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Jeff Johnson/Bill Kuisle visit Worthington

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Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson and his running mate Bill Kuisle made a stop in Worthington on Wednesday to discuss their campaign and their vision for the state of Minnesota.

Did you miss their interview with Radio Works Director of News & Information Justine Wettschreck? Check it out at

https://soundcloud.com/justine-wettschreck/mn-gubernatorial-candidate-je...

October 30 news

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APPLETON — Pioneer Public Television will broadcast its final live call-in debate of the 2014 election season at 7 p.m. today. House District 22B Republican incumbent Rod Hamilton of Mountain Lake will debate DFL challenger Cheryl Avenel-Navara of Worthington in a live debate from Pioneer Public TV’s studios in Appleton.

Following the live debate, Pioneer will rebroadcast the First Congressional District Debate between Tim Walz and Jim Hagedorn at 8 p.m. At 9:30 p.m., Pioneer will air the previously recorded Seventh District debate between Collin Peterson and Torrey Westrom.

By the end of the debates Thursday, Pioneer will have broadcast 12 debates featuring 24 candidates from State House races and Congressional District races in western and southwestern Minnesota. All of the debates can be viewed online at www.pioneer.org/meet-the-candidates.html.

WORTHINGTON – Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson and his running mate Bill Kuisle made a stop in Worthington Wednesday, talking with voters about issues in greater Minnesota and the state.

Johnson said there is a perception that greater Minnesota is largely an afterthought to Mark Dayton and his administration. He said you can see that in school funding formulas, in how transportation dollars are spent on light rail and commuter trains instead of roads and bridges and how regulations are killing the rural economy.
Minnesota as a whole will never succeed unless every part of Minnesota is thriving, Johnson said, and that includes greater Minnesota.

The private sector is not creating businesses in Minnesota, and the jobs we are creating tend to be lower wage, part-time jobs. He said Minnesota needs lower, more competitive tax code and better regulations. Many businesses are having trouble finding skilled workers, he said, because people are choosing to go someplace else where they are more opportunities.

We can absolutely reverse that, he added, but if we do this for four more years, it’s going to be really hard.

He and Kuisle are both feeling good about the upcoming election, and said they at the fun part of the campaign where they get to travel and meet people. Things started off slow, they said, but have really turned around in the past few weeks.

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa - A former official with the city of Spencer has been appointed to fill a vacancy on the Spirit Lake city council. The council on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve the appointment of Donna Fisher to fill the vacancy created when Clyde Ihrke resigned to take a position with the city.

Fisher served 20 years as City Clerk in Spencer and another 10 years as the city's Deputy City Manager. Fisher, who is originally from Spirit Lake, retired over a year ago. Prior to working with the city of Spencer, Fisher worked in the Dickinson County Auditor's Office and served three years as Deputy City Clerk for Spirit Lake.

Fisher and her husband have since moved back to Spirit Lake. She said she's looking forward to serving on the city council. Fisher will serve up until the election in November of 2015, at which time she could opt to seek a full term.

Ruthven, Iowa - Fire has destroyed a home belonging to the Mayor of Ruthven. The Palo Alto County Sheriff's Office says the Ruthven Fire Department was called to the David Kirk residence at 1105 Center Street shortly after 8 a.m. Tuesday. Upon arriving they found the structure already heavily involved in the fire.

No one was home at the time and no injuries were reported, however the Palo Alto county ambulance stood by on the scene as a precaution. The Ruthven Fire Department was assisted by the Dickens Fire Department.

No word yet on a probable cause.

ESTHERVILLE, Iowa - Estherville police are investigating reports of two daytime burglaries that took place Monday. Police Captain Paul Budach says one was at a residence in the 900 block of 3rd Avenue North; the other was in the Green Acres Mobile Home Park.

A suspect in one of the burglaries is described as a younger male 5'6" to six feet tall wearing a black sweatshirt with the hood up. He was also possibly wearing a gray-billed baseball cap under the hood. The suspect vehicle was described as a newer silver Chevrolet Impala.

Anyone who lives in the areas mentioned that saw anything out of the ordinary Monday is asked to contact Estherville police at 362-3515; by email at esthervillepd@yourstar.net or on the department's Facebook page at Estherville PD.

Sioux County, Iowa - The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office has recently investigated several reports from Sioux County residents stating they were contacted by someone claiming to be a representative from Publisher’s Clearing House.

The residents were told they had won a large sum of money. The caller then asks to meet them in a parking lot of a local business; supposedly to give them more details about the prize they’ve won. In some cases the caller asks the resident to stay on the phone as they drive to the local business. Sheriff’s officials theorize that the caller most likely does this to keep the resident from checking into the legitimacy of the call.

The Sheriff’s Office says this is a scam and residents are encouraged not to follow up on this type of phone call. You should also immediately report it to law enforcement authorities.

LAWTON, Iowa — A Moville teen that was wanted by law enforcement has been found.
Three Woodbury County schools were placed on lockdown Wednesday as authorities searched for 16-year-old Matthew Maxwell, a Siouxland Community Christian School student who they believe brought a gun to school earlier in the week and made threats.
The Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office says Lawton-Bronson Community School, Siouxland Community Christian School and Woodbury Central Community School were locked down Wednesday as a precaution.

The Woodbury County Sheriff’s office says they located Maxwell, alive and okay. A gun was secured.

Authorities report that Maxwell didn’t show up at school on Wednesday and they learned he brought a handgun to school earlier this week.

October 29 news

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WORTHINGTON – With less than a week to go before the Nov. 4 election, politicians are criss-crossing the state, catching as many voters as they can as the clock ticks down toward election day. Gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson will be in downtown Worthington today from 1:50 to 3 p.m. at BenLee’s for meet and greets. The event is open to the public.

WORTHINGTON – The spookiest night of the year is just a few days away, so here are a few options for all of the little ghosts and goblins out there when it comes to Halloween fun.

The Worthington branch of the Fulda Area Credit Union will host a Halloween Trunk or Treat event for children. Scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday in the south parking lot of the credit union, the Trunk or Treat will feature numerous theme-decorated trunks and employees in costume.

Burger King will host a Trunk or Treat in its parking lot at the intersection of Oxford Street and Humiston Avenue. Planned from 5 to 7 p.m., the event will include four different decorated car trunks, treats for the kids and an inflatable bounce house and slide.

Worthington Christian Church is offering a Trunk or Treat event from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Friday in its parking lot at 1501 N. Douglas Ave. Decorated cars will be filled with candy and treats for the children.

Another option for children is the Harvest Party, planned from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Friday at MAX493, 1303 Oxford St. The party will include games, activities and candy for the kids.

Over in Slayton on the Murray County Fairgrounds, the 4-H Haunted House was such a success last weekend that they extended its run through Saturday. The Full Scare is open from 8 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday. For those not quite as brave, or those 12 and under, there is a ‘not quite as scary’ time available from 7 to 8 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is $5.

SLAYTON - The Murray County Historical Society Museum will be hosting a Lunchbox Lecture Series over the next few months, with the first event coming up on November 6.

The lectures will be held from noon. to 1 p.m. in the Dinehart-Holt House in Slayton. Participants will bring their own lunch and the museum staff will set up tables and serve coffee. Cost for the lectures will be $3 with Murray County Historical Society members admitted for free.

On November 6, the feature will be “Local Beekeeping and the Plight of Bees” by Richard Vanderziel , a local organic farmer and beekeeper. Vanderziel will present the history of bees and beekeeping in our area, the loss of bee colonies, and what everyone can do to help them recover from that loss. Participants will get a chance to taste honey from different parts of the country, including local honey.

Everyone is welcome to attend this fun and educational event.

ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa — The Rock Rapids City Council voted Monday night to condemn 10 flood damaged homes decimated during the June floods.

The homes have been marked as “dangerous” ever since the flood. According to Mayor Jason Chase, although condemning the homes sounds like a drastic move, it is one of the expected steps in demolishing the homes and moving forward. Most of the owners are participating in the buyout program, in which the city will become the owner of the property and convert it to green space in an attempt to reduce the amount of damage if the community should suffer another flood.

There are several more property owners that are participating in the program, but these ten houses were top priority. All the properties have foundation wall failures and were deemed unsafe by the State Fire Marshal’s office.

Council members also approved an agreement on Monday with Northwest Iowa Planning and Development for administration of the demolition of the flood-damaged homes, and an agreement with the US Army Corps of Engineers “Silver Jackets” to help reduce risks of future flooding.

IRETON, Iowa — An Ireton man is accused of pushing someone out of a pickup, and is charged with domestic assault.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 3:35 a.m. Sunday, deputies were advised of a domestic disturbance that occurred in a vehicle on Dipper Avenue, south of Ireton. Upon further investigation, deputies believe that 35-year-old Joshua Westergard of Ireton stopped a pickup he was driving and pushed a female victim out, causing injury to her.

Deputies located Westergard at his home, where he was arrested and charged with serious domestic assault.

MINNESOTA - The Hennepin County Board Tuesday took a symbolic stand against the use of the “Redskins” nickname by the NFL’s Washington team. Only one commissioner, Jeff Johnson, who is also the GOP candidate for governor, opposed the resolution, MPR News reports.

The board acted on the resolution just a few days before the Minnesota Vikings host Washington Sunday in a game at TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus.

That game has become a catalyst for opponents of the “Redskins” nickname to ramp up the pressure on the NFL and the team’s owner to change it because it’s considered derogatory.

County Board members voted 6-1 in favor of the resolution, which calls on the team’s owner Dan Snyder to change the name “to one that is not offensive to American Indians or any other ethnic group,” according to a news release.

Johnson said he voted against the measure because it doesn’t have anything to do with Hennepin County.

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota's legislative auditor says the state's health insurance exchange mishandled over $925,000 in marketing work.

A report released Tuesday by Legislative Auditor James Nobles says MNsure did not properly authorize the additional marketing work or amend its contract with its vendor until after the contractor completed the work.

The report also says MNsure lacked adequate internal controls over its collections of premiums from health insurance applicants.

MNsure Executive Director Scott Leitz says in a response that his staff has resolved or is in the process of resolving all the problems the review identified. He says he's pleased the report found no fraud or abuse at MNsure.

The audit did not examine MNsure's operational performance. The legislative auditor plans to release another report next month and an overall evaluation in February.

October 28 news

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WORTHINGTON – The Worthington City Council on Monday opted to discontinue discussions regarding improvements of Grand Avenue after looking at the bids brought in by city engineer Duane Haffield. The bids all came in significantly higher than what was originally projected, and the council also learned that the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership did not receive the funding for their housing project for the upcoming construction year.

Since the Grand Avenue project was essentially to improve traffic to the housing that would be built, Worthington Mayor Alan Oberloh pointed out it might be a case of building a road to nowhere.

The council recently approved a traffic study in the area, and council member Ron Wood said it made more sense to find out what the results of the study were before going ahead with the road project. With the hope that development is in the future around the mall area also, a motion was approved to hold off on any further discussion of Grand Avenue improvements for the time being.

The council also approved establishment of a committee to work on hiring an interim administrator, appointing council members Scott Nelson and Diane Graber by drawing their names out of a basket. Oberloh said that would be a fair way to choose, since everyone on the council wanted to be involved, but only two council members can be on the committee. Department heads and the mayor will round out the committee.

Changes were made to the Purnet land sale and loan, contingent on Nobles County’s approval of a request for financing through their revolving loan fund program. Purnet’s lender has requested to have all of the company’s non-construction related expenses covered by the county’s fund. The change on the city’s part would allow the company to use the land as an asset, rather than consider it a contract for deed property.

Director of Community and Economic Development Brad Chapulis was given approval by the council to advertise for bids for the demolition of the K-Mart portion of the Northland Mall, having just received a draft of the abatement and demolition plan from Peer Engineering shortly before the council meeting. Some information on the draft still needs to be completed before the bid requests can be sent out.

There are still hopes the legal process for the rest of the mall will catch up with the K-Mart portion so the entire mall can be demolished at one time, but the goal is to keep things moving forward, according to Chapulis. The next step in the court process for the main building of the mall is scheduled for this Friday in Nobles County District Court.

WORTHINGTON - Minnesota West Community and Technical College was one of the recent recipients of the Otto Bremer Foundation Finish Line Scholarship Program within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, receiving a grant of $200,000.

The program, announced in May, will provide up to $4 million in scholarships over two years to select MnSCU colleges located in or near Bremer Bank communities. The first round of grants included $1.9 million awarded to 10 institutions across the state.

Minnesota West Interim President Barbara McDonald said the $200,000 award will provide significant support to many students with the goal of improving their persistence and completion of certificate and degree programs.

WINDOM — There will be a career fair Wednesday at the Windom Community Center. High school students from Windom and area districts will be targeted from noon until 3 p.m., and an evening session from 4 to 7 p.m. will be open to the general public. More than 50 businesses from the area are expected to be in attendance. For more information, call (507) 832-8661.

ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa — A machine shop and its contents were destroyed in a fire on Sunday near Rock Rapids.

According to Rock Rapids Fire Chief Ed Reck, the Rock Rapids Fire Department was called to the report of shop on fire at the Greg and Shar Dengler farm at 3147 190th Street at 9:20 a.m.

The chief says the fire department saw the shop fully engulfed in flame and nearly caving in as they approached the scene. He says they used water to fight the fire and kept everything else cool. There were no injuries reported.

The cause of the fire was undetermined, but Reck believes it may have been electrical in nature.

The shop and its contents, which included oil, batteries, and tanks, as well as a motorcycle and tractor, were a complete loss.

MILFORD, Iowa - No injuries were reported in a combine fire Sunday evening northwest of Milford.

Milford Fire Chief Jim Carpenter says firefighters were called around 10:19 p.m. to a field in the area of 2037 170th Avenue. Carpenter says they were able to keep the fire from spreading to a nearby metal machine shed that was less than 20 feet away.

Firefighters were on the scene until 1 a.m. putting out hot spots in the mechanism of the machine. It's believed the fire started in the corn head. Carpenter says the combine is a total loss.

ARNOLD’S PARK, Iowa - Federal authorities have seized the bank accounts of an Arnolds Park business owner, although she has not been charged with any wrongdoing or crime.

Carol Hinders, owner of Mrs. Lady's, was recently notified the IRS had seized her checking account. Agents say the action was taken because less than $10,000 at a time was being deposited into the account. The $10,000 or more at a time triggers a required government report. The agents accused Hinders of doing that, something she denies. Hinders says she was never aware of such a thing and thought she was doing her bank a favor by making the smaller deposits so they could avoid some paperwork.

The law is intended to catch drug traffickers, racketeers and terrorists by tracking their cash. However, the government has also gone after run-of-the-mill small business owners and wage earners. And the law says they can do so without ever filing a criminal complaint.

Hinders has started legal proceedings through the Institute for Justice in an effort to get her money back. In the mean time, she has sold her restaurant and will be closing the doors later this week.

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October 27 news

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LAKEFIELD – Two elderly Chandler residents received non-life threatening injuries Sunday afternoon when their vehicle was struck be a semi truck near Lakefield.

According to a report from the Minnesota State Patrol, 81-year-old Franklin Post of Chandler had exited I-90 on the eastbound ramp and was attempting to turn north onto Highway 86 when he pulled into the path of a Kensworth semi, driven by Mitchell Ferguson, 26, of Heron Lake. The semi struck the Dodge Dakota on the driver’s side. Franklin and his 80-year-old passenger, Arlene Post, were taken to Sanford Worthington Medical Center. Ferguson received no injuries.

WORTHINGTON – The Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce will hold a ribbon cutting event for Adorn 1024 at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday in downtown Worthington.

The new store, a kitchen and bath showroom owned by Scott and Greta Kraft, is located at 1024 Third Ave. in the former Printers building. The store is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. It features kitchen gadgets, wall hangings, packaged soups, sauces and jams, candles and room fresheners, gift items and more.

WORTHINGTON - Sanford Worthington has announced that Certified Nurse Practitioner Karen Pennings has joined the team of health care providers in the acute care clinic.

She began providing care at Sanford Worthington Acute Care Clinic Sept. 22. Pennings received her undergraduate degree from Briar Cliff University, Sioux City, Iowa. She completed her graduate school degree from South Dakota State University, Brookings, S.D. Pennings is board certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
For more information on Karen Pennings and to see her online video, visit sanfordworthington.org.

Acute Care Clinic hours are 5 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

NORTHWEST IOWA — In Osceola, O’Brien, Sioux, and Lyon Counties, the Auditors’ Offices are going to be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday for early voting.
The deadline to request an absentee ballot by mail is November 1st too, but election officials stress that there would be a time crunch if you wait that long to request a mailed ballot because returned ballots need to be postmarked no later than election day, Tuesday, November 4th.

REMSEN, Iowa — A Remsen man was seriously injured Saturday while pheasant hunting in Plymouth County.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says that 18-year-old Ross Arens of Remsen was airlifted to Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City after receiving a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

Arens was crossing a creek and was handing his shotgun to another member of his hunting party when the gun discharged at approximately 8:45 a.m. Saturday, the report states. Authorities say it happened in a field south of Remsen.

The incident is believed at this time to have been accidental. Saturday was the first day of the pheasant hunting season in Iowa.

TRUMAN - A huge fire at a hog farm in southern Minnesota killed thousands of animals over the weekend.

The fire broke out about 3 p.m. Saturday at the Cougar Run Farm, near the town of Truman in Martin County, and burned for several hours.

About half the farm’s buildings were destroyed by the fire, and an estimated 4,000 sows and between 6,000 and 7,000 piglets were killed.

Fire crews from 10 agencies in Martin County fought the blaze, which took nearly four hours to get under control. There were four employees in the barns when the fire began, but they got out safely.

Cougar Run Farm is owned by Pipestone System, which said it plans to rebuild the operation. The exact amount of the farm’s financial loss is unclear at this point, but the value of the animals would likely be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa- A Storm Lake man has been convicted on two counts of credit card fraud by a jury in U.S. District Court in Sioux City. The verdict followed a three-day trial and about an hour of deliberations.

Yoirlan Tome Rojas was convicted of two counts of using a counterfeit access device; one count of possession of 15 or more counterfeit devices; one count of money laundering and two counts of identity theft. According to court documents, Rojas would use the manufactured credit cards to purchase gift cards to later use to make "legitimate" purchases. At least two of the cards Rojas used belonged to individuals who reported unauthorized use of their credit cards.

A sentencing date has not been set. Rojas remains in the custody of a U.S. Marshal. He could face up to a maximum sentence of 10 years' imprisonment, a $500,000 fine, $600 in special assessments and up to three years of supervised release following any imprisonment.

The case was investigated by the Storm Lake Police Department and U.S. Secret Service.

October 24 news

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WORTHINGTON – We may be experiencing beautiful weather, but fall is seriously upon us. One strong sign is the last construction updates of the season from the City of Worthington Engineering Department, which states dormant turf restoration remains at various project locations throughout the city. Dormant seeding is temperature dependent and will take place later this fall.

WORTHINGTON – The Worthington City Council met in emergency session Thursday to discuss whether to hire a firm to assist in the search for a new administrator or to look on their own. Council member Diane Graber said her main concern is that the new administrator fit well into the community.

After some discussion, a motion was made and approved to make a request for proposals to hire a firm.

In 2008, the city paid $17,700 to a firm to find candidates, which resulted in the hiring of Craig Clark as city administrator. The council is estimating this search will cost around $20,000. Once a firm is hired, Mayor Alan Oberloh said they would assist in determining what salary range would need to be offered.

The council members all agreed it will be necessary to hire an interim administrator, and will go into closed session after Monday’s regularly scheduled meeting to discuss some names. Oberloh said he has already been approached by one person interested in the interim position. Council member Ron Wood said he would like them to work internally as much as possible to find an interim administrator. Several council members seemed to have names in mind.

In the meantime, the position profile for the city administrator position needs to be updated, as it is out of date. The city will request the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce’s assistance in updated the area of the profile that addresses the business and amenities of the area.

JACKSON – The Jackson City Council gave themselves a raise this week. The council approved adjusting the pay rates for the Mayor and Council members for the year 2015. The mayors pay will increase from $4,290 to $5,300 per year and council pay will increase from $3,240 to $4,200 per year. A per diem of $50 for half day and $100 for full day seminars or meeting was also approved.

JACKSON - The Jackson Women of Today will be sponsoring the first ever Monster Dash on Saturday, October 25th. Registration starts at 9 a.m. at Riverside Elementary, with the Dash starting at 9:30 a.m.

The Monster Dash will follow city trails along Springfield parkway, with the course being just over 3 miles total. There is a $10 registration fee for individuals with a $30 cap for families. All proceeds will go to the PTO's at Riverside and Pleasantview Elementary Schools.

Everyone participating is encouraged to wear a costume, and a costume contest will be held.

WINDOM - Reinbows in Windom will be hosting their 7th Annual Trick-or-Treating and Horses in Costume on Friday, October 31 from 4 to 6 p.m. The Reinbows’ horses can’t wait to show off their costumes! There is no cost to attend this always-popular event, but we ask that you consider bringing a canned food item to be donated to the Windom Area Sharing Center.

If you have any questions, or for more information, call Damon at 507-822-0526 or visit their website at reinbowsinc.org.

ESTHERVILLE, Iowa - An Estherville teen faces charges for allegedly stealing a 9 mm handgun and carrying it on the campus of Iowa Lakes Community College.

Estherville police say officers were called to the college around 6:00 p.m. after getting a report of a male on campus with a gun in his waistband.

While investigating the incident, police were notified of a missing 9 millimeter handgun from a residence at 1308 3rd Avenue South in Estherville. The department's K-9 was deployed and located the missing handgun in the 300 block of South 13th Street, where a 17-year-old male suspect was taken into custody. He was transported to the Emmet County Sheriff's Office on charges of carrying weapons, theft in the 4th degree and disorderly conduct.

The teen was transported to the Youth Emergency Services Center in Cherokee.

SIOUX FALLS, SD – A South Dakotas woman convicted of not paying taxes on her Arnold’s Park business has been sentenced to nearly three years in prison. Veronica Fairchild, who owns Boji Nites, was found guilty in June of four counts of tax fraud. The 42-year-old Fairchild was also ordered Wednesday to pay almost $215,000 in back taxes. She was convicted of not paying taxes on more than $600,000 earned from exotic dances over four years.

Prosecutors say Fairchild filed late tax returns in 2010 from 2005 to 2008 and claimed the unreported income from private shows as an exotic dancer was a gift.

On Wednesday, Fairchild and her family pleaded for a probation sentence. Fairchild has three children, including an infant daughter. She said that she lost her husband last year and didn't want to leave her children without a parent.

MINNESOTA - Election Day is less than two weeks away, but many Minnesotans have already cast their vote through the state’s new no-excuse absentee voting.

As of Tuesday, 135,051 absentee ballots were distributed to voters for the Nov. 4 election – 55,488 have been returned and accepted by election officials, according to a secretary of state news release.

The hope with the no-excuse absentee ballot is higher voter turnout. So far, election officials have seen a 55 percent increase over past midterm elections. Of the total absentee ballots distributed, more than 27,755 were requested through the Secretary of State’s website.

Although Minnesota has expanded its absentee voting eligibility, DFL Secretary of state candidate Steve Simon said Wednesday that Minnesota should join the 33 states that allow early voting, which would allow ballots to be processed before Election Day. That would ease congestion at the polls and be a cost-saver for election officials.

Currently, absentee ballots are counted after the polls close on Election Day.

Republican candidate for Secretary of State Dan Severson also agrees with early voting, as long as there’s a system in place to verify the voters.

The Secretary of State seat is open because Democrat Mark Ritchie is retiring. Secretary of State is just one seat being decided Nov. 4. Minnesotans will also decide the governor, a U.S. Senate seat, Minnesota’s eight U.S. House seats, attorney general, state auditor, all Minnesota State House seats, as well as many local offices.

October 23 news

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WORTHINGTON - A 27-year-old Worthington man is accused of sexual contact with a minor. Jaime Ernesto Hernandez Bautista is charged with two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct after he was allegedly caught kissing a young girl in her genital area on Sunday.

A witness took the girl from the home and called authorities. Hernandez-Bautista initially denied the accusation under question, but then admitted he had kissed the victim on her body to show affection. He also allegedly admitted that he had kissed her private area, and that it had happened on three occasions.

He said he admitted to his girlfriend what he had done and she kicked him out; he was now living in his car.

Hernandez-Bautista is scheduled to make his initial appearance in Nobles County District Court in November.

WORTHINGTON - The Worthington YMCA will celebrate Halloween Family Night from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday. Activities will include inflatables, walking tacos and other treats, family swim, carnival games, crafts, face painting and family Halloween photos.

The event is free, but attendees are asked to bring at least one non-perishable or canned food item, which will be donated to the local food pantry. Last year, more than 400 pounds of food were collected.

Pioneer Village will have its Halloween Trail event from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday. Trick-or-treaters must be accompanied by an adult.

At both events, costumes are encouraged.

LUVERNE - Luverne Brew Partners are excited to announce the completion of the licensing process for Take 16 Brewing Company. Within the last ten days, all federal and state licenses have been received. Brewer Luke Rensink and the Board of Directors are moving forward to produce the best beer in Southwest Minnesota. It won't be long before beer drinkers can try Country Mile Kolsch, Kick the Can IPA, Hayloft Hefeweizen and Stormy Jack Stout.

Their first phase of production will focus on producing beer in kegs for distribution to local bars and restaurants. They will then move to bottling. Hagen Distributing of Worthington will handle distribution for the Take 16 brand locally, then the Luverne Brew Partners said they will eventually look for distributors to carry the craft brews into South Dakota and northwest Iowa.

While Take 16 beers will soon be on the market, the Luverne Brew Partners continue to renovate the former Sturdevant Auto Parts building where the beer will be produced and their tap room housed. The goal is to open the Tap Room by early January.

LAKE PARK, Iowa - The Lake Park Fire Department was called Tuesday to a report of a field of some corn stalks on fire. Fire Chief Brandon Ehret says firefighters were called to the Kevin Zinn farm north of Lake Park, about a half mile north of the Minnesota border in Jackson County.

According to Ehret, a bearing had gone out on the pulley on the engine of the chopper, which caused it to overheat. The stalks caught on fire, and burned about an acre, also getting a bit into some standing corn. The farmer had a tractor with a blade on hand and was doing some damage control when the firefighters arrived on the scene to take control.

Firefighters were called to the scene around noon and were there a little more than an hour.

CONROE, Texas - A prosecution request to remove the judge handling the felony child abuse case against Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson has been denied.

Montgomery County state District Judge Kelly Case will remain on the case following a recusal hearing on Wednesday in suburban Houston. Retired Tarrant County District Judge Jeff Walker denied a request by prosecutors, who had accused Case of being biased against them.

Peterson is charged with injury to a child for using a wooden switch to discipline his 4-year-old son. He is on paid leave and Case has set a tentative trial date of Dec. 1. A motion to revoke Peterson's bond for alleged marijuana use has been on hold until the recusal issue was resolved.

WASHINGTON — A 23-year-old Maryland man was in custody Wednesday night after he climbed over the White House fence and was swiftly apprehended on the North Lawn by uniformed Secret Service agents and their dogs.

The incident came about a month after a previous White House fence jumper carrying a knife sprinted across the same lawn, past armed uniformed agents and entered the mansion before he was felled in the ceremonial East Room and taken into custody.

That embarrassing Sept. 19 incident preceded the disclosure of other serious Secret Service breaches in security for President Barack Obama and ultimately led to Julia Pierson's resignation as director of the agency after 18 months on the job.

Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said a man he identified as Dominic Adesanya of Bel Air, Maryland, climbed the north fence line at about 7:16 p.m. and was taken into custody immediately by uniformed agents and K-9 teams that constantly patrol the grounds.

Obama was at the White House at the time of Wednesday's incident.

Adesanya was unarmed when he was arrested, Leary said. Charges were pending.
Two dogs were taken to a veterinarian for injuries sustained during the incident, Leary added.

Video of the incident recorded by TV news cameras shows a man in white shorts on the lawn just inside the fence. The man lifts his shirt as if to show that he is unarmed, then is seen kicking and punching two Secret Service dogs that were released on him.

Adesanya was taken to a local hospital, Leary said, without elaboration.

October 22 news

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WORTHINGTON – The Nobles County Commissioners on Tuesday authorized Steve Johnson of Vetter Johnson Architects to move forward with the redesign for the stairs at the Nobles County Government Center before sending the project out to bid.

The process will involve adding plexiglass to the inner stairwells, covering the stair treads, peeling up some tiles in the lobby, adding a moisture barrier or insulation in some areas and shirring in others. While Johnson had no inkling of an estimate on the job, according to board chair Marv Zylstra, “it looks spendy.”

The authorization for the project came just a few items down the agenda past the approval of a motion to have the fencing in front of the government center powder-coated, at an estimated $10,000. County Administrator Tom Johnson said the fence is rusting in spots and broken in others. The fence will be removed and repaired, sand-blasted, powder-coated and baked at a cost of $300 to $350 per section.
Commissioner Matt Widboom pointed out that would be a perfect time to re-evaluate the landscaping around the building.

The cost of beautifying the fence and grounds, the commissioners decided, could be moved into the 2015 budget. They opted to work out the details at a later date.

The commissioners voted to spend approximately $1,500 boarding up two tax-forfeited properties in the city of Ellsworth, hoping to keep critters and people out over the winter before the buildings can be demolished or sold. The two Ellsworth properties have belonged to Nobles County since June of 2012. Nobles County Auditor-Treasurer Beth Van Hove said there are currently 23 tax-forfeited properties on the books. She is currently working her way through the many stepped process so some of the properties can be auctioned off.

WORTHINGTON – The papers are signed and it is official – after working as the Worthington City Administrator since 2008, Craig Clark is leaving for a position in Austin. He turned in his resignation with the city of Worthington first thing Tuesday morning, and later admitted it was bittersweet.

You look forward and you look back, too, he said, adding that there have been a lot of good things in Worthington. There will be differences in his new city – no golf course or liquor store to oversee, but a library under the city’s control and a population that is about double that of Worthington’s.

For the next few weeks, Clark will be focused on business as usual in some respects, but he’ll also be thinking about packaging everything off for handing it off to someone else – taking care of loose ends, bringing small projects to a conclusion, and summing up the larger projects for whoever steps into the position.

While it will be up to the council to make decisions on how that position is filled, Clark said he will be there to provide advice and information as they need it.

While there are new challenges he anticipates in Austin, Clark admit there are a few things he will miss not being a part of in Worthington, such as the growth of the commercial park on I-90 and Hwy 59, and the mall redevelopment. Both are projects he has worked to move forward and wishes he could see to completion.

Of Worthington in general, Clark said he has never seen a harder working community, which has always impressed him. He thanked the mayor, the council, and the staff and said he appreciated being part of the team.

WORTHINGTON – Worthington City Administrator Craig Clark officially handed in his resignation Tuesday, which means the city will now begin the search for someone to fill the position. According to Worthington Mayor Alan Oberloh, the first step is to meet as a council and decide whether they whire a firm or advertise the position.

Oberloh said Clark has kept them filled in on his negotiations with the city of Austin since he began speaking with them, just as he did the other two times he was a finalist for a different position, once with the city of West St. Paul and once with a city in Illinois.

The council has not discussed what they would do in the event Clark was hired, Oberloh said, because there was no reason to be reacting to something they had no control over. Typically, he said, they city has used a firm to assist them in the search to fill this type of position, because they have better contacts across the United States.

There is a strong possibility, Oberloh said, that an interim administrator will be brought in, because hiring someone to run the city isn’t something you do overnight.
Clark will be in Worthington until mid-November. He starts as the Austin City Administrator Dec. 8.

WORTHINGTON – A mobile home at the Sungold Heights Trailer Park was completely destroyed by fire Tuesday morning, killing a family’s pet dog.

The Worthington Fire Department was paged at approximately 8:20 a.m. to the mobile home park at 1328 Spring Avenue, trailer 49. According to Worthington Fire Chief Rick von Holdt, orange fire was rolling out a bedroom window when he arrived at the scene. He tried to open a door, but quickly closed it to keep the fire contained to one end. The blaze quickly engulfed the back half of the trailer.

Firefighters were able to to keep the fire contained to the back of the trailer, but von Holdt said items in the front portion were smoke damaged and melted beyond saving.
The owner of the mobile home, a single parent, was not home at the time, having left to take his two children to school, von Holdt reported.

The fire originated in a back bedroom from a space heater that was sitting too close to bedding. The American Red Cross has been called in to assist the family.

SHELDON, Iowa – The man who wants Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s job is going to be in northwest Iowa on Wednesday.

Jack Hatch, the Democratic candidate for the Iowa Governor’s chair will be in Garner, Estherville, Rock Rapids, Sheldon, Sioux Center, and Le Mars.

At 8 a.m., Hatch will be at Matt’s Place in Garner. Then it’s on to Estherville for an appearance at the Estherville Public Library at 11 a.m.. At 1:15 p.m., Hatch will be in Rock Rapids for an appearance at Shari’s Kitchen and Catering. Then at 2:45 p.m., Hatch will meet with the public at the Prairie Queen Bakery in Sheldon. From there it’s on to an appearance in Sioux Center at the Fruited Plain at 4 p.m.. Finally, he’ll host a meet and greet in Le Mars that evening.

Jack Hatch is a State Senator from Des Moines who chairs the Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee. He’s served 22 years in the Iowa Legislature, in both the House and Senate. He also managed Senator Harkin’s statewide operations for three years. A nationally-recognized legislative expert in health care, he chaired the President’s advisory group of state legislators as the Affordable Care Act was drafted.

Fire at Sungold Heights

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WORTHINGTON – A mobile home at the Sungold Heights Trailer Park was completely destroyed by fire Tuesday morning, killing a family’s pet dog.

The Worthington Fire Department was paged at approximately 8:20 a.m. to the mobile home park at 1328 Spring Avenue, trailer 49. According to Worthington Fire Chief Rick Von Holdt, orange fire was rolling out a bedroom window when he arrived at the scene. He tried to open a door, but quickly closed it to keep the fire contained to one end. The blaze quickly engulfed the back half of the trailer.

Firefighters were able to to keep the fire contained to the back of the trailer, but von Holdt said items in the front portion were smoke damaged and melted beyond saving.
The owner of the mobile home, a single parent, was not home at the time, having left to take his two children to school, von Holdt reported.

The fire originated in a back bedroom from a space heater that was sitting too close to bedding. The American Red Cross has been called in to assist the family.

October 21 news

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AUSTIN – The City of Austin voted 4-3 Monday night to accept a contract agreement with Worthington City Administrator Craig Clark to hire him as the new Austin City Administrator, starting Dec. 8.

Clark will be paid a starting salary of $124,000. After six months, the city will review Clark’s job performance, and a good review would increase his annual salary to $128,000.

The contract calls for Clark to get 20 days of vacation each year and up to 40 days of sick time. It also includes a $400 a month car allowance, and up to $3,500 for temporary housing.

Council members who supported the agreement say Clark is the right man for the job and the terms of the contract were fair. Dissidents said they weren't pleased with the large amount of vacation and sick time Clark would receive, or the bump in pay after a satisfactory six-month job evaluation. Some believed Clark's contract wasn't fair to the city and Council member Jeff Austin openly wondered about Clark's commitment to the city if he had spent so much time dickering over smaller details.

Austin City Attorney David Hoverstein said it appeared Clark was very enthusiastic about starting a new job in their city. Clark will be working in a similar situation, as he'll manage about 140 employees and a $31 million budget, compared to Worthington's 100 or so employees and $37 million budget.

Austin fired former administrator Jim Hurm last December. He was making just over $109,000 a year. During the process of hiring a new administrator, the Austin council announced plans to offer a contract of $120,000 to $130,000 a year.

Clark is currently under contract for $109,079 per year with the city of Worthington.
The Austin council normally preliminarily approves an issue at a work session and formally approves it at the following public meeting two weeks later, but the council put on a small session before Monday's public meeting to approve the terms.

WORTHINGTON - All members of King Turkey Day, Inc. are invited to attend the 2014 Annual Meeting on Friday, October 24th at BenLee’s Cafe. 6:00 p.m. social, 6:30 p.m. meeting.

Membership, as defined in the By-Laws, is such persons, natural or corporate, who contribute to and assist in the conduct of any of the promotional activities by this corporation.

The meeting consists of reports on this year’s celebration, election of officers, new members of the Board of Directors, and comments concerning the 2014 celebration.

WORTHINGTON – There will be a Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting ceremony for TD Auto Sales at 2 p.m. Monday at 1506 Oxford Street in Worthington.

SLAYTON - There will be a Southern Minnesota Tourism Summit at Key Largo on Lake Shetek on November 6th. It will be an interactive gathering of communities, businesses, elected officials, organizations and tourism professionals from a large region. The event will focus on how the entities can work together to increase tourism, foster economic growth, build a sense of community and provide a better quality of life.

The event registration begins at 9 a.m. and discussion will wrap up around noon. Invited are elected officials, park staff and trail organizations, lodging properties, outfitters, restaurants and attraction owners, tourism professionals, business owners, convention and visitor bureaus and anyone who has an interest in area tourism.

The general communities involved in the summit will include those of southwest Minnesota, moderated by Explore Minnesota Tourism staff. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in each of the round table discussions, learn what others are doing and share ideas and thoughts with other attendees.

Please RSVP your attendance by November 1st to Christy Riley at criley@co.murray.mn.us or 507-836-1147.

CURRIE – The grand opening of the White Space in Currie will be an all ages Halloween party from 3 to 6 p.m. Oct. 25. The White Space is a new multi-use space for special events located in the old Currie hardware store building.

The Halloween party includes an all ages costume contest, caricature drawings, party games and prizes, poetry readings and Halloween-themed fine arts and screen prints on display.

SIOUX FALLS, SD - At approximately 12:56 a.m. this morning, Sioux Falls Police responded to a robbery at SuperAmerica on 41st Street.

Authorities said a white man entered the gas station, displayed a hunting knife and demanded money from the clerk. He was given an undisclosed amount of cash and left the business walking west.

The suspect was last seen wearing a green hooded sweatshirt, dark-green shorts, black gloves and a black bandana over his face. He is about 6'0" with a medium build and in his mid-20s.

ROLFE, Iowa - A student and his mother face felony charges after authorities say they searched the boy's home in Rolfe and found enough explosive materials to level a two-story building.

Pocahontas County Sheriff Bob Lampe says the 14-year-old boy, who was not identified, reportedly planned to blow up a building in November.

Lampe says the boy apparently researched how to make the explosive material and had perfected the formula. The boy was charged with possessing explosive materials with intent to use the material to commit a public offense.

The teen's mother was charged with possession of explosive materials, child endangerment and aiding and abetting reckless use of explosives. She was not named.

Authorities say a teacher saw the boy researching explosives on a school computer.

CHASKA - A farmer in Carver County died after he was accidentally buried in a ditch on his farm Sunday.

Dennis Lenzen, 78, of Dahlgren Township, was installing drainage tile in a ditch in his farm field when an employee pushed dirt into the ditch to hold the drainage tile in place and accidentally buried Lenzen, according to the Carver County Sheriff’s Office.

The employee called 911 for help and then dug with his hands in an attempt to rescue Lenzen. Emergency responders arrived and located Lenzen, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

The farm is located southwest of Chaska along County Road 43, just south of Hwy. 212.