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BIG STONE LAKE was bustling with activity as local anglers and tourists hit the water for the border lakes opener this past weekend. Unlike most opening weekends, the weather was perfect for fishing with 70 degree temperatures and sunny skies. Hunter Miller traveled from Bemidji to fish Big Stone. He pulled in some nice walleye on Saturday,  including this one measuring 27".

Foley steps down as head girls basketball coach

Ortonville School Board members approved the resignation of Bob Foley as girls basketball coach at their monthly meeting Monday, April 17.

Foley has served as head girls basketball coach for the past seven years. They will begin advertising for the position immediately.

Dean of Students/Activities Director, Jake Foslien, informed the board  he has accepted a position with the West Central Area School District and has declined the 7-12 Principal/Activities Director position with the Ortonville School.

According to Superintendent Jeff Taylor, after meeting with the board members on the hiring committee, it was decided to re-advertise for the position. Those had previously applied for the position, may re-apply.

Board members approved the summer school programs. To receive up to an additional .2 Average Daily Membership (ADM) funding for these programs, the school is required to run them through an Alternative Learning Center (ALC) program.

They have been running both the elementary and secondary programs for many years. Both use local teachers as instructors and are offered at the Ortonville School.

The elementary summer school runs for two weeks before school starts in August. There are two sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. This program is run through ALC in Montevideo.

The secondary summer school will run during the month of June. This program runs for a longer period allowing students the necessary time to make up credits. This is an online program run through the ALC in Benson.

Board members discussed the possiblility of moving forward with a referendum. Superintendent Taylor informed the board they would need to answer the following questions: Do you intend to have a referendum vote this November? If yes, then how many questions do you want on the referendum? If more than one, would one question be for capital projects and in what amount? What is the total referendum you would be asking for?

It was noted that Aug. 25 is the last  day to adopt a resolution calling for a referendum. They hope to have a decision by the July 17 board meeting.

The board approved a contract with Big Stone Therapies for athletic training. They also approved a contract with Jay Trenhaile for school Psychologist services for the 2017-2018 school year.

Board members approved stipends for second semester online/college courses for Kim Johnson and Sara Winter. Johnson is teaching one college level course “Introduction to Computers” and one online course in Accounting. Winter is teaching one college level course called “Writing about Literature.”

The next meeting of the Ortonville School Board will be Monday, May 15, at 7 p.m. in the school library.

Ortonville Fire Department in need of new pumper truck

Ortonville Fire Chief Randy McLain came before the city council at their regular meeting Monday, April 17, asking the council to consider purchasing a new pumper-tanker truck.

McLain stated a new pumper truck would cost an estimated $222,500. The Ortonville Fire Department has raised $30,000 to put toward the purchase.

Clerk-Administrator Char Grossman asked the council to delay any action on the purchase of the truck until the bids are opened for the proposed street-utility project. She said if the bids come in low, there may be ample funds to pay for the pumper truck. Council members decided to wait until those bids come in.

Council members approved the hiring of Levi Lupkes to the Ortonville Fire Department. Lupkes has served with the Graceville Fire Department and currently resides in Ortonville. This fills the position that was vacant with the retirement of Steve Barr.

Artie Arndt of Ortonville asked the city maintenance department put the docks in three days after ice-out and leave the docks in the lake longer in the fall. Arndt and City Maintenance Supervisor, Kent Novak, will work on a policy regarding the timing of the dock installation and removal and report back to the council

Arndt also asked that the city agree to assist with expenses involved in  improving and maintaining the fish cleaning station so it can be used year around. Novak stated he would contact the city engineer for an estimate for burying the fish cleaning water and sewer lines deeper to prevent freeze up. Arndt will get estimated costs for other improvements.

Discussion was held regarding hiring a zoning attorney as recommended by the Planning Commission to complete the revision of the zoning ordinances. It was decided by the council to continue working with the city attorney, with a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting scheduled for May 4, at 4 p.m. to work on the revision.

The council discussed the 50 percent conformity rule. City zoning regulations state nothing shall prevent the placing of a structure in safe condition when the structure is declared unsafe by the zoning administrator, providing the necessary repairs shall not constitute more than 50 percent of fair market value. A city resident reported that city non-conforming zoning regulations were keeping him from getting financing for improvements to his property. City Attorney Dave McLaughlin suggested an ordinance change.

Council members approved the first reading of Ordinance 17-04 an ordinance amending the Non-Conforming Zoning regulations-50 percent rule.

In other business, the board approved the appointment of Pam Bottema to the Police Civil Service Commission. This fills the position left vacant by the resignation of Mary Gustafson.

The next meeting of the Ortonville City Council will be Monday, May 1, at 5 p.m. in the Ortonville Library Media Center.


The Ortonville Independent can now print posters and