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REGIONAL ROUNDUP Pay raise for attorney will get Wabasha board out of lawsuit

WABASHA -- Assistant Wabasha County Attorney Karrie Kelly is going to get a raise, and the county board is going to get out of a lawsuit.

Wabasha County Attorney James Nordstrom sued the county board in December, contending it had not adequately paid his assistant, Karrie Kelly, for the past three years. He said she should be making about $62,900 but was being paid about $8,000 less.

Two weeks ago, the two sides went into mediation and agreed in principle to boost Kelly's salary about $7,500, Nordstrom said. The board approved the raise April 5, and it will go into full effect by September, he said.

At the same time, Nordstrom has not reached an agreement with the board on legal fees he and Kelly are asking the county to pay. The fees are to the personal attorneys Nordstrom and Kelly used to defend themselves against complaints brought by the board.

Nordstrom said he hopes that can be resolved without going to court.

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The board sought the advice of yet another attorney and decided about two months ago that it didn't need to pay the bills.

The matter began in 2003, when there were reports of falsified time sheets from county employees. Nordstrom asked another attorney to investigate, and nothing illegal was found.

But four members of the board at the time filed a complaint with the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board, saying Nordstrom misled them. That complaint was dismissed a few months later.

The four commissioners filed an identical complaint against Kelly. That complaint was dismissed in November. In defending themselves, Nordstrom and Kelly hired attorneys and have bills of more than $11,200, Nordstrom said.

School leaders moving

GRAND MEADOW -- The spring superintendent shuffle is continuing in this region.

Last week, Peter Grant, who is now Plainview superintendent, was chosen to replace Mike Smith at Kasson-Mantorville. Smith is moving to Rockford, Minn.

Now, Bruce Klaehn, superintendent at Grand Meadow for several years, said he has resigned effective the end of June and will take over as superintendent at Dover-Eyota, where Superintendent Dave Groth is retiring. Klaehn said he was happy in Grand Meadow, but found a "good opportunity" in Dover-Eyota.

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It's going to be hard to leave GM because it's such a good school and community, but D-E means he will be in a growing district with about three times more students than in GM -- about 350 in GM to about 1,200 in D-E. Plus, his wife works in Rochester and Dover-Eyota is closer to Rochester, he said. "It looked like an attractive move," Klaehn said.

Klaehn presided over the building of Grand Meadow's school, the country's largest dome school.

Klaehn's move to D-E opened up the GM superintendent's job, and on Wednesday the school board chose Austin High School Principal Joe Brown. The board and Brown will discuss job and contract details Saturday.

Out and about

The third annual "A Piece of the Past" celebration in towns along the Root River will be May 7.

Events will be in Rushford Village, La Crescent, Lanesboro, Houston, Whalan, Caledonia, Chatfield, Preston and Spring Valley. They will have activities such as a vintage baseball game, ice cream social, antique discovery, garage sales and old-fashioned ladies aid.

For more information, call Bluff County at 1-800-428-2039 or go on the Web to www.bluffcountry.com.

Winona County law enforcement officials again are giving Minnesota Crime Prevention Cards to youths. The cards will usually have pictures of Minnesota Twins on them along with a crime-stopper tip. The cards are aimed at bridging the gap between officers and young people. Officials reminded children to approach a deputy or officer only when it's safe. Departments taking part are the Winona County Sheriff's Department and Winona and Goodview police.

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An open house to honor Rose Cyert for 30 years of service to Girl Scout Council of River Trails will be from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Winona State University Alumni House on the WSU campus.

Cyert was a Girl Scout leader, membership executive and director of membership and training. She served in Winona and Rochester.

Regional Roundup appears Friday in the Post-Bulletin. If you have comments or news items, call John Weiss, regional reporter, at 285-7749.

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