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September 28th, 2020 News

Storywalk® In Slayton Gives Families An Outdoor Activity To Enjoy

By Theresa Nysetvold

Many creative changes and opportunities have been sparked by the restrictions of the pandemic, and the Slayton Public Library programming team is no exception. Director Lori Stainer and her assistant Trish Grieme have assembled a StoryWalk® at the West Elementary playground for students to enjoy during the school day and families to experience after school hours. The benefits are many, including literacy, exercise, nature and building relationships.

“StoryWalk® is an innovative and delightful way for children - and adults! - to enjoy reading and the outdoors at the same time. Laminated pages from a children’s book are attached to wooden stakes, which are installed along an outdoor path. As you stroll down the trail you’re directed to the next page in the story. StoryWalks have been installed in 50 states and 12 countries and they are always received with appreciation.”  This idea was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed with the help of Rachel Senechal of the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. Our own librarian, Lori Stainer, explained, “During the pandemic with programming canceled libraries are looking for different ways to connect with patrons. Other libraries in Plum Creek have also used this idea.” The first StoryWalk® in Slayton was fixed to the fence around the pool this summer, but sadly it was damaged in a rainstorm after just a few days. The StoryWalk at West Elementary is the book “Pete the Cat Rocking in My School Shoes” and is attached to the fence near the playground. Ms. Stainer is looking forward to constructing more StoryWalks in the future. “We have talked about putting up a StoryWalk in other places around town too - Wonder World, downtown businesses and the street leading to the community pool. Even when our onsite programming is back in place we will continue to use this way of reaching out to patrons. It is fun and reaches different people than the ones that walk through the doors of the library.”

The StoryWalk® at West is laminated and secure, but will be removed if it is damaged or within a couple of weeks. Treat your family to a short, safe outdoor experience with a book!


County Commissioners Approve Moving Forward With New Parks  Department Shop

Murray County Commissioners met on Tuesday, September 22nd. All Board members were present for this week’s meeting. There were no additions to the agenda and the minutes for the September 15th meeting were reviewed and approved.

Heidi Winter, County Auditor/Treasurer presented this week’s ditch bills. These were reviewed and approved. She also had a subordination request for a septic lien on Murray County Tax Parcel #03-023-0011.

Travis Radke, County Ditch Inspector, had one inspection report to review with the Board. It was for a ditch system that is on DNR land that goes into Cottonwood County. This ditch system the DNR does not pay into, but the ditch authority is responsible to maintain the system. The holes are in the DNR land and the Board decided to get it fixed and send the bill to the DNR and hope they pay it. It was discussed to talk with Cottonwood County to see how the two counties can work together to get the issue resolved. Commissioner Dave Thiner feels doing the work first without the DNR acceptance to pay the bill will only result in it not getting paid. Radke will reach out to Cottonwood County to see what resolutions can be found.

The Board read their committee reports.

Ronda Radke was next on the agenda. She presented the Board with an agreement with Laurel Pugh the County’s Labor Attorney. She has now gone out on her own and the agreement would be with her. Commissioner Thiner and Commissioner Jim Kluis felt it would be beneficial for the County to look and see what other options are out there. No action was taken at this time. She next had a request to hire Dalton Slinger as the intermittent deputy sheriff. This would be contingent upon him completing the required items. This was approved by the Board. Radke next presented the Board with the draft 2021 employment staffing level spreadsheet. The Board had questions from last week’s meeting and requested the list. They discussed the different open positions in the Assessor Office, EDA, License Center etc.

The next item was to discuss the feasibility study request for the Lime Lake Dam replacement. Justin Hoffmann reported that the Parks Board has been discussing this for the last number of meetings and the next step would be to request to have a feasibility study done. Jean Christoffels has helped create the request and guidelines. They requested the Board to approve this next step of having the Lime Lake Dam Replacement RFP completed. The Board approved this request with proposals being opened on October 20th at 10 am.

Hoffmann also discussed the Parks Department shop and the need to get this constructed in 2021. The Fairgrounds Advisory Committee met and recommends to the Board to move forward with the construction of the new shop in the same location for 2021. Commissioner Lori Gunnink stated, “we’ve done a really good job of keeping our fairgrounds updated and this building hasn’t been touched”.  The Board discussed this in detail. It had originally been penciled in for 2022 not for 2021. Gunnink made a motion to get a committee together to discuss getting this project completed in 2021. The Board approved this request.

Thomas Burke and Heidi Winter presented the preliminary 2021 levy numbers to the Board. This will be set at 3.15% today and the Board can work to bring this down before December but cannot exceed this amount. The Truth and Taxation Budget hearing was also set for December 1st at 6pm. The Board approved both of these items.

The next item of business was to approve a resolution setting the sale date for the state aid bonds for October 26th with the award date on October 27th. The amount to be financed in State Aid Bonds is for $11,345,000. This will be a 20-year term for the debt service. The Board approved going out for sale of the bonds and signing the agreement for services with Northland Securities Inc..

Randy Groves was next on the agenda. He had a request to purchase a new low boy truck for the Highway Department. This purchase was planned for 2021 but the current low boy has developed an issue with its frame and is no longer usable. It needs to be replaced now instead of next year. The cost will be $122,091 plus the install for hydraulics. The amount budgeted for 2021 is $140,000. The Board approved this request. Burke did update the Board that they are set to visit the Jackson County Highway Department to tour it and see how their new one looks.

The last item of business for the day was an update on COVID. Carl Nyquist joined the conversation and updated the Board. The County has seen some additional cases of COVID in the last week. He stresses wearing masks and taking precautions to keep this from happening. There have been 75 requests of the CARES money at this point. The CARES Committee continues to meet each week to review the applications coming in and approve those that fit the requirements and request more information from those that they need more info from. Only two have been denied at this point.

With no more items to discuss the meeting was adjourned. The next County Commissioner meeting is scheduled for October 6th at 8:30 am.


Slayton City Council Approves Preliminary Levy

Slayton City Council met on Monday, September 21st. The agenda was approved with additions. The meeting minutes for the September 9th meeting were approved.

Weston Mahon, City Works Director and City Administrator Josh Malchow gave the Council an update on the sewer cleaning and televising that HydroKlean is doing. They have completed ½ of this fall’s project, but things currently are at a standstill. Mahon is frustrated that there appears to be a breakdown of communication between the City, Forman on the Site and Operations Manager that they have been dealing with. Prices have changed drastically in conversations and nothing has changed in the work from this year to last year’s project. Mahon and Malchow will look into this further and talk to HydroKlean. Councilmember Blake Heronimus doesn’t feel like more money should be put into the project if it isn’t going to correct a problem. He’d like to see what they have found so far before moving forward.

Moving on to unfinished business; Malchow gave the Council an update on the concrete pile and provided a proposal from Double D on them crushing it for the City. The cost would be $26,945. The Council was in agreement that they wanted this portion of the city dump cleaned up and opened again to residents. They will have clarified with Double D the route they plan to take with their heavy trucks as well as the hours during the day they will be working. The proposal was approved by the Council.

The next item of discussion was to set the 2021 preliminary budget. The levy is always finalized in December. This is a number they can come down from but not go over. The levy was set at 5.27%. The Council will schedule a work session to find areas that can be scaled back to help reduce this number before December.  

The Council approved the pay application for the golf course project. A large portion of this project was paid for by FEMA and the State. The City will be responsible for $29,317.84. This was approved by the Council.

They next moved into closed session to continue general discussion on the redevelopment of the Golden Living Center Site.