Tricounty News

Funding for grandstand project at Clipper Field approved by Watkins City Council

The Watkins City Council last week in a 3-2 vote approved $60,000 in funding to help build a new grandstand at the Clipper Field.w-Overhead 1

The grandstand is required for the park to co-host the 2015 state amateur baseball tournament.

Mayor Dennis Loch was one of those voting against the measure.

“I voted against it in principal,” said Loch. His concern was that because the baseball association is a non-profit entity, under state law the city cannot provide money for the project without that money someday being paid back to the city.

“I don’t believe we should be spending taxpayer money for this entity unless it is paid back,” Loch said in an interview after the meeting. “I’m against it in principal unless we get that money back. That’s the only legal way we do it.”

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USDA Rural Development Home Loan available $$

USDA, Rural Development recently received our annual allocation of funds for our direct home loan program for low and very-low income borrowers.

Applicants may purchase a new home, existing home or build a new home. To qualify, applicants must meet Rural Development’s income limits, have adequate and dependable income, have an acceptable credit history, be unable to obtain sufficient credit from other sources, and show repayment ability.

The maximum loan limits available (depending upon repayment ability) for the following Counties are:

Carver$198,300

Mcleod$171,400

Nicollet$176,300

Sibley$184,800

Stearns$202,700

Wright$178,000

For more information, contact the local Rural Development office in Cambridge at (763) 689-3354, ext. 4, and/or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . More information is also available at www.rurdev.usda.gov/mn.  

 

Countdown to Construction

You are invited to attend a Highway 24 Resurfacing Project Update/Open House 4:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, march 25, at Meeker County Courthouse Community Room, 325 Sibley Avenue North, Litchfield.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) plans to resurface 16 miles of Highway 24 between Litchfield and Highway 15, beginning mid-May 2014. The project will require a detour to complete the work.

Please plan to join us for this informational open house on the project. Stop by between 4:30-6:30 p.m. to have your project-related questions answered by MnDOT representatives – no formal presentation will be given.

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Peterson will run again for Congress

U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson announced today that he will seek another term representing Minnesota’s Seventh Congressional
District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“I still have a lot of work to do,” Peterson said. “After the 2008 Farm Bill, it became clear that farm bill implementation needs to be closely monitored. With the 2014 Farm Bill complete, I will work to make sure--- that USDA implements these changes in a timely manner, and as Congress intended. I also will continue working to advance permanent flood protection throughout the Red River Valley with water retention and storage solutions.

Peterson noted that he will continue his independent streak by taking on an administration that continues to put out regulations that negatively impact agriculture and rural areas.

“While it can be frustrating to watch the dysfunction and partisan gridlock in Congress, I think there is still a place for moderate members like myself to try to build consensus and cooperation,” Peterson said. “I will continue to be a voice of common sense in Washington D.C. for all the people of Minnesota’s Seventh District.”

Week in Review: March 14, 2014

Bullying Bill moves to Finance

On Tuesday, the controversial bullying bill was debated and amended by the Education Policy Committee and re-referred to the Education Finance Committee. While some amendments were adopted to make administration of the law simpler, a number of other amendments pertaining to protection of student rights, parent involvement, and local control rather than unfunded state mandates were turned down leading to a divided vote on passage.

The bill also gives the Minnesota Department of Education the power to withhold state funding to a district if they believe the district has failed to create a “safe” environment and essentially eliminates local control of elected school board officials.

Minimum Wage

The Minimum Wage Conference Committee hasn’t met at all this week due to a disagreement on several aspects of the bill, including whether or not to include indexing. The House proposal includes this provision, and the Senate does not support it at this point.

Dayton predicted a resolution may come closer to end of session as negotiations ramp up. Sen. Majority Leader Bakk said he doesn’t have the votes in the Senate for indexing, which would automatically adjust the minimum wage for inflation.

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