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It's been a busy August and September, said new Pierce County Food Pantry coordinator Trygve Aarsheim. This month's count is not complete, but the number of families using the pantry in August was 50 percent higher than in May. Given the economic times, volunteers expect the higher need will continue through the winter. The number of households that turned to the food pantry for emergency help increased from 128 in April to 172 in August.
A boy can now identify a dozen varieties of apples by sight. A girl learned to listen to nursing home residents. Youngsters learned responsibility by washing county trucks. Juveniles may go into Pierce County's community service program grumbling, but they gain new skills, make connections, work with adult role models and learn the joy of being useful and appreciated, said social workers. Juvenile justice worker Michelle Meinen tells of a girl assigned to assist a nursing home activities director. "What (the girl) got out of it was learning to listen to people.
On Nov. 4 Ellsworth School District residents will be asked to vote on two referenda. Adoption of one would allow the school district to exceed its state-mandated property tax limit by $900,000 for each of the next five years. Adoption of the other would allow the school district to borrow up to $2 million for a series of maintenance projects. The resolutions authorizing the referenda were adopted on a 6-0 vote of the school board Sept.
A former staff member says Pierce County Reproductive Health Services' new River Falls location is dangerous for clients. While agreeing the new office at 174 S.
The Martell Town Board is asking its residents for more money to improve and repair the town's roads. A referendum question on next Tuesday's town ballot asks voters for permission to increase Martell's 2009 spending on roads by $65,000. That would mean a tax increase of $166 per $100,000 of property value. State law limits town road spending to $5,000 per mile per year.
Last week, Pierce County Board members heard a closed-session report on raises for another labor group. The Community Health Association contract package--which includes pay raises and higher employee contributions for health insurance premiums--is set for approval by the board at its Tuesday, Sept. 23, meeting. Similar contracts for Human Services Department support staff, the courthouse union and Highway Department union were approved by the board earlier this summer. The new contract will give Health Association members two-percent raises retroactive to Jan.
A Minnesota woman died following a motorcycle accident in Pierce County Sunday. Nancy A. Winter, 29, Lino Lakes, Minn., was fatally injured when her cycle left the road on a curve on Hwy. 35 and hit a guardrail on the west side of the road, according to the Pierce County Sheriff's Department. Winter was thrown from the motorcycle. The accident, which occurred near 1220th Street in the town of Oak Grove, was reported at 2:56 p.m. Aug. 24. Winter was southbound. Assisting at the scene were the Ellsworth paramedic unit, Prescott Fire and Ambulance and county deputies.
A growing population and more emergency calls are overburdening a Pierce County dispatch center staffed with too few workers juggling the work of dispatcher and jailer, say local emergency personnel. "It's starting to affect public safety," said Jeff Rixmann, director of ambulance services for River Falls. He said Pierce County should add emergency dispatchers even if that means cutting other types of services. Sheriff's department administrators agree more dispatchers are needed.
Pierce County municipalities which used federal funds to buy mandated voting machines two years ago will have to shell out their own money for replacements this year. The new machines -- which have a touch screen, a control pad and a headset -- will cost $4,400 apiece.
A 10-year-old land development dispute will end with a phone call Thursday. Rather than take their chances with a jury, Pierce County Board members voted at about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday to pay $1.4 million to settle a lawsuit filed by Trumpeter Development LLC.