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August 1 news

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SLAYTON – Residents of Slayton are asked to boil water before using it Tuesday, Aug. 5 through Monday, Aug. 11, due to low water pressure.

The City of Slayton will be performing work on Juniper Avenue that includes installing multiple new water main valves. The installation of these valves will require a city-wide shut down of the water system Tuesday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. daily. Water system pressure will have dropped to a point that harmful bacteria could enter the water system.

This will result in a boil water order that will take effect each day when the water system is reactivated. Water should be boiled for one minute before used for drinking, making ice, washing dishes or food preparation.

Watch the Public Access Channel for updated information on the water shut-offs and boil water advisory. Please call Slayton City Hall at 507-836-8534 if you have any questions.

JACKSON - A Sioux Falls, South Dakota man was injured in a motorcycle accident late Tuesday near Clear Lake. 44 year-old Jeffery Iverson was riding a 2008 Harley Davidson westbound on 490th Avenue around 9 p.m. Tuesday, when he left the roadway, entering the ditch and rolling the motorcycle.

Iverson was transported to the Sanford Jackson Medical Center with undisclosed injuries. The motorcycle received moderate damage.

The Jackson Fire Department and Ambulance Service assisted the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office at the scene.

OKOBOJI - The annual meeting of the East Okoboji Lakes Improvement Corporation will be this Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Dickinson County Nature Center. Mike Hawkins from the DNR will give a presentation on Lake and Shoreline Restoration.

The annual meeting is a good place to find out what projects the board has been working on the past year and their plans for the future. Anyone interested can become a member. Annual dues are $20. For more information, go online at eastokobojilakes.org.

SHELDON, Iowa — Sheldon Firefighters responded to a report of a fire in an apartment building behind the Sheldon Shopko store late Thursday afternoon.

Witnesses on scene say it appears that an air conditioning unit built into the wall of one of the apartments at Valley View Apartments had caught fire. Valley View Apartments are located at 206 Wansink Avenue in Sheldon.

LARCHWOOD, Iowa — Two little girls that went missing on Thursday in the rural Larchwood area were located shortly after 5 p.m. and reunited with their mother, according to Lyon County Sheriff Stewart Vander Stoep.

Law enforcement officers and emergency personnel had been searching for the two young girls, ages six and three, who were reportedly lost in a corn field in the 1400 block of Birch Avenue for over an hour. Assisting in the search was the Avera McKennan Careflight helicopter, Larchwood Fire and Rescue, Inwood Fire and Rescue and the Lyon County Ambulance, as well as several law enforcement officers.

MINNESOTA - A federal appeals court has lifted a legal obstacle to a unionization effort affecting thousands of Minnesota home day care operators.

The 8th District Court of Appeals said Thursday it was affirming a ruling by a judge who dismissed a pair of lawsuits seeking to block the drive. That judge ruled last summer the lawsuits were premature.

This probably isn't the last word in the case and an appeal is possible. A new case was filed this week to stop a companion drive that could organize personal care attendants for the elderly and disabled.

The proposed child care union would cover some 12,700 providers who take care of children who are subsidized by the state.

The union pushing to organize the operators must submit enough petitions to trigger an election.

LE MARS, Iowa - The Plymouth County Sheriff's Office issued an arrest warrant for 44-year-old Jonathon Neunaber on Thursday charging him with 1st Degree Murder in connection to the deaths of mother, Esther Grace Neunaber earlier this month.

According to a press release issued by the Plymouth County Sheriff's office, Jonathan Neunaber admitted to investigators that he killed Esther Neunaber.

Authorities discovered the remains of 83-year-old Donald Neunaber and his wife 80-year-old Esther Neunaber on the night of July 9th. Jonathan Neunaber has been held as a material witness in the couple's death.

He's currently being held on a $100,000 bond.

MINNESOTA - A robbery at Chaska’s oldest church left the parish without a 3-foot by 3-foot metal safe containing $50. But the burglars also unwittingly stole nearly 100-years of handwritten records documenting the community all the way back to nearly 1920.

The Chaska Herald reports the safe stolen by thieves from the Chaska Moravian Church in downtown Chaska late on Monday, July 14, contained four handwritten, leatherbound ledgers documenting birth, death, wedding and other community records, beginning in the early years of the church and continuing up until a baptism performed two weeks before the burglary.

The church, founded in 1858, was the first in Chaska and the first Moravian church in Minnesota.

The pastor reached out to the public for assistance in locating the stolen safe, and even posted the combination to the lock on the church Facebook page.

Job Opp - JBS Maintenance Tech

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JBS has teamed up with MN West to offer a one-year program in Industrial Technology and is offering up to 135,000 in scholarships and a guaranteed job after the program as a maintenance technician to those who qualify! Just imagine, getting your education for free, and one short year later having a full-time career with the region’s largest employer as a Maintenance Technician and earning an average of 65,000/year!

Opportunities like this don’t come around often! Applications are available through August 8th at MN West (or see below, click to enlarge).

MNSP Bean Receiving Changes

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Bean receiving will be down to 1 lane receiving starting at 1:30pm today (Thursday, July 31st) as well as Friday, August 1st.

July 31 news

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LUVERNE — A Lake Park, Iowa, man was arrested Monday night after allegedly attempting to steal more than $1,200 worth of barbed wire rolls from the Bomgaars Store in Luverne. Kirk Michael Kane, 50, is facing one felony count of theft and one second-degree assault. He also faces one count of fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle and a misdemeanor charge of fleeing a peace officer by means other than a motor vehicle.

According to the criminal complaint, The Rock County Sheriff’s Office received a report Monday night of an individual stealing items from the fenced-in area at Bomgaars. When deputies arrived at the scene, they surrounded the area and saw the suspect climbing down from the fence.

Kane ran to his vehicle and a deputy positioned himself in front of the pickup, warning him to stop. Kane allegedly accelerated directly at the deputy, who had to jump to the side at the last minute to avoid being hit. The truck spun around and the rear end swerved in the gravel as it proceeded out of the lot and east onto Gabrielson Drive, according to court documents.

Deputies began pursuing the vehicle. The truck then made a sudden stop, and deputies ordered Kane to get out.

Kane was arrested and taken to the Law Enforcement Center, where he refused to speak with deputies. The pickup truck was inventoried, and numerous rolls of barbed wire were located in the bed of the pickup. A Bomgaars employee arrived and indicated that it appeared 18 rolls had been taken, noting that the price was $69.99 per roll.

According to court records, Kane’s criminal history is extensive and includes numerous thefts and burglaries. He is currently in custody at the Nobles County Jail and makes his initial appearance in court Monday.

WINDOM - Minor injuries were reported at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday in a two-vehicle collision on Highway 60 east of Mountain Lake. The Minnesota State Patrol says vehicles driven by 69-year-old Jerald Fox of Dell Rapids, South Dakota and 62-year-old Larry Kronbach of Lamberton collided as both were traveling eastbound.

A passenger in the vehicle driven by Jerald Fox, 71-year-old Mary Fox of Dell Rapids, South Dakota, was taken to the Windom hospital for treatment of non life-threatening injuries. No other injuries were reported.

A 2007 Chevrolet Trailblazer driven by Jerald Fox was totaled; moderate damage was reported to a 2002 International driven by Kronbach. The Minnesota State Patrol was assisted by the Cottonwood County Sheriff's Office and the Mountain Lake Police Department.

GEORGE, Iowa — A large barn was destroyed in a fire Wednesday near George.
According to Fire Chief Bill Sprock, the George Fire Department was called to the report of barn fire at 4068 180th Street, three miles north and a half a mile east of George about 11:20 a.m.

The fire department found the barn fully engulfed as they approached the scene. Sprock said three quarters of it were already destroyed. The fire department tried to save the outbuildings and the house. Two outbuildings started on fire, but were saved by firefighters.

He says the owners had been burning trees, and embers from that fire are thought to have started the barn on fire.

Chief Sprock reports that there was at least $20,000 in damage and the barn was completely destroyed, but no injuries to people, pets, or livestock.

The fire department was assisted by the Little Rock Fire Department .Sprock said they used 23,000 gallons of water to fight the fire, and crews were on scene until 2:50 p.m.

SIBLEY, Iowa - Charges have been filed against a South Dakota woman who allegedly led officers on a high speed pursuit through Sibley after being accused of trespassing and violating a no contact order. The Osceola County Sheriff's Office says 49-year-old Shelley Rae High Bear of Avon, South Dakota got in a vehicle and took off at a high rate of speed as an officer approached her. The pursuit went through the city of Sibley, ending when the vehicle she was driving went into the ditch on the exit 48 ramp onto the northbound lanes of Highway 60.

No injuries were reported. High Bear was charged with eluding, violation of a no contact order, trespassing, interference with official acts, reckless driving, and five counts of failure to obey a stop sign.

High Bear was booked into the Osceola county jail on a $3,500 cash only bond. Damage to the vehicle was estimated at $8,500

MILFORD, Iowa - The deadline for filing nomination papers to run in an upcoming special election in Milford to fill the position of Mayor and a seat on the city council is quickly approaching. Those interested in running for either seat have until Noon this Friday, August 1st, to get their papers submitted to the Dickinson County Auditor's Office.

As of Wednesday morning, Rody Pederson is the only person to file for the city council seat so far and Bill Reinsbach for Mayor. The two were appointed by the city council to fill the vacancies, but petitions were circulated and filed calling for a special election to fill the positions. That election will be held August 26th. -

BOYDEN, Iowa — A Boyden man is behind bars, charged in connection with the case of a stolen ATV.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 9:30 AM on Monday, July 28th, their deputies investigated a report of a theft of an ATV that was reported to have occurred at a hog confinement, two miles southwest of Sioux Center.

Upon further investigation, deputies believe that 24-year-old Geoffrey Oolman of Boyden took the stolen ATV to a home in Orange City.

As a result of the investigation, Oolman was arrested and charged with Second Degree Theft.

At last report, Oolman remained in the Sioux County Jail on a $2500 bond.

Officer Killed, Suspect At-Large

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If you have seen this man, call police immediately. This man is suspect in the killing of a Mn Police officer today in the Twin Cities. CALL AUTHORITIES IMMEDIATELY IF SEEN! A reward for his arrest is currently being offered, and tips should be directed to 1-800-222-TIPS.

 

July 30 news

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WORTHINGTON – Worthington Regional Health Care Foundation Executive Director Jeff Rotert and Board Chair Paula Chapulis met Tuesday with Nobles County Relay for Life Co-Chairs Kim Lambert and Sheila Koob to pass over a check for more than $100,000 for the American Cancer Society. The Relay raised more than $51,000, which the Foundation matched 100 percent up to $50,000. The grand total raised was $100,939.51, which Lambert said was very exciting. Their initial goal for the year was $82,000.

WORTHINGTON - The filing period for municipal offices opened Tuesday and continues through Tuesday, August 12, which is also the date of the primary election.
In the city of Worthington, Mayor Alan Oberloh’s term is up, as are the terms of councilmen Ron Wood and Mike Kuhl.

In Independent School District 518, the terms of board members Lori Dudley, Mark Shepherd and Scott Rosenberg are up.

City of Jackson seats open this year include Mayor, Ward-1 council seat currently held by Dennis Hunwardson and the Ward-2 seats currently held by Ken Temple and Dave Cushman. A special election will be held to fill the Ward-1 seat that was vacated by Jim Lutz earlier this year.

Jackson County School Board members up for re-election this year include Rhonda Moore, Holli Arp and the seat currently occupied by Gary Place. Place was appointed to the Board to fill the seat held by Luke Henning.

We’ll update you on filings around southwest Minnesota after the filing period closes.

ADRIAN - The American Legion Riders are riding across Minnesota raising money for the Legacy Scholarship Fund and Adrian has been included as a scheduled stop in the southern portion of the ride. The riders will be arriving in Adrian at approximately 8:45 a.m. on August 2. They will be stopping at the Adrian American Legion building for breakfast. The breakfast is open to the public and is a free will donation. All money raised will go to the Legacy Scholarship Fund. Donation posters and buckets have also been set in businesses around town or you can mail a donation Legion Argonne Post, PO Box 61, Adrian, MN 56110.

STORM LAKE, Iowa - A Storm Lake nursing home has been fined more than $31,000 after an incident in which a woman fell on her head while being transferred onto a bed and later died from the injury. North Lake Manor was cited in June by the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals for failing to protect residents from harm and failing to provide adequate care.

Reports said 87-year-old Darlene Carbaugh died a day after she fell from the mechanical lift used to transfer her to bed on May 17th.

The home is owned by two companies controlled by Sioux City Accountant Joseph P. Dewitt. Neither he or his attorney immediately responded to a message from the Associated Press seeking comment.

ST. PAUL - Mowing the state highway rights of way is in full swing after the wet spring delayed Minnesota Department of Transportation maintenance workers from starting the job earlier. MnDOT crews mow approximately 45,000 acres of land annually.

MnDOT, like other landowners in the state, is required to control plants on the Department of Agriculture’s restricted noxious weed list. Mowing is one way MnDOT controls them. Many of the plants seen along roadsides display vibrant colors when in bloom, but to the trained eyes of MnDOT’s roadside vegetation crews, they are invasive and a threat to native plants, animals and ecosystems.

MnDOT also uses prescribed burns and biological controls to control weeds.

MINNESOTA – Placement of campaign signs and other unauthorized objects in state highway rights of way is not allowed under state law, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. In addition, campaign signs may not be placed on private property outside of the right of way limits without landowner consent.

Highway rights of way include the driving lanes, inside and outside shoulders, ditches and sight corners at intersections. MnDOT crews will remove any unlawfully placed signs and impound them at one of its local maintenance truck stations.

Violation of the law is a misdemeanor. Civil penalties also may apply if the placement of such material contributes to a motor vehicle crash and injures a person or damages a motor vehicle that runs off the road.

In addition, the Minnesota Outdoor Advertising Control Act prohibits placing advertising materials on public utility poles, trees and shrubs, and painting or drawing on rocks or natural features.

Political campaign signs are treated in the same way as any other signs wrongly placed on state highway property by businesses, churches, private citizens or charitable groups.

For information regarding the proper placement of campaign signs or where to find signs that have been removed, contact the local MnDOT office at 507-304-6100.

MINNESOTA - Under a new law that goes into effect Friday, a person who commits a domestic violence crime or stalks another person will lose access to firearms.

The law prohibits a person subject to an order for protection in a child or domestic abuse case from possessing weapons for the length of the order under certain circumstances. It also requires them to surrender their firearms.

This is the same for someone convicted of domestic assault or stalking, if being prohibited from possessing firearms is part of their punishment. Supporters of the law have said there were 38 domestic violence-related deaths in Minnesota last year – 10 of those were by firearms.

MINNESOTA - Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura has prevailed in his lawsuit against the late author of the book “American Sniper,” and was awarded $1.8 million by a jury on Tuesday.

The 10-member jury in the U.S. District Court trial in St. Paul had struggled to come to a unanimous decision. The jury sent the judge a message Monday saying they couldn’t come to an agreement, but he sent them back to try again. They reconvened Tuesday morning, their sixth day of deliberating.

Lawyers huddled with the judge several times Tuesday morning, and ultimately lawyers agreed to waive the unanimous verdict rule, a provision allowed by federal law. The jury sided in Ventura’s favor 8-2.

Ventura, a former pro wrestler and Navy SEAL himself, who has gone on to become a TV personality, hotly denies that the fight ever happened. He sued Chris Kyle’s estate, claiming the book anecdote harmed his reputation and caused him lost income.

Nobles County Relay for Life accepts really big check

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WORTHINGTON – Worthington Regional Health Care Foundation Executive Director Jeff Rotert and Board Chair Paula Chapulis met today with Nobles County Relay for Life Co-Chairs Kim Lambert and Sheila Koob to pass over a check for more than $100,000 for the American Cancer Society.

The Relay raised more than $51,000, which the Foundation matched up to $50,000. The grand total raised was $100,939.51, which Lambert said was very exciting. Their initial goal for the year was $82,000.

July 29 news

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WORTHINGTON – After years of being powerless to stop the process of seeing a major development in their town fall into disrepair and tenants move out one by one, the Worthington City Council was able to make a positive step forward for the Northland Mall property Monday night. They approved a resolution designating PBK Investments of Minnetonka as the sole developer of the property until December 31, 2014, which allows the company to proceed forward with plans to redevelop the current site. It also gives PBK time to come to terms with current owner Mike Kohan on a sale of the property if they choose.

The agreement, worked out in coordination with Abraham Algadi at Worthington Regional Economic Development Corporation, is similar to what was done between the city event center and the private hotel. The city’s participation would use statutory tax increment financing provisions of $9 million. The resolution outlines the project as a phased development that encourages construction of a mixed use of retail, commercial and multi-family housing.

Brian Pellowski of PBK presented the council with what he called a workable plan for the city that includes scraping the existing center, adding medium-sized stores along Oxford Street, putting a new theater in roughly the location of the current K-Mart portion and adding a convenience store, restaurants and apartments.

Pellowski said he has never seen a property in worse shape than the current mall. He has been working with the current theater company, who wants to continue to be part of Worthington, he said.

The document approved is not a final document, cautioned Worthington City Administrator Craig Clark, but is a move forward in good faith.

Nothland Cinema owners Todd Frager and David Fetters attended the meeting and expressed concern that there be as little downtime as possible if the development does move forward. They said they need to be able to operate as long as possible in their current site before moving into a new one, calling the situation critical.

The city council also approved a proposal of just under $20,000 from Peer Engineering Firm for the professional services needed to move forward with demolition of the former K-Mart portion of the Northland Mall. Two bids were received for the services, which will include an environmental assessment, preparation of demo specs, and project oversight.

JACKSON - The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an alleged break-in at the Wishy Washy Laundromat in Jackson. The sheriff’s office was called to the south Jackson business at around 3:45 a.m. on July 22 to a report of a break-in. Deputies determined entrance into the building was made through a window and observed the office had been broken into through the door. An undetermined amount of quarters had been removed from the office. In-store video captured footage of an individual wearing a black ski mask; a dark, long-sleeve shirt; dark pants; and white shoes. Anyone with any information regarding the break-in is encouraged to contact the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

JACKSON - A juvenile has admitted to stealing items from parked vehicles in Okabena. Jackson County Sheriff Roger Hawkinson said the unidentified youth admitted to stealing a Ruger 10.-22 rifle from a pickup and two cell phones from a silver, four-door sedan that was parked on Okabena’s Main Street.

The admission came after the sheriff’s office began an investigation of the theft of the rifle on July 25. As a result of the investigation, the juvenile admitted to the theft of the firearm, and a pair of binoculars was also recovered. The sheriff’s office also recovered a Samsung Galaxy S3 cell phone and a Samsung Galaxy S4 cell phone with a pink and black case, both of which the juvenile admitted to stealing.

Hawkinson encourages the owner or owners of the cell phones to contact the sheriff’s office.

MINNESOTA - The state’s minimum hourly wage will increase for the first time in 10 years Friday. Under the new law, the state’s minimum wage will increase from $6.15 to $8 Friday, as it begins its climb to $9.50 by 2016.

For smaller businesses, with gross annual sales of under $500,000, the minimum wage will rise to $6.50 Friday, then $7.25 in August 2015 and $7.75 in 2016.

Gov. Mark Dayton signed the new minimum wage bill into law in April.

While President Barack Obama was in Minnesota last month, he highlighted the state’s minimum wage increase. The president is hoping to increase the nation’s minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, a move that has met resistance from Republicans in Congress.

WADENA - A judge in Waseca County Monday dismissed the most serious charges facing John LaDue, 17, of Waseca, the teenager who was accused of planning to kill his family and bomb his high school this spring, the Waseca County News reports.

Judge Gerald Wolf dismissed all four premeditated attempted murder charges against LaDue, saying the prosecution had not provided enough evidence to prove that LaDue’s actions went beyond “preparations.”

Wolf also dismissed two charges of first degree damage to property, for the same reason.

Wolf let stand six charges alleging LaDue was in the possession of explosive devices, saying the prosecution had shown more than sufficient evidence to establish probable cause that LaDue did possess bombs, according to the Waseca County News.

July 28 news

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WORTHINGTON — A Support Our Schools meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. tonight in the high school cafeteria.

Support Our Schools is a group of residents of District 518 that are promoting the upcoming referendum in the November general election. The organization will be working to promote the continual opportunities offered to students of the district through the excess operating referendum and avoid potential budget reductions in the near future.

BUTTERFIELD — A 14-year-old girl hospitalized soon after a newborn was found dead in a Butterfield apartment is the baby’s mother, authorities said Monday.

The baby girl was discovered by emergency responders late Friday afternoon at the home in the 100 block of 3rd Street N., a block west of Butterfield City Hall, according to the Watonwan County Sheriff’s Office.

The newborn was taken to the Ramsey County medical examiner’s office to determine what led to the death.

Sheriff Gary Menssen said the mother was taken that evening to St. James Mayo Hospital, then to Mankato Mayo Hospital, and remains hospitalized Monday.

“We are not sure when she will be released,” Menssen said.

Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Jeremy Nachreiner said investigators were “working through a language barrier” as they gathered information from Spanish speakers.

While the Sheriff’s Office is being assisted in the case by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, “we are not looking for anyone at this time” who would be considered a suspect, the sheriff said.

The identity of the girl has not been released.

OCHEYEDAN, Iowa - The Osceola County Sheriff's Office investigated an ATV accident that occurred northeast of Ocheyedan on Friday. Thad Schubert Bosma, 34, of Lake Park, Iowa, was treated at the Worthington Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Bosma was charged with allegedly Operating While Intoxicated 1st Offense, a Serious Misdemeanor.

SPENCER, Iowa - The Spencer Police Department is asking for the public's help as it continues to investigate a burglary at a business in the city. Authorities say Southern Archery at 305 11th Street Southeast in Spencer was burglarized around 3:00 a.m. July 22nd. Entry was gained by prying open a south door to the business. Several items were removed, including firearms.

A reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any suspects in the crime.

Authorities say you can remain anonymous if you wish. Information can be submitted through the Text-a-Tip link located on the Spencer Police Department's website located at www.spenceriowacity.com.

CHEROKEE, Iowa — The Tyson plant in Cherokee will close in two months.
In a prepared statement, a Tyson Foods, Inc. executive said the plant in Cherokee, along with one in New York and another in New Mexico “have been struggling financially” and “it no longer makes business sense to keep them open.”
The plant in Cherokee employs 450 people. It will be closed September 27th.

The company says a “combination of factors” led to the decision, including “the age of the Cherokee facility” and the “prohibitive cost” to modernize it. The plant in Cherokee, which Tyson acquired from I-B-P in 2001, began producing processed meats in 1965. Hot dogs, deli meats, hams and Canadian bacon are being made there today.

According to the company’s website, Tyson currently operates 21 facilities in Iowa, including transportation hubs, nine plants that process pork and two that process beef.

MINNESOTA - The jury in the defamation lawsuit brought by Jesse Ventura has been deliberating for longer than expected, which some legal experts speculate could be a good sign for the former governor.

The jury has deliberated for four days, totaling a little over 24 hours, after two weeks of testimony in federal court in St. Paul. The jury will reconvene today at 9 a.m. to continue their deliberations.

The 10-person jury heard closing arguments last Tuesday in a civil lawsuit that claims Chris Kyle, a former Navy SEAL, defamed Ventura in his bestselling book “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History.”

Kyle wrote in his book that he punched out another man he called “Scruff Face” at a California bar in 2006. Kyle, who was shot and killed at a Texas gun range, later identified “Scruff Face” as Ventura.

The jury is being asked to decide if what Kyle wrote was “defamatory, materially false and if he knew it was false, believing it was false or having serious doubts about its truth.” If the jury rules in favor of Ventura on the defamation claim, they will be able to consider other claims, including invasion of privacy through appropriation and unjust enrichment.

NATION - Three executives of a now-defunct peanut processing company go on trial this week in south Georgia, six years after peanut butter made by their company and contaminated with salmonella killed nine people and sickened 700 others, the Associated Press reports.

The former owner of Peanut Corporation of America, Stewart Parnell, and several others were indicted in February 2013, accused of concealing information about the contamination and selling the bad peanut butter. The outbreak led to one of the largest food recalls in U.S. history.

The 76-count indictment charges Parnell with fraud, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and other offenses. Also named in the indictment were Michael Parnell, Stewart’s brother and a company vice president; Samuel Lightsey, a plant manager; and Mary Wilkerson, a quality assurance manager.

The conspiracy and obstruction charges each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Lightsey pleaded guilty in May to seven counts. He will be sentenced at a later date, according to the AP.

The charges came four years after federal investigators linked the deadly national outbreak to Parnell’s plant in Blakely, Georgia. Federal investigators found filthy conditions at the plant, including mold, insect infestations, and a leaky roof. They said the top employees fabricated certificates saying peanut product shipments were safe when tests said otherwise, according to the Journal Constitution.

Three of the nine people who died from eating the tainted peanut butter were from Minnesota: Shirley Alber, 72, of Perham; Clifford Tousignant, 78, originally of Duluth; and Doris Flatgard, 87, of Brainerd.

Heads up from police: utilities phone scam is being reported in area

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WORTHINGTON – Worthington Interim Police Chief Kevin Flynn on Friday alerted citizens that a utilities scam is making the rounds once again, warning people never to give financial information over the phone from an unsolicited call.

At least two local people have received phone calls from someone claiming to be a utility company threatening to shut off service unless a payment is made with a credit card or green dot card immediately.

Flynn said the calls are a scam, and anyone receiving such a call should simply hang up. If they have concerns regarding their service, they should contact their local utility company, but never give financial information over the phone.

According to Worthington Public Utilities, they do not accept credit cards over the phone to handle accounts that are in arrears. While they might call to notify people of late accounts, customers are asked to come down to the office to take care of the matter or contact a toll-free number to remedy the situation.