Dakota Elementary in national
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,
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
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
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
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
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,"
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,"
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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Southeast Technical graduation
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
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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