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July 11 news

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WORTHINGTON – The City of Worthington Engineering Department has been busy this week, completing two projects while working on another. Turf restoration on the Nobles Street water and sewer reconstruction project from Minnesota 60 to Orchard Road was completed Wednesday, as was the drainage structure work on the concrete walkway project at Lake Street and Seventh Avenue.

Work continues along Lake Street and Lake Avenue from near Seventh Avenue to East of May Street.

Water main reconstruction began Tuesday at the intersection of Omaha Avenue and Dover Street, with work progressing toward Clary Street.

LUVERNE – The Minnesota Department of Transportation has restricted Highway 75 north of Luverne to a six ton road with no over-size or over-weight permits allowed, effective immediately. The restriction on Highway 75 is from Rock County Road 8 to Rock County Road 20 and will be in place until a damaged culvert can be repaired or replaced.

MnDOT crews have been monitoring the culvert located five miles north of Luverne since the heavy rains in June. Recent reviews have determined that the damage to the box culvert has gotten worse resulting in the need to restrict weight over the culvert on Highway 75.

LUVERNE - Blue Mounds State Park will re-open Monday, following flood damage that forced the park to close on June 18, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Campers will be able to make reservations at the park by visiting www.mndnr.gov/reservations, or by calling 866-857-2757 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. The swimming area will continue to be closed as DNR engineers decide how to address the damaged spillway and dam.

In spite of the damage, no visitors to the park were injured. The park’s bison herd weathered the storms and remain in good health.

The park also continues to resolve the discovery of E.coli bacteria in the park’s water system earlier this spring, Drummer said. Flush toilets are available, but the park’s showers and sinks are closed. Water spigots within the campground and park are tagged as unsafe to use. Campers and visitors are encouraged to bring their own water. The cities of Pipestone and Luverne both have trailer dump stations. Campers can fill up water tanks at those locations for no charge. Camden, Split Rock and Lake Shetek state parks have also all agreed to provide water to fill campers.

Updates and more information on the park can be found at www.mndnr.gov/bluemounds. Questions can be directed to the park office at 507-283-6051.

SLAYTON - The Murray County Historical Museum in Slayton will extend their hours this weekend during the Murray County Draft Horse Show Classic. The museum will be open from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and is within walking distance of the horse show.

The main museum building will be open as well as the farm machinery (Sierk) building. Special this year, just for the Draft Horse Show, they are hosting a display of model draft horse sets that were donated for use by Daryl Boots of the Draft Horse Show Committee. These miniature models of horses in harness are fun to look at while marveling at the intricate workings of a draft horse harness. The museum is open to the public for free, however donations are appreciated.

SLAYTON - The Murray County Early Childhood Initiative is looking for members of the community willing to spend time “in jail” for the benefit of our youngest citizens at the 9th Annual Jail and Bail event. The fundraiser will take place during the Murray County Fair on Wed., August 13th.

The Murray County Early Childhood Initiative was established in 2006 with a $1,000 gift and has since been awarded 11 grants and received over 2,500 independent donations. ECI sponsors educational programs targeted to children from birth to age 5, like the Families Reading Every Day events, children’s music concerts, the family fair, and outreach programs to increase school readiness and support families.

Participating community members will be charged with crimes like “conspiring with others for the betterment of the community” or “contributing to the well-being of minors” in this lighthearted fundraiser. “Imprisoned” citizens must raise a minimum of $100 to bail themselves out of jail. Everyone is invited to visit the jailed community members on the east lawn of the Murray County Courthouse in Slayton from 2-7 p.m. and help raise funds for Early Childhood Initiative activities in Murray County.

For more information on the Jail and Bail event, contact Marilyn Carlson at 836-6552 or toll free at 1-800-348-0021.

SPENCER, Iowa - A Sioux Rapids man is being held in connection with the stabbing of a Spencer teen.

The Buena Vista County Sheriff's Office says Clay County deputies were called to an accident Wednesday evening on Highway 71 south of Spencer and discovered a passenger was suffering from multiple stab wounds and was taken to the Spencer Hospital. The victim, 19-year-old Chayton Quail of Spencer, was then taken by ambulance to Spencer Hospital and later transferred to a Sioux Falls hospital for surgery.

Buena Vista County deputies and Sioux Rapids police determined the stabbing occurred at 210 Thomas Street in Sioux Rapids. After investigating, 43-year-old Pedro Orozco of Sioux Rapids was charged with willful injury, a class "C" felony. He was arrested Thursday morning by the Osceola County Sheriff's Department.

The investigation into the stabbing continues with interviews of witnesses and a search of the crime scene to be conducted.

DES MOINES, Iowa - A Texas company wants to run through Iowa a pipeline that would carry crude oil from North Dakota's Bakken oil fields to Illinois.

The underground route through Iowa would begin in Lyon county and slice southeast through 15 other counties, exiting at Lee county.

Energy Transfer Partners LP, of Dallas, is proposing the pipeline, which would carry at least 320,000 barrels of crude oil a day and end in Patoka, Illinois. Energy Transfer Partners says there would be railroad access from Patoka to several markets.

The project faces Iowa regulatory reviews from the Utilities Board and the Department of Natural Resources. The company wants to begin operation of the pipeline by the end of 2016.

July 10 news

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FULDA – The city of Fulda will have a water shut-down from 8 a.m. to noon today for water tower maintenance. Residents may have cloudy water when service resumes.

WORTHINGTON – Gov. Mark Dayton Wednesday requested that President Barack Obama declare a major disaster in Minnesota as a result of heavy rainstorms and flooding that began June 11. In a letter to the president, Dayton described widespread flood damage across Minnesota, and noted that he has expanded the state’s peacetime state of emergency to include 16 additional counties – bringing the total counties impacted to 51.

To date, $10.8 million in eligible damages have been documented through preliminary damage assessments in several counties, including Jackson, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone and Rock. The FEMA threshold for federal assistance is $7.3 million in statewide eligible damages.

In the letter to the president, Dayton states Rock County suffered the most damage overall, with a staggering per capita loss of $589.58 in a county with a population of roughly 9,600. The letter states that when seven inches of rain fell overnight, the dam on the river at Blue Mounds State Park failed, and the rush of water was a contributing factor to the flash flood that inundated the city of Luverne. The per capita cost to replace the water control structure is $154.85.

The letter also includes mention of the Buffalo Ridge Regional Railroad Authority, noting that the 42 miles of track are a transportation link for the local economy, serving as a connection between local agriculture commodity producers and the Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe railway networks. Damage estimate to the shortline is $1.5 million.

Dayton noted that statewide preliminary damage assessments are coming in higher than initial estimates, and because some of the hardest hit areas won’t be able to be assessed for several weeks, he is requesting a federal disaster declaration now. The Governor said once all preliminary damage assessments are complete, he will formally request FEMA designate assistance for all additional counties and tribal governments that exceed their threshold.

If the President declares a major disaster, FEMA would fund 75 percent of approved costs. Under legislation signed by Governor Dayton this year, the state will pay the 25 percent non-federal share.

JACKSON - Jacqueline Zevenbergen was recently introduced to the Jackson County Commissioners as the new Parks and Trails Director for both Cottonwood and Jackson Counties. Zevenbergen grew up in the Sioux Falls area and is a 2012 graduate of South Dakota State University with a degree in Recreation Administration.

The Parks and Trails Departments of Jackson and Cottonwood Counties were recently combined. Initially, Zevenbergen will spend 3 days a week in Jackson County and 2 days in Cottonwood.

MILFORD, Iowa - A western Iowa man is dead after a pickup collided with the motorcycle he was driving late Tuesday afternoon at the intersection of Terrace Park Boulevard and Highway 71 on the north edge of Milford.

The Iowa State Patrol identifies the victim as 19-year-old Dakotah Collins of Arion, Iowa.

Troopers say 28-year-old Jeffrey Peterson of Fort Collins, Colorado was driving a 2004 Chevrolet pickup and had stopped at the intersection around 4:40 p.m. Trooper say Peterson apparently didn't see the motorcycle, which was northbound on Highway 71. The two then collided.

Collins sustained extensive injuries. CPR was attempted on the scene, but Collins was pronounced dead a short time later. No injuries were reported to Peterson.

ARNOLD’S PARK, Iowa - Officials are warning residents of another apparent scam making the rounds. The Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce says it was notified by a local business saying it had been contacted by someone purporting to be with Alliant Energy telling them their power was about to be shut off, and that to avoid a disruption in service they needed to pay the bill immediately at an online address they provided. The business representative became suspicious and contacted Alliant Energy who said they did not make the call.

The protocol of most utility companies when discontinuing service is to send a certified letter, not with a phone call.

Officials say businesses and individuals need to be aware of the scam. They say you should make sure payments are remitted directly to your utility service provider.

Anyone getting such a call should contact local authorities.

SIBLEY, Iowa — A new deputy will begin work with the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office next week, according to Sheriff Doug Weber.

Weber says Deputy Hunter is a chocolate lab, and will be partnered with Osceola County Deputy Tyler Bos. Bos and Hunter have spent the past couple of weeks in Des Moines for training, and are scheduled to hit the streets of Osceola County next week.

Weber says Hunter is trained in drug detection and tracking, and replaces the department’s K-9, Kyzer, a German shepherd, who recently retired after serving the citizens of Osceola County since 2004.

Gov. Dayton requests presidential disaster declaration

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WORTHINGTON – Gov. Mark Dayton Wednesday requested that President Barack Obama declare a major disaster in Minnesota as a result of heavy rainstorms and flooding that began June 11. In a letter to the president, Dayton described widespread flood damage across Minnesota, and noted that he has expanded the state’s peacetime state of emergency to include 16 additional counties – bringing the total counties impacted to 51.

To date, $10.8 million in eligible damages have been documented through preliminary damage assessments in several counties, including Jackson, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone and Rock. The FEMA threshold for federal assistance is $7.3 million in statewide eligible damages.

In the letter to the president, Dayton states Rock County suffered the most damage, with a staggering per capita loss of $589.58. The letter breaks down the disaster categories, showing that in Category D, when seven inches of rain fell overnight, the dam on the river at Blue Mounds State Park in Rock County failed, and the rush of water was a contributing factor to the flash flood that inundated the city of Luverne. The per capita cost to replace the water control structure is $154.85.

The category breakdown also includes mention of the Buffalo Ridge Regional Railroad Authority, noting that the 42 miles of track are a transportation link for the local economy, serving as a connection between local agriculture commodity producers and the Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe railway networks.

Dayton noted that preliminary damage assessments are coming in higher than initial estimates, and because some of the hardest hit areas won’t be able to be assessed for several weeks, he is requesting a federal disaster declaration now. The Governor said once all preliminary damage assessments are complete, he will formally request FEMA designate assistance for all additional counties and tribal governments that exceed their threshold.

Most of the damage reported by local officials is to roads and bridges. Local governments also expended significant resources to protect their communities from floodwaters and for cleanup operations caused by mudslides and sinkholes.

If granted by the President, the disaster declaration would provide assistance to townships, cities, counties, schools, and certain private not-for-profit organizations for uninsured and eligible storm-related damage to public infrastructure.

If the President declares a major disaster, FEMA would fund 75 percent of approved costs. Under legislation signed by Governor Dayton this year, the state will pay the 25 percent non-federal share.

IMPORTANT NOTICE

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A notice has been provided by the City of Fulda:

"The water will be shut off in the City of Fulda on Thursday, July 10 city wide from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon for water tower maintenance. Between now and tomorrow morning you may experience low water pressure. When the water resumes on Thursday pm you may experience cloudy water. Sorry for any inconvenience."

July 9 news

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WORTHINGTON – The Nobles County Commissioners on Tuesday approved a request from Sheriff Kent Wilkening to hire Chris Dybevick as the new Chief Deputy, replacing the recently retired Chris Heinrichs. Dybevick is currently the captain of the Worthington Police Department, where he has served for the past 27 years.

Wilkening is anticipating a start date of August 7 for Dybevick. According to the request Wilkening submitted to the board, he feels Dybevick has the supervisory and leadership experience needed to assist the sheriff in running the office. There would be no financial impact to the county, he stated, as the funding was already in the 2014 budget.

During a busy and lengthy meeting, the commissioners also approved a motion to send a letter to Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, protesting the end of the UCC Satellite Office Agreement. Recorder Lynn Wilson said the closure will only cost the county approximately $7,000 or so per year, but she feels once clients are forced to go through the state or online, turn-around times will be slower.

Conditional use permits were approved for Trent Slater of Rushmore, Knips Brothers of Magnolia and Richard Zebe of Adrian. For the Zebe permit, there were questions of whether the requirements for notification had been met, but according to Nobles County Attorney Kathy Kusz, proper notification had been sent out to township clerks and property owners.

Nobles County Public Works Director Steven Schneider informed the commissioners he would like the Minnesota Department of Transportation to do a speed study on many of the roadways coming into Worthington. Schneider said the DOT takes as look at the number of driveways and other factors and what speeds people are driving, then decides if speed limits should change. There is no cost for the service, he said.

After listening to a discussion about comparable worth studies for job descriptions in the county, the commissioners went into a closed session to discuss union negotiation strategy for a pay equity plan.

They also approved a $22,000 contract with Vetter Johnson for redesign and architectural work to be done on the stairwells in the government center. Nobles County Administrator Tom Johnson said the money is just for the design work, not the construction, which he said he assumes will be a fairly large number. The stairwells need to be completely redesigned for safety and ADA compliance, for which he said there is not a simple solution.

WINDOM - A Jeffers man is charged with first- and second-degree assault as well as possessing an explosive device after allegedly stabbing a 63-year-old neighbor several times and threatening police with a homemade bomb on Saturday.

Scott Hanson, 43, faces one count of first-degree assault resulting in great bodily harm, three counts of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, and an additional count of possessing an explosive device after a previous conviction of a violent crime.

The criminal complaint states the Cottonwood County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a stabbing in the 200 block of South Courthouse Avenue in Jeffers, where they found the victim with stab wounds in his back and ankle. He said Hanson had attacked him in the driveway between the two houses. He was later found to be in critical condition with lacerations to three arteries.

When officers went to Hanson’s residence to question him about the incident, Hanson allegedly appeared from the basement, charged quickly up the stairs toward the officers and kicked the door shut. During a second attempt to remove Hanson from the basement, he allegedly appeared from the basement with what looked to be a homemade explosive device in one hand and a lit propane torch in the other. This time, it was the officers who kicked the door shut.

Officers called dispatch so that the Southwest Minnesota HEAT Team could be alerted and a perimeter was set around the house. A neighboring home was evacuated a traffic for one city block stopped.

Hanson was eventually talked out of the house and taken into custody without incident. A search warrant was executed Sunday for Hanson’s residence, where officers found a six-inch bladed knife, the propane torch and a homemade bomb, according to court documents.

Hanson’s bail was set at $500,000 without conditions and $250,000 with conditions in Cottonwood County District Court.

JACKSON – The Jackson County Commissioners on Tuesday voted to deny a reimbursement request from the City of Jackson. The City paid $1,500 for an appraisal of the County Parks Building and felt it was not used by the County and should be reimbursed. The Board felt the appraisal by the City was a cost of doing business and the City was notified up front this would be their expense.

A resolution was also approved that would make the position of County Auditor/Treasurer an appointed position rather than an elected one. State legislation was passed this spring making this possible. If the resolution is not opposed, it would take effect at the end of the next term which will be elected in November. Kevin Nordquist, the current Auditor/Treasurer, is the only person who filed for this position in the upcoming election.

MILFORD, Iowa - Petitions calling for special elections for Mayor and a seat on the city council in Milford have been filed with the City Clerk's Office.

Acting City Administrator Mark Stevens said the petitions meet legal requirements and were filed prior to the deadline of 5 p.m. Monday.

Stevens says the city council will act on a resolution at its meeting this coming Monday, July 14th, directing the County Auditor and Commissioner of Elections to set a date for the special elections. Once that date is set, candidates will be able to take out nomination papers.

At a meeting June 23rd, the council voted unanimously to appoint Bill Reinsbach and Rody Peterson to fill out the terms of Mayor and a city council member, respectively. The action came on the heels of the resignations of Don Lamb as Mayor and Rick Kilts as a council member. The two stepped down citing differences with some of the other council members stemming from several factors, including what some say was the forced resignation of Matt Skaret as City Administrator

Dybevick named Chief Deputy for Nobles County

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WORTHINGTON – After a lot of years dressed in blue Worthington Police Captain Chris Dybevick will soon be switching to brown. The Nobles County Commissioners today approved a request from Nobles County Sheriff Kent Wilkening to replace the recently retired Chris Heinrichs with Dybevick, hiring him away from the police department after 27 years with WPD and over to the sheriff’s office in the position of chief deputy.

According to the request Wilkening submitted to the board, he feels Dybevick has the supervisory and leadership experience needed to assist the sheriff in running the office. There would be no financial impact to the county, he stated, as the funding was already in the 2014 budget.

It is anticipated Dybevick will begin his new post on August 7th

July 8 news

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WORTHINGTON – According to information released Monday by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, a downtown Worthington site is being recommended for placement on the State Superfund Program due to elevated levels of chlorinated volatile organic compounds. Currently a paved lot, the site at 1101 Second Avenue was home to the Exclusive Cleaners from 1969 to 1998 and prior to that housed a gas station.

The site has been under investigation for more than 20 years.

In the last two years, soil gas samples collected from the site show concentrations of the drycleaning solvent perchlorethylene (PCE) exceeding 100 times the MPCA residential intrusion screening value in four of the five samples taken. The solvents can adversely affect health, particularly the immune system of developing fetuses, and may pose risks from long-term exposure.

In 1991 a petroleum leak at the site was discovered. The leak site was closed in 1995, and three years later the Worthington YMCA purchased the property. The building was demolished and a parking lot created at that time.

By getting the site listed on the Superfund and added to Minnesota’s permanent list of priorities, dedicated state funding will target issues at the site, such as researching the extent of vapor intrusion, installing mitigation systems if needed and determining groundwater cleanup actions. Until now, the site has relied on competitive site assessment program funds to investigate the presence of contaminants.

David Moore, project leader for the remediation division of the MPCA, said further mitigation efforts will begin within months.

WORTHINGTON – Minnesota West Community & Technical College will host open house informational sessions about the new Industrial Technology program and scholarships offered through JBS today at the Worthington Campus. Representatives will be available to answer questions and the Industrial Technology program and scholarships that are available through JBS from 10:30 a.m. to noon and from 2:30 p.m.to 4 p.m. in the Student Services Area. For more information or to apply for a scholarship or the Industrial Technology program, contact Marie Johnson at 372-3472 or email her at marie.johnson@mnwest.edu.

JACKSON - The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office responded to a burglar alarm at the Family Dollar in Jackson just after 3a.m. on Saturday morning.

Officers discovered the front door had been shattered. A crow bar was found inside the store which was believed to have been used to break the glass. There were items disturbed near the store safe but nothing was found to be missing.

Anyone with information regarding this break-in is urged to contact the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

GRAETTINGER, Iowa - A house fire in Graettinger early Monday morning claimed the lives of two young children.

The Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office received a call of a house fire at 204 South Jackson Avenue in Graettinger at about 6:30 a.m.

Officials say 27 year old Stephanie Gaston was able to exit the house but was unable to bring her children to safety. Members of the Graettinger Fire Department entered the smoke-filled house and removed the two children, and Palo Alto County Ambulance personnel along with the firemen began lifesaving measures.

Gaston and her two sons were transported by ambulance to the Palo Alto County Hospital. Gaston was then transported to Iowa City Hospital for her injuries.

Gavin Hasbrouck, age 5 and Collin Reed, age 7, were pronounced dead at the Palo Alto County Hospital.

The Iowa State Fire Marshal's office was called to investigate.

Preliminary investigation indicates the fire had started in the living room. The house received fire and extensive smoke damage. The investigation continues into the cause of the blaze.

SHELDON, Iowa - With the arrival of RAGBRAI riders in the not too distant future, the Sheldon RAGBRAI committee reminds residents along the route to get ready by cleaning up their property. There are also some safety reminders for residents who are greeting the riders.

1. Young children should be discouraged from joining the riders as they come through the town. Many accidents occur every year because young children are inexperienced in riding with large groups
2. Don’t give ‘high fives’ to the riders, this could cause an accident.
3. Don’t spray riders with water unless you ask first.
4. Don’t hand anything to the riders . They can’t carry anything on their bicycles.
There are some extra cautions for rural residents on the RAGBRAI route as well.
1. You will have a hard time crossing the road or getting out of the driveway. Plan accordingly
2. If you invite cyclists on your property, be aware that you could be liable for injuries.
3. For the safety of your pets and riders, keep your pets penned or leashed.
4. Keep children off the road
5. If you offer refreshments, be aware of state food and beverage laws
6. Water stands should be on the right side of the road
7. Be aware that the roads will not be closed to regular traffic.

Peebles pulls out of Northland Mall

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WORTHINGTON – Customers looking for a bargain were flocking to Peebles at Northland Mall Monday as word got out that everything was on clearance.

Peebles is the latest store to pull out of the troubled mall. Signs on the front of the building state the store is closing and everything must go. According to a sales associate, Peebles employees were informed last week that the store was closing, and clearance sales began Saturday. The store is expected to be out of the mall by the end of the month.

A call to the Stage Store Inc offices, the corporate office of Peebles, was not returned Monday afternoon.

In late June, the city of Worthington was granted the right in Nobles County District Court to demolish the old K-Mart portion of the Northland Mall. Judge Gordon Moore stated during the hearing the mall seems to have essentially been abandoned. Northland Mall Realty, owned by Mike Kohan, can demolish the building itself if they respond before Friday. To do so, a bond of just under $380,000 would have to be paid and the building would have to come down before Aug. 14. If no one from Northland Mall responds by July 11, the city can go forth with plans to demolish the building.

Wenzel Engineering submitted its final structural report on the former K-Mart building on May 29. The report estimated the cost to renovate the space to a functional retail space at almost $3.5 million, while demolition would cost approximately $253,000.

July 7 news

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WORTHINGTON – The non-essential water use ban will stay in place for the time being, according to Worthington Public Utilities Manager Scott Hain.

Although water continues to flow over the dams at local lakes, it hasn’t made a significant impact on the Bella Wellfield, where water levels are measured each week. Currently, the level at Well 26, used to determine a static well level, is just inches above the 16 year average, even after the heavy June rains.

WORTHINGTON - Water main work on Omaha Avenue from Dover Street to Miller Street is scheduled to begin today. Omaha Avenue will be closed to through traffic. When possible, Omaha Avenue will be open to restricted local traffic for driveway access. Access will alternate from the Dover Street or Miller Street ends of Omaha Avenue as construction progresses from Dover Street toward Miller Street.

Weather permitting and construction proceeding as planned, Omaha Avenue pipe and pavement work should be completed and normal traffic restored in late August.

WORTHINGTON — The 4-way stop at County State Aid Highways 5 and 35 put in place for construction purposes has been put back to its original traffic configuration as of Thursday, according to Nobles County and the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

The north-south CSAH 5 traffic will continue to stop, and east-west CSAH 35 will be allowed to travel through the intersection without stopping. Message boards are now in place on CSAH 5 warning travelers of the upcoming change.

ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa - A George man wanted on warrants out of Lyon and Dickinson Counties was arrested Thursday at his residence. Authorities say 31-year-old Joseph Kruger was wanted on a Lyon County warrant for a parole violation and out of Dickinson County for interference with official acts and eluding.

Kruger was booked into the Lyon County Jail and was being held without bond.

ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa — A Rock Rapids man has turned himself in and at last report was being held in the Lyon County Jail. The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that 21-year-old Michael Leonard Doiel of Rock Rapids turned himself in on Thursday, July 3rd.

An arrest warrant had been issued charging Doiel with Contempt of Court for a violation of a court order that happened on June 26th, 2014. Doiel’s bond was set at $5,000.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - The West Nile virus has been found in Minnesota for the first time this year.

According to the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District, mosquitoes collected last week in Scott County tested positive for the virus.

There have been no confirmed cases of residents getting sick with the illness this summer, and dead birds tested by the district also have turned up negative.

The first signs of West Nile virus last year were found at this time, in a mosquito sample collected in Carver County. By late August, 21 cases had been confirmed and one victim had died.

The virus is most common in agriculture areas in western and central Minnesota, but cases are possible anywhere. The virus first arrived in Minnesota about 12 years ago.

MINNESOTA - Four people were killed in a trio of accidents over the weekend. Two of those accidents are described as fatal rollovers; the other involved a State Patrol squad car and left two people dead.

On Friday, a state trooper was responding to a collision between a motorcycle and a deer when the trooper T-boned a vehicle that pulled out in front of his squad car as he drove through Cannon Falls, the State Patrol said.

The two people in the car were killed and the trooper, identified as Scott Reps, was airlifted to Mayo Hospital with “serious but not life-threatening injuries.”

The two victims – the driver and passenger of the vehicle that pulled in front of the squad car – have been identified as Norman L. Scott, 78, and his wife, Geneva M. Scott, 79, both from Cannon Falls. The squad car had its lights and sirens on when it hit Scotts’ vehicle.

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety, the Fourth of July holiday has traditionally been one of the deadliest on Minnesota roads and highways. Fifty-nine deaths were reported in the past 10 years over the holiday, with 34 of those fatalities attributed to alcohol-related crashes.

ALBANY, N.Y. — Paul McCartney returned to a concert stage Saturday after being sidelined for two months because of a virus, spinning out songs from the Beatles, Wings and a solo career that has spanned more than 50 years of rock 'n' roll.

McCartney, who turned 72 two weeks ago, said it was great to be back. He looked none the worse for wear, putting on a show of just under three hours with 38 songs before finishing with the three-song medley that ends the "Abbey Road" album.

He was briefly hospitalized in Tokyo in May because of the viral infection. The illness forced him to cancel a Japanese tour and a concert in South Korea and reschedule half a dozen June dates in the United States before resuming his "Out There" tour in Albany. He has an Aug. 2 concert scheduled in Minneapolis at Target Field.

Man in wheelchair killed in downtown Luverne crash

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LUVERNE – A pedestrian in a motorized wheelchair was struck and killed by a man driving a U-Haul style truck Wednesday evening in downtown Luverne.

According to information released by Rock County Sheriff Evan Verbrugge, Marv Cleppe, age 71, of Luverne, was in his wheelchair stopped at a cross walk on Main Street preparing to go east at approximately 8:50 p.m. Timothy James, age 52, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, was driving the truck and stopped at a red light, preparing to turn right onto Cedar Street. When the light turned green, both men proceeded forward and the two collided.

Cleppe was transported to Sanford Luverne, where he was pronounced dead as a result of the injuries sustained in the crash.

James was not distracted at the time of the crash, according to the information released by Verbrugge. The sheriff stated it does not appear that alcohol or drugs were a factor, but toxicology tests were administered on James and will be sent to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).

The incident is still under investigation.