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City council takes a look at bike lane demo

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WORTHINGTON – Anyone driving down South Shore Drive in Worthington Friday morning may have encountered a bit of a problem in front of Freedom Shore Park around 9 a.m. – part of the street was closed for over an hour while a demonstration took place so city leaders and others could get a look at what it might look like if bike lanes were added.

With the assistance of the parks and recreation department, who added temporary lines using chalk, local Statewide Health Improvement Program committee members were able to give a visual of South Shore with bike lanes on both sides of the street.

DeTasha Place, Nobles County Health Educator and SHIP Coordinator, said their goal is to make physical activity an easier choice by adding the bike lanes.

SHIP Committee member Aaron Hagen thought the demonstration went well, bringing up good questions and getting people engaged in the concept. The demonstration was just the first step in the process, he said, which started a conversation.

Pertinent facts brought up during the discussion included current location of mailboxes, which would affect which side of the street would and would not have parking allowed, signage, state standards and funding. City leaders agreed the demonstration would lead to more public discussion.

Listen in on more of the bike lane discussion at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 2 on AM 730 KWOA on Talk of the Town with Justine Wettschreck

August 29 news

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WORTHINGTON - In honor of Labor Day, all city, county and state government offices will be closed Monday, including the law enforcement center at Prairie Justice Center. The Worthington Post Office will be closed, as will the Nobles County Library.

All Worthington financial institutions will be closed for the day. Fareway will be closed for the day, but Hy-Vee and Walmart will maintain regular hours. Schaap Sanitation routes normally done on Mondays will be taken care of on Tuesday

WORTHINGTON – Sanitary sewer reconstruction is scheduled to begin Tuesday on Miles Drive from Viking Road to Johnson Lane, according to the City of Worthington Engineering Department.

Manhole or spot repairs were completed this week on Grand Avenue and in front of 806 Burlington Avenue. Spot repair work in the alley behind 1211 East Lake Boulevard and at the intersection of Apel Avenue and Clary Street remains.

Water main reconstruction work continues along Omaha Avenue from Dover Street toward near Miller Street. Pavement restoration remains for the portion north of Clary Street, and all turf restoration work all remains.

WORTHINGTON - The United Way Tailgate party begins at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, September 5 at the Trojan Homecoming game versus New Ulm. The United Way will be serving a Whopper Jr., chips & a drink for $5, with an extra burger for $2 more.

SIOUX FALLS, SD - Military veterans will receive free admission over the Labor Day weekend to the documentary "D-Day: Normandy 1944" at the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls. It's narrated by South Dakota native, journalist and author Tom Brokaw.

The film opened in May at the Kirby Science Discovery Center Wells Fargo CineDome Theater and runs through the end of the year.

WINDOM - A youth hunting rendezvous will be held at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service in Windom from 10am to 2pm on Saturday, September 6th. Scheduled events include: Pointing and water dog demonstrations, field dressing wild game birds, goose decoy and hunting presentations, big game tracking and a duck calling seminar and youth calling contest.

On-going activities include spear target toss, camouflage face painting and bracelet weaving, free wood duck, bluebird and bee house construction, gun safety and BB gun shoot and a shooting simulator.

A free lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and conservation officers will be available to answer questions.

For more information, call 800-577-2875 or visit their website at midwest.fws.org/windom.

EMMETSBURG, Iowa- Police in Emmetsburg are investigating a spree of thefts from vehicles. Police Chief Eric Hanson says his department has received nine reports of vehicles being broken into since Wednesday. He says with the exception of one case, all of the vehicles were unlocked and parked on driveways.

Purses, wallets, cordless tools, a cordless radio, cell phone, phone chargers, pocket knives, personal papers, a laptop computer and car keys were reported stolen. In addition to the vehicle break-ins, Hanson says some outdoor solar lights and accessories were stolen from a residence in Emmetsburg.

Hanson says there's a lot you can do protect yourself from break-ins and theft. For one thing, he says you should lock up your vehicles and/or remove anything valuable from them.

Anyone with information into the burglaries is asked to contact the Emmetsburg Police Department at (712) 852-2424. Hanson encourages residents to be vigilant and report anything at all that appears out of the ordinary.

ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa — Several charges have been filed against a man pulled over for reportedly driving drunk.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office says they received a report of a possible intoxicated driver eastbound on Highway 9 near Lester on Friday, August 22. Deputies located the vehicle traveling on the wrong side of the road at 140th Street and Elmwood Avenue. A traffic stop ensued and the driver was identified as 43-year-old Jose Alfredo Vazquez Miranda of Rock Rapids. He was subsequently arrested and charged with operating while intoxicated, a serious misdemeanor. He was also given citations for failure to have a valid driver’s license, no insurance, open container, and driving on the wrong side of the highway, all simple misdemeanors.

During the arrest deputies also learned that Vazquez Miranda allegedly gained employment illegally at a dairy operation near Rock Rapids. While still being held at the Lyon County Jail he was additionally charged with forgery and identity theft, both Class C Felonies.

SHELDON, Iowa — A Sheldon woman has been arrested on charges of Identity Theft and Forgery. Sheldon Police say that the charges against 30-year old Dina Elizabeth Escobar stem from an attempt to use a stolen identity in order to gain employment in the United States. Escobar is reportedly a citizen of Guatemala.

According to the arrest report, Forgery is classified as a felony, while Identity Theft is classified as an Aggravated Misdemeanor.

Police say Escobar was taken into custody and transported to the O’Brien County Jail at Primghar.

MINNESOTA - Authorities will be out in force over the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend as part of a stepped up campaign looking for drunk drivers. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says nearly 400 law enforcement agencies will be participating in the crackdown.

The campaign is planned despite a drop last year in the number of impaired-related traffic deaths, law enforcement officials say.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says impaired deaths, which the department defines as including any driver, pedestrian or bicyclist with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or above, fell in 2013 by nine percent to 95, compared with 2012 when 104 people lost their lives.

The Minnesota Impaired Driving Facts 2013 report released Thursday reveals the drop is part of an ongoing decline in impaired-related traffic deaths since a high of 222 in 1998.

August 28 news

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WORTHINGTON – A Wilmont man has been charged in Nobles County District Court with fifth-degree controlled substance possession, along with possession of a small amount of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

According to information from Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force Commander Troy Appel, a search warrant was executed August 22 at the residence of Dennis James Rutgers on Hesselroth Avenue in Wilmont.

Agents located numerous items associated with methamphetamine, including glass pipes, baggies, and tubing that contained residue and white powder that field tested positive for methamphetamine. Agents also located numerous items associated with marijuana, including a digital scale and plastic baggies containing a green leafy substance that field tested positive for marijuana.

Rutgers, who was in jail on an unrelated matter, later admitted to task force agents he has been using meth and marijuana.

ORANGE CITY, Iowa - A Worthington man faces serious charges in Iowa following an investigation by the Sioux County Sheriff's Office. 22-year-old Ruben Rodriguez is accused of using someone else's identity to get a job at Premium Iowa Pork in Hospers. Rodriguez was arrested and booked into the Sioux County Jail on charges of identity theft and forgery.

WORTHINGTON - Travelers are advised that the Worthington Travel Information Center on Highway 60 will be closing Sept. 2 until late November as crews make accessibility improvements to the facility.

The closure will allow the Minnesota Department of Transportation to bring the facility up to recent American Disabilities Act standards including work on the restrooms, sidewalks and picnic area. The project also includes a new playground, pet exercise area and landscaping.

MnDOT, in partnership with Explore Minnesota Tourism, operates six travel information centers on Interstate highways and four on non-Interstate highways. MnDOT presently and historically is involved with the development of Welcome Centers through partnerships with chambers of commerce, tourist and visitors bureaus, or other organizations that exist to promote tourism and economic development. MnDOT currently includes five Welcome Centers in the rest area system.

SHELDON, Iowa — Part of the fun of Sheldon Celebration Days is the Community Theater performance. This year they are presenting Hello Dolly! Performances start tonight at 7:30 p.m. Then there are two more performances, one on Saturday, at 7:30 p.m., and one on Sunday at 2 p.m., all at the Sheldon High School Auditorium.

Tickets are $10 for students and $15 dollars for adults and are available at HyVee, Fareway, and Contents in Sheldon. Tickets may also be sold at the door, subject to availability.

SPENCER, Iowa - An Okoboji woman faces multiple drug charges following a traffic stop Wednesday morning in Clay county.

The Clay County Sheriff's Office says a deputy pulled over a vehicle shortly before 1:30 a.m. for an alleged traffic violation. Upon investigating the deputy noticed a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle.

Authorities say the driver, 22-year-old Asia Re Naye Visocsky of Okoboji was arrested after the deputy located what's alleged to be marijuana.

A subsequent search of the vehicle resulted in authorities finding 70 grams of marijuana, eight grams of psilocybin mushrooms, a half gram of cocaine, three dosage units of hydrocodone and drug paraphernalia.

Visocsky was booked into the Clay County Jail on charges of possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance...cocaine, possession of a controlled substance...psilocybin mushrooms, possession of a controlled substance...hydrocodone, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and two counts of a drug tax stamp violation.

Bond was set at $5,000 cash or surety.

ROCK VALLEY, Iowa — Sioux County Sheriff’s deputies are looking for clues in a burglary case.

The Sheriff’s Office reports that they were called to a report of a burglary at 2:15 PM on Monday, August 25th. The alleged burglary was reported to have occurred at a farm building on 330th Street, two and a half miles southwest of Rock Valley.

Upon further investigation, deputies believe that the perpetrator or perpetrators gained access into locked buildings on the property and stole an Emerson flat screen television and a stereo system.

The burglary is thought to have occurred sometime during the night of Sunday, August 24 or early morning hours of August 25.

If you have any information about this crime you are asked to contact the sheriff’s office. If you wish to remain anonymous, the Sheriff’s Office advises that you can use their Text‐a‐Tip Program. Directions can be found at siouxcountysheriff.com.

DES MOINES, Iowa — A former Iowa lawmaker has pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from his switch of support from one Republican candidate for president to another before the 2012 caucuses, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

Former state Sen. Kent Sorenson received "under the table payments" before switching loyalties from U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann's campaign, which he headed in Iowa, to then-U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, and then lying to federal investigators about it, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Prosecutors refused to say which campaign paid him.

Sorenson was seen as a key endorsement early in the 2012 Iowa campaign, as a popular figure in the emerging tea party movement. He was named Bachmann's state campaign chairman in June 2011, but by that fall, Bachmann's rise had stalled. Six days before the Iowa caucuses in January 2012, Sorenson announced his support for Paul.

In the plea agreement, Sorenson admitted receiving and lying about monthly payments of roughly $8,000 from October to December 2011, when he was still named Bachmann's state chairman. He pleaded guilty to causing a campaign to falsely report expenditures and obstruction. It wasn't immediately clear what sentence he could face.

August 27 news

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WORTHINGTON —A Worthington man is charged with possession of stolen property and financial transaction card fraud after being arrested for thefts from construction sites and vehicles, including a debit card taken from a wallet. Manivong Senesoury, age 38, is accused of stealing more than $6,000 in items or purchases.

The complaint states authorities were first alerted when a construction trailer in downtown Worthington had a padlock cut. Tools worth more than $2,600 were taken, some still in boxes. Days later, a wallet went missing from a man’s truck, and purchases began to show up on a debit card. All were made in Worthington and all on the same day for almost $1,600. An attempt was made to purchase an item at Pawn-It pawn shop, but it did not go through. Surveillance tape was obtained.

Authorities were called back to Pawn-It when the man who had tried to use the stolen card returned to pawn items. Officers found him next to a vehicle in the parking lot. He had wrenches and speakers at the time. He initially denied having a stolen debit card in his possession, but when asked, allowed police to look in his wallet, where they found the stolen card. He said he bought the card for $100.

During a search executed on his vehicle and home, more stolen merchandise was located. Senesoury will make his first court appearance early next month.

LUVERNE – A routine traffic stop turned into something more when authorities noticed the smell of marijuana coming from a vehicle over the weekend in Luverne. Ashlee Michele Martin, age 29, of Brandon, SD, is facing one count of fifth-degree controlled substance possession, one count of possessing more than 1.4 grams of marijuana in a motor vehicle and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

According to the criminal complaint, authorities stopped Martin’s vehicle when the noticed a something hanging from the rearview mirror and that the driver was not wearing a seatbelt. In speaking with the driver, the smell of marijuana coming from the car was noticeable, but Martin denied having any in the vehicle. She allegedly stated she and the passenger had smoked some at home earlier.

The officers told Martin if the amount of marijuana in the vehicle was small, she would be cited and would be free to go. She gave them a container with buds from her purse. During a search, pipes, a scale and baggies of marijuana were located, a total of 47.4 grams of marijuana was found.

WINDOM - Windom City Administrator Steve Nasby was recognized by the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC) on Thursday during the coalition’s three-day summer conference in Rochester for his excellence in service to Greater Minnesota.
The Excellence in Service Award is given annually to a city leader who demonstrates knowledge, leadership and active participation in CGMC program areas over the past year.

Nasby played a key role in advancing two of the CGMC’s top priorities during the 2014 legislative session — broadband expansion and the Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure (BDPI) grant program. According to Randy Wilson, president of the CGMC and mayor of Glencoe, Nasby’s testimony in front of two separate legislative committees on improving public infrastructure and promoting private business growth helped legislators understand how important they are to economic development in Greater Minnesota.

CGMC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization representing 85 cities outside of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The coalition educates legislators about issues important to Greater Minnesota.

MILFORD, Iowa - Officials say they think a nearly $1 million electronic fish barrier has succeeded in stopping invasive Asian carp from getting into the Iowa Great Lakes.

The fish first swam into the Iowa Great Lakes during flooding in 2011. They had previously been kept out by dams on the Little Sioux River in Harrison County and near Linn Grove.

The Asian carp species are thought to be a major threat to native aquatic species throughout the midwest. One species, silver carp, poses a safety hazard because the leap from the water when startled.

The 21-foot-long fish barrier was built in 2012, and officials believe it is working. There have been few reports of Asian carp being netted or sited in the Iowa Great Lakes.

ESTHERVILLE, Iowa - Estherville police have released the identity of the body of a man found dead last Friday in an alley in the city's downtown area. Police identify the man as 54-year-old Thomas Pettit, formerly of Graettinger. Police believe foul play was not involved in Pettit's death.

The body was discovered in the alley in the 500 block of Central Avenue shortly after 5 a.m. Friday by a woman who called 911. Police Chief Brent Shatto says an exact cause of death isn't known yet as they're still awaiting autopsy results from the State Medical Examiner's office. He says it could take a few weeks to get that information.

MINNESOTA - In what has been described as the largest union vote in state history, home health care workers in Minnesota have voted to unionize.
The workers, also referred to as personal care assistants, help the elderly and people with disabilities in their homes.

Of the 5,872 votes that were cast, 60 percent were in favor of unionizing, according to results announced Tuesday by the Service Employees International Union. The union effort needed a simple majority of the votes to pass.

The workers will be represented by the SEIU, which will bargain with the state of Minnesota on wage and benefit issues.

Although only about 22 percent of the 27,000 eligible workers voted during the 25-day ballot period, union organizers called the outcome a great success at a news conference Tuesday afternoon, the Star Tribune reports.

PCAs typically earn low wages and have no benefits, and there’s a high turnover rate for workers who care for non-family members.

The unionization campaign has been going on for the past year or so, ever since the Legislature passed a law authorizing them to pursue collective bargaining.

August 26 news

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WORTHINGTON – The Worthington City Council on Monday opted to go with the Fullerton Building System for the “Welcome to Worthington” signs, a decision they tabled from their previous meeting after being chastised for not considering using a local business to build the signs.

The Fullerton signs will cost $90,000 – as compared to the alternative signs through Wells Concrete for sign faces and Reitmeier Masonry to erect the side brick pillars, which would have been $120,000 – and are guaranteed for 30 years.

Even with a lower price, the city only set aside $50,000 for the signs. They had thought to spend $25,000 each on two signs, with the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce to pay for the third. For now, money will be taken from the undesignated unreserved funds for the remaining cost and replenished over the next five years. The $25,000 may still come from the Chamber if their board approves

The motion to approve Fullerton for the signage passed on a 4-1 vote, with council member Rod Sankey voting against.

The council also approved an interfund loan for administrative expenses related to the Northland Mall redevelopment.

In connection with a resolution council members approved July 28 regarding PBK Investments and the Northland Mall, city staff have been incurring administrative expenses in the preparation and establishment of a tax increment financing (TIF) district and other related activities. The resolution authorizes the establishment of an interfund loan for the project in an amount not to exceed $50,000 with a 4 percent interest rate.

LUVERNE - Motorists on Highway 75 north of Luverne can expect an approximate three week detour beginning Monday, September 8, as crews work to replace a flood damaged box culvert.

Traffic will be detoured west to Interstate 90, north on Rock County 6, and east on Rock County 7. The detour adds about 15 miles to travel on Highway 75.

The project consists of replacing the damaged box culvert with two lines of concrete arch pipe. When the project is complete, Highway 75 will again be posted as a 10-ton road.

~ The detour for Highway 86 over Interstate 90 will be removed Friday as crews completed bridge repairs.

In mid-September, the resurfacing of Highway 86 from the Iowa state line to Interstate 90 will begin. No detour is required, but motorists can expect brief delays and use caution in the area of flaggers.

The project, which should be completed in mid-October, includes a mill and overlay to preserve the pavement and provide a smooth ride as well as extend the life of the bridge over I-90 by replacing drainage structures, bridge railings, deck and expansion joints.

~ Motorists on Highway 71 south of Windom should expect about a two-week detour beginning Tuesday, Sept. 2 as crews begin to remove and replace a culvert.

The Highway 71 closure is between Jackson County Road 22 and Jackson County Road 30; approximately six miles south of Windom. Traffic will be detoured Jackson County Road 21 (south of Bergen) to Jackson County Road 30.

The culvert replacement is part of a project to repair and replace several culverts on Highway 15/60 near Madelia, Highway 71 south of Windom and Highway 91 north of Adrian.

JACKSON - Gov. Mark Dayton announced Monday the appointment of Ms. Darci J. Bentz as District Court Judge in Minnesota’s Fifth Judicial District. Bentz will be replacing the Honorable Linda S. Titus, who retired earlier this year. Bentz will be chambered at Jackson in Jackson County.

Bentz is an Assistant Public Defender for the Fifth Judicial District, where her practice focuses on representing adults and juveniles in criminal cases. Previously, she was an attorney at Scott, Nielsen & Bentz, representing clients in workers’ compensation cases, unemployment cases and civil litigation, and a managing attorney for the Fifth Judicial District Public Defender’s Office.

Bentz is a member of the Martin/Jackson/Faribault County Family Dependency Court and serves as the treasurer for the Kinship Board of Directors, a nonprofit youth mentoring program.

LUVERNE – Senator Bill Weber of Luverne was appointed Monday to the Minnesota State Senate’s Rural Task Force. The group will study the needs of Minnesota’s rural communities, including nursing home and health care access, education, transportation, economic development, and property taxes. The group will have its first meeting Wednesday.

Weber said he is honored to be appointed to the task force, which will allow for greater focus on the needs of rural communities. He said he will continue working for southwest Minnesota by ensuring nursing home and healthcare access, emphasizing the need for vocational and technical training in secondary schools as well as education funding equity, and working for a sensible tax policy.

He also hopes to address the regulatory burdens on citizens and businesses, which he said is becoming an increasing area of concern and is hampering economic development and job growth in many areas of the state.

The group will meet once per month during the interim and bring forward potential legislation when the 2015 legislative session convenes.

SANBORN, Iowa - Charges have been filed in connection with a crash this past Thursday in O'Brien county.

The Iowa State Patrol says it happened shortly before 7:30 p.m. at the east junction of Highways 18 and 59 near Sanborn.

Troopers say 29-year-old Brandon Bootsma of Melvin had stopped at a stop sign and was facing north and that a semi tractor-trailer was eastbound on Highway 18, slowing to make a turn south onto Highway 59, impairing Bosma's vision. Authorities say a vehicle driven by 47-year-old Brian Parks was also eastbound and was beside the semi, gaining speed, passing it. Troopers say the vehicles driven by Bootsma and Parks then collided, with the impact pushing Bootsma's vehicle into a ditch.

$3,500 in damage was estimated to a 1999 Ford pickup driven by Bootsma; damage to a 1999 Pontiac Parks was driving was estimated at $2,000.

Bootsma was cited for open container, failure to obey a stop sign, failure to yield the right-of-way and violation of a financial responsibility, accident-related. The latter charge was also filed against Parks.

No injuries were reported in the collision.

August 25 news

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WORTHINGTON — The Nobles County Integration Collaborative and Minnesota West Community and Technical College, Worthington campus, will host a Culture Corner presentation Saturday in the college commons.

Two sessions will be offered. The first, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., will include information about the country of Brazil, and the second, from 2 to 4 p.m., will showcase different techniques and styles of Brazilian dancing. Dance instructors and choreographers Celle Banks and Sebastiao Lima will lead the program.

The event is free and open to the public, and people are encouraged to bring family and friends. Certificates of attendance will be available for those who desire one.

LAKE PARK, Iowa – Beginning today, Lake Park residents are going to be searching for clues in a city-wide treasure hunt to find the city’s new medallion. Each day of the hunt, a new clue will be offered in businesses around the city.

On Friday, the Heritage Square Museum will celebrate the end of the contest with hot dogs, chips and more at 11:45 a.m., followed by a flag-raising ceremony at city hall at 1:30 p.m.

Today’s clue location is at Cap’n Ken’s. Tuesday is Buy Rite Grocery, Wednesday is Stan’s Corner, Thursday is the Lake Park Post Office and Friday is Heritage Square.

DOON, Iowa – The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office was called Saturday to a residence near Doon at approximately 5:42 p.m. for a domestic dispute. Upon further investigation, Andrew Ricker, age 46, from rural Doon, was arrested for Domestic Abuse Assault, an aggravated misdemeanor; Interference with Official Acts, a simple misdemeanor; and Child Endangerment, a aggravated misdemeanor. Also arrested was Lila Klein, age 38, from rural Doon, for Child Endangerment, an aggravated misdemeanor. Both Ricker and Klein were transported to the Lyon County Jail, where they were booked in on the charges.

GEORGE, Iowa — A Rock Valley man has been arrested on drug charges in George. The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that they arrested 26-year-old Anthony Cooper of Rock Valley last week.

According to the report, a Lyon County Deputy was speaking with Cooper in George. It was discovered that there was a valid warrant for his arrest from O’Brien County. Before they transported him to jail, officers located marijuana and a marijuana pipe in his pockets.

Cooper was transported to the Lyon County Jail and charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance-Marijuana, a Serious Misdemeanor and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a Simple Misdemeanor.

ESTHERVILLE, Iowa - Estherville police say the death of a man whose body was found in an alley Friday was likely not the result of foul play .

The body was found shortly after 5:00 a.m. in an alley on the south side of the 500 block of Central Avenue. It was discovered by a woman who was driving through the alley, who then called 911.

The body was transferred to the State Medical Examiner for an autopsy. Estherville police say the man has been identified, but his name is being withheld pending notification of relatives.

Estherville police were assisted on the scene by the Emmet County Medical Examiner's Office.

MINNESOTA - Authorities have arrested four people in connection with the brutal attack of two men after they left a bar in Fridley early Saturday morning. The Anoka County Sheriff’s department announced Sunday it has arrested two men suspected of being the attackers, and two women whose involvement in the crime is not yet clear.

The victims, Anthony McCollum of Hilltop and Yani Singh of Columbia Heights, both 21 years old, were at the Two Stooges Bar in Fridley about 2 a.m. Saturday when the two women, whom they met there, asked for a ride to a nearby apartment.

The men agreed, and when they arrived at the destination, two men approached the car and attacked the victims, beating them and stabbing them several times; the women fled. McCollum and Singh were able to escape, and drove to another location where one of them called police at about 4:30 a.m., according to the sheriff’s department.

Authorities say they’re not sure where the group was during the two hours that elapsed between the time they left the bar and the time the victims called for help, the Star Tribune reports.

The suspects are a 25-year old man from Spring Lake Park, an 18-year-old man with no permanent address, and two 22-year-old women — one from Minneapolis and one from St. Paul. None of them have been charged as of yet, and authorities say they won’t release any more information about the case until charges are filed.

Singh and McCollum remain hospitalized. Singh has regained consciousness, but McCollum has not, according to the sheriff’s department.

John Deere announces layoffs at Waterloo, Iowa plant

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WATERLOO, Iowa – Deere & Company announced Friday that it will place approximately 460 employees who work in the company's Waterloo, Iowa operations on indefinite layoff in response to current market demand for its products. Deere said employees were informed Friday of the layoffs, which are effective October 20th.

"Layoffs are never easy because we understand the significant impact this action has on our employees, their families, and the community" said Dave DeVault, factory manager. "We very carefully assess our workforce requirements to ensure we make the best possible decision to respond to various market conditions."

When Deere announced third quarter earnings on August 13th, the company said it planned to reduce agricultural equipment production for the balance of the year.

Deere has emphasized that the company must match the size of its manufacturing workforce with market demand to remain globally competitive. Deere had hired several hundred manufacturing employees in recent years to meet increased demand for products manufactured in its Midwest U.S. factories.

Last week, the company announced they would reduce the size of their manufacturing workforce at some agricultural equipment factories by more than 600 employees. That layoff will affect four locations - John Deere Harvester Works, East Moline, Ill.; John Deere Seeding and Cylinder, Moline, Ill.; John Deere Des Moines Works, Ankeny, Iowa; and John Deere Coffeyville, Coffeyville, Kan.

Deere also has implemented a seasonal shutdown affecting most of the manufacturing workforce at the John Deere Ottumwa Works, Ottumwa, Iowa.

August 22 news

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WORTHINGTON – Worthington City Administrator Craig Clark on Thursday said the Civil Service Commission hopes to have a decision made regarding a new police chief by the latter half of September.

Applications for the position were due by August 4, and 10 were received. Of those 10, eight were asked for further information, which is due back on August 27. Interviews or an open house for the candidates will be scheduled in September.

Clark said the position is an important one for the community, and the civil service committee is taking an active role in making the right decision. In the meantime, Clark said, Interim Police Chief Kevin Flynn is serving in good stead.

WORTHINGTON – The 12th annual Firefighters BBQ is this Saturday from 1 to 6 p.m. There will be pork sandwiches, inflatables, a bicycle giveaway, door prizes and a dunk tank. The fire station will be open for walk-throughs for those who have not taken the time to tour the facility. Free will donations are accepted, and checks can be made out to the Worthington Firefighter Relief Association.

WORTHINGTON – Sanitary sewer or spot repairs are scheduled to begin as early as Tuesday in the city of Worthington, according to the Engineering Department. Those manhole or spot repairs will take place on Grand Avenue south of Miller Street, in front of 806 Burlington Avenue and in the alley behind 1211 East Lake Boulevard.

Water main reconstruction work continues along Omaha Avenue from Dover Street toward near Miller Street. Water service work was completed Wednesday, but pavement restoration remains for the portion north of Clary Street. All turf restoration work remains.

SLAYTON – Murray County Central 7th grade orientation will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at the MCC High School Auditorium for all 7th grade students and their parents or guardians.

MINNESOTA – Republican Candidate for the First Congressional District Jim Hagedorn on Wednesday invited incumbent Tim Walz to a series of debates across southern Minnesota that includes locations in Worthington, Mankato, Rochester and Winona, stating it is important for the people to fully understand the issue positions of the candidates prior to the election.

In his letter to Walz’s campaign, Hagedorn states he welcomes spirited debates to help voters comprehend their views, national legislative records and proposed solutions. He also encouraged media members to organize and participate in the debates.

Walz released a statement Thursday that said his campaign has always advocated for vigorous and robust debates in this race, which is why he first requested debates weeks ago. As always, the statement reads, he will participate in debates, as well as have face-to-face conversations with voters across southern Minnesota.

An earlier statement says he would participate in debates at Farmfest and in Rochester. The request for a debate in other locations, including Worthington, is not addressed in his recent communication.

EMMETSBURG, Iowa - The King of The Netherlands plans to visit Iowa next month to attend the grand opening of a northwest Iowa ethanol plant co-owned by a Netherlands-based company.

Willem-Alexander says he will take part in the September 3rd grand opening ceremony at the Project Liberty Ethanol Plant in Emmetsburg and tour the facility. The $250 million project is a joint venture of Sioux Falls-based ethanol maker Poet and Royal DSM, a biotechnology company based in The Netherlands. The plant will produce 25 million gallons a year when fully operational.

It is among the first facilities of its size in the United States to begin making ethanol from plant material. Cellulosic ethanol is made from the woody and fibrous parts of plants including corn cobs, stalks, leaves and other residue.

ORANGE CITY, Iowa — The Orange City woman accused of murder in the death of a 3-year-old in her care has asked for a suppression of evidence. Ned Bjornstad, the attorney for 34-year-old Rochelle Sapp of Orange City says she wasn’t read her rights when she was taken into custody in Sioux Falls.

Sapp is accused of picking up 3-year-old Autumn Elgersma and throwing her to the floor after she wouldn’t take off her coat, causing injuries that required treatment in Sioux Falls and that allegedly lead to her death. According to court records, Sapp is charged with First Degree Murder, a class A felony; and Child Endangerment Resulting in Death, a class B felony.

The Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office took Sapp into custody on October 30th, 2013, according to court records, and she was interrogated. She made statements to Detective Michael Walsh of the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office that the defense wants suppressed. The court document says she also sent text messages which were intercepted by the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office.

Her attorney, Bjornstad, says Sapp was detained but was not under arrest. However, he says that Miranda rights applied as soon as her freedom of action was curtailed to a degree associated with formal arrest.

The court document also says Sapp was sleep and food deprived, exhausted and distraught, and that the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office was aware of this.

Therefore, Bjornstad wants any text messages conveyed through her phone during her detainment by Minnehaha County officials and any statements she made to those officials excluded from her trial.

According to court records, a pretrial hearing is set for Thursday, September 4th at 10 AM at the Sioux County Courthouse. The trial was moved on a change-of-venue to Carroll County and at last report was scheduled to be in November.

Haler Crowned 61st Princess Kay of the Milky Way

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ST. PAUL (August 20, 2014) — Jeni Haler, a 19-year-old college student from Norwood Young America, Minn., representing Carver County, was crowned the 61st Princess Kay of the Milky Way in an evening ceremony at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, August 20.

Haler will serve as the official goodwill ambassador for more than 3,600 Minnesota dairy farm families. Jeni is the daughter of Rick Haler and Connie Helget Haasken, and attends the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, where she double majors in animal science and Spanish/Portuguese studies.

Twelve county dairy princesses from throughout Minnesota competed for the Princess Kay of the Milky Way title. Audrey Lane of Prior Lake, representing Scott County, and Sabrina Ley of Belgrade, representing Stearns County, were selected as runners-up. Gabriella Sorg of Hastings, representing Dakota County, was named Miss Congeniality. Scholarships were awarded to Annie Culbertson of Pine Island, representing Olmsted County; Sarah Post of Chandler, representing Murray County; and Lane.

Haler’s first official duty as Princess Kay will be to sit in a rotating cooler in the Dairy Building for nearly six hours to have her likeness sculpted in a 90-pound block of butter on the opening day of the Minnesota State Fair. Each finalist will also have her likeness carved in butter during the fair. This year marks butter sculptor Linda Christensen’s 43rd year carving the Princess Kay of the Milky Way winner and finalists at the Minnesota State Fair.

Throughout her year-long reign as Princess Kay of the Milky Way, Haler will make public appearances to help connect consumers to Minnesota’s dairy farm families. She will also promote the Fuel Up to Play 60 program, through which she encourages students to get 60 minutes of exercise each day and eat a healthy diet that includes three servings of dairy.

Princess Kay candidates are judged on their general knowledge of the dairy industry, communication skills and enthusiasm for dairy. The Midwest Dairy Association sponsors the Princess Kay program, which is funded by the dairy checkoff.

Midwest Dairy Association® is a non-profit organization funded by dairy farmers to build demand for dairy products through integrated marketing, nutrition education and research. Midwest Dairy is funded by checkoff dollars from dairy farmers in a 10-state region, including Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. For more information, visit www.midwestdairy.com. Follow us on Twitter and find us on Facebook at Midwest Dairy.

August 21 news

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WORTHINGTON — The Worthington Area Foundation is now accepting applications for grants to be awarded in November 2014. More than $15,000 will be available for distribution to qualifying organizations.

The Worthington Area Foundation is a tax-exempt, non-profit philanthropic organization funded by large and small donations. Foundation grants are made to non-profit, non-religious and non-political groups. An eligible organization should promote local culture, environmental causes, educational, recreational or civic activities essential to building and strengthening the community. Organizations must have a 501(c)(3) tax status to be eligible.

Grant applications may be picked up at the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce, 1121 Third Ave., or on the Worthington Area Foundation’s website: www.wgtnarea.foundation.org.

Completed applications must be returned to the Worthington Area Foundation, Box 373, Worthington 56187 by Oct. 6.

JACKSON – Rep. Tim Walz toured AGCO Manufacturing in Jackson Wednesday to talk about Made-in-America manufacturing and push for reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, which promotes American manufacturing around the world.

Walz said companies like AGCO prove we can make things in America, providing good-paying jobs that reinvigorate local communities. By reauthorizing the Export-Import bank, he said, we’re renewing our commitment to American manufacturing, revitalizing Main Street, and working to create good paying, middle-class jobs right here at home.

In the last few years, AGCO completed a 75,000-square-foot expansion of their manufacturing facility in Jackson to begin production of Massey Ferguson and Challenger high horsepower wheeled row crop tractors. With the expansion, AGCO created 200 new manufacturing jobs in Jackson.

Reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank also has broad bipartisan support from both business and labor groups including the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO, and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

PIPESTONE - Pipestone National Monument will celebrate Founder’s Day Monday, August 25, 2014, to commemorate the establishment of both the National Park Service and Pipestone National Monument.

Congress established the National Park Service on August 25, 1916, with thirty-five national parks and monuments administered under the Department of Interior. Pipestone National Monument was added to the system by Congress on August 25, 1937 and celebrates 77 years of being a part of the National Park Service.

The Monument will provide complimentary cookies and coffee to visitors at the Pipestone National Monument Visitor Center between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The visitor center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To promote the Monument’s Junior Ranger program, there will be Junior Ranger activities all day. In addition, all youth receiving a Junior Ranger badge will be eligible to enter a raffle to win a Pipestone National Monument Annual Pass. The Pass will admit the winning youth and all family members for one full year.

For more information on Founders Day, the Friends photo contest, or Junior Rangers please call the Monument at 507-825-5464 ext. 214.

LAKEFIELD - The Prairie Ecology Bus Center Star Party will be Friday night from 8:30 to 11pm. The program will start at Sparks Park in Lakefield with a presentation by 30-year amateur astronomer, Kevin Hlavac of Lakefield and Dr. Paul Seifert, physics professor at Minnesota West in Worthington.

Participants will become familiar with some of the objects that will be observed through telescopes, as well as view photos and information on telescopes at Mauna Kea in Hawaii and Kitt Peak near Tuscon, Arizona.

Following the indoor presentation, participants will caravan to Sandy Point County Park where there will be a variety of telescopes to observe Saturn, Mars, the summer Milky Way and many other astronomical objects.

Pre-registration is required at 507-662-5064 or by email at Marilyn@ecologybus.org.

SPENCER, Iowa - A Spencer man was seriously injured Tuesday evening in a motorcycle crash in Clay County. The Sheriff's Office says 65-year-old Steven Loehr was driving a 2007 Yamaha westbound on 300th Avenue shortly after 4:30 p.m. when he lost control and flipped the motorcycle.

Loehr was transported by ambulance to Spencer Hospital and was later life-flighted.

The Clay County Sheriff's Office was assisted by Fostoria Fire and Rescue, Spencer EMT's and the Spencer Police Department.

SPENCER, Iowa - A Spencer woman sustained minor injuries when a vehicle she was driving collided with a cow Tuesday night on Highway 71 in Clay County.

The Sheriff's Office says 24-year-old Jessica Petersen sustained some minor cuts but wasn't taken to a hospital.

Deputies say the collision took place shortly after 11:30 p.m. in the 3100 mile of Highway 71.