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"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
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Friday, December 9th, 2016
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Water quality vs Amish faith


Mon, Oct 31st, 2016
Posted in All Features

The observance of strict religious tenets and beliefs versus the protection of quality drinking water has been the focal point of Fillmore County versus Ammon Swartzentruber and Sarah Swartzentruber.

The Swartzentrubers, Harmony Township, were issued a “cease and desist” order to stop all construction on a new house in June 2014. The young Amish man, Ammon Swartzentruber did inquire at the Fillmore County Zoning office in late 2013-early 2014 about building a larger house on his property to replace a current smaller house. He was informed that he would need to comply with county regulations. Section 604.02 restricts the number of dwellings on a quarter of a quarter section of land two . The quarter section already had three. A subsurface sewer system is required with the construction of new dwellings, according to regulations adopted by the county in late 2013.

The sewer system is required both by county ordinance and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) rules. Swartzentruber indicated that a septic system was in conflict with his religious beliefs during several discussions at the county zoning office.

When it was noticed that the Swartzentrubers went ahead and started construction on the house without a building permit, a “cease and desist” order was issued to stop all construction. The issue for the county is a building permit, which is required to by obtained prior to the beginning of construction, plus the terms of the zoning ordinance must be met before a permit is issued. The building permit for a dwelling is contingent on a subsurface sewage system. Construction on the new house continued after the cease and desist order was delivered.

The county in an effort to find a middle ground in regulations for subsurface treatment systems (SSTS) had allowed in its zoning ordinance (Section 5) for a “graywater” system instead of requiring a regular septic system for “blackwater” for all homeowners. The graywater system requires a smaller tank and is acceptable only for homes without indoor toilet facilities.

In December 2015, Fillmore County took the Swartzentrubers to court to resolve the issue. On March 1, 2016 an order from the court was filed. The restraining order prohibiting occupation of the building and completion of construction is still in place. The court ordered the Swartzentrubers to obtain proper building permits, any necessary variances, including an .....
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Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center expands

Mon, Oct 31st, 2016
Posted in Lanesboro Features

It is a very exciting time for the Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center of Lanesboro, Minn., as 151 acres have recently been added to the existing 80 acres. The property, which is known as “The Point,” was owned by the Gavere family from ..... 
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Hopp earns trip to Nationals

Mon, Oct 24th, 2016
Posted in Chatfield Features

Abby Hopp, member of the Root River Rabbits 4-H Club, has lived and loved 4-H since early childhood, and now that passion is taking her to the National Dairy Judging Competition. “This year I exhibited a Holstein-Grade Senior 2-year-old at the MN ..... 
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Preston V.F.W. Auxiliary news

Mon, Oct 24th, 2016
Posted in Preston Features

Magdlin-Gilbertson Auxiliary to Veterans of Foreign Wars (V.F.W.) Post #6893 of Preston was visited on Tuesday, October 4, by Karen England from Lake City, Minn. She is currently serving as the Junior Vice President of the First District V.F.W. Auxi ..... 
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Mabel-Canton and Spring Grove rally around one of their own

Mon, Oct 17th, 2016
Posted in Mabel Features

When Paula Snell was diagnosed with breast cancer, several communities rallied around her and her family in support. Snell was formerly a teacher at Mabel-Canton and currently teaches at Spring Grove. Her daughter, Hannah Snell, attends Mabel-Ca ..... 
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A 90% chance

Mon, Oct 17th, 2016
Posted in All Features

What should a person do if there is a history of cancer in the family? At age 32, Angie Serfling was facing a life-altering decision. She knew that her mother had breast cancer when she was 42-years-old. And, she knew that she had two other famil ..... 
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Fillmore Central trials ergonomic standing desks

Mon, Oct 10th, 2016
Posted in Harmony Features

When Fillmore Central High School English teacher Gerri Nielson decided that it was time for a change in her classroom, she started researching flexible seating options for her students. She began her search online, but wasn’t impressed with what ..... 
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Bluff Country Harvest addresses world hunger

Mon, Oct 3rd, 2016
Posted in Preston Features

Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. That statement defines the Food Resource Bank, an organization with which locals, Gary Broadwater and Jim Keune, recently began working. If you ..... 
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New owners for Harmony Gardens and Floral

Mon, Sep 26th, 2016
Posted in Harmony Features

Andrew and Lisa Kingsley have always had a love of gardening, and now they’ve turned that love into a career. The Kingsleys had been considering the possibility of buying the Harmony Greenhouse from Paula MacKenberg for some time now, but when s ..... 
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