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Lack of winter tops local news ...
March 29, 2012 - Lee Smith
The biggest local news story of the first quarter of 2012 probably had to be the story that wasn’t: Namely, the complete lack of a winter season. Unseasonably mild weather was enjoyed by most people, although some missed the snow and ice. Such as the Icekahana festival in Fairmont involving snommobile races. It had to be canceled.
In other top news in the first quarter:
The city of Fairmont instituted a $25 fine for parking more than two hours downtown. The two-hour limit extends to side streets, and downtown workers, renters, visitors and shop owners have been weighing the benefits of the fines versus the problems they cause.
In Blue Earth, a man was killed in a home invasion that also saw a mom and two of her daughters suffer severe injuries. Brian Daniel Freeman, 29, of Ceylon has been charged in the case.
Fairmont Area Schools received support from the local ag community, to the tune of $300,000 for a three-year ag program. The deal was completed when enough students registered for ag classes.
The Fairmont City Council approved hiring Mike Humpal as its next city administrator. Humpal has been serving as community development director and has been groomed for the job. Some council members wanted to interview others for the job, but were overruled. The city risked losing its top management team had Humpal not received the promotion. Hiring Humpal saves the city about $140,000 annually through combining staff duties.
Fairmont’s summer festival, Interlaken Heritage Days, announced it would no longer be held, due to a lack of volunteers. But the announcement prompted new volunteers to step forward to revive the fest.
Truman re-hired police officer Mike Schutz after a labor dispute involving Schutz’s status as a veteran. He was returned to his full-time position, with some City Council members going so far as to apologize for the way the situation was handled.
In late March, the movie theater in Fairmont — Five Lakes Cinema — announced it would close July 31 unless it can raise $400,000 to buy new digital projectors, since the industry is phasing out 35mm film as the medium for movies. The local theater was hoping local donors would step forward to help with the costs.
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