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Names released in fatal Cottonwood County crash


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

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

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

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

July 27 news


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 24 news


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check awarded for new Promenade on Oxford name

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

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

July 23 news


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 22 news


ROUND LAKE – It was a first, and they walked away with a first. Round Lake Vineyards & Winery recently competed in their first wine competition and earned a gold medal and two bronze medals, much to the delight of owners Scott and Jenny Ellenbecker. They entered three wines, and walked away with three medals.

The competition, the ninth annual Mid-American Wine Competition, took place at the Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny, Iowa July 10-12 and included wines from 12 Midwestern states. Professional wine judges from throughout the United States awarded 95 gold medals, 176 silvers and 167 bronzes.

Chief Judge Doug Frost of Kansas City, who has a Master of Wine degree, said the wine industry throughout the Midwest has evolved into a tourist destination, which helps the local economies.

According to Jenny Ellenbecker, to have all three of their wines place validates their quality. Their Frontenac Gris was the only of its kind to receive gold; their La Crescent was one of nine to win a bronze and the St. Pepin’s one of three to win a bronze.

Round Lake Vineyards & Winery is located five miles south of Exit 50 on Interstate 90 in southwest Minnesota. Eighteen of the 27 acres of wine grapes under its complete management are on the winery estate. The rest are near Heron Lake and across the Iowa border near the town of Milford.

WORTHINGTON – Rock Nobles Community Corrections Director Jon Ramlo gave an overview of his department to the Nobles County Commissioners Tuesday, stating that as of Monday morning, there are just over 1,300 open cases between the two counties, with 193 of those being juvenile cases.

Ramlo said there has been some growth in cases since 2014, but nothing tremendous. There are currently 28 parolees under supervision, 61 high-risk probationers and 80 clients on some form of monitor, whether that be alcohol or ankle bracelets.

There are currently 219 active warrants in the two counties, which Ramlo says is right in line with the state average per capita. The majority of them, he said, are for failure to appear at the corrections office or in court. There are 179 people on pre-trial conditional release.

As of Tuesday, there were 17 members of drug court and nine in the Thinking For a Change program, which Ramlo said is getting more common as a court order.

Under questioning by the commissioners, Ramlo said studies have shown if they put more time into high-risk probationers, they are less likely to re-offend. The state tracks the statistics, he said, but only on parolees. The data is behind by three years, but in the last year, there have been no parolees who have re-offended in Rock County, and two in Nobles County. Both were sent back to prison.

In other county business, the commissioners approved a community wellness grant agreement with Des Moines Valley Health and Human Services to fund a community wellness grant coordinator, public health nurse, health educator and outreach worker for public health, as well as a shared dietitian position with Avera Worthington Clinic.

The commissioners learned from county administrator Tom Johnson that a $25,000 grant from Blandin Broadband Communities will likely be officially awarded today, to be spent on a consultant to lead a feasibility study. The grant requires a 100 percent match, some of which is in kind. The study will reveal where the greatest needs for Internet services are within the county.

A second grant of $9,500 will also be awarded to Nobles County, with MVTV-Wireless providing the required match. Johnson said MVTV will help determine where some Internet hot spots may be located throughout the county.

WORTHINGTON – A third suspect has been arrested in a robbery that occurred July 14 at the Thompson Apartments. Joseph Tokpa, age 18, of Worthington, was arrested late last week for his part in the robbery, that according to the criminal complaints, involved three men going to the victim’s apartment, hitting him on the back of the head and stealing $50 to $60.

Bobby Martin and Ojulu Omot, were arrested the day of the alleged incident after witnesses saw them running down the street near Third Avenue and 11th Street. Witnesses confirmed three men left the building, but only Martin and Omot were detained and arrested by police.

Video surveillance footage revealed a third black male an officer identified based on prior contacts as Tokpa. When a search warrant was executed for Tokpa’s residence, the officer located a black herb grinder with marijuana remnants on the couch and a marijuana pipe on the television stand.

He allegedly admitted to being with Martin and Ojulu the day of the robbery. He is charged with several crimes, including felony level simple robbery, aiding and abetting robbery and attempted robbery, as well as various lower level theft and assault charges.

BOYDEN, Iowa — Two out-of-state men have been arrested on harassment and assault charges at a job site near Boyden. The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that on Saturday, they arrested 42-year-old Julio Guerrero of Indianapolis, IN and 52-year-old Antonio Cardoso of Salisbury, NC. The arrests occurred at a farm job site northeast of Boyden, Iowa.

The arrests stemmed from an investigation into a report of a female employee who had allegedly been harassed and assaulted by two male employees at the job site.

As a result of the investigation, Cardoso was arrested and was charged with first degree harassment and assault. Guerrero was arrested and was charged with third degree harassment and assault.

The Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Iowa State Patrol.

July 21 news


WORTHINGTON — Nobles County 4-H’ers will model their purchased and constructed garments during the annual 4-H Fashion Revue at 7 p.m. Friday at the Minnesota West Fine Arts facility on the Worthington campus. This year’s theme is “Blue Jeans and Country Dreams.” Eighteen 4-H’ers will participate in this year’s fashion revue, which is in conjunction with the 4-H Performing Arts presentations. Seventeen 4-H’ers will sing, dance, play piano or present other acts to entertain the audience.

The event is free and open to the public.

WORTHINGTON — The final concert of the “Amazing” Worthington City Band’s 2015 season will take place at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Chautauqua Park, with Mike Peterson conducting. Representatives of Worthington-Crailsheim International Inc. will serve as emcees. Intermission entertainment will be by “7 Trumpets.”

The night’s musical list is slated to include “Simple Gifts,” “Dreaming of December,” “Nearer My God to Thee,” “YMCA” and “Trumpet Filigree,” among other selections.
In case of inclement weather, the concert will take place at Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center.

LAKE PARK, Iowa - A two vehicle collision Saturday at the intersection of Highway 9 and Dickinson County Road M-27 south of Lake Park claimed the life of a Spencer woman.
The Iowa State Patrol says 80-year-old Beverly Steuben of Spencer was driving a 1999 Buick southbound and had stopped for a stop sign at Highway 9. Troopers say she pulled into the path of a westbound 2000 Chevrolet Impala driven by 23-year-old Kayla Foushee of Ocheyedan, with Foushee's vehicle impacting the driver's side of Steuben's vehicle.
Troopers say Steuben was fatally injured and died at the scene. Foushee was taken by a friend to Lakes Regional Healthcare.

Authorities say Steuben was not wearing a seatbelt. The collision took place shortly after 3 p.m.

SIBLEY, Iowa - The highest point in Iowa will be celebrated later this week. Members of the Highpointers Club will gather at Hawkeye Point for a convention that starts Thursday and runs through Saturday.

The highest point in the state is 1,670 feet above sea level, and is about 4 miles north of Sibley. The Highpointers Club works to mark the highest point in every state.

Seven years ago, the Merill and Donna Sterler family donated 1.6 acres to Osceola County to mark the high point and preserve public access. On a clear day, the site offers views of Iowa, Minnesota and perhaps South Dakota.

MINNESOTA - Wildlife artists can submit entries for the 2016 Minnesota Trout and Salmon Stamp from Monday, Aug. 3, until 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 14.

The trout and salmon stamp validation is sold for $10 along with fishing licenses, and for an extra 75 cents, purchasers can receive the pictorial stamp. It is also sold as a collectible for $10.75. Revenue from stamp sales is dedicated to trout and salmon management and habitat work.

Trout or salmon must be the primary focus of the design, though other fish species may be included in the design if they are used to depict common interaction between species or are common inhabitants of Minnesota’s lakes and rivers. Brook trout designs are not eligible this year.

Artists are prohibited from using any photographic product as part of their finished entries. Winning artists usually issue limited edition prints of the artwork and retain proceeds. Judging will take place Thursday, Aug. 20, at DNR headquarters, 500 Lafayette Road in St. Paul.

To see more information on stamp contests, guidelines for submitting work, and to sign up to receive regular email updates on the stamp contests, visit Contest guidelines are also available from the DNR Information Center by calling 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa — A Remsen man will serve prison time after he caused an improper discharge to a river as the maintenance manager at a Sioux Center packing plant.

The United States’ Attorney’s office says that 58-year-old Michael J. Wolf of Remsen pleaded guilty in December to one count of knowingly discharging a pollutant into a waterway of the United States. The discharge resulted in a fish kill. At the plea and sentencing hearings, the US Attorney’s Office says they presented evidence that on October 23 and 24, 2012, Wolf, while he was the maintenance manager at Sioux-Preme Packing, intentionally discharged biological materials and agricultural wastes from one of Sioux-Preme’s waste lagoons into a tributary of the West Branch of the Floyd River. They say the pollutants likely included blood, fecal material, animal guts, cleaning chemicals, etc.

They say the discharge lasted more than 11 hours. It fouled over 11 miles of river, downstream from the lagoon. The US Attorney’s Office also says the discharge killed over 190,000 fish of various species, valued at over $20,000; and caused the State of Iowa to expend more than $5,000 in response costs. One witness to the fish kill described watching fish jumping out of the water and racing around to avoid the deadly plume. They also say Wolf lied to members of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ Emergency Response team attempting to ameliorate the effects of the spill.

According to the US Attorney’s Office, this delay likely worsened the effects of the spill.
Michael J. Wolf was sentenced in Sioux City by United States District Court Judge Mark W. Bennett for his violation of the Clean Water Act. He was sentenced to six weekends of imprisonment and a one-year term of probation. A special assessment of $100 was imposed.

July 20 news


WORTHINGTON — A farewell picnic for the Crailsheim-Worthington exchange students will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Community Room at the Atrium High Rise, 819 10th St.

Vanessa Pazurek, who has spent the last year in Worthington, will return to Worthington’s sister city of Crailsheim, Germany, accompanied by Skyla Rautenkranz, who was chosen to be Worthington’s student ambassador to Crailsheim for the coming year.

Following the picnic, the girls will speak about their experiences during the “Amazing” Worthington City Band concert beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Chautauqua Park.

MINNESOTA - The public is invited to join Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr at stops along a 122-mile “prairie pedal” bicycle ride from Luverne to Marshall, July 29-31.

Stops along the three-day ride will highlight some of the great outdoor recreational opportunities in southwestern Minnesota. The public is invited to join the commissioner at any of the stops or family-friendly rides scheduled each day. Helmets are required for cyclists on the ride. Events are free, but state park vehicle fees may apply.

On Wednesday, July 29, beginning at 9 a.m., there will be a 5-mile ride from Luverne to Blue Mounds State Park. From 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. there will be a community picnic at Split Rock Creek State Park. Please bring your lunch.

The riding continues Thursday, July 30, starting at 9 a.m. with a 5-mile ride on the Casey Jones Trail from Pipestone to County Road 16. At 7 p.m., there is a 2-mile ride within Lake Shetek State Park, and from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., the Commissioners Campfire, also at Lake Shetek State Park.

On Friday, July 31, things begin at 12:30 p.m. with lunch at Camden State Park. Please bring your lunch. At 2 p.m., there is a 10-mile ride from Camden State Park to Marshall, and at 3 p.m. a end of ride reception at Marshall High School.

RSVPs are requested, but not required. For more information or to sign up, contact

SIOUX CITY, Iowa — A Heron Lake woman will serve four years in federal prison, and a Spencer man eleven years after they pled guilty to dealing drugs in the Iowa Great Lakes area.

The US Attorney’s Office says that 36-year-old Jillian Preston of Heron Lake, Minnesota, received the prison sentence recently after an April guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. They say 52-year-old Todd Daugherty of Spencer received the prison term after a February guilty plea to the same charge.

At their guilty pleas, Preston and Daugherty each admitted that from 2013 through May 2014 they were involved in a conspiracy that distributed more than 50 grams of pure methamphetamine in the Spencer and Lakes area. Preston obtained quarter to half-pound quantities from sources in Minnesota for distribution in Iowa, and that Daugherty obtained one ounce to quarter-pound quantities from Preston for further redistribution in Iowa. Four ounces of methamphetamine was seized from Daugherty in a Minnesota traffic stop.

Preston and Daugherty were sentenced in Sioux City by United States District Court Judge Mark W. Bennett. Preston was sentenced to 48 months’ imprisonment. Daugherty was sentenced to 132 months’ imprisonment. Each must pay a special assessment of $100 and each must also serve a 5-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system. Preston and Daugherty are being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until they can be transported to a federal prison.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Shawn S. Wehde and investigated by Clay County Sheriff’s Office, Iowa Great Lakes Drug Task Force, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Minnesota State Patrol.

ESTHERVILLE, Iowa - An Estherville woman has been charged in connection with a hit-and-run collision that took place in the early morning of June 20th that injured another Estherville woman.

Authorities say 57-year-old Francie Solmonson of Estherville was walking along West 5th avenue around 12:20 a.m. that morning when she was struck by a silver 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer. Upon investigating, police discovered that vehicle was allegedly being driven by 43-year-old Jody Hobmeier of Estherville, who left the scene. Hobmeier is accused of removing her vehicle from the scene, but she then found someone to take her back to the scene. That person called 911 and rendered assistance to Solmonson. Hobmeier allegedly left the scene again without speaking to responding officers or leaving any information.

Solmonson was seriously injured and was taken to Avera Holy Family Hospital in Estherville. She was then transferred to Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls.

Officers were able to locate the suspect vehicle at Hobmeier's residence. Following an analysis by the Division of Criminal Investigation Crime Lab, Hobmeier was charged with operating while intoxicated, 3rd offense, serious injury by vehicle, and leaving the scene of a personal injury accident.

Hobmeier was taken into custody Friday and was booked into jail on a $12,000 cash or surety bond.

Change of venue motion filed in Fraga case, defense offers no objection


WORTHINGTON – The State of Minnesota Attorney General’s Office has filed for a change of venue in the Josue Fraga murder trial, and on Friday afternoon, public defender Cecil Naatz said he has no objection to that motion. It will now be up to Judge Leland Bush to decide where that trial will take place.

Fraga has already been convicted of the murder twice. A jury handed back a guilty verdict during a trial in 2009, but that was overturned when new evidence was introduced several years later. During a second trial, he was again convicted by a jury, but the Minnesota Supreme Court recently overturned that conviction based on jury bias.

Bush, who is chambered in Marshall, was permanently assigned the Fraga case by Judge Bradley Walker, the Chief Judge of the Fifth Judicial District, on June 1, in a document that states all other judges in the southwest assignment district of the Fifth Judicial District are disqualified from presiding due to prior involvement.

Assistant Attorney General John Gross, who is working with Assistant Attorney General Bill Klumpp, also filed a motion to compel for discovery in the matter of an expert witness who was precluded from testifying in the second trial due to lack of foundation.

Naatz did object to the motion to compel, stating it was out of order and he had not yet made an attempt to hire the witness, Hollida Wakefield. Naatz said if he does try to hire her and if he is allowed the funding, if the state wants to attack her credibility, that will be up for the judge to decide.

Bush will take the motion to compel under advisement after Naatz supplies some additional information.

July 17 news


WORTHINGTON – The State of Minnesota Attorney General’s Office has filed a document stating its intention to file a motion for a change of venue in the case against Josue Fraga, who is accused of murdering his two-year-old niece Samantha in Worthington in 2008.

Fraga has already been convicted of the murder twice. A jury handed back a guilty verdict during a trial in 2009, but that was overturned when new evidence was introduced several years later. During a second trial, he was again convicted by a jury, but the Minnesota Supreme Court recently overturned that conviction based on jury bias.

The document filed this week states the motion for a venue change is based on the two previous convictions, the extensive publicity concerning both trials and verdicts and the jury issues. A change of venue, the document states, will help ensure that fair and unbiased jurors are selected to preserve Fraga’s right to a fair and impartial trial.

Fraga is currently in custody in the Nobles County Jail.

WORTHINGTON - The Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce through the Community Improvement Committee is sponsoring a “Flower Power – Yard of the Week.” This week’s recipient is Kevin & Leann Donovan at 727 Moon Circle.

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

WORTHINGTON – Charges were filed earlier this week in Nobles County District Court against two Worthington men accused of robbery, theft and assault.

Bobby Martin, age 26, and Ojulu Omot, age 21, are charged with simple robbery, aiding and abetting robbery, attempted robbery, theft, aiding and abetting theft, attempted theft, assault, aiding and abetting assault and possession of marijuana.

The complaint states officers were notified Tuesday afternoon of a robbery in progress and of suspects running near Third Avenue and 11th Street. Authorities responding to the call recognized Martin and Omot from prior contacts and while near them, allegedly smelled the odor of marijuana. Omot, upon questioning, said he had marijuana in his pocket.

A witness said she saw the men running from either Thompson Apartment or the nearby restaurant and a man running after them who said they stole his money. She followed them until she saw law enforcement detain them. Another witness offered to show the officers where the victim lived.

Inside the victim’s apartment, he said three men came to his door, and he told them he didn’t want trouble. He said someone punched the back of his head and when he turned around, the three were running away and his money from his pocket was gone. He said he had $50 to $60. The victim said he is acquainted with one of the men he knows only as Bobby.

He positive identified Martin and Omot as two of the men who robbed him.

Martin has a previous drug conviction, while Omot has convictions for assault, theft and counterfeiting. Both are currently being held in the Nobles County Jail and scheduled for a court hearing later this month.

SLAYTON - The Slayton American Legion Post 64 will host a Dedication Ceremony for the Murray County Veterans Memorial at 2 p.m. August 15 on the east side of the Murray County Government Center in Slayton. Eveeryone, including all Legion Posts in the area, are encouraged to attend be a part of the ceremony, as this memorial is for all veterans, past and present, and is for all of Murray County area to reflect upon.

SLAYTON - Murray County Central Activities will hold its Fall Sports Eligibility Meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, August 3 in the Central auditorium. All grade 7-12 students planning on participating in football, boys and girls cross country, volleyball, or cheerleading during the fall season and a parent/guardian are required by the Minnesota State High School League to attend this meeting. Coaches will meet with student-athletes and parents after a general meeting. Practice and game schedules will be distributed.

Payment of activity fees and completion of the 2015-16 Athletic Eligibility Brochure will take place at this meeting. A physical completed within the last three years must be on file in the MCC Activities Office in order for a student-athlete to practice and compete. The Murray County Clinic will offer sports physicals to high school students residing in Murray County on Thursday, July 30th in Slayton from 1pm to 4pm. Cost is $5.You can pay with cash or check. Proceeds are donated to Murray County Food Shelf.

SIOUX FALLS, SD - One person was wounded after a shooting in central Sioux Falls Thursday night, police say.

According to Sgt. James Buteyn, the incident happened just after 9:30 p.m. on the 1500 block of E. 7th Street. A 39-year-old man was transported to a Sioux Falls hospital for a gunshot wound.

There is no word yet on any suspects, but according to metro communications, police say there is not a threat to the public. The shooting is still under investigation