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THREE NEW STAFF MEMBERS will begin the 2015-2016 school year at the Big Stone City, SD School. Pictured from left to right are Courtney Johnson (Paraprofessional), Dr. Roger DeGroot (Interim Superintendent/Principal) and Jennifer Cronen (Paraprofessional/Athletic Director).

Plathe resigns as member of Ortonville School Board

The Ortonville School Board accepted the resignation of school board member John Plathe at their monthly meeting on Monday, Aug. 17.

Plathe had served on the Bellingham School prior to being a member of the Ortonville School Board. School board members accepted his resignation with regret and thanked John for his years of service.

The board approved a resolution calling for a Special Election for November on a referendum vote. The board feels it is necessary and expedient to revoke its existing referendum levy authority in the amount of $723.83 per pupil unit and to replace that authorization with a new authorization of $1,124.15 per pupil unit.

A portion of this proposed referendum revenue authorization would replace the existing authorization of $723.83 which is scheduled to expire after taxes payable in 2016.

The special election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 3 in the lobby adjacent to the new gymnasium in Ortonville and at the Bellingham Community Center.

Board members approved the athletic, student and teacher handbooks. The board had some questions pertaining to the athletic handbook, with request changes noted and approved.

Board members approved a junior high football contract for Bob Foley, effective for the 2015 season. They also approved a junior high volleyball contract with Courtney Peterson for the 2015 season.

A contract was approved for Gene Weeding as school bus driver. Superintendent Jeff Taylor stated that no one had applied for the position with Weeding agreeing to be a driver. Taylor stated that this may continue to be a problem and indicated that they may be  looking for bus drivers again next year.

Members of the Ortonville Spanish Club, along with their instructor Amanda Nordquist, updated the board on their trip to Costa Rica in June. Students giving the presentation were Miki Gimmestad,  Ana Lee and Nathan Roe. They informed the board of their living arrangement in Costa Rica and some of the highlights of the trip.

Nordquist thanked all those responsible for the trip and stated it was a wonderful learning experience for herself and the students.

The next meeting of the Ortonville School Board will be on Monday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. in the school library.

Kent Novak hired as interim City Public Works Foreman

The Ortonville City Council approved the hiring of an interim Publc Works Foreman at their regular meeting on Monday, Aug. 17.

Kent Novak, a long time city employee, was hired as the interim Public Works Foreman, a position previously held by Tim Scherer who retired in July. With the projects the City is involved with, Novak stated that he would be willing to step in as the interim and also train the new person hired  to the street department.

The council then approved the hiring of Kenneth Rushford as a full-time  City employee. Rushford had been a seasonal employee with the City.

Randy Fischer of the Stevens County Ambulance Service that is currently running the Ortonville Ambulace Service, came before the council requesting that the current contract they have with Ortonville, be transferred to the Grant-Roberts Ambulance Service in Milbank, SD.

Fischer stated that much has been accomplished since they assumed services of the Ortonville Ambulance Service. Fischer said that the proximity was one of the reasons to have Grant-Roberts take over the contract and assume duties in Ortonville.

“The difference in distance was one of the major reasons to have Grant-Roberts take over,” said Fischer. “With Milbank just 10 miles away, it just makes good sense to make this move.”

Ortonville Mayor Steve Berkner suggested that a workshop be held with the council, Ortonville Ambulance Service and Grant-Roberts Ambulance service be set up to discuss the transfer. Council members agreed, with a workshop to be set up as soon as possible to discuss the contract transfer.

Council members approved the hiring of Ridgeview Excavating, Inc. to clean out vegetation located on the Peninsula in the amount of $3,420. Citizens living on the peninsula had come to the council concerned about the odor coming from an area located there.

The council approved a liquor license to Dan Peterson, Jr for the Ortonville Liquor Store. This is a transfer in family for the license.

The council reviewed the Waste Management Extension Proposal-Rate Schedule. No action was taken at this time.

In other business, the council approved the hiring of Short, Elliot, Hendrickson, Inc. to complete a water rate study to determine a fair price for water to be sold to Big Stone City for the next contract period. Big Stone City purchases approximately 35 percent of the City of Ortonville’s water production. Approximate cost of the study is $4,450.

Council members approved the 2016 golf/parks wage schedule. Changes were made to accomodate the minimum wage increase.

A resolution was approved for a professional services agreement with Apex Engineering for utility, street and drainage improvements located near the Ortonville Water Tower. This is contingent upon the City Attorney’s approval.

The next meeting of the Ortonville City Council will be on Tuesday, Sept. 8 at 5 p.m. in the library media center.  This is a change due to the Labor Day holiday.

Seth Parker

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