A motion to approve a major project dealing with maintenance and repairs at three Minnewaska Area Schools buildings was delayed until this week to give school board members a little more time to become more familiar with the numbers involved. The board set a special meeting for 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 30, to come to some conclusions. The board is near the end of a project dating back to last year to detail physical needs at district buildings, decide which are the most important and then take that list of needs to voters who would be asked to approve a bond to pay for the repairs. Photo by PC Tribune Last Tuesday the board heard the latest numbers from Bert Haglund of TSP Architecture, Stephanie Howe of studio e architects and Betsy Knoche of Ehlers, a financial firm and the district’s bond consultant. The projects outlined come in at just over $9 million, with nearly $7 million at Minnewaska Area High School, $500,000 for the Minnewaska Area Day Treatment Center in Starbuck and $1,659,598 at Minnewaska Area Elementary in Glenwood. The big issue at the high school is the roof that comes in at $2.97 million. In addition to the roof, another $294,012 is proposed to replace the through-wall flashing which has been failing in spots and allowing water to run into the building.
Minnewaska Golf Club was the site for a pro-am golf tournament, held on Sunday, July 20. MGC’s head pro, Scott McDonald, finished one shot off the lead and also recorded an ace on the 9th hole. A number of MGC members enjoyed competing in the team format with area professionals. Professional results, Top 10 T1 Chrs Borgen LostSpur GC 36-33--69 T1 Eric Roland Woodhill CC 35-34--69 T3 Brent Snyder Troy Burne GC 34-36--70 T3 Scott McDonald Minnewaska GC 34-36--70 T5 Bill Israelson Vintage GC 37-34--71 T5 Eric Chiles Chaska Town Course 34-37--71 T7 Don Berry Edinburgh USA 38-35--73 T7 Kris Kroetsch Fargo CC 38-35--73 T7 Mike Snow Cragun’s Legacy Courses 37-36--73 T10 Grant Hanson Geneva GC 38-36--74 T10 Jon Reigstad Keller GC 39-35--74 T10 Tim Johnson The Pines at Grand View 37-37--74
Team results: 3 of 4 Chicago points (1 for net bogey, 2 for net par, 3 for net birdie, 4 for net eagle, 5 for net double eagle)
1st Shane Eastman, Chad Moon, Gregg Henderson, Chuck Klecatsky (Craguns Legacy Courses) 130 points 2nd Missy Tabery, Tony Janu Jr, Ben Vangsness, Bill Israelson (The Vintage at Staples) 126 points 3rd Paul Kostelecky, Terry E Jones, Scott Ringdahl, Eric Chiles (Chaska Town Course) 125 points 4th Gary Locke, Dennis Spindler, Bob Gorg, Jon Reigstad (Keller Golf Course) 121 points 5th Cody Hvezda, Aaron Hvezda, Andrew Wiener, Grant Hanson (Geneva Golf Club) 120 points 6th Trevor Solem, Josh Sherlin, John Shirkey, Kris Kroetsch (Fargo Country Club) 119 points 7th Brett Buckingham, Greg Buckingham, Chris J Buckingham, Don Berry (Ediburgh USA) 118 points
One of the major pieces of legislation passed during the last session takes effect on Friday of this week (August 1). On that date, the state’s minimum wage will increase to $8 an hour for what the state considers “large employers,” those with annual gross sales over $500,000. The wage is scheduled to increase again to $8.50 next year and finally to $9.50 on August 1, 2016. The rates for small employers, those with under a half million dollars in annual gross sales, are lower with the numbers being $6.50 this year and moving up to $7.75 in two years.
There is no “tip credit” associated with the bill, and restaurant owners, among others, are concerned they will have to cut staff or raise prices to cover the increased cost. The legislation does contain an “inflation factor,” giving the commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry the authority to increase the minimum wage by up to 2.5 percent annually, based on what’s known as the Implicit Price Deflator. This inflation factor is problematic for some and was one of the reasons this bill was stuck in conference committee for nearly a year before finally being passed.
The Legislative Energy Commission was scheduled to meet this week to hear updates on propane supply and delivery in Minnesota. The commission, established back in 2008, is directed to evaluate the energy policies of the state. They will also hear testimony concerning the extension of natural gas pipelines in Minnesota, some of which is already happening in Stearns County.
I’m concerned that we could be facing a situation similar to last year, when propane prices rose to high levels and the supply grew short. Our state has lost access to a pipeline that formerly supplied 40 percent of our state’s propane needs. We were told at a transportation meeting recently that it will take 4,000 railcars to make up for the loss of that pipeline. Several companies are increasing their storage capacity, and some farmers are also putting in larger tanks for corn drying. However, if the crop comes in wet again this fall and if our winter weather is colder than normal, as it was last year, we could be facing problems again. Contracting is one way to lock in the price of propane, and prices are usually lower in the summer months than during the main heating season.
The state released numbers last week showing just how many crude oil trains pass through our state. Fifty trains per week, each carrying approximately one million gallons of North Dakota crude, go through Minnesota every week. The highest number is on Burlington Northern Sante Fe tracks between Moorhead and the Twin Cities. The Canadian Pacific railroad doesn’t handle the volume of crude that the BN does, and there are fewer oil trains on its tracks.
In a related matter, MnDOT is studying the safety risks at some 500 road crossings in the state that pass over railroad tracks carrying oil trains. They will identify the highest risk intersections and then make improvements at those locations.
Finally our dreams are coming true. Our splendid possibilities as a summer resort will be developed. Mr. O.J. Martin who has worked in season and out of season to bring the realization of our hopes authorizes us to say that we shall finally have a summer hotel; that a deal has been agreed upon which he is satisfied will appeal to the business interests so favorably that they will get back of the project. In fact those whom he has canvassed have shown their faith in the proposition by making liberal stock subscriptions. Beal brothers head the list with a subscription for $500 worth of stock, Postmaster Serrin has signed his “John Hancock” for $300 worth and others have subscribed $100 or more. The proposition which Mr. Martin decided was sufficiently favorable to warrant him in pushing it was made by the Southern Alberta and Minnesota Land Company. The site which is offered is Woodland Point and Shallow Pond with surrounding territory, comprising in all about 60 acres. This property is offered for $5000 and the company is willing to take stock in the summer hotel corporation for $3500 of this amount, the balance to be paid in cash. Mr. Martin states that the proposition is meeting with general approval and that he is meeting with flattering success in his efforts to secure stock subscriptions. He says that a summer hotel and one of the best in the country is assured and that a meeting will be called in the near future of subscribers to stock for the purpose of organizing and agreeing upon articles of incorporation.