Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Car Crashes Into Sign

A Woodbury, Minnesota woman may have suffered a seizure before her SUV demolished a pumpkin stand and then crashed into the sign at the Kum & Go in Baldwin, officials at the scene said last Friday. She was taken from the scene by ambulance and then transferred by air ambulance to St. Paul. Both air bags deployed in the vehicle, but she was the only occupant.

Northern Metal Fab To Celebrate 20th Anniversary

Bev and Mark Lightfoot are pictured outside the Northern Metal Fabricators, Inc. facility in Baldwin's industrial park. The company will observe its 20th anniversary with an open house Saturday from 10:30 to 2:30 featuring tours and refreshments.

Northern Metal Fabricators, Inc. was founded 20 years ago and to mark the occasion will host an open house on Saturday, September 22 from 10:30 until 2:30 for employees and their families and community members. The open house will include tours of the facility in the Baldwin industrial park at 510 Vande Berg Street as well as refreshments.

"We're happy to invite folks in so they can see what we do here," said Human Resources and Safety Manager Dan Bushman. "People who like to see how things get made will think this is heaven."

The company was founded in 1987 in North Hudson. In 1991 owner Mark Lightfoot moved the company to a new 23,000 square foot facility in the Baldwin industrial park. The size of the facility has since grown to 71,000 square feet. "We've grown as Baldwin has grown," said Bushman.

Currently the company employs 75 to 80 people.

"We are a metal fabrication job shop specializing in large tanks and equipment for the environmental industry," said Bushman. He said about 70% of Northern Metal Fabricators' customers are companies that engineer pollution control systems, which are mostly regional, but some across the country. The company has also sent products to Alaska and China.

Vandals Responsible For Power Outage

St. Croix Electric Cooperative, Hammond, is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the persons responsible for a major power outage Thursday morning, September 13.

According to Co-op CEO, Mark Pendergast vandals cut through the locking system on a high voltage transmission line switch near River Falls at 12:20 a.m. The switch was opened, resulting in a power outage for 3,500 Co-op customers for 90 minutes. The blackout stretched from north of River Falls to the Somerset area.

The River Falls Police Department is investigating the incident along with the transmission security division of Dairyland Power Cooperative, owner operator of the high voltage transmission line network serving the Co-op.

Pendergast said operating the high voltage switch under load was a brazen criminal act and is being reported to the Department of Homeland Security. Anyone with information about the persons responsible for this incident are asked to contact the River Falls Police Department.

Closing TIFs Will Result In Excess Funds Distribution

Several taxing jurisdictions will be receiving a pleasant surprise soon.

The Village of Baldwin has closed two TIF districts-numbers one and three-and there are excess funds in each of them. So the taxing jurisdictions that didn't receive the "increments" in taxes due to the increased valuation in the district during their lives, will receive the excess fund that were collected over expenses. The excess funds will be apportioned based on the average of the municipality's share of tax collections.

TIF district one was created for the village's original industrial park. TIF district three was an overlay of district one with some additional territory.

That is a pretty hefty amount in some cases.

From district one, St. Croix County will receive $49,897; the B-W School District will receive $126,800; VTAE district will receive $14,564; and the Village of Baldwin will receive $91,597.
From district three, St. Croix County will receive $52,931; B-W will receive $156,740; VTAE will receive $18,685; and the Village of Baldwin $119,115.

Each district will retain $5,000 for a final audit.

Sean Lentz of the financial consulting firm of Ehlers and Associates said the excess funds reflects the success of the districts. "They paid off their costs and they have excess funds so they are paying it out. This reflects that those districts did very well over the years." Lentz also commented on the process of forming a new TIF district for the development at the southeast of the I-94/USH 63 interchange. He said the joint review board had been scheduled for last Thursday and that will be followed by state certification. Because the district includes some of the land in the development on the southwest quadrant of the interchange, it will generate some income right away.

United Way Kicks Off Fundraising Campaign

United Way St. Croix Valley launched its 2007 Fundraising Campaign at a Rotary Club of New Richmond luncheon on September 10. Other campaign kick-off events will occur at the Hudson Chamber of Commerce Spotlight at Kilkarney Hills Golf Club in River Falls and at area businesses.

United Way St. Croix Valley has named four local couples as this year's Campaign Chairs. The campaign chairs are: Mike and Carla O'Connell, Baldwin; John and Rose Knutson, Hudson; Jim and Carol De Young, New Richmond; and Phil and Mary Betzel, River Falls.

"The United Way has been a cornerstone for many organizations," claims Baldwin area co-chair Mike O'Connell. Mike has seen the results of United Way grants firsthand many times as a volunteer with ambulance services and fire departments. Carla O'Connell praised the United Way for their steadfast support of organizations such as the St. Croix Family Resource Center where Carla is a board member. Carla feels that "without the United Way, many not-for-profit organizations would not be able to provide their services. They are the backbone for those in need!"

"We are grateful that our community chairs are lending their voices to help us spread the word about everything that United Way is doing to strengthen Pierce and St. Croix Counties," said Board Chair Jim Dahl. John Coughlin, Executive Director put it this way, "This United Way is committed to ending hunger, making sure that people have a place to live and ensuring that our children are ready to succeed in school. Those are big goals but we are making progress. No kid should need to worry about when they'll eat or where they're going to sleep and every family should have the support that they need to help their children be prepared for school," he continued.

Governor Jim Doyle has designated the months of September and October 2007 as United Way months in Wisconsin in recognition of the start of fall campaigns by United Ways throughout the state. His proclamation emphasizes the role of United Ways in Wisconsin as a primary provider of funding to measurably improve lives and build stronger, healthier communities. Doyle is urging Wisconsin citizens to contribute generously.

United Way St. Croix Valley has set a campaign goal of $1,175,000 and will raise funds September 10 through November 16. The annual campaign will fund the United Way initiatives and six dozen agency programs supporting our communities. This year's Campaign Chairs urge everyone to become involved in volunteering and donating. Interested persons should call United Way at 715-377-0203 or visit the website at www.unitedwaystcroix.org.

Zamboni Gets A Facelift

The Zamboni at the United Civic Center will truly represent the Blackhawks after a facelift donated by Wynveen Auto Body. The Zamboni was painted in Blackhawk colors, including a hockey stick and Blackhawk logo. Jeff Hellendrung, owner of Wynveen Auto Body, said the new paint job represents about 40 man hours.