The installation of a 24-inch diameter crude oil pipeline by the Minnesota Pipe Line Company is raising concerns for Staples farmer Richard Sorgert about the loss of oak trees on his property, the price of the easement and damage to his cropland. There are three 16-inch diameter MPL pipelines running through Sorgert's property. MPL wants to put the new, larger pipe 25 feet parallel to the existing pipelines, he said. Sorgert said he is most upset about the 100-foot temporary easement MPL requires as work space to install the pipeline.
The Wadena County Board unanimously approved a $16,482,373 county budget for 2007 with a levy increase of 9.57 percent last Thursday. A raise in commissioner's salary and fears of extension cuts attracted a small crowd of concerned citizens, however. After the budget was approved, retiring commissioner Dave Mattila made a motion to increase the commissioner's salaries from $10,650 per year to $13,000 per year, a 22 percent increase. The board chairman will receive a raise from $11,800 to $14,200, a 20 percent increase.
Four Wadena parishes will celebrate Epiphany by raising money to build wells in the African nation of Ghana during a special service at St. Helen's Episcopal Church on Saturday, Jan. 6. The United Methodist Church Wadena, First Congregational United Church of Christ, as well as Messiah Lutheran Church and its sister congregation Balsamlund Lutheran Church are also participating. The United Nations' millennium goal to cut world poverty in half inspired the ecumenical event, said the Rev. John Husband of St. Helen's. "[The goals] are very ambitious but technically doable," Husband said.
The Friendly Rider Transit system will expand its services to include a two-mile radius in the city of Staples as well as Lakewood Health Systems beginning Tuesday Jan. 2, after receiving approval from the Todd and Wadena County Boards. "It's very exciting," said Pam Jenson, administrative services supervisor. "This is a perfect time to expand.
Enclosed within the pines and frozen fields surrounding Wadena are thousands of interesting topics for story writing. This weekend, however, Highway 10 blazed a trail for me to escape reporting the news for the PJ and experience some Christmas fun outside the confines of our little town. Creating chocolate-covered cherries, unwrapping gifts garnished with gold ribbon and enjoying the company of people under age 30 highlighted this year's annual Christmas party with my sister and our Moorhead friends, Kristy and Allison. The fun-filled weekend was not without its challenges, though.
The future of water planning in Wadena County is in jeopardy after the Wadena County Board cut $18,397 from the Soil and Water Conservation District proposed 2007 budget of $50,500. The SWCD requested an additional $20,000 in county funds this year to make up for a financial shortfall caused by cuts in state funding for water plans in 2003. The water plan receives $2,247 in a levy match and the SWCD wanted an additional $17,753. Instead the board approved $2,103, the state mandated minimum. "I'm disappointed," said Kari Tomperi, water resource management technician, in an interview.
The Wadena County Board approved $341,009 in cuts from the 2007 proposed budget and a levy increase of 9.57 percent at a special budget and levy meeting on Dec. 15. The final budget and levy will be adopted today (Thursday). The board's approval of the $341,009 in cuts met with some disapproval by Chairman Lane Waldahl, who voted "nay." He said he thought more cuts should have been approved. Commissioner Mary Harrison said additional cuts are still possible. "The cuts we made are set in stone," Harrison said.
The Ag Society's plans to repair the New Ideas Building at the fairgrounds survived the Wadena County Board's 2007 budget cutting axe on Friday. The board allotted the Ag Society $20,000 for building repair this year. The Ag Society has acquired a huge array of volunteers and to remove the funding would be to shoot them in the foot, said Commissioner Mary Harrison. Ag Society President Tim Nolte has reported that new officers and an increase in volunteers has reenergized fair planning. Chairman Lane Waldahl said the board left the money alone because it is needed for county-owned buildings
Wadena resident Elmer Henke, 90, wasn't content to sit at home when he retired in 1978 after 25 years of driving truck for a wholesale grocery company in New Ulm, Minn. So when Henke moved to Wadena, he switched from hauling groceries by truck to bagging them at the check-out lines of Wadena Super One, launching a nearly three-decade career. For Henke, the past 28 years have been full of giving out hugs, making friends and sharing stories in addition to bagging pantry staples, meat and fresh produce. He and his wife, Lillian, 84, moved to Wadena to be near relatives, he said.
The Wadena County Board agreed to the terms of an amended joint powers agreement with South Country Health Alliance and approved a funding proposal including payment of a $704,854 membership fee on Jan. 2, 2007. The county general fund will supply $450,000 in funds and social services will provide $255,000, said Social Services Director Paul Sailer. "It's a big payment that we have to do," said Chairman Lane Waldahl. "[But] in the long run it will save the tax payers of Wadena County a lot of money." SCHA is a county-based purchaser of health care services.