Dec. 1: The fate of the Jackson County Resource Center remains in doubt after Tuesday’s hearing, which ended with Judge Douglas Richards requesting lawyers for both Jackson County and the Jackson Preservation Alliance to deliver their closing statements to him in writing by 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Dec. 1: Six southwest Minnesota counties started — and finished on the same day — their required recounts for the still-unresolved Minnesota governor’s race.
Dec. 2: The Worthington Area Foundation presented checks Wednesday afternoon to seven local non-profits to help fund special projects in the community.
In all, $5,000 was awarded from the foundation’s general endowment fund, according to board member Beve Vajgrt.
Dec. 3: It wasn’t just any old holiday season shopping day Thursday at the Spirit Lake Walmart.
Politician-author-reality show star Sarah Palin, in the midst of a nine day, crosscountry tour promoting her new book, “America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag,” attracted a large crowd to the Spirit Lake store, with hundreds waiting on line for a chance to have Palin sign their copy of the former Alaska governor’s follow-up to “Going Rogue: An American Life.”
Dec. 3: A trio of community fire chiefs came before Nobles County commissioners on Thursday in hopes of getting the county to reconsider its decision to cut the emergency management director position from full-time to three-fifths time as of Jan. 1.
Dec. 3: Nobles County Family Service Agency Director Nicole Names told county commissioners on Thursday the agency has begun the process of working with the county’s daycare association to find compromise over a change in variance requests.
Since its meeting more than a week ago with daycare providers and parents in Worthington — a meeting in which emotions ran high and parents expressed outrage — the agency’s leadership has met with the daycare association and provided them copies of the draft policy.
Dec. 3: Gold’n Plump Poultry will add 35 full-time positions and create a second shift at its facility in Luverne to accommodate a 50 percent production increase.
Dec. 4: Increased truck traffic and vehicles designed to carry larger loads are creating a toll on Nobles County’s bridges that were designed 30, 50 and up to 70 years ago.
That toll is showing as new weight restrictions will be placed on nine bridges in the county this month. Another bridge, located south of Brewster, has a width restriction after a partial failure in October led to a milling machine plunging toward the creek below. That bridge has since reopened to one-lane travel.
Dec. 6: An early morning fire devastated an Avoca business Saturday.
The Avoca Fire Department responded to a fire call at about 1 a.m. Saturday at Avoca Spray Service, 888 210th Ave., located on the northeast outskirts of the town.
Dec. 6: Overseers of Worthington’s Historic Dayton House feel the time is right to pursue an endowment to ensure the house is in tip-top financial shape for the future.
Dec. 8: After years of planning and months of construction, the Southwestern Mental Health Center’s new Unity House is nearly ready to open.
On Tuesday morning crews were assembling furniture inside the $1.6 million intensive, in-patient counseling facility. An open house is planned from 2 to 5 p.m. Dec. 20 at Unity House, 1215 Fourth Ave.
Dec. 8: If December just isn’t the same for you without plenty of live, high-quality holiday music, this is your week to revel.
Two local musical groups — the Worthington Area Orchestra and the Worthington Chamber Singers — present concerts in the next few days, both set at Worthington’s First United Methodist Church, 408 11th St.
Dec. 9: The Okabena-Ocheda Watershed District was honored by the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources Tuesday night for its 50th anniversary in humble fashion with little fanfare — much like its beginning in Nobles County back in 1960.
Dec. 10: Pining for a festive, musical, merry, medieval-themed outing, complete with a delicious repast and packed with good humor?
Worthington High School (WHS) choral director Kerry Johnson has just the ticket.
“Our third annual madrigal dinner is a great way to get yourself in the holiday spirit,” Johnson said of the event, which has two performances: 7 p.m. on Dec. 18 and 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 19.
Dec. 11: Obediah “Buddy” Stafford has a good poker face.
Well, he has that and a whole lot of luck — at least that’s what he says. The Worthington man will represent poker players from across Minnesota one week from today in the highest stakes Texas Hold’em tournament of his life — the national finals in Las Vegas, Nev.
Dec. 13: With a total of 10 inches of snowfall in Worthington on Saturday, not to mention winds gusting well in excess of 50 mph throughout the day into the wee hours of Sunday morning, the weather outside was frightful, indeed. Blizzard conditions made it difficult for local residents to see much at all in front of them — and that was within city limits, never mind out in rural areas, where blowing snow consistently wreaks havoc with visibility.
Dec. 14: The Instructional Committee discussed Monday the problem of social promotion — allowing students to advance in grade level despite inadequate academic performance — in what is likely to be an ongoing discussion for the District 518 Board of Education.
Dec. 16: The battle over the Jackson County Resource Center may be concluded after eight years of meetings, petitions, votes and finally, a judge’s denial of a request for a temporary injunction.
The injunction would have prevented the demolition of the 1938 portion of the Resource Center, once the Jackson Senior High School.
Dec. 16: The city of Worthington will increase its levy by 3.2 percent and collect $2,757,307 in property taxes next year, the Worthington City Council decided this week.
Dec. 17: The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) has awarded more than $10 million in state grants from Minnesota’s Clean Water Fund to complete projects that help to protect streams, rivers, lakes and groundwater.
Garnering the largest grant in the region is the Nobles County Soil and Water Conservation District, which will get more than $162,000 to complete a shoreline restoration project on the Langseth family property on the east basin of Lake Ocheda.
Dec. 17: Prairie View Golf Links will be operated by Dakota Golf Management, in partnership with the city of Worthington, for the 2011 golf season.
Dec. 18: Getting elementary school children to realize the importance of eating right, exercising and limiting the amount of time they spend in front of the TV or video games is the premise behind a year-long study taking place at Sibley-Ocheyedan Elementary School.
Spearheaded by Sibley native and Iowa State University graduate student Erin Thole, school officials, fourth-graders and their parents agreed to implement a “Let’s Go 5-2-1-0” program early last spring.
Dec. 21: When President Barack Obama signed the 2010 tax relief bill on Friday, making the biodiesel tax credit retroactive to Jan. 1 and extending it through the end of 2011, the phones began to ring at Minnesota Soybean Processors (MnSP).
Orders for the soy-based diesel fuel had slowed when the $1-per-gallon tax credit was allowed to expire on Dec. 31, 2009. On Monday, Collin said there was enough biodiesel in storage to fill the orders MnSP has received in recent days. Production will begin again as soon as possible.
Dec. 21: Christmas came a little early this year for St. Mary’s School in Worthington, which received a $15,000 technology grant from the Blandin Foundation.
Dec. 22: The District 518 Board of Education voted 4-2 Tuesday to authorize a one-time levy reduction of approximately $1 million for next year.
Dec. 22: Just days before two county employees lose their jobs and another two have their hours cut, Nobles County commissioners on Tuesday approved a pay increase for themselves.
The five members on the board will see their commissioner salaries increase from $17,000 to $17,510 as of Jan. 1.
Dec. 23: “For the religious people, it’s working really well, because they’re able to use their religion … to get them through a lot of the anger that they feel,” said Brynn Muir of Jackson, who spent the last three and a half months studying post-conflict transformation in Rwanda and Uganda. “The reconciliation process is going really well. They’re rebuilding at an astounding rate.”
Dec. 23: In Minnesota, 137 schools have signed on to take part in the robot challenge this year, and Worthington is among those newly added to the list.
Dec. 24: A group of enterprising Windom High School students have been producing video and commentary for their local sports teams — all as part of a class on mass media.
Dec. 27: The Bread of Life Feeding Ministry will resume operation after the first of the year at a new location and with a repurposed focus.
Dec. 27: “We are calling for all American people to support us,” Yar Kang said in reference to the Southern Sudan Referendum 2011, a long-awaited vote to be taken Jan. 9 that, if approved, would officially separate the governments of north and south Sudan.
Dec. 28: Heron Lake BioEnergy LLC has been fined $66,000 by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) for environmental violations that date as far back as October 2005, when the facility was under construction.
Dec. 28: Between their annual salary, per diems for attending meetings and reimbursement for cell phone usage, mileage, meals and motels, full-time Nobles County Commissioners in 2010 collected an average $25,125 in taxpayer money.
Dec. 29: An events center/hotel project stymied for more than a year appears to taking a significant leap forward.
The Worthington City Council, acting during its Monday night meeting, approved going ahead with the pursuit of signing a letter of intent with Cornerstone Construction of St. Cloud on development of the $3.5 million project. Under a best-case scenario, Worthington City Administrator Craig Clark said Tuesday afternoon, work at the events center/hotel site — located adjacent to the city’s bioscience park on U.S. 59 — would begin in spring 2011, with completion by spring or summer of 2012.
Dec. 30: The Family Medicine Clinic in Sibley will join the Avera Medical Group network and be owned by Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center. Beginning Saturday, the clinic will officially become Avera Medical Group Sibley.