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UNDER ARTIST LIZ RACKL’S GUIDANCE, Main Street Industries consumers have completed their grant project and they couldn’t be prouder. In June 2013, the Minnesota State Arts Board awarded a “Partners in Arts Participation” grant to MSI to explore a painting process called “spontaneous expression.” The concrete result of their work throughout the year is a 2015 calendar and a line of greeting and holiday cards featuring consumers’ original artwork. The more important and unseen result is their acceptance in the larger community as artists.

Council approves hiring of three city police officers

The Ortonville City Council approved the hiring of three police officers (one full-time and two part-time) at their regular meeting on Monday, Oct. 20.

On the recommendation of the Ortonville Police Commission, the council approved the hiring of Jordan Reiner as a full-time officer and Dylan Reiner and Joshua Keller as part-time officers, pending background checks.

According to Ortonville Police Chief Jason Mork, Jordan Reiner will begin field training Oct 31 and once he is in place, they will begin field training the other two in December and January. Brothers Jordan and Dylan Reiner are from Litchfield and Keller is from Montevideo.

Council members approved a resolution of support for Federated Telephone Cooperative border to border broadband development grant. The City of Ortonville is aware of Federated Telephone’s intent to apply for this grant for funding to provide fiber to the premise in rural Big Stone County areas that are underserved or unserved with broadband and that they support Federated Telephone’s efforts to increase broadband in the county.

The City Council approved a resolution allowing the Hockey Association up to $1,000 allowing repairs on the Zamboni. The Hockey Association could grant to City, the right to use the Zamboni and other items if the City chooses. The City can repair if it chooses, but no requirement for the City to repair or replace the equipment.

In other business, the council has been in discussion with Paul Skinner, owner of two properties on Second Street and one on Third Street. Since the last council meeting, one of his properties on Second Street has been tore down and it was noted that a party is interested in removing the concrete. The council approved a motion to allow 28 days to have the debris hauled out and concrete removed.

The second property is in need of inside repairs. It was decided to table any decisions for two weeks to decide what can be done with the repairs on the second building.

The council then approved a 90 day  extension for Skinner’s home project on Third Street. The council felt that Skinner has done a lot of work on that project to allow the extension.

The next meeting of the Ortonville City Council will be held on Monday, Nov. 3 at 5 p.m. in the Library Media Center.

Board agrees to move ahead with Broadband in County

The Big Stone County Board approved a resolution of support at their Oct. 21 meeting, to move forward, develop a Countywide EDA and look at other bond council for partnering with Federated Telephone for Broadband in the county.

“Everyone in this room is taking this very seriously,” said Board Chairman Brent Olson. “We are all giving it out best shot to do what is appropriate for the citizens, what is legal for the county and to move forward responsively.”

It was the consensus of the board to see this through. The board approved this resolution unanimously.

Committee appointments to recommend options for a County Economic Development Service provider were selected with the contingency of official documentation. They include Eric Banken , Becky Parker, Kent Morrill, Rusty Dimberg, Audrey Rahlein, Jon Pansch, Kristin Haggerty, Joyce Reynolds, Don Sykora, Terry Ocana, Kim Sykora, Jackie Anderson, Brent Olson and Roger Sandberg.

The board approved the bid of Hasslen  Construction of Ortonville for remodel of the courthouse and government building that currently houses the Veterans Service office and Big Stone County 4-h.

The other bid received was from Tradesman Construction of Alexandria. The Hasslen bid was for $210,000 for the Courthouse and $158,000 for the Government Building and a composite bid of $363,000. Tradesman Construction had a bid of $238,325 for the courthouse with no bid on the Government building and a composite bid of $418,192.

There was some discussion on the cost of the government building. Commissioner Wade Athey stated that he couldn’t see putting that money into a building that they paid less money for. The Board approved on a 4-1 vote with Athey casting the lone no vote.

County Engineer Nick Anderson was present and submitted final payment figures to Bituminous Paving and Central Specialties for work done in the county. Those were approved unanimously.

In other business, the board approved the annual grant agreement with the Big Stone Lake Area Sno Riders. The grant was for the amount of $31,218.93.

The board received a letter to become a member of the Western Minnesota Prairie Waters Regional Tourism Program. They are currently in the process of putting together their 2015 budget and marketing plan. It was the decision of the board to not be a member at this time.

The next meeting of the Big Stone County Board will be on Tuesday, Nov. 4 at 8:30 a.m. in the board room of the courthouse.

Beardsley man charged with theft to be sentenced Nov. 12

Jeffrey Wolff, 55, of Beardsley, will be sentenced in Big Stone County Court on Nov. 12 after entering a guilty plea to an amended theft charge resulting from stealing funds from the United Methodist Church in Beardsley.

On Nov. 21, 2013, the Big Stone County Sheriff’s office was called to the First Independent Bank of Beardsley to investigate a possible embezzlement.

Big Stone County Sheriff’s Deputies met with Pastor Anna Williamson of the United Methodist Church of Beardsley as well as two members of the church board and a bank employee.

Jeffrey Wolff, treasurer of the United Methodist Church, had allegedly wrote approximately $6,820 in fraudulent checks to himself. Pastor Williamson presented the five checks that totaled $6,820 to the Deputy.

Wolff had been treasurer of the church since 2006. This is a volunteer position and he should not be writing checks out to himself.

The church members did state that they did allow Wolff to write out one check to himself in the past when his house was being foreclosed on several years ago to help him out, but that it was a one time payment.

It was later determined that Wolff made out two more checks totalling $1,500 to himself, bringing the total amount to $8,370.

On Nov. 25, 2013, Big Stone County Deputies made contact with Wolff and read him his Miranda Rights. Wolff admitted to writing the checks to himself and cashing them. He admitted that he did not have permission. Wolff deposited the checks into his personal account and stated he was having financial difficulties at the time and that is why he did it.

Wolff was charged with two felony counts of theft. Count 1 was Theft-Take/Use/Transfer Movable Prop-No Consent. Count 2 was Theft-Intent to Exercise Temporary Control.

On Sept. 30, 2014, Wolff entered a guilty plea to an amended Count 2. He will be sentenced on Wednesday, Nov. 12 at 3 p.m.

Seth Parker