Local News Headlines – Tuesday, April 7

THE COTTONWOOD COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS WILL HOLD A REGULAR MEETING AT 9:00 THIS MORNING AT THE COUNTY COURTHOUSE IN WINDOM.    THE BOARD WILL CONSIDER AN APPLICATION FOR A CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT FOR RED ROCK RURAL WATER.  THEY WILL ACCEPT A RETIREMENT NOTICE FROM THE CHIEF DEPUTY SHERIFF.   THE PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR WILL REVIEW BIDS FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW CELL AT THE COUNTY LANDFILL.  A DISCUSSION WILL BE HELD ON HOW THE BUDGET MAY BE IMPACTED BY THE COVID-19 VIRUS OUTBREAK.  THE COUNTY ATTORNEY WILL DISCUSS THE EMERGENCY SICK-LEAVE ACT.  SOME OTHER PERSONNEL BUSINESS WILL BE HANDLED. 
 
A MEETING OF THE JACKSON COUNTY BOARD WILL TAKE PLACE AT 9:00 THIS MORNING IN THE CAFETERIA ROOM OF THE COUNTY RESOURCE CENTER.   THE BOARD WILL CONSIDER A MOTION TO HIRE AN ASSISTANT COUNTY ATTORNEY AND SET THE STARTING SALARY FOR THE POSITION.  THE BOARD MAY AUTHORIZE THE PERSONNEL COMMITTEE TO TAKE ACTION ON FILLING THE POSITION OF COUNTY ASSESSOR.  FURTHER DISCUSSION WILL BE HELD ON THE COVID-19 VIRUS INCLUDING MITIGATION EFFORTS, CONTINUITY OF OPERATIONS, AND CONCERNS FROM VARIOUS DEPARTMENTS.  THE BOARD MAY GO INTO CLOSED SESSION TO DISCUSS OFFERS FOR THE PURCHASE OF REAL ESTATE. 
 
THE MURRAY COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS MEETS AT 8:30 THIS MORNING AT THE COUNTY GOVERNMENT CENTER IN SLAYTON.   THE BOARD WILL DISCUSS LIQUOR LICENSE RENEWALS AND REFUNDS.  A PRELIMINARY PLAT WILL BE PRESENTED FOR A HOUSING DEVELOPMENT.  THE BOARD WILL REVIEW AN APPLICATION FOR A CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT.  BIDS WILL BE OPENED FOR ROAD MAINTENANCE AND STRIPING PROJECTS.   THERE WILL BE AN UPDATE ON AN ENGINEERING STUDY FOR COUNTY HIGHWAY 13.  THE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT WILL PRESENT ITS ANNUAL REPORT.  THERE WILL BE AN UPDATE ON THE COUNTY’S RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 VIRUS.  
 
THE WINDOM CITY COUNCIL MEETS AT 6:30 THIS EVENING.   THERE WILL BE A REPORT ON THE RE-FINANCING OF BONDS FOR THE TELE-COMM SYSTEM.   THE COUNCIL WILL DISCUSS AN UPCOMING BOND SALE TO FINANCE THE 2020 STREET PROJECT.  BIDS FOR THE STREET PROJECT WILL BE REVIEWED AND CONTRACTS MAY BE AWARDED.  A DECISION WILL NEED TO BE MADE ON THE 6TH AVENUE PORTION OF THE PROJECT.  ACTION MAY BE TAKEN TO POSTPONE THE CITY-WIDE CLEANUP PROGRAM.  THE COUNCIL MAY AUTHORIZE THE CITY ATTORNEY TO SEEK A COURT ORDER FOR THE CLEAN-UP OF A PUBLIC NUISANCE ON MILLER AVENUE.  MEMBERS WILL BE APPOINTED TO THE HOSPITAL BOARD. 
 
A NUMBER OF LOCAL HIGHWAY PROJECTS ARE BEING PLANNED FOR THE 2020 CONSTRUCTION SEASON.    MINN-DOT HAS ANNOUNCED PLANS FOR 188 ROAD AND BRIDGE PROJECTS THIS YEAR.  ROAD CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS ARE EXEMPT FROM THE GOVERNOR’S COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS.   PROJECTS PLANNED FOR SW MN INCLUDE MORE RESURFACING ON I-90 BETWEEN FAIRMONT AND BLUE EARTH; RESURFACING HIGHWAY 71 FROM JACKSON TO WINDOM, WITH A DETOUR; RESURFACING HIGHWAY 71 FROM WINDOM NORTH TO HIGHWAY 30; RESURFACING HIGHWAY 30 FROM WESTBROOK EAST TO HIGHWAY 71; AND RESURFACING HIGHWAY 91 FROM ADRIAN NORTH TO RUSSELL.    
 
THE COVID-19 VIRUS OUTBREAK HAS PROMPTED COMPARISONS TO THE FLU EPIDEMIC OF 1918 & 1919.   LOCAL HISTORIAN AND AUTHOR JANELLE KAYE WROTE AN ARTICLE ABOUT THE FLU FOR THE MN STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY.   UP TO 50-MILLION PEOPLE WORLD-WIDE DIED OF THE FLU IN A ONE-YEAR PERIOD FROM THE SPRING OF 1918 TO THE SPRING OF 1919.  IT’S ESTIMATED THAT 675-THOUSAND PEOPLE DIED IN THE UNITED STATES.  IN MINNESOTA, THERE WERE 10-THOUSAND DEATHS INCLUDING 72 RESIDENTS OF COTTONWOOD COUNTY.  IT’S BELIEVED THAT 16 RESIDENTS OF COTTONWOOD COUNTY DIED OF THE FLU WHILE SERVING IN THE MILITARY.      
 
IT APPEARS THE WINTER OF 2019-20 WAS MUCH MILDER THAN RECENT YEARS.    ASSUMING NO SNOW IN APRIL, TOTAL SNOWFALL IN WINDOM FOR THE WINTER SEASON CAME TO 37.5”.   BY COMPARISON, WINDOM RECEIVED 72.4” OF SNOW DURING THE WINTER OF 2018-19 AND 79.1” OF SNOW FELL DURING THE WINTER SEASON OF 2017-18.  OVER THE LAST 20 YEARS, AVERAGE SNOWFALL IN WINDOM IS 47.5”.   TEMPERATURES WERE ALSO MILDER.  DURING THE WINTER SEASON, WINDOM HAD 21 DAYS WITH BELOW-ZERO TEMPERATURES – COMPARED TO 36 DAYS WITH BELOW-ZERO READINGS IN THE WINTER OF 2018-19.   THE COLDEST TEMPERATURE WAS 15-BELOW ZERO ON FEBRUARY 13TH & 14TH.