Year in Review: April-June 2009April 1: It was standing room only at an informational meeting Monday night in the high school gymnasium about the proposed construction of a new Hills-Beaver Creek High School.
By: Ryan McGaughey, Worthington Daily Globe
April 1: It was standing room only at an informational meeting Monday night in the high school gymnasium about the proposed construction of a new Hills-Beaver Creek High School.
April 6: Correctly spelling the words “beneficial” and “temporarily” netted Murray County Central student Heidi Bau the championship trophy Saturday morning during the annual Southwest Minnesota Spelling Bee in Slayton.
April 8: On a 3-2 vote, Nobles County Commissioners on Tuesday morning rejected the request to hire a 4-H summer intern this year, saving the county approximately $3,600. In addition to cutting the 4-H summer intern position, commissioners on Tuesday decided to hold off on filling the vacant county finance director post.
April 9: Congressman Tim Walz met Wednesday with a small group of city staff and Housing and Redevelopment Authority representatives to discuss plans to refurbish homes in Worthington with federal funding.
April 13: Paul Summers LaRoche, who grew up as an adopted son in Worthington and discovered his Native American Lakota heritage in 1993, will return to his hometown to present a concert Friday at Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center in Worthington.
April 16: Three Worthington High School students will compete Saturday in the Section A competition of the 2009 State Speech Tournament at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter. Sameera Nalla will compete in Original Oratory; David Bardan will compete in Extemporaneous Speaking; and Mariah Teerink will compete in Discussion.
April 16: A fire that started on the lower level of a two-story apartment building claimed both the upper and lower apartments Wednesday afternoon at the Country Village Apartments on Knollwood Drive.
April 20: After spending a year defending his country, Staff Sgt. Aaron Larson is home from Iraq and able to hold his little boy close — something that means a lot to a man who suffered the loss of his boyhood friend, Jacob Wetterling, when he was just 11 years old. Larson came home to Slayton on Friday morning and was greeted with flags, balloons and family.
April 21: In a 7-4 roll call vote, the Round Lake-Brewster School Board rejected the option of moving to a four-day school week during its Monday night meeting in Brewster. The action came shortly after board members accepted the resignation of Superintendent John Cselovszki, who has accepted a position as superintendent in Sleepy Eye.
April 22: Foul play has been ruled out in the house fire that claimed the life of Travis Paul Phelps, 32, of Heron Lake, early Tuesday morning.
April 24: A seven-member jury in Murray County District Court ruled Thursday that Detroit Radiant Products Company was not negligent and did not a defective radiant tube heater, resolving a civiul suit by Michigan Miller Insurance Company and the Chandler Co-operative in the wake of a Chandler explosion.
April 28: Sgt. LeRoy Webster, 28, of Hartley, Iowa, was killed during a patrol in Kirkuk, Iraq, early Saturday evening, while serving on active duty in the U.S. Army. The son of Donald and Crystal Webster of Hartley, he leaves behind wife Jessica and three daughters, Natasha, Kaydence, and Jadyn, all of Hartley.
May 2: Public health agencies across Minnesota continue to receive updates several times a day on the H1N1 novel influenza virus after a second probable case was discovered Friday in Isanti County, north of the Twin Cities.
Nobles-Rock Community Health Services Administrator Brad Meyer said based on the number and location of confirmed H1N1 flu cases, the local agency anticipates it will only be a matter of time before cases are discovered in southwest Minnesota.
May 2: Jerry Wiertzema, who worked for the Nobles County Highway Department for 41 years, was honored during a retirement party Thursday.
May 4: The Long Branch Saloon hosted a bilingual bash with cake, candy and piñatas for kids and adults Saturday, all in honor of Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo.
May 5: Students at Worthington High School were awarded a total of $19,000 in scholarships at the Dollars for Scholars program Monday.
May 6: A man charged with attempted murder on Tuesday was assigned a bail amount of $15,000 in Nobles County. As of Tuesday afternoon, Adrian Martinez, 22, of Worthington, was still being held in the Nobles County Jail after being charged earlier that day with first-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault and second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon.
May 7: Members of the Worthington High School Concert Choir and Trojan Choir will sing the national anthem before the May 28 Twins-Red Sox game, scheduled for 12:10 p.m. at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.
May 8: With anywhere from one to two inches dousing the Worthington area in the last couple of days, area crop producers are at a standstill. Tractors and planters are parked and, with the weather forecast calling for more rain today, it could be a while before farmers get back to their job of getting this year’s corn and soybean crops in the field.
May 8: Eleven Murray County Central West Elementary mathletes traveled to Birmingham, Ala., last weekend to compete in the baseball-themed National Math Bee, beating out teams from 12 other states to win both the multiplication and division competitions in their grade level.
May 11: As recipients of this year’s home from Habitat for Humanity of Southwestern Minnesota, the Nordby family was breaking ground Saturday on their new house. The new, 988-square-foot home, to be located at 1101 Eighth Ave., will be the seventh Habitat House built in southwest Minnesota, and the third in Nobles County.
May 13: A small but vocal group of community members expressed concerns about the proposed flexible learning year during a Tuesday forum at Worthington High School. Superintendent John Landgaard began by explaining the flexible learning year — effectively an earlier start date to the school year — and its benefits.
May 15: After less than five hours of deliberation, the jury delivered a verdict of guilty on all three counts in the Josue Fraga trial. Fraga was accused of murdering his 2-year-old niece Samantha in March 2008 while sexually molesting her.
May 15: Scholtes Auto World may be on a list of 789 dealerships Chrysler LLC wants to eliminate, but owners of the Worthington business said Thursday they aren’t going anywhere. “We will be in Worthington, regardless of what happens,” said dealership coowner Tim Scholtes, a few hours after a Chrysler list of dealerships slated for elimination was made public.
May 15: Congressman Tim Walz announced Thursday he will request $10 million for Minnesota 60 in the new Surface Transportation Bill being written by Congress. The request would provide funding for the Highway 60 four-lane expansion project between Bigelow and St. James, the first phase of which is slated to begin next year.
May 15: Law enforcement officers and county commissioners from nearly all nine counties in District 8 met with Minnesota’s Commissioner of Public Safety Michael Campion in Slayton Thursday afternoon to discuss potential collaboration on regional dispatch in southwest Minnesota.
May 16: Wind Energy Services, which currently has wind energy service and repair operations in Independence, Kan., and Sweetwater, Texas, has issued a press release announcing the opening of its third strategically located operation — in Worthington.
May 16: Sterling Johnson, a longtime member of Worthington’s Noon Kiwanis Club and the District 518 school board as well as a local optometrist, died Wednesday at the age of 89.
May 18: On Sunday afternoon, Becky Clausen of Dundee was installed as the first female president of the Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie 3282 at the Eagles Club in Worthington. With the installation, she becomes just the second woman in the state to attain the highest rank of leadership at the local level.
May 19: Chelsey Fast of rural Bingham Lake was among 90 young Minnesota women to take part in a dairy promotion training in St. Joseph over the weekend. As part of the event, 66 of them competed to become one of 12 Princess Kay of the Milky Way finalists. Fast, who is serving her second year as the Cottonwood County Dairy Princess, was selected to be among the Top 12.
May 19: Fredi Lowry, longtime Daily Globe columnist, tour guide and community servant, died Friday at Crossroads Care Center in Worthington. She was 82.
May 20: The District 518 Board of Education agreed Tuesday that it would not pursue a flexible learning year application for the 2009-2010 academic year. Members will, however, seriously consider petitioning for a flexible learning year in the 2010-2011 school year.
May 20: Nobles County Commissioners on Tuesday authorized the sale of $8.5 million in temporary, three-year water system construction bonds for the first phase of the Lincoln-Pipestone Rural Water (LPRW) expansion project in Nobles and Jackson counties. Wells Fargo Brokerage Securities, LLC., of Minneapolis was the winning bidder for the bond purchase.
May 21: Congressman Tim Walz on Wednesday announced nearly three quarters of a million dollars in grant money for regional airports. Quentin Aanenson Field in Luverne, Windom Municipal Field in Windom and Blue Earth Municipal Field in Blue Earth will all receive funding.
May 21: In an unanticipated change of direction, the Sibley-Ocheyedan School Board Wednesday night rescinded a motion from its mid-April meeting to cut two weeks from the extended summer contract for high school agriculture teacher and FFA advisor Mike Earll.
May 22: Working proactively with the Minnesota Department of Health, the Southwest Minnesota Chapter of the American Red Cross, Emergency Management and Minnesota Responds, the agency recently hosted the first volunteer trainings for a local Medical Reserve Corp in Nobles and Rock counties. Jason Kloss, NRCHS Sanitarian, is the lead administrator for the corp.
May 23: A dramatic balloon drop in shades of red, black and silver capped a sentimental evening ceremony as the 135 graduates of the Worthington High School (WHS) Class of 2009 recessed from the gymnasium following the school’s 122 nd commencement exercises.
May 23: Numerous businesses in Worthington, Luverne, Pipestone and Hardwick have contributed to a benefit event for the Dykstra family of Worthington, set to begin 4 p.m. on June 6 at the Worthington Hockey Arena. Brian Dykstra was seriously injured in a work-related crane accident on Feb. 2 and lost his right leg.
May 26: Multiple fire departments were on the scene of a blaze at the Minnesota Soybean Processors plant in Brewster Saturday night into the early morning hours on Sunday. The fire call was reported shortly before 10 p.m. Saturday, according to Nobles County Sheriff Kent Wilkening.
May 27: Micah Johnson, a fourth-grader at Prairie Elementary, was selected as the state-level winner of the Minnesota Rural Water Association’s 2009 Water Week Poster Contest.
May 28: Brandon Brockshus of Bigelow, Jack Kelly of Windom, and Heather Steele of Spirit Lake, Iowa, are among more than 8,200 high school seniors who will receive National Merit Scholarships financed by colleges and universities.
June 2: The Worthington City Council discussed how it will spend about $23 million in hospital sale proceeds during a special meeting Monday. Among options discussed were a soccer field complex; an adult community center; trails, parks and lake improvement, new city signage; green initiatives; a new fire hall; and a sports and recreation fund that could include money for hockey, sports and recreation programs and Chamber of Commerce efforts.
June 3: Between 40 and 50 employees of JBS were transported to Sanford Regional Hospital Worthington (SRHW) Tuesday morning after they were sickened by an ammonia leak inside the pork processing facility, 1700 Minnesota 60 North, Worthington. As of 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, SRHW issued a press release saying that five of those patients were admitted and remain in fair condition in the hospital. The remainder were treated and released.
June 4: It looks like show goers will squeeze one more season out of the current Memorial Auditorium before renovations begin on the building. Construction on the $1.5 million-plus renovation and addition project has been postponed until the spring of 2010 to allow for re-evaluation of the project’s costs.
June 5: A Worthington man was arrested in Fulda last week and is now facing charges of fifth-degree controlled substance possession, violation of an order for protection and possession of drug paraphernalia. It is his third drug arrest in five years. The complaint states Emilio Amos Matias, 28, was in Fulda after a Worthington Police officer asked for assistance in locating a man involved in a civil matter.
June 6: It looks like joint applications were the way to go for the last round of Small Cities Project grants awarded by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Of the $15.9 million awarded, the large majority of applications approved were from cities that applied jointly. In southwest Minnesota, Lakefield, Heron Lake and Wilder were approved jointly for $449,004 to rehabilitate 24 owner-occupied houses; Windom and Mountain Lake will receive $354,000 to rehabilitate 20 homes; and Slayton and Hadley were awarded $454,920 to rehabilitate 18 owner-occupied houses, six single-family rental units and two duplex rental units.
June 8: The community of Pipestone was shaken Friday by the news that wind power company Suzlon planned to lay off half the workforce at its Pipestone turbine blade plant. According to a letter sent to the City of Pipestone, Suzlon anticipates the elimination of 70 positions Aug. 2 and will likely cut another 90 positions by the end of September.
June 11: Nobles-Rock Community Health Services will receive $716,000 in grants over the course of the next three years to re-establish its tobacco prevention coalition, as well as to target obesity and healthy living in the two counties.
June 13: Windom Community Center filled up fast Thursday night as citizens showed up in droves to find out about the level III sex offender who moved to town a week ago.
June 15: Although the windsurfers wished the breeze would pick up, visitors to the Worthington Windsurfers Regatta and Unvarnished Music Festival found the weather perfect for watching a variety of bands perform, strolling along Sailboard Beach and checking out the fun foods served by vendors.
June 16: A few dog owners in the community have established a work group — the Friends of the Worthington Puppy Park — in hopes of raising funds to erect a new, chain link fence and add a few trees around the perimeter of the park.
June 19: Starting July 1, consumers in Worthington will pay a 7.375 percent sales and use tax on taxable items — up from the current 7 percent charged on goods and services sold or consumed in the city limits. Tax rates will rise to 6.875 percent statewide, but because of the half-percent local option sales tax already collected in Worthington, the rate is higher here.
June 20: The Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce Retail Committee is sponsoring the Downtown Worthington Farmers Market, which will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. every Tuesday beginning next week at the former Campbell’s Soup parking lot.
June 20: Construction on the $3.5-million Worthington Events Center and proposed $7 million adjoining hotel has been postponed at least until spring of 2010, but city officials say it is still a priority. The city had entered into a memorandum of understanding with Ruhr Development for the project, but a change in lending requirements has put hotel construction on hold.
June 22: With some money yet to come in, the Nobles County Relay collected nearly $93,200 for the American Cancer Society to fund research and find a cure for cancer. This year’s goal, lowered from the previous year, was $65,000.
June 23: A proposed tax abatement for the company working on a 72-unit residential development off of CSAH 35 and 5 was approved Monday night during the Worthington City Council meeting. The company, Gilt Edge, LLC, requested the city abate 80 percent of its share of the real estate taxes for 15 years or $250,000, whichever occurs first, to improve the viability of the proposed project.
June 24: O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office was not yet releasing the names of three adult males killed in a single-engine plane crash around 11 a.m. Tuesday. The names of the victims were being withheld pending notification of family members.
June 24: Nobles County Commissioners on Tuesday gave SEH Engineering the go-ahead to begin work on plans for a new county library in Worthington. The hope now is that the county can partner with the City of Worthington on a joint library and senior center complex.
June 26: The Worthington Police Department recently arrested two juveniles they believe are responsible for 12 or more burglaries in the area, but are still looking for whoever is responsible for several acts of vandalism.
June 27: When Nobles County’s rural residents received their tax statements this year, many of them were not surprised to see they would be paying more in county and school taxes. Taxes are directly linked to property values, and from Oct. 1, 2007, through Sept. 30, 2008, all but two of the 53 bare agricultural land sales in the county sold for more than their estimated market value.
June 27: Worthington High School students He Chen and Ricky Thonglyvong attended the National Business Professionals of America Leadership Conference last week in Dallas. They competed against about 60 others in the PC Servicing and Troubleshooting category.
June 27: On Tuesday, the 90-member Fulda High School Marching Band will depart for Washington, D.C., to march in the 2009 National Independence Day Parade.
June 30: Three new picnic tables and a bench were added to Nobles County Freedom Veterans Memorial Park on Friday, thanks to a $2,300 donation by Richard and Barb Atchison, on behalf of South Shore and Crossroads care centers in Worthington.