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April 27 news

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PIPESTONE – The Minnesota State Patrol has released the name of the Pipestone man killed in a crash at approximately 6:20 a.m. Friday as Maynard Wogen, age 66. According to the report, Wogen was eastbound on Minnesota 30 when a 2012 International semi truck driven by Bryan Brazeal, age 41, of Gordo, Alabama, ran a stop sign on Pipestone County Road 18 and struck Wogen’s 2001 Audi broadside.

The Pipestone County Sheriff’s Office, Pipestone Fire Department, Hardwick Fire Department and Pipestone Ambulance assisted at the scene.

WORTHINGTON — The West Area Labor Council/AFL-CIO and UFCW 1161 will be hosting an event from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Nobles County Integration Collaborative location at Minnesota West Community and Technical College.

The objective of the workshop is to engage community members so they will understand why immigrants leave their countries, how migration is a common human experience and understand immigrants’ contribution to the economy. The goal is also to identify how employers benefit from the broken immigration system in the United States and consider solutions to fix the broken immigration system and also take action to align the immigration system with our values.

For questions or to RSVP, contact Dale Moerke at d.moerke@knology.net.

MANKATO — Interstate 90 travelers are advised of construction ahead in southwest Minnesota as projects begin in May and reach into several counties for the majority of the construction season.

I-90 traffic will be carried two-way on two lanes; however construction staging will dictate ramp closures. Motorists are advised to check www.511mn.org before they travel for up-to-date ramp closures and corresponding detours.

This year the following I-90 projects will be under construction in southwest Minnesota:
From Round Lake to Sherburn, the westbound and eastbound lanes are getting a combination of concrete and asphalt overlay from May 26 through July 2016. This will result in the closure of U.S. 71 ramps at Jackson, with the 2015 dates to be announced. Additional ramifications of the work will be closure of the westbound and eastbound rest areas at Jackson, again with the 2015 dates TBA, the closure of Highway 4 ramps at Sherburn, and closure of the Minnesota 86 ramps at Lakefield (in 2016).

In a separate project from Adrian to Rushmore, the eastbound lanes are getting a concrete overlay. This will be taking place June 1 through October, weather permitting. Access to Adrian at Minnesota 91 will remain open in both directions. The eastbound ramp at Nobles County 13 will be closed, as will the eastbound rest area at Adrian.

SIBLEY, Iowa - Capital Armament Company will break ground at 11 a.m. today at the site of their future manufacturing facility in Sibley, at the building site located at the junction of Highways 9 and 60 just north of Northland Buildings and the Growing Edge facilities in the Osceola County Enterprise Park.

Capital Armament is a firearms and ammunition manufacturer and dealer founded by three friends and veterans. The company manufactures purpose-built ammunition, with a focus on the competition shooting market as well as law enforcement applications. Capital Armament also manufactures law enforcement firearms and sells a line of smokeless gun powders.

Completion of the office and manufacturing facility is scheduled for September of 2015. The company moved its business operations from Mendota Heights, Minnesota to Sibley, Iowa in January of 2015 and have begun production in a temporary facility.
Company officials say that this “state-of-the-art” facility will allow the company to expand its manufacturing capabilities, improve efficiency, and begin the process of hiring additional employees to meet the growing demand for their products. Company officials say they are excited to be located and growing in Osceola County and look forward to playing an active role in the community for many years to come.

MINNESOTA - The National Guard is being deployed to help Minnesota turkey farmers deal with the avian flu outbreak. Public safety officials announced Sunday that 30 soldiers from units based in Willmar and Brooklyn Park will be deployed Monday through Wednesday of this week.

Using military water trucks, the soldiers will deliver water that’s needed to euthanize birds at the farms where the virus has been detected, according to the announcement. Large amounts of water are needed in foaming systems being used as part of euthanasia efforts.

The Guard deployment is one step the state is taking to help farmers who say they’ve been facing delays in dealing with infected birds. They’ve said there isn’t enough equipment in the state to euthanize them.

The deadly avian flu outbreak has affected at least 46 farms in 16 counties since the virus was confirmed in Minnesota in March, and it’s not expected to slow down since officials don’t know yet where it came from or how it’s spreading from farm to farm.
As the outbreak continues to affect more and more Minnesota farms, officials note this problem could last for the next few years.

Gov. Mark Dayton, Sen. Al Franken and other lawmakers toured some turkey farms Saturday and spoke with emergency responders and poultry producers about the impact the outbreak is having on their operations.

Dr. Phil Hartmann, state veterinarian, said Minnesota is seeing three to four new farms affected by the virus each day.

A team of epidemiologists continues to work to find ways to prevent the disease from spreading. Currently, officials believe migrating waterfowl are carriers of the virus and officials are urging increased bio-security, among other methods to contain the outbreak.

There is also concern the flu will return in the fall during the fall migration of waterfowl.

ST. PAUL — Minnesota State Colleges and Universities has named four semifinalists who are under consideration to be president of North Hennepin Community College. Among the candidates are Matt Entenza, a Worthington High School graduate, and Barbara McDonald, currently the interim president of Minnesota West Community and Technical College.

The MnSCU Board of Trustees is expected to consider Chancellor Steven Rosenstone’s recommendation at its May 20 meeting.

April 24 news

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WORTHINGTON – The man who is reportedly within 30 days of acquiring and closing on the Northland Mall has decided it needs a new identity, and he’d like the community’s help finding one.

Brian Pellowski of PBK Investments is the man behind the development that will take over the mall area, and he is offering a $500 award to the person that comes up with the new name for the complex. He wants the community involved in the decision, so he opted to hold a contest. He will choose the winner, and the prize money will come from his pocket.

The contest starts today and runs through May 20. Entries can be sent to the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce, care of Darlene Macklin, at 1121 Third Avenue, and should include a name and phone number. They can also be emailed to dmackl@frontiernet.net.

WORTHINGTON — The Worthington Area YMCA will host its 2015 Healthy Kids Day from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Y.

The day is designed to help families address barriers to living healthier and being more physically active every day. The Y encourages all children and parents in the community to attend.

More than 250 bicycle helmets, donated by Sanford Health, are expected to be given away at the event, as well as four bicycles that have been donated by the Worthington Optimist Club. Free T-shirts will also be handed out, and representatives from multiple organizations will be on hand to promote healthy lifestyles for children.

Youths will also have the opportunity to participate in a bike rodeo, during which they ride bikes through a miniature obstacle course and learn about proper bike safety.
The event is free for both members and non-members of the Y, and is open to boys and girls ages 4 and up. For more information, contact C.J. Nelson or Cory Greenway at the Y, 376-6197.

PIPESTONE – On Thursday, the USDA confirmed the presence of H5N2 in two more flocks in Minnesota, and for the first time in a ‘backyard’ poultry flock of 151 birds in Pipestone County.

Gov. Mark Dayton Thursday declared a state of emergency over the H5N2 avian flu outbreak that has killed millions of birds in the state’s poultry industry. The governor's order activates an emergency operations plan to support the state response to the epidemic.

Under Dayton’s Executive Order, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) will activate the Minnesota Emergency Operations Plan to support the efforts of the Minnesota Board of Animal Health and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to coordinate response efforts across all agencies of state government.

It also calls for National Guard personnel to be ordered to duty as needed, but Dayton clarified he is not calling out the guard.

Dayton plans to go to Wilmar on Saturday to meet with turkey farmers and federal officials on the issue.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has reported the bird flu’s presence in 16 counties in Minnesota, bringing the state’s overall total to 46 events affecting 2.6 millions birds. Chicken operations in Iowa and Wisconsin have also been hit by the bird flu, and as of Monday, Minnesota had its first case at a third-generation egg producer in northwestern Minnesota, where roughly 300,000 chickens must be destroyed.

Although no human illnesses have been reported in connection with the H5N2 outbreak and national and state public health officials believe the risk to be low, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scientists are trying to develop a human vaccine.

SPENCER, Iowa - Several area projects have been awarded Community Development Block Grants through the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

Season's Center for Behavioral Health in Spencer, an Avera Partner, was awarded $600,000 to remodel and expand Autumn's Center, a regional treatment center for children with behavioral health matters. Other improvements planned include property acquisition and an expansion to the center, along with an annex connecting Seasons Center's main building with Autumn's Center. A green space, healing area and children's play area are also part of the project, which has a total estimated cost of $2.4 million.

Other grant recipients include the cities of Ruthven, Sioux Rapids and Albert City. Each will receive $300,000 for various water and waste water projects.

SPENCER, Iowa - The Oak Ridge Boys, with special guest Jimmy Fortune, will be performing in front of the grandstand at this year's Clay County Fair. The concert will be held as part of Veteran's Appreciation Day at the fair Monday, September 14th.

Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. performance go on sale at 10 a.m. Thursday, May 7th at claycounty.com or by calling (515) 244-2771. The 2015 Clay County Fair runs September 12th-20th.

DES MOINES, Iowa – Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has asked several state agencies to monitor the outbreak of a deadly form of bird flu that's reached Iowa and led to an emergency declaration in Minnesota.

Branstad spokesman Jimmy Centers says the Governor is communicating with agencies overseeing public health and emergency management. Agency officials have been asked to offer resources to respond to the H5N2 virus, which has affected more than 7 million chickens and turkeys in several midwestern states. Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton declared a state of emergency Thursday.

In Iowa, the flu is confirmed in Buena Vista and Osceola Counties. Nearly 4 million chickens at Sunrise Farms near Harris are being destroyed.

Centers says Branstad's office has not received a request for an emergency declaration, but resources can be made available without one.

PIERRE, SD – A Circuit Court Judge has issued a stay of the warrant of execution for the man sentenced to death for his role in the death of a correctional officer at the South Dakota State Penitentiary in 2011.

Circuit Court Judge Douglas Hoffman delayed the execution of Rodney Berget on Thursday, according to Attorney General Marty Jackley. That decision puts a hold on Berget's execution, which had been scheduled for next month, to give the court more time to consider Berget's appeal.

Berget is facing the death penalty for his role in the death of a correctional officer during an escape attempt. Another inmate in that incident, Eric Robert, was executed back in 2012.

The court has requested the parties to prepare a proposed scheduling order in relation to the habeas proceedings. Berget had been sentenced to be executed on the week of May 3.

“It remains that State’s position that due process has been satisfied and the interest of justice requires these proceedings to move forward in a timely fashion,” said Jackley, in a statement.

April 23 news

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WORTHINGTON – The E.O. Olson Trust Board of Directors has designated funds toward water quality of Lake Okabena, putting aside $9,000 toward making a positive impact on the lake.

A third of the money will be spent on purchasing floating islands for Sunset Bay. The islands are made from recycled materials and serve as a base for grasses, sedges and flowers that feed off of nutrients in the water. In turn, fish feed off the underwater roots of the plants.

The additional funds will be used to build floating islands of their own, purchase additional Bioverse AquaSpheres as part of a continuing study in Whiskey Ditch and put up a sign in Olson Park explaining the function of the floating islands.

WORTHINGTON – The Minnesota Supreme Court has reversed the first-degree murder conviction of Josue Fraga and remanded the case back to Nobles County District Court for a new trial based on juror bias, according to a document released Wednesday morning.

Fraga was convicted in 2009 of murdering his 2-year-old niece Samantha, and when new evidence came to light, was retried and convicted once more.

In March of 2008, 2-year-old Samantha was brought to the emergency room of the Worthington Hospital around 5:30 a.m. by her uncle Josue Fraga and his wife, who were her legal guardians. The child had a body core temperature of 84 degrees, and the autopsy later showed she had been dead for several hours. The toddler had traumatic head injuries, a ruptured stomach, contusions, had been penetrated anally and had suffered peritonitis.

According to the documents filed Wednesday, the presence of an actually biased juror who sits in judgment is structural error. Because a juror expressed bias during the juror selection process but was still seated on the jury, a new trial is required.

The juror was questioned by both the prosecution and the defense and he admitted he did know about the case, had discussed it with family and friends and had read about it. In response to questions, he admitted he thought it would be hard to be fair and impartial and that the case was sickening. The defense had asked that the juror be dismissed, but the judge allowed him after he then said he could form his own opinion based on what he saw and heard in the courtroom.

The document states the appellant need only show that the juror was biased, not that the bias resulted in actual prejudice.

Justice David Lillehaug, who authored the unanimous opinion, acknowledged in the document that the decision made by the supreme court would cause the relatives of Samantha pain, as well as the community of Worthington, but that jurors must be impartial and unanimous for justice to be served.

Nobles County Attorney Kathy Kusz, while not able to comment on the case, said it was her understanding that because the conviction was being overturned on a structural error, Fraga would remain in custody on the bail that had been previously set. He is currently at the prison in Stillwater, but it is possible he could be moved back to the county jail to await his new trial. There is no word on how long that will take.

WORTHINGTON — Cub Scout Pack 121 will have a Meet the Scouts event at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Latter-day Saints chapel, located at 1600 Knollwood Drive. All boys in kindergarten through fourth grade and their parents are invited to attend. There will be food, games, Scout program information and the opportunity to enroll in Cub Scouts.

MINNESOTA - The number of Minnesota farms hit by bird flu outbreaks has taken a big jump - 13 new farms with over 430,000 turkeys.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said in an update Wednesday evening that the farms with newly confirmed H5N2 infections are all in counties where other farms had been affected earlier. They include the 15th detection in Kandiyohi County and the 9th detection in Stearns County, the two top turkey-producing counties in Minnesota, which is the country's top turkey producing state.

The outbreaks have now cost 44 Minnesota farms nearly 2.6 million turkeys. Those not killed by the disease outright have been euthanized to prevent its spread, or will be culled soon. Across the Midwest, the toll is now over 7.1 million turkeys and egg-laying chickens.

ESTHERVILLE, Iowa - No injuries were reported, but one person was sent to jail when a vehicle collided with a deck connected to a house.

Estherville police say they were called to 626 North 12th Street shortly before 3:30 a.m. Sunday after the owner of the residence reported the incident. The driver of the vehicle had left the scene prior to the arrival of police.

Upon investigating, officers located a suspect and the vehicle they say was responsible for the damage at 115 North 16th Street in Estherville. 22-year-old Tommy Buakham of Estherville was arrested and charged with operating while intoxicated...1st offense, failure to maintain control and failure to have a valid driver's license. He was released from jail after posting a $2,000 bond.

Damage to the vehicle was estimated at $5,000 while the deck sustained an estimated $3,000 in damage.

MN Supreme Court reverses Fraga conviction, remands back for new trial

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UPDATE:
WORTHINGTON – The Minnesota Supreme Court has reversed the Josue Fraga conviction and remanded the case back to Nobles County District Court for a new trial based on juror bias, according to documents released today.

In March of 2008, 2-year-old Samantha Fraga was brought to the emergency room of the Worthington Hospital by her aunt and uncle, that uncle being Josue Fraga. The child had a body core temperature of 84 degrees, and the autopsy later showed she had been dead for several hours by the time she was brought in. The toddler had traumatic head injuries, a ruptured stomach, contusions, had been penetrated anally and had suffered peritonitis.

Fraga was the only adult home at the time the child’s injuries had occurred, according to the autopsy time-table, but he denied hurting her. He was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison in 2009, but when new evidence showed one of his own children, a young teenaged boy at the time, may have fondled the child several times, he sought a new trial.

His own daughter allegedly saw a news report on the new trial and also came forward with new evidence, stating her father had been molesting and raping her since she was young. The girl said she had been present for part of her father’s attack on Samantha, and he had taped her to a chair and made her watch as he had forced the child’s head into a toilet, then put her in the tub and run water over her face.

Fraga was again convicted after a second trial and once again sentenced to life in prison. He appealed the conviction, and eventually petitioned the Minnesota Supreme Court, arguing two jurors knew the first trial had resulted in a conviction, a biased juror had been seated, a newspaper article referring to the first trial had been admitted as evidence and that a change of venue had been denied, among other things.

According to the syllabus written by Justice David Lillehaug, The presence of an actually biased juror who sits in judgment is structural error. Because a juror expressed bias during the juror selection process but was still seated on the jury, a new trial is required.

The juror was questioned by both the prosecution and the defense and he admitted he did know about the case, had discussed it with family and friends and had read about it. In response to questions, he admitted he thought it would be hard to be fair and impartial and that the case was sickening. The defense had asked that the juror be dismissed, but the judge allowed him after he then said he could form his own opinion based on what he saw and heard in the courtroom.

According to the document filed by the supreme court, the appellant need only show that the juror was biased, not that the bias resulted in actual prejudice.

In the document, Lillehaug writes, “We understand that the relatives of a little girl and others in the community of Worthington have suffered a grievous loss. We understand they have endured the pain of two trials. We recognize that their grief may be sharpened by the decision today.

“Still and all, it is a bedrock principle of our law that for a person to be convicted of any crime – major or minor – the jurors must be impartial and unanimous. Our constitutions and the fairness they embody require that, if we cannot say that each and every juror was impartial, we cannot say that justice was done.”

Nobles County Attorney Kathy Kusz, while not able to comment on the case, said it was her understanding that because the conviction was being overturned on a structural error, Fraga would remain in custody on the bail that had been previously set. He is currently at the prison in Stillwater, but it is possible he could be moved back to the county jail to await his new trial. There is no word on how long that will take.

April 22 news

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WORTHINGTON – Water restrictions have taken a next step in the city of Worthington following this week’s meeting of the Water and Light Board. Residents were already prohibited from watering between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., but the commission has now banned the use of water within the city of Worthington for unattended irrigation of lawns and gardens. This includes the use of automatic systems and hose sprinklers that deliver water without a constant physical presence.

Worthington Public Utilities Manager Scott Hain said this is only stage one in a three stage water use restriction plan, and it is in effect immediately. The next stage, should it need to be taken, would be to ban the use of all non-essential water usage, which is what has happened in the last several years in the city of Worthington. Stage three will expand on stage two’s restrictions to include the commercial sector such as car washes and greenhouses.

WORTHINGTON – The Nobles County Commissioners on Tuesday set a date and time for the tax-forfeited land auction, settling on Wednesday, June 3 at 10 a.m. in the Farmers Room of the Government Center. While settling that detail did not take long, trying to set the terms for sales was a longer process and still is not complete.

A resolution spelling out the terms was handed to the commissioners and only one change had to be made, striking out the portion that lists the basic sale price as equal to the appraised value. The commissioners stated at their last meeting that the basic sale price, or low bid price, would be $1 plus any assessments.

The bone of contention did not lie in the sale price, but once again in the conditions placed on the buyers when it comes to the properties that have dilapidated structures on the land up for auction. Chairman Matt Widboom is concerned buyers will leave the deteriorating structures on the land if clean-up is not somehow made mandatory. According to information passed along by Sue Luing, those kinds of conditions cannot legally be placed in the terms of sale.

Widboom said the cleanest option would be for the county to tear down the structures themselves.

In previous discussions, the other commissioners haven’t shown as much as concern as Widboom, but during Tuesday’s meeting, Commissioners Don Linssen and Gene Metz both seemed less comfortable with going through all of the work to identify the abandoned properties, just to possibly be leaving them in similar circumstances. Metz said he was intrigued with an idea Nobles County Attorney Kathy Kusz mentioned that involved possibly rewarding those who cleaned up the sites.

In the end, the commissioners passed the resolution with the terms of sale, opting to discuss the merits of a clean-up program during their next scheduled work session.

The commissioners also approved a seasonal worker position for the auditor/treasurers office to help digitize the Nobles County ditch system. The position will pay $9 per hour for 67 days at a total cost of $4,824, which will be charged back to the ditch systems proportionally.

A Boat and Water Safety grant through the state for $1,853 was also accepted for the Nobles County Sheriff’s Office, which is used for wages to cover the deputies’ hours on the water over the summer.

LUVERNE - Highway 75 motorists and Luverne residents and businesses will need to plan ahead as Highway 75 (Kniss Street) in Luverne will be under construction from May 11 to early September with a short in-town detour at the start of the project.

The construction will take place from Interstate 90 to the north city limits. The project consists of a variety of work including resurfacing from I-90 to Main Street, seal coating from Main Street to north city limits and replacing a box culvert between Harrison Street and Edgehill Street. Water main work will take place north of Harrison Street to Main Street and sidewalk will be improved for accessibility. The signal at Main Street will be revised and lanes will be restriped from four lines to three, with one lane each way and a center lane for left turns.

The $2.7 million project is a partnership between the city of Luverne and the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Duininck Incorporated of Prinsburg was awarded the contract.

Motorists are asked to slow down and drive with caution in work zones; watch for workers, equipment and traffic control devices.

ADRIAN – A Sioux Falls woman received non-life threatening injuries Tuesday afternoon when she ran off the road on Interstate 90. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, Jacqueline Fure, age 77, was westbound on I-90 when her 2003 Ford Windstar ran off the road, into the median ditch and crossed the eastbound lanes before entering the south ditch and hitting a fence post. She was taken to Sanford Hospital in Worthington. Her vehicle received moderate damage.

SIOUX FALLS – GreatLIFE Malaska Golf & Fitness Club, which recently purchased the Worthington Country Club, has expanded once again by adding two more golf courses in southwest Minnesota to its list of assets – the Adrian Country Club and the Fulda Town & Country Golf Course.

Adrian Country Club has earned its reputation with beautifully manicured fairways – and its unique set up. With 18 tee boxes, this nine-hole course provides a variety of tee shots that keep golfers challenged through eighteen holes. The par 72, regulation course measures 6,841 yards from the back tees. Golfers also enjoy a full length driving range and a putting and chipping green.

Fulda Town & Country Golf Course is located just one mile from the center of Fulda on Seven Mile Lake. This 9 hole, par 36, regulation course has 3,319 yards of golf from the longest tees, a driving range and a clubhouse where golfers can purchase snacks and beverages.

HULL, Iowa — A Rock Rapids man has died from injuries sustained in a car accident near Hull on Monday evening..

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that at about 8:50 p.m., 22-year-old Steven Broersma of Sunnyside, Washington was driving a 1995 Case-International farm tractor pulling a manure spreader westbound on 290th Street, two miles north of Hull. Eighty-five-year-old Alvin Sohl of Rock Rapids was driving a 2006 Chrysler Town & Country minivan behind Broersma. As Sohl approached Broersma he was unable to stop and struck the rear of the manure spreader.

Alvin Sohl and a passenger, 82-year-old Arlene Sohl of Rock Rapids were transported to the Sioux Center Hospital by the Hull Ambulance. They were both transferred to Avera Hospital in Sioux Falls, where Alvin Sohl died later that night.

The Hull Fire Department and Hull Ambulance crew assisted the Sheriff’s Office.

April 21

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DES MOINES, Iowa – The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza (HPAI) at a commercial laying facility in Osceola County, Iowa. The farm near Harris holds nearly 10 percent of Iowa's egg-laying chickens at 5.3 million hens.

Iowa is home to roughly 59 million hens that lay nearly one in every five eggs consumed in the country. It's the first chicken farm in Iowa to be affected by the virus, which was confirmed at a turkey farm in the state last week. The first virus confirmed in a chicken flock happened in Wisconsin.

According to a press release issued by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the egg-laying flock in Osceola County experienced increased mortality and, as a result, samples were sent to the South Dakota State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for preliminary testing. The APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the findings.

The farm has been quarantined and birds on the premises will be euthanized as soon as possible to prevent spread of the disease. The farm consists of 25 large barns housing laying hens.

Officials say to date there have been no human infections of the disease. However they say people should avoid contact with sick/dead poultry or wildlife. They say that if contact does occur, you should wash your hands with soap and water and change clothing before having any contact with healthy domestic poultry and birds.

Officials also say bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard flock owners, should take precautions, including good biosecurity. Any sick birds or unusual bird deaths should be reported to state/federal officials by contacting the State Veterinarian at (515) 281-5321 or through the USDA at 1-866-536-7593.

WORTHINGTON — The 10th annual Hospice Cottage fundraiser dinner will take place tonight at Worthington’s American Reformed Church.

Social time will begin at 5:45 p.m., with dinner scheduled at 6:30 p.m. and entertainment at 7:30 p.m. The Rock-Nobles Cattlemen’s Association will be grilling steaks at the event, and musical entertainment will be provided by Bill Shoup.
For information on tickets or sponsoring a table, contact Sharon Lynn at 360-3463 or Deb Schiedt at 360-6657.

SLAYTON – It was 75 years ago today that residents of Slayton were awakened by a bomb-like noise that put the city and Murray County on the map as the site of one of the nation’s worst two-car crashes in history, killing 12 young people. It was a defining moment for the community of Slayton.

The accident occurred about 12:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning at the turn of Highway 59 just south and east of this city and just within the city limits on April 21, 1940. It was a result of a collision between a 1934 Ford occupied by seven young Jackson men and a 1937 Chevrolet occupied by four men and two young women from the Slayton, Hadley and Fulda area.

Today, the Murray County Museum will honor those who died in the crash. The staff has created a small memorial with the photos of those who died. Also available will be the numerous newspaper accounts of the accident.

Killed in the crash were Everett Johnson, age 16, Wayne Gamble, age 15, Lorens Tuynman, age 19, Harold Tuynman, age 18, Irene Schwab, age 18, Ruth Fisher, age 15, George Larson, age 20, Carl Falk, age 21, Gordon, Meyers, age 23, Leo Egge, age 18, Hollis Luft, age 21 and Cecil Jensen, age 21.

Held up as a cautionary tale for young drivers, the twelve THINK signs along the curve at the south end of Maple Avenue, where it turns into Maple Road, gives every driver pause.

The Murray County Historical Museum in Slayton is open Tuesday - Friday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. For more information contact Janet Timmerman at jtimmerman@co.murray.mn.us or 507-836-6533.

WORTHINGTON — The Worthington Concert Association’s fourth concert of the year will feature the Alliance Brass Quintet. Hailing from Chicago, this ensemble has a repertoire that ranges from early Renaissance to jazz and beyond.

The concert will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center.

Admission is by season membership. However, anyone wishing to attend the performance can do so by purchasing a membership for next season. Members who renew their membership for the 2015-2016 season at or before the concert will be eligible for a drawing for two CDs and two adult membership.

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa-- Spirit Lake police are thanking the public for help in identifying a man accused of leaving Wal-Mart without paying for some groceries. Police say they received information identifying the suspect within two hours of posting his picture from the store's surveillance system on the department's Facebook page. 27-year-old Brett Snyder of Manchester, Iowa was charged with theft in the 5th degree.

Police say two other arrests were made recently in connection with an unrelated theft from the Spirit Lake Walmart. Those suspects were identified by police as Ali Schlachter and ShaiAnn Hess. The two 18-year-olds are from Milford. Both were charged with theft in the 5th degree in connection with a theft from the store that allegedly occurred shortly after 8 p.m. April 13th.

April 20 news

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WORTHINGTON - The 2015 Spring Fling for Seniors is 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday at Worthington’s American Reformed Church. This year’s theme is “Healthy Living at Home,” and includes keynote speaker Dr. Charles Dike, a family medicine practitioner at the Sanford Worthington Clinic, who will talk about the aging process and how to stay as healthy as possible.

Three workshop presenters include Molly Bishop of Navigation Music Therapy Services, Pharmacist Joe Anderson of Sterling Drug and Nobles County Public Health Director Terri Janssen. Also, 20 area agencies and businesses will be present with booths/displays, and door prizes will be awarded.

There is a slight discount for advance ticket purchase through Tuesday; contact District 518 Community Education at 376-6105 or visit the office at West Learning Center, 117 11th Ave. Tickets will also be available at the door. Admission price includes morning refreshments and a noon meal.

WORTHINGTON — A certified nurse practitioner has joined Sanford Worthington’s team of health care providers. Annalisa Cunningham began her practice at Sanford Worthington Clinic and Sanford Worthington Acute Care Clinic last month.

Cunningham received her educational training from South Dakota State University in Brookings, S.D. She specializes in family practice. Cunningham lives in Luverne with her spouse, Jason, and children, Carissa, Graham, Pierce and Cole. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening and classical piano.

For more information or to make an appointment with Cunningham, contact Sanford Worthington Clinic at 372-3800.

PIPESTONE - Pipestone County now has its own flag. The flag features the circular county seal, selected in 1997, which former Pipestone resident Dennis Boese designed for a contest.

The flag was created at the request of PrimeWest, a county-based purchasing health plan owned by Pipestone County and 12 other rural Minnesota counties that provides health coverage to residents in the 13 member counties who qualify for Minnesota Health Care Programs (MHCP). PrimeWest requested flags from each of the 13 counties to be flown at its new office in Alexandria.

In addition to flying the flag at the PrimeWest office, the Board of Commissioners plans to purchase additional flags to fly at the Pipestone County Courthouse, Fairgrounds and possibly other county buildings. Sharon Hanson, Pipestone County administrator, said the flags for the courthouse and fairgrounds will likely be up before the County Fair begins the first week of August.

Hanson said PrimeWest is purchasing the flag that will be flown at their office and she is waiting to find out who their vendor is and what it will cost to purchase additional flags.

GEORGE, Iowa – Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds will be in Lyon County this week to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony at the Dur-A-Lift facility in George, located at 2002 Kingbird Avenue. The event is at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday to celebrate the new facility and the latest milestone in the ongoing growth and expansion of Lyon County’s largest manufacturer.

Dur-A-Lift’s building project adds 26,000 square feet to Diversified Technologies Inc’s existing facility. DTI expects to add jobs to its 260 plus person workforce and double its Dur-A-Lift production capacity with this latest expansion.

OKOBOJI, Iowa — Okoboji Summer Theatre discount voucher booklets are now on sale at Northwest Bank locations in Spirit Lake, Arnolds Park and Milford, Iowa, and Pearson Lakes Art Center in Okoboji or by emailing ostavoucherbooklet@gmail.com.

The booklets offer a savings off box office season prices. Each booklet contains three vouchers for musicals and six vouchers for non-musicals, along with a bonus voucher for one free admission.

MNSP Changes

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Please note that bean receiving and meal/pellet loadout will be closed April 30th and May 1st due to the annual shutdown at the Minnesota Soybean Processors or Brewster.

Worthington Regional Health Care Foundation presents check to Manna Food Pantry

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WORTHINGTON – The Worthington Regional Health Care Foundation teamed up with the Manna Food Pantry during the March Food Campaign, offering a 50 percent match for up to $25,000.The Manna Food Pantry, through contributions from individuals, area churches and the community, raised over $43,000, the health care foundation matched $21,609 and the total came to $64,828.14. The check for the total was presented to the pantry on Friday.

Foundation Executive Director Jeff Rotert said this is the second year they have offered the grant to the Manna Food Pantry.

Coordinator Linda Sanchez said the March Food Campaign is their main annual fund drive, and expressed her thanks to the Nobles County community for their contributions to the pantry, not only in money, but also in food. Another matching grant through the Minnesota Food Share in March earned them approximately 12,500 pounds of food, Sanchez said. They will also get a monetary grant through Minnesota Food Share, but that total will not be available until July.

Pictured above are Jeff Rotert and Linda Sanchez, as well as Manna Food Pantry board members Rick Dalrymple, Erlin Weness, LeRoy Ennenga, Linda Kuhle, Mary Pool and Carol Pospisil.

April 17 news

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WORTHINGTON — The American Red Cross Bloodmobile will accept blood donations from 1 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the American Reformed Church, 1720 N. Burlington Ave.

Donors will receive a coupon for a free pint of ice cream from Dairy Queen; and a coupon for rent one/get one video from Family Video, Worthington. Chocolate sundaes will be served compliments of Scott Rall LPL Financial Services, Worthington. To schedule an appointment, visit www.redcrossblood.org (enter sponsor code 0172267) or call 1-800-733-2767. Walk-ins are also welcome.

WORTHINGTON – A Worthington man was arrested for his fifth DWI, according to court records. Ojulu Omot Ogala, age 35, is charged in Nobles County District Court with first-degree driving while intoxicated and driving after cancellation — inimical to public safety.

The criminal complaint states authorities were called to a report of an unresponsive man on Cecilee Street, where they found a running vehicle parked on the wrong side of the street, facing against traffic. Ogala was located inside the nearby apartment complex, lying on the floor. After several attempts, officers were able to wake him and get a portable breath test sample, which registered at .224 percent alcohol concentration.

Ogala is scheduled to appear in court next week.

PIPESTONE - A man accused of murdering his girlfriend’s 3-month-old daughter one year ago was arrested in Pipestone Thursday around 2:30 a.m., according to the Pipestone County Star.

A Wisconsin deputy tipped off the Pipestone County Sheriff’s Office around 2 a.m. that the alleged murderer was in Pipestone at the trailer park. Five Pipestone County Sheriff’s deputies and a Minnesota State Trooper found Austin Gustafson, 27, where the deputy said he would be, according to Pipestone County Sheriff Keith Vreeman.

They took Gustafson into custody without incident, according to Vreeman. Gustafson was held in Pipestone County Jail until law enforcement officials from Ramsey County came to pick him up.

KARE 11 reported from St. Paul that the former White Bear Lake man was charged last year with murdering his girlfriend’s infant daughter while her mother was at work. Police officers were called to the residence on a report of a baby not breathing, according to that report, and a medical evaluation of the child revealed several rib fractures and bruises on her lower back. The baby died a few days after the April 30, 2014 incident.

Vreeman told the Star he does not know how long Gustafson had been in Pipestone and that the accused man had no known connections here.

SLAYTON - The Slayton Women of Today will once again be sponsoring a Father Daughter Prom on Sunday, April 26 at the Murray County Central High School Gym. The grand march will begin at 2 p.m. with the dance to follow until 4 p.m. All ages are welcome and the cost is $5 per father/ daughter. Family members and friends are encouraged to come and watch the grand march for a cost of $1 per person.
Families are encouraged to arrive early for pictures and to watch grand march. LA Photography will be on hand from 1 to 2 p.m. to take pictures, with packages available for families to purchase. Registration is not required and payment can be made at the door the day of the event. If you have questions you can contact Lisa Graphenteen 507-227-5402 or Kristie Blankenship at 836-8592.

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa — 37-year-old Adam Sickles, a defendant accused of arson in the Buddz’s Rec Bowl case, has entered into a plea agreement, agreeing to an amended charge of second-degree arson, according to Assistant Attorney General Coleman McAllister.

In a plea proceeding that had been moved to the Dickinson County Courthouse in Spirit Lake, District Court Judge David Lester accepted the motion to change the charge to Second Degree Arson. Sentencing is scheduled for 10 a.m. May 26 at the O’Brien County Courthouse.

McAllister says a second case remains pending and the jury trial on charges of First Degree Arson and Insurance Fraud is set to begin on Tuesday, April 28, 2015.

IOWA - - A northwest Iowa woman has been sentenced to eight years in federal prison on drug charges. The sentence against 23-year-old Amanda Lee of Alta stems from a guilty plea she made to conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of a methamphetamine mixture.

At a plea hearing, Lee admitted her involvement from February, 2013 through February, 2014, in a conspiracy that distributed at least 1,500 grams of the drug.

Court documents state that an iPhone seized from Lee revealed several text messages with a drug-related content and drug-related photos. Authorities say they also found text messages that revealed Lee had been selling meth in the Sioux City area and that she possessed a handgun.

In addition to the prison term, Lee must also serve 5 years of supervised release.