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Filling Salo’s shoes

Just one month into his new job as the New York Mills Public Works Director, Kyle Mattson has fixed a broken water main, a lift station and helped deal with a Minnesota Pipeline Safety Inspection.
Working alongside his coworkers in the city utility department, especially with longtime Public Works Director Roger Salo before his retirement early next year, is something Mattson feels thankful for.
“I don’t think I could learn from any better people,” said Mattson. “I was pretty fortunate to get an interview and second interview. It helped to have a background with waste water industry.”
Though Mattson comes to the city with strong background in waste water systems and electrical work, just having the opportunity to experience the myriad of details involved in a city utility system is the best way to learn.
Although an unexpected and rare occurrence, when the water main broke on Lawrence Street a couple weeks back, it proved to be good training ground for Mattson. He also dealt with a late evening water alarm, which showed a lift station experiencing problems. Annual duties such as inspecting gas lines, jetting sewer lines and flushing hydrants were also done in his first month. Finally, Mattson had a taste of the necessary steps to stay in compliance with the state when he helped organize files for an impromptu Minnesota Pipeline   Safety Inspection, which the city passed.
Mattson is an electrician by trade. For the past 15 years, he worked for Mark’s Electric, Inc. in Detroit Lakes as a Journeyman Electrician. During his career, his main responsibilities included electrical work for water and waste water treatment projects, including lift stations. In doing so, Mattson developed a firm understanding of how these systems work, which proved beneficial to him during the hiring process.  read entire story. . . .

Poet settles in for 5 week retreat

In her second consecutive art residency, Staci Schoenfeld of Illinois has settled into the Cultural Center’s art retreat house in New York Mills. Recently graduating with her Master’s of Fine Arts from Southern Illinois University, Schoenfeld decided to take a year and hop from residency to residency.
Throughout September, she enjoyed a program in New York. Then on Oct. 13, Schoenfeld arrived in NY Mills for a five-week stay. At the end of November, the poet will leave NY Mills and head off to another retreat in Illinois.
The small yellow art retreat house on South Main Avenue has been a highlight so far in Schoenfeld’s stay: “That house is amazing. I love the house, I love it,” said Schoenfeld. “I wish more towns would do something like this.”
A long-standing artist tradition is to leave traces of themselves directly on the walls. There’s photos, sketches, stories and quotes, just to name a few. In her first addition to the current collection, Schoenfeld added the words “fear” and “doubt” to a quote that had previously been stenciled on the wall – “There is no time for frustration. Only momentum.”
For her though, there is no time for fear and doubt, only momentum.
In fact, moving past doubt and fear is the concept in Schoenfeld’s upcoming workshop. On Nov. 8, everyone is invited to meet this young poet at the Cultural Center between 10 a.m.-1 p.m. During this informal pop-in workshop, Schoenfeld will introduce visitors to erasure poetry, an activity she uses to remove fear and make writing fun.  read entire story. . . .

Third annual NYM Trunk-or-Treat

For a safe trick-or-treating atmosphere, plan to take part in the third annual New York Mills Trunk-or-Treat. Held on Halloween from 4:30-7 p.m., the Otter Tail County Building parking lot will be a one-stop candy shop for costumed children.
At press time, there were nine groups expected to take part including the NY Mills Police and Fire Department and many area businesses. Last year, there were more than 400 children that trick-or-treated at a dozen cars parked in the lot.
Organizer Josh Hoaby said, “We can always use more cars and more candy.” Any group that would like to take part can either call Hoaby at 385-3718 or they can simply show up. Candy donations are also welcome.

Juvenile center widens area to serve to meet financial needs

The West Central Regional Juvenile Center in Moorhead provides needed services for Otter Tail County and nine other area counties. Meeting financial obligations has been a challenge in recent years.
However, the addition of Cass County in North Dakota as part of the mix for the juvenile center is not only seen as a way to ensure sound financial footing. The move may also lesson the financial burden for Otter Tail County and other counties.
Currently, Otter Tail County’s contract with the juvenile center calls for reserving an average of 2.5 beds per day. This equates to $16,562.50 per month or $198,750 on an annual basis.
Starting Jan. 1, 2015, Cass County will reserve an average of 6.5 beds per day.
“This is good news. Hopefully, starting in 2016, we’ll be able to see reduced bed costs for the participating counties,” said Charles Kitzman, Otter Tail County Probation Director.
Kitzman said that with Cass County coming on board there will be some additional up-front costs, including the addition of four new employees along with the purchase of a second transport vehicle.
“Hopefully the 2015 calendar year will go well for the juvenile center,” he said, “and that Otter Tail and other counties will derive some benefits the following year.”
A typical case in Otter Tail County would be if law enforcement responded to a juvenile delinquency offense. A police officer and/or probation officer would determine the need for securing the child at the juvenile center, on a temporary basis.
The juvenile center in Moorhead would transport the juvenile to his or her first court hearing at the courthouse in Fergus Falls. The judge would determine if the juvenile could return home or be returned to the facility in Moorhead for continued placement.  read entire story. . . .

Never.Give.Up. donates $8,678 for suicide prevention education

After pulling in more than $13,000 at the first Never.Give.Up. 5k held in September, the new non-profit group wrote a check for $8,678 to the New York Mills School, after deducting its expenses.  The school board officially accepted the donation Monday night.

High School Principal Michelle Young said of the donation: “This generous donation has been donated to the school to use as a means to support anti-suicide education and to implement this through programs and curriculum. We do not need to spend all of the donation this year, but at our discretion. We have not yet determined exactly what will be implemented, but will have a committee of which we will collaborate with Never.Give.Up.  Together we will decide appropriate programming that meets the needs of our students here at NY Mills Public School.”
 read entire story. . . .