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Grass Fire Destroys Building

Grass fire destroys building, tractors south of Starbuck on Friday

starbuck-fire-department-at-workThe Starbuck, Benson and Lowry Fire Departments responded to a fire on Highway 29 between Starbuck and Benson on Friday evening at 6:30 p.m. The fire was called in as a grassfire and took until around 11 p.m. to extinguish. The blaze claimed a building and some tractors, it was stated.

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Notes From The Capital

 From the Office of Paul Anderson - State Representative 12B

paul anderson 150The House Agriculture Policy and Finance Committees held a joint informational hearing last week to hear from experts working to stop the spread of the H5N2 Avian Influenza that is attacking Minnesota’s poultry industry.  At last count, 26 farms have been affected in 14 counties, with at least 12 additional cases reported in the past week.  Kandiyohi and Stearns, the two leading turkey producing counties in Minnesota, have the most barns that have been hit.

The lead testifier at last Thursday’s hearing was Dr. John Cilfford, the chief veterinarian with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington.  He reported that $15 million has been allocated to Minnesota to aid in the fight against the disease, and that Ag. Secretary Tom Vilsack is “on top of the situation” and has requested additional funding for Minnesota.

It’s hoped that warmer weather will aid in slowing down the spread of the disease.  The virus cannot survive temperatures over 80 degrees, and upcoming summer weather will help curtail the disease.  However, according to Dr. Bill Hartmann, head of the state’s Board of Animal Health, even if the disease is stopped now, more cases are likely this fall when temps cool off again and migratory birds begin their annual flights south.

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Friendly Garden Club Looking For Donations

Friendly Garden Club looking for donations for flowers at Starbuck beach

Friendly Garden ClubOver the years the Starbuck Beautification Committee and the Friendly Garden Club have beautified and enlivened Starbuck with hanging flower baskets, flower planters and flower beds in the downtown area, the park and the beach.
Last year with the help of the city, the VFW Men’s Auxiliary and members of the Friendly Garden Club created the flower beds by the beach house (which was renovated and the snack shack open) were expanded and a tiered flower/rock garden was built and planted at the south end of the beach by the boat landing. They received many compliments and saw a much increased use of the beach during the summer. The necessary funds were raised from local businesses and organizations to cover the increased flower planting, watering and fertilizing.

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Someplace Safe Rolls Out Red Carpet

Someplace Safe rolls out the red carpet for the community

High school students aren’t the only ones invited to a formal occasion this coming Saturday. On the same evening as Minnewaska Area High School’s prom, Someplace Safe of Pope County is rolling out the red carpet for “A Formal Affair” at Lakeside Ballroom in Glenwood from 5-8 p.m.

The event is the nonprofit organization’s main fundraiser for the year and will feature an elegant setting, complimentary appetizers, a silent auction, prizes, games and live entertainment. Paustis Wine Company will be offering a free wine tasting, and a cash bar will also be available.

Terri Heggie, Someplace Safe crime victim advocate, said that though the event is billed as “formal,” it refers more to the setting. “You don’t have to come in a tux,” she said with a laugh. “People can come dressed any way they like.”

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City Hears Transparency Needed On Project

City hears transparency needed on project

The downtown Complete Streets project was discussed at the Glenwood City Commissioners’ meeting Tuesday. While the discussion did not include details of the project’s design, it focused instead on how city residents were being informed about the project.

Tina Peterson, a downtown business owner, told the commission that she hoped the city would put a “higher priority” on notifying the public of any meetings on the subject as well as publishing the meeting times in the newspaper and holding those meetings at appropriate times when most can attend.

She referred to a recent meeting in which engineers unveiled the design of the upcoming “complete streets” plan slated for downtown Glenwood in 2018. That meeting, she said, was held during the workday when many could not attend, and, she said, it raised more questions than answers.  

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Starbuck Approves Bringing In Office Help

Starbuck approves bringing in office help

starbuck-city-hall The Starbuck City Council approved bringing in Certified Public Accountant Brian D. Koehn to help in the city office on an as needed  basis last Monday.
 Mayor Gary Swenson said, “The Clerk/Treasurer resigned, we just had the audit done, we are installing new water meters, it’s difficult for the office to get everything done. We need him (Koehn) to come in and work hands on helping us to get caught up.”
 Koehns fee is $43 per hour and $50 per trip to Starbuck from where he is in Parkers Prairie.
 Councilman Ted Razink said he thinks the city needs to get somebody here to help in the office.
 Swenson said the council needs financial info up to date to conduct business.
 Councilman Steve Gorder said the council has to get Joan (Kerkvliet) some help in the office.

 Moore Street
 The council voted to rescind a motion Monday of doing a storm sewer on Moore Street  and find a cheaper option. “I think the consensus was it was a lot of money and wouldn’t bring the desired result,” Swenson said.
 At the March 30 work session the council decided they should rescind the motion they made at the March 9 council meeting. The storm sewer bid was $62,000 and the new option would be to add a culvert and other work which would only cost about $10,000 instead.

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Notes From The Capital

Property taxes and who pays them

paul anderson 150The subject of property taxes and who pays them is a topic that always seems to create discussion.  We have heard the explanation of how local property taxes are made up of a three-legged stool, with the three legs of revenue being agricultural land, residential homes, and commercial/industrial property.  In recent years, because of the rapid escalation in farmland values, there has been a shift to more of the total property tax bill falling onto that category.

With the farm economy humming along with high commodity prices and profit margins comfortably in the “black,” at least for crop farming, there wasn’t much sympathy as taxes on ag land increased by large amounts.  That scenario has completely changed in the past year as commodity prices have plummeted to less than one-half their peak values, and profit margins have disappeared.  And even as land prices stabilize and begin to drop somewhat in value, it will take several years for that to show up in lower property taxes.  As a result, farmers are looking at their tax statements and realizing that this is now a significant input cost, one that is adding to their negative cash flows for the upcoming year.

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