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EPA Delays 2014 RFS Ruling Until 2015

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In a document released Friday, November 21st, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it will not release an official final ruling for the Renewable Fuel Standard program prior to the end of 2014.

(Please note this is not the official version of the EPA's submitted document. Official version is pending signature, which will be able to be accessed via this link.)

Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa made the following comment on the announcement from the Environmental Protection Agency that it will delay finalization of the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) until 2015.

“The reprieve is mixed news for the farmers and biofuel producers who have responded to the call for more homegrown, renewable energy. The Administration’s ill-conceived proposal would have caused real harm to farmers, producers, and consumers. It would have increased dependence on oil and protected the stranglehold Big Oil has on our country’s fuel supply. Still, the Administration doesn’t deserve praise. Creating uncertainty for everybody who works in this industry isn’t a good way to do business. No one knows what kind of proposal the Administration might offer next year. Uncertainty is the enemy of job creation and investment. Unfortunately, as we also saw with the Keystone XL pipeline, uncertainty, delay and indecision are hallmarks of this Administration on energy policy.”

The National Biodiesel Board released the following statement from Vice President of Federal Affairs Anne Steckel following the EPA’s announcement:

"This Administration says over and over that it supports biodiesel, yet its actions with these repeated delays are undermining the industry. Biodiesel producers have laid off workers and idled production. Some have shut down altogether. We know that fuels policy is complex, but there is absolutely no reason that the biodiesel volume hasn't been announced. We are urging the Administration to finalize a 2014 rule as quickly as possible that puts this industry back on track for growth and puts our country back on track for ending our dangerous dependence on oil. We also urge them to move quickly on 2015 so that we don’t repeat this flawed process again next year."

Also in response to the announcement, the American Soybean Association President Ray Gaesser highlighted soybean farmer concerns with EPA’s inaction on the issue.

“The continued delays create great uncertainty for the biodiesel industry and soybean farmers and limits the industry’s ability to invest and expand,” said Gaesser.

“The Proposed Rule was unacceptable and would have taken biodiesel backward from the amounts produced and utilized in 2013. However, ASA believes that EPA can and should finalize a 2014 rule that sets the biomass-based diesel volumes at or above the nearly 1.8 billion gallons that were produced and consumed in the U.S. in 2013.” ASA will continue to work with the National Biodiesel Board and industry partners to secure appropriate and beneficial biodiesel RFS volume requirements from EPA and the Administration.”

The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) knows these continued delays are incredibly frustrating and we are working with the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and the American Soybean Association (ASA) to make sure the Administration understands the very real damage that this flawed process has caused the biodiesel industry and our national renewable fuels goals.

“The EPA’s ruling is disappointing to say the least,” MSGA President George Goblish said. “It is really too bad that we can’t get answers to a problem that has held back the industry for two years. The Administration continues to tie the hands of farmers on the topic of renewable fuels, which is a shame since biodiesel adds healthful benefits in that it cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions, while providing 73 cents value to every bushel of soybeans sold.”

Obviously, this announcement not only affects those in the bean and biodiesel market, but those in the corn and ethanol industries as well.

he following is a statement from Chip Bowling, Maryland farmer and president of the National Corn Growers Association, in response to today’s EPA announcement related to the Renewable Fuel Standard:

“Today’s announcement by EPA shows the Administration recognizes the proposed rule was inherently flawed and based on an unworkable methodology. We will continue to work with EPA to ensure that the 2014 and 2015 renewable fuel requirements are consistent with what Congress set forth in the Renewable Fuel Standard.

“Congress created the RFS to help reduce our dependence on foreign oil and to provide cleaner fuel choices for consumers. We will continue working to defend the interests of corn farmers and consumers by holding EPA accountable for implementing the law as enacted by Congress.

“Corn farmers have produced a second record crop in two years—resulting in corn prices that have fallen below the cost of production in many parts of the country. Our members have been frustrated by the uncertainty and delays surrounding the RFS. When the time came for them to speak up, they did so – loudly and forcefully. Our growers and allies sent the EPA a clear signal when this proposal was first issued, with nearly 200,000 people responding to the public comment opportunity in opposition to the reduction. Nearly 10,000 farmers called the White House directly. We have never before seen so much grassroots interest in a particular issue. Our farmers will continue to raise our voices as necessary in defense of this important policy.”

Deadline for military letters fast approaching for Minnesota Story Stones

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WORTHINGTON – Time is running out for people to submit excerpts from correspondence sent between military members and their families to the Nobles County Veterans Service Office.

Designed to honor the families of active and veteran members of the military, the Minnesota Military Family Tribute will be the first of its kind in the nation. Poised on the grounds of the Minnesota State Capitol Mall, the Tribute will thank those who have made, and continue to make, sacrifices here at home.

The Tribute will consist of three main components, including the Story Stones. The Tribute has partnered with county veterans services offices throughout the state to collect correspondence from military families to assist in the creation of the Story Stones. Eighty-seven stones, one for each county in the state, will be arranges as part of the Tribute. Excerpts from the letters will be etched into the stones, providing a window into the lives of military families.

Submissions may be from any timeframe, from the Civil War to current time, and need not be from a conflict. It can be a letter, telegram or video. Only a portion of a sentence will be etched into the stones, capturing stories that depict the lives of military families.

The letters are being collected by County Veteran Service Offices across the state.

To provide a story in Nobles County, please provide the submission to Nobles County Veterans Service Officer Bill Brockberg by noon Wednesday. They can be emailed to bbrockberg@co.nobles.mn.us or for more information contact Brock at 507-295-5292.

November 21 news

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WORTHINGTON — The Worthington Police Department is warning residents of a Microsoft Windows phone call scam. There have been numerous complaints of a caller who tells a resident that they are calling from Microsoft because a virus has been detected on their computer. The caller then asks the resident permission to access the computer to remotely to fix the problem.

Once inside a resident’s computer, the scammer can copy files, install malicious software and gain access to personal information. The most common result is the resident’s computer is infected with a virus from the scammer and the computer is rendered useless, according to the Worthington Police Department. However, the department has seen cases where financial and other pertinent information is gained by the scammer.

Microsoft has no access to anyone’s computer without permission from the computer owner.

If anyone receives this type of call, hang up immediately and report the scam to the Worthington Police Department at 295-5400.

SLAYTON – Hospice of Murray County’s annual tree of Lights lighting ceremony is from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7 at 36 Park Drive in Slayton. Festivities begin at the Hospice of Murray County Office with Horse Drawn Carriage rides, a visit with Santa Claus, cookies, hot chocolate and coffee from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. Rebel Voices will entertain with Christmas Carols beginning at 3 p.m. with the Tree Lighting Ceremony at 3:30 p.m.

SLAYTON – Members of the Slayton Community Band are preparing their annual Christmas Concert, which will be presented Sunday, December 7 at 6:30 p.m. at Christ Lutheran Church in Slayton. Selections will include familiar Christmas melodies and traditional carols. A freewill offering will be received to benefit the Murray County Food Shelf.

SLAYTON - Aerators will be in operation beginning on or after Dec. 8th, 2014 on various lakes in Murray County, including Lake Shetek, Bloody Lake, Lake Sarah, First and Second Lakes in Fulda, Lime Lake, Lake Wilson, Lake Louisa and Lake Corabelle.

SPENCER, Iowa - An arrest has been made in connection with a bomb threat Wednesday that resulted in the evacuation of Spencer High School and resulted in officials calling off classes early for the rest of the day. Spencer police say an investigation into the incident has resulted in the arrest of a 16-year-old juvenile male from Spencer on charges of terrorism and arson threats, both Class D felonies.

Authorities say the threat was found on a bathroom wall. An all-clear was given later in the afternoon after a search of the school turned up no explosive devices. The name of the juvenile who was arrested Thursday morning hasn't been released.

Police say they searched the suspect's residence and found no evidence there of a bomb or bomb making supplies. The juvenile has been released to parental custody.

MINNESOTA - Minneapolis will dedicate a street near the new Vikings stadium in honor of former Vikings coach and Pro Football Hall of Famer Bud Grant.

The Vikings and the city will hold a ceremony on Dec. 1 to rename what currently is Carew Drive on 9th Avenue between 6th and 7th street. Carew Drive, named for Twins great Rod Carew, will become a road near Target Field.

Minneapolis City Council will vote on the name change to make it official Dec. 12.
Grant went 158-96-5 with four Super Bowl appearances in 18 seasons as Vikings coach.

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama imposed the most sweeping immigration reform in a generation Thursday, easing the threat of deportation for about 4.7 million undocumented immigrants and setting up a clash with Republicans.

In a White House speech, Obama rejected Republican critics who say his decision to bypass Congress and take executive action is tantamount to amnesty for illegal immigrants and urged them to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has blocked.

Republicans pounced quickly, charging Obama had overstepped his constitutional power a year after declaring he did not have the authority to act on his own.

US Congressman Tim Walz released a statement a short time later admitting that our immigration system is broken and it is the responsibility of Congress to fix it. The Senate has done its part, Walz said, having passed and sent to the House over 500 days ago a bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform bill to secure our borders and give a pathway to citizenship for hardworking families who contribute to our communities. Unfortunately, Walz, stated, Majority leadership in the House refuses to act.

“It is very simple for Congress to override this executive action and provide a check on executive authority; pass a bill. All the House has to do is bring forward the bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the Senate. I urge Majority leadership to take this commonsense action to provide a check on executive authority and fix our broken immigration system.”

With 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, Obama’s plan would let some 4.4 million who are parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents remain in the United States temporarily, without the threat of deportation.

Those undocumented residents could apply legally for jobs and join American society, but not vote or qualify for insurance under the president’s signature health care law. The measure would apply to those who have been in the United States for at least five years.

November 20 news

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ST. PAUL – Minnesota House Speaker-designate Kurt Daudt has appointed State Representative Joe Schomacker of Luverne as Chairman of the newly created Aging & Long-Term Care Policy Committee in the Minnesota House.

Schomacker said the new committee is necessary because there continues to be a crisis within the long term care industry – particularly with its workforce – as more and more baby boomers age and retire.

Schomacker said both Democrats and Republicans have done just enough over the years to say they’ve begun addressing long term care needs, but workers within the industry are still just getting by. The new House leadership recognizes that senior care funding and long-term care regulation issues must be made over the next two years, and he said he looks forward to helping make wholesale improvements.

Long-term care is a top legislative priority for Schomacker, as it is the top employer in House District 22A. At 28 years old, it may not seem obvious for Schomacker to chair a committee dealing with aging. However, Schomacker says his perspective will be to work towards generational improvements in long term care.

Schomacker was recently elected to his 3rd term in the Minnesota House.

FULDA – The 41st annual Holiday Craft Bazaar will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Fulda High School gym in Fulda. The event will offer over 50 vendors who will be exhibiting hand crafted, home party and commercial items. Parking is free and there is no admission charge to those attending The Holiday Craft Bazaar.

Lunch, prepared by members of the American Legion Auxiliary, will be available in the high school cafeteria. The Holiday Craft Bazaar is sponsored by the Fulda Community Club.

PIPESTONE - Over $89,700 in Pipestone County Economic Development Authority (PCEDA) funds remaining after the PCEDA’s dissolution earlier this year will be used for improvements to the Pipestone County Fairgrounds, according to the Pipestone County Star.

Pipestone County Commissioners approved during their Nov. 12 meeting using more than $60,000 in PCEDA funds to offset the cost of a property the county purchased in August just north of the Fairgrounds. The house on the property will be demolished and the lot will be used for added parking, and as a loading and unloading area for animals.

The remaining PCEDA funds and any proceeds from selling office equipment belonging to the PCEDA will be used to build a new food stand at the Fairgrounds that is estimated to cost between $80,000 and $100,000. Pipestone County 4-H has been raising funds to build the new food stand and Jerry Remund, Pipestone County Commissioner and PCEDA executive board member, said the PCEDA executive board decided it would be a suitable use for the remaining funds.

SPENCER, Iowa - At 11:25 a.m. Wednesday, the Spencer High School was evacuated due to a bomb threat on a bathroom wall. All students were bused to an alternative site. Law Enforcement along with school officials searched and cleared the building deeming the building safe at 2:15pm. All students were then bused back to the High School where they were dismissed for the day.

The investigation is ongoing. No arrest has been made at this time.

Responding agencies include the Spencer Police Department, Clay County Sheriff's Office, Iowa State Patrol, Division of Criminal Investigation, Department of Narcotics Enforcement, State Fire Marshall's Office, Clay County Conservation, Spencer Fire Department, and Spencer Public Works.

INWOOD, Iowa — A water main break in a rural water line in western Lyon County caused over fifty people to be without water and closed West Lyon School for the day.
According to Bonnie Koel, Administrative Manager of Lyon-Sioux Rural Water System, it was a break in a main line two miles east of their Klondike water treatment plant. She says it happened after midnight and wasn’t noticed until the morning when customers called in, reporting no water or low pressure.

West Lyon School called early because they had no water and had to make a decision of whether to have classes or not. At that time water crews didn’t know how bad the break was or where it was, so West Lyon made the decision to call off school.

The break was found and was repaired by 10:00 a.m. The water tower east of West Lyon School had been drained, but by noon everything was back to normal she says. The customers affected were in the Inwood and Larchwood rural area.

IOWA - Expect to see more law enforcement on the road over the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday period. It's all a part of the Iowa Department of Public Safety and Iowa Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau's "Click it or Ticket" program. The special enforcement campaign will run from Monday, November 24th through November 30th.

Officials say 77 percent of all occupants ejected from a vehicle during a crash are killed. In 2013 Iowa had 317 traffic fatalities with more than 43 percent not restrained. Most local law enforcement agencies will be involved in the special enforcement, along with those in other parts of the state as well.

SIOUX CENTER, Iowa — The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the report of a missing gun, which is thought to have been stolen.

On Monday evening, November 17, the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office investigated a report of theft that occurred from a building near a home two miles west of Sioux Center. Upon further investigation it is thought that someone entered the unlocked building and stole a Uberti model 397 .357 caliber revolver.

Authorities believe the alleged crime occurred sometime in the two weeks prior to November 17. If you have any information about this investigation please contact the sheriff’s office.

November 19 news

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WORTHINGTON – DISTRICT 518 Superintendent John Landgaard shared with the School Board some current and projected enrollment numbers at the district’s three schools during Tuesday night’s meeting, showing without a doubt that the schools are overcrowded.

At Prairie Elementary, which was built to house 1,150 students, there are currently 1,201. Projected for the 2015-16 school year are 1,243, with that number up to approximately 1,274 the following school year.

At the middle school, there are currently 842 students. That is expected to rise to 886 next year and hit 935 by the 2016-17 school year. The capacity of the school is 850.
The high school is meant to house 800 students. Currently, there are 817 enrolled, with that number to go up to 837 next year and projected to be around 870 in 2017.

WORTHINGTON – The Nobles County Commissioners on Tuesday authorized Nobles County Community Services (NCCS) to hire a full-time, temporary staff person. That person will be a community outreach worker, bilingual, who will work closely with medical care providers. NCCS Director Stacie Golombiecki said the hope is that within the two-year $75,000 grant program, the position will be self-sustaining.

The commissioners also appointed Commissioner Bob Demuth Jr. to a new Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Aid group at his request. The group will meet Dec. 5 to work on developing a plan for public outreach, monitoring and response for area lakes for both plant and animal invasive species. Nobles County has received one grant, with another $50,000 expected before the end of the year.

The commissioners also made some budget amendments for both expenditures and revenue for 2014 to the tune of about $4.7 million. Some of those expenditures will see payment or refund in 2015, such as the $750,000 loan to the Buffalo Ridge Regional Rail Authority. FEMA payments are still expected. Other projects just went over budget or were unanticipated, such as $115,000 in court-appointed attorney fees, $84,500 for rural signage, $60,000 for bridge work, or $7,000 for a forklift.

WORTHINGTON – During Tuesday morning’s Nobles County Commissioner meeting, Administrator Tom Johnson announced that the application put together by a subcommittee of the Nobles Economic Opportunities Network was selected for the Blandon Broadband Communities program.

According to the Blandin website, 10 new communities were to be selected and the announcement made today. Teams will receive planning and organizing support, and the opportunity to apply for grant funding for locally developed projects that address community identified needs. First-time BBC communities may apply for up to $100,000 in matching funding over a two-year period, with the average amount of grant support anticipated to be $75,000 per community. Being chosen as a Blandin Broadband Community, however, is not a guarantee of grant support.

Nobles County is considered largely underserved when it comes to Internet access. The state standard is a 10-megabyte download speed and a 5-megabyte upload speed. Johnson said Nobles County’s inclusion in the Blandin program will put the county in line to qualify for state grants for broadband.

ST. PAUL – Minnesota House Speaker-elect Kurt Daudt has appointed State Representative Rod Hamilton (R-Mountain Lake) as Chairman of the Minnesota House Agriculture Finance Committee.

Hamilton said he is excited and humbled by this appointment and cannot wait to get to work for our farmers and residents in Greater Minnesota, adding that for the past two years ag and rural interests have been treated as an afterthought in state government, but that is about to change.

Hamilton said the Minnesota House Agriculture Finance Committee oversees and funds all state agriculture programs, including the budget of the Department of Agriculture. It will also work closely with two new Minnesota House committees – Agriculture Policy and Greater Minnesota Economic and Workforce Development Policy – to further prioritize the needs of farmers as well as workers and job providers in rural Minnesota.

Hamilton was recently elected to his 6th term in the Minnesota House of Representatives. He previously served as chairman of the Minnesota House ag finance committee in 2011 and 2012.

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa - Crews are putting the finishing touches on Spirit Lake's new city hall. City offices are closed today to allow workers to move into the new facility. They plan to start conducting business out of the new city hall on Thursday.

An open house and ribbon cutting is slated for 3:30 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, November 25.
A new flag pole in front of the building was made possible through donations of the families of the late Duane and Lois Yager. Duane was a longtime Police Chief for the city and Lois worked in city offices a number of years. Recognition will also be given to Early Maahs for his many years of service as City Attorney.

The first city council meeting in the new city hall will be held later that afternoon at 5:30 p.m.

SIOUX CENTER, Iowa — A house received extensive damage in a fire early on Tuesday near Sioux Center.

According to Sioux Center Fire Chief Dave Van Holland, at about 5:40 a.m., the Sioux Center Fire Department was called to the report of house fire at 3987 Ibex Avenue, two miles east of Sioux Center. Van Holland reports that Chris Whitaker, who lived in the home was injured when he fell on the ice outside the home. He was taken to Sioux Center Health.

Van Holland says the cause of the fire was electrical malfunction and there was extensive damage.

The Sioux Center Fire Department was assisted by Hull Fire Department.

SIBLEY, Iowa — A Sibley man has been sentenced to two years in prison on a number of charges after an arrest in Sibley.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office reports that 37-year-old Samuel Henry Seivert of Sibley pled guilty to Driving While Barred as a Habitual Offender, an Aggravated Misdemeanor; Possession of a Controlled Substance (Marijuana), Third or Subsequent Offense, an Aggravated Misdemeanor; and Failure to Appear, a Serious Misdemeanor.

He was sentenced to the custody of the Director of the Iowa Department of Corrections for a term not to exceed two years on the driving while barred and possession of marijuana charges. On the failure to appear charge, he was sentenced to one year.
However, the sentences for all three charges will be served concurrently and also concurrent to the sentence for a Dickinson County case.

Weber pleads guilty to criminal vehicular homicide

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LUVERNE - A plea agreement for the South Dakota man who was making a cell phone banking transaction while driving when he fatally struck Andrea Boeve of Steen on her a bicycle calls for the felony conviction to eventually be erased from his record, the prosecutor said Tuesday.

Christopher Weber, age 25 a member of the South Dakota National Guard, will be sentenced in Rock County District Court on Dec. 8 to 360 days in jail spread over three years and 300 hours of community service.

Weber, of Brandon, S.D., pleaded guilty Monday to criminal vehicular homicide in the crash on June 30 that killed 33-year-old Andrea Boeve of Steen as she was riding her bike on the side of County Road 11, just north of the family’s hometown.

Boeve was pulling a bike trailer carrying her 1- and 4-year-old daughters when she was run over. Weber stopped and tried to revive the mother.

The older girl suffered a broken rib and punctured lung; the younger girl received minor injuries.

The plea agreement calls for Weber to serve 180 days in jail in 2015, 90 in 2016 and 90 in 2017, according to Assistant Rock County Attorney Jeffrey L. Haubrich.

Once his jail time is over, Weber will be put on four years of supervised probation. After that, Haubrich said, there will be no felony on Weber’s record and the case will discharged.

Haubrich said “numerous factors” are weighed when plea agreements are reached, and “there is no exact right answer how to handle any case.”

To Weber’s benefit, Haubrich said, “certainly stopping and helping was a good thing. Accepting responsibility and showing remorse from the start was evident with this defendant as he cooperated with the investigation.”

The prosecutor also pointed to Weber’s “spotless record” on the roads and the fact that he is “a veteran who is still active with the National Guard providing valuable public service.” Weber served in Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010.

Haubrich added that “no remedy is adequate to replace a lost life. We believed, given all the considerations that go into a case like this, that this is an appropriate resolution."

According to the criminal complaint, Weber said he was trying to navigate his bank’s automated phone system, waiting to hear which number he should press to move to the next stage, when his pickup struck Boeve as she biked with her daughters in a bike stroller behind her.

By the time police arrived, Weber was attempting CPR, but Boeve died at the scene.

“I was on my mobile banking, listening to the voice recorder,” Weber told police, according to the complaint. “I was listening to menu options, listening for a touch tone — which one I needed to push.”

Then, he said, “I heard a thump, like I hit something. … I pulled over as fast as I can and ran back toward the bike, where I saw the gal in the ditch.”

Nobles County chosen for Blandin Broadband Communities program

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WORTHINGTON – During Tuesday morning’s Nobles County Commissioner meeting, Administrator Tom Johnson announced that the application put together by a subcommittee of the NEON group was selected for the Blandin Broadband Communities (BBC) program.

Blandin Broadband Communities builds on the success of the Demonstration Community component of the Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities (MIRC) program, which was funded by federal grant dollars and administered by the foundation.

According to the Blandin website, 10 new communities were to be selected. Teams will receive planning and organizing support, and the opportunity to apply for grant funding for locally developed projects that address community identified needs.

First-time BBC communities may apply for up to $100,000 in matching funding over a two-year period, with the average amount of grant support anticipated to be $75,000 per community. Being chosen as a Blandin Broadband Community, however, is not a guarantee of grant support.

November 18 news

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JACKSON - The Jackson Golf Club will host the first Jackson Has Talent Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at the Golf Club in Jackson.

Contestants must be at least 21 years old. There is no restriction on the type of act, and should be 3-5 minutes in length. The crowd will judge the acts.

Happy Hour and Taco Bar will start at 5 p.m. with the show starting at 6:30. There will be a $1 admission with proceeds going to the winners. For more information, contact the Golf Course at 847-2660.

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa - More jobs are coming to Rembrandt Enterprises and its new headquarters in Spirit Lake.

Meeting in special session Monday the Spirit Lake city council approved filing an application on the company's behalf to the Iowa Economic Development Authority for assistance in relocating the company's headquarters from Okoboji to the Great Lakes Mall in Spirit Lake.

The assistance package includes $105,000 in a zero percent interest loan, an additional $105,000 forgivable loan and $130,000 in tax incentives. Hans Paulson, the company's Director of Human Resources, said the package will help cover relocation of the company's headquarters and construction of a new research and development facility. Paulson said they have already added 15 employees and hope to add another 20 to 30 jobs by the beginning of the year.

The new R & D center, which will be located with the company's new headquarters in the Great Lakes Mall, is scheduled to open in early April. Paulson said the new corporate offices and R & D center represent a total investment of just under six million dollars. On a related note, Paulson told the city council that Rembrandt Enterprises is now the second largest egg producer in the U.S.

SPENCER, Iowa - There was a major announcement Monday regarding the future management of the Clay County Regional Events Center. Steve Peters, President of VenuWorks, which currently oversees management of the center, announced those duties will be transitioning to the Clay County Fair by this coming June 30th.

VenuWorks, then known as Compass Facility Management, began its work with Clay county two years prior to the opening of the Clay County Regional Events Center with a feasibility study and business plan that led to the design of the current facility and management contract.

In a news release, Peters says the center has been able to establish itself and that it makes sense for the transition to happen now.

Jeremy Parsons, Clay County Fair General Manager, will be overseeing the transition. He extended his gratitude to VenuWorks, saying it was the right company at the right time to help them get the Regional Events Center up and running.

MINNESOTA - Adrian Peterson’s grievance hearing with the NFL has been completed, but there has not been a determination on whether or not the Vikings running back will be allowed to return this season.

According to Pro Football Talk, a decision on Peterson’s reinstatement may not be far off though.

By rule, a decision must come by Saturday, November 22. A source says a ruling likely will come within two days. If so, it will give Peterson an opportunity to practice with the Vikings in advance of Sunday’s game against the Packers.

The ruling must come by Saturday. But regardless of what or when the arbitrator rules, the NFL could suspend Peterson for violating the league’s player conduct policy.

MINNESOTA - Gov. Mark Dayton on Monday heaped praise on the Minnesota National Guard soldiers who will be deployed to Liberia next spring to help in the fight against the Ebola virus.

Noting the federal nature of the deployment, Dayton said he understood why Minnesota soldiers were chosen, stating we have the best guardsmen and women anywhere in the country.

The Minnesota National Guard announced Sunday that nearly 700 of its members would be deployed to the West African country for about six months starting in April. Liberia has been hardest hit by the recent outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, with more than 2,800 deaths.

The Minnesota Guard members will not be treating Ebola patients, but rather will oversee and coordinate military activities including the construction of Ebola treatment centers. Still, Dayton said their safety during and after the deployment would be of paramount concern.

The citizen-soldiers are part of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division based in Rosemount. Dayton said, “We will go to every length humanly possible to make sure they're protected while they're there, that they come back and they're protected, and their families and everyone else is protected until they're given a clean bill of health to return.”

Dayton noted that some units from the Michigan National Guard are in Liberia now, and that Minnesota would be watching and learning from those efforts.

Murray County Board Chair John Giese dies at 79

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SLAYTON – Murray County Commissioner John Giese died early Sunday morning at his home in Slayton. Giese, who was 79, had served on the Murray County Board since 2007 and was the current Chairman.

His term was to end Jan 1, 2015, and due to health issues, he did not run for re-election.

Giese grew up in Mountain Lake and Jeffers. He was a branch manager for Farm Credit in Slayton for 29 years, retiring in 2000. Giese also was a charter member for the Buffalo Ridge Ducks Unlimited and Oak Ridge Gobblers of the National Wild Turkey Federation. He also belonged to the Friends of the Wetlands. He served as a firearms safety instructor for many years, was an avid hunter, fisherman and enjoyed anything to do with the outdoors.

Colleagues remember Giese as a strong advocate for the environment and the health and welfare of all of the communities in Murray County.

Murray County Board Vice Chair James Jens said he has learned a lot from Giese. Jens said Giese always did his homework, always researched issues and when he came to a decision, felt it was the right decision.

During a regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, the Murray County Board of Commissioners will likely discuss what will happen with the remainder of Giese’s term. Chances are the remaining few weeks will be allowed to lapse without the seat being filled. Glenn Kluis was recently elected to fill the District 4 seat.

Surviving is his wife Jane, four children, six grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, two sisters and other family members. The funeral service is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at St. Ann's Catholic Church, Slayton.

November 17 news

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ADRIAN – Two people received non-life threatening injuries Saturday when a Chevrolet Impala rear-ended a snowplow on I-90 near Adrian. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, the MnDOT snow plow was in the eastbound left lane with its blade lifted. Driver Mark Holtz, 60, of Magnolia, was preparing to make a u-turn, when the Impala, driven by 28-year-old Kyle King of Rock Rapids, Iowa, approached in the right lane and failed to see the plow because of the blowing snow. King hit the plow as he attempted to pass. He and a passenger, 14-year-old Jaylen Klein, were taken to Sanford Worthington Medical Center.

WORTHINGTON - There’s no avoiding winter in Minnesota, and with it comes the odd-even parking ordinance in the city of Worthington. The ordinance went into effect Saturday and stays in effect until March 31. On even number days, vehicles must park on the even side of the street and on odd days, vehicles must park on the odd side of the street. Look at the house numbers to determine the odd or even side of the street. The ordinance starts every day at 12:01 a.m. - just after midnight- and is in effect until 3 p.m. every day.

Violations of this ordinance may result in a $25 ticket and violators may have their car towed.

WORTHINGTON - The Southwest Crisis Center will be hosting their annual Fall Online Auction Fundraiser beginning today through Friday, November 21. More than 60 items have been added to this year’s auction with more items added daily, thanks to the generosity of area businesses. Items range from casino packages to gift cards and perfect for some great holiday shopping.

This year’s auction includes a local match from the Remick Foundation on all funds raised up to $10,000. All funds raised will go toward providing services to victims of domestic and sexual violence and their children in the crisis center’s five county service area.

For more information or to sign up to bid, go to swcrisiscenter.24fundraiser.com. You can also access the auction site via the SWCC website at www.mnswcc.org or from their Facebook site.

WORTHINGTON – The Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force has a new addition to their team – 14-month-old Sassy, a K-9 trained to detect controlled substances such as methamphetamines, marijuana, cocaine and other narcotics.

Sassy is the partner of Agent Edison Dengler, and they recently completed training and were certified as a team with North Iowa K-9 Master Trainer Paul Samuelson. Sassy, a Belgian Malinois, was purchased using Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force forfeiture funds. She will be assigned full-time to the task force to assist with all investigations. The task force covers the counties of Pipestone, Murray and Nobles.

JACKSON - The Jackson County Sheriff's Office has investigated two thefts from vehicles and one incident of tampering of a motor vehicle in the past week. They are requesting that all residents secure or remove any valuable items from vehicles that are left unattended and encourage everyone to report any suspicious activities to the Jackson County Sheriff's Office.

OKOBOJI, Iowa - Trot on over to the Dickinson County Nature Center and gobble up some knowledge during the Turkey Trot hike at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 26. Dickinson County Conservation Board naturalists Karess Knudtson and Charles Vigdal will lead young and old alike through Kenue Park in Okoboji to learn all about turkeys as Thanksgiving approaches.

This is the third year for the Turkey Trot, but this year’s event will be new and exciting. Hikers will stop at various stations throughout Kenue Park to learn all about turkeys, from characteristics of the animal to seeing a model turkey nest to searching for a live turkey with calls. The event will end at the Dickinson County Nature Center with a craft and snack.

The Turkey Trot is a continuation of a series started this summer titled Hike the Wild.
For more information on the Turkey Trot or other Hike the Wild events, contact the Dickinson County Nature Center at 712-336-6352 or visit online at dickinsoncountyconservationboard.com.

SPENCER, Iowa - A Spencer man has been charged in connection with an investigation into vandalism done to some street signs and mailboxes in Ruthven.

The Palo Alto County Sheriff's Office says 21-year-old Dennis Williams was charged with criminal mischief in the 3rd degree. He was cited and released pending an initial court appearance.

Authorities say the incidents took place November 8th.

SIBLEY, Iowa — A Sibley woman was arrested after a hit-and-run accident on Friday, November 14.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office reports that shortly after 4 p.m., they received a 911 call of a hit and run accident in Sibley. The report said a vehicle had struck another vehicle that was legally parked and then the suspect vehicle left the scene.

The Sheriff’s Office located the suspect and the vehicle at a Sibley home, and the driver was identified as 45-year-old Cristee Ann Davids of Sibley. Davids was arrested and charged with allegedly Operating While Intoxicated, and Reckless Driving.

Davids was transported to the Osceola County Jail and was released after posting bond.

IRETON, Iowa — The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help — again to find someone involved in an accident.

They report that they investigated the accident on Thursday night, November 13th. It occurred on Dipper Avenue, six miles southwest of Ireton. From what they can tell, a 2002 Chevrolet Silverado pickup was traveling southbound on Dipper Avenue when the driver lost control of the vehicle, which entered the east ditch and rolled. The driver left the area and could not be found.

It is unknown if the driver sustained any injuries. The Chevrolet sustained approximately $5,000 in damages.

The accident remains under investigation. If anyone witnessed this accident or has information about the driver’s identity you are asked to contact the sheriff’s office. You can use their text-a-tip program. Directions can be found at siouxcountysheriff.com.

ESTHERVILLE, Iowa - The Iowa Lakes Community College Music Department is proud to announce the Fifteenth Annual Elizabethan Madrigal Feaste. This year’s festivities will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 6th and Sunday, December 7th at the Estherville VFW.

Guests will be served a delicious six-course meal and will have an opportunity to participate in some hilarious comedic entertainment, and listening to splendid sounds of the season performed by the Iowa Lakes Chamber Choir, the Lakers Handbell Ringers, The King’s Brass Ensemble and Her Majesty’s Recorder Consort.

Tickets are $20 per person and seating is limited. Reservations must be received in the Music Department and paid in full by Wednesday, Dec. 3.

If you have any questions, or would like to reserve tickets, please contact Linda Kautz, Music Department Assistant, at 712-362-8345 or 1-800-242-5106 Ext. 8345 or by email at lkautz@iowalakes.edu.