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Hillmann discusses safety drills with School Board; City of Dundas sets preliminary budget; New DJJD Ambassadors crowned | #schoolsaftey

As a part of the new school year, during the Northfield School Board on Monday night Northfield Superintendent of Schools Dr. Matt Hillmann went over the different school safety drills that will be employed through the year, stressing the idea that the best way to prevent any sort of problem is to prepare for it. If the students know how to handle themselves in an emergency, he said, that can prevent a serious situation from becoming a tragedy. 

Hillmann went through the basic fire drills that will happen periodically throughout the year, as well as the Shelter in Place drill for when a tornado is in the area. 

He then talked about the two different types of lockdown drills the district will employ. The first is what he called the “Stay Put” drill, which is used in case of a medical emergency and, more than anything, helps to ensure the privacy of someone in a medical crisis. 

“If we have a student who’s had a medical incident or maybe we have a student who’s really been struggling and just needs some dignity as they get themselves back together into their classroom.  It’s just stay where you are, let’s clear out whatever the circumstance is and then we move on with our day.” 

The second lockdown drill, which is called “Duck and Cover,” would be used in case of an intruder in the school, which would include an active shooter. Hillmann said there are several different safety measures in place. Classroom doors can be locked from the inside to prevent someone from getting in, and teachers know how to keep students out of the line of sight from outside the classroom. Each school office also has a lockdown button which locks all the building’s exterior doors and dials 911. 

All of these drills, he said, are in place to prevent panic and to keep the students as safe as possible. 

“I think we all know that when we can practice something a couple of times, if we are ever to have to really engage in it, we at least have some knowledge of the processes and procedures. It’s no different than when the captain comes on an airplane and says, “Hey, in the case of this unlikely situation, here is what you do with that flotation device under your seat. We’re just preparing for things that we hope never happen.” 

There are new laws that were passed by the state legislature this spring regarding these safety drills. One requires families to be notified 24 hours in advance of the Duck & Cover drill to allow for a parent to opt their child out. Hillmann said there are also protocols in place to protect students’ mental health. 

Jeff Johnson’s full conversation with Northfield Superintendent of Schools Dr. Matt Hillmann can be heard here 

Dundas budget will increase by slightly more than 10% 

The Dundas City Council met on Monday night and set the city’s preliminary budget for 2024. Dundas City Administrator Jenelle Teppen said the budget will increase in 2024 by about $150,000, however the City Council did not increase the tax rate. Therefore, she said, any increase to Dundas taxpayers will only come based on an increase to property values. 

Teppen said there are reasons for the increase to the city budget. The Public Works Department has decided to bring all of the lawn maintenance on public property in-house, rather than outsourcing the service. Teppen said the budget includes two large commercial lawn mowers and money for two seasonal, part-time staffers to handle the job. 

And finally, the Council Chambers in the new City Hall is in need of a microphone and amplification system, and that has been put into the budget as well. With that said, however, there are no plans to buy technology and equipment that would allow the city to livestream City Council meetings. While the practice is commonplace for most municipalities at this point, Teppen said there simply is no demand for that sort of service from the community. 

“Right now, we don’t even have people that come to regular council meetings. Nobody has raised any issue with any Council members, or with city staff regarding wanting any kind of video capabilities of city meetings. It is very expensive, and it requires staff time too, and we have a pretty small staff.” 

Teppen did say that many of the city consultants attend council meetings via Zoom, and at this point it is difficult for anyone except for the members of the council to hear what the consultants would have to say. There might, then, be some conversation about offering meetings via Zoom link as a small step toward offering meetings online. 

Jeff Johnson’s full conversation with Dundas City Administrator Jenelle Teppen can be heard here 

Jorgensen, Sorem, Nelson named new DJJD Ambassadors 

The 2024 DJJD Ambassadors

On Sunday night, during the final event of the Defeat of Jesse James Days, three new celebration ambassadors, Erica Jorgensen, Danica Sorem and Rylee Nelson, and two Junior Ambassadors, Andrew Jorgensen and Olivia Malecha, were named to represent Northfield and the Defeat of Jesse James Days in communities throughout the state for the next year. 

A statement issued by the Defeat of Jesse James Days organizing committee said the five were selected from a crowded field, as 17 young people from Northfield and the surrounding area participated in the ambassador program this year. 

The outgoing 2023 DJJD Ambassadors, Ella Sollom, Kaillie Sorem, and Julia Splichal along with Junior Ambassadors Emelia Wagner and Joey Koktovay gave speeches during the ceremony discussing how the Ambassador Program helped them to become stronger and more confident people. The outgoing ambassadors were each presented with $2,500 scholarships from DJJD General Chair Galen Malecha, while the Junior Ambassadors were presented with $250 gifts in appreciation of the work they did over the year.  

Faith Koktavy was presented with the Golden Heart Award. This is an award upon which all of the candidates vote and is presented to the person who, as the statement put it, displays the most warmth, selflessness, integrity and passion, and is seen to be the person who best excels at helping others and serves as a positive role model. Koktovay received $250 along with the award. 

The new DJJD Ambassadors will make over 90 appearances around the state over the next year. 

Rich Larson is the KYMN News Director. Contact him at rich@kymnradio.net 

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