Archive for News

Delano to be in flood warning through Sunday, Oct. 15

DELANO, MN – The National Weather Service in Chanhassen has issued a flood warning for the South Fork of the Crow River in Delano from 9 p.m. Monday, Oct. 9, through 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15.

At 8:30 a.m. Monday, the stage was 16 feet.

Flood stage is 16.5 feet.

The forecast calls for the river to rise above flood stage by Monday evening and continue to rise to near 17.6 feet by Wednesday morning. The river is expected to fall below flood stage by Saturday evening.

The crest is expected to be an October record, as the previous record of 16.53 feet was recorded in October of 2010, according to City Administrator Phil Kern.

At 18.4 feet, the southwest portion of Delano begins to experience flooding.

Delano High School ACT scores 10th best in state

DELANO, MN – The results are in, and Delano High School’s ACT scores ranked 10th in the state, beating the state and national averages.

DHS Principal Steve Heil shared the results with the school board Monday evening.

“From last year’s graduating class, our ACT average was 23.5, up from a 22.7 (in 2016),” Heil told the board. “To move almost a whole point, that’s a big deal. That’s a whole two points above the state average at 21.5. That’s 2.5 points above the national average.”

The two-point margin in 2017 was the largest lead for Delano in at least the past five years, and Heil called the accomplishment a big deal.

“There’s only 17 states that test all of their students, 100 percent. Minnesota is one of them,” Heil said, noting that Minnesota is first among states that test all students. “We know our school district ranks No. 10 in the state. When you put all that together, our students are going to do very well once they graduate high school and move on. That’s what that indicates.”

The ACT encompasses four subjects: English, mathematics, reading and science. Delano students scored highest in math, with an average score of 24.4 compared to 21.5 for the state.

In science, Delano students scored a 23.9 average, well above the state’s 21.6 mark. The district’s reading and English scores of 23.2 and 22, respectively, also exceeded the state’s scores of 21.8 and 20.4.

The ACT also measures college readiness, defining it as the number of students who score high enough in a given subject to indicate a 50-percent likelihood of earning at least a B in a corresponding college course, or a 75-percent chance of earning a C.

Overall, 43 percent of Delano students met the benchmark in all four ACT test areas, compared to 31 percent statewide and 27 percent nationally.

In individual categories, 80 percent of Delano students met the mark in English composition compared to 63 percent statewide, 71 percent of Delano students qualified in algebra compared to 48 percent statewide, 61 percent of local students qualified in social science compared to 50 percent statewide, and 59 percent of Delano students met the biology mark compared to 42 percent statewide.

Heil believes those numbers are a testament to the education students receive throughout their years at Delano Public Schools, not just in high school.

“That means that pre-K through 12th grade, we do an awesome job with our kids here in the district,” Heil said. “ . . . All these skills are taught preschool to 12th grade and we just build on them every year. The programming we offer, the curriculum we offer, all the extras we offer . . . we know that all combines to create really well rounded students and it’s going to show up places like the ACT scores.”

“We should be really proud,” Heil continued. “These are awesome scores and we’ll keep working with our students.”

Odds and ends

In other business, the board:

• approved the maximum proposed levy, which is set by the state. Not all categories of the current levy document are correct, and levying the maximum allows for updates to be made before the final levy certification during the Truth In Taxation meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 18, in the DHS media center.

• repealed Policy 411 regarding Voluntary Employees Benefit Association, which was specific to the voluntary high-deductible plan through the Minnesota Service Cooperatives and Blue Cross Blue Shield and does not apply to the plans offered through Public Employees Insurance Program. A new policy will be drafted in the future.

• approved a memorandum of understanding with Hennepin County related to foster care transportation. “If there’s a student in our district placed out of our district for foster care, we have the opportunity to engage with the county regarding transportation,” Superintendent Matt Schoen said.

• approved personnel matters, including lane increases for the following teachers who earned their master’s degree: Delano Elementary School kindergarten teacher Stacy Hegland, Delano Middle School social studies teacher Marjorie Miller, DES physical education teacher Derek Picha, and DES second-grade teacher Nathaniel Uselding.

• accepted more than $2,011 in donations from two entities.

• closed the meeting to discuss labor negotiations strategy.

WHPSD offers reward for information about missing signs

INDEPENDENCE, MN – West Hennepin Public Safety Department is offering a $200 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who stole or are in possession of multiple street signs belonging to the city of Independence.

In the past two years, numerous street signs and road marker signs have been stolen throughout the city.

Some of the signs include Stephanie Way, Dylan Way, Kutz Crossing, Anderson Estates Trail, and Copeland Road.

Anyone with information about these signs is encouraged to call WHPSD at (763) 479-0500.

The $200 cash reward is being offered from the crime prevention fund.

Delano couple hurt in motorcycle/SUV crash in Cokato

COKATO, MN – A Delano couple on a motorcycle was injured when they were hit by an SUV in Cokato Thursday, the Minnesota State Patrol reported.

David Yaeger, 80, and his 80-year-old passenger Judy Yaeger, were on a 1993 Honda Goldwing motorcycle, waiting at a stop light on Highway 12 at Broadway Street just before 11 a.m. The state patrol reported that they were rear-ended by a westbound 2006 Chevy Trailblazer.

The driver of the SUV, Joylyn Kay Watson, 57, of Dassel, was not injured.

The Yeagers were taken to the Hutchinson Health for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. They were both wearing helmets.

Delano City Council tackles storm water issues

DELANO, MN – Delano will spend about $65,745 to address storm water issues on three streets, and an additional $1,600 to address drainage issues in the back yard of 1402 Woods Creek Drive and neighboring properties.

Machtemes Construction, of Waconia, submitted the low bid of about $65,745 to address Woods Creek Drive, 808 Maple Wood Dr., and Shady Oak Circle. The projects had been prioritized, with the Maple Wood Drive and Shady Oak Circle projects bid as alternates, and the council opted to approve all three, with funding coming from the storm water fund.

Councilman Jason Franzen asked about the city’s history with Machtemes.

“They’ve done road work and utility work for us in the past,” City Administrator Phil Kern said. “We’ve had good experiences with them.”

Councilman Jon Sutherland asked if there was flexibility in the bid for more work to be completed if needed.

“If there’s something in the field we see, we can take advantage of the situation,” Assistant City Engineer Shawn Louwagie said. “We always build in a little cushion in these numbers. If we’re given an opportunity to improve something, we generally look at it.”

Kern said residents in the affected areas will be notified before the projects begin.

“I suspect they will be happy something is being done,” Kern said.

About five residents attended the meeting regarding the Woods Creek Drive backyard drainage issue.

After two options were explained, they voiced their support for the more extensive option.

That option will re-establish a swale and install a storm sewer through the nearby park with a structure placed at the low point to pick up the surface drainage.

Public works staff will complete the project.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• set the preliminary levy at 6.65 percent, which can be reduced before it is finalized Tuesday, Dec. 5, following a public hearing. The five-year forecast had called for a 7.6 percent levy increase, and the council had discussed a 7.9 percent levy increase in August. The difference is due to the city using a 98 percent tax collection rate in its calculations, which is more than the 96.5 percent collection rate that was planned to be used, but still less than the 99 percent collection rate that has been common for the city in recent years. City Finance Director Brian Bloch estimates that taxes will increase $30 or $40 for a $275,000 home, compared to his estimate of $110, had the 7.9 percent levy increase been approved. Council will discuss the budget further Tuesday, Oct. 24, and Tuesday, Nov. 28.

• authorized the installation of LED pedestrian-activated crossing signs at the intersection of First Street/Meadowlark Drive and Wright County Road 30. Delano will split the $12,000 expense with Wright County, and county crews will install the signs.

• approved a reduction in escrow for Wright Neighborhoods Fourth Addition in the amount of $93,000, leaving a balance of $83,000.

Citywide power outage explained

DELANO, MN – A citywide power outage that lasted about 70 minutes Monday afternoon has been explained.

“Xcel Energy lost communications to its Watertown substation this afternoon,” Delano Municipal Utilities General Manager Paul Twite said Monday evening. “When communications loss happens, switches are automatically opened for safety reasons.”

DMU immediately fired up its generating plant and had six engines operating and generating power within 30 minutes of the initial outage.

“Because these generating units are large diesel engines, the startup sequence is rather lengthy and requires some time to prepare and synchronize,” Twite said. “By the time we had units 1 through 6 online, Xcel crews were at the Watertown substation to re-engage and energize their feed to Delano.”

Xcel Energy had restored power to the feeder by 3:45 p.m.

A few other west-metro communities fed from the same substation, including Watertown, were also affected by the outage.

“DMU apologizes for any inconvenience created by this outage event and are strengthened in our determination to assist our friends and colleagues in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, where tens of thousands are without power for many days,” Twite said. “DMU is coordinated with Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association in Plymouth to offer mutual aid or supplies to other utilities in need.”