just been going up and up and up," he said. "We can't allow it to keep going at the rate we're going. It's going to bankrupt our town.
Wadena residents are hopping on the New Year's fitness bandwagon at the beginning of 2007, according to local fitness establishments. "It's our busiest time of the year," said Wadena Curves owner Patricia Willems.
The votes are in and local parents have selected the most popular baby names of 2006. Individuality ruled the year, however, and a short list of fashionable names did not stand out. While previous generations popularized names like Chris, Tom, Jenny and Lori, today's new parents choose names for their distinctiveness. The Wadena Pioneer Journal announced the births of 150 babies during the past year.
by Sara Hacking, Staff Writer The Wadena County Sheriff's Department is looking to modify the crowded jail to allow changes in the intake of work release and Sentenced to Serve inmates as well as to create new storage, according to Sheriff Mike Carr, Jr. "What we have here is a 10-gallon bucket of water we're trying to put into a five-gallon pail," Carr said about the lack of space. "We have to be innovative in how we're going to gain space." Carr would like to add a wall in the two-car sally port where prisoners first come in when they are put under arrest, he said.
by Sara Hacking, Staff Writer The Wadena County Board approved 2007 wages for the sheriff, county attorney, recorder and auditor treasurer on Jan. 2. Sheriff Mike Carr Jr. suggested a salary of $75,000 to $76,000 out of the $80,000 plus budget for the previous sheriff.
by Sara Hacking, Staff Writer Wadena County was selected to receive $9,553 in federal funds to complement emergency food and shelter programs in the county through the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program.
Wadena County is finding success by accentuating the positive in child protection investigations, according to county officials. Family assessment response was legislated in Minnesota in 2005 as an alternative approach to traditional investigations. "It's a strength-based approach to families in need, children at risk," said Linda Kirk, Wadena County Social Services child protection worker.
Major changes in Minnesota's child support laws, including a new formula for calculating financial obligations, took effect Jan. 1, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Counties will now use both parents' monthly gross incomes to determine each parent's cost of raising a child.