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Distracted driving nothing to mock

Although there were no real consequences during the Mock Crash last week in New York Mills, the program emphasizes the serious replications of bad choices when behind the wheel.  NY Mills Police and Fire Department responded to the Mock Crash and played out the scene just as they would on a real call. Tri-County Ambulance and a helicopter were also on scene to transport seriously injured victims. The driver, who admitted to texting behind the wheel, was arrested for distracted driving. Minnesota State Patrol Sergeant Jesse Grabow told the students after the crash: “It comes down to the choices that we make each and every time.” Participating students (Slade Kangas, Sidney Imsande, Lydia Rutten, Sam Salo, August Johnson-Ding and Sheena Ramsay) urged their classmates to take the message to heart. Ramsay (pictured right) said, “Keep your phones away, it’s not worth it.” A Mock Crash is held in town every three years. Dan’s Towing and Repair set up the crash scene.  read entire story. . . .

NYM levy may go up 8.7 percent

For the first time in several years, the New York Mills City Council approved a preliminary levy increase of 8.74 percent. The total for both debt and general fund levy is $440,400.  
Even with this increase, if the 2016 budget is passed as presented, there will be a net loss in the general account of $1,460.  City Clerk Darla Berry said the goal is to fine-tune the budget over the next month in order to lower the levy or at least reverse the expected net loss.
The primary reason for the net loss was the decrease in hours the Deer Creek City Council requested for police services. NY Mills budget was counting on 40 hours a month at $25,000 per year. The Deer Creek Council agreed to spend a little under $20,000 per year, agreeing to cut police services down to 30 hours a month. This $5,600 revenue decrease flipped the city’s net gain of $4,000 to a net loss of $1,400.
The proposed budget does have some wiggle room.  The process the city has been using for several year sets money aside for future expenses. For example, the city hall roof will need to be replaced in three to five years. Therefore, the budget shows a $10,000 set aside that will not actually be spent this year. This process has worked well for the city in the past, as it has made large purchases such as the police cars. Although no decisions were made, the council agreed to look at possibly reducing the set asides for next year, in order to reduce the budget.  read entire story. . . .

Trees lost during street project to be replaced

When all is said and done, Gilman Street and Tousley Avenue should have more trees than before this year’s street project.  Although construction crews will tear down 24 trees in preparation for street improvements, the plan includes planting up to 35 new trees next spring.
“As a general rule we preserve as many trees as possible, so long as they do not jeopardize the investment in the new improvements,” said Jon Pratt, an engineer from Apex Engineering Group.
The street project design calls for 10 trees to be removed on Gilman Street, 10 on Tousley Avenue, one on Main Avenue, one on Nowell Street and two on Cornwell Avenue. This number is actually lower than originally anticipated. Throughout the project, trees are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. A handful of trees that were marked with a pink ribbon indicating their need to be removed, have been pulled from the cut list after a closer look at the root structure.
Trees are removed for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the trees are simply in the way.
“If the service lines are under or near the tree, we typically need to remove the tree to facilitate the replacement of service lines,” said Pratt.
In other cases, tree root systems have actually caused damage to the underground infrastructure. On-site Apex Engineer Michael Weber said there was one case that a tree root was wrapped so tightly around an underground gas line that it caused the line to compress. Tree roots have also pushed into sewer lines causing blockages. The roots squeeze through seams in the pipe and continue to grow within the pipe itself. Weber said in the past some homeowners have had to call professionals to clean out blockages in the sewer lines that were caused by roots.  read entire story. . . .

School board approves Mock Trial

For the first time, New York Mills High School will participate in the Mock Trial program.
At last week’s school board meeting, the program was approved with the agreement that the school will absorb any costs to the program, which are estimated to be between $3-4,000. Instead of scrambling to determine a participation fee, the board agreed that students can join free of charge this year. Costs include a salary for the coach and transportation costs for students
First year teacher Tim Fresonke has agreed to coach the program and even brings state-level experience to the table. When he attended Perham High School, Fresonke and his Mock Trial team competed at the state level three times. Attorney Amy Mursu of Lakeview Trust and Estate Law in Ottertail, has also agreed to volunteer as a consultant for the team.
Currently, 14 students expressed an interest in participating, most of which are juniors and seniors. This number is enough for two teams. Participating schools can have numerous teams.
Unlike many activities in high school, Mock Trial is not a Minnesota State High School league activity. Instead it’s a program supported by the Minnesota Bar Association.
In October, the bar association will release this year’s court case to all Mock Trial teams. All teams will need to be prepared to argue both the defense and the prosecuting sides of the case. Throughout the fall, teams prepare opening and closing arguments, direct examinations, cross examinations and incorporating exhibits into the trial.
Teams compete within their region in real courtrooms, in front of county judges. Each team is guaranteed two matches. One team from each district competes at state, where one team from Minnesota will advance to the national level.
Just as the trap shooting program was sponsored by community organizations in its beginning year, the school board is hoping similar sponsors will come forward to help the Mock Trial program have a successful start.  read entire story. . . .

Motto contest underway in NY Mills

New York Mills needs a motto. An original slogan. A memorable quote.
A few artfully arranged words that capture everything the town is and hopes to be.
And who better than members of the NY Mills community to take a crack at writing it?
The NY Mills Civic & Commerce, along with support from the city and school, is holding the NY Mills Motto Contest. Those who work, live or play in NY Mills are encouraged to submit a motto for consideration by Friday, Oct. 23. The writer of the winning motto will receive $50 in Mills Marks.
In 2008, it was through community ideas that the NY Mills water tower received a new and creative design. With this same concept in mind, the C&C asks everyone to submit original concepts today.
The week of Oct. 26 a committee will consider all mottos. The goal is to find a single motto that describes the community of NY Mills. The motto may be used in future marketing projects.
Upon submission, writers are giving permission to the NY Mills C&C, the city, the school and any other marketing campaign to use the motto. Prize money can be used at any NY Mills business.  read entire story. . . .