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Minnesota West nursing program receives donation of SimMan patient simulator

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WORTHINGTON – There’s a new manikin in town, and this guy is no dummy. He blinks, groans, talks, has a pulse and when the occasion calls for it, even throws up. Surprisingly, that’s a good thing.

The SimMan Essential is a wireless patient simulator that the nursing program instructors at Minnesota West Community & Technical College Worthington Campus are learning to use so they will be prepared when the students start school in four weeks. The manikin, which costs about $60,000 was purchased with funds contributed by the Worthington Regional Health Care Foundation, Minnesota West Leverage Grant dollars, an Avera Health donation and some help from Laerdal, the manufacturer.

According to Dawn Gordon, Director of Nursing, the program had the maximum number of students it could handle, but the industry was asking for more nurses. So they expanded, going from 96 LPN students to 124, moving up to 96 RN students.

Ten years ago they purchased their first manikin, and liked the hands-on approach of getting the students involved. A student survey showed most found it to be a valuable learning experience.

Minnesota West President Terry Gaalswyk has told his staff he is supportive of innovative and creative programs that will engage students, and the manikin sure seemed to fit the bill, Gordon said.

It can be programmed to run scenarios which allow the students to diagnose his issues. He coughs, grimaces in pain, has chest movement and comes down with pneumonia upon request.

Jeff Rotert, Executive Director at the Worthington Regional Health Care Foundation, said the purchase of the SimMan fit their mission. Half of the money had to come from the community, and he thought it was a good opportunity to help students as they move into the health care field.

July 30 news


RUSHMORE – Kimberly Zwart, age 49, of Chatfield, was seriously injured when her 1983 Honda motorcycle hit a deer on Interstate 90 Wednesday evening. According to the Minnesota state Patrol, Zwart was westbound on I-90 near milepost 32 between Rushmore and Adrian at approximately 10:45 p.m. when the deer crossed the highway and the motorcycle collided with the animal.

The Nobles County Sheriff’s Office, Rushmore Fire, Adrian Ambulance and Worthington Ambulance assisted at the scene.

LUVERNE – Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith visited Luverne on Wednesday to speak with members of the Luverne Initiatives for Tomorrow executive board. The group, known as LIFT, is a public and private 501(c)3 entity focused on revitalizing the community and bringing people to the area.

Smith said she was interested in knowing what could be done at the state level and what the state could do to get out of the way to help groups such as LIFT succeed.

LIFT has already had success in several areas and continues to move forward in others. They brought a large hotel facility to the city using investor dollars, are working with main street business owners on a store front façade program that utilizes grants and low interest loans, have rebranded the city and are currently under construction on the southgate entrance into the city, having worked with MNDoT with a 25 percent cost-share to get the project going ahead of schedule.

According to Mayor Pat Baustian, the goal is to make Luverne a destination – a more inviting place to live and a place to shop.

When Smith asked what the hurdles were to forming a public/private entity, Sen. Bill Weber said reaching a consensus on what projects to tackle was the challenge, whittling down the ideas that came from almost 200 people so there was direction.

One problem that several committee members identified for Smith was the prevailing wage issue that plagues Greater Minnesota communities. Baustain said prevailing wage was made for the metro area and hurts outstate areas
Rock County Administrator Kyle Oldre concurred, stating if they could use regional wages they would stand a better chance. Another issue identified was the lack of contractors.

Smith said the information was very interesting, adding that sometimes success begets challenges.

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa - The Spirit Lake city council Tuesday paved the way for work to begin on infrastructure for a new multi-family residential and commercial development on 54 acres of land west and south of the Great Lakes Mall.

The council amended one urban renewal district and established a new one encompassing the site of the proposed development, and formally approved an agreement with the developer of the project, Lee Seaman of Omaha. It spells out who's responsible for installation of infrastructure, selling lots, and so on.

City Administrator/Attorney Greg Owens addressed the council and those in attendance following the action, saying it represents a major step toward addressing a critical shortage of housing in the city.

Having the formalities taken care of means work can begin on constructing streets and infrastructure on the site.

WORTHINGTON - It's DQ Miracle Treat Day.

Since 1984, Dairy Queen and Children's Miracle Network Hospitals have been partnered to provide life-saving treatments to kids across the U.S. and Canada.

Every minute, 62 children enter a Children's Miracle Network Hospital for treatment. Today you can help DQ help the kids.

On Miracle Treat Day, $1 or more from every blizzard treat sold at participating DQ locations will be donated to local Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.

July 29 news


WORTHINGTON – Motorists on Oxford Street will no longer need to stop at the intersection with Omaha Avenue after Aug. 13. However, cross traffic, or motorists on Omaha Avenue, will need to comply with a stop sign before entering the intersection when it is clear.

The evaluation and potential removal of the signal is to improve traffic flow and safety. Current and forecasted traffic at the intersection is not high enough to warrant the signal that has been in place since 1981.

Replacing the signal with a two-way stop is expected to reduce the frequency and severity of crashes, based on crash records from other urban through-stop controlled intersections on the state highway system with similar traffic volumes. It is believed that through-stop controlled intersections have fewer crashes because motorists are required to be attentive and actively look for a safe gap in traffic, rather than relying on a traffic signal indication that does not tell the motorist if it is safe to enter the intersection. Replacing the signal with through-stop control will also reduce delays for both motorists and pedestrians at the intersection.

Crews from the Minnesota Department of Transportation will cover the signal lights on Aug. 13 and add stop signs with flashing LED lights on both Omaha Avenue approaches, plus other signage.

In conjunction with the signal deactivation, MnDOT will be evaluating the traffic operations of the revised intersection over the next few months. If during the evaluation no adverse traffic impacts are observed by MnDOT, the signal will remain deactivated until it can be removed in mid-November. In addition to the expected crash and delay reduction benefits, the removal of the signal would also result in cost savings to both the City of Worthington and MnDOT.

WORTHINGTON - The Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce through the Community Improvement Committee is sponsoring a “Flower Power – Yard of the Week.” This week’s recipient is Khanh & Colleen Bui, 913 McMillan St.

Anyone is eligible to nominate a residence or a business as a candidate for the “Flower Power – Yard of the Week.” Nominations can be made by calling the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce office at (507) 372-2919.

SLAYTON – A Slayton man charged with assault with a dangerous weapon is scheduled to make a court appearance next week in Murray County District Court after allegedly threatening another man with a knife during an argument.

Frank Podhrasky, age 51, is charged with two counts of second-degree assault, third-degree assault, two counts of fifth-degree assault and disorderly conduct. He is currently in custody in the Lyon County Jail.

The criminal complaint, filed last week, states authorities were dispatched to Southgate Apartments July 17 and met by a witness who said Podhrasky and the victim had gotten into an argument while drinking, and Podhrasky had pulled a knife. When an officer went into the victim’s apartment to check on him, he found the man lying on his back on the floor, with a laceration near his eye. The victim was conscious but confused.

The witness said when the argued, Podhrasky pulled the knife and lunged at the victim, so he stepped between the two. The victim told Podhrasky to leave and he started to do so, then turned back and kneed the man in the stomach several times, punched him in the face and knocked him off his chair.

The officers went to Podhrasky’s third floor apartment to speak with him. Podhrasky said the victim swung at him first, and initially denied having a knife, then relented and went into his bedroom and removed it from its hiding spot between two mattresses.

At the hospital, the victim confirmed the witness’ statement. He received several stitches in his face. The witness told the officers he believed if he had not been there to intervene, Podhrasky would have stabbed the victim.

Bond has been set at $20,000 with conditions. Podhrasky’s next court appearance is scheduled for August 3.

ST. PAUL — The League of Minnesota Cities has selected 28 state lawmakers, including District 22 Sen. Bill Weber, as Legislators of Distinction for 2015. The honor recognizes legislators for specific actions that aided efforts of Minnesota cities during the past year’s legislative session.

Legislators of Distinction are approved annually by the League’s Board of Directors to recognize that in order to successfully serve shared constituents, state and city officials must work together to meet the unique needs of rural, suburban and urban residents all across Minnesota. Weber, a former mayor and city council member, was cited specifically for co-authoring legislation creating a workforce housing grant program.
Additionally, he was a strong advocate for cities on issues related to local government aid, water and solid waste policies, and infrastructure funding.

Recipients of the recognition received a letter of appreciation and a certificate. Additionally, a copy of the Legislator of Distinction acknowledgment letter was sent to the mayor of each city in the district of each award winner.

SIBLEY, Iowa - A Sheldon man has been arrested on a warrant charging him with theft in connection with a coin box that was stolen this past January from a car wash in Melvin.
The Osceola County Sheriff's Office says 37-year-old Michael Walker was arrested Monday on the warrant charging him with criminal mischief in the 5th degree and theft in the 5th degree.

Walker was booked into the Osceola County Jail and was later released after posting a $600 bond.

GEORGE, Iowa - Authorities in Lyon County are investigating a burglary at a bar in George.

The Lyon County Sheriff's Office says the Last Call Saloon was broken into sometime between 1:30 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. Saturday. Authorities say there was a considerable amount of damage to the bar, and that quite a bit of liquor was missing.

Anyone with information into the incident is asked to contact the Lyon County Sheriff's Office.

EMMETSBURG, Iowa - A Mallard man faces charges in connection with an alleged assault at a convenience store. The Palo Alto County Sheriff's Office says deputies were called shortly before 6 p.m. Monday to Sparky's Convenient Store in Mallard.

Following an investigation, 26-year-old Aaron Krusen was arrested and charged with assault causing bodily and driving while suspended. Authorities say the incident is still under investigation and that charges are pending against the second party involved.

July 28 news

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WORTHINGTON – Seven people were recognized by Police Chief Troy Appel Monday night during the Worthington City Council meeting – three were presented with Worthington Police Department Citizen Awards and four with Civilian Life Saving Awards.

Chad Nixon was given a Citizen Award for his efforts in helping Officer Jake Walker subdue a wanted felon who had run into the Burger King restaurant on June 26. With a lunch-time crowd standing by, the suspect was able to get to his feet with Walker on his back after the officer had taken him to the ground. Nixon came to Walker’s aid, coming from behind the counter where he worked and helping to end the situation before anyone could get hurt.

In an incident June 29, two individuals went out of their way to help during a residential fire on Crailsheim Drive. Kelly Siverhus and Alex Purdy worked together to extinguish a fire and alert the occupants of the home, who were unaware of the fire. Siverhus was driving by and saw an unattended burning fryer attached to a propane tank inside a garage. He turned off the propane, but was unable to move the fryer because of the heat. Purdy, driving by, saw what was happening and stopped to help. He alerted the occupants of the house while Siverhus extinguished the fire with a garden hose. Both were given a Citizens Award.

Earlier this month, four men worked together to save the life of Dan Gorham during a residential house fire. On July 3, police officers and firefighters in Worthington responded to a house fire and found Gorham at the scene semi-conscious and covered in soot. Through witness statements, officers learned Paulo Lucio Gonzalez was driving by the house on Humiston Avenue and noticed the fire. He went into the house, located the unconscious man in the kitchen and went for help. Joel, Clayton and John Grimstad entered the house and the men pulled Gorham to safety. All four were given the Civilian Life Saving Award. The Grimstads' mother, Joanne Grimstad, accepted the awards on their behalf.

Mayor Mike Kuhle thanked each person as they received their award, stating that they make Worthington proud. Councilor Diane Graber, however summed it up best when she said if something bad ever happened to her or a loved one, she hoped one of them was around to help.

WORTHINGTON - Former Worthington Mayor Alan Oberloh was recognized by the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC) July 23 for his excellence in service to Greater Minnesota during the Coalition’s three-day summer conference in Duluth.

The Jack Murray Award is given to city officials who demonstrate knowledge, leadership, and active participation in CGMC program areas over their public service career. The award is named for Jack Murray, mayor of International Falls, who was instrumental in the CGMC’s formation.

Oberloh was a longtime supporter of the CGMC and Greater Minnesota issues, having served on the CGMC’s Board of Directors for several years and as the organization’s president in 2011-2012. During his years of involvement, Oberloh was extremely active in helping recruit new members and expand the organization.

Heidi Omerza, president of the CGMC and a member of the Ely City Council , said as mayor of Worthington and a former CGMC president, Oberloh was a powerful, no-nonsense advocate for Greater Minnesota. His leadership and recruitment efforts helped grow the CGMC into the strong organization that it is today, she added.

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.

WORTHINGTON – What will Oxford Street look like in 10 years? The city of Worthington is preparing a plan for the future of Oxford Street, which will be presented at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Biotech Advancement Center at 1527 Prairie Drive. The plan will include recommendations for how the area can be improved with better streets, buildings and parks over the next decade. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend.

CYLINDER, Iowa - A father and son died after being overcome by fumes in a manure pit on Saturday. The Palo Alto County Sheriff's Office says authorities were called shortly before 2:00 p.m. Saturday to 3268 510th Avenue after getting a report of two men in the pit.

58-year-old Gene Opheim and 32-year-old Austin Opheim, both of Cylinder, were pulled from the pit by fire and rescue personnel. Both were taken to the Palo Alto County Hospital where they later died.

Authorities say Austin Opheim went into the pit to make some repairs when he was overcome by the fumes. His father Gene then went into the pit to rescue his son, but was also overcome.

SIBLEY, Iowa - A collision Sunday in Osceola county involving a motorcycle and an SUV injured a Sibley man.

The Sheriff's Office says 25-year-old Levi Christensen of Sibley was driving a 2003 Kawasaki motorcycle northbound on County Road L-40 and 17-year-old Virginia Reyes of Sergeant Bluff was driving a 1998 Jeep Cherokee eastbound on County Road A-34.

Authorities say Reyes stopped at the intersection. Thinking it was a four-way stop, Reyes then pulled into the path of the motorcycle driven by Christensen who tried to stop. The motorcycle slid on its left side, colliding with the rear of the vehicle driven by Reyes.

Christensen was taken by ambulance to the Osceola County Hospital. No injuries were reported to Reyes.

$4,000 in damage was reported to the motorcycle while the Jeep Cherokee sustained an estimated $500 in damage. The collision took place shortly after 4:30 p.m.

UPDATE: Pilot, passengers identified in Pipestone plane crash


11:55 UPDATE
HOLLAND – Pipestone County Sheriff Keith Vreeman identified the pilot of the airplane that crashed in rural Holland as Steven Christensen, age 59, of rural Pipestone. The two passengers aboard the plane were Marcos Favela, age 18, of Torreon, Mexico, and a 13-year-old female from Guadalajara, Mexico. All three were killed when the plane crashed Monday evening in Grange Township.

The small fixed-wing aircraft went down in a field south of Holland, 10 miles northeast of Pipestone, according to information released by the Pipestone County Sheriff’s Office. Reports started coming into the sheriff’s office about the crash just after 8 p.m. Monday.

As of Tuesday morning, Vreeman said the Federal Aviation Administration was en route to Pipestone County from Minneapolis to assist with the investigation. The FAA preliminary report states the airplane, a Wheeler Express, was destroyed. According to the FAA registry, the plane is registered to Christensen’s Pipestone address.

9:45 a.m. UPDATE
HOLLAND - Pipestone County Sheriff Keith Vreeman on Tuesday morning said he is hoping to release the identity of the victims of a plane crash yet this morning, but is still confirming details because a couple weren’t from the area.

A pilot and two passengers were killed Monday evening when a small fixed-wing aircraft went down in a field south of Holland, 10 miles northeast of Pipestone, according to information released by the Pipestone County Sheriff’s Office. Reports started coming into the sheriff’s office about the crash just after 8 p.m. Monday. The crashed plane was located in Grange Township, Section 13, according to a statement issues by the sheriff’s office.

Vreeman said the Federal Aviation Administration is en route to Pipestone County from Minneapolis and should arrive later this morning to assist with the investigation.

5:00 a.m.
HOLLAND - The Pipestone County Sheriff says a pilot and two passengers are dead after the small plane they were flying went down in a cornfield just south of Holland, 10 miles northeast of Pipestone.

Reports starting coming in about the downed aircraft just after 8 p.m. Monday night, according to the sheriff’s office. Emergency responders located the crashed plane on a waterway in Grange Township Section 13.

Three people were in the small, fixed-wing plane - a pilot and two passengers. All were pronounced dead at the scene. The names of those aboard the plane have not yet been released.

The Pipestone County Sheriff’s Office and Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the incident. It is currently an ongoing investigation and more information will be released as it moves forward. The Pipestone County Sheriff’s Office, Holland Fire Department, Holland First Responders, Pipestone County Ambulance and Pipestone County Emergency Management all responded to the scene.

Names released in fatal Cottonwood County crash


MOUNTAIN LAKE – The names of two people killed in a two-vehicle crash in Cottonwood County over the weekend were released Monday by the Minnesota State Patrol.

According to the report, a 2008 Chevrolet Silverado pickup, driven by 21-year-old Brian Hagberg of Sanborn, was eastbound on Highway 30 when it collided with a 2000 Volkswagen Passat traveling southbound on Cottonwood County Road 1. The crash happened just after 4 p.m.

The driver of the Passat, 54-year-old Prakasith Souksavath of Jackson, was killed in the crash, as was one of his passengers, Keo Kaysonphet, age 47, of Bloomington.

Khonrasamith Phonevidone, age 52, and Saengdao Philaphon, age 44, both of Bloomington, received serious injuries. Both were taken to the hospital in Windom. Hagberg was also taken to the Windom hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

July 27 news


MOUNTAIN LAKE – Two people were killed Sunday afternoon when two vehicles crashed in Mountain Lake. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, a 2008 Chevrolet Silverado pickup, driven by 21-year-old Brian Hagberg of Sanborn, was eastbound on Highway 30 when it collided with a 2000 Volkswagen Passat traveling southbound on Cottonwood County Road 1. The driver of the Passat was killed, as was a passenger. Both passengers of the Passat, from Bloomington, were seriously injured. Hagberg received non-life threatening injuries.

SIOUX FALLS, SD – An Amber Alert ended with the child being returned safely to its mother Saturday night after being located in Fulda, according to authorities.

Sioux Falls Police were dispatched to a restaurant around 8 p.m. for a family dispute, where they found a woman who said Jacob Vortherms, the biological father of her three children, had removed her 18-month-old son daycare without her permission. She said that she had also received text messages from Vortherms stating that she would never see her children again and that he was going to get the rest of them in Fulda.

Officers began to search for the child by geo locating Vortherms’cell phone. They also searched the female’s residence to make sure that Vortherms had not gone to her home. Once at her home they discovered it had been broken into and vandalized, with approximately $5,000 in damages.

At approximately 10 p.m. an Amber Alert for the child was issued and broadcast regionally. The telephone trace showed Vortherms to be in the Adrian and Fulda area. Local law enforcement in Minnesota was contacted to assist with the search. They also ensured the other two children in Fulda were safe from harm. At approximately 11:30 p.m., authorities in Fulda came into contact with Vortherms and the child. The child was not harmed and returned to his mother.

Vortherms was subsequently arrested on felony arrest warrants that had been issued in Minnehaha County. South Dakota. The bond set on the warrants totaled $50,000 for two counts of second degree burglary, one count of intentional damage to property, and one count of abuse or cruelty of a minor under the age of 7. Vortherms is being held in the Lyon County jail pending extradition to South Dakota.

WORTHINGTON - The Nobles County Employee Wellness Committee is hosting a Community Blood Drive on Thursday, July 30th and members of the public are invited to participate. The Blood Mobile will be at the Public Works Building at 960 Diagonal Road from 7 to 11 a.m. and at the County Government Center at 315 Tenth Street from 1 to 4:30 p.m. To make an appointment, please call Bob Jirele at 295-5304. Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are also welcome.

SLAYTON -The Southwest Regional Development Commission Transportation Committee will be meeting at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Center for Regional Development Offices in Slayton. The majority of this annual meeting will involve discussions with the MnDOT District 7 staff and District 8 Engineer and staff from Mankato and Willmar on transportation issues in the region.

Other items for Committee business include action on the 2014 Functional Classification update, learning the status of State Transportation Plans, an update and request for outreach assistance on Safe Routes to School, and Corridor Coalition updates. If there are transportation topics of interest to you, you are welcome to attend. For a copy of the agenda visit the SRDC Regional Events Calendar at For questions please contact Annette Fiedler, SRDC Physical Development Director, at 507-836-1631 or by e-mail at

CURRIE – End-O-Line Railroad Park and Museum will host an open house from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, August 1 at 440 North Mill Street in Currie. The open house is free and open to the public.

The buildings at the park will be open to tour, there are working model railroad displays and vintage railroad cars that will be open as well. Guest speaker John Galstad will be presenting on the "History of Model Railroading" at 1:30 p.m. and Jerry Ostensoe will give a concert of railroad and hobo songs on the grounds at 7 p.m.

MINNESOTA - The FBI arrested two people Friday for releasing mink from farms in Minnesota and Wisconsin as part of a cross-country campaign to “terrorize” the fur industry.

According to a federal grant jury indictment, Joseph Buddenberg, 31, and Nicole Kissane, 28, of Oakland, California, caused hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage as they released almost 6,000 mink from farms and destroyed breeding records.

A news release from the FBI says their spree started during the summer and went into fall 2013, with the indictment alleging they snuck onto farms in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Idaho, and Pennsylvania during multiple trips – and on one occasion released a bobcat from a farm in Montana.

The pair have been charged under the Conspiracy to Violate the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.

The Star Tribune reports that the pair are allegedly responsible for a break-in at the four-generation Myhre ranch near Grand Meadow, southeastern Minnesota in October 2013, when around 450 animals were released.

It came a few days after similar action at a fur farm in Wisconsin that left the owners scrambling to catch their mink with fishing nets.

Another of the crimes described in the indictment alleges that the pair smashed windows and glued the door locks to a furrier business based in Minneapolis, while on another occasion they vandalized and attempted to flood the home of a North American Fur Auction employee in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.

The unemployed pair sold items on eBay and Amazon to finance their trips and withdrew large amounts before they left, only using cash for purchases.

“Whatever your feelings about the fur industry, there are legal ways to make your opinions known,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. “The conduct alleged here, sneaking around at night, stealing property and vandalizing homes and businesses with acid, glue, and chemicals, is a form of domestic terrorism and can’t be permitted to continue.”

Wisconsin is the country’s largest mink producer, according to the USDA, with more than 1.1 million pelts produced in 2014, with the average pelt costing $56.30.

Minnesota is the fifth largest, producing 244,520 in 2014. The farming of mink and other furs is criticized by animal rights groups who claim it is cruel, with the pelts in demand in the fashion industry.

July 24 news


WORTHINGTON – All across the nation, neighbors and law enforcement will join together on August 4 and get to know each other a little better during Night to Unite, an evening designated to heightening awareness of crime and drug prevention efforts and strengthening police and community partnerships.

From 5 to 7 p.m. on that Tuesday evening at Pioneer Village, the Worthington Police Department will host a local Night to Unite event that is free and open to the public. There will be food, a bouncy house, face painting by the Southwest Crisis Center, lots of door prizes, free children’s ID kits and reflectors and entertainment by DJ Barry Roberts. The Worthington/Nobles Emergency Response Unit will be on display, as will a Sanford Ambulance and trucks from the Worthington Fire Department. The Southwest Crisis Center will also have a display.

Night to Unite is observed annually on the first Tuesday in August and provides citizens and public safety personnel the opportunity to join together and give crime, drugs and violence a going-away party.

Nite to Unite is sponsored by the Minnesota Crime Prevention Association, Nobles County Cattlemen, HyVee, Walmart, Fareway Foods, DJ Barry Roberts, Radio Works, the Daily Globe and the Worthington Police Department.

MANKATO – The detour on Highway 60 from Mountain Lake to Butterfield will be removed Friday, July 31, weather permitting. Traffic will return to the existing two-lane Highway 60 until the project is complete in October.

The two-month detour was necessary to build the connections on both ends of the project.

The project includes grading, paving, concrete repair and lighting of two additional lanes to expand Highway 60 to a four-lane facility. The contractor expects to be paving the new lanes in September.

This is the second of three projects planned to complete the expansion of Highway 60 to a four-lane facility. The section from Mountain Lake to Windom is planned to begin in 2017. For statewide travel information, visit .

ADRIAN - A Nobles County beef cattle producer is proposing to build a new feedlot near an existing feedlot southeast of Adrian in Olney Township. R&R Thier Feedlots Inc. is aiming to build two new total confinement barns, each with a capacity of 3,000 steers.

As required by state rules, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) prepared an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) on the proposed new feedlot; the most recent expansion at the existing feedlot. The public may submit written comments on the R&R Thier Feedlots Inc. EAW until 4:30 p.m. Aug. 19.

New confinement barns at the proposed feedlot will be located about one-half mile west of the barns at the existing feedlot. After construction of the proposed feedlot, the total capacity including both feedlots will be 10,989 animal units, composed of 8,805 slaughter steers and 3,120 feeders.

Manure would be stored in reinforced concrete storage pits constructed below each of the new barns. At the existing farm, manure is stored in an under-barn storage pit and above-ground storage tank. The new farm also will include two engineered ponds to collect stormwater runoff.

The worksheet for this project is available by searching for “Environmental Assessment Worksheet” on the MPCA website or by calling Beth Tegdesch at (651) 757-2100. Written comments should go to Nancy Drach at, or mailed to her at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 520 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul 55155-4194.

The draft NPDES/SDS permit is posted at Comments on the NPDES/SDS permit can be sent to George Schwint,, (320) 894-5866, or mailed to him at Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 1601 E. Hwy. 12, Willmar 56201.

ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa — Thousands of people in northwest Iowa and southwest Minnesota were without power for a time early on Thursday.

Troy Metzger, dispatcher with L & O Power Coop in Rock Rapids says the outage affected eastern Lyon County in Iowa and southern Rock County in Minnesota.

According to Metzger, the outage happened due to an equipment failure at a sub station near Lake Pahoja about four miles northeast of Inwood. He says that sub station and the lines running to it are owned by Basin Electric Power Coop. But the substation is the point of demarcation between Basin and L & O and the lines running away from it are L & O’s. He says L & O buys power from Basin Electric.

Metzger says the systems affected were Rock Rapids Municipal Utilities, Luverne Municipal Electric, Lyon Rural Electric Coop and Sioux Valley Energy.

He says the outage included the entire cities of Rock Rapids, Iowa and Luverne, Minnesota.

Metzger says the outage started shortly before 1 a.m. and only lasted about 20 minutes or so before power was rerouted.

L & O is a power coop that serves rural and municipal electric systems in Rock County, Minnesota, and Lyon and Osceola Counties in Iowa.

IOWA - Northwest Iowa residents are being told to be on the lookout for some possible asphalt paving scams that typically go on this time of year. Authorities say traveling crews offer low prices to repair or pave residential or business driveways. The crews typically state that they just completed a job in the area and have left-over material. Officials say that material is often of low quality, and that usually patchy, small amounts of it is applied.

Officials say there are several warning signs to be on the lookout for, including companies that don't offer contracts, contractors who push you to make a quick decision, and unmarked trucks
The best way to avoid becoming a scam victim is to ask for references and check on them; get a written estimate and tell the contractor you'll get back to them; and more importantly, to know who you're doing business with. They say it's best to stick with a contractor who has ties to the local community.

PLYMOUTH - Police say an officer fatally shot a man inside an Arby's restaurant in Plymouth after an altercation.

Plymouth Police Chief Michael Goldstein tells TV station KSTP that officers responded to the Arby's around 8:20 p.m. Thursday after a report of a disturbance inside.

Goldstein says a responding officer "engaged" with a man who was "causing some problems. He says the encounter lead to a "confrontation," and the officer fatally shot the man.

No further details about the nature of the disturbance or the encounter with the officer were immediately available. A representative for the police department couldn't immediately be reached.

It wasn't clear whether the victim had been armed. The TV station reports police were questioning customers and employees as witnesses. Arby's didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

MANKATO - Just how long will that 36-foot-tall “Happy Chef” statue go on grinning?
It’s hard to say, as the owner of the very first and now last-standing Happy Chef restaurant has put it up for sale.

The Mankato eatery opened in 1963 and became one of as many as 80 locations sprinkled across the Midwest.

81-year-old owner Tom Frederick Sr. – one of three brothers who founded the restaurant more than half a century ago – said he’s selling it for $1.2 million to beat the onslaught of road construction he fears will scare customers off when it begins on Highway 169 next summer.

However, the restaurateur said he doesn’t think Happy Chef will close any time soon, though he’s still not sure what will become of the smiling, spoon-brandishing chef out front.

Check awarded for new Promenade on Oxford name

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WORTHINGTON – Jim and Iris Pierce of Worthington on Thursday received their check for $500 from Brian Pellowski of PBK Investments. The money was their prize for being the ones to come up with the new name for the old mall area.

Instead of forever being referred to as the old Northland Mall, the new complex, which will include retail stores, housing, restaurants and green space, will be called Promenade on Oxford. Pellowski, who is developing the property, put up the money for the contest, which had quite a few entries.

July 23 news


WORTHINGTON – According to Carl Nagel, co-director of the Worthington Christian Church Food Shelf, the hours of the food shelf are changing as of August 1 in order to better serve their clientele.

The food shelf will now be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 to 7 p.m., and on the first and third Sunday of each month from 5 to 7 p.m.

WORTHINGTON - Traffic lane and signal light changes are scheduled to begin today at the intersection of Oxford Street and Humiston Avenue, according to the City of Worthington Engineering Department. The intersection will be open to traffic at all times with Humiston Avenue traffic lanes being shifted easterly on the southside of Oxford Street. The traffic signals will be in four way red flash mode.

Please watch for changing traffic conditions and signing. Watch for construction equipment, reduce your speed, and drive carefully in the construction zone.

Weather permitting and construction proceeding as planned, pipe and pavement restoration work should be completed and normal traffic restored in two days.

WORTHINGTON - Minnesota West Community & Technical College has announced that Jason Turner will be the new Pharmacy Technology program instructor.

Turner has worked in the pharmacy setting for 20+ years as a staff and chief pharmacist and managing partner. He has his Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Pharmacy and is an alumnus of Minnesota West Community & Technical College.

The Pharmacy Technology program is a 35 credit diploma program starting this fall. The program will be a hybrid program with classes offered online and labs offered 3 consecutive days per month at the Pipestone campus. This program prepares students for assisting the pharmacist in prescription processing, customer service, and administrative duties.

WORTHINGTON - The Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce through the Community Improvement Committee is sponsoring a “Flower Power – Yard of the Week.” This week’s recipient is David Roslansky of 804 West Shore Drive.

Anyone is eligible to nominate a residence or a business as a candidate for the “Flower Power – Yard of the Week.” Nominations can be made by calling the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce office at (507) 372-2919.

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa - The Dickinson Soil and Water Conservation District announced Wednesday it has been granted nearly $150,000 to help finance water quality improvement projects in the Iowa Great Lakes over the next 12 months. Jim Sholly, Coordinator of the Iowa Great Lakes Watershed project, said the funding is coming through several sources, including local, federal and state.

Sholly says anyone within the Iowa Great Lakes area is eligible to apply for the funding for projects that incorporate low impact development components. They will work with people in and around the city looking to put in rain gardens or re-establish native prairie grasses. They will also work with farmers around the county who want to try cover crops, put in a grass water way or try a strip tillage or no till system.

Sholly says the project funds are on a first come, first served basis. He encouraged people to apply immediately, even if their project isn’t going to be started until next spring.

More information is available by contacting the Dickinson Soil and Water Conservation District at 336-3782, extension 3. The office is located in the Farm Service Center building on Highway 9 on the west edge of Spirit Lake.

OKOBOJI, Iowa - Mary Badham, the actress who played the character of "Scout" in the classic film To Kill A Mockingbird, will make an appearance at the Okoboji Summer Theatre on Friday evening. Badham will be available for a meet and greet session from 5:30 to 7 p.m., and again at 7:15 until 8 p.m. under the awning.

After the 8 p.m. performance of To Kill a Mockingbird, she will give a short talk. For more information call the Okoboji Summer Theatre Box Office at (712) 332-7773 or visit them online at

Des Moines, Iowa — Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has ordered flags in Iowa to be lowered to half-staff until Monday, July 27, 2015, at 8 AM, to honor the five soldiers killed in the terrorist attack at military facilities last week in Chattanooga, Tennessee. President Barack Obama has also issued a proclamation calling for flags to be lowered on federal buildings.

The governor’s directive applies to all U.S. and state flags under control of the State of Iowa.

Flags will be at half-staff on the state Capitol building and on flag displays in the Capitol complex, and upon all public buildings, grounds, and facilities throughout the state.
Individuals, businesses, schools, municipalities, counties and other government subdivisions are encouraged to fly the flag at half-staff for the same length of time as a sign of respect.