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April 11, 2013     Tri-County News
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April 11, 2013
 

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Page 2 Opinion Residents can Tweet Stearns County road problems Stearns County's Highway Department is turning to Twitter in an effort to get more feedback from residents about road issues. Whether it is a pothole, traffic light that's not working properly, downed traffic sign, tree on the road, or cul- vert issues, any problem on a Stea- ms County road can be reported to the Highway Department on Twit- ter by using the hashtag #steams highway. "Knowing a majority of our pop- ulation uses social media channels, we thought this might be ala easier and moreconducive way for some of our residents to get informa- tion to us," said Jodi Teich, Stearns County Highway Engineer. The City of St. Cloud recently started using Twitter to have citi- zens report bad potholes. Steams County believes Twitter could also be useful in receiving county road information from the public. When reporting a problem, res- idents should give an exact address or a very descriptive location to guide maintenarace crews to the right spot. "Stearns County is responsi- ble for nearly 970 miles of road- way, so we may not know where all the problem areas are," said Teich. "That's why we appreciate it when residents who are driving our roads every day take the time to report those issues to us." Potholes and other road mainte- nance concerns (an also be called in to the Highway Department at (320) 255-6180. Stearns County has been using social media channels, including Twitter, for approximately 3 years. Be Ready: Severe Weather Awareness Week The HSEM website has infor- mation explaining their new Wire- less EmergencyAlerts that provide tornado warnings on cell phones amongst other things. Learn when and why your community sounds its outdoor warning sirens and what action to take when they are activated. Stearns County's severe weather warning system video contains often misundersDod information about the outdoor warning siren system. The video can be found on the Couhty's website and YouTube page.  Review what action to take if you are driving during a tor- nado warning. Severe Weather Awareness Week is a great oppor- tunity to talk with your children and elderly parents to ensure they know proper procedures. Tuesday - Severe Weather, Lightning and Hail Every thunderstorm produces lightning. Learn the myths and facts surrounding lightning as well as more on severe storms and hail by going to the HSEM website. Wednesday - Floods Spring flooding and flash flooding combime to produce some of the most dangerous and costlydisasters in Minnesota. Find an important checklist and learn how to prepare for and respond to flooding on the HSEM website. Thursday - Statewide tornado drill day Review tornado safety infor- mation on the website At 1:45 p.m. - the National Weather Service will issue a simulated tornado warn- ing. Businesses, schools and local agencies are encouraged to use this warning as a time to review emer- gency procedures. At 6:55 p.m. the National Weather Service will issue a second simulated tornado warning. The second drill is issued to allow families to practice their emergency plan at home. Friday - Extreme Heat Heat-related illness accounted for 35 deaths in Minnesota from 2000-2010. The MDH website includes an Extreme Heat Toolkit to help communities better pre- pare for the hot summer months. Stearns County will be posting severe weather awareness tips and information on its Facebook and Twitter sites throughout the next couple weeks. Tornado Drill Thursday, April 18 Because severe weather can threaten the lives and property of anyone at any time, April 15-19 has been proclaimed Severe Weather Awareness Week. Stearns County Emergency Management wants to take this time to remind its cit- izens of the importance of under- standing severe weather and being personally prepared. Since 2000 disasters have claimed the lives of 21 Minne- sotans and caused more than $373 million in federally declared damages. "It takes the whole commu- nity to prepare for, respond to and recover from tornadoes, straight- line winds, floods and heat waves," said Erin Hausauer, Director of Stearns County Emergency Man- agement. "Every family and busi- ness should take this opportunity to put weather emergency plans into action. Tornadoes follow no pattern, and dangerous thunder- storms are common in Minnesota. There's no substitute for practice when the real thing comes along." Stearns County Emergency Management in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Division of Home- land Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) and the National Weather Service sponsor Severe Weather Awareness Week annually to promote weather knowledge and planning. Each day of Severe Weather Awareness Week is devoted to a specific topic to help keep citizens ready. Monday - Alerts and Warnings Today's technology pro- vides valuable notification about approaching severe weather bet- ter than ever. Late last year Stea- rns County implemented a new citizen emergency alert system that allows the County to com- municate essential information to residents within minutes of an emergency, such as severe weather (summer and winter), flooding, public health concerns, environ- mental issues, and public safety matters affecting the area where they live. Citizens must sign up on the Stearns County website at co.stearns.mn.us, to receive the time-sensitive emergency notifi- cations and other critical commu- nity information either on their home or cel ! phone, by e-mail or text. ThursdaY, April 11, 2013 Tri- Cous e www. tricountynews.rnn Jil| Pettier "Slices of Life" A return to holidays For the last three years I've avoided holidays. Not the holidays in December. Every single holi- day - all 12 months of them. This behavior stems from a psycholog- ical compensation issue (as most things do). Some people thrive on holiday hoopla - and not only those who are able to grow long white beards or are in possession of a size XL bunny suit. I'm talking, of course, about teachers. First-grade teachers are pros at making a big deal out of Johnny Appleseed Day, Elephant Appreci- ation Day, National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day and whether March comes in like a lamb or lion. Give a first-grade teacher a plain old rock and a big pot of water and she'll make a party out of it. Guaranteed. My morn was a first-grade teacher with unsurpassed talent for holiday hullabaloo. After my sister and I were born, she traded in her classroom of 30 students for two daughters, but continued to display holiday talents at an Olym- pic level. If they gave medals for holiday triumphs, my mom would have been weighed down in gold. When I was a kid, this worked out pretty well for me. I basked in my mom's holiday splendor. We looked for shadows on Ground- hog Day. We learned about some man with a bucket from Nan- tucket on National Limerick Day. We swapped the sugar with the salt on April 1. Obscure holidays were fun, but my mom's sparkle shined the brightest on the biggies. Food, candy, presents and dc0r all over- flowed - often in a literal sense. If two daughters brought out the holiday genius of my mom, you can only imagine what the arrival of grandchildren did to the equa- tion. It was exponential. I wasn't born with the holiday gene. I didn't have the organizing and planning talents of my mom, but I was happy to follow along and put out the pickle tray, blow up the balloons or hang the gar- lands wherever she told me to put them. And so the fun continued, until Alzheimer's disease joined our family get-togethers and holidays became less celebratory and more bittersweet. Those of us close to my anom took on what we could, but hers were big shoes to fill. Three years ago, my mom spent her last holiday with us. Three years ago, I started avoiding them. You don't have to be Sigmund Freud to figure out why. Three years is a long time - and a lot of holidays. Of course I couldn't avoid every one of them completely because I wasn't even conscious of my behavior at first. Once I figured out my motives, I was appalled and a little embar- rassed, so I shielded them from others. I became a holiday mini- malist - doing as little as possible to get by without arousing suspi- cion. Time is a universal healer and three years transports a person from one level of grief to another. Thank goodness. Holidays are a part of life; avoiding life is no way to live. Last weekend, we loaded up our family and made the two- hour trek to spend a holiday with my dad and sister and her fam- ily. The. event wasn't the super- planned, over-the-top whirlwind affair of my mom's heyday, but my sister did make some killer cheesy potatoes. And we got to spend time together - talking, laughing, shar- ing stories and making memories like families do. At one point, as my sister related one of her stories, a certain expression and intonation in her voice reminded me of our morn and I realized we are more like her than we think. Perhaps neither of us will ever make it into the holi- day hall of fame, but we both carry parts of our morn with us wherever we go. And when we get together to celebrate a holiday, she is there with us. And she is smiling. Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, playwright and author of "The Do-It-Your- selfer's Guide to Self-Syndication" You can read more columns at the Slices of Life page on Facebook. 2013 PAINT- 00'-00I0t00BER A/00J" www.tricountynews.mn DEADLINE: 2p.m. Mondays 7 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to the Tri-County News, P.O. Box 220, Kimbat[/VIN 55353. The Tri-County News (USPS 639- 180) is entered at the Post Office, Kimball, Minnesota 55353, as Periodi- cals. It is published Thursdays by the Tn-County News, Inc., P.O. Box 220, Kimba[t A4N 55353, Steams County. LOCATION: Our office is at 70 Main Sl=et South in downtown Kim- baR. Weekday office hours are /Vnday 9 a.rn.-5 p.m. and Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Our telephone and fax nurn- ber is (320) 396-5000 or (320) 453-6397. E-maiL can be addressed to news@ ttiaxtntynews.,. Our Web site is tticoun.MN. We also have a drop site at Ertt Hardware Hank in downtown Wans. A satellite office is now open at 378 N State Street, downtown Eden Valley, open I0-6/on.-Fri. and 9-12 Sat. DEADLINE: 2 p.m. Monday. RATES: Subscription rates are $361year ($26 for age 62 and older) in Minnesota; S461year ($36 for seniors) elsewhere in the U.S. Single copy price is one dot[ar. STAFF: Jean Doran Matua, Editor and Pubtisher Sue Hughes: Creative Designer Maxine Doran: Admin. Associate Marguerite Laabs: Photographer Stephanie Johnson: Office Admin. Pat Garry: Staff Writer The staff of the Tri-County News recognizes that it has a responsibiti- ty to report the news accurately and fairty, and that it is accountabte to the pubtic. Please contact our office if you feet we've fatten short of that objective. LETTERS: The Tri-County News wet- comes tetters promoting the exchange of ideas and opinions. To be considered for publication, Letters shouLd address a topic of current or genera[ interest. Private thanks, political self-promotion, tibetous letters, or fetters denigrating character or reputation wit[ not be pub- fished. Art letters must bear the writer's signature, address and telephone num- ber. We reserve the right to edit for clarity and readability. LEGAL PUBLICATION: The Tri-Coun- ty News is the publication of record for the Cities of Eden Valley, Kimbat[, and Watkins; Independent School District #739 (Kimba[[) and Independent School District #463 (Eden Va[tey-Watldns); Clearwater Riyer Watershed District, Steams County, and the Townships of Fair Haven, Forest Prairie, Kingston, Luxemburg, and Maine Prairie. RECYCLING: The Tri-County News is printed with soy inks on recycled paper whenever possibte. We en- courage recycling. COPYRIGHT: All content herein is the property of the Tri-County News and is protected by U.S. copyright taw; content may not be reproduced without our written pMor consent. We are proud to be a member of: Minnesota Newspaper Assoc. Kimba[[ Area Chamber Kimball Area HistoMca[ Society Stearns County Press Assoc. MNA Peer-iudqed Awards: Ad Design winner: 2011, 2012 Best Website: 2010, 2011, 2012 Best Serf-Promotion Ad: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 Best Use of Color tad): 2010, 2012 Best News Photo: 2010, 2011, 2012 Best Advertisement: 2008, 2011, 2012 Best Portrait/Personality Photo: 2008 Advertising Excet[ence: 2004, 2007 Best Information Graphic: 2007 Best Classified Ads: 2006 Best Locat News Story: 2000, 2012 2013, Tri-County News .