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Highway 12 crash injures one

A two-vehicle crash occurred on Highway 12 in Dassel, Friday at 8:31 a.m., the Minnesota State Patrol reported.

James Mason Keeler, 77, of Darwin, was driving a 2005 Acura RL westbound on Highway 12 when the car crossed over the center line and collided with a semi-truck.

The 2007 International semi-truck was driven by Kevin Eugene Buffington, 50, of Ivanhoe.

Keeler was transported to Meeker County Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to the state patrol.  No injuries were reported for Buffington.

Both men were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.  The airbags in the Acura deployed.

DC school presents info about CTE expansion plan

DASSEL, COKATO, MN – A public information meeting took place at Dassel-Cokato High School March 13 to explain the DC Board of Education’s plan to improve the high school’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program through a facility and equipment upgrade.

Teachers and school staff explained how these upgrades would help with student development, and local citizens were given the opportunity to ask questions.

Career and Technical Education is a job readiness program that Dassel-Cokato High School offers its students.

The board of education recognized the need to expand the CTE programming, and one of its goals is to address the current limitations of the facilities.

The solution presented at the special meeting included three main improvement projects:

1. Expanding the middle school industrial technology room;

2. Remodeling several current facilities, including high school family and consumer science, industrial technology, media center and business areas;

3. New construction of a separate building, which will house the alternative learning center and agricultural education programs.

The entire construction project would be funded through a temporary tax increase over a 13-year period. The total cost of the project, including financing, will be $6,945,000.

Voters in the school district will be asked to approve this funding April 18.

Read how this project could affect taxes in the March 20 edition of the Enterprise Dispatch. Click here to subscribe to the print or online edition.

At a public information meeting last Monday, Superintendent Jeff Powers explained the proposed Career and Technical Education (CTE) expansion project. There will be a special election Tuesday, April 18, at both Dassel and Cokato city halls, so that voters in the school district can choose whether or not to approve the construction financing.

At a public information meeting March 13, Superintendent Jeff Powers explained the proposed Career and Technical Education (CTE) expansion project. There will be a special election Tuesday, April 18, at both Dassel and Cokato city halls, so that voters in the school district can choose whether or not to approve the construction financing.

Council considers new city hall

Cokato Fire Chief Hutch Erickson expressed support for an increase in ambulance stipends, which he initially advised the council to re-examine after the fire department’s were raised. Photo BY Jennifer Von Ohlen

Cokato Fire Chief Hutch Erickson expressed support for an increase in ambulance stipends, which he initially advised the council to re-examine after the fire department’s were raised.
Photo BY Jennifer Von Ohlen

COKATO, MN – During a previous meeting, city staff informed the council that the present city hall building was due for several repairs in order to meet code regulations, which was again addressed before the council last Monday.

City Administrator Annita Smythe informed the council that the fire department had to respond to an elevator rescue at the building about three weeks ago. The episode occurred around 1 a.m. when a custodian became stuck while cleaning up after a weekend event.

Council member Paul Boger acknowledged that the situation then becomes a liability issue.

Smythe also stated that the elevator has been known to not fully reach the same level as a floor of its destination, raising the risk for users to fall into the elevator cab.

Fire Chief Hutch Erickson commented that individuals falling into the elevator is more concerning than them becoming trapped.

Smythe added that whenever maintenance comes to fix the elevator, they always say, “It’s only a matter of time.”

Replacing the elevator’s computer would cost an estimated $75,000, to which Mayor Gordy Erickson added the machine would still not be up to code.

Considering the price of a new elevator as well as other “overdue” update costs, the council authorized city staff to look into alternative options for city hall, whether it is relocation or construction.

Ambulance stipends increase

At last month’s meeting, the council raised the fire department’s stipends, to which Erickson further advised the council to review the ambulance stipends. Which had been as follows:

• director – $1,000

• assistant director – none

• secretary/treasurer – $800

• training officer #1 – none

• training officer #2 – none

At Monday’s meeting, Erickson said, “There’s no reason their stipends shouldn’t match ours.”

Council Member Jarod Sebring, who is also a member of the fire department, stated that some of the training officers’ teachings involve advanced work, such as IVs – a service Howard Lake does not have a variance to offer.

“If it weren’t for these training officers teaching us how to do IVs, we wouldn’t even have that. So, that makes us a better ambulance service, because of what we can do because of our training officers,” he said.

Following discussion, the council raised the ambulance stipends to match the fire department’s. The adjusted amounts are:

• director – $2,500

• assistant director – $1,500

• secretary/treasurer – $800

• training officer #1 – $700

• training officer #2 – $600.

Read the full coverage in the March 20 edition of the Enterprise Dispatch. Click here to subscribe to the print or online edition.

VIDEO: National Honor Society sings in Washington, DC

DASSEL, COKATO, MN – National Honor Society members from Dassel-Cokato High School sang the national anthem during their recent trip to Washington, DC.

Here is what it sounded like: http://photos.dasselcokato.com/School/2017-National-Honor-Society-Washington-DC/

Photos from the trip will be printed in the Monday, March 27 edition of the Enterprise Dispatch.

Darwin PO drop box broken into

DARWIN, MN – Sometime over the weekend of March 4 and 5, the lock on the post office drop box in Darwin was sliced off, according to Darwin Postmaster Dana Nothnagel.

The crime was discovered the afternoon of March 6, when an employee went out to empty the box.

The amount of mail that was stolen is unknown.

“It’s a guessing game; it could have been five pieces of mail, or 50,” Nothnagel said.

The collection box is emptied each afternoon Monday through Saturday. As a result, any mail from Saturday evening, Sunday, or Monday morning could have been affected.

Darwin Mayor Josh Johnson noted that one person had fraudulent checks drawn on their account after the incident.

“The individual that was victimized did tell me they were fully reimbursed by their bank,” Johnson noted. “I am sure the checks were returned as fraudulent.”

Johnson said he wants to make residents aware of what happened to help prevent any financial loss.

Nothnagel said it might be a good idea for residents to drop off important mail on a weekday, rather than a weekend, so it doesn’t stay in the box as long.

Read the rest of the story, along with other mailing protection tips, in the March 20 edition of the Enterprise Dispatch. Click here to subscribe to the print or online edition.

This sign was added to the post office drop box in Darwin after the break-in earlier this month. A reward of up to $1,000 is being offered for information.

This sign was added to the post office drop box in Darwin after the break-in earlier this month. A reward of up to $1,000 is being offered for information.

Dassel approves new water and sewer rates

DASSEL, MN – Dassel City Council approved the recommended water, sewer, and surface water rates for 2017 during a special meeting Tuesday.

City Clerk Terri Boese pointed out that “slight increases in rates are easier than big jumps.” Some of these rates have not increased since 2012. These new rates will go into effect April 1, for the March billing period.

City to create capital improvement plan

The council decided to create a capital improvement plan (CIP). This plan can be as simple or complex as the city wishes, containing information on the state of the city’s infrastructure and utilities.

City engineer Chuck DeWolf proposed the idea, stating that it would be useful from a budgeting standpoint so the council could plan on and prioritize certain repairs and improvement projects. Often, a CIP focuses on a five- to 10-year window for these improvements.

Mayor Ron Hungerford pointed out that “being proactive is better than being reactive.” He believes this plan could help the city be more ready and prepared for repairs. A CIP could also help the city receive grants for these projects, assisting the city with costs.

Council Member Justin Bemenderfer commented that it would be a good way to see all of the different layers of the city in one place.

In 2010-11, the city created a priority list of projects, but it has not yet created a CIP.

The council asked DeWolf to draft a basic plan, with ages of equipment and the cost of replacement. This plan will be expanded in the future.

Read the full coverage in the March 13 edition of the Enterprise Dispatch. Click here to subscribe to the print or online edition.

Dassel City Council members Justin Bemenderfer and Sherry Bjork, Mayor Ron Hungerford, City Clerk/Treasurer Terri Boese, Public Works Director Troy Zwilling, City Engineer Chuck DeWolf, and Council Member Andrew Carlson discuss the benefits of a capital improvement plan.

Dassel City Council members Justin Bemenderfer and Sherry Bjork, Mayor Ron Hungerford, City Clerk/Treasurer Terri Boese, Public Works Director Troy Zwilling, City Engineer Chuck DeWolf, and Council Member Andrew Carlson discuss the benefits of a capital improvement plan.