Thursday, December 31, 2009

West Central Area girls basketball finishes the December schedule 7-2 overall

On Wednesday this week, the West Central Area girls basketball team pounded the host Osakis Silverstreaks 77-44 in a matchup between Sub-Section 6AA-West teams. They have now won six games in a row after beginning the season 1-2. Osakis falls to 2-5 overall and is 2-1 in the Prairie Conference.

The Knights, who led 41-24 at halftime, shot 48.7 percent from the field, making 37-of-76 shots. They also held a 36-22 edge on the boards. The lady Knights were led by Liza Torgerson's 25 points and 8 rebounds. Tanika Nguyen added 14 points and 8 rebounds, while Alyssa Blair posted a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds). Nguyen and Blair combined for eight steals in the game. Caitlin Peterson and Hollie Lien each distributed 4 assists.

"We found our groove the last ten minutes of the first half and had a strong finish which gave us a 41-24 lead heading into the locker room," stated WCA head coach Pat Anderson. "We were able to carry that momentum over into the second half. Our inside game was unstoppable tonight."

West Central Area will host a Heart O' Lakes Conference game Tuesday night in Barrett, taking on the Breckenridge Cowgirls. WCA is 4-2 in the HOL, good for a third-place tie with Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton. The Cowgirls are 2-4 overall and in the HOL, sitting in 7th place in the 10-team league.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Governor Pawlenty is cut off at the knees on his "unallotment strategy"

Minnesota judge overrules Pawlenty on budget cuts
(Associated Press)

A Minnesota judge ruled Wednesday that Gov. Tim Pawlenty "crossed the line" when he cut billions from the state budget on his own, ordering his administration to restore money to a food program for the poor.

The ruling from Ramsey County District Judge Kathleen Gearin only deals directly with a small slice of $2.7 billion in cuts the Republican governor announced this summer. But her accompanying explanation criticizes his strategy to slice the budget without input from the Legislature. Pawlenty was using an executive authority known as unallotment.

Gearin wrote that Pawlenty "crossed the line between legitimate exercise of his authority to unallot and interference with the legislative power to make laws."

The judge added that the power is reserved for an unforeseen budget crisis and "is not meant to be used as a weapon by the executive branch to break a stalemate in budget negotiations with the legislature."

Pawlenty's administration was ordered to reinstate funding for the Minnesota Supplemental Aid Special Diet program going back to Nov. 1 and continue it until further court notice. Another hearing is scheduled for March 1.

The program supplies cash grants to elderly and disabled people on fixed incomes to help them with special dietary needs stemming from other health concerns. It was estimated to cost the state $5.3 million, according to court documents.

An attorney from Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance, which handled the case, had no immediate comment.

Pawlenty issued a one-paragraph statement after the ruling.

"We are disappointed in the judge's decision," Pawlenty said. "We are weighing all of our options including appeal, re-establishing unallotments under the current forecast, potential legislative action, and other options."

Minnesota faces a $1.2 billion budget deficit for the current two-year cycle and a much larger one down the road.

The case grew out of cuts Pawlenty made after he and the Democratic-controlled Legislature failed to agree on a budget.

An attorney for Pawlenty had argued that the state would have trouble paying its bills if the administration lost because others hit by cuts would see it as an invitation to file similar lawsuits.

Gearin said in her ruling that she wasn't swayed by the assistance program at the heart of the case, but the process by which Pawlenty cut it.

"The court's decision was based on the way he unalloted, not what he unalloted," Gearin wrote, stressing she would rather the courts stay out of budget and policy decisions.

Pawlenty's unallotment authority had survived a court challenge early in his first term. What differed in this case is that Pawlenty made the cuts at the start of a budget period instead of doing them as a reaction to an economic report showing a deficit and little time left to solve it.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dr. Gayle Chamberlin ready to open Chiropractic Office at Hoffman's Healthcare Mall on January 5

Here's Dr. Chamberlin in his new office in Hoffman, which he is in the process of preparing for his first day of business, next week Tuesday.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Eye opening figure - 72 pre-school age children in the Osakis school district

Osakis school enrollment up
By Greta Petrich, Osakis Review

The Osakis School Board reviewed its annual census report at its regular meeting December 14.

The report looks at trends in enrollment from the first day of school. In 2009, Osakis Public School tallied 780 students September 8 – only 32 shy of its 1973 high of 812.

Osakis Superintendent Gregg Allen pointed out what may be an all-time high of 400 students in K-6.

The high school numbers dropped after bringing in a small 7th grade compared to a large graduating class last year.

A total of 234 students came into Osakis School District through open enrollment from the following areas: Minnewaska (78), Alexandria (67), Long Prairie (56), Sauk Centre (23), Eagle Valley (4), Parkers Prairie (2), Browerville (1), Minneapolis (1), Cedar Mountain (1) and Morris (1).

But some students also left Osakis to attend other schools. Sixty-one students who live in District 213 sought other options for their education, compared to 73 last year. Of these, 18 are home schooled and 11 attend Lakes Area Charter School. Other districts attended are: Alexandria (17), Sauk Centre (13) and Long Prairie (2).

The home school numbers only include ages 7-16 and do not include any Amish families living in the district.

Although Osakis loses some students, open enrollment for the 2009-10 school year gave Osakis an additional 173 students on the first day of school.

Allen commended the staff, teachers and administration for keeping kids in the district.

“Competition for students is tough,” he said. “School districts are doing interesting things to get kids to choose their schools. Our staff is doing a wonderful job keeping kids in our district.”

The report also showed 49 students enrolled at St. Agnes School in Osakis, most of whom will come to the Osakis High School in 7th grade.

The census showed that Osakis Public School’s total enrollment was up with 790 students signed up to attend Osakis Public School on the first day. That’s 25 more than last year and an increase of 58 students in the past two years.

Allen highlighted census data for 0- to 4-year-olds – an age group they watch closely. According to the report, there are 72 4-year-old children.

What isn’t on the report, Allen explained, is 4-year-olds outside the district.

“If we’re at 25 percent or more open enrollment, can you imagine what that kindergarten number could be?” he said.

He added that the parents of 4 year olds in the district will receive calls in January to determine if those children will attend school next year since some parents opt to wait an extra year for kindergarten.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Grant County Salvation Army provided refreshments during the 2009 Holiday Train

The Grant County Salvation Army members braved the cold and provided coffee and hot chocolate during the Holiday Train in Elbow Lake on December 16th. They served approximately 75 cups of hot chocolate and 40 cups of coffee. It was so much fun to see the Holiday Train and to watch the people enjoying the entertainment.

We would like to thank Culligan for allowing us to park by their building and use their electricity, the Chamber of Commerce, and Luverne Sik of the Elbow Lake Police Dept. Thank you to everyone for their donations. The Salvation Army red kettle donations will be used locally to help Grant County residents.

Thank you from the Grant County Salvation Army!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

above) A scene from city hall in Hoffman.

The "Big Blizzard" has no teeth

It's 8am Friday and in Hutchinson I'm VERY disappointed in the weather forecasters! Not that I put much faith in them anyway. We got another 4-5 inches of snow here - WHOOPEE. It's calm and warm outside. The snow is heavy to move with the shovel. Ahhh, mother nature's free exercise program, gotta love it!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A task for the Farwell-Hoffman-Kensington area! Send me your storm photos

To anyone who lives in the path of the big Christmas Mega-storm, grab your digital camera and take some snow pictures this weekend! Anything showing you digging your house out, your car, garage, farm buildings, sheds - whatever you can get a nice shot of.

Then e-mail them to:

Be sure to be safe while doing this! It's a huge help for me, as I am basically stuck in Hutchinson until at least Saturday afternoon.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Link for a weather update at

Click on the link to read the National Weather Service update, posted at 11:50am on Wednesday morning.

Solem Township Board meeting date change

Solem township board meeting date change

The Solem township board January meeting will be held on Monday, January 4, 2010, at 8pm at Midwest Grain Systems building in Kensington, MN (this is a departure from the regularly scheduled meeting on January 11).

More scenes from Monday's WCA Middle School Choir Concert

Click to enlarge.

WCA Knight Boys Basketball is stung by overtime loss at home to neighboring rival Breckendridge

The Knights fell to 4-2 in the Heart O' Lakes Conference with a 64-63 loss in overtime on Tuesday night to the Cowboys (4-1 HOL, 5-2 overall).

More details on the game will follow later. I should have called my sports reporter earlier this morning! I would've been able to get the game report into this week's Christmas issue.

Oh well!

**Update on the game... the Knights trailed by 12 with four minutes to go in regulation, then tied it at 57-all before the buzzer.

With under a minute left in the four-minute long overtime period, the Knights led 63-59.

The complete story will appear in the December 31 issue of the Hoffman Tribune - the last one! On January 7, 2010, we will publish the very first Herman Hoffman Tribune.

Stay safe this weekend.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Uuf Da! This one sounds like a beast - Major winter storm coming to our area on Wednesday afternoon

Early reports suggest that a storm bringing 20 to 30 mph winds and 8 to 12 inches of snow will hit west central Minnesota beginning mid-afternoon on Wednesday.

**The National Weather Service issued the following information on Tuesday night:

A winter storm warning for central and southern Minnesota and portions of west central Wisconsin starting Wednesday night.

A significant storm system is expected to impact the upper midwest starting as early as Wednesday night and lasting into Saturday. Due to the strength of this system and the prolonged period for which the snowfall is expected, there will be major impacts for travelers.

Although there remains some minor timing issues and the exact storm track is not entirely clear, the large nature of this system and its expected high energy and moisture content will lead to a broad area of heavy snow with some sleet and freezing rain across the Upper Midwest. This storm system is so complex that it will bring several bouts of precipitation with this event.

The first bout is expected to develop Wednesday afternoon and spread northward across the upper midwest. This wave has abundant warm air associated with it so there may be a mixture of sleet and freezing rain as far north as South Central Minnesota and parts of West Central Wisconsin.

The second wave is expected to impact the area Thursday afternoon through early Friday morning with wind speeds increasing from the North.

The final wave will likely be the wrap around moisture which will occur Friday afternoon as the storm system begins to depart the region. The precise timing of each wave of significant precipitation is still uncertain.

Lighter precipitation will likely occur during any lulls. As the storm approaches, snowfall amounts will be further refined. Total accumulations will likely exceed a foot over parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Some good advice: Keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency!

West Central Area teacher contracts are settled one month ahead of the deadline

Hot off the press - I just received word on the contract settlement for the WCA teacher contracts for the next two years.

Learn all the details in this week's Christmas issue of the Hoffman Tribune.

Skate exchange underway in Hoffman

Shown in the box are the skates collected in just two days at City Hall!

Monday, December 21, 2009

West Central Area Middle School holds Christmas Concert on Monday afternoon (video below)

Video clips from the Choir Concerts have been uploaded to the editor's Youtube page, found here:

At 7:30pm on Monday night (Dec 21) the WCA High School Christmas Concert will be held, at the Secondary School auditorium.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Douglas County Commissioner Jerry Johnson stops by Tribune office on Friday

Commissioner Jerry Johnson stopped by the Hoffman Tribune office on Friday to renew his subscription for another year, and in the process, had an extended conversation with the editor. Johnson represents the entire western half of Douglas County - it is essentially an all-rural district, including the Kensington and Evansville area.

This came on the heels of word that the Douglas County property tax levy would increase 6.3% for next year's budget. Johnson talked at length about numerous pressures on the county budget, and also gave ideas where the county is saving the taxpayers money.

More on this will follow later.

A link to download a PDF file listing all the officials of Douglas County can be found by clicking here:

Friday, December 18, 2009

West Central Area Knights girls basketball team knocks off state-ranked Hancock 45-43

The Knights improved to 4-2 overall with a hard-earned win at home against #7 Class A ranked Hancock. The Owls fall to 4-2 with the loss.

MN Farmers Union applauds timely assistance for dairy farmers

After months of putting the dairy crisis in front of Congress and the Administration, Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) is pleased to see that Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack just announced a new Dairy Economic Loss Assistance Payment (DELAP) program for dairy farmers that would give eligible producers a one-time direct payment based on the amount of milk produced and commercially marketed by their operation during the months of February through July, 2009.

“The dairy industry has been dealing with high input costs and low dairy prices and MFU has been calling for action for a long time and it is nice to see our efforts are starting to pay off,” said Doug Peterson, MFU President. “This is not to say that the Dairy Economic Loss Assistance Payment program will solve all the problems facing dairy farmers, but it is a start. Farmers Union will continue to fight for the promotion, stabilization and strengthening of the dairy industry.”

MFU has been putting the struggles of the dairy industry in the spotlight to try and gain assistance for dairy farmers. MFU held “No Bull” dairy action sessions, bringing attention to the farmgate prices of the dairy farmer; flew dairy farmers out to Washington, D.C. so they could speak directly to their Representative and Senators about their dire situations; participated in dairy meetings with our congressional delegation; and had the MFU Carver County President testify in front of Congress about dairy prices.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), on average, the price U.S. dairy producers received for milk marketed in the summer of 2009 was about half of what it cost the farmers to produce the milk.

For more information and eligibility requirements on the new DELAP program, go to

Minnesota Farmers Union ( is a nonprofit membership-based organization working to protect and enhance the economic interests and quality of life of family farmers and ranchers, as well as rural communities.

Don't forget - First State Bank of Kensington Christmas Open House goes through today, Friday

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Video clips from today's Hoffman Commerce and Ag meeting posted to Editor's Youtube page

Three video clips from the December 17th meeting have been uploaded to the editor's Youtube page, found here:

Further details on the meeting will be posted later tonight.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Now isn't that just the cutest sight

Now that I've got your attention!
... the regular monthly meeting of the Hoffman Commerce and Ag is on Thursday, December 17, at Noon at Bullfrog's Bar & Grill.

Further progress on the prairie - over half of the wind towers are up with the Grant County Wind farm

Everything's on track for the Grant County Wind Farm to be up and running in January. Click on the photos to enlarge.

A video clip from Monday, December 14, has been uploaded to the editor's Youtube page, found here:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Congressman Collin Peterson co-sponsors "Right to Repair" Act

Rep. Collin Peterson (DFL-7th) of Minnesota has declared his support of the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act (HR 2057), it was announced today by Kathleen Schmatz, President and CEO of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA).

“We want to thank Rep. Peterson for supporting this very important piece of pro-consumer and pro-small business legislation. Right to Repair ensures that car owners can continue to enjoy the convenience and affordability of having their vehicle serviced at the repair shop of their choice whether it’s their neighborhood repair shop or a franchised dealership,” said Schmatz.

Because vehicles are becoming increasingly sophisticated with virtually every system either monitored or controlled by computers, servicing these vehicle systems to keep them in safe working condition requires ready access to complete and accurate information from the car companies. The Right to Repair Act (HR 2057) was introduced in Congress to ensure that car owners and their trusted repair shops have the same access to safety alerts and repair information as the franchised new car dealer network.

“Right to Repair has become more important than ever as motorists seek new neighborhood repair shops because a dealership has closed in their area,” continued Schmatz. “This important piece of legislation ensures that local auto repair remains available to car owners throughout the country.”

About Right to Repair:
The Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act, which was introduced by Reps. Edolphus Towns (D-NY), Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and George Miller (D-CA), would require car companies to make the same service information and tools capabilities available to independent repair shops that they provide their to their franchised dealer networks. The legislation further provides car companies with strong protections for their trade secrets unless that information is provided to the franchised new car dealers. The bill clarifies the responsibilities of the Federal Trade Commission in enforcing the bill’s requirements. For more information about the Right to Repair Act, visit

Monday, December 14, 2009

Hoffman Lions performs Christmas carols at the Good Samaritan Society in Hoffman

Video clip posted below

Plenty of Christmas gift ideas and stocking stuffers at Hoffman's Hardware Hank! (Click on photos to enlarge)

Stop in today, open Mondays through Saturdays, 7am-5pm weekdays and 8am to Noon on Saturday.

This could save your life, or the life of a loved one! Get your "Blizzard Bucket" today at Hoffman's Corner Store

Shown in the photo are the items in the blizzard bucket, including a large reflective banner that can attract attention to your car or truck if you become stranded in the snow on. A candle, emergency food bars, matches, a heat-attracting "blanket," and other items are in the kit.

It's only $5 at the Corner Store on Main Street Hoffman!

The Corner Store is open Wednesdays through Saturday in downtown Hoffman.

A video showing all the items is posted on the Editor's Youtube page. The link is:

Still looking for a Christmas Wreath? Main Street Galleria in Hoffman has them at 50% off!

Click to enlarge.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

West Central Area Knights wrestling has strong showing at Grant County Invitational on Saturday - earns fourth place out of 12 teams

The Knights had an outstanding day on the home mats over the weekend, taking fourth place at the annual Grant County Invitational at the WCA High School on Saturday afternoon.

Teams who finished above the Knights were the #10-ranked team in Class A, Class AAA Fergus Falls, and a powerful Class AA Dawson-Boyd/LQPV team.

Team scoring:
1. Badger/Greenbush/Middle River 187

2. Fergus Falls 166.5

3. Dawson-Boyd/Lac qui Parle Valley 1.28.5

4. West Central Area 126.5

5. Mille Lacs 119.5

6. Border West 118.5

7. Ottertail Central 115

8. Browerville/Eagle Valley 107

9. Alexandria 10.5

10. Morris Area 79

11. United Clay (Becker) 60.50

12. Ortonville 8

Friday, December 11, 2009

Hoffman's Skating Rink in the City Park is ready for action on Saturday!

A video clip of TJ Clavin spraying the final layer of water/ice on the Hoffman Skating Rink on a cold, sunny Friday afternoon.

A picture of TJ and Paul Hedstrom adding water/ice late Monday night this week (Dec. 7) when it was awfully cold outside!

Additional video clips are being added to the Editor's Youtube page. The link is:

**The Hoffman Skating Rink will be open all day on Saturday, December 12, ready to use by area youth - both young and old! The Hoffman Commerce and Ag is sponsoring hot cider in the warming house, which is adjacent to the skating rink in the Hoffman City Park.

Mrs. Santa coming to Main Street Galleria in Hoffman on Saturday - "Simply Said" open house in the afternoon

Below are photos showing "Simply Said" items for sale at the Main Street Galleria in Hoffman. The Open House is from 1pm to 4pm. Also, Mrs. Santa will be visiting with customers at the Galleria from 10am to Noon.

Blascyk Auto Body and Paint now offering Tire Sales and Service for Light Trucks/Cars

Shown is Jason's tire mounting machine at Blascyk Auto Body & Paint.

Click on the ad to enlarge it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Registered sex offender arrested in Hoffman on Wednesday night

A man was arrested on numerous warrants, and failure to register as a sex offender, in Hoffman last night at approximately 9pm.

He is currently being held at Douglas County Jail.

More information will follow as I receive it from Grant County Sheriff Dwight Walvatne.

**Update on Friday afternoon... the individual is Justin Michael Hanson, age 24, and was a "wanted man out of Douglas County for failing to register as a sex offender," according to Grant County Sheriff Dwight Walvatne.

Read more about this in the December 17th issue of the Hoffman Tribune.

Two additional photos to go with the December 10th Jim's Journal story in this week's Hoffman Tribune

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

West Central Area Knights boys basketball drubs visiting Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton in HOL action

The Knights, who are now 2-0, whipped DGF 80-62 in a home game on Tuesday night.

They host Lake Park-Audubon this Thursday night (Dec 10) in a boys/girls double-header. The Girls varsity begins at 6:30, with the boys varsity to follow at 8pm.

Area is hit hard by winter storm

All area schools are on schedule today - the wind will be blowing all day though. It's rough out there!

In other news...Cities and counties will not lose state aid payments later this month.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty's office this afternoon announced he will not reduce or eliminate local aid December payments to help plug a $1.2 billion hole in the current two-year budget. Last week, Pawlenty said that he would consider taking that action.

But the Republican governor did not rule out future cuts.

In a letter to city and county leaders, the governor wrote: “Given the imminent expected payment of December local aid, I have determined that additional local aid program cuts, if any, should be focused on future payments.”

A year ago, Pawlenty faced another deficit and he reduced local payments that were due around Christmas. That put cities and counties in a bind, they said, because their budgets already included the state aid payments and they had no way to make changes so late in the year.

About $437 million in state aid payments are to be sent to cities and counties later this month.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Hoffman City Council get skunked at Truth in Taxation hearing

The Hoffman City Council held their annual Truth in Taxation hearing tonight, a chance for the public to attend and voice their concerns about the budget and city taxes.

No one showed.

Other information will be posted tonight, with video clips being added as well to the Tribune Editor's Youtube page.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Santa Days and 6th Annual Festival of Trees held in Hoffman

More video clips are being uploaded this weekend to the Editor's Youtube page (see link further below on this page)

and a video clip

Awesome selection of Christmas cards and Christmas candy at the Hoffman Grocery

Santa Days in Kensington is an overwhelming success (Video clip posted)

More will be posted later today, including photos and video clips from today's Hoffman's Santa Days (2-4pm) and Sixth Annual Festival of Trees (10am-6pm). (See advertising further below on this blog)

The Tribune editor's Youtube link is: - check it out! Higher-quality video clips from our local Santa Days events are being posted there today.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Knights Wrestlers open up new season with a 1-1 split at Pelican Rapids Triangular

Final results from Pelican Rapids on Thursday night:
Ottertail Central 49, West Central Area 24
West Central Area 63, Pelican Rapids 9
Ottertail Central 61, Pelican Rapids 12

This makes a severe fire look like a walk in the park: 19-year old Morris woman is found murdered in rural Owatonna

On Friday, an autopsy confirmed the identity of Kathryn Rose Anderson, a 19-year old now from Eagan, after her body was found in rural Owatonna.

She is a 2008 graduate of Morris Area High School.

A person of interest (not the same as an actual suspect) is in police custody.

Such a terrible loss - please put her family in your prayers this weekend.

See you in Hoffman and Kensington on Saturday, Dec. 5th!! (Scenes from 2008 Santa Days below)

Click to enlarge the photos and ads

Senator Klobuchar Honored by Minnesota Auto Dealers

Klobuchar praised for working with auto dealers to keep dealerships open and for fixing Minnesota legal glitch in cash for clunkers program

The Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association is honoring U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar as their “Legislator of the Year” for her leadership in coming to the rescue of local dealers threatened with closure by General Motors and Chrysler. The association also credits her with intervening to fix problems with last summer’s “Cash for Clunkers” program.

“The senator is a true public servant who has gone out of her way to help Minnesotans in distress,” said Scott Lambert, executive vice president of the dealers association.

“One of the greatest satisfactions in my job is when I have the opportunity to really make a difference for people in Minnesota,” said Klobuchar. “Our local auto dealers weren’t being treated fairly, either in Detroit or Washington. These dealerships are vital to our state economy and our local communities. As Minnesota’s Senator, I had a responsibility to do everything I could to protect the interests of Minnesota businesses and communities.”

Earlier this year, as they emerged from bankruptcy, General Motors and Chrysler announced that they planned to close several thousand local auto dealers, including dozens in Minnesota.

In June, as a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, Klobuchar pushed top auto industry executives to explain why they planned to close so many dealers and how they decided which dealers to close. Klobuchar noted that many of the Minnesota dealers who were notified of closure are dealers that are doing well, especially in the current economy.

Klobuchar worked directly with Minnesota dealers, the auto companies and the Obama Administration to seek relief for dealerships that have been designated for closure. As a result, both GM and Chrysler agreed to negotiate with national auto dealer representatives to address their concerns and ensure fair treatment.

In addition, the Special Inspector General of the Troubled Assets Recovery Program (TARP) is auditing the decisions of GM and Chrysler to terminate their dealership agreements as part of their restructuring plans. A report is expected early next year.

Klobuchar also came to the aid of Minnesota’s auto dealers in July, when the “Cash for Clunkers” program got off to a bumpy start because of computer problems at the U.S. Department of Transportation and misunderstandings about Minnesota’s vehicle registration system.

Klobuchar immediately brought the two issues to the attention of Transportation Secretary Roy LaHood, who responded promptly to fix the problems.

In the end, Minnesota ranked 13th in the nation for Cash for Clunkers sales, with over $72 million in approved rebates.

“Once the initial problems were corrected, Cash for Clunkers became one of the most successful initiatives under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,” said Klobuchar. “It gave an immediate, strong boost to the American economy. It worked for our auto dealers, the auto industry and consumers.”

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Video clips from the Barrett fire site being uploaded to the Hoffman Tribune editor's Youtube page

A view of the fire site on Thursday afternoon.

The Tribune editor's Youtube link is:

Coming soon! Online subscriptions for the Hoffman Tribune newspaper (at a discounted rate vs. the regular annual subscription amount) will become available for readers to take advantage of from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.

With questions or comments, please e-mail me at >

This will be exciting! Truth-in-Taxation hearing set for Monday night, Dec.7 at Hoffman Community Center - show up and tell the council what to cut!

In the wake of impending (huge) local government aid cuts from the state of Minnesota, citizens are asked to pile into the Hoffman Community Center on Monday night to tell the city council what to cut from the budget for 2010.

The hearing begins at 7:00pm.

I've already invited Governor Pawlenty to join us - maybe he can give us a little wisdom and vision and guidance on what to do. I mean, after all, he has to have been learning so much great knowledge by traveling all over the United States in recent months in his bid for the White House in 2012, right?

See you in Hoffman on Monday night!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Landmark in Grant County goes up in flames on Tuesday night - Barrett school building is a total loss

**Be sure to bookmark this page and check back daily for further updates on this horrible fire that literally shook the small town of Barrett, population 350, and had the entire town engulfed in smoke before numerous area fire departments could get the fire under control. This was one was a doozy!

Photos courtesy of Chris Ray, Grant County Herald - click to enlarge any of them.

The photos were taken shortly before 10pm on Tuesday night, with the top photo having a vantage point from the south side of the school building.

Update at 4pm Wednesday:The oldest part of the Barrett school building grounds (now owned by Palmer Bus Company) is still standing, but everything else was destroyed by the fire. Basically, anything that was built on the grounds after 1958 is gone. Further details are forthcoming.

The state fire marshall and Grant County Sheriff's office are currently investigating.

At approximately 9pm the 911 call went out to area fire departments.

There was at least two Alpha transit busses and one older bus inside the building. They were all destroyed in the fire.

From the east of Barrett, it looked like the sun was setting at 9:30pm. According to Chris Ray, the whole town was glowing, with thick smoke drafting through all the streets in the lower levels of the town.

Miraculously, the wind at the time pushed every last bit of ashes and other airborne flammable materials onto the baseball field, which lies south/southwest of the building.

More will be added from this throughout the day.

Additional photos from daytime views of the burn site will be added on Thursday morning. Photos and further details on the fire will be published in the December 10 issue of the Hoffman Tribune.