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Find out what's happening in the blog. Below is a list of blog items.

Oct 18

Fall, the Best Season of All!

Posted to Park and Rec Staff Blog by Timothy O'Connor

Fall, the Best Season of All!
Drake Simonson – Recreation Supervisor

The yellow and orange colors you see in the fall on trees, in fact, always exist in leaves, but they are overpowered by the abundance of green from chlorophyll. The amount of chlorophyll starts to decrease as the sun weakens and the days grow shorter. Get out see all the stunning fall colors in your beautiful parks!

Fall is my favorite season. Who doesn't enjoy observing the leaves from the trees and plants changing into multi-colored works of art before finally falling away? The cool, crisp morning air that is energizing and makes for a great start to the day, or for those who do not like it cold, makes you want to stay curled up in a warm blanket! Family outings to an apple orchard for those delicious fresh picked apples or hunting for the perfect pumpkin at the patch are great ways to get out and enjoy the fall season! And for the people who cannot wait, it truly is pumpkin spice season, you know who you are. There are many reasons why I love fall and why I think it's the best season, but here are just a few.

The Trees Change Color

Here in Minnesota, all the seasons are very apparent. The spring season is very green, the summer is hot and humid, the winter is bone chillingly cold and the fall is full of magnificent colors and perfect weather.

The maple trees are especially vibrant with colors of red and golden-yellow and combinations of both. When I was younger, these leaves resembled "tree stars" to me, a reference to the movie The Land Before Time, and would occasionally call them such. To this day, they are my favorite trees when the season changes.

This season is perfect for taking beautiful scenic photos and spending time outdoors. Nothing can relax and rejuvenate you more than enjoying nature and its surrounding scenery. Being in Owatonna we have access to several parks, Kaplan’s Woods is a great one, to see the changing of colors or are within an easy drive to the North Shore or the bluffs along the Mississippi for a truly spectacular view of fall colors.

The Weather Is Perfect

Autumn is the "cooling off" month right between the blazing summer and freezing winter. When the cooler temperatures of fall start rolling in, saying goodbye to summer is not hard to do. Autumn, or “Han Solo Season” as some refer to it as, is a great time to break out the jackets, coats, boots, scarves and hats in preparation for the change in season.

It is also the perfect time to start making hot cocoa, having campfires as this season creates the perfect setting for a sense of comfort, warmth and reflection. To me, it is also a perfect time to get out and get in one more camping trip or road trip, which guess what, allows you to take in the fresh air and scenic colors!

Fall Is Full of Family Holidays

Autumn is the start the jam-packed holiday season. The back-to-school rush, which has come and gone and I know kids do not see this as a holiday, but come on parents; it is just a little for you! Halloween, and Thanksgiving before rolling into winter and Christmas. And these aren't just regular old holidays. These are all very involved, family-centered holidays, the best kind of holiday.

Autumn is the season to be thankful and to be surrounded by the people you love. It is the perfect time to change up your decorations by adding orange, red and yellow colors and to pull out the spice-scented candles.

The holiday season encourages you to spend time thinking about what you and your family have been through in the last year as well as the memories you have made together while looking forward to a new and exciting year.

Another reason I love the holidays is the food. You'll generally eat far better food during this season than you will during the rest of the year. I know I have my countdown to Thanksgiving, can’t wait to pile my plate with delicious food!

Some Symbolism Associated with Fall

Underneath the surface of all the obvious reasons, we love fall lie those more subtle associations rooted in science, ancient tradition and astrology.

•Balance. The Fall Equinox represents the balance between the seasons as well as the balance between light and dark. Fall provides an opportunity for us to balance ourself with our earth.

•Change. In tandem with spring, fall is a part of a beautiful cycle of loss, regeneration and regrowth. The dead leaves and branches on the ground disintegrate and become part of the soil, acting as seeds and fertilizer later once the cold welcomes the warmer weather.

•Conservation. Farmers and critters alike work tirelessly during this time of year to protect the necessities of life. We as people also work to preserve our comfy abodes like the animals do with their hibernation spaces.

As I wrap-up, I hope you will get out and enjoy the fall season. Go for a walk, relax outside, take in the colors and sounds of nature, jump into a pile of leaves, do something that will make you happy and gets you outside. We all know, once winter hits, we spend the vast majority of our time inside, though we as Minnesotans know how to enjoy winter to the fullest, but we are inside a lot more than not. Have a great October!

Oct 15

Engineering Updates 10/15/2021

Posted to Public Works - Engineering Updates by Jeanette Clawson

City of Owatonna Engineering

Construction has begun and various projects can be seen around The City of Owatonna. Please slow down and use caution when approaching a construction zone.
 
 We thank you for your patience as these projects are completed. 

 
2021 Construction Projects:
2021 Project Location Map

 2021 Bridge Street: 

Work this week included concrete mainline paving, ditch grading riprap placement, trimming and string line in preparation for pavement.

 

Next week work is planned to include continued concrete paving, continued road ditch grading and establishment. The paving is expected to continue for about 2

weeks to pave the remainder of Phase 1A and Phase 2, including the full roundabout and curb and gutter. Following this, the concrete typically takes between 7 and 14 days before it can be driven on so please use extra caution while paving is occurring and do not enter the area until the road is open to traffic.

 

The intersection of Park Drive and W. Bridge street is open to three directions of traffic, with with the north, east and south legs open to both directions of traffic and the west leg closed to traffic during this phase of the project. Some work will continue to occur along the roadway and at the Park Dr intersection as needed.  Please continue to use caution and follow the detour routes as work will continue to finalize Phase 1 and progress Phase 2.

 

This project is phased and is anticipated to generally follow a phasing plan.   Currently, the contractor is performing work within a portion of “Construction Phase 1A” and “Construction Phase 2” areas.

 

Please feel welcome to contact Reese Sudtelgte or Anthony Lance of ISG with

any questions regarding the project or any other items of concern

Please feel welcome to contact Reese Sudtelgte or Anthony Lance of ISG with any questions regarding the project or any other items of concern.

To sign up for updates specific to the 2021 Bridge Street Project, please visit Notify Me.

2021 N Cedar Streetscape

Work This Past Week

  • Within the 300 Block
    • Concrete was poured for the sidewalk along the west side of the street.
      • The sidewalks on the east side of the street are anticipated to be
         poured today (10/15).
    • Electrical pedestal foundation and conduit was placed within the planters. 
    • The roadway base has been prepared for mainline concrete pavement.
  • Within the 200 Block
    • The watermain was installed from Pearl Street to the north side of Vine Street and is being tested.
    • A sanitary sewer manhole was installed at Pearl Street to complete the 
       mainline connection.
    • The storm sewer was installed at Pearl Street.

 Upcoming Work

  • Within the 300 Block
    • Concrete curb, roadway, and boulevard foundation paving is anticipated to occur next week.
      • The new concrete typically takes between 7 and 14 days before it can be driven on. Please use extra caution while paving is occurring, and do not enter the area until the road is open to traffic.
  • Within the 200 Block
    • The water service connection to buildings is anticipated to occur early next week.
    • The contractor plans to connect the watermain to the mainline within Vine Street.
    • Installation of the sanitary sewer manhole within the Vine Street intersection is anticipated mid-week.
      • This will require use of the bypass pump at Broadway Street and will cause traffic changes within the 100 block for approximately one day. The contractor will be coordinating with these businesses. 

The storm sewer installation is anticipated to follow.

The Owatonna Downtown Live Stream can be found on The 2021 North Cedar Ave Streetscape Project page! Be sure to visit the website for detour routes and alternate parking areas.

To sign up for updates for the North Cedar Streetscape Project, please visit the ISG Project Page, scroll to "Stay Connected" and fill out the form titled "Sign up here for project updates"

2021 Truman Avenue: 

This week:                                                                                                                                              Oct 15, 2021

 

Northland Grading & Excavating completed work on Water Main, Storm Sewer, and Water & Sanitary services this week between Prospect St. & Havana Rd.   Northland had a second crew on-site this week as well that completed work on Sub-Cut, Subgrade Preparation, and Subbase Grading south of the Prospect St. intersection up to Murray St. intersection.

Northland completed Water Main past the Murray St. intersection and stopped just before Havana Rd. intersection.  They worked on setting Storm Sewer Catch Basin structures at the intersection of McIndoe St. & Truman Ave.  They finished the week working on Water Services and Sanitary Sewer services from the Prospect St. intersection to just past the McIndoe St. intersection.

From Monday to Friday of this week, Northland’s second crew on-site was continually working on Sub-Cut, Subgrade Preparation, and Subbase Grading south of Prospect St. intersection and completed the Sub-Cut work past McIndoe St. intersection.

Legends Concrete was unable to be on-site this week and has been rescheduled to be on-site next week.

  

Current Status of Major Work Items:

  • Sanitary Sewer
    1. Work Completed To-Date:   Main St. to Murray St.
    2. Work Remaining:                Murray St. to Havana Rd.
  • Storm Sewer
    1. Work Completed To-Date:   Main St. to Murray St.
    2. Work Remaining:                 Murray St. to Havana Rd.
  • Water Main
    1. Work Completed To-Date:   Main St. to Murray St.
    2. Work Remaining:                 Murray St. to Havana Rd.
  • Subgrade prep. & Subbase Grading
    1. Work Completed To-Date:   Main St. to McIndoe St.
    2. Work Remaining:                McIndoe St. to Havana Rd.
  • Concrete Curb & Gutter
    1. Work Completed To-Date:   Main St. to University St.
    2. Work Remaining:                University St. to Havana Rd.
  • Roadway Pavement
    1. Work Completed To-Date:   Main St. to University St.
    2. Work Remaining:                University St. to Havana Rd. 

Next week:

               Havana Rd. & Truman Ave. intersection:

Northland is planning to begin underground work at the Havana Rd. & Truman Ave. intersection on Wednesday of next week.  This intersection will be closed to traffic and pedestrians until the underground work at this intersection is completed.  Traffic and pedestrians will not have access through this intersection for the duration of the underground work here.   The underground work at this intersection will take a couple of days to complete, and access will not be restored at this intersection until the underground work here is completed.

Traffic Control will be adjusted prior to the underground work commencing.   Havana Rd. will be Closed To Thru Traffic from Vanburen Ave. to Lincoln Ave. S.  Residents along Havana Rd. between these two intersections will have access to their homes during this time, but there will be no access through the intersection of Havana Rd. & Truman Ave.

Truman Ave. will be extended further south and will also be Closed To Thru Traffic from 11th St. SE to Havana Rd.  Residents in this area will also have access to their homes, but there will be no access through the intersection of Havana Rd. & Truman Ave.

Northland hopes to have the underground work at this intersection completed as quickly as possible, but again it will take a couple days to complete.   Drivers will need to take alternative routes to avoid this intersection.

Legends Concrete again was unable to be on-site this week and has been rescheduled to be on-site next week.  When on-site they plan to continue forming and pouring the concrete sidewalk & entrances in the Phase 1 portion of the project, between Main St. & University St.

Northland will again have a second crew on-site next week working on Sub-Cut, Subgrade Preparation, and Subbase Grading all next week.

Scheduled work is weather dependent, and if delayed by weather or other delays will be moved back to the next week.

  

Intersections affected:

 

Northland does plan to begin underground work at Havana Rd. & Truman Ave. next week on Wednesday.  This intersection will be closed to traffic and pedestrians until the underground work at this intersection is completed.  Traffic and pedestrians will not have access through this intersection for the duration of the underground work here.  The underground work at this intersection will take a couple of days to complete, and access will not be restored at this intersection until the underground work here is completed. Drivers will need to take alternative routes to avoid this intersection.

 

Prospect St. & Truman Ave. intersection is accessible to traffic via temporary rock ramps.  The Sub-Cut & Subbase Grading have been completed at this intersection, and temporary ramps have been made at both the East & West sides for traffic & pedestrians to cross Truman Ave. at this intersection.  As always, if possible, drivers and pedestrians may want to take alternative routes to avoid this intersection so as to avoid the construction activities along this project.  


Side-road access at Murray St. intersection may be temporarily close next week for work on Storm Sewer structures and Sub-Cut, Subgrade, & Subbase work to be completed.  

Side-road access at the McIndoe St. intersection may be temporarily closed next week for work on Sub-Cut, Subgrade, & Subbase work to be completed.  


Side-road access at Agnes St., Academy St., School St., Phelps St., and University St. are paved with the first lift of the bituminous pavement and are open to drivers and pedestrians.

The temporary access lane at the cul-de-sac of Academy St. has been removed, but the finish grading and topsoil shaping work still remains to be completed at this location.  


Side-road access across Truman Ave. at all other intersections along the project will continue to be maintained for traffic and residents.  Drivers are encouraged to take alternative routes, if possible, to avoid construction activities on the project.


26th Street & State Avenue Roundabout: 

To sign up for various department notifications, use the Notify Me feature on The City of Owatonna Website.

To submit a Public Works Maintenance Request, please call 507-444-4350 or fill out an Online Public Works Maintenance Request Form.

Jul 09

West Hills Social Commons Happenings

Posted to West Hills Social Commons Blog by Jessica Abrahams

West Hills Social Commons
Did you miss us? The West Hills Socials Commons is open again to the public on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 8-4pm.
 
** The Social Commons will be closed on Monday July 5th
 
Adult Leisure Pursuit Membership
Sign up for our membership and get access to discounted programming along with discounts at several business part of our local partnership program. The annual membership fee remains at $40 for 2021 year; however, our 2020 members will receive a $16 discount off their 2021 membership with a remaining balance amount of only $24. Annual memberships are valid for January through December.
 
Trips
St. Paul Saints Baseball Game: Sunday, July 18th
Join others from Adult Leisure Pursuits as we take a trip up the CHS Field, home of the St. Paul Saints. Take advantage of this great opportunity to watch outdoor baseball and take a stroll through the beautiful CHS Field concourse. The Saints will be taking on the Columbus Clippers for a 2:05pm first pitch. Bring a friend, grandchild, or the whole family. Children under the age of 18 pay the members price
-Cost: $32 members/ $47 non-members
-Registration Deadline: July 9th
-Depart SeniorPlace:12:15pm
 
Strength Training (Free/ with Membership)
Try our FREE Strength Training Class. This program will teach you how to get a full-body workout from either a standing or a sitting position. Weights and resistance bands are available for use if you are looking for a challenge. You will go through stretching to increase flexibility, mobility, and balance. The class is held in the Social Commons West on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays, from 9-10 am. No registration is required.  
 
Table Tennis
The table tennis program will run at West Hills Social Commons on Wednesday’s 12:30-2:00 PM ($1.00 per time). Any age can play the game, so don’t be afraid.  Players of all abilities are welcome. Wear comfortable clothing. They are willing to teach any new players!
 
500 Club (Free/ with Membership)
Played on Friday, June 25th, 2021. There were 13 players, 4 tables with 6 rounds each.  First place went to Betty Mikeworth with 3,480 points. Second Place went to Roger Milbrath with 3,130 points. Third Place went to Shirlly Malecha with 2,600 points. Fourth Place went to Lowell Larson with 2,440 points. Fifth place went to Mernie Malecha with 2,160 points. Sixth place went to Fran Kubista with 1,970 points Betty Mikeworth made a 10 spade bid 2 times. Roger Milbrath made a 10 no Trump Bid.

Owatonna Senior Bowling Highlights:
Friday, July 2:
Fifth Frame Strike Jackpot:  Chuck Newgard
Pins Over Average:
Game 1:  Mike Dettmer 214 ( 17)
Game 2:  Mike Dettmer 267 ( 71)
Game 3:  Judy Drevlow 198 ( 38)
Series High:  Mike Dettmer 696 ( 105)
Split Conversions:  Marty Speikers (2-5-7-8); Reuben Ebeling & Mike Dettmer (each 3-10)

Monday, July 5:
Pins Over Average:
Game 1:  Reuben Ebeling 181 ( 31); Rod Fletcher 223 ( 27)
Game 2:  Judy Drevlow 189 ( 31)
Game 3:  Dennis Branstad 220 ( 49); Sharon Hassing 185 ( 48);
Myland Vroman 204 ( 34); Jerry Drevlow 232 ( 27)
Series High:  (Tie); Myland Vroman 564 ( 54); Sharon Hassing 465 ( 54)
Split Conversions:  Bill Nelson (6-7-10); Chuck Newgard (4-7-9); Marty Speikers (2-7); Willie Peterson (3-10 twice); Reuben Ebeling (3-10)
 
Billiards (Free/ with Membership)
The billiards players are always looking for new players to join the group.  They meet on Wednesdays at 8:30am and Fridays at 9:00am . You don’t have to be a pool shark to enjoy a game of billiards.  Come on down and play a game or two.  Both men and women are always welcome if you are a beginner, the players would be happy to teach you the game.  Drop-in billiards is also available Monday-Friday when the building is open.  Cost: $0.50 for 2 hours.
 
Bingo
Every Friday at 12:30pm in the multipurpose room, all participants must be Adult Leisure Pursuit Members. Pay per card.