Minnesota ‘voice banking’ service preserves voices, service offered at MSU-Mankato

By |2018-08-12T10:11:40-05:00August 12th, 2018|

Some Minnesota residents who are losing their voice to disease or disability are recording their speech in a process known as "voice banking," which will provide them with a new synthetic voice when they can no longer speak. About 50 people statewide have banked their voices since 2016 mostly, at the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities and Duluth campuses. The recording service is also now offered at St. Cloud State University and Minnesota State University, Mankato. The universities don't charge for the service. Judy Bernhardt, who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease in November 2017, is among the residents banking their [...]

Blue Earth County to spend $1.6M over next three years to upgrade Tax System

By |2018-07-12T14:57:20-05:00July 12th, 2018|

Blue Earth County is investing in a new Tax System that will cost a total of 1.6-million dollars over the next three years for services and software that Officials say will lead to savings due to functional efficiencies. Director of Taxpayer Services Mike Stalberger says the public will see the greatest benefit from the new tax system. Director of Taxpayer Services Mike Stalberger. "They'll be able to receive all of that information, still in a very nice concise format. Then it's also gonna really benefit our staff. We can look at our processes that we currently have in place [...]

Blue Earth County, Mankato agree to add additional human resources to address needs

By |2018-07-11T23:44:17-05:00July 11th, 2018|

With a growing demand for Human Resource Management Services in Mankato and Blue Earth County, the two entities have agreed on expanding services. County Commissioners approved a staffing change to appoint Laura Elvebak to serve as Deputy Director and will supervise the Blue Earth County Human Resources Staff. The change also includes an increase in hours that the County receives from the City of Mankato, according to Blue Earth County Administrator Bob Meyer. Blue Earth County Administrator, Bob Meyer. "We've added a lot of staff over the last few years. The public labor law is getting more and more [...]

Bus services in North Mankato to potentially expand starting this summer

By |2018-06-05T13:20:51-05:00June 5th, 2018|

Plans are in the works to provide all-day bus services in North Mankato. Greater Mankato Transit System has received a grant to expand hours of operation through a one-year pilot program starting in July or August and running until June 30, 2019. The North Mankato City Council reviewed the plan with updated routes during its meeting on Monday night.  The Transit Development Plan estimates that the additional hours will lead to an increase of ten additional riders a day, according to Finance Director Kevin McCann. "There's been a lot of requests to expand that service as well as pair it with [...]

911 services restored in Brown County after outage on Monday

By |2018-06-04T14:10:31-05:00June 4th, 2018|

The Brown County Sheriff's Office reports that 9-1-1 landline service has been completely restored to five area communities. Shortly after 11 a.m., Officials reported an outage had occurred in Sleepy Eye, New Ulm, Hanska, Springfield and Sanborn areas.  The issue didn't affect cell phones. Telephone providers worked on the situation and services were fully restored around 1:30 p.m.

Officials break ground on expansion and renovation at River’s Edge in Saint Peter

By |2018-05-15T13:59:57-05:00May 15th, 2018|

Construction is officially underway on the 33.8-million dollar expansion and renovation of River's Edge Hospital and Clinic in Saint Peter. Officials broke ground on Tuesday morning at the site that will see a major overhaul. Saint Peter received a USDA Rural Development loan for the project that will add new beds, operating rooms and a new entrance. USDA State Director Brad Finstad says the project is needed and that economic development opportunities lie within a good healthcare system. "We can't be a bunch of communities of left out healthcare. You know we can't tell our people, drive 50, 80, 100, 200 miles [...]

Area School Districts still struggling with gap in funding to provide special education

By |2018-04-17T17:16:21-05:00April 17th, 2018|

Officials say the special education funding system in Minnesota is not keeping pace with rising cost to provide mandated services, resulting in major gaps in revenue and expenditures for many local districts. Special Education doesn't come cheaply, which is why the federal government in the 1970's mandated that 40-percent of the additional cost be funded, but it has never lived up to that threshold. ISD 77 Superintendent, Sheri Allen. As for the gap in the Mankato District, Special Education is underfunded by 5.9-million dollars a year due to only receiving 18-percent to cover costs, according to Superintendent Sheri Allen. [...]

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