Friday, April 24, 2009

New Conference ideas - West Central Area needs to get in the mix; area schools must show leadership and do something different

On the west edge, possibilities include Morris Area, West Central Area (due west of Alexandria), Minnewaska Area...then in the center you've got Osakis, Sauk Centre, B-B-E, Melrose...then on the north and east edges you've got Holdingford, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle, and on the south you've got Benson, New London-Spicer, and Paynesville Area.

That's a total of 12 schools, too many for one conference obviously. But it's doubtful all 12 of those schools would want to form a new conference.

One school that everyone has forgotten about around the B-B-E area where I come from is West Central Area, who the Jaguars have played in football for the season opener the past 2 seasons. They are badly in need of a new conference and would jump in a heartbeat if something opened up.

High contenders who I feel would definitely pursue the feasibility are the following schools. These schools have big budget problems, as well as plenty of unhappiness about their current conference affiliation =

West Central Area, B-B-E, Minnewaska Area, Sauk Centre, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle, Paynesville Area. That's 6 schools all within a reasonable driving distance. (longest trip, Paynesville to West Central Area, which is 70 miles.

Numerous neighborhood rivalries that already exist would continue. Right now you've got Minnewaska running down to Highway 212 to Granite Falls and Olivia. You have West Central Area driving up to Roseau and Warroad in football! Paynesville is peddling down to Montevideo/Granite/Olivia. B-B-E is driving clear down to the Metro Area (Rockford) and up to Pierz. Sauk Centre is driving over to Milaca and Mora. LP-GE is having big budget issues, as is West Central Area. I could go on and on and the problems these schools have with their current conference affiliations.

I think a core of B-B-E, Sauk Centre, Paynesville Area, Minnewaska Area, West Central Area, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle...that gets you 6 schools, which is a good place to start. Then throw in Holdingford and Osakis, and you're suddenly at 8 schools, which is a perfect number for a conference!

Another long trip wouldn't be terrible, Holdingford to West Central Area...also about 70-80 miles...80 if you take I-94, which means 43 miles of easy interstate driving from the Freeport exit to northwest of Alexandria... Or Benson to Holdingford, 82 miles and a 90-minute drive. They'd be worst-case scenarios, if Benson wanted to plug out of the West Central South Conference. I don't see that happening, since they've got nice neighborhood rivalries with Lac qui Parle Valley, Montevideo, and Yellow Medicine East (Granite Falls).

I think it absolutely would work, with the biggest schools being Minnewaska and Sauk Centre, with B-B-E and Osakis at the bottom of the list.

Why not?

Even a Melrose or Sauk Centre to West Central Area trip would not be bad at all, just a skip up I-94 to the Alexandria area, and then jump over on Highway 28 to Hoffman/Barrett. The trip from Melrose to the West Central Area High School (in Barrett) would be 60 miles, in a very easy trip.

Currently, Holdingford travels 70 miles to Rockford, and 61 miles down to Howard Lake. Even if Morris Area and Holdingford were anchoring the west and east sides of this new conference, that trip would be about 75 miles. (And Holdingford would play a team that they are in for most post-season pairings.)

Right now Melrose has an 80-mile trip to Mora, an ugly, ugly, ugly trip around or through the St.Cloud area. It's madness if you ask me, especially when better options exist.

School boards/Athletic Directors of the above-mentioned schools need to get a discussion going. It's something that could happen for the 2010-2011 athletic season, if agreements are made during the summer of 2009.

It's time to put the taxpayers first, and give them the respect they deserve, in a time when most schools are regularly begging them for more property tax money. Athletic rivalries should be local, trips to your children's games should be local.

Gas won't always be around the $2 mark! We saw firsthand that obvious fact in 2008.

Write down this list and think about it, look at the similarities in enrollment, geography, and economic makeup. It's mostly a group of schools with light industry and small farms.

West Central Area, Morris Area, B-B-E, Osakis, Sauk Centre, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle, Paynesville Area, Minnewaska, Holdingford. (That's 9 schools)

How about...the "Dairy Star Conference"???? It would be a nice tip of the hat towards all the hard working farmers that build the backbone of our rural communities.

Sounds good to me!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Kensington Area Heritage Society will host a forum on Saturday, April 25th in Kensington

The Kensington Area Heritage Society will be hosting an informational forum on Sat. April 25, 2009 in Kensington's Community Center at 19 Central Ave. N.

This event is open to the public and will begin at 10:00 AM with a review of recent research pertinent to the Kensington Rune Stone. The content of the Heritage Society's archives-including the collections of Marion Dahm, Eleanor Gunderson, Dr. Tanquist, Wendell Peterson and others-will be discussed as well as the status of the Society's museum/research center.
The meeting will break at 11:30 and resume at 1:00PM. The Kensington Cafe will have specials available for attendees.
This is an annual event, originally organized as the "Viking Historical Group", and additional topics will focus on the relationship of the many so-called "mooring stones" with the Kensington Rune Stone. The Heritage Society will have the museum/research center open for tours following the afternoon session. Visitors can also visit the Rune Stone discovery site and other historic sites in the area.

Grant County FUN Fest and Business expo a big success

Happy 11th Birthday to Mary Ann Thompson of Barrett... here a group of her friends sing for her in the WCA High School gym, during the Expo on Saturday morning.

Friday, April 17, 2009

"Do you have a better idea?" ... that's my message for those who chastise the WCA Schools for moving 5th-6th grade to the High School

I will be spending the next few days collecting information about what was said at Thursday night's Parent Meeting at the WCA High School between parents of the current 4th and 5th grade students, and the WCA administration.

From what I hear, it got ugly at times, and the problem as I see it stems from a very ill-informed group of parents who don't know how to read a newspaper.

Sad indeed.

I will add, West Central Area schools has the lowest administrative costs (salary-wise) of any school in the 700-800 pupil range in the Central Minnesota region.

Corn Grower President Takes Exception With Pork Producers President on Ethanol

An Editorial Comment on Ethanol’s Impact on the Swine Producers
In Response to NPPC’s Letter to the Obama Administration in Opposition to Ethanol
By Keith Bolin, President
American Corn Growers Association
April 16, 2009

In response to Don Butler’s, President of the National Pork Producers Council’s (NPPC), recently publicized letters to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and Carol Browner, stating that “pork producers since October 2007 have lost an average of $20 on each hog marketed; the industry has lost between $3 billion and $3.5 billion in equity over the past 18 months,” due to higher corn prices caused by expanded ethanol production, I wish to set the record straight.

As a hog and corn farmer and a neighbor to many abandoned hog buildings I wish to say that over the last 30 years, the low price of grain has hurt farmers and their communities much more than it ever helped. Even surviving hog farmers today should know this. The saying was, "low priced corn makes for low-priced hogs," and "high-priced corn makes for high-priced hogs." Hog farmers cut back production in "good-priced" corn years, making for a good priced hog year the following year. Now the NPPC calls "good-priced" corn years or high corn prices bad. Is this their desire to pit farmers against farmers (divide and conquer)?

All farmers need to make a profit but today's prices are below cost of production for both hog and corn farmers. It is counterproductive to wish destruction upon your neighbor. Instead, let us work together to raise the price of live hogs so that the hog farmer can make a modest profit rather than a massive loss which is what they have today.

The enemy is not ethanol, or the grain farmer, but the companies who fix the price we hog farmers receive, too often below the cost of production. Where, Mr. Butler, is your voice on Smithfield, Excel (Cargill), and Tyson? You sir, choose not to speak out on them because you receive money from them. Just remember many hog contract farmers also raise corn. Your desires will hurt your founding members, the American Farmer, who used to own the land, the hogs, the chickens, and the cattle, but your advice to the President will surely continue the downward spiral for us all.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hoffman's Hardware Hank photos! Opening Friday April 17! Is this awesome or what?

A busy weekend coming up for our area

• Friday night, Customer Appreciation Night takes place for the Farmers State Bank of Hoffman. They will have a steak feed at the Hoffman Community Center from 5pm to 7pm.

Dog License Clinic, Saturday, April 18th, sponsored by Nordic Veterinary Service, at Hoffman Community Center from 9am to Noon. Dogs and cats can be vaccinated and licensed at that time.

The WCA Education Foundation fundraiser on Saturday night at 7:30pm at the WCA High School in Barrett: “The Auditorium at WCA Secondary School in Barrett will be transformed into a concert stage for “The Music of Patsy Cline” starring Cassie and the Bobs... When you buy a ticket for the show you are not only buying a seat for an evening of the best entertainment you will see this year, you are supporting a great cause. The concert is the only major fundraiser for the WCA Education Foundation this year and replaces the annual Basket Auction... a list of “extras” that this group helps fund includes: new classroom Smart Boards, Instant Alert system, new telescope, numerous field trips, timers for special education, new sound system at North elementary, photography projects, speech reading connection books, and many other worthy projects for the students of West Central Area.

• The FUN FEST business expo on Saturday from 9am to Noon at the WCA High School (Saturday, April 18).

Monday, April 13, 2009

List of Central Minnesota schools... Average teacher salary for the year 2006-2007 (not including benefits)

West Central Area schools is by no means over-paying its teachers =

•OVER $50K:
Sauk C = 55,123
Melrose = 53,121
B-B-E = 52,245
Alexandria = 50,735
Minnewaska = 50,387
St.Cloud schools = 50,170
Albany = 50,331

•UNDER $50K:
Rocori = 49,759
NL-S = 49,177
Paynesville = 49,122
Montevideo = 48,269
Maccray = 47,182
Morris Area = 47,060
Holdingford = 47,045
Fergus Falls = 46,290
Rockford = 45,654
Upsala = 45,645
Litchfield = 46,337
Benson = 45,374
Kimball = 45,064
Pierz = 44,701
Long Prairie-Grey Eagle = 44,611
Royalton = 44,547
Willmar = 43,934
K-M-S = 43,904
Dawson-Boyd = 43,287
West Central Area = 43,227
Wheaton = 43,072
Hancock = 42,672
Eden Valley-Watkins = 42,545
Marshall = 42,554
Swanville = 42,013
Renville County West = 41,800
A-C-GC = 41,493
Minneota = 40,447
Howard Lake-W-W = 41,092
Browerville = 41,049
Osakis = 41,007
Parkers Prairie = 40,450
Maple Lake = 40,462
Ashby = 38,589
Cyrus = 35,860
Herman-Norcross = 34,594

Monday, April 6, 2009

Hoffman City Council meets on Monday night - Discusses water line to new fire hall

Shown are members of the Hoffman City Council hearing Pat Conroy talk about the water line project to the new fire hall on the northwest side of town.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Second Annual Spring Flower Bulb sale at Grant County Humane Society

We are now starting our 2nd annual Spring Flower Bulb sale that will go through April 24th. You may stop into the Shelter on Monday's from 1 - 5 pm and Tues from 10:30 to 3pm ,if weather is good, to take a look at our flower bulb book and place an order. If you would like you can call us at 218-685-6220 or email us at

P.S. if any of you have an email address listed for the Humane Society if you could check to see that it is listed as, Thanks a bunch.

If you have any questions please feel free to email them.

Thanks, Kari GCHS President.