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Area News

Sept. 26, 2016

Two motorcycles collide in Meeker County
An accident involving two motorcycles occurred in Harvey Township Sept. 17, according to a press release from the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office.
Upon arrival, deputies determined that Raymond Lang, 50, of Spicer, driving a 2003 Harley Davidson motorcycle, struck a Yamaha TT-R 125L dirt bike operated by Courtney Ham, 15, of Litchfield. Witnesses stated that Ham was traveling southbound on CSAH 31 with another juvenile female who was driving an ATV. The girls stopped to turn eastbound into a residential driveway when Lang tried to pass them on their left. As Ham was executing her turn, Lang ran into her bike. Lang, who was not wearing a helmet, received potentially life-threatening injuries, and was air-lifted to Hennepin County Medical Center. Ham was believed to have been wearing her helmet, and was transported to Meeker Memorial Hospital by ambulance. The accident remains under investigation.

Monticello school’s stadium project bids below budget
The Monticello High School stadium project that will be completed next August came in under budget for construction bids last Monday, the Monticello Times reported.
The low bidder was Ebert Construction with a base bid of $984,674. Overall, the total budget for the stadium project was $5 million, but bidding came in at $4.3 million. The home side of the stadium will have 2,000 seats. Bleachers from the middle school and portable bleachers will add more seating, for a total of close to 4,000.

Litchfield native creates art documentary
Litchfield native Dana Sikkila says she discovered the true meaning of art when she hopped on her bike for a 460-mile ride, the Litchfield Independent Review reported. In nine days, Sikkila visited artists across southern and central Minnesota, learning what art means to them.
She recently made the journey again, teaming up with a local production company called The Facade Pictures to create a 30-minute documentary. Each of the 11 artists featured gave Sikkila a piece of their work to be displayed at the 410 Project gallery in Mankato from Oct. 7-23. The documentary will also be on display at the gallery.

Buffalo man, 94, decorates with huge animal figurines
Ralph Ordorff, 94, of Buffalo, has worked on sawing and painting about 60 larger-than-life animal figures over the past few years, and many of them now decorate his rural property, the Wright County Journal-Press reported.
Although he suffers from neuropathy and severe arthritis, doing something he loves helps keep his mind off the pain. He uses an old hand-broom to paint a texture that looks like fur. Ordorff has been active throughout his life, and polka danced at the Medina Entertainment Center up until about three years ago. He misses dancing, but is able to relax at the Monticello Senior Center for weekly card game tournaments.

New learning center in Annandale fills a void
A new business has simultaneously filled a significant void downtown and addressed a growing demand for daycare in Annandale, the Annandale Advocate reported.
Little Learners Child Care opened Aug. 22 in the former community education building, which had been vacant since the new elementary school opened in 2013. Little Learners has four rooms designated for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age children. With 55 children enrolled, owner Sarah Wiles said the first few weeks have gone smoothly. Due to varying schedules, 35 to 40 children are usually on site at one time.

Farm fresh restaurant to open in St. Michael
Restauranteur Jonathan Campion is bringing a new concept in dining right to his home city of St. Michael, the Press&News reported.
Campion is the owner of Main Street Farmer, which is under construction at the old Thrifty White Drug building on Main Street just south of Hwy. 241. Campion’s plans include “an old-fashioned speak easy bar, with an old barmanship approach,” along with a revolving dining menu that features local ingredients right from the farm. He hopes to open the restaurant in mid-October. Campion, an Orono native, operated four bars and two restaurants in Poland, living in Krakow and Warsaw. He moved to St. Michael about two years ago with his wife and 8-year-old daughter.

Man shares mountain-climb experience with Waconia
In 2010, six people died trying to climb Mount Rainier, the highest mountain of the Cascade Range in the Pacific Northwest. Although they weren’t experienced climbers, Tim Schmidt and his son, John (owner of Mocha Monkey in Waconia) dared to take a trip to Washington and summit Mount Rainier, the Waconia Patriot reported.
Tim joined Trinity Lutheran Church in Waconia Sept. 25 to share stories of the excitement, fear, challenge, and euphoria of the trip. He also spoke about other “mountains” people face, such as overcoming addictions, refocusing family values, and journeying toward a more intimate marriage.

McLeod Co. sets preliminary 5 percent levy hike
The McLeod County Board of Commissioners is proposing a 5-percent increase in its levy for 2017, the McLeod County Chronicle reported.
The proposed increase will generate about $939,700 in additional revenue for the county. The 2016 levy was $18,793,585; the proposed 2017 levy is $19,733,264.
Commissioner Paul Wright said the proposed increase is rooted mostly in “investing in our workforce.” Wright noted that the county will need to act on the results of a classification study and market study that may increase salaries for many employees.

Hutchinson Technology merger takes step forward
A pending merger between Hutchinson Technology, Inc. and TDK Corporation took a step forward Thursday, with an early end to a legal waiting period. The termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 satisfies one of the remaining conditions to the closing of the pending merger, according to a company press release.
As of Aug. 21, HTI’s level of cash (subject to certain adjustments) less any outstanding borrowing on its revolving line of credit, was approximately $47.1 million. Based on this position, TDK plans to acquire all outstanding shares of common stock of HTI for $4 per share. The merger is currently expected to close no later than Oct. 5, and remains subject to other customary closing conditions set forth in the merger agreement.