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For the past two weeks, more than 20 local kids and a handful of adults have been set up in the upstairs of the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center painting and putting together paper-maché masks and costumes for their one-time performance on Friday night.
With 87 kids currently enrolled in kindergarten at Perham's Heart of the Lakes Elementary School, the school board has approved the hire of a fifth kindergarten teacher. The additional section will drop the student-per-classroom ratio down to three sections of 17 and two sections of 18 students, instead of three rooms with 21 and one with 22. This is the third consecutive year Perham will offer a fifth section of kindergarten. At a special board meeting Aug. 1, elementary principal Kari Yates asked the board to establish a firm stance on future kindergarten class sizes.
St. Henry's Catholic Church in Perham and Holy Cross Church in Butler have welcomed a new priest, Father Matt Kuhn. In an interview last week, Kuhn said, "I was happy to accept" the new assignment. He had always hoped to end up in the lakes area, but said it was a pleasant surprise to be placed in Perham for his first assignment. Kuhn was ordained in June 2010. Since then, he has served as a parochial vicar, or assistant priest, at churches in the St. Cloud area. Kuhn said he knew deep down that he was bound for priesthood, though he struggled with that thought for five years.
The Otter Tail-Wadena Community Action Council in New York Mills relinquished its Head Start grant, effective Aug. 15, at a special board meeting on July 30. All 35 employees at the local Head Start offices will be terminated. The Community Development Institute (CDI) Head Start, a federal agency out of Denver, Col., will take over on Aug. 16, and at that time employees will have the chance to reapply for local positions.
The city of New York Mills has begun the process of renovating the 14-year-old elevator in City Hall, a project which could cost an estimated $44,000. Otis Elevator, the city's current elevator vendor, informed the city last spring that the company may no longer be able to find parts for the elevator's computer. The manufacturer has closed, the vendor said, and its parts are becoming scarce on the market. Since then, the council has been looking into replacing the elevator computer components. The city has received two bids.
Five minutes after my husband said, "All I know is, if they come in the tent, we are packing up and going home," we heard one scurry up and begin to unzip the tent. The furry bandit trampled back into the woods, as the sound of that zip caused a commotion inside the tent. I guess the noise of two panicked adults crashing around in a dark tent, trying to find flashlights, sounded too scary for the critter to investigate further. If raccoons could earn points for being smarter than expected, then already that night they had two points. The first point was earned earlier in the evening.
According to newly released data, both the Perham-Dent and New York Mills school districts achieved Adequate Yearly Progress in 2012, meeting or exceeding all state-set academic goals. Signs of significant improvement and growth were evident in both school districts. Administrators are crediting that to the hard work of students, as well as to the staff's efforts to utilize data and focus instruction. The data is compiled by the Minnesota Department of Education using results from MCA tests.
New York Mills School Superintendent Todd Cameron spent the beginning of last week poring through the budget, trying to find the $22,000 needed to help pay for an additional kindergarten teacher.
Twenty-six years ago, St. Lawrence Catholic Church celebrated its first Polka Mass. Since then, the annual event has become a favorite tradition for many in the area, combining worship, food, games and music - and attracting more than 600 people to the little church near Rush Lake. The tradition continues this year on Sunday, Aug. 5, with a Polka Mass starting at 10:30 a.m. under the pine trees at the outdoor chapel. Activities will continue throughout the day. Once again, the local Knights of Columbus color guard will be part of the mass, as will the Cathy Erickson Band.
For the first time in over a decade, the Perham-Dent School District will not have to borrow against anticipated government aid. At a school board meeting July 18, business manager Kristi Werner said she has been working on a cash analysis with financial advisor company MN Trust/PMA Financial, which has helped the district determine whether or not it would need to borrow like in years past. The analysis showed the cash flow account would not need borrowed funds.