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Newsleader Sartell

Friday, Jan. 17, 2014 Volume 19, Issue 3 Est. 1995

Town Crier

Senior Connection travels Route 66

“Come along with us as we travel down Route 66 without leaving Sartell.” Sartell Senior Connections hosts Mike Smith and James Grabinski, The Travel Talkin’ Guys, as participants experience the sights, sounds and tastes of the iconic Route 66 at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23 at the District Service Center, 212 3rd Ave. N., Sartell. Listen to their stories and share their pictures of the road trip everyone has heard about, but few have completed. All ages are welcome and free admission.

Newsleader website down for maintenance

We have been notified by our internet provider that our website at www.thenewsleaders.com will be down for maintenance from 10 p.m.6 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 17-19. Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

Open house explores regional sales-tax ideas

Area residents are encouraged to share their ideas for the regional half-cent sales tax during an open house from 3-7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22 at the Great River Regional Library, downtown St. Cloud. Informational presentations will be given at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., but ideas about the sales tax projects are accepted anytime. The event is sponsored by Sartell, St. Joseph, St. Cloud, Sauk Rapids, St. Augusta and Waite Park cities.

Kids Fighting Hunger sets Jan. 20 event

A Kids Fighting Hunger packaging event will be held Jan. 20 at Salem Lutheran Church, 90 Riverside Drive SE, St. Cloud. In addition to food packaging, educational breakout sessions will be available to allow volunteers to learn about hunger. Volunteers can sign up for two-hour shifts, individually or in groups and can be as young as 6, if accompanied by a parent. A suggested donation per child, college student and/or adult volunteer is asked to help cover the cost of ingredients used for packaging meals. Kids Fighting Hunger of Central Minnesota is a volunteer led, international hunger-relief campaign committed to combating hunger and poverty world-wide and locally by providing nutritious meals to those in need. Sign up to volunteer at www.unitedwayhelps.org. For more information on this and other United Way opportunities, visit www.thenewsleaders. com and click on Criers. For additional criers, visit www.thenewsleaders.com and click on Criers.

INSERTS: Culligan Quizno’s

Postal Patron

Perske throws hat in ring

M r. J a w s a t e F r o s t y ! ? !

by Dennis Dalman news@thenewsleaders.com

In a stunning announcement Jan. 14, Sartell Mayor Joe Perske said he intends to seek Perske the DFL endorsement to compete for the 6th U.S. Congressional District seat. That seat is currently occupied by Rep. Michele Bachmann, who is now serving her fourth term and who said she would not file for re-election. Perske had mentioned to some people for many months that he was considering joining the district race. Now it’s official. The 6th District includes an area north and east of the Twin Cities, as well as most of the triPerske • page 3

contributed photo

The warmer temperatures Jan. 12 brought Caleb Countryman outside to build this shark. He is an 11-year-old student at Sartell Middle School. Beware pedestrians and drivers rounding the corner at 5th Street and Bechtold Drive or you may be eaten too!

Share wish-list ideas at sales-tax meeting by Dennis Dalman news@thenewsleaders.com

What do Sartell residents want as a regional sales-tax project in the greater St. Cloud area? Sprawling theme park? Gigantic athletic multiplex? Riverside arts-and-entertainment plaza? Aquatics center? At this point, it’s OK to daydream. That’s why there will be a brainstorming open house from 3-7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22 at the St. Cloud Public Library. Everyone in the six cities in the greater St. Cloud area is

invited to attend to give ideas for regional projects. An aquatics center has been high on the wish list for many years. Residents’ input is important because all six cities are making plans for a half-cent sales-tax referendum. That sales tax was first approved in 2002 and then extended, with voter approval, in 2006. That latest extension is due to expire in 2018 unless voters once again approve it. The Minnesota Legislature has given approval for the six cities to extend the tax if voters so choose. The six cities are Sartell, St.

Joseph, St. Cloud, Sauk Rapids, Waite Park and St. Augusta. A sales-tax referendum could occur as early as this November or as late as 2016. This is how the regional halfcent sales tax works. One or more big regional projects must be built that would benefit all the cities’ residents. The major projects must be approved by the voters. Previously, that is how the St. Cloud Regional Public Library was funded, as well as major expansion at the St. Cloud Regional Airport. Once the major regional project is funded, the

rest of the sales-tax money is divided up among the participating cities, according to a formula partly based on population. The revenue comes from the extra half-cent added to a sale every time someone buys something taxable in any of those six cities. Those cities can then use the money for their own projects, as long as such projects have a more or less “regional” aspect, such as roads traveled by people from outside the city or parks that can be used by anybody from anywhere. Tax • page 8

‘China’ puts Ramanathan in winner’s seat by Dennis Dalman news@thenewsleaders.com

photo by Dennis Dalman

Students ponder a map during the Jan. 13 Geography Bee at Sartell Middle School. From left to right are Grant Schleper, Jenna Merrills, Janagan Ramanathan, Anna Pille and Nick Juntunen. Not pictured are Kobey Cofer, Dylan Cummings, Connor Hacker, Alex Hinnenkamp, Jordan Och and Luc Westerling.

It was a perfect case of grace-under-pressure when 11 students competed Jan. 13 in the Geography Bee at Ramanathan Sartell Middle School. There was no sweating, hand-wringing or exclamations of disappointment. Instead, coolly and calmly each student answered the questions, and when they lost they didn’t look the least bit devastated. Nor

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did the winning students cheer or gloat. Rather, they humbly accepted their awards with calm dignity. The winner of the Bee was sixth-grader Janagan Ramanathan, who correctly answered an obscure question having to do with an Asian country. That winning answer made him the winner, edging out competitor Connor Hacker for the championship. Those two boys were among the three finalists, along with Kobey Cofer. Hacker, a fifth-grader, earned second place; Cofer, an eighthgrader, earned third place. Ramanathan will soon take Ramanathan • page 7

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Friday, Jan. 17, 2014

People Fifty-three Sartell students were recently named to the fall dean’s list at St. Cloud State University. They and their majors are as follows: Einas Alkhatib, biomedical sciences; Alisha Anderson, psychology; Sarah Anderson, communication sciences and disorders; Chelsey Bethke, psychology; Matthew Bethke, undecided; Courtney Bevans, nursing; Jordyn Brandt, athletic training; Garrett Brennan, computer science; Jill Chaika, nursing; Edward Chappell, history; Benjamin DeMorett, nursing; Kimberly Duong, political science; Courtney Goulet, biology; David Grow, management; Haley Guetter, psychology; Lynnell Hayenga, liberal arts and sciences; Meredith Herman, community psychology; Andrew Hessler, computer engineering; Nickolas Hoover, management; Timothy Hrubetz, criminal justice studies; Anne Jensen, communication arts and literature; Natalie Job, management; Mallory Johnson, mathematics teaching; Noah Kelm, biomedical sciences; Rachael Knutson, anthropology; William Kopf, community psychology; Jonathan Lahr, prebusiness; Nathan Lahr, community psychology; Victoria Lewis, Spanish; Tomas Lorincz, electrical engineering; Emily McIntire, biomedical sciences; Natalie McIntire, biomedical sciences; Samantha Mills, anthropology; Michelle Moran, biomedical sciences; Ariel Motschke, social work; Lancer Naber, elementary/K-6 education; Wyatt Petersen, premedicine; Kaitlin Reichel, undecided; Alyssa Reinholz, community psychology; Andrew Rickers, pre-business; Jenna Runge, Spanish (teaching); Amanda Schepers, psychology; Ann

Stang, music teaching; Cassidy Swanson, English; Sally Traut, elementary education; Brittany Waldvogel, nursing; Daniel Williams, anthropology; Chloe Windahl, management; Olivia Windahl, English; Jaclyn Yasgar, pre-business; Kelsey Yasgar, nursing; Katie Yurczyk, early childhood education; and Krista Zipp, elementary/K-6 education; To be eligible for the honor, students must have a grade point average of 3.75 or higher on a 4.0 scale. Benjamin Gorder, Sartell, recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Four Sartell students recently earned honors during fall semester at Southwest Minnesota State University, Marshall. They are the following: Michaela Fassler, Callie Frank, Joshua Hughes and Carly Spoden. Students must earn a 3.5 or better grade-point average to earn this recognition. Lucas Mensinger of St. Stephen was recently named to the fall dean’s list at South Dakota State University, Brookings. He earned a 3.5 or higher grade-point average to earn this recognition. Twenty Sartell students were recently named to the fall dean’s list at North Dakota State University, Fargo. They and their majors are as follows: Drew Anderson, industrial engineering and management; Jordan Clitty, mechanical engineering; Elizabeth Czeck, landscape architecture; Abby Fenlason, dietetics, Alyssa Frank, English education; Joel Garberick, radiologic sciences; Molly

Granzow, accounting; Trevor Grindlan, industrial engineering and management; Shawn Heinen, accounting; Darrin Laudenbach, electrical engineering; Justin Lieberg, accounting; Andrew Lindmeier, mechanical engineering; Kirsten Miller, pharmaceutical sciences; Nicholas Miller, public history; Derek Mumm, chemistry; Bernard Omann, construction management; Kayla Sorenson, nursing; Bryan Symanietz, management information systems; Noelle Torrance, zoology; and Anna Wenzel, pharmacy. Students must attain a 3.5 or higher grade-point average to qualify. Five Sartell students were recently named to the fall headmaster’s honor roll at St. John’s Preparatory School, Collegeville. They are the following: Alexander Holt, freshmen, son of Pam Bacon and Glenn Holt; Sydney Lo, sophomore, daughter of Rachel Schuneman and Yang Lo; Gabriel Woodard, eighth grade, son of Zhanna and Brandon Woodard; Lilly Xie, freshmen, daughter of Ying Zhou and Kevin Xie; and Lindsay Zerfas, senior, daughter of Vicki Ray of Sartell and Pat Zerfas of Elk River. Students must attain a 3.50 or higher grade-point average to earn this recognition. Two Sartell students were recently named to the fall principal’s honor roll at St. John’s Preparatory School, Collegeville. They are the following: Kyra Hulsebus, freshman, and Anya Hulsebus, seventh grade, daughters of Wendy and Spencer Hulsebus. Students must attain a 3.0 or higher grade-point average to earn this recognition.

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contributed photo

Claire Miller, a 15-year-old Sartell visual artist, is exhibiting some of her recent and award-winning works now through Jan. 30 at the Great River Regional Library in St. Cloud. There are 18 pieces including pastels, charcoals and olis. Eight of her pieces have won 12 awards in juried competitions.

Blotter

If any readers have tips concerning crimes, they should call the Sartell Police Department at 320-251-8186 or Tri-County Crime Stoppers at 320-255-1301 or access its tip site at www.tricountycrimestoppers.org. Crime Stoppers offers rewards up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for crimes. Jan. 1 1:29 a.m. 7th Street N. 911 hang up. After an emergency call was disconnected, the operator called the number back and could only hear yelling in the background. Officers arrived and found there was a physical fight but the parties involved did not want to pursue the matter. One adult male did have an arrest warrant and was transported to Stearns County Jail without further incident. 2:59 p.m. Traffic stop. 2½ Street N. A driver was witnessed failing to stop at a stop sign. The driver stated he was unaware he did not stop. He was issued a citation and released. Jan. 2 11:41 a.m. 2½ Street N. Unwanted person. An adult female requested an adult male be removed from her home. After officers arrived, the male agreed to leave without incident.

6:29 p.m. Connecticut Avenue. Dog. A complaint was made regarding a dog eating out of garbage cans and running through a neighborhood. The dog was taken to an indoor kennel. Jan. 3 3:39 a.m. Amber Avenue S. Noise. A complaint was made regarding loud music coming from a residence. Officers arrived and could not hear any music or noise. 8:30 p.m. 5th Avenue E. Unwanted person. An adult male requested an officer remove an intoxicated adult female. Officers arrived and located the female hiding in the residence. She was transported to detox without incident. Jan. 4 3:25 p.m. Theft. Wal-Mart. An adult male was witnessed leaving the store with unpaid merchandise. He admitted to the theft. He was issued a citation and released. 11:01 p.m. Vehicle assist. The owner of a vehicle was locked out while it was running. An officer was able to unlock the door. Jan. 5 2:18 a.m. Lavender Avenue S. Noise. A complaint was made regarding loud music coming from a residence. Officers made contact with the homeowner, who agreed Blotter • page 3

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Newstands Country Store and Pharmacy Holiday on Riverside Drive Holiday on 7th Street N House of Pizza JM Speedstop

Little Dukes on Pinecone Sartell City Hall Sartell-St. Stephen School District Offices Walgreens

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P.O. Box 324 • 32 1st Ave. N.W. • St. Joseph, Minn. 56374 Phone (320) 363-7741 • Fax (320) 363-4195 • E-mail address: news@thenewsleaders.com POSTMASTER: Send address changes to ST. JOSEPH NEWSLEADER, P.O. Box 324, St. Joseph, MN 56374.

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Friday, Jan. 17, 2014

Perske from front page county area of Stearns, Benton and Sherburne. So far, Perske is one of three Democrats in the race. The others are Jim Read of Avon and Judy Adams of Circle Pines. Three Republicans have thrown their hats into the ring: former Minnesota representatives Tom Emmer and Phil Krinkie, as well as Anoka County Board Chair Rhonda Sivarajah. Voters will decide the Sixth Congressional District seat in the general election Nov. 4. Perske said his decision to run stems from his major goal: to help strengthen the middle class and to enhance people’s ability to obtain the “American Dream.” Perske is serving his second term as the mayor of Sartell. He is a physical education teacher at Sartell Middle School who just retired as a girls soccer coach after 10 years. “This great nation cannot survive the collapse of its middle class,” Perske said in his announcement. “As a representative of the 6th Congressional District, I would work with others to restore the middle class and provide families the opportunity to realize the American Dream. This is an issue that stokes a fire that burns inside me and drives me to run for Congress in this election.” Perske said he is proud of his roots in America’s middle class. Perske grew up in St. Cloud, one of seven children. His father

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was a union railroad worker, his mother a homemaker. A graduate of Apollo High School, he earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and psychology at St. John’s University and a master’s degree in physical education from St. Cloud State University. Perske and his wife, Jan, taught school at U.S. Department of Defense schools in Augsburg, Germany for seven years. In 1988, they returned to St. Cloud. For the past 25 years, he has taught and coached in the Sartell School District. The Perskes have three grown daughters. They are members of Celebration Lutheran Church in Sartell. Perske is an avid bow hunter, a long-time member of the Rice Area Sportsmen’s Club, a mem-

ber of the Minnesota State High School League and has a lifelong history of involvement in scouting. Perske is also a competitive runner. He has run in more than 100 marathons, winning more than 20. He competed in the 1980 and 1988 Olympic Marathon Trials and has been a member of two U.S. national teams in the World Cup Ultra marathons. He has run the Ultra Marathon all the way around Mille Lacs Lake. “My wife and I lived a fiscally cautious life and raised our children to do the same,” he said. “It’s the only way we could provide our children with opportunities similar to the opportunities we had growing up in the 1960s and 1970s. Access to those opportunities is sadly

slipping away from the majority of America’s citizens. I passionately want to do what I can to change that.” Perske served six years on the Sartell City Council before being elected as mayor three years ago. He said he is proud of his part in keeping property taxes in check while at the same time helping bring many amenities and park-land development to the city. Perske said his most challenging moments as mayor were in the wake of the 2011 fire and explosion at the Verso paper mill, which killed one worker and caused the plant to close, leaving 250 people unemployed. “I remain committed to returning jobs to the city and am diligently working with city staff and present property owners (of the Verso site) in constructing

the site’s redevelopment plan,” he said. Perske believes public service and his life experiences have prepared him for what he considers the most important “marathon” of his life: running for Congress. “The U.S. House of Representatives is drowning in its own dysfunction,” Perske said. “Part of that dysfunction has been due to the extremely partisan conduct of our current representative (Bachmann). I am running to ensure the paralyzing gridlock in American government that has resulted from that type of partisanship no longer is coming out of Minnesota’s Sixth District. I am determined to once again have Minnesotans be proud of their Sixth Congressional District representative.”

Blotter

the ditch. An officer stood by with safety lights while the vehicle was removed.

officer arrived and notified the owner, who let the animals inside. 7:48 p.m. 2nd Street S. Traffic stop. A driver was witnessed failing to stop at a four-way stop. The driver stated she did not see the stop sign. She was issued a citation and released.

Jan. 7 1:35 a.m. 7th Street N. DWI. A complaint was made regarding witnessing another vehicle swerve and hit a curb. An officer detected the odor of alcoholic beverages. Driver was placed under arrest and transported to Stearns County Jail without incident.

from page 2 to turn down the music. 8:26 a.m. Benton Drive. Vehicle in ditch. A vehicle had slid over the curb and become stuck in

Jan. 6 6:54 p.m. 14th Street N. Dog complaint. A complaint was made regarding two smaller dogs left tied up outside and barking. An

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Sartell Newsleader • www.thenewsleaders.com

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Friday, Jan. 17, 2014

Year-end permits show growing spurts A year-end summary of building permits shows a healthy growth spurt in a variety of building sectors in Sartell in 2013, including single-family homes, multi-family housing and commercial construction. Last year, there were 71 permits issued for single-family homes for a total valuation of $16,173,000. In 2013, there were 94 per-

mits issued for multi-family housing projects for a yearly valuation of $12,018,000. That was the most multi-family permits issued during the past five years and the biggest valuation in the past five years. There were 41 permits issued for commercial projects in 2013, for a total valuation of $11,803,000, the highest valuation amount since 2009.

Other permits issued in 2013, besides the above, are in the categories of remodeling, zoning, residential, plumbing, mechanical, fire alarms and sprinkler systems. The total yearly valuation for all projects issued permits for 2013 was $43,137,000, which is the highest combined annual permit valuation total since 2009.

Frost, traffic take toll on Pinecone Road by Dennis Dalman news@thenewsleaders.com

A portion of Pinecone Road is in rough shape and is badly in need of a facelift come spring, according to Sartell City Engineer Mike Nielson. Nielson is an employee of WSB and Associates Inc., the city’s designated engineering firm. At the Jan. 13 Sartell City Council meeting, Nielson said the section of Pinecone Road from 2nd Street S. to 15th Street N. is in bad shape due to frost heaves combined with wear and tear from extremely heavy traffic. It was hoped that sealing the cracks on that portion of the road would help, but recent checks showed that repair work did not prevent a worsening of the road condition, Nielson noted. The rough condition is not surprising, considering the traffic count there is nearly 250-percent higher than what was estimated by the city in 1995. Nielson said it would be beneficial to do a study of the expected life of a mill-and-

overlay project on that section of road. As part of the overall improvements in that area, WSB would also add a rightturn lane off of Pinecone Road into the Pepsi Arena and repair the much-used bike-and-hike trail from 2nd Street S. to 12th Street N. The entire Pinecone Road project would be funded by a combination of assessments, state aid and city funds, Nielson noted. Pinecone Road was built in 1997, as was the sanitary sewer, water main and storm sewers. Those amenities, Nielson said, should last for at least 50 more years. Sartell’s new Pavement Management System has already proved invaluable in determining the conditions of Sartell roadways, including the stretch of Pinecone Road that needs repairs. The PMS is based on an Overall Condition Index rating system from 1-100. Portions of Pinecone in that area are so riddled with cracks and frostheaving problems they have been rated from 34 to 79 on the OCI. That segment of road was chip-sealed in 2008, and ap-

pearing and reappearing cracks have been sealed repeatedly since that year. A traffic-count estimate when the road was built in 1997 was 2,595 vehicles daily on that stretch for the year 2015. Nielson noted an actual traffic count in 2011 showed a daily traffic count of 6,200 vehicles. The city council at is Jan. 13 meeting authorized WSB to proceed with a “Pavement Evaluation and Lifecycle Cost” study at a cost to the city not to exceed $5,098. Other studies that will have to be done in the coming months by WSB include a “Feasibility Report and Assessment Calculations” (estimated at $4,278) and a “Stakeholder Meeting and Public Hearing” (estimated at $2,960). The pavement along the problematic section of Pinecone Road will be analyzed in three segments – from 2nd Street S. to 2-1/2 Street N., from 2-1/2 Street N. to 7th Street N. and from 7th Street N. to 15th Street N.

Madison Crossing plat approved The plat for a future apartment complex addition to “Madison Crossing” was approved by the Sartell City Council at its Jan. 18 meeting. The 3.39-acre parcel of land is just north of 6th Street S., west of Victory Avenue near CR 133. The applicants for the plat request are Rick and Jill Schultz, owners/developers of Madison Crossing. That overall project was approved by the council in 2004, and apartment buildings were constructed there, but new building plans for more apartments required new approval for “Plat 4,” as it’s known. The new apartment building could house as many as 49 living units.

Friday, Jan. 17, 2014

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Sartell to move forward on five major goals by Dennis Dalman news@thenewsleaders.com

Sartell city staff, council members and department heads are hard at work, trying to make the city’s goals for 2014 become a reality. Five major goals have been assigned to appropriate members, and updates on each goal will be presented to the city council throughout the year. These are the five major goals for this year: 1. A local-option sales-tax extension is expected to be approved by the Minnesota Legislature for the six cities in the greater St. Cloud area, including Sartell, as long as those cities’ voters decide to approve extension of the tax. About 10

years ago, Sartell and other cities approved the one-half-cent regional sales tax, which has been used for numerous projects throughout the area. In Sartell, revenue from that tax has been used for many projects, including helping build the Bernick’s Arena and the purchase of land and infrastructure at Pinecone Central Park. Half-cent sales-tax revenue has also been set aside for upcoming city projects, such as a community center and developments at Sauk River Regional Park. The Sartell City Council has long been in favor of having the sales tax extended. 2. A “downtown Town Square” project is still on the drawing boards for the city. Several years ago, Sartell resi-

dents and the city council agreed Sartell needs a central “downtown” area. After many surveys and research, a research committee, the council and many residents agreed a “town center” should be developed just east of Pinecone Road S. near where the Pine Cone Marketplace mall is located. City staff, the city attorney and council member Steve Hennes have been assigned to work out plans for potential developments in “Town Square.” 3. Pinecone Regional Park will be developed with more truly park-like amenities. One of the plans is to rename the park so people, including visitors from out-of-town, will not confuse it with Pinecone Central Park. Trees and more park

amenities are expected to be added to the park, which surrounds Sartell City Hall. The Sartell Park Commission will discuss updates to the “Master Park Plan” in the coming months. The commission will then make its recommendations for development to the council. 4. The city council is determined to move forward with plans for a Sartell Senior Center and a Sartell branch library, which residents time and again noted on surveys as top priorities on their “wish lists.” City staff and council members plan to meet with officials from the St. Cloud-based Great River Regional Library System. Sartell City Administrator Mary Degiovanni will also meet in

January with a planning group that has been researching for months the best place on which to site a senior center, possibly within a community-services building. 5. Sartell officials still hope to close on an agreement about two properties for a Sauk River Regional Park in south Sartell. Improvement plans and cost estimates will be brought before the council in early 2014. Meantime, Rep. Tim O’Driscoll (R-Sartell) has been working to help obtain state funding for the regional-park property. Bonding funds approved years ago for the proposed regional park will have to be re-approved by the Minnesota Legislature.

Pavement rating system new tool for council by Dennis Dalman news@thenewsleaders.com

Much of the guesswork will be taken out of maintenance of Sartell’s roads, thanks to a new system called “PavementView Plus.” The system, introduced to the city earlier last year, involves computerized data on the conditions of all roads in Sartell, including all of its residential streets and connector roads. At a recent council meeting, Sartell City Engineer Mike Nielson and council members discussed the new system and made plans for a workshop to start prioritizing which roads and streets need which kind of fixing, based on the PavementView Plus data. For several months in 2013, city street workers traveled all of Sartell’s 87 miles of roadways, including 16 miles of state-aid

roads. The workers inspected the condition of each road and street and then entered data about the exact natures of the conditions per designated sections of each street. They noted such factors as cracks, holes, buckling, erosion and potholes. The computer system then assigned a point system, known as an Overall Condition Index for each roadway based on its condition – the lower the rating on a scale from 0-100, the more a road is due for repairs or even total reconstruction. For example, roads rating between 0-30 could be ready for a major reconstruction, those rated between 30-50 should be regularly monitored for specific kinds of repairs, those rated 50-60 probably need surface overlays and those rated 80-100 will likely get by with a sealcoating. Nielson said the system data shows Sartell’s residential and

collector streets average 62.39 on the pavement scale while more rural roads average 69.85. The pavement OCI gives the council a basis for long-range planning in its capital-improvements plan. “I like this (OCI) plan,” said council member Steve Hennes. “It’s a great improvement. The whole point is to get as much life out of our roads as possible.” The council, by using OCI data, can better determine which roads will be fixed in which budget years during a five- or 10-year period and can then budget accordingly, based on those priorities. The roads in better condition might just need seal-coating to extend their lifetimes. Other roads, in serious deterioration, might require complete reconstruction. The OCI is expected to bring a new cost-effectiveness into road maintenance in the city.

Garbage hauler permits renewed

New Year - New Career!

The permits for all four garbage-hauler companies in Sartell were renewed for 2014 by the Sartell City Council at its Jan. 13 meeting. The haulers are Advanced Disposal of St. Cloud, which operates three trucks in the city (permit-renewal cost $775), Allied Waste Services of Sauk Rapids, which operated nine trucks in the city (permit-renewal cost $1,975), Waste Management of St. Cloud, which operates five vehicles in the city (permitrenewal cost $1,175) and West Central Sanitation of Willmar, which operates two trucks in the city (permit-renewal cost $575).

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Nielson said he will gather more data and budget information to share with the council

at an upcoming workshop dedicated to the subject.

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Our View

Should pot be legalized? Keep an eye on Colorado

Seeing sweet grannies and grandpas lining up in Colorado to buy marijuana is like something out of a futuristic movie comedy. Can this really be happening? Yes, indeed, it can and it is. There are long lines of people of every age ever since Colorado legalized marijuana, which went into effect Jan. 1. The grandpas and grannies standing in those lines, which surprised many people, shouldn’t surprise us at all, considering those senior citizens were probably in their late teens or early 20s when “pot” was common during the 1960s’ “Hippy Era.” Back then, many parties, outdoor gatherings and dormitories often had the slight pungent reek in the air of burning “weed.” Should marijuana be legalized? The voters in Colorado certainly thought so. In recent years, the weed has been semi-legalized for medical purposes because it seems to have a beneficial effect on people suffering from certain medical conditions, including terminal cancer. A poll just released shows 55 percent of Americans are in favor of legalizing pot. There is no doubt the drug should at least be decriminalized. It’s tragic how many people, many years ago, spent many years in prison just for smoking or selling pot. Still, questions linger. Is marijuana as harmless as so many people claim? Like many other drugs, including alcohol, the active ingredients in marijuana may well have no harm on most people with moderate usage. However, just about every kind of drug has the potential to affect some people adversely. It all depends on the person and that person’s own body chemistry. There have been numerous studies done on marijuana, but the results are still inconclusive. It’s still an open question, although most do agree the abuse of alcohol has caused more misery and destruction than all other drugs combined. However, just because alcohol is dangerous does not make marijuana necessarily harmless. One questions is this: Should people high on marijuana get behind the wheel of a car? With their mental states affected, couldn’t some of them be just as dangerous to others as drunk drivers? And here’s another question: Can frequent smoking of marijuana rob a person’s drive and ambition and lead to a desire to take other, stronger drugs? Advocates of pot legalization laugh those questions off, but such questions deserve to be studied. At the very least, Colorado will certainly become a kind of “test lab” for what happens when marijuana is legalized. All states should keep a close eye on that state. If statistics truly prove pot use is, in fact, harmless, fine. If not, states should think twice before they, too, legalize it.

Fairness and ethics

Newsleader staff members have the responsibility to report news fairly and accurately and are accountable to the public. Readers who feel we’ve fallen short of these standards are urged to call the Newsleader office at 363-7741. If matters cannot be resolved locally, readers are encouraged to take complaints to the Minnesota News Council, an independent agency designed to improve relationships between the public and the media and resolve conflicts. The council office may be reached at 612-341-9357.

Friday, Jan. 17, 2014

Opinion Did Christie cause his own roadblock? It’s baffling how New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s governing style and personality traits are viewed as despicable by some and admirable by others. Christie’s fans describe him as being confident, forthright, decisive and for “telling it like it is.” His detractors, based on those same traits, interpret them as being arrogant, rude, hot-headed, nasty and bullying. As they say, one person’s trash is another man’s treasure. Questions about the George Washington bridge closing are popping up like bright-orange road cones. In a long press conference Jan. 9, Christie denied – again – any previous knowledge of that scandal. For those who haven’t followed the dirty deed, here’s a brief summary: Without notification, from Sept. 9-13, two of three eastbound lanes of the George Washington bridge leading from Fort Lee, N.J. to New York City were closed. The bridge over the Hudson River is the busiest one in the world. The closings caused massive traffic jams at the bridge and throughout the city of Fort Lee and beyond. People found it almost impossible to get to work. School children were stuck in traffic for two hours and more. Emergency vehicles had trouble getting to scenes of crises. At first, everyone was told the lanes were closed because of a “traffic study.” That was quickly proven to be a lie. Then, it appeared to be an act of sabotage, political revenge for Fort Lee’s mayor not endorsing Christie for his then-upcoming re-election as governor. What was known weeks ago is

Dennis Dalman Editor that two members of the Port Authority, which controls the bridge, were Christie appointees who have since resigned. One had been a high-school buddy of Christie’s. During press conferences, Christie poo-poohed the ruckus over the bridge closing, firing off sarcastic, flippant answers in his (take your pick) arrogant/forthright way. Then, on Jan. 8, a smoking gun popped up in the form of an email exchange. It was sent just before the lane closings from Christie aide Bridget Kelly to David Wildstein, Christie’s highschool friend on the Port Authority. Kelly: “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” Wildstein: “Got it.” At his marathon press conference the next day, Christie fired Kelly, apologized to the people of Fort Lee and went to that city to apologize to its mayor. The governor’s comments, however, have just raised more questions. The mess is now called “Bridgegate,” dubbed as such after the “Watergate” scandal that led to the demise of President Nixon. Why should we care about a New Jersey bridge? We should care because Christie is the top Republican contender for the 2016 presidential election. Even if he was not involved, the fiasco has raised many questions about his competency as a leader – as governor or president. Why didn’t he make an immediate

effort to find out why those lanes were closed? Why would a top aide in his office, all on her own out of the blue, suggest the closings if there were not a general consensus among top Christie operatives to enact a political vendetta against Fort Lee? Why would Wildstein email back “Got it” unless he knew exactly what Kelly was suggesting (lane closings), meaning it had already been considered? Why would Christie callously dismiss and joke about the traffic jams when he must have known the chaos and disruptions they caused to so many people, including children on their way to school? Why, in his Jan. 9 press conference, did he spend so much time in a “woeis-me” mode rather than explaining why he’d ignored the scandal for so long? Why was there obviously such a lack of communication in the governor’s office, with one hand not knowing what the other was doing? Has the governor’s office used such outrageously inexcusable vendettas against other “enemies?” At the very least “Bridgegate” suggests Christie was not in command. At the worst, it shows him to have been unconnected, unaware, insensitive and arrogant – in a word, a bully. Which is not to say that Christie is not presidential material. There hasn’t been a president in history without some deficiencies in judgment and character flaws. However, it’s almost a sure bet that “Bridgegate” will close at least a couple “open” lanes along Christie’s hopeful trip to the presidency.

Living through a power failure Recently we experienced a power failure. That’s not unusual, but at the same time some workers in our condominium complex accidentally cut off our water. At the time our washer was going as was our dishwasher. One of our bathrooms was in use also. So there we sat, staring at each other. I was immediately overcome by the silence of it all. It started me thinking. Thinking back to my childhood. Remembering how it was. I was raised in the rural South. We did not have electricity or running water. We even had a saying, “running water meant that you had to run and get it.” We did have a well and even had a pump in the kitchen that had to be pumped to get water. Of course we had no refrigerator. We had an ice box. My mother had a sign that told the iceman how much ice we needed, a big sign he could read from the street. He would chip off a block and bring it into the house and put it in the ice box. I was a teenager before we had indoor plumbing. On cold rainy nights the outhouse seemed far, far away. Baths consisted of heated water from the wood-burning cookstove poured into a tub in the middle of the floor and then shared by me and my two brothers. You can imagine how

Ron Scarbro Guest Writer the water looked for the third bath. It’s no wonder baths were weekly projects back then. My mother cooked on that woodburning stove, and I can remember the heat that was generated, especially on those hot, humid summer days. But cook she did. We had three hot meals every day. Breakfast, dinner and supper. We didn’t know any different. I guess we were poor but we didn’t know it. It was a happy time. Today, I live in a beautiful condo with central air conditioning and heat. We set our thermostat, and our environment is automatically created. We cook on an electric stove with an electric oven. We have a microwave oven that seems magical even today. We have a refrigerator with an automatic ice maker. We have three bathrooms with showers and they are all inside. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined this when I was a child. What was once a fantasy is now commonplace. Dreams have become realities.

My thoughts then traveled to other parts of the world. What is common for us today is still a dream in many parts of the world. Clean running water is a fantasy for many. Indoor plumbing is almost nonexistent. Air conditioning would be “Star Wars” fantasy. This situation I am describing is, I believe, the norm in most of Africa and much of Asia. We live and they exist. How fortunate we are. Of course our water came back on. Our power returned and all our appliances started again to do the work we require of them. Our lives returned to the normalcy we expect. Memories of my childhood return to the recesses of my mind. Our power failure and our water cut-off were inconveniences. My life is good again. Still my thoughts are of the millions who don’t have these modern miracles. I think of children drinking dirty water. In my mind’s eye I see women cooking over open fires. I wonder if it will ever change. Here in America, our poorest live lives of comparative luxury much of the world could only imagine. And we all, including me, take what we have for granted. I also wonder if that will ever change.

Sartell Newsleader • www.thenewsleaders.com

Friday, Jan. 17, 2014

Ramanathan from front page a written test, which will be sent to the National Geographic Society. After the tests are scored, Minnesota will have 100 contestants who will compete statewide this March at St. Cloud State University. The winner of that contest will go on to national competition in Washington, D.C. Gopi Ram-

anathan, the older brother of Janagan, has competed twice in the National Geographic Society Geography Bee. The Jan. 13 event took place in the classroom of Lori Dornburg, home economics teacher and academic extension coordinator. She and Jen Richason, social studies teacher, conducted the competition, with Richason reading the questions. Sartell Middle School Principal Julie Tripp presented the awards.

Several parents attended the Bee. The other contestants were fifth-graders Dylan Cummings, Anna Pille and Grant Schleper; sixth-grader Luc Westerling; and eighth-graders Alex Hinnenkamp, Nick Juntunen, Jenna Merrills and Jordan Och. All but a couple questions involved the United States, and students had to name the state or geographical feature based on clues given by Richason. In the first round, each

Community Calendar

Friday, Jan. 17 Blood drive, 8 a.m.-2 p.m., American Red Cross, 1301 W. St.. Germain St., St. Cloud. 1-800-733-2767. St. Joseph Farmers’ Market, 3-6 p.m., Resurrection Lutheran Church, 610 CR 2 N., St. Joseph.

Monday, Jan. 20 Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast, 7-11 a.m., Atwood Center Ballroom, St. Cloud State University. 320-308-2104. Blood drive, noon-6 p.m., American Red Cross, 1301 W. St.. Germain St., St. Cloud. 1-800-733-2767. St. Joseph Rod and Gun Club meeting, 7 p.m., American Legion in St. Joseph.

ney Senior Center, 1527 Northway Drive, St. Cloud, 1-888-234-1294. Regional sales tax project ideas – open house, sponsored by Sartell, St. Joseph, St. Cloud, Sauk Rapids, Waite Park and St. Augusta cities, 3-7 p.m., informational presentations at 3 and 5 p.m., ideas about sales tax projects accepted anytime. Great River Regional Library, 1300 St. Germain St., St. Cloud. “All in All Out” worship tour concert, 6:15 p.m., Peder Eide, national recording artist, free concert, Celebration Lutheran Church, 1500 Pinecone Road N., Sartell. 320-2550488.

Wednesday, Jan. 22 55+ Driver Improvement program (eight-hour first time course), 8 a.m.-noon today and Jan. 23. Whit-

Thursday, Jan. 23 Coffee and Conversation, a senior discussion group, 9 a.m., Country Manor, Sartell. Blood drive, noon-6 p.m., American Red Cross, 1301 W. St.. Germain St., St. Cloud. 1-800-733-2767. “The Typist,” 6:30 p.m., documentary featuring Larry Tillemans, a WWII vet who typed transcripts during the trial of Nazi war criminals. Great River Regional Library, 1300

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St. Germain St., St. Cloud. 320-6502500. Friday, Jan. 24 Blood drive, 8 a.m.-2 p.m., American Red Cross, 1301 W. St.. Germain St., St. Cloud. 1-800-733-2767. Blood drive, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., College of St. Benedict, 37 S. College Ave., St. Joseph. 1-800-733-2767. Candlelight Hike and Snowshoe, one-mile, 6-9 p.m., Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site, 2151 S. Lindbergh Drive, Little Falls. 320616-5421. Sunday, Jan. 26 Knights of Columbus Youth Free-throw Championship, 12:30 p.m. registration and practice, 1 p.m. contest begins. All boys and girls ages 9-14 are eligible to participate. All Saints Academy gym, St. Joseph. 320-363-1077. Sunday at the Abbey, 7 p.m. St. John’s Abbey Chapter House, Collegeville. Brother Dennis Beach, OSB, “Faith as a Transformative Force in El Salvador.”

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student was asked a question. In the second round, the students had to write down their answers to the same question. All students correctly answered “Colorado River.” The third round involved a map about water usage in all of the United States for which students had to interpret data on the map. Round four was another written round with the correct answer being “Pacific Ocean.” By the fifth round, an individual answer round, three

of the remaining six students were eliminated, leaving Cofer, Hacker and Ramanathan to face off in the championship round. There were three questions asked in that round. All three students answered the first question correctly. On the second question, Cofer was eliminated. On the third question, Hacker’s answer was incorrect while Ramanathan’s answer (China) made him the winner.

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NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING ON PROPOSED APPLICATION FOR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT FUNDING NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, that the City Council of Sartell, Minn. will meet in Council Chambers of the Sartell City Hall, located at 125 Pinecone Road N Sartell, MN 56377, at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27, 2014, thereby dedicating a portion of their regular monthly meeting to identify community development and housing needs, including the needs of very low- and low-income persons, as well as other needs of the community that might be addressed through the Community Development Block Grant program. The public hearing will include a review of the proposed CDBG activities, their benefiting location(s), overall cost and proposed financing, and the implementation schedule. Citizens

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Freelancers sought

The Newsleaders seeks freelance writers and photographers to cover town-specific events/meetings/personalities. Freelancers are paid per story/photo. If interested, please email a resume and a few writing/photo samples to janellev@thenewsleaders.com.

will be provided the opportunity to comment upon the original Citizen Participation Plan and on substantial amendments to it, or to the activities for which CDBG funds will be used. Information and records regarding the proposed and past use of CDBG funds will be available at the Sartell City Hall during regular business hours. Dated Jan. 13, 2014. Mary Degiovanni City Administrator Publish: Jan. 17, 2014

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Sartell Newsleader • www.thenewsleaders.com

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Tax from front page

Sartell City Administrator Mary Degiovanni said Sartell residents will have more chances to give their input on sales-tax projects, through social media, public meetings and surveys. Area cities, she said, are hoping they can hold referendums earlier than later, preferably this year, so planning can be started well photo by Dennis Dalman ahead of 2018. It’s important, The Bernick’s Arena in Sartell was the first of many projects made she said, to know what voters possible partly through half-cent sales-tax funding. The arena was a want and what they will approve joint project between the city, private fundraisers and volunteerism. in the referendum elections.

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In the 10 years of half-cent sales-tax revenue, Sartell has received almost $7 million, Degiovanni noted. So far, Sartell has used salestax money to help fund the following projects: the Bernick’s Ice Arena, a series of trails, an outdoor skating shelter and ice rink, improvements in Champion Field and Val Smith Park, the purchase of Rotary Riverside parkland, the purchase of golfcourse land for Pinecone Central Park (more than $3 million), improvements to Pinecone Central Park and improvements made to roads in the city’s southwest section where the medical campus

Friday, Jan. 17, 2014 is located. Sales-tax funds in Sartell have also been dedicated to a community-resource facility and for park improvements – about $1.6 million for the facility and about $800,000 for parks. Those revenues are not yet in the city coffers. Those amounts are based on what is estimated to come to the city in sales-tax revenue from now until 2018, Degiovanni noted. Degiovanni noted if a particular city’s voters do not approve extension of the half-cent salestax revenue, that city will not receive any revenue from sales-tax distributions.


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