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UPDATE: Authorities investigate report of a stabbing

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WORTHINGTON – The Worthington Police Department received a report of an injury to an adult male Tuesday in the 1100 block of Sixth Avenue at approximately 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. The initial incident report stated a male reported he had been stabbed in the stomach by two Hispanic males.

After investigating, authorities have determined that the wound was self-inflicted and that no perpetrators were involved.

Agriculture Celebrates Every Day as Earth Day

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April 22nd is Earth Day! Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) encourages everyone to recognize every day as Earth Day.

"In agriculture, every day is Earth Day. April 22 is the day where we emphasize the importance of our natural resources and share agriculture's story," said MFBF President Kevin Paap. "As farmers, we pride ourselves in caring for our water, air, land and its resources. Conserving and protecting the earth for your children and ours is our top priority."

"Today's farmers produce food, fiber, feed and renewable fuel using techniques such as global positioning satellites and biotechnology," said Paap. "The Minnesota Farm Bureau is proud of the dedication and hard work of our farmer and rancher members who care for our natural resources while producing a quality, safe food supply."

"More than 1.1 million acres in the state are enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)," said Paap. "Farmers are involved in numerous conservation efforts with the goal of protecting the environment and providing habitat for wildlife."

The Minnesota Farmers Union also recognizes this important day, as MFU President Doug Peterson penned the following:

"Farmers are the original green energy, and given enough funding resources, farm efforts will create the fuel and renewable energy this nation needs. With 2014 as the International Year of the Family Farmer, it is a great opportunity to highlight the important role farmers play in renewable energy, and to promote policies of renewable energies at the global level.

Renewable fuel and energy is a win across the board. It gives family farmers and rural communities an opportunity to improve their financial base, and decrease the effects of climate change by reducing the carbon footprint and reducing greenhouse gases.

When you consider that it also makes us less reliant on foreign oil, making us a more safe and secure nation, continuing the path toward increased use of renewable energy is a means of national security. While at the World Farmers Organisation (WFO) General Assembly, National Farmers Union (NFU) was able to insert a renewable energy resolution for consideration among the WFO nations; a tremendous first step given the argument of food versus fuel. It shows acceptance, and we should be proud that NFU brought renewables forward in the global dialogue.

When considering renewable energy, I would be remiss if I did not mention renewable fuels. This is a young industry when compared to fossil fuels. We are developing scientific efficiencies to be competitive, but in reality, we are already competitive. Biofuels reduce greenhouse gases by 59 percent, with the second generation reducing greenhouse gases by 62 percent, including land use consideration. And, the biggest win is that it costs $5/tank cheaper at the pump and costs $1 per gallon less to manufacture than gasoline.

The importance of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) is apparent based on fact. It has increased net farm income by 51 percent since it was enacted. The RFS is excellent for family farmers and rural communities. Plus, it is the only fuel that allows us to meet air quality standards throughout the nation. Without renewables in gasoline, our clean air standards would not be compliant, and the Environment Protection Agency knows that.

Renewable energy may not be perfect, but I will take the first and second generation of American renewable fuel over dirty gasoline and world dominance of big oil."

Doug Peterson President
Minnesota Farmers Union
Madison, MN
651.288.4062

A reminder that a great way to observe Earth Day for 2014 is to conserve water in any manner possible. Minnesota Energy Resources is offering all current residential natural gas customers in Worthington FREE Water Conservation Kits.

The kits include low-flow showerheads, along with kitchen and bathroom faucet aerators. These items are easy to install so you can begin saving on your home's water heating costs right away. The free kits can be ordered by visiting http://www.cashrebatesnow.com and clicking on FREE Water Conservation Kit or by calling 877-831-6050; the conservation kit will be delivered directly to your home.

“These water conservation kits are a nice way to celebrate 2014 by keeping a little extra money in your pockets,” says Jeff Larson, Senior External Affairs Manager at Minnesota Energy Resources. “Customers who have participated in the program have been very happy with the kits. In fact, 99% of participants surveyed indicated that they would recommend this program to others. Customers have also been pleased with our toll-free ordering service, which allows us to mail the FREE Water Conservation Kit direct to their doors after one simple call.”

In addition to the water conservation kits, Minnesota Energy Resources’ new online Home Energy Profile can help you easily understand how energy efficient your home is and how to get connected to energy efficiency rebate programs. Give it a try and learn new ways to save! Just visit http://mer.energysavvy.com/

Terms & Conditions:

  • Must have a natural gas water heater to qualify
  • Must be a Minnesota Energy Resources residential customer with an existing account
  • Not available for new construction
  • Maximum order limits per household apply. (Visit us online for complete program rules at http://www.cashrebatesnow.com)

April 22 news

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WORTHINGTON – District 518 is one of 138 schools to receive a planning grant for the Safe Walk to School program, through the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Planning grants provide funding to help analyze existing conditions, gather public input and identify infrastructure and non-infrastructure solutions at K-8 schools.

Plans will be completed by the Southwest Regional Development Commission or a planning consultant hired by MnDOT.

The district was not given a dollar amount, because MnDOT pays all expenses related to planning grants, including time put in by MnDOT employees and outside consultants.
According to School Superintendent Landgaard, the school needs to receive the planning grant before it can apply for the infrastructure grant, and that planning will continue throughout the year.

WORTHINGTON – Worthington Public Utilities Manager Scott Hain told the Water and Light Commission Monday that Well 26, used to measure water levels, has gained 11 inches in the past 6 weeks. A year ago, if gained 84 inches. In a time of year the well should be recharging, not much is happening, which is a cause for concern.

There is currently a ban on non-essential water use which prevents people from watering lawns, spraying driveways and cleaning patio furniture. If things continue to be so dry, more restrictions may be necessary, Hain said.

Tune in to AM 730 KWOA at 12:30 to hear more from Hain on Talk of the Town.

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa - A Spirit Lake man pleaded guilty Monday in Dickinson County District Court to charges in the death of a Jackson, Minnesota woman that took place on or about December 6th, 2013 at a residence near Spirit Lake. Tailer Handsaker pleaded guilty to a charge of murder in the second degree and two counts of willful injury in the death of Sara Grimmius of Jackson. An original charge of 1st degree murder was dropped as part of a plea agreement.

Handsaker was sentenced to no more than 50 years in prison on the murder in the second degree charge. He must serve at least 70 percent of that term, or 35 years, before being eligible for parole. Handsaker was also sentenced to no more than 10 years on each count of willful injury. The terms are to be served consecutively with credit given for time already served.

Handsaker was also ordered to pay restitution to the victim's family and a crime victim's assistance fund.

Handsaker admitted Monday court he struck Grimmius in the face and skull using a pool cue and a golf club, and that he also struck her in the arm. Grimmius' body was later discovered by authorities.

Grimmius' parents addressed the court, with her mother reading a statement expressing their grief over the death of Sara and the impact it's having on her children. In addressing the court himself, Handsaker apologized for his actions.

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa - A Spirit Lake man faces multiple charges following a pursuit early Sunday on some city streets and on Highways 9 and 71 east of town. Shortly after 2 a.m., an officer tried to pull over a minivan for a traffic violation. The driver, 33-year-old Timothy Higgins of Spirit Lake, refused to stop, leading officer on a pursuit that finally ended when a pair of stop sticks were deployed near the Jackson Y. Higgins was stopped near the Dickinson/Emmet County line when officers used a pursuit immobilization technique.

Higgins was arrested and booked into the Dickinson county jail on charges of eluding, operating while intoxicated, traveling on the wrong side of the roadway and various traffic violations.

WINDOM – A presentation called “Community Conversation about Childhood” with 2011 Minnesota Teacher of the Year Katy Smith will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 1 at the Windom High School lecture hall. A licensed Parent Educator and trainer for more than 25 years, Katy will share research and stories focusing on early childhood. The program is for parents, day care providers, teachers, professionals who work with children and families, and community members.

JACKSON - A St. Louis Park woman who stole her son’s old checks and used them to purchase pharmaceuticals, restaurant food and liquor will spend five years on probation and pay back nearly $300 in restitution.

Michelle E. Anderson, 38, pleaded guilty last Thursday in Jackson’s Fifth Judicial District Court to one count of felony check forgery. Judge Linda Titus granted Anderson a stay of imposition of sentence, on the condition she serve five years on supervised probation, pay restitution of $299.07 plus $90 in fees, submit a DNA sample and remain law-abiding.

The charge stemmed from a series of checks she illegally used at Jackson businesses over a period of five months, from late November 2011 to May 2012. The checks belonged to her son, she testified last Thursday in court, and she falsely endorsed them with her name to make purchases at a local pharmacy, restaurant, liquor store and two convenience stores.

MINNEAPOLIS - The Minneapolis City Council may vote this week to rename Columbus Day. A group of activists, led by new City Council Member Alondra Cano, is urging the holiday be renamed Indigenous People’s Day on all city communications.

Columbus Day is a federal holiday, and is celebrated each year on the second Monday in October to commemorate Christopher Columbus’ arrival to the Americas on October 12, 1492.

The Columbus holiday has become a source of controversy in recent years because his explorations led to European settlement of the Americas, which in turn led to the maltreatment and death of a large percentage of native people. Critics also claim Columbus did not “discover” the New World, because indigenous peoples had been living in the Americas for thousands of years before his arrival.

The campaign to change the name of the holiday gathered steam during last fall’s Minneapolis mayoral campaign. The Native American Community Development Institute hosted a forum for all the mayoral candidates, and audience members asked questions of them.

“One of them was, ‘Are you willing to un-recognize Columbus Day?’” said NACDI President and CEO Jay Bad Heart Bull. “A majority of candidates said yes, and one of them was Betsy Hodges, who was elected and is now our current mayor.”

Alondra Cano was also elected last fall, and she said the name change is more than just a symbol.

If the measure passes on Friday, in reality it won’t have much impact except for changing the name of the holiday on official city communications.

The city of Red Wing is also considering whether to change Columbus Day to “First People’s Day.”

The Red Wing City Council has yet to act on the resolution, though the chair of the human rights commission, Barbara von Haaren, said Monday that the council plans to vote on the issue on April 28.

APHIS Q&A on PEDv Control

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Questions & Answers: Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus Reporting and Control

(As derived from the USDA APHIS website)

Q. What is Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv)?

A. Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea is a virus that causes signifi cant sickness in swine, affecting their growth and health, and causes high mortality in piglets. The disease is common in parts of Asia and Europe, but is not reportable to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). PEDv only affects pigs and does not pose any risk to people or pets.  It is not a food safety concern.

Q. Is PEDv found in the United States?

A. USDA confirmed the presence of PEDv in this country on May 16, 2013. As of April 5, 2014, more than 5,500 cases have been confirmed in 28 states. PEDv has significantly affected swine in the U.S.

Q. What is USDA doing about PEDv?

A. USDA agencies have monitored this disease since it was first confirmed in the U.S., and have taken many actions to address it, including:

  • Since July 2013, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has compiled data on positive cases from labs that are part of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) and created a weekly report. This report is shared with the American Association of Swine Veterinarians and is posted on their website.
  • APHIS has worked closely with the swine industry to identify risk factors in the transmission of the virus and minimize its impact on producers and industry.
  • APHIS is part of a task force, along with the FDA, as well as State and industry partners, that aims to investigate PEDv, identify and trace risk factors in the transmission of the disease, and keep producers informed. This task force has completed a number of items including establishing testing protocols, sequencing the virus, conducting two feed investigations, and more.
  • USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) has directed $540,000 in funding from the FY2014 budget to research related to PEDv.
  • ARS has also been working on a number of experimental vaccines against PEDv. So far, none of them have been approved for use, but ARS continues to work on the creation of an effective vaccine against this disease.

Q: What are USDA’s next steps?

A. Because PEDv is a persistent disease that is continuing to spread across the country, USDA is instituting a monitoring and control program. We are issuing a Federal Order that will require mandatory reporting of all herds diagnosed with PEDv. The herds are required to identify themselves and provide location information. Animal health laboratories receiving diagnostic samples are also required to provide positive tests and location information to USDA.

Q. What will the PEDv monitoring and control program look like?

A. Herds with PEDv will be required to enter the monitoring and control program. The specifi cs of the program will be developed in collaboration with state animal health officials, pork producers and swine veterinarians.

Q. What is USDA’s role in the monitoring and control program?

A. USDA will assist affected producers in the Secure Pork Supply plan by:

  • supporting herd monitoring testing at NAHLN laboratories
  • analyzing test data and movement data
  • reporting results to appropriate state animal health officials and industry representatives.

Q. What is the States’ role in the monitoring and control program?

A. We will collaborate with the States and provide funding so they can assist with verifying the required biosecurity and herd-level control practices are correctly implemented and followed.

Q. What is the industry’s role in the monitoring and control program?

A. USDA needs swine veterinarians to help us develop the monitoring and control procedures. Their field experience and expertise will help us determine:

  • how often to test herds and what samples to collect
  • what biosecurity procedures to require
  • what herd-level control procedures to require
  • how/when a herd can be released from the monitoring program. 

 

April 21 news

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WORTHINGTON - The 10th Street Elevator at the Nobles County Government Center will be taken down for a rebuild on Tuesday. It is expected to be about a four week project. This will affect getting up to Public Health, Veterans Services and Administration offices and down to Extension and everything on the lower level. Staff and visitors will need to use the stairs.

Veterans who are unable to use the stairs may check in at the Recorder’s office and the Veteran’s Service Officer will meet with them in an office on the main floor.

WORTHINGTON - Water main and sanitary sewer work on Nobles Street from Highway 60 to Orchard Road is scheduled to begin Tuesday, according to the City of Worthington Engineering Department. Nobles Street will be closed to through traffic.

Through traffic will be detoured to TH 60, CSAH 35 and CSAH 5. When possible, Nobles Street will be open to restricted local traffic for driveway access. Access will alternate from the TH 60 or CSAH 5 ends of Nobles Street as construction progresses from TH60 towards Orchard Road.

Weather permitting and construction proceeding as planned, Nobles Street pipe and pavement work should be completed and normal traffic restored in early June.

WORTHINGTON — The Community Improvement Committee of the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce and the city of Worthington will host an Arbor Day ceremony at 9:30 a.m. Friday. Each year, the committee works with the city to select a location where a tree will be planted during the program. A tree will be planted this year at the Center for Active Living, 211 11th St. The public is invited and encouraged to attend. A proclamation will be read by Mayor Pro Tem Ron Wood.

ST PAUL - The Minnesota Department of Commerce will hold public information meetings to provide opportunities for public comment regarding a proposed Minnesota to Iowa transmission line. The Department of Commerce recently released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed 345 kilovolt transmission line.

Meetings will take place in Fairmont on Tuesday, April 22 from 1 to 6pm at the Knights of Columbus Hall, in Jackson on Wednesday, April 23 from 1 to 6pm at the National Guard Armory and in Blue Earth on Thursday, April 24th from 1 to 6pm at Hamilton Hall.
Department staff will make a brief presentation at each meeting. Following the presentation, members of the public will have the opportunity to provide comments.

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement is available for viewing at the public libraries in Jackson, Lakefield, Sherburn, and Fairmont.

SHELDON, Iowa — A Rock Valley teen has been arrested on a trespassing charge after Sheldon Police Officers investigated a complaint.

On Wednesday, April 16, 2014, the Sheldon Police Department received information from a resident that they had found a video camera outside of their daughter’s window of their Sheldon home. Later on Wednesday, the resident called to report that the suspect had been caught after he had returned to the home in an attempt to retrieve the camera and was being detained there. Officers arrested 19-year-old Cody Michael Van Otterloo of Rock Valley, Iowa, on a trespassing charge. Van Otterloo was transported to the O’Brien County Jail.

The next day, Thursday, April 17, 2014, a search warrant was executed at Van Otterloo’s home at in Rock Valley, by officers from the Sheldon Police Department and the Rock Valley Police Department. Officers seized a number of items with potential evidentiary value from the home, including his phone, computers, and other electronic storage devices. These items will be analyzed at a future date. An investigation into the incident is ongoing.

ROCK VALLEY, Iowa — If your daily commute involves taking Highway 18 west of Highway 75 or using Highway 18 in Rock Valley, your commute is about to get a little longer.

Rock Valley City Administrator Tom Van Maanen says that Highway 18 in Rock Valley is about to become like Highway 18 in Sheldon — three lanes, with a dedicated turning lane as the center lane. Van Maanen says it is a city project, using DOT grants.
According to Van Maanen, there will be two different detours, and they’re both scheduled to start on Tuesday, April 21st. The project will have three phases and each local traffic detour in Rock Valley will be different.

Van Maanen says the first phase, which is the smallest should be done in 35 days. There is a September 26th completion date, with a bonus every day the work is done earlier than that.

MANKATO - One person is dead and three others were wounded in a shooting outside the Kato Entertainment Center in Mankato early Sunday morning, following an event for a student group from Minnesota State University.

The crowd was just leaving the event when the shooting took place, according to a statement released Sunday evening by Tania Cordes, owner of the Kato Entertainment Center. She said the event was a party for the South Sudanese Group at MSU. About 140 people attended, and no alcohol was served at the event, she said.

The four shooting victims were taken to a hospital, where one of them died. The other three were treated for what appeared to be non-life-threatening injuries.

Police arrested one suspect connected to a handgun that was recovered at the scene, and two others were arrested for obstruction of legal process.

Mankato Police Commander Jeremy Clifton said police were investigating a number of people to determine if there was more than one shooter. He added they do not believe this was a random act and are confident there is no further danger to the public.
The names of the victims have not been released. Clifton said police are trying to contact family members and determine if those family members may be at risk.

Legislative Breakfast turns to listening session

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WORTHINGTON – Minnesota Sen. Bill Weber and Reps. Rod Hamilton and Joe Schomacker sat down Friday morning with constituents during a legislative breakfast to talk about the Legislative Session so far and what is yet to come after the Easter break.
Rather than have each legislator give a speech or report, attendees were encouraged to ask questions and make comments.

One of the subjects discussed was the passing of the minimum wage bill, which will raise the minimum wage to $9.50 by 2016. According to Sen. Weber, the only added provision that would exempt employees from the law was in regard to the nursing home industry.

Weber said people he spoke to from the grocery and restaurant industry were against the wage hike, while others were all for it.

“The general theme was no one should have to work full-time and live in poverty,” Weber said. “The reality of it is $9.50 isn’t going to accomplish that.”

The stage has been set for price increases on the basics of life, Weber said, such as fuel and food, and the people who need their paychecks the most are going to end up with hours cut or jobs lost.

“They’re going to end up with fewer hours and an increased cost of living, and in some instances we’re going to hit them on both ends,” Weber said. “Politicians are going to leave the Capitol saying, ‘Look what we’ve done!’ I really hope we don’t have to go back and look our people in the eyes because they have less income and higher cost and they ask us the question ‘Exactly what have you done to us?’”

Hamilton said what he found disturbing was the way the vote went down. He said the House position was taken up and the Senate got the brand new $90 million office building.

“That was absolutely disgusting,” he said.

The legislators also fielded questions regarding the anti-bullying law and other unfunded school mandates, domestic abuse prevention funding, and the upcoming bonding bill. With the bonding bill comes the question of how much state funding Lewis & Clark will receive, and whether or not the amount will be enough to bring the regional water system to Worthington.

April 18 news

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LAKEFIELD - The Lakefield Fire Department’s annual open house, dance and raffle will take place Saturday, April 26. The open house runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the fire hall. The dance begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Lakefield VFW.

Firefighters will serve up a meal of pork burgers, chips, beans and all the fixings starting at 11 at the fire hall. Rides in a Lakefield fire truck will be provided to children, with all of the department’s firefighting equipment will be on display outside the fire hall as well. General raffle tickets available at the dance, special raffle tickets are available now from any members.

ST. CLOUD – The St. Cloud Police Department is seeking the public’s help locating a Level 3 predatory offender. Dagan Michael Lasart, age 32, recently left the St. Cloud area. He is 5’8”, weighs approximately 155 pounds, and has brown hair and hazel eyes. Lasart was last seen in the Bloomington area and is currently not in compliance with Predatory Offender Registry requirements to provide current location information to law enforcement. Anyone with information on Lasart’s whereabouts is urged to contact St. Cloud PD at 320-251-1200.

WORTHINGTON – On April 10, the last of 30 days allotted for a legal response from Northland Mall owner Mike Kohen, Brad Chapulis, Director of Community and Economic Development received an email stating Kohen’s demolition company would visit the mall within the next 10 days to check out the K-mart section.

In the email, Kohen says roof work on the entire mall is already being done, and ceiling tiles damaged by active leaks will be replaced immediately after the roof is fixed. HVAC and ventilation would be repaired after the roof is fixed.

Chapulis has not yet heard back from the demolition company. He asked Kohen for the contact information to obtain a clearer understanding of what work they would be doing and what the timeline would be, which would give the city a chance to determine of the plan of action was acceptable.

Chapulis is not taking chances – he has a structural assessment team scheduled to come at the end of the month in the event Kohen’s plans don’t come to fruition. According to Chapulis, Kohen gave himself a two week window, but the city plans to take action if the plans are not valid.

That action does not happen overnight. There are court ordered waiting periods and state statutes must be followed. Kohen collects old malls and lets them fall into disrepair until he is forced into action. Chapulis said one such mall in Toledo, Ohio is now being demolished – a process that was started in 2011.

WORTHINGTON - The Nobles County Historical Society (NCHS) has scheduled a series of open forums to discuss how the Society and local residents can best work together to preserve their community's unique heritage. The meetings will be on Monday, April 21, at 7 p.m. at Wilmont City Hall, Tuesday, April 22, at 7 p.m. at Ellsworth Fire Hall, Thursday, April 24, at 7 p.m. at Lismore City Hall and Thursday, May 1, at 7 p.m. at Adrian City Council Chambers.

The NCHS volunteers will also show the attendees what historic objects the Society has been able to collect for each town. Anyone interested in history and preserving their community's heritage for future generations is encouraged to attend. For more information, feel free to contact Collections Committee member, Jerry Fiola, at (507) 376-5610 or (507) 350-9808 or by emailing fiolajerry@gmail.com.

WORTHINGTON — Virtual Instruction by Excellence (VIBE) will be hosting an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Worthington Alternative Learning Center (ALC), 117 11th Ave. The event is an opportunity to learn more about the VIBE K-12 online public school option. For more information, visit the VIBE website at www.isd518.net/vibe, or call ALC Principal Nate Hanson at 372-1605.

HARRIS, Iowa - Meeting in a joint session Thursday, the boards of supervisors of Dickinson and Osceola counties voted unanimously in favor of proceeding with an engineering study into proposed improvements to a drainage ditch that empties into Silver Lake at Lake Park.

The ditch, roughly 5.4 miles long, is in Drainage District one, comprised of portions of eastern Osceola and western Dickinson county, and a small part of southwestern Jackson county in Minnesota. Officials aren't sure yet whether the Minnesota portion would be involved in either the study or any work that would be done.

Officials say large amounts of sediment, phosphorous and other nutrients are threatening the ecology of Silver Lake. The cost of the study, not to exceed $26,000, will be split evenly between Dickinson County and the city of Lake Park. It will be conducted by the Jacobson-Westergard Engineering Firm and is to be completed sometime in August.

Officials say that while some of the cost of any improvements made to the district would be assessed to land owners, they hope to minimize as much as possible by seeking alternative funding, such as grants.

In addition to improvements to the drainage ditch, they may also look at dredging Trapper's Bay.

SHELDON, Iowa — Two Sheldon residents have been arrested and charged with arson, following an 11-month investigation into a fire that destroyed Buddz’s Sports Bar & Grill in Sheldon in May of last year.

Sheldon Police say that 36-year old Kristina Manasil, and 36-year old Adam Sickles, both of Sheldon, were arrested Wednesday on warrants charging them with two counts each of Arson in the First Degree. Both subjects were transported to the O’Brien County Jail, where bond was set at $25,000.

Arson in the First Degree is a Class B felony, punishable by an indeterminate 25 year prison term.

According to the complaint, Manasil was the owner of Buddz’s.

April 17 news

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WORTHINGTON – Charges were filed earlier this week against a woman accused of selling drugs to confidential informants on two occasions last year. Desirae Ann Hotovec, age 26, is charged with three counts of third-degree controlled substance sale in Nobles County District Court.

According to the criminal complaint, Hotovec allegedly sold Oxycodone and a small amount of methamphetamine to a CI, making the exchange at a residence in Worthington on February of 2013. In July of 2013, she allegedly met another CI at Bibles For Missions and completed the sale of 2 grams of meth.

Hotovec has been charged in two prior drug-related cases. She is scheduled to make her first appearance in court May 6.

WORTHINGTON – Kelli Jo Torres, 31, of Worthington, is facing a first-degree controlled substance charge after charges were filed last week in Nobles County District Court.

According to the criminal complaint, Torres allegedly completed drug sales to confidential informants on three separate occasions in 2013. On March 20 and 21, Torres met with a CI at Video Lupita, allegedly selling more than 11 grams in two days. Less than a week later, she was scheduled to meet a CI at her residence in Rushmore, but changed the setting at the last moment to meet behind the laundromat in Worthington with another 2 grams.

When she met with agents from the Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force in early February of this year, she said she is not a drug dealer, but admitted selling for others several times and buying drugs for herself many times.

Bond was set for $25,000. Torres has previous arrests for assault, child endangerment and wrongfully obtaining assistance. She is scheduled to make an appearance in court next week.

WORTHINGTON – A Legislative Breakfast listening session will take place at 7 a.m. Friday at the Hickory Lodge, with Sen. Bill Weber and Reps. Joe Schomacker and Rod Hamilton in attendance.

The breakfast session normally takes place on a Saturday, but according to Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Darlene Macklin, scheduling became an issue. They decided to move the breakfast to a weekday for convenience.

Questions for the legislators can be submitted to the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce via email at wcofc@frontiernet.net. Reservations can be made the same way, or by calling the chamber office at 372-2919. Reservations must be made by Thursday afternoon – cost of the event is $7.50.

JACKSON — Minnesota’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives, including Federated Rural Electric in Jackson, have joined together to help spruce up our State Parks.

A spring clean up day is set for Saturday, May 3, when electric cooperative employees, customers and the general public will set aside a work day in various parks throughout the state. Volunteers will clean picnic shelters, fix existing structures, brush trails and pick up litter.

Locally, Federated Rural Electric employees, customers and the general public are invited to Kilen Woods State Park, northeast of Lakefield from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. A free lunch will be served by Federated.

Volunteers need to RSVP by noon May 2. Call Federated at 847-3520, or info@federatedrea.coop. This ensures that lunch is ordered for all volunteers. GreenTouch volunteers receive free access to the park on this day.

DOVRAY – A one-vehicle crash caused non-life threatening injuries Wednesday evening near Dovray. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, Gretchen Scharmer, 56, of Storden, was eastbound on Minnesota 30 at 6:18 p.m. when she lost control of her 2001 Saturn and rolled. She was taken to Westbrook hospital for treatment. Damage to her vehicle was severe.

BINGHAM LAKE – Two vehicles collided on Minnesota 60 Wednesday evening near Bingham Lake, causing non-life threatening injuries to both drivers. At approximately 5:53 p.m., Melinda Dewall, age 40, of Bingham Lake, made a left turn onto Minnesota 60 in a 1999 Dodge Ram and collided with a Toyota Camry, driven by Mustfa Hayato, 45 of Champlin, who was eastbound on the highway. Both were transported by ambulance to the Windom Hospital. Damage to both vehicles was severe.

SIBLEY, Iowa - Jose Luis Garcia Corona, 30, of Worthington, was found guilty of Domestic Abuse Assault, a simple misdemeanor, in Osceola County District Court. Because he had no prior criminal history, pronouncement of a sentence was deferred on the condition Corona complete an approved Domestic Abuse Program at his expense, and stay on formal probation for one year. He must pay all court costs, attorney fees and the Sheriff's room and board fees.

ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa – The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday arrested 55-year-old Kevin Dean Miller of Brandon, SD for first-degree felony theft of a Caterpillar Telescopic Handler, bucket and pallet forks.

The machine and its attachments were stolen from Security Savings Bank in Larchwood, IA on October 18, 2013. Miller had the stolen items in his possession at the time of his arrest. Value of reported stolen items was approximately $35,000.

SIOUX FALLS, SD - Police say a woman was murdered Wednesday afternoon at a home in western Sioux Falls. The 53-year-old victim was found at 5605 W. Misty Glen Place around 3:30 p.m.. Police were initially called to the home for a woman who sustained fatal injuries, Officer Sam Clemens said.

Witnesses saw a man leave the home and were able to get the license plate number and a description of the car. Just before 4 p.m., the car and suspect were found at a home in the 2800 block of South Theodore Avenue.

Clemens say the suspect is in custody, and charges are expected.

The victim and suspect do know each other, Clemens said. Through the initial investigation, it appears as though this is a drug related incident. The victim's name will not be released pending notification of family.

MADISON - A 19-year-old western Minnesota man has admitted that he and his father hosted an underage drinking party attended by a high school athlete who was later found dead of hypothermia.

Erik Hastad of rural Madison, pleaded guilty Tuesday in La qui Parle County Court to violating the county’s social host ordinance, a misdemeanor, and contributing to the delinquency of a child, a gross misdemeanor.

Hastad and his father, Gary, 59, were both charged with hosting the drinking party on a farm on March 8. When law enforcement authorities showed up at the party, many of the attendees fled, including Michael Anyasike, 18, of Dawson, who was found dead the next day. The county medical examiner determined that Anyasike died from hypothermia, with alcohol consumption as a contributing factor.

Gary Hastad was in court for a hearing Wednesday, but has not yet entered a plea, according to his attorney.

Andrea Ruesch 4-H Scholarship Award Winners

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The 2014 Andrea Ruesch Regional 4-H Scholarship recipients have been selected! Congratulations to the following ten recipients, who each received $1,000 in scholarship monies:

  • Andrea Fuerstenberg, Nobles County 4-H
  • Paige Gravenhof, Nobles County 4-H
  • Aaron Fest, Jackson County 4-H
  • Kristin Liepold, Jackson County 4-H
  • Paige Anderson, Jackson County 4-H
  • Tanner Post, Jackson County 4-H
  • Andrew Pederson, Cottonwood County 4-H
  • Rachel Stark, Cottonwood County 4-H
  • Mitchell McCosh, Chippewa County 4-H
  • Racquel Winters, Chippewa County 4-H

The Andrea Ruesch Scholarship was established in 2010 by the Family of Andrea Ruesch, in memory of her dedication and contributions to the Minnesota 4-H program. Based on the family’s belief in positive youth development, the focus of the scholarship is on demonstrated learning through hands-on experience and using what you have learned to help others through youth leadership.

April 16 news

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WORTHINGTON – With dry conditions and wind, fire departments in the area were kept busy Tuesday in southwest Minnesota. The Worthington Fire Department responded to two fires on opposite ends of a city block.

The first call came in at 10:32 a.m. to 617 Omaha Avenue. Neighbors noticed a shed on the property was on fire, which Worthington Fire Chief Rick von Holdt suspects was started by a heat lamp.

A second fire was reported at 6 p.m. at 1609 Okabena Avenue, and involved a garage and house. American Red Cross volunteers responded to the fire, which left a family of four temporarily displaced from their home. The Red Cross was on hand to make sure that the family’s immediate emergency needs were met.

The Worthington Fire Department responded to a third fire on Plotts Avenue in rural Worthington at 7:24 p.m. That fire was called in as a shed and trailer on fire.

WORTHINGTON – During a District 518 School Board meeting Tuesday, the resignation of head hockey coach Nate Grimmius was confirmed, but Superintendent John Landgaard stated hockey is not being cut. According to Landgaard, there are enough varsity players to continue with the program, with a possible 15 to 18 players on the squad.

A cooperative agreement with the Adrian School District for girls gymnastics was approved on a 5-2 vote, with board members Brad Shaffer and Scott Rosenberg voting against the addition of the Adrian girls. Rosenberg reiterated his statements of last month that Worthington girls could be replaced with Adrian girls on the competitive team, which he did not think was appropriate.

During the meeting, approval was also given for more than 1,000 new Dell tablets for students in grades 9 through 12.

WORTHINGTON — Directors of the E.O. Olson Trust unanimously approved a $25,000 contribution to Nobles County Pheasants Forever Tuesday, to go toward the chapter’s latest land acquisition in Bigelow Township in which 147 acres of marginal land will be seeded to prairie grasses and flowers to boost wildlife habitat and protect Worthington’s wellhead. The trust is the latest in a number of partners to contribute to the overall $850,000 cost of the property.

JACKSON - The Des Moines Valley Chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association presented the Mountain Lake High School trap team with 13 shooting vests. The vests have the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association logo on the front pocket and Des Moines Valley MDHA on the back. The value of the vests is around $1,000.

Mountain Lake High school has about 40 youth, including 17 girls, taking part in trap shooting this year. Trap shooting has become a high school sport within the last couple of years.

PIPESTONE – Pipestone Area FFA member Andrew Berg has been named as a finalist for the Minnesota FFA Star Farmer, having been selected as the Region 6 winner recently. Announcement of the state’s Star Farmer will be made April 28 during the 84th state FFA Convention in the Twin Cities. Berg is the son of Phil and Laurel Berg.

ORLEANS, Iowa - Crews with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources are enduring the cold weather as gillnetting operations are underway on the Iowa Great Lakes. Walleye and musky operations got underway Monday; the northern pike operations have already concluded and officials say that spawn was extremely successful.

The State Fish Hatchery in Orleans is currently open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. seven days a week during the operations. Female walleye are stripped around 8 a.m.; fish are sorted around 6 p.m., and male walleye are stripped around 7 p.m. Once spawned, adult fish are released back into the lake from which they were removed. Groups wanting a guided tour should make arrangements ahead of time by calling the Fish Hatchery at 712-336-1840.

INWOOD, Iowa — An Inwood gas station is getting a grant to build a new renewable fuel fueling site.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has announced the Oak Street Station in Inwood has been selected as one of the recipients of funds through the “Fueling Our Future” pilot program. Each project will receive $125,000 in cost share funding to support the increased usage of higher blends of both ethanol and biodiesel.

The governor says when they announced the “Fueling Our Future” initiative in October 2013, they set a goal of expanding access to higher blends of ethanol.

The Oak Street Station will build a new site in Inwood that will offer renewable fuels in five dispensers. E10, E15, E30 and E85 will be available for ethanol customers. Diesel customers will have access to B5 year-round. That’s five percent biodiesel. B99.9 — which is almost pure biodiesel — will be offered to independent jobbers and for special use customers, such as tractor pullers and other blenders, during the summer months.

The project is also eligible for funds through the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure program. The total cost of the project is $488,944.

VERMILLION, SD - Two teenage girls from Vermillion, S.D., who’ve been missing for nearly 43 years died in a car accident, state and local authorities announced Tuesday. The girls, Pamella Jackson, and Cheryl Miller, both 17, died when their car drove off a gravel road into a flooded creek. The announcement brings to a close the uncertainty that has surrounded the girls’ disappearance, including speculation that they were victims of foul play.

The car they were riding in was hidden until last fall, when low water in the creek brought it into view. A fisherman called authorities in September 2013 after noticing one of the car’s wheels sticking out of the creek.

The car, a 1960 Studebaker, was found on the south side of a bridge just a short distance away from the site of the party.

MINNESOTA - If you’re in the market for a new puppy, the Better Business Bureau is warning you to be careful about shopping for one online.

The BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota says scammers are setting up fake websites, claiming they’re dog breeders with puppies to sell.

The group said it has heard from consumers who tried to buy a puppy from one of the fraudulent websites, thinking they were dealing with a legitimate business, but ended up losing hundreds of dollars instead.

Clues to watch for include having only an email address for communication with the company, poor grammar or misspellings, and methods of payment that are restricted to a wire or a pre-paid credit card.