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October 14th, 2019 News

Leroy’s Alignment Celebrating 50 Years In Business

By Theresa Nysetvold 

Leroy’s Alignment, located at 2317 26th St. and one of Slayton’s longest running businesses, is celebrating fifty years of service this year.  Leroy Kalass began working at the automotive and glass shop his senior year of high school and within a few years owned the business himself.  Though times and vehicles have changed, Leroy’s commitment to quality service and customer satisfaction has never changed. 

“Bob Dillon used to own the business, and he called it ‘Dillon’s Alignment’,” reflected Leroy.  “I started here in 1969 as part of a job training program during high school, and continued working for him.”  After graduation, Leroy was enrolled for two years in the automotive repair program at the vocational school in Pipestone, and in 1982 Bob sold the business to Leroy.  “I guess I just wanted a job,” said Leroy.  “I knew if I wanted something to drive I had to learn how to fix cars.”

Though the business has always focused on glass repair, wheel alignment and brakes, the work has changed considerably through the decades.  Leroy said, “I used to cut glass for tractors and cars, but now most of it has to be ordered from the factory.  Today it’s mostly installation.”  Of course cars have changed from rear wheel to front wheel and all wheel drive, and brakes are disc instead of the old drums.  “I’ve had to learn as I go.  The radial tires were a big change too.  Mostly I’ve liked the glass work the most.”

Though Leroy has always done most of the work himself, his wife Beth has been steadily at his side.  Many years ago she began working part-time at the shop, keeping the books and managing the bills.  But twenty years ago she started working full time, often assisting Leroy in his work.  Beth laughed, “Some days I’m back and forth between the office and helping Leroy six or seven times!  Sometimes he just needs another set of hands.”  Now Beth helps with the windshield replacements, ordering tires and just managing all of the interruptions so Leroy can focus on what he does best.  Beth added, “Leroy used to be a real quiet person, but he has learned to be more outgoing and personable, which is good!”  One of their memories is when snapping turtles were kept in the shop!  Leroy explained, “We used to straighten frames on cars, and we kept snapping turtles down in the pit until we used them for feeds!”

Working alone has its advantages, but the Kalass’ admit it’s been hard to take time off for vacations.  Leroy is now taking Fridays off from work, but they would like to sell the business in the next few years.  Beth said, “Leroy’s worked his tail off to make this place successful.  If it wasn’t for our loyal customers from all over the area, we couldn’t have made this work.  We appreciate when people tell their friends to ‘take your business to Leroy - he fine tunes your vehicle, doesn’t just do what the book says’.”  Congratulations to Leroy and Beth Kalass for their many years of excellent service for the people of Murray County!

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Slayton City Council Approves Budgeted Items And Talks With Zoning Board

The Slayton City Council met on Monday, October 7th. All council members were present, and the meeting was called to order. The agenda was approved and the minutes from the September 4th and September 16th meetings were reviewed and approved. The claims for the week were also approved.

City Administrator Josh Malchow gave the Board an update on the Lake Elsie project. He acknowledged that Travis Radke, Murray County Ditch Inspector is working to get HydroKlean to jet out under the trees and camera it. SEH will be doing the surveying of the area to help find a long-term solution to the issues there. Weston Mahon, City Works Director did report that they had started surveying on Monday. Once the Ditch Authority has the work done, to return the area to its original plan, the City of Slayton will take that design along with the survey results to the State to see how a remedy for the issues can be reached. The original plan does not appear to have been put in correctly nor does it function as it should. The Council will be updated as things progress.

They moved on to new business and the first item was a request from Mahon to have the north public works garage doors replaced and fixed. This is budgeted and the bids came in just over that amount. The work was approved for completion yet this fall. Quotes for the work from Oslund Construction and Slayton Building Materials were also approved.

The 2019 manhole rehabilitation project and crack filling were both budgeted items and approved. They will be completed yet this fall. These companies have worked in our community in years past and the City has always been happy with their work.

Officer Jesse Hoffmann would like to attend a training in St. Paul with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for breath testing machines. The Council approved this request.

The Council was next presented with the 2019 delinquent tax certifications. These, if not paid, will be added to the individual’s property taxes.

There are three properties in the City of Slayton that fall under the “Tax Forfeited Properties”. Each property is for sale to the City for $200. The first is located at 2737 24th St.; they will use this property for training purposes with the fire department, then eventually tear it down and have off street parking for the fire department. The second property is 2719 Mill St; they will work with the EDA and School to see if there are any “rehab” opportunities. Other area towns have done this in their communities. The last property is 2239 Norwood Ave; no plans at this time. The city does own other properties around this one.

Malchow gave the Council an update on the Dean Larson Property. They are waiting for final ruling from the Judge, but Malchow stated; “The City wants to truly clean up the property not have him pay a fine or sit in jail”. They should hear from the Judge by end of day on October 11th.

Next were two task orders from Bollig Engineering and have to do with the Airport. The state has funded 95% of expenses at the airport in the past and they need a new apron and seal coating. The state is now requiring a Land Use Plan to be in place before the apron and seal coating happen. Bollig Engineering will help with this. Once that is completed, they will be able to move forward with the other projects.

The last portion of the meeting was a discussion between the Zoning Board and the Council to make sure everyone wants the same outcome from the changes being suggested to the ordinances. Slaytons Planning & Zoning Commission is made up of: Kari Carlson, Larry Dahl, Cal Warpts, Chuck Benda, Tim Bouw, Larry Garland, Chuck Platt and Dana Clarke. The Zoning Board will meet again to re-work the ordinances and re-present to the Council.

With no other business the meeting was adjourned.

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Murray County Historical Society Museum Assistant Honored for Genealogical Work

Genealogists account for most of the research requests at the Murray County Museum in Slayton. One of the museum’s assistants has made it her goal to digitize and organize the obituary and biographical files at the museum to allow for greater ease in accessing those records. Karen Finne has worked at the museum for two and a half years and has, to date, digitized and filed over 20,000 obituaries from Murray County. To honor her work, the Minnesota Genealogical Society has awarded Karen a Pioneer Explorer Award for her contributions to the development of Minnesota resources for genealogy and family history. 

Karen was hired at the Murray County Museum under the Southwest Minnesota Opportunity Council’s Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) in February of 2017. She trained on the computer, scanner, and copiers and Excel program to accomplish the huge task of digitizing all the museum’s obituaries and biographical files. As part of the SCSEP team, Karen was able to re- enter the workforce in her retirement as a valuable member of the museum staff. 

Murray County Museum Supervisor, Rose Schmit, said, “Karen’s work will allow the museum to eventually put the family names on-line so researchers can easily find and request scans of the records. It also makes accessing and sharing information on family members much easier for researchers and staff on site. We couldn’t do this project without the help of Karen and the SCSEP program.” This type of project is highly valued by the Minnesota Genealogical Society.

The Minnesota Genealogical Society was organized in 1969, making this the 50th anniversary of their organization. It has over 900 members and is an all-volunteer, non-profit, state organization that helps people discover their family history. The mission is to foster and increase interest in genealogy by providing an association for those interested in family, state, and local history. Karen received her award at the 50th Anniversary North Star Genealogy Conference at the Crowne Plaza West in Plymouth on October 5th, 2019.

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