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Cardboard Arcade this Thursday, fun pass $1

The Gifted and Talented students at the New York Mills Elementary School will host a Cardboard Arcade on Thursday, April 17.
Dozens of arcade games, all designed and made by students, will be available for both children and adults to play. The arcade will be open from 1-3 p.m. and 5:30-7 p.m. in the activity gymnasium at the NY Mills School.
All games are made out of cardboard, wood, Legos and recycled items. Some games include marble mazes and a ring toss.
Sixth grade student Emma Bartels spent six hours working on her horse themed game. This was Bartels, and many other students, first time making a game that will actually be played by other people.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what kids think of it,” she said, in an interview last week.  read entire story. . . .

City’s ‘rainy day’ fund above average

The City of New York Mills is well above state average with it’s “rainy day fund.”
According to the 2013 audit presented by Luke Evenson of Eide Bailly, the city has a rainy day fund of $928,103 or 91.2 percent. In other words, 91.2 percent of the yearly expenditures that come out of the General Fund could have been paid for with the cash balance.
“That means there is a surplus of fund balance in the general fund. That’s a good sign to have rather then a negative number here. The average typically for smaller cities in Minnesota is 80 percent, so you can see you are well above that average,” said Evenson, during the regular city council meeting last week.
In 2012, the unrestricted fund balance (rainy day fund) was 94.7 percent and in 2011 the fund was 68.8 percent.
Overall, the City of NY Mills received a clean audit from Eide Baily, a firm out of the Fargo, N.D.
Another positive note, Eide Bailly found the final budget was within a couple of percentage points away from the actual budget.  read entire story. . . .

The hunt is on

Grab those Easter baskets and head New York Mills and Ottertail for the annual Easter Egg Hunts this Saturday.
This New York Mills Civic & Commerce event will be held on Saturday, April 19 at 10:30 a.m. at Smith Park, located next to the baseball field on Park Street in New York Mills. Registration begins at 10:15 a.m.
“The past couple of years, the egg hunt has been at the school due to earlier Easter dates, and therefore, colder and snowier conditions. This year, however, we are planning to return outside to the park,” said coordinator Amy Wallgren.
To keep egg hunting as fair as possible, children will be separated into three age categories for searching: infant-preschool, kindergarten-second grade and third-sixth grade.
The eggs for each of the groups will be hidden in different areas of the park.

Speaking at State

New York Mills High School freshman Leah Roberts reached a personal goal this past weekend when she made a trip to the state speech competition.
“I wasn’t expecting to go this year,” said Roberts, in an interview on Monday. The freshman was the lone NY Mills speech member to compete at state, after she placed second at the Section 6A meet two weeks ago.
Roberts competed in the Class A meet against 24 students, finishing in 14th place. She performed in Serious Prose Interpretation with her speech entitled: “This is my Audition Monologue” by Sara Zarr.
“It was very fun, very nerve racking,” said Roberts, who is the daughter of Mike and Kari Roberts.  read entire story. . . .

Council debates when to post committee meetings

A written request from the New York Mills Dispatch sparked an Open Meeting Law discussion during the NY Mills City Council meeting last week.
In accordance to Minnesota Statue 13D, the Dispatch requested to be notified of all special meetings, including committee meetings, three days prior to each meeting.
In the past, the council’s committees met when they had time and did not routinely post a meeting notice. Following their city attorney’s advice, the council decided they will only post meetings in which decisions or recommendation are being made, not for meetings that they deem informational.
The Dispatch argued that the Open Meeting Law applies to committees and should be upheld for all meetings for the benefit of the entire community.  read entire story. . . .

Ottertail developing Comprehensive Plan

The City of Ottertail is beginning the process of developing its first Comprehensive Plan. At the same time, the Ottertail City Council is developing economic development strategies and policies that will help guide future economic development in the city.
The Comprehensive Plan is a document giving guidance to the Ottertail City Council on how the citizens of Ottertail see the planned growth in the community, which goes hand in hand with economic development.  
Throughout this 10 month process, there will be many opportunities for public input through the use of newsletters, information on the city website, surveys and other forms of communication. One such opportunity will occur on April 29, at 6:30 p.m. when the city will host a public meeting for citizens to provide input about economic development and the comprehensive plan. This meeting will be held at the Ottertail Community Center.  read entire story. . . .

The ‘historic house’ battle continues

Darrel Nicholson attended the New York Mills City Council meeting last week to plead his case on the historical value of his home.
His small home, located on South Main Avenue in NY Mills, has been the source of complaints from neighbors. With numerous incidents of wild animals reported in the wooded area, outbuildings and home, the city council agreed to step in and demand changes from the owner.
Nicholson has replied to letters from the city, insisting the home has historical value. Thus instead of making it “habitable” like the city requested, Nicholson doesn’t want to do anything that might harm the original condition of the home. For example, the city ordered electricity to be hooked up, however Nicholson refuses to for historical reasons.  read entire story. . . .