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The Wadena County Board approved a preliminary 2006 Property Tax Levy for Taxes Payable in 2007 of $6,769,970 at a special meeting Tuesday. The funds will be distributed as follows: $3,537,340 for general revenue, $1,415,000 for road and bridge, $1,734,385 for social services and $83,245 for the library. Lane Waldahl, chairman of the board, emphasized that the numbers are only preliminary. The levy includes a $100,000 building reserve fund. County commissioner Bill Stearns said there were some surprises in the final budget last year, although they turned out to be good ones.
The Rising Phoenix is a nonprofit, private organization that offers job training, placement services, assessments and personal support to individuals with developmental disabilities, mental illness, physical disabilities and traumatic brain injury. One of its most important goals is to connect people with disabilities to the community, said Barb Ellingson, executive director. "It's our job to support [people] with disabilities and help them build and maintain meaningful lives," she said.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services selected South Country Health Alliance to become the sole provider of health care services for public clients in Wadena County beginning early next year.
The Wadena-Deer Creek schools are serving up free breakfast and adding a Wellness policy to encourage healthy eating and a more active lifestyle among students. All students will be offered free breakfast each morning beginning this school year. Food Service Director Sandie Rentz said she has visited with other food service directors who have seen very positive results from offering free breakfasts in their schools. "We're really excited," she said about the program.
Prize-winning farm animals, thousands of people to watch and every kind of food on-a-stick all make for a memorable weekend at the Minnesota State Fair. And I certainly will admit to enjoying a taste of tator tot hot dish on-a-stick from Ole and Lena's stand. However, the main reason for my very first trip to the state fair was to see my sister and brother-in-law race in the Milk Run on Sunday--a race they almost didn't get to. The 5K race is a tradition at the fair and is limited to the first 1,500 entrants. The deadline to apply was back in July.
Vandals at Wadena-Deer Creek Elementary School left streaks of paint on the walls, ceilings and roof as well as broken glass, overturned desks and damaged computers, according to Wadena police. The suspects forced entrance and the vandalism occurred in several classrooms, hallways and the gym. A 13-year-old male suspect was taken into custody in connection with the crime. The suspect was arrested at approximately 9 a.m. Friday. He wasn't identified because of his age. The police believe there were at least three juveniles involved in the vandalism, said Police Chief Bruce Uselman.
The Friendly Rider Transit System is feeling the pinch from high gas prices, which may result in increased rates for passengers next year, according to transit officials. The county is considering a rate increase from the current price of $1 per ticket to $1.25 or $1.50. Each Friendly Rider bus averages 75 miles per day at six miles per gallon, said Bob Roggenkamp, transit coordinator. That adds up to a cost of $80 to $100 per day for the buses with a $3 gas price.
Wadena native James "Buck" Foster sandblasted the homes of the rich and famous during his 14-year stay in California. Now, with his new business, Blast-A-Way Sandblasting, Foster seeks to share his passion for pulverizing peeling paint in his home town. Foster learned his sandblasting craft from his brother after moving to California when he completed high school. He started on the bottom as a helper taping windows and shoveling sand before gradually working his way up. After a year with his brother he began sandblasting for his wife's father.
The soldiers of 1st Battalion, 194th Armor Company A returned from a year-long tour of duty in Iraq last December to high expectations of tasting mom's famous tater-tot hot dish again, cheering at their children's basketball games and working at their regular jobs in Wadena. For most soldiers, life has gradually returned to a reasonable degree of normalcy.
The Wadena County Board is investigating a wireless alarm system in response to concern about security in the courthouse. At its Aug. 15 meeting the board agreed to arrange a demonstration of the Centurion Security System by StopTech, Ltd. The system has a distress button, smoke and motion detectors, sensors for glass breakage, temperature detectors and more, said Scott McKellep, emergency manager. Commissioner Bill Stearns discovered the Centurion System at a vendor fair at the National Association of Counties Conference.