Wednesday, May 8, 2002

 

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Dakota Elementary in national spotlight

Zoning for two housing developments approved with changes by city to appease neighbor concerns

Ridgeway building for sale

City Council approves zoning for WSU dorm

National Day Care Provider's Day

Family entertainment at Central Lutheran

Pancakes & sidewalk sale

Red Cross classes

SMU athletes honored

Saint Anne recognizes volunteers

Southeast Technical graduation May 9

Tickets on sale for Tom Sawyer

Dakota Elementary in national spotlight

by Cynthya Porter

Dakota Elementary School took a seat in the national spotlight Friday, as students hosted the send-off of a riverboat being monitored by thousands of children nationwide.
The Lilly Belle's trip up the Mississippi to St. Paul, carrying educators and six students from St. Paul, Neuss, Germany and Jamaica, is part of the culmination of a ten-week watershed education program called the Audubon Ark/Mississippi Adventure. The program is designed to put core math, science and cultural curriculum into the context of a local watershed, allowing students to understand the relationship between their community and environment.
Thousands of students from across the country participate in the curriculum via on-line resources, and on Friday all eyes were turned to Dakota as the Interactive Expedition began its first leg of a river adventure that would be reported daily on-line for students to follow.
When the Lilly Belle reaches St. Paul May 13, a second crew of students and educators will board the vessel for the return journey to Dakota School May 19. This crew, in addition to exploring the wonders of the mighty Mississippi, will make music along the way. The crew, comprised of musicians from Neuss and St. Paul, will present concerts of their river-inspired music in Dakota and St. Paul at the completion of their journey.
The program is a collaboration of the Center for Global Environmental Education at Hamline University, the Rivers of Life and the Audubon's Upper Mississippi River Campaign.
Everyone is invited to join the Dakota students in welcoming the Lilly Belle at the end of the journey. The celebration and concert will take place at Dresbach Park Sunday, May 19, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, contact Dakota School at (507) 643-6869.


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Zoning for two housing developments approved with changes by city to appease neighbor concerns

by Christina Eberhard

The Winona City Council granted two zoning requests with unit restrictions Monday on separate proposed subdivisions, one easterly and one westerly.
The first proposal, requested by Collegeville Development Group, St. Cloud, sought to build 42 homes, 40 single-family and two multi-unit, on 8.3 acres located on Highway 14 opposite St. Mary's University and adjacent to Knopp Valley. Geared toward "empty-nesters," the subdivision would maintain an affiliation with St. Mary's University, providing access to dining and recreational facilities for a fee in addition to the association fee. St. Mary's University vice president general counsel, Ann Merchlewitz, in a letter said the university "is not a partner with Collegeville Development and has no interest in housing for students" in the subdivision.
Under the council's 5-2 vote, the developer will now be allowed to construct 36 single-family homes.
The development was approved for R-1.5 zoning by the city Planning Commission April 8, which would permit fewer housing units than the R-2 classification originally requested by the petitioner but would still allow clustering of homes.
Councilmen Al Thurley and George Borzyskowski both said that numerous e-mails, letters and phone calls they have received from residents concerned with traffic at the intersection of Highway 14 and Knopp Valley Drive and drainage problems resulting from the development convinced them not to support the zone change.
"We need to address these issues with the residents before we go forward," said Thurley."
A zoning classification must be in place, said Councilman Tim Breza, before the issues can be addressed.
"You can't apply drainage issues to an agriculturally-zoned piece of property," he said.
Homeowner Dan Arnold, 56 Dresser Court, urged the council to consider R-1 zoning "so cluster development wouldn't occur."
Mary Hermans, 64 Wiscoy Court, asked council "to think about the stewardship of the land. The whole valley is affected." She cited traffic and drainage as main concerns.
Councilman Chris Arnold made the motion to restrict development to 36 single family units.
"I introduced this as a middle ground," he said. "Traffic is always an issue. Drainage can be worked out during platting. You don't want it developed? The ultimate control is to get together and buy it."
The second proposal, requested by Lake Park Properties, Inc., sought to build 14 single-family homes and 50 townhouse units on 17 acres located one-quarter mile east of Winona Middle School, north of Homer Road and west of Pleasant Valley Creek. Split-zoning of the land, to both R-1 and R-1.5 classifications, would be required to offer both houses and town homes on the property.
The council voted 5-2 to approve a recommendation by the city Planning Commission to modify development, allowing 25 single-family homes on the property's outer ring with 24 townhouse units in the center. City Planner Mark Moeller said the suggestion came about when adjacent property owners in the Whetstone's Addition voiced opposition to the proximity of multiple family housing units to their property lines.
Elevation of the property was raised to 666 feet, said attorney for Lake Park Properties, Steven Peterson, to allow for construction of basements per a city code requiring that first floor elevations in a flood plain begin at 660 feet. The proposed subdivision will be located in the Pleasant Valley Creek flood plain. The site has been filled to meet code by an additional six feet, said Peterson.
Property owner Wes Whetstone told the council the elevation was raised six feet without his knowledge.
"We were told it would be 660," he said.
Said his wife, Brenda, "Now we will look up at them, and they will look down on us. It will block our view of the bluffs."
In other business, the council:
·Approved the purchase of 18 new computers and monitors, four high resolution scanners, two color laser printers and software package at a cost of $97,535 for the Winona Police Department to be compatible with a new county computer upgrade. The system is needed to be online with the county. Councilman Tim Breza will negotiate with the county to obtain a lower cost before the system is implemented in June.
·Rejected bids received for repair of the High Wagon Bridge well over budgeted cost. The two bids, Brent Anderson Associates, Inc. ($1.28 million), and American Plumbing Co. ($1.79 million) exceeded the engineer's estimate of $656,550.
·Tabled a proposed amendment to the city's Noisy Parties and Gatherings Ordinance that would allow landlords with multiple units three violations in a single unit before revocation of a rental license, as opposed to three violations within the building.
·Tabled a resolution to seek a request for proposals for an engineer to design a future Pelzer Street overpass.

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Ridgeway building for sale

by Cynthya Porter

If the Ridgeway school building is for sale, the Pleasant Hill Township board would like to buy it, representatives said at Thursday's District 861 school board meeting.
The offer came on the heels of a conversation earlier this year with Superintendent Eric Bartleson, said Ridgeway School Coordinator Jodi Dansingburg. According to Dansingburg, Bartleson requested earlier this year that Ridgeway Community School locate a buyer for the building as soon as possible.
The township came forward, Dansingburg said, expressing an interest in maintaining the school building as a community asset, and issued a letter to the Winona school board offering to purchase the property for $1.
The nominal offer, according to Dansingburg, stems from the fact that Ridgeway school was originally funded through bonds levied against taxpayers in the former I.S.D. 859, which is primarily Pleasant Hill Township.
Six years later, the state ordered District 859 be consolidated with District 861, and Ridgeway school, as well as the fund balance from District 859, were turned over to District 861.
Several board members argued Thursday that District 861 also assumed the financial responsibility for District 859's outstanding bonds, and has maintained the building for 30 years.
Board members also expressed concern over the loss of $60,000 in lease payments if they were to sell the building. "A big part of my initial support for the charter school was that the lease agreement would be offsetting the loss of revenue," said board member Brant Deppa. Other members agreed, indicating instead a desire to continue leasing the building for the time being.
Pleasant Valley Treasurer Andy Kronebusch told the board, "We're willing to buy it if it's for sale. We're not after the building, but we would like to ensure it remains a charter school." Kronebusch went on to add that controlling the future of the building was difficult to do if it was sold on the open market, and the township has a strong interest in keeping the building as a community resource.
Acknowledging that Winona officials initiated the talk of selling the building, board member Sharon Erickson Ropes said, "We may have jumped the gun here. It wasn't the township seeking the sale, we brought it up first."
The school board has a three-year charter school agreement and a one-year lease agreement with Ridgeway Community School. Part of the existing contract with Ridgeway is that the charter school has the right of first refusal in the event that a buyer is found for the building.
Dansingburg expressed concern that the lease period was shorter than the charter sponsorship, leading to the possibility that the school could be forced to move if the building was sold to an outside buyer. "We have no intention of pulling that lease out from under you," Ropes said.
The board solidified Ropes' statement by voting to continue the building lease with Ridgeway throughout the duration of the three-year charter contract, adding that it may entertain an offer from the township to purchase it at the end of that period.

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City Council approves zoning for WSU dorm

by Christina Eberhard

The Winona City Council gave thumbs up to the construction of a 360-person Winona State University dormitory Monday night, overruling a decision made last month by the city's Board of Adjustments.
The proposed structure, to be built on four acres of land at Franklin and Sarnia streets, was denied a variance from the city zoning code on April 17 when the Board of Adjustments made a vote of four in favor of granting the variance, two opposing and one abstention. The city code requires five affirmative votes for the approval of a variance.
The land, which had been occupied by the Army Reserve, is currently zoned B-2 (Commercial), requiring a minimum of 1,500 square feet of space for each one bedroom apartment and 2,500 square feet for each two or more bedroom units. One hundred apartments are planned, with 12 one bedroom units and 88 two or more bedroom unit. The proposed site contains 176,100 square feet, falling short of the 238,000 required by city code. The Army Reserve will retain access to its building on Sarnia for local club use. The land will be owned by the WSU Foundation, who will lease it to the university.
The property, said Kent Gernander, WSU Foundation member and attorney representing its interest, "meets all zoning requirements except for the lot area requirement."
Gernander further stated that "it's been suggested the city code is ill-suited to accommodate projects of this sort." He cited other similar city housing structures, such as Valley View Towers, at 130 units, and Winhaven Court, at 118 units. In those cases, said Gernander, variances were granted to allow a reduction in lot size from the required 1,500 square feet to 300 square feet at Valley View Towers and 400 square feet at Winhaven Court. Valley View Towers, he said, occupies less than one city block, while the proposed WSU dormitory would occupy nearly two city blocks. What's more, he said, the project is needed to satisfy a housing shortage.
"Right now there is inadequate dorm space for students," he said. "This project would move 360 students out of the downtown area into a supervised housing setting."
WSU residence halls were at over 120 percent capacity this fall, said WSU President Darrell Krueger.
"The stress of housing is why we're here," said Krueger. "This is old housing we have with the cramming of students in there. This facility will greatly aid the quality of life in the community by giving a little bit of breathing room for students and I think you will see the drinking problems decrease."
Willy Dickinson, representing Schwab Company, a partner in the proposal, said the site is unique because of its proximity to campus and its density. Dickinson said he does not foresee parking problems or a lack of green space, both cited as future problems by those who oppose the project.
"Our project will provide more than the 150 stalls required by the city ordinance," he said. "Two hundred sixty off-street stalls will be provided. We are not adding to the parking problem."
Green space is available just a short walk across the street at city parks, said Dickinson.
WSU Housing Director John Ferden said the need for campus housing "will be partially met by this project and it will help with parking."
John McCauley, adjacent homeowner and board of adjustment member who voted down the variance, opposed the request, saying, "I'm tired of the litter, beer bottles, beer cans, late night noise and fence repair associated with the WSU student walking population. I pity anyone who lives between the proposed project and WSU or the downtown bars."
Future doubling and tripling of students in those rooms was also an issue raised by McCauley. In addition, the property's tax exempt status would be a "burden on the community," he said.
Whether or not the building will be taxable "is still being debated at the state level," said City Manager Eric Sorensen. "If you had to bet right now it would not be taxable."
Councilman Tim Breza noted that the federal government undoubtedly pays no tax on the Army Reserve property. He moved to override the Board of Adjustment decision.
"There is not enough parking at WSU. The housing is inadequate. Is this a reasonable use of the property? I think that it is," he said.
Councilman Gerry Krage recommended a stipulation be added to the motion that occupancy of the building not exceed 360 students, which passed unanimously.
"It's come to us to establish the way the community wants to go with the project," said Councilman Chris Arnold.

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National Day Care Provider's Day

You're Invited
An extra special event for Day Care Providers and their Families
Help PROVIDERS FOR KIDS celebrate National Provider's Appreciation Day, Wed. May 8, 2002 6-8:00 p.m. The Elks Club 4540 N. Service Dr. Goodview.
This will be a night to recognize ALL day care providers. Training credit will be given.
Did you know that there are eight licensed day care men in Winona County ?
Special recognition will be given to John, Darren, Robert, Matthew, Rick, Art, Ken and Brian.
Join us for a potluck meal. Please bring a dish to passeverything else will be furnished.
Lots of fun activities planned for the kids
Time-Out Crafts will be there for the kids.
ALSO carnival games, make & take projects, balloons and more Come and see who is helping us celebrateWinona police and firemen, Miss Winona, Boy and Girl Scouts, Luke and Brenda Merchlewitz and other community member will be on hand.
You may win one of the donated prizes from Al Smith (behind home plate Minnesota Twins tickets) Harley Davidson Shop of Winona, gift certificates from Heart's Desire, Fleet Farm, Kwik Trip, Best Buy, Happy Chef, Watkins, Friskers , toys, craft supplies and more still coming in.
Due to "technical difficulties" some of the computer training will be done again.
The format will be ask a question ­ get an answer! PCI computer program software will be explained.

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Family entertainment at Central Lutheran

Central Lutheran Church is pleased to present a performance by Professional Family Entertainer Jim Jayes on May 19, 2002 at 9:15 am in the church's Gathering Room. For over 30 years Jim Jayes has been entertaining children of all ages with his unique combination of Magic and Puppetry.
This Sacramento, CA native, who makes all of his own puppets and props, has performed in almost any situation you can name. At Central Lutheran he will perform the marionette show, "Circus on Strings".
In 1997 Jim moved to the Austin, MN area where he lives with his wife Cindy and their two daughters. He is also a designer and inventor of magic effects which are currently in the programs of countless performers around the world.
The show is open to children of all ages and is free of charge.

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Pancakes & sidewalk sale

The Bluff Country Co-op is hosting a pancake breakfast and sidewalk sale on Saturday, May 18th at St. Paul's Episcopal Church on the corner of Broadway and Lafayette from 7:00a.m. to 11:00a.m. Breakfast includes blueberry pancakes, sausage, orange juice, coffee, tea and milk. Tickets are $5.00 for adults and $3.00 for kids under 12 and may be purchased at the door or at the Co-op located at 114 E. 2nd St. The purpose of this event is to generate funds for outdoor signage and a mural for the existing building.
Come and enjoy a healthy breakfast and shop the sidewalk sale for treasures!! Rain or shine!! For further information call Taff at 452-0803.


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Red Cross classes

First Aid* May 9 5:30 - 9:30 p.m.
Adult, Child, Infant CPR & First Aid* June 10 & 12 5:30 - 9:30 p.m.
CPR for Professionals* June 22, 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
*CEUs are available
Babysitter's Training Please call for dates & times.
To register for one of the above classes, please contact your Winona County Red Cross at 452-4258.


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SMU athletes honored

Saint Mary's University juniors Eric Williamson (St. Charles, Minn.) and Jackie Huegel (Alta Vista, Iowa) were named the school's outstanding male and female athletes at the annual end-of-the-year athletic banquet.
Williamson's teammate, Aaron Smolinski (White Bear Lake, Minn.) and Huegel's teammate, Jennifer Miller (Winona, Minn.), meanwhile, were named SMU's outstanding male and female scholar-athletes.
Also honored was senior Colleen O'Hearn (Champlin, Minn.), who received the Cardinal Achievement Award for her efforts as a varsity letterwinner in women's soccer, women's basketball and track and field over the past four years.
Williamson, the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year a year ago, posted a team-best 2.38 ERA and a 4-2 record in leading the SMU baseball team to a 15-14 overall record and its second straight berth in the MIAC post-season tournament. Williamson started in a team-high eight regular-season games, allowing 12 earned runs in 45.1 innings, while walking just nine and striking out 26.
An elementary education major with a 3.87 GPA, Miller was the Cardinals' starting catcher the last three seasons, closing out her collegiate career with a career-best .330 batting average. Thirty-two Saint Mary's student-athletes with GPAs of 3.0 of higher were considered for this honor.

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Saint Anne recognizes volunteers

Saint Anne of Winona held its annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner on April 25th at the Elks Lodge 327. Volunteers enjoyed dinner and were shown appreciation by various staff members. During 2001, 292 volunteers gave nearly 10,000 hours of time to residents and guests at Saint Anne Extended Healthcare, Callista Court, and the Benedictine Adult Day Center.
Saint Anne of Winona is recruiting volunteers especially for the summer months. People of all ages are encouraged to volunteer. If you are interested, please call Amy at 454-3621 extension 624.

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Southeast Technical graduation May 9

Wil Oberton, Chief Operating Officer and President of Fastenal Company of Winona, will give the commencement address for the Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical graduation in Winona on Thursday May 9, 2002.
Starting out as a trainee in the Winona facility, Oberton quickly moved on to become an assistant branch manager in Marshalltown, Iowa and then went on to manage branches in Owatonna, and Mankato, MN before becoming a district manager in December, 1981.
In June, 1986, Oberton moved in to the position of Operations Manager, a position which he held until April, 1997 when he became the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Fastenal. In August, 2001 he became President of Fastenal.
He is a graduate of St. Cloud Technical College with a degree in marketing.
Oberton will talk about "Things I wish I knew when I graduated from college," he explained.
The Student Responses will be given by Leann Gebhard, Retail & Sales Management graduate and Delta Epsilon Chi President, and Nate Searles, Aviation Maintenance Technology graduate and Student Senate president.
Approximately 390 students will be graduating from the Winona and Winona Airport campuses. Ceremonies will be held in McCown Gymnasium at Winona State University and will begin at 8:00 p.m.

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Tickets on sale for Tom Sawyer

Riverway Learning Community in conjunction with the Minnesota City sesquicentennial Will be presenting the play Tom Sawyer Directed by Denny Schrandt.
Show times will be Thur. May 16th at 7:00 pm, Fri. May 17th at 7:00 pm, Sat. May 18th at 1:00 and & 7:00 pm, and Sun. May 19th at 7:00 pm
All Performances will be held at the School In Minnesota City at 115 Iowa Street. Tickets may be purchased at The following locations Bluff County Co-op, Country Market, Econo Foods, HyVee, and Midtown Foods, Or by calling Kim @ 452-8856
They are $6.00 for adults, and $4.00 for children They are $5.00 and $3.00 if purchased in advanced

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