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May 19, 2016     Tri-County News
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...... www.tricountynews.mn PAGE 17 May 19,2016 s moves By ]ean Doran Matua, Editor At its May 12 regular meeting, the Watkins City Council agreed unanimously to move forward on subscribing to a solar garden through Geronimo Energy. The city will request a customized contract and will have its attorney review it before the council signs. Liquor licenses were renewed for Bud's Bar, Gordies Bar, Red Goat Bar & Grill (for on-sale, off- sale, and special Sunday on-sale); Legion Club Room (club on-sale and special Sunday on-sale); Wat- kins Liquor Warehouse (off-sale); and Keeks (on-sale wine, 3.2 Malt liquor on-sale, strong beer on-sale, special Sunday on-sale). The council discussed set- ting up a clean-up day in the fall, but no specifc date has been set. There is already a trailer inside the city's brush site where residents can drop off major appliances at no cost (NO televisions or com- puter monitors, though). Call City Hall during regular hours to set up an appointment and it can be unlocked for you. Council members will conduct another walk-through of town the morning of Saturday, June 4. They will look for ordinance violations (such as piled up junk, unlicensed or undriveable vehicles, unmowed grass). There was a request to add speed bumps in Glenshire Estates or to lower the speed limit to 20. That is the limit, but it is not posted. The council moved unanimously to install a speed sign for 20 mph. The city received a report from the inspector it hired for the dilap- idated house on 1st Street, R.K. Inspections, with 15 photos and their findings. They recommend inspection inside the house which will require the council to proceed with getting a search warrant. The council voted unanimously to proceed with this. If hazards are found upon interior inspec- tion, then a public hearing will be required before the council can adopt a resolution to deal with it. The EDA agreed to go ahead and order new city signs from Dar- win Precast at a cost of $13,900 for the two signs. The council approved splitting the cost of improving 667th Ave- nue with Forest Prairie Township. Half of the $67,766.25 cost will be paid by the city to Hard Drives for a 2-inch bituminous base coat and a 2-inch bituminous wear coat. The new Watkins Pool man- ager, Ashlee Lundberg, attended the meeting to introduce herself and meet the council. She has been busy interviewing lifeguards and water safety instructors (WSI). The council unanimously approved of Lundberg making the needed hir- ing decisions to staffthe pool for the 2016 summer season. The council moved unani- mously to replace the shattered Legislative Update for May 13 By MicheUe Fischbach Minnesota State Senator This past week, the Senate passed a number of bills off of the Senate floor, including some omnibus policy bills and the latest REAL ID legislation. In addition to floor session, the House and Senate conference committee for the supplemental budget began meeting this week. Last week, I was named as one of the Senate conferees to the committee. Jobs, Agriculture, & Rural Development Monday, the Senate passed Senate File 3018, the annual omni- bus policy bill for the Department of Agriculture. The bill con- talns various policy and techni- cal changes such as: removing the requirement that a licensed com- mercial or noncommercial appli- cator have proper use certifica- tion before applying pesticide to a golf course, as well as an extension of the MN Organic Advisory Task Force until 2019. Also on Monday, the Senate passed Senate File 3216, the annual recommendations from the Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council, which is part of Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Finally on Monday, the Senate passed Senate File 1898, a bill mod- ifying progress payments and retainages for building and con- struction contracts. This bill is the result of lengthy negotiations between groups representing con- tractors and subcontractors. This Wednesday, the Senate passed House File 2478, which were the annual recommendations of the Workers' Compensation Advisory Council. The Council is a part of the Department of Labor & Industry. On Thursday, Senate File 3208 passed the Senate. This bill estab- lishes a Legislative Task Force on Access to Affordable Child Care. The Task Force is comprised of House members and Senators from both parties, to be appointed by July 1, 2016. The Task Force is required to work with the DHS Commissioner and issue a report to the legislative commit- tees with jurisdiction over child care issues, and the governor, by Jan. 15, 2017. Also on Thursday, the lobs, Agriculture, and Rural Development Committee con- firmed three judges for the Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals, as well as a new DEED Commissioner, all on unanimous voice votes. Supplemental Finance Bill The House and Senate confer- ence committee on the omnibus supplemental finance bill met this week to go through spreadsheets and policy language, and to receive testimony from agency officials. However, no substantive action was taken as the committee waited on legislative leaders and the Governor to negotiate a "global" agreement on appropriations, revenue, and signif- icant policy items. Senate conferees are Senators Cohen, Wiger, Saxhaug, Lourey, and myself. House confer- ees are Representatives Knoblach, McNamara, Dean, Garofalo, and Loon. Several bills are being confer- enced as one package: the Senate passed an over 600-page omnibus supplemental finance bill, which contained a great deal of policy as well, and it is being combined with the Senate-passed E-12 and higher education policy bills. The House passed three separate omnibus supplemental bills in the areas of: E-12 education/higher education; agriculture/environment/jobs, and; health & human services/ state government/public safety. How far apart are the posi- tions of the House and Senate and Governor? The omnibus supple- mental spending for the Senate DFL and Governor are both over one-half billion dollars; the House omnibus supplemental is under $20 million. There are also separate con- ference committees on transpor- tation and taxes that have unre- solved differences, and a capital cell phone that had been assigned to the previous pool manager, and to get a protective case. The pool laptop works fine, and there is wi-fi at the pool. The council voted unani- mously to replace the cracked diving board with a comparable board at $1,595. The city received a quote for an aluminum diving board at $2,595, but there was no way to know how much longer such a board would last than the existing one. The Village Hall fire escape door was replaced with a panic door that's 16 inches shorter than the previous door (but just as wide). The sewer line at Barrier Tech- nology has been monitored and all release of production byprod- uct into the sewer line has been stopped. The city will clean the 1,600 feet of a 10-inch sewer line, then have it televised and recorded, possibly the first week in June. The council approved a bid of $2,860 from Johnson JetLine to do the work (which BI has agreed to pay for). A wage increase was discussed for Virl Liebrenz who will get his sewer certification this month, and Certified Pool Operator license next month. The next regular meeting of the Watkins City Council will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 9 at City Hall. investment bill has yet to pass either the House or Senate. REAL ID Passes the Senate On Thursday, the full Senate passed a bill that would begin implementing the federal REAL ID program. The bill establishes a two-tier driver's license and iden- tification card system and directs the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to start issuing them Jan. 1, 2018. Earlier this session, the legis- lature passed a bill lifting the ban on planning for REAL ID. That bill required DPS to issue a report to the legislature identifying steps necessary to begin the implemen- tation process. This bill generally reflects those necessary steps. The two-tier system will give Minnesotan's the option to choose between a federally c0~apliant driver's license and identification card and non-compliant one. This system provides some comfort for those individuals that have con- cerns with REAL ID and the poten- tial future uses of the program. The 2018 issuance date does cre- ate some complications for those Minnesotans that will need to renew their driver's license and identification cards after the effec- tive date of this legislation. For these Minnesotans, the renewals will only be good for two years. Once the two year expiration occurs, DPS will begin issuing REAL ID compliant licenses and ID's which will be valid for the full four years. This bill is based on the assump- tion that Minnesotan's will pay the full rate for a license or ID that expires in two years rather than the standard four years. If the leg- islature chooses not to address this issue this session, there is still time to find a solution next biennium, or the legislature could provide fund- ing this session to prorate the cost of these two year licenses and IDs, which would be around $10 million. The bill will next go to conference committee where House and Senate differences will be reconciled. Mark Meteorologist Light snow in northeastern Minnesota and freeze warning Weather Column: The Minnesota Fishing Opener was not exactly one to remember as it was a cold and windy start to get those walleyes. There was some light snow that fell across parts of northeast- ern Minnesota early Saturday. In addition, we had a freeze warn- ing for late Friday night into early Saturday and again late Saturday night into early Sunday as tem- peratures dropped below that freezing point across much of the region. Taking into account the wind on Saturday, it felt more like 15 degrees at times as tempera- tures dipped into the upper 20s and lower 30s with the wind gust- ing to 30 mph. Parts of northern Minnesota the wind chill value even fell into the single digits at times. By Sunday afternoon things turned OUt to be much nicer as the wind backed down and tem- peratures climbed into the 60s for afternoon highs. Our quiet weather pattern will continue for the midweek before things change a bit by the time the weekend rolls around. We could be near 80 degrees on Sunday as a warm front arrives by Saturday into Sunday. A few scattered show- ers are possible by late Saturday into Sunday as we heat things up a bit over the weekend. If I was a betting man, I have a feeling that the area lakes will be packed with anglers who couldn't or wouldn't make it out last week- end because of the cold and windy conditions. Have a great rest of the week and good luck fishing if you go out this coming weekend. I just might be out there with you. Weather history: On this date in 1980, Mt. St. Helens erupted. The smoke plume eventually rose to "80,000 feet, circling the earth in 19 days." Brilliant sunsets because of the smoke were "seen over Minnesota for days afterward." Weather fact: Haze: Fine dust or salt particles in the air that reduce visibility. Haze can be "defined to consist of fine particles of dust and pollution suspended in the atmosphere, and is distin- guished from fog by its bluish or yellowish tinge." MN AT A GLANCE: Moorhead Low 42 High 70 Duluth Low 38 High 67 Central Minn. Low 43 High 70 Minneapolis Low 48 High.72 Rochester Low 46 High 69 Marshall Low 36 High 74 Wednesday: Mostly sunny. High 70 Low 46 Wind: SW 5-10 mph Prec. None Monday's sunrise: 5:45 a.m. Monday's sunset: 8:50 p.m. Normal High: 69 Normal Low: 46 High pressure will stay with us through late Saturday into Sunday which will keep our weather pat- tern quiet and also near average temperatures during the period. A warm front will arrive by Saturday and Sunday which will heat things up a bit and could trigger a few scattered showers and some iso- lated thunderstorms. We could be near 80 degrees by Sunday. Thursday: Partly cloudy. High 70 Low 48 Winds: S 10-20 mph Prec. None Friday: Partly cloudy. High 71 Low 51 Winds: SE 10-20 mph Prec. None Saturday: Partly cloudy, 20-per- cent chance of showers/T-storms late. High 76 Low 55 Winds: SE 10-15 mph Prec. Trace-.20" Sunday: Partly cloudy, 40-per- cent chance of showers/T-storms late. High 79 Low 60 Winds: S 15-25 mph Prec..10"-.30" How to properly water your grapes By Beth Berlin, II of M Extension Have you tried growing hardy grapes in your home garden? The University of Minnesota has proudly developed cold hardy grape varieties that can be used for wine, jellies, and eaten fresh. Recently Matt Clark, Assistant Professor in Grape Breeding and Enology wrote a nice article about how to water your home garden grapes, here are some highlights. Grapes need an adequate amount of water to perform pho- tosynthesis, evaporative cool- ing, and nutrient transporta- tion. Common drought symp- toms in grapes include wilting leaves, change in leaf angle away from the sun, and the fruit shrivel- ing. Ultimately, drought-stressed plants are also less likely to sur- vive our winters. Winter injury can cause drought-like symptoms as well as weaken the vines and infection of crown gall is common. So close inspection to determine if it is cambium injury, disease or drought stress will be necessary. When purchasing new bare- root plants, soak in water for three to four hours prior to plant- ing. Potted plants require regular watering, approximately half-inch to 1 inch of water each week, until the roots are developed. When planting, dig a large enough hole to allow the roots to spread out, cover with soil leaving a slight depression around each vine. This allows water to pool and soak in at the roots. Do not mulch, as grape vines grow best in warm soil temperatures. Young grape vines require regular watering for the first two years. Once estab- lished, vines seldom need water- ing unless grown in sandy soils or drought conditions. When water- ing, avoid watering the foliage as this may lead to disease, instead water the root zone. It is also important to man- age weeds near the grape vines. Weeds will compete for water and nutrients as well as harbor insects and other pests. Hand-pull or cul- tivate out weeds, proper herbi- cide applications can also be used cautiously. To read the entire article and find more links to additional information on growing grapes visit http://blog-yard-garden-news. extension.umn.edu, and click on "Water Wisely: Grapes in the Home Garden." b W