Archive for News

Human trafficking information presented in Cokato

COKATO, MN – Elim Mission Church in Cokato hosted a ladies gathering April 8, where Ali Ussery of North Wales, UK of Transform International presented on the realities of modern slavery and human trafficking in Europe.

When the term “slavery” is brought up, it is common to think of it as something that happened in the past. Ussery stated, however, that slavery remains a present concern, sharing recent situations where people are forced to work for little to no pay in “terrible, dirty, and cold” environments, and suffer beatings and other mistreatments regularly.

“It’s a big, serious issue,” she said. “It’s a global issue.”

According to Ussery, there are more slaves now than there has ever been, with more than 30 million of them world wide, and only 1 percent being rescued.

One of the main reasons criminals get into the business of human trafficking was revealed in a quote Ussery shared from a known trafficker:

“I traffick people for the simple reason that the goods are a lot cheaper than a Kalashnikov [a gun] or a kilo of heroin. I’m in less danger if I sell a person than if I sold drugs or weapons, plus the ‘goods’ can move themselves – you kick them and they walk.”

With the attraction of high profits and low risks driving the slave industry, many European criminals have started taking advantage of the recent influx of refugees; promising assistance – for a price – and then ensaring them into slavery.

In addition to trafficked humans, modern slaves are also made up of people who have lived in the same area their entire life and were sold by family or orphanages to wealthy families seeking low-cost servants or industries wanting cheap workers.

Some of the known industries posing a high risk for slavery include catering, hotels, nail bars, construction, transportation, and warehousing.

Overall, Ussery said, “10,000 children have disappeared since they hit Europe, and we don’t know where they are.”

Read the full story in the April 24 edition of the Enterprise Dispatch. Click here to subscribe to the print or online version.

Ali Ussery of the North Wales, UK spoke at the Elim Mission Church ladies gathering April 8 to inform attendees on the reality of modern slavery and human trafficking.

Ali Ussery of the North Wales, UK spoke at the Elim Mission Church ladies gathering April 8 to inform attendees on the reality of modern slavery and human trafficking.

 

DC Superintendent discusses failed referendum

Dassel-Cokato School District Superintendent Jeff Powers wants to take another look at the district’s Career and Technical Education referendum, which was voted down by a miniscule margin Tuesday evening.

An unofficial count of the vote showed 725 votes in favor of the referendum, and 739 opposed.

When the polls opened  Tuesday, there were 5,976 voters registered in the school district. When the polls closed, 28 additional voters were shown to have registered that day.

Powers said he had guessed fewer than 2,000 people would vote on the referendum, since spring is notorious for low voter turn-out.

“I hope to revisit this,” Powers said Wednesday afternoon. “The project is very worthy, and would have benefitted many of our students and our communities.”

Powers intends to push for career and technical education options for students, despite the vote.

“We will continue to make changes as we can, but they will be minor in comparison to what we had hoped to do,” he said.

Powers said the work and planning behind the referendum effort was extensive.

“I am thankful to all the people who helped develop the plan,” he commented, “and disappointed that their work didn’t result in a positive outcome.”

Powers anticipated the school board would accept the election results at its next meeting, this evening at 6 pm.

Wildlife photography tips shared in Cokato

COKATO, MN – Does a person need to spend thousands of dollars on camera equipment and travel to the edge of civilization to capture intriguing images of nature?

Wildlife photographer Steve Maanum says “no.”

“Even with a point-and-shoot camera, you can do things with wildlife and nature, certainly,” he told a group of about 25 people at the Cokato Public Library April 6.

His presentation, “So You Want to be a Wildlife Photographer,” provided both tips and encouragement for getting started.

People often wonder where to take wildlife photos, and Maanum said it’s OK to stay close to home.

“There’s so much right around Cokato, right around your farm or house,” he said.

In order to attract wildlife, Maanum advises planting trees and flowers that animals enjoy, and adding a bird bath, birdhouses, and other sheltered areas.

One can capture images of birds perched on the feeder, or before they land. To enhance the scene, Maanum suggests adding a pine bough or flower for the subject to land on.

Getting close to skittish creatures can be tricky, so Maanum uses blinds. These could be camouflaged tents like those used for hunting, or a shaded lawn chair with a covering.

“Something as simple as a cardboard box works, too,” Maanum said. “When you have these things out there, the animals get used to them.”

Look for the full story in the Monday, April 24 edition of the Enterprise Dispatch. For subscription information, click here.

Photo courtesy of Steve Maanum

Photo courtesy of Steve Maanum

Cokato public works recognized for ‘exemplary effort’

COKATO, MN – Cokato’s wastewater treatment plant and its public works staff received a certificate of commendation Wednesday for its, “exemplary effort expanded in the year 2016 to comply with Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s national pollutant discharge elimination system/state disposal system permit program.”

Cokato Museum awarded

Cokato Museum director Mike Worcester notified the council last Monday that the museum’s 10-year project of scanning and digitalizing the Akerlund Studio negative collection received a Minnesota History Award from the Minnesota Alliance of Local History Museums.

Among the 150 local history organizations found within the Alliance, five awards are annually given. The Cokato Museum’s award was in the collections category.

Worcester and Dave Johnson, who worked on scanning and digitalizing the negatives, will be attending the Alliance’s annual meeting Thursday, April 27 to receive the award.

“This is a nice affirmation of our efforts, which while definitely not flashy or showy, was an integral part of our mission to preserve the area’s heritage,” Worcester stated.

Upcoming Cokato Historical Society events include its annual meeting Tuesday, April 25, with special guest Clyde Doepner, who is the team curator for the Minnesota Twins baseball club. The event is open to the public and will start at 7 p.m. at Cokato City Hall.

The museum will also have its annual Memorial Day open house Monday, May 29 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Read the full story in the April 17 edition of the Enterprise Dispatch. Click here to subscribe to the print or online version.

Cokato’s public works received a certificate of commendation April 12 from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency  for its work at the city’s wastewater treatment facility throughout 2016. Picture are Jeff Salmela, Jared Merges, Jeff DeGrote, and Jason Kalis. Not pictured is Mark Hendrickson.

Cokato’s public works received a certificate of commendation April 12 from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for its work at the city’s wastewater treatment facility throughout 2016. Picture are Jeff Salmela, Jared Merges, Jeff DeGrote, and Jason Kalis. Not pictured is Mark Hendrickson.

New urgent care hours at Hutchinson Health

SPONSORED POST – Beginning Saturday, April 29, urgent care services at Hutchinson Health will be available 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days per week.

Urgent care is ideal for dealing with minor injuries and illnesses quickly, without having to wait for a regular clinic appointment. Walk-in, extended-hour access is often convenient for patients with sprains, sore throats, earaches, minor injuries/cuts, fevers and other urgent – but non-emergency – conditions.

If a problem appears to be life-threatening (such as severe or sudden chest pain), it is best to go to an emergency room or call 911.

Hutchinson Health is located at 3 Century Avenue in Hutchinson, MN. The clinic can be reached at (320) 234-3290.

Community forums on a wide range of health topics start Saturday, April 22 at the PAC

DASSEL, COKATO, MN – In an effort to bring more mental health resources to the Dassel and Cokato area, two local families have started an A to Z Mental Health Scholarship Foundation.

“Our communities have been significantly impacted by mental health issues and suicide,” Nicole Carlen noted. “In the development stages of this project, we have realized there is a shortage of mental health professionals in and around our surrounding communities. Our mission is to award scholarships to students pursuing degrees in fields that will provide mental health assistance, which in turn will assist people in our communities.”

The main fundraising event for the scholarship fund is a 5k run/walk set for Saturday, May 20, starting at 8 a.m. at the Dassel-Cokato High School football field. (Registration is now open on the Dassel-Cokato Community Education website.) The cost is $25, and there will be a mental health resource fair during and after the race.

“We encourage everyone to come to the resource fair, even if you decide not to do the run/walk,” Sara Keskey noted. “The fair is a free event that is open to the public.”

See the full schedule of community forums and read the full story in the April 17 edition of the Enterprise Dispatch. Click here to subscribe to the print or online version.

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