Lippert helps with the passage of the Ag invoice for soil protection; Hillmann says cutting school budget “is never easy”; Archer House bricks for sale on Saturday

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On Monday, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed a bill that will help improve soil health, protect pollinators, cover

Representative Todd Lippert

crop development and new opportunities for farmers’ market vendors. The bill includes investments in small-scale meat cutters and processors, support for hunger relief, financial aid for emerging farmers, and more.

The bill will fund grants to develop continuous living cover crops and cropping systems – which are soil and water friendly – ​​including Kernza. It also includes more than $24 million for soil health research to help farmers who want to do more to protect the environment.

Rep. Todd Lippert, who was a lead sponsor of the bill, told the House during its review that promoting healthy soil practices would benefit Minnesota farmers no matter the weather.

“Protect the soil from erosion. Helping more water seep into our soil. Help reduce flooding in communities. And help reduce the need for irrigation in times of drought. While it’s cold and wet here, where farmers struggle to get into the ground, my hometown in northwest Iowa is currently experiencing dust storms. And practicing soil health will help both in times of drought and in times of flood.

The bill continues efforts to increase opportunities for small-scale meat and poultry processors and create new career paths in the field through grant funding to meat processing facilities, meat-cutting programs MinnState Meat and other secondary career and technical education programs. And, to help prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease and protect Minnesota’s wild deer population, the bill includes a moratorium on new whitetail deer farms.

Hillmann comments on district budget cuts

Northfield Schools Superintendent Dr Matt Hillmann has made his first comments on the proposed budget cuts to be implemented

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Matt Hillmann

over the next two school years, after officially presenting them to the school board on Monday evening.

Hillmann said the district’s budget is being cut for the first time in a decade for two basic reasons. One is that the district expects enrollment to decline by about 400 students over the next 8 to 10 years.

“Seventy percent of our budget is based on the number of students enrolled in our schools,” he said, referring to the funding the district receives from the state each year. “A smaller number of registrations means less money.”

The other reason why the budget needs to be cut, he said, is also related to funding coming from the state.

“For thirty years,” Hillmann said at the Monday night meeting, “the amount of funding provided by the state of Minnesota has not kept up with inflation. And just to use an example of the fall in funding from education on the priority list, last year lawmakers increased the general formula by 2.45% and called it a historic increase, but 2.45% would not keep up with inflation in a year normal, let alone a year when inflation is at 8%.

“Education in the state has been chronically underfunded.”

He went on to say that if the state keeps its promise to fund special education for school districts across the state, which would cost $781 million a year when there is a record $9 billion budget surplus. $5 million would go to the district, and could wipe out the $4.5 million in cuts currently underway.

Hillmann said it’s never easy to cut a school’s budget. The board heard from several district residents who were advocating for programs and teachers they don’t want to lose. He said he would be “much more upset” if no one had come to the meeting to plead. This shows how committed the community is to the education of its young people, which sets the Northfield School District apart.

“I deeply regret that we have to take these measures. It’s frankly hurtful, but we managed our money as well as we could for as long as we could, and we got through it just fine. But we need to take these steps now with a sense of urgency, to avoid having a financial emergency. We are stewards of this gem of a school district, and we will ensure that it is sustainable in the future.

The district will host a forum Tuesday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Northfield Middle School for further public comment.

Jeff Johnson’s full conversation with Dr. Matt Hillmann can be heard here

The Historical Society will sell Archer House bricks to help maintain the Scriver Building.

The Northfield Historical Society will begin selling the bricks that once made up the front facade of the Archer House on Saturday. the proceeds from the sale of what was once Northfield’s most prestigious historic building will go towards the restoration and maintenance of what is arguably Northfield’s most significant historic building: the Scriver Building.

Cathy Osterman, executive director of the Historical Society, said each of the bricks for sale bears the familiar red paint that was a standout feature of the Archer house. She said they had half-size and full-size bricks priced at $10 and $20 respectively. They will also sell sets of three bricks for $50 and seven bricks for $100.

Osterman expressed his gratitude to Rebound Partners who approached the Historical Society and offered to donate the bricks.

“They approached us,” she said. “It was their idea to turn this into a fundraiser, and we are so grateful to them.”

Funds raised will help the Historical Society maintain the Scriver Building in good condition. The building is not only the location of the historical society museum, archives and offices, but it also, of course, houses the bank that the James-Younger gang tried to rob in 1876. Osterman said that ‘they had recently brought in an architectural firm to do a condition assessment of the building. The firm found that not only are historic buildings difficult to maintain, simply due to the age of the building and the propensity of systems over 100 years old to decay, but they are also expensive to repair. .

“It’s breathtaking to see how much there is to do and how much more needs to be done to keep this building as the centerpiece and center [of the Historic Downtown District] and ensure it is there for the next twenty generations.

Osterman said at this point they will not be able to reserve bricks for sale later, nor ship them at this time. They will be sold on a first come, first served basis.

The sale will begin on Saturday morning and will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Jeff Johnson’s full conversation with Northfield Historical Society Executive Director Cathy Osterman can be heard here

Rich Larson is KYMN’s News Director. Contact him at [email protected]

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