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Historic Forestville wonít close quietly


Fri, Mar 7th, 2003
Posted in Features

The emergency meeting regarding historic Forestvilleís future drew in a full room March 4 at the Forestville State Park Pavilion. Friends of Forestville and the general public met with Tom Ellig, Southern District Manager of Historic Sites for the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS) and Site Manager Charlie Pautler to share their concerns over the closing of the historic site that draws in over 13,000 people yearly, 3,000 of whom are school children.

George Colbenson, the Friends of Forestville president opened the meeting by saying, "Tom isnít our enemy, heís losing his job, too. Heís here to give information as to why the site is closing." Ellig is from the Redwood Falls area but works out of the Lower Sioux agency. His position is being eliminated.

"Iím here to listen to you and take messages back to my superiors," explained Ellig. The Friends of Forestville had a lot of questions and comments. The first being, what criteria were used to decide which sites would be closed?

Ellig listed four considerations 1) Number of people visiting the site each year; 2) Operating budget; 3) Current development; and 4) Geo-graphic location.

Ellig said the closing had been a long time in coming. The Minnesota Historical Society isnít a state agency, but rather a private, non-profit organization that was chartered in 1849 when MN was still a territory. In 1966, the society came under legal protection by the state. The society receives approximately 70% of its funding from the state. The rest is private funding.

According to Ellig, the governorís request of 15% across the board cuts for agencies means that over $8 million would need to be trimmed from the societyís coffers over the next two years. The society in turn had to decide where these cuts would produce the best long term outcomes. Forestville gets $199,000 of its $235,000 annual budget from state funds. Eight of the existing historic sites will see little if any reduction to their budgets, while up to eight other sites will be closed.

"What part of the Historical Society is getting by easy?" Roxie Tienter of Preston asked.

"Empty buildings decay. As a taxpayer, Iíd rather preserve and not necessarily develop", said Deb Thauwald, Cherry Grove. ďWhy didnít MHS ask the Friends of Forestville what they could cut back on in their budget before making the deci .....
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Lanesboro Council asked to restructure Lanesboro Center for the Arts or give up $1 million bond

Fri, Mar 7th, 2003
Posted in Features

The status of the proposed Lanesboro Center for the Arts (LCA) took center stage at the packed Lanesboro City Council meeting Monday night, March 3rd.

Council member Joe OíConnor presented a detailed summary of the LCA project ..... 
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Preston will need to tighten its belt if local government aide is reduced

Fri, Mar 7th, 2003
Posted in Features

If Governor Tim Pawlenty's budget proposal is accepted as is, Preston will receive $61,000 (10.7%) less in Local Government Aide (LGA) from the state this year. Next year the reduction would be $117,000 (24%). Mayor David Pechulis suggested that when ..... 
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Postcard from Mexico

Fri, Mar 7th, 2003
Posted in Features

Itís 7:30 in the morning in room 18 on the third floor of the Luna Mar Vacacional in a small town along the Pacific coast of Mexico. The ocean looks like a sea of glass outside the veranda, yet, every five seconds the surf cracks like thunder onto th ..... 
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Township election pivotal to Sumnerís future

Fri, Mar 7th, 2003
Posted in Features

When the Fillmore County Planning Commission signed off on the Conditional Use Permit for the proposed Sumner Township subdivision known as Washington Country Estates, it fueled a debate that could ultimately be decided by Sumner Township residents i ..... 
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Pet turns couple into amateur mushers

Fri, Feb 28th, 2003
Posted in Features

When Aaron and Natalie Harwood purchased their pet Siberian Husky, Mariah, back in 1999, little did they know their lives would soon go to the dogs.

It started out quite innocently when the couple began skijoring with Mariah on ..... 
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Commissionersí Report: Proposed courthouse project suffers major blow

Fri, Feb 28th, 2003
Posted in Features

The countyís proposed courthouse project loomed precariously as a five page estimate with actual figures was passed out to the commissioners at the meeting on February 25th. Itís sub total of $3,890,519 shattering the boardís perception of a $3.8 mil ..... 
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Planning Commission approves Sumner Township subdivision

Fri, Feb 28th, 2003
Posted in Features

The Fillmore County Planning Commission voted to recommend approval for the Bruce Bucknell subdivision in Sumner Township, sending the application on to the County Board for the final approval.

In a crowded room of interested ci ..... 
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Water worries Rushford Council

Fri, Feb 28th, 2003
Posted in Features

The Rushford City Council addressed the cityís omnipresent water concerns as it met February 24, 2003. The annual water report showed that in the past year 22,901,108 gallons of water were unaccounted for (and as a result not paid for either). This w ..... 
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