Two Wadena County residents spoke before Wadena County commissioners Monday night with a plea to cut back taxes any way possible. The plea came during the Truth in Taxation meeting, a meeting where residents have a chance to comment on proposed taxing in the county. As of Tuesday, commissioners were looking at a $22 million budget to offer its services including law enforcement, road maintenance, human services needs, public health, record keeping, economic development, land management and court services.
While some may still struggle to find child care that works for their busy schedules, the availability of such a service is growing in areas like Wadena County thanks to a regional partnership.
Wadena-Deer Creek School board members reviewed a site plan of the planned reconstruction of the area outside of the WDC Elementary School and Memorial Auditorium as the plan undergoes fine tuning. Sharing updates on the project was Site Superintendent Chris Wacker, who said he felt the current plan to add a large parking area, playground, and close a portion of Dayton Avenue was "making the absolute best use of the space." WDC Superintendent Lee Westrum said the current plan adds about 13 new parking spaces during school hours and over 70 spaces after school hours.
Not that anyone is looking for an emergency situation, but if one should occur, the Wadena County Sheriff's Office is now better prepared to handle it. Emergency Management Director, Deputy Tyler Wheeler and Deputy Emergency Management Director, Sgt. Bryan Savaloja, recently completed all courses to receive Emergency Management certification through the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Homeland Security and Emergency Management. The two were honored and presented with their certificates at the Wadena County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday in Wadena.
An affordable housing project in Baxter, recently approved for construction, would help serve a housing need for individuals diagnosed with a mental illness in our region, according to Wadena County Human Services staff.
Close parking spots were hard to come by Saturday during the annual Wadena Christmas Festival, an indicator of strong crowds eager to buy gifts, food or just enjoy some entertainment in the warmth of the Wadena-Deer Creek Elementary School. Luckily for those attending the 43rd annual Wadena Chamber of Commerce event, there were no shortage of things to see and do once inside. The actual event fills the entire Memorial Auditorium, where Santa and Mrs. Claus could be seen, dancing and live music could be heard and the first group of vendor items could be perused.
Folks traveling the dusty and bumpy County State Aid Highway 4 in Wadena will continue to do so through spring as work on that project has ceased until cold and snow is gone. This project, which will stretch from Harry Rich Drive to Hwy 10, was divided into two projects, an east and west, divided by 4th Street NE. According to Wadena County Highway Engineer Ryan Odden, no work has been completed on the west half, but the current project is about 42 percent complete.
While there's plenty to look at upon entering the All Around Divas Boutique in Wadena, what might first catch your eye is a rack of shirts with the words "Be Kind" written on them. Those shirts are part of an important passion in the lives of the owners Chasity and Randy Peterson as well as manager Sarah Hanna. Looking further, the store is bursting with flannels, MN branded shirts and hats, tights, sweats, flowing tops, jewelry and shoes. As store owner Chasity Peterson describes it, "our goal is it would be a one stop girly shop."
Paulette Ohm, feels an energy building in downtown Wadena, and she's glad to be a part of it. Ohm is the new owner of 1776 Clothing Company in downtown Wadena, after buying the business from its creator Cheryl Helms as of Sept. 24. Ohm said operating a retail clothing business is an exciting venture for her as she is an avid shopper herself. "It was a good challenge for me," Ohm said. "I love shopping and I want what I love about shopping to carry over into this business."
A group of five concerned citizens were part of a planned peaceful protest in front of the Wadena County Courthouse Thursday night. The group had a bit of a shiver in their step as they held signs along Jefferson Street in the 14 degree weather. Some of the signs read "Protect the Investigation Now," and "No One is Above the Law."