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Clark headed for Austin

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

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

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

Council members who supported the agreement say Clark is the right man for the job and the terms of the contract were fair. Dissidents said they weren't pleased Clark would get 20 days of vacation a year, up to 40 days of sick time, and a bump in pay after a satisfactory six-month job evaluation. Some believed Clark's contract wasn't fair to the city and Council member Jeff Austin openly wondered about Clark's commitment to the city if he had spent so much time dickering over smaller details.

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

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

Clark is currently under contract for $109,079 per year with the city of Worthington.

The Austin council normally preliminarily approves an issue at a work session and formally approves it at the following public meeting two weeks later, but the council put on a small session before Monday's public meeting to approve the terms.

(Some information provided by Trey Mewes of the Austin Daily Herald)

6:30 p.m.
AUSTIN – Worthington could be about to lose their city administrator.

During a work session Monday night, the Austin City Council voted 4-3 to approve a preliminary contract that would pay Craig Clark a starting salary of $124,000 a year as Austin City Administrator, according to the Austin Daily Herald.

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

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

If the City Council voted to finalize the contract at tonight’s public meeting, Clark would start on Dec. 8.

October 20 news

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WORTHINGTON - Minnesota West Community & Technical College will be hosting an Artist Reception for Annie O’Fallon from 2 to 5 p.m. Friday, October 24th in the lobby of the Center for Performing and Fine Arts. Refreshments will be served. For more information please contact Leah Gossom by email at leah.gossom@mnwest.edu or by phone at 507-372-3492.

WORTHINGTON - Minnesota West Community & Technical College Department of Theater presents Dracula October 31st at 7:30 p.m., November 1st at 7:30 p.m., and November 2nd at 2 p.m. This adaptation is by Minnesota playwright Steven Dietz and restores the suspense and seduction of Bram Stoker's classic novel to the stage. All performances will take place in the Fine Arts Theater on the Worthington Campus of Minnesota West. Tickets are available at the door a half hour before curtain. $6 Adults and $4 Students.

WORTHINGTON — Sterling is inviting its local communities to help stock the shelves of local organizations in preparation for this year’s holiday season. Individuals dropping off a bag of non-perishable food items at their local Sterling location from Wednesday through Saturday will receive an exclusive Sterling coupon — 40 percent off on up to four gift or toy items — as a thank you for supporting the Fall Harvest Food Drive.

In addition to collecting non-perishable food items, Sterling will donate $2 to local food shelves for each bag of donated canned goods — up to $500 per Sterling location.
Sterling will collect and deliver all donations to local food shelves after the Fall Harvest Food Drive ends.

ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa - The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office has released a report about a gunshot victim in Little Rock, who received her injuries on Tuesday, October 14th.

The report states that about 11:45 p.m. that night, deputies and the Little Rock Ambulance were called to 308 Clothier Street in Little Rock for an 18-year-old female gunshot victim.

She was taken to Osceola Community Hospital in Sibley and then by air ambulance to Avera Hospital in Sioux Falls. The victim had suffered a gunshot wound to her arm and stomach.

At last report, she was listed in stable condition. The incident is still under investigation. The circumstances surrounding the shooting have not been released.

OKOBOJI, Iowa - The native gardens outside the nature center's Butterfly House in Okoboji is expanding.

The Dickinson County Conservation Board received a $6,200 grant from the Dickinson County Endowment Fund to expand the gardens within Kenue Park in Okoboji. The grant funding will be used toward three specific additions in and around the existing gardens.
According to naturalist Karess Knudtson, the goal of the project is to create a 'pollinator's paradise' that will be used by pollinators and enjoyed by visitors, by planting native prairie plants, constructing a shade structure and adding self-interpretive identification signs to the garden.

Besides increasing habitat and forage for native bees and our resident honey bees, a very important part of the native garden area is to educate residents and visitors of all ages, Knudtson said.

The garden will show people what native plants look like and how they can easily be planted in your own backyard.

The Dickinson County Nature Center is located at 2279 170th St. in Okoboji and is open 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Monday-Friday. People can use the outdoor areas and Kenue Park until 10 p.m. daily. For more information, contact the nature center at 712-336-6352 or e-mail naturecenter@co.dickinson.ia.us.

MERRILL, Iowa — A Le Mars, Iowa man has died after a combine accident near Merrill on Friday.

According to the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office, 55-year-old Eugene Robert Sitzmann was eastbound on a combine on 220th Street on a gravel road, just east of Impala Avenue near Merrill on Friday at approximately 7:50 p.m. The combine was pulling a bean head on a trailer.

Due to a mechanical failure, the trailer broke loose and struck the left rear of the combine. The impact forced the combine into the south ditch, and it is believed Sitzmann was thrown from the cab of the combine. Witnesses following behind the combine immediately called 911.

Sitzmann was taken to Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City where he died of injuries suffered in the accident. The investigation continues.

The Merrill Fire Department and Ambulance crew, Le Mars Fire Department, Merrill Police Department and the Iowa State Patrol assisted on the scene.

MANKATO - A man has been arrested after Mankato authorities say he falsely reported that he had received a bomb threat regarding the city's marathon.

City spokeswoman Shelly Schulz says a 911 caller told the Nicollet County Sheriff's office he had received an anonymous call saying four bombs had been placed on the Sunday race route.

Schulz says authorities identified the caller and worked with his phone provider to determine that he never received any such threat.

The man was arrested Saturday on probable cause of terroristic threats, a felony.
The Associated Press is not naming the man because he has not been formally charged.

Congressman Walz speaks at Freedom Veterans Memorial Park flag dedication

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WORTHINGTON – First District DFL Rep. Tim Walz was in Worthington Friday morning for the dedication of a flag that once flew over the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. and is now snapping in the breeze at Freedom Veterans Memorial Park.

Walz, who rose to the rank of command sergeant major during his 24-year career with the Army National Guard, is the highest ranking enlisted soldier ever to serve in the U.S. Congress.

With his daughter Hope standing nearby, he lauded the efforts of those who worked to build the memorial park and those present who had braved the cold winds to see the flag dedicated in the names of three World War II veterans from Nobles County who had given of themselves to ensure the freedoms of others. The flag, purchased through Walz’s office by the Nobles County DFL, was presented to the park in memory of Alan Swanson, Norman Larson and Lester Jensen.

Of all the rights and privileges we have, Walz said, the idea of self-governing is important. The three gentlemen being honored helped give everyone present that freedom, he said.

Walz also pointed out that 50 percent of our warriors come from rural areas.

He thanked the veterans present, which included the VFW Color Guard, for giving us the right to live, and thanked the Freedom Veterans Memorial Park committee for creating a place that allows us to remember the sacrifices that were made.

Simon Koster and Tom Tracy unfolded and hoisted the new flag into place while Eric Parrish sang the National Anthem, followed by Terry Morrison playing Taps.

October 17 news

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MOUNTAIN LAKE – The Minnesota State Patrol reports a one-vehicle rollover on Highway 30 in Cottonwood County near mile marker 76 at 11 p.m. Thursday. A 17-year-old female lost control of a 2005 Chevy Classic traveling westbound and rolled. She suffered non-life threatening injuries and the vehicle was totaled. Mountain Lake Ambulance assisted at the scene.

BREWSTER – Three vehicles collided at the intersection of Minnesota 60 and Nobles County 1 in Brewster at 11:52 a.m. on Thursday, causing four people to suffer non-life threatening injuries. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, Amedia Colan, age 82, of Dundee, was southbound on County Road in a Dodge Dakota when she entered the intersection, colliding with the Honda CRV of Gail Klassen, age 65, of Windom and a Ford Focus, occupied by Todd Dibble age 57, of Westbrook and Jacob Weiler, age 89, of Mountain Lake. Klassen was taken to Sanford in Sioux Falls, the rest were taken to Sanford Worthington.

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa - The Spirit Lake city council will appoint someone to fill a vacancy created when Clyde Ihrke resigned to go to work for the city.

The council Tuesday adopted a resolution stating they intend to appoint someone to fill the position at their meeting October 28th. That person would have to stand for election to a full term in November of 2015.

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa - A meeting to update the public on the status of Iowa's Water and Land Legacy and efforts to fund a state trust fund devoted to natural resources and outdoor recreation, which Iowa voters approved in 2010, will be held next week in the Iowa Great Lakes. Among those scheduled to be on hand at the meeting is Mike Shannon of Ducks Unlimited.

The October 22nd meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. at the Dickinson County Expo Building in Spirit Lake.

SHELDON, Iowa – A two month-long investigation into several business burglaries in Sheldon has resulted in the arrest of a Sheldon man.

Sheldon Police say that on Wednesday, October 15th, at approximately 9:30 p.m., officers from their department executed a search warrant at 602 6th Avenue at an upstairs apartment in that home, where officers reportedly seized numerous items of potential evidence, including marijuana, drug paraphernalia, clothing related items, and burglary tools. Officers say they arrested the tenant at that apartment, 27-year old Travis Dean Staab, on multiple charges.

Police say Staab was charged with one count of Burglary in the 3rd Degree for his alleged involvement in the Digital Plus burglary on September 2nd, one count of Burglary in the 3rd Degree for his alleged involvement in the Verizon Wireless burglary on September 14th, and another count of burglary in the 3rd Degree for his alleged involvement in the Shopko burglary on October 7th. Additionally, Staab was charged with possession of burglar’s tools, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Staab was transported to the O’Brien County Jail where he is being held on these charges.

Additionally, police say, Staab is being held on a warrant for parole violation.

Police say the investigation into these and other burglaries is ongoing, and additional charges are likely to be filed as this investigation develops.

Assisting the Sheldon Police Department were Deputies from the O’Brien County Sheriff’s Department and Officers from the Iowa Department of Corrections Probation and Parole Department.

ORANGE CITY, Iowa — Rochelle Sapp, the in-home daycare provider who was charged with causing the death of an Orange City toddler last year has been sentenced to 100 years in prison following a plea agreement in Orange City.

The 34-year old Sapp pleaded guilty to one count of Involuntary Manslaughter, a Class D felony and one count of Child Endangerment Resulting In Death, a Class B felony. Sapp also entered an Alford Plea to multiple additional acts of Child Endangerment. An Alford Plea is a guilty plea, whereby the defendant doesn’t admit the criminal act, but acknowledges that the prosecution has sufficient evidence to obtain a conviction.

Following the announcement of the plea agreement, District Court Judge Edward Jacobsen sentenced Sapp to a 5-year prison term for Involuntary Manslaughter and a 50-year term for Child Endangerment Resulting In Death. Those sentences are to be served concurrently. Jacobsen sentenced Sapp to an additional 50 years on the multiple acts of Child Endangerment, for a total prison term of up to 100 years. Sapp will be eligible for parole under the terms of the plea agreement.

Sapp must also pay $150,000 of restitution to the Elgersmas, over $7500 restitution to the Sioux County Clerk to go to the crime victim’s assistance division, court costs, room and board, and other expenses. She also waived the right to an appeal under the current agreement. If she does appeal it will make the plea agreement null and void.
The charges against Sapp stemmed from an incident in October of last year, in which 3-year old Autumn Elgersma of Orange City suffered fatal injuries while in Sapp’s care.

LE MARS, Iowa — Plymouth County Authorities are looking for a vehicle involved in a hit-and-run accident on Wednesday.

They say the driver of some sort of red vehicle fled the scene after smashing into the back of a small tractor early Wednesday morning near Le Mars.

They are looking for a red vehicle with what they believe may be substantial damage to the right front.

The 1940’s era Farmall tractor was going northbound on a county road when it was struck from behind and split in half. Seventy-six-year-old Mark Schroeder of rural Le Mars was driving the tractor. He was found lying on the road, next to the tractor, and was treated at the scene for a head injury. Schroeder was taken to a local hospital, but authorities say his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

Anyone with information about the accident is urged to call the Plymouth County Sheriff.

Optimistic Propane Forecast

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The propane industry reported a positive winter outlook as officials met to brief governors at the Midwestern Governor’s Association Propane Meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Wednesday.

Last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration released its Short-Term Energy and Winter Fuels Outlook. The report projected warmer winter temperatures and a 34 percent reduction in heating bills for propane-heated homes in the Midwest this season compared with last winter. The report also showed propane stocks in the Gulf Coast and Midwest were 10 million barrels, or 17 percent higher, than last year for the same period, and overall propane production is up 12 percent from the previous year.

“These are positive signs,” said Roy Willis, president and CEO of the Propane Education & Research Council, “but our industry is working hard to ensure our customers are prepared. Propane retailers across the country remain focused on safety and encouraging customers to consider early fills, automatic refills, and payment programs now before cold weather hits.”

PERC launched a $5.5 million consumer safety and preparedness campaign in early September directing residential heating customers and agribusiness operators, among others, to propanecomfort.com. On the site, propane customers can take a quiz to determine if they are prepared for winter and review energy efficiency tips. Visitors can also sign up for news updates from PERC.

“Preliminary numbers for the campaign show that nearly 20,000 customers have already taken advantage of our online resources and we expect to see continued engagement as we get closer to winter,” said Willis.

Television ads will continue to air through Thanksgiving in 30 states most affected by deliverability challenges and temporary price increases last winter. Willis says the PERC is also continuing to drive investments in new technology that will even out seasonal demands during winter months.

“We’re remaining focused on monitoring the seasonal demand for propane and implementing strategies to even out yearly demand. That includes commercializing new technologies that run on clean, American-made propane.”

October 16 news

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WORTHINGTON – Sanford Health has purchased the downtown Worthington property located at 508 10th street where the former Avera Clinic located for the purpose of eventually expanding the emergency room after demolishing the building.

According to documents filed with Nobles County, the Sanford Health Network purchased property in August, which was recorded with the county October 1. The non-verified Certified Real Estate Value document lists the purchase amount at $1,150,000.

According to a news release issued Wednesday, the current clinic building is not suitable for health care purposes. Plans call for the building to be demolished to clear the way for potential outreach space and a future emergency room expansion.

CEO of Sanford Worthington Medical Center Mike Hammer said the purchase is another example of how Sanford is investing and partnering in Worthington to do what is best for the community. He also said purchasing the building was not in the plans, but Sanford saw it as an opportunity to expand the campus and benefit the Worthington community.

WORTHINGTON – MNSure Navigators will be available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Goodwill to help with applications and answer questions related to eligibility for insurance through MNSure.

WORTHINGTON – Congressman Tim Walz will be in Worthington Friday for a flag dedication at Freedom Veterans Memorial Park that will honor three World War II veterans and the work of one tireless community woman on behalf of veterans and the community of Worthington.

A large flag that once flew over the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. will be presented to the memorial park in memory of Alan Swenson, Norman Larson and Lester and Edith Jenson. The flag was purchased through Walz’s office by the Nobles County DFL. The flag will be formally presented to the park association by DFL officers and veterans at 10:30 a.m. Friday. There will be a short dedication ceremony with a VFW color guard and Walz will give a short address.

PIPESTONE - The groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday afternoon at Pipestone County Medical Center attracted elected officials from around the state including State Sen. Bill Weber and U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson.

The estimated $31 million project is now underway with an expected completion date of November 2016.

SHELDON, Iowa — Two men are in the O’Brien County Jail after allegedly attempting to steal change from the Splish Splash Auto Bath car wash in Sheldon Monday night.

Sheldon Police say that about 9:45 Monday evening, 27-year old Timothy Mark Gough of Sioux City and 37-year old Jason Samuel Bates of Lexington, North Carolina were reportedly observed attempting to steal change from the automatic car wash bay. Police say the pair was arrested before they were able to access any money from the machine.

According to police, Gough was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance (Vicodin), Possession of a Controlled Substance (marijuana), Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Open Container, Failure To Have A Valid Driver’s License, and Possession of Burglary Tools. Bates was charged with Possession of Burglary Tools. Both men were transported to the O’Brien County Jail in Primghar.

Assisting the Sheldon Police Department with the arrests were Deputies from the O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office.

SPENCER, Iowa - Spencer residents are celebrating the designation of Grand Avenue to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Grand Avenue Improvement Corporation Monday unveiled one of three plaques that will mark North Grand Avenue as a Residential Historic District, which encompasses Grand Avenue. Mary Jean Montgomery says the avenue's new status was a long-term goal of the corporation that began six years ago.

She says the neighborhood is an "eclectic" group of houses that range in style, from Victorian to modern. She says driving down Grand Avenue is like going through an architectural history book.

SIOUX FALLS, SD - A major Sioux Falls drug bust has landed six men in jail and taken nearly two pounds of meth off the street. The Sioux Falls Area Drug Task Force say it's the result of a year-long investigation.

Undercover agents descended on a home near 21st Street and Summit Avenue Tuesday afternoon following their investigation into a major drug ring that authorities believe was being run out of the home at 1209 S. Summit. It's where 30-year-old Malek Malek lives - a man described as the 'main person' behind the operation.

When the agents showed up at the home Tuesday, Malek Malek was nowhere to be found. Investigators did arrest four men who they believe are connected to the drug ring. Detectives also found more than five grams of meth and got enough information at the home to lead them to the Super 8 hotel on 10th Street.

When authorities arrived at the Super 8 they found Malek and another man, along with 72 grams of meth. Once authorities took Malek into custody they also got the key that unlocked the rest of the case – a key card for a room at the Days Inn.

That key unlocked a room in the Days Inn near 41st Street, where they found more than 700 grams of methamphetamine and two handguns.

In total, 1.7 pounds of meth was taken off the street, putting an end to hundreds of potential drug deals.

Malek is being held on a $50,000 cash only bond. Investigators believe the meth was being shipped into South Dakota from out of state.

Sanford Health buys former Avera Clinic in downtown Worthington

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WORTHINGTON – According to documents filed with Nobles County, Sanford Health Network purchased the downtown Worthington property located at 508 10th Street where the former Avera Clinic was located for approximately $1.1 million. The purchase was made in August, and recorded with the county October 1.

The non-verified Certified Real Estate Value document lists the purchase amount at $1,150,000.

Sanford Worthington Medical Center plans to eventually expand the former Avera Clinic area into an emergency room by demolishing the building. According to a press release from Sanford Health, the clinic building is not suitable for health care purposes. Plans call for the building to be demolished to clear the way for potential outreach space and a future emergency room expansion.

“This purchase is another example of how Sanford is investing and partnering in Worthington to do what is best for the community,” said Mike Hammer, CEO of Sanford Worthington Medical Center. “Purchasing this building was not in the plans, but we see this as an opportunity that will allow us to expand our campus and services for Worthington.”

Hammer said in the release that several other organizations and groups had looked into purchasing the property, but none of the ideas seemed to fit.

“I see this as an opportunity for Sanford to step up to create a space to benefit everyone in the Worthington community,” said Hammer.

Minnesota Business Selected as Semi-Finalist in Entrepreneurship Challenge

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WASHINGTON, DC -- The American Farm Bureau Federation together with Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business Global Social Enterprise Initiative and the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative’s StartupHoyas announced the 10 national semi-finalists of the first-ever Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge. The challenge provides an opportunity for individuals to showcase ideas and business innovations being developed in rural regions of the United States.

AFBF President Bob Stallman made the announcement at the National Summit on Rural Entrepreneurship at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. The semi-finalist businesses, chosen from more than 200 applicants, will advance to the next phase of the challenge. They include:

• ATP-SC (Allendale, South Carolina), a process to convert plant and woody biomass into bio-products. Team lead: Joe James;
• Branches, Inc. (Neosho, Missouri), an online, STEM-based learning platform that teaches design and fabrication. Team lead: David Parsons;
• Fergus Foods (Fergus Falls, Minnesota), a rural food entrepreneur incubator and rental facility. Team lead: Robert Fuglie;
• Senior Move Management (Palmyra, Missouri), customized moving and relocation services for older Americans. Team lead: Suzanne Ellerbrock;
• Mobile Rural Veterinary Clinic (Panhandle, Texas), a mobile veterinary satellite clinic serving rural communities. Team lead: Joe Hillhouse;
• Pasturebird, LLC (Temecula, California), a cost-effective method of producing pastured poultry on a large scale. Team lead: Paul Greive;
• Pulaski Grow (Pulaski, Virginia), an aquaponics facility to provide local youth with job training. Team lead: Lee Spiegel;
• ScoutPro (Lone Tree, Iowa), software to assist farmers with crop maintenance. Team lead: Michael Koenig;
• Shelf Life (Arlington, Tennessee), a hydroponic growing system for small producers. Team lead: Glenn Cunningham; and
• StopFlood Appliance Systems (Inkom, Idaho), a product to prevent floods caused by washing machine hose failures. Team lead: Brent Singley.

The Rural Entrepreneurship Initiative is a joint program of the American Farm Bureau Federation and Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business Global Social Enterprise Initiative and the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative’s StartupHoyas. The Rural Entrepreneurship Initiative is directly tied to AFBF’s mission of building strong and prosperous agricultural communities.

October 15 news

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WORTHINGTON – Jeffrey John Tosch, age 34, of Bigelow, is charged with fifth-degree controlled substance possession, along with possession of a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, driving after revocation and driving an uninsured vehicle.

According to the complaint, the Nobles County Sheriff’s Office responded at about 4:30 p.m. Sunday to a report of a one vehicle rollover on 310th Street. The caller stated two people were moving things from the crashed car into another, including a rifle. At the scene, deputies found Tosch and a female. Tosch said he was being driven home when he saw his car in the ditch. He denied he had driven it, stating someone must have taken it from his residence, which was located a ¼ mile away from the crash site.

Authorities spoke with the female at the scene, who allegedly admitted she did not witness the crash, but she knew Tosch had driven the car after an argument. When deputies confronted Tosch directly, he admitted he had lied about driving, but said there was never a gun in the vehicle.

Deputies asked for and received permission to search Tosch’s residence for the gun a witness had described. During the search, they located drug paraphernalia, marijuana and a glass pipe with methamphetamine residue.

Tosch will make an appearance in Nobles County District Court later this month. His criminal background includes convictions of burglary, theft, drugs and domestic assault.

WORTHINGTON – The Worthington Police Department is asking for the public’s help in solving a burglary that was reported at 4:25 p.m. Monday at the Trojan Field concession stand. The suspects damaged coolers and the popcorn machine and destroyed food and drink items after gaining access through a window. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Worthington Police Department at 507-295-5400 or download the Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force app for confidential tips. Information can remain anonymous.

CURRIE - The Friends of Lake Shetek State Park and Currie Town & Country Boosters invite the public to their 9th Annual Pumpkin Festival from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Lake Shetek State Park at the Zuya Center.

This a free event for families to enjoy the beautiful fall season and outdoors. There will be pumpkins for kids to pick from and decorate, face painting, hayrides around the park, roasting s’mores over an open fire, a large leaf pile to play in and a hunt for bouncy balls in the leaf pile. Cookies, cider, and juice will be served as well.

The State Park requires permits for any vehicle entering the park. Daily permits are $5 or visitors can purchase a $25 annual park pass.

SIBLEY, Iowa — A Sibley man is charge with felony criminal mischief after allegedly driving into a vehicle Monday, causing $10,000 worth of damages.

Ricky Robert Jeppesen, age 26, allegedly drove his 1997 Lincoln intentionally into a parked and unattended 2014 Ford pickup belonging to the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office twice, causing the Ford to strike another parked and unattended 2007 Ford belonging to an on-duty dispatcher.

The incident occurred in front of the sheriff’s office in the parking area, and Jeppesen was immediately taken into custody by an Osceola County deputy.

All three vehicles involved received extensive damage, and Jeppesen is being held in the Osceola County Jail on a $10,000 bond.

The Iowa State Patrol is also assisting with the investigation.

GEORGE, Iowa - A RISE Grant of nearly $189,000 was awarded to Lyon county during Tuesday's meeting of the Iowa Department of Transportation Commission in Sioux Center.

The grant will be used by the county to resurface a couple of roads near the Diversified Technologies manufacturing facility northeast of George. Officials say the project will improve access to more than 17 acres. It's scheduled for completion by December of 2015.

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa - The Spirit Lake School Board has a new member. The board Monday evening approved the appointment of Sonja Hamm to fill a vacancy created by last month's resignation of Julie Currell, who is moving out of the community.

The term to which Hamm was appointed expires in 2015. Hamm could then seek a full term, if desired.

Hamm is Vice President of Human and Foundation Resources at Lakes Regional Healthcare.

MINNESOTA - Gas prices in Minnesota and around the country keep dropping as world oil prices have dipped to the lowest levels in years – and prices are expected to continue their decline in the coming weeks.

That’s good news for anyone planning a mid-October getaway over Education Minnesota Days (which used to be known as MEA weekend), beginning Thursday.

Minnesota is one of 10 states where regular unleaded gasoline is selling at or under $3 a gallon, and it was the state with the largest decline in gas prices in the past week, dropping 17 cents per gallon, with the city of Mankato down a whopping 27 cents per gallon.

The average price of gas in Minnesota Tuesday was 2.977, with the cheapest available in the Hermantown and Duluth area at $2.77. The average price for a gallon of gas nationally Tuesday was $3.18, marking the 19th straight day the price for regular unleaded gasoline has fallen, according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report.

Concession stand burglarized at Trojan Field

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WORTHINGTON – The Worthington Police Department is asking for the public’s help in solving a burglary that was reported at 4:25 p.m. Monday at the Trojan Field concession stand.

The suspects damaged coolers and the popcorn machine and destroyed food and drink items after gaining access through a window.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Worthington Police Department at 507-295-5400 or download the Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force app for confidential tips. Information can remain anonymous.