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Slayton Public Library Summer Reading Program

The Summer Reading Program at the Slayton Public Library has looked a bit different this summer.  Due to the pandemic and social distancing we were unable to have groups of children in the library.  Therefore, we sent weekly craft projects home with the 43 young people who registered for summer reading.  We’ve made rockets, fire breathing dragons, unicorns, colored reusable bags etc. We had an optional family challenge where families built castles out of recycled products. There is a sidewalk chalk contest which will be judged on our Friends of the Slayton Library Facebook page (by how many likes each one gets). 

Our summer reading program is half over and we’re hoping registered participants are at least halfway to their reading goal. 

We always welcome pictures and a few parents have sent some in of their children doing crafts or with their completed craft.

Summer 4H 2020

This year for Murray County 4-H, it has been quite different then we have had in the past years. For this year’s Summer of Fun and the month of June, we have met virtually via Zoom. We meet every Tuesday and Thursday morning. Tuesdays are a learning day where we talk to the kids about a project area that they can do in 4-H and we give them some examples of what a project could be. We also assign them a task for the rest of the week and when we meet on Thursday, they are able to talk about their task that they did and show us their masterpiece that they have created as well as what they learned by completing the project.  The families picked up all of the supplies for each week prior to Summer of Fun starting.   For the first week of meeting on Zoom, we talked about the Photography project area. We explained everything they needed to know about photography such as Rule of Three, focal point, focus, and the requirements for the project as well. Their task was to take pictures with some of the lessons they learned and on Thursday they got to explain the picture and tell us all about it as they would be telling the judge.  The second week we talked about the Food Review project area that 4-H offers. We again explained everything that they can do and showed them examples of past kids’ projects. The task was given to them that they were to make a meal for their family and tell us all about it at the next meeting time that week. For another week we taught Crafts and Fine arts learning about string art. Their task was to make a string art with a hammer, piece of board, and some string and make a design. The idea was to allow the kids to have projects that they can have completed and able to be judged. Our Summer of Fun activities goes until July 28th this summer.

New Non-profit is Working on Options for Housing and Other Services for Older Adults

The sudden closure of the Slayton Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center last July disrupted the lives of many families as they had to quickly find new homes and services for parents and loved ones. Residents who had called Murray County home for most or all of their lives moved away from family and friends. Over fifty employees lost their jobs. A local reporter called it “a punch in the gut.”

Local attorney Lynn Johnson and Cal Wurpts, former Slayton mayor, were two individuals who quickly stepped up to explore options to house and provide services for our older adults. The now-empty Rehabilitation and Health Care Center was considered but they found that the  ownership was not interested in selling and even if available, the property would need a significant amount of money to bring it up to current codes.

Ms. Johnson met with local leaders and contacted regional and state officials to research options. She discovered that situations like ours are a nationwide problem. She assembled a number of these leaders for a well-attended listening session on December 30, 2019. “The future is geared toward collaborative community efforts,” said Ms. Johnson, explaining that the purpose of the meeting was to hear ideas from community members about how to provide better elder care moving forward. The response to that meeting was the impetus for action. “I was overwhelmed with the community response,” she said. “we need a place where people can grow from cradle to grave.”

Since the December 30 meeting, a lot of work, research and planning has been under way. Before the pandemic, many small group meetings were held as interest continued to grow. The initiative was named Operation Prairie Venture (

One of the first steps was to establish a formal organization – a 501 (c) (3) non-profit with a board of directors, a mission, strategic plan, website, and Facebook page. Four concerned volunteers including Cal Wurpts, Molly Malone, Leeny Malone Beach and Connie Humphrey Shaver joined Ms. Johnson on the board. The City of Slayton stepped up with funds to retain the services of the Southwest Regional Development Commission to work with the board on a strategic plan. Church leaders, other organizations and individuals pledged financial support. Ms. Malone wrote a successful grant request to the University of Minnesota Extension’s Southwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership. This grant will support a 13-week architecture and design internship for the development of a model neighborhood that provides housing options for older adults. Information from the community will help with planning.

In addition to the website, Operation Prairie Venture (OPV) has a Facebook page:

The U of M graduate student, Rajeev Atha, will explore building styles and needed services during his work on the project. This includes gathering information from the community. As part of the OPB Board’s planning efforts with Southwest Regional Development Commission and the Southwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership, a survey has been created for community input. The survey can be found online through Operation Prairie Venture’s website and Facebook page. A printed survey will also be distributed in various locations around Slayton. Please take the time to complete this survey. It will help with planning. Donations may also be made directly through the OPV website and Facebook page.

The OPV Board is working on a public open house within the next month. Date and location will be announced and posted on the OPV website and Facebook page soon. Please make plans to attend.

OPV’s mission is “to build innovative services and spaces for older adults that enable all generations to live and thrive in a vibrant community.” To fulfill this mission, feedback, leadership, and energy from a wide range of people in Slayton and beyond will be needed.

With this information and support, Operation Prairie Venture will continue its initiative to address housing and service needs in the region.

Get the dirt

Kathy Schwartz, Murray County Master Gardener 

You may want to raise your mowing height one inch during warm/hot weather.

Watch for insects on your shrubs. Wilted leaves may be a sign of borer damage. Check the base of the stems for holes and sawdust debris. Prune out borer - infested stems.

Lilies are a favorite of rabbits and deer. Increase success by treating with repellents or scare tactics.

Information provided by the University of Minnesota Extension Service.