Tricounty News

City of South Haven considers new fire truck

The South Haven city council met Tuesday, Oct. 1. 

Fire Chief Laney presented his monthly report: five rescue and three fire calls in September. The department is in the process of obtaining bids from three different companies for a new pumper truck. The council will consider buying a new pumper truck if the  cost is under $300,000. Once approved, it would take at least eight months to custom-build their truck. No action will be taken until the bids come in.


Property taxes due Oct. 15

Stearns County residents are reminded that the deadline to pay second half property taxes is fast approaching.

The second half of the 2013 real estate tax is due and payable on Tuesday, October 15, 2013. This is the last day to pay the second half without penalty. The Agricultural Property tax deadline line is Nov. 15, 2013.

To make paying taxes more convenient, Stearns County has several payment options.

Taxes can be paid online on Stearns County’s website at A link can be found on the home page. Online payments can be completed with E-Check or credit card.


Stearns County prepares for layoffs

Stearns County is preparing to send layoff notices to employees as a result of the federal government shutdown. The Board of Commissioners Tuesday, Oct. 8, approved sending out the layoff notices.

Programs in the Human Services Department, such as Women, Infants and Children (WIC), will be affected if the shutdown continues for a period of time. Management will meet Wednesday morning to review all federal funding sources and decide what programs are vulnerable to lose funding. Layoff notices will then go out to those county employees who work in those program areas. How many employees will be affected is not yet known.

Letters will go out this week. Per the county’s union contract, all letters give a 30-day layoff notice. No layoffs will result if the government shutdown ends before 30 days.

Zebra mussels found in Watab Lake

Connected to Rossier Lake, in Stearns County

Three connected lakes in Stearns County have been designated as infested waters after the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) confirmed the presence of invasive zebra mussels in Watab Lake, connected to Rossier Lake, north of St. Joseph. Watab Lake should not be confused with Big Watab Lake south of Avon.

The confirmation came after a Watab Lake resident reported finding what appeared to be zebra mussels on the ladder of a swimming raft early last week. When DNR staff investigated, they found zebra mussels attached to several other pieces of recreational equipment as well.


Stearns County website makes top five in nation

Stearns County’s website took fifth-place honors in the country in e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government’s 2013 annual Best of the Web awards.

Stearns County was recognized for its work in the area of improved user experience. Through the use of analytics, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), surveys, focus groups, testing and content reviews, Stearns County has gained a deeper understanding of visitors’ behavior, their intent and overall satisfaction with their web experience to ensure they’re finding what they want on the site, that our site’s content is relevant, accurate and well written using citizen-friendly language. Using those analytics and in-depth knowledge of user experiences, Stearns County is able to get our citizens the information and services they’re looking for as quickly and as effortlessly as possible.