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A WONDERFUL PERFORMANCE by the Ortonville High School Theater Department as they presented Les Miserable-School Edition last Friday and Saturday, April 11-12 at the High School Auditorium. Pictured above are some of the cast members performing one of the many songs during the production. Over 70 students in grades 7-12 were part of the cast and stage crew. The musical was under the direction of Lisa Berdan and assisted by Laurie Maas.



Burglary suspects plead not guilty

Micah Reiffenberger, 24, of Ortonville and Julie Houle, 29, of Clinton, both entered not guilty pleas in Big Stone County Court last week. The two were charged with the burglaries that occurred in Graceville, Ortonville, Artichoke area and Lovgren Woodshore along Big Stone Lake on  Saturday, March 29.

According to the sheriff’s report, the suspects would knock on the door of the residence/cabin. If no response, they would force their way into the residence or cabin, looking for electronics or cash.

After stopping their vehicle and a search warrant was executed on a residence in Ortonville, a large amount of stolen property was recovered including several televisions and other items.

Both Reiffenberger and Houle requested an Omnibus Hearing and waived their 28 days. The hearing has been set for May 23 in Big Stone County Court.


Council approves hiring of Golf Course Superintendent

The Ortonville City Council approved the hiring of Andrew Buchholz as Golf Course Superintendent at their regular meeting on Monday, April 7. The vote was 4-0 with council members Mel Reinke, Gene Hausauer and Jim Hasslen absent.

Buchholz was hired on a six-month probationary basis, providing he successfully complete the necessary pre-employment screeening.

Buchholz was introduced at the council meeting by Ortonville Mayor Steve Berkner. He stated he was ready to get to work.

“I am excited to be here and ready to get going.” said Buchholz. “There has been a lot to take in in the past week. I’ve met a lot of people and anxious to get the course open.”

Buchholz was previously employed at Giants Ridge Golf and Ski Resort in Biwabik. The Ortonville Golf Course is currently open for the season.

Council members approved to authorize the Planning Commission to preceed with rezoning property owned by Steve Strei (former Strege Recycling in Hilltop). A business is looking for property to construct a truck wash for washing out trucks used to haul hogs. The current property is zone residential (R-1). The abutting property is zoned Industrial (I-1). The rezoning from R-1 to B-3 will proceed providing the affected landowner and the City Attorney be notified of the potential change.

The Council also approved abandoning O’Neill Street which runs by the Strei property with the provision that the easements for water and sewer remain in force and providing the affected landowner and the City Attorney be notified of the potential change.

The council approved the second reading and adoption of ordinance 14-02 authorizing approval of sale of lots 4-9, Block 3, where the old water plant is located. A resolution was passed approving a right of first refusal agreement between the City of Ortonville and the Big Stone Arts Council. This will encourage and enable the Big Stone Arts Council to obtain the old water treatment plant on first street in Ortonville.

City Clerk-Administrator Char Grossman reported the FAA has unclassified the Ortonville Airport due to having less than 10 airplanes housed at the airport. Grossman advised the council to proceed with two FAA sponsored projects that will still qualify for the 90/10 split.

A resolution was approved entering into contract between Short Elliot Hendrickson for the project on the airport maintenance road and parking lot reconstruction. Cost is $25,300 with the local share at $2,530. They also approved the contract for the airport fuel system replacement (AvGas) project in the amount of $15,000 with the local share at $1,500.

In other business, the council approved to purchase a 2014 Dodge Ram 1500 Crew Cab Special Service Vehicle for the Ortonville Police Department for the current state bid of $23,116 (after trade-in price) with upfitting in the amount of $7,079.63 and other additions not to exceed $33,200.

Council members then approved the purchase of a Police Department squad laptop computer at a cost of $3,118.42. This is an update that is needed from the previous laptop.

David Webster was hired as a fireman for the Ortonville Fire Department commencing immediately.

The next meeting of the Ortonville City Council will be on Monday, April 21 at 5 p.m. in the Library Media Center.


Silent Auction items needed for Jeff McMahon Benefit

A benefit for the Jeff McMahon family will be held on Friday, May 2 at the Odessa City Hall from 5-9 p.m. McMahon’s house, along with many personal items and clothing, were destroyed by fire on March 6.

Organizers are asking for silent auction items for the benefit. Items may be dropped off at Pro Image Partners on Main Street in Ortonville or call Mary Hillman at 320-273-2332. They ask that items be dropped off by April 30.

There will be a meal, silent and live autions and a dance to follow at the Odessa Hall. All proceeds will go towards the Jeff McMahon family.


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The Ortonville Independent

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Ortonville, MN 56278