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Reaching Everybody! Presorted Standard U.S. Postage Paid St. Joseph Newsleader St. Joseph, MN 56374 Permit No. 21 ECRWSS Postal Customer 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 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 For more information on this and other United Way opportunities, visit www.thenewsleaders. com and click on Criers. For additional criers, visit 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 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 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 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 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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