Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at farmbleat.areavoices.com.
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HILLS -- An explosion believed to have been caused by a malfunctioning electrical light and some gasoline rocked the town of Hills Tuesday morning and left a home without its attached two-stall garage. Two occupants of the home were uninjured. The Hills Fire Department was paged to 200 S. Elizabeth Ave. at 7:39 a.m.
WORTHINGTON -- With continued concerns about the 2011 budget, Nobles County Commissioners took no action Tuesday morning on a request by Sheriff Kent Wilkening to replace a deputy sheriff's position within the department. Wilkening has been a deputy short of a 12-member staff since the end of May, when his night sergeant retired.
WORTHINGTON -- More than half of the 134 wind turbines in the new Nobles Wind Farm are fully erected, and developer enXco says the project is on track for an early December completion. On Monday, Xcel Energy's project manager Rick Halet said the project has been going well. "We hope to have all of the turbines up and running in early December," Halet said. So far, 75 turbines are completely erected with the tower, cell and rotor in place. Of those, 40 are fully commissioned and synchronized to the grid. Construction on the 201-megawatt wind farm began in early April.
WORTHINGTON -- Nearly 40 Army National Guard soldiers from across southwest Minnesota spent their Saturday afternoon in Worthington, clearing garbage from parks and debris from public shoreline as part of the nationwide Guard the Environment program. Minnesota National Guard members took part in the weekend event at 11 different sites across the state, and many of them will be out again next weekend to do the same. The Recruit Sustainment Program (RSP) New Ulm detachment that visited Worthington Saturday was comprised of citizen soldiers from New Ulm and Luverne.
LUVERNE -- Fantastic, real good, great and awesome. Those were the words of World War II veterans reacting to the special presentation of the Pioneer Public Television documentary on the inaugural Honor Flight Southwest Minnesota Saturday morning at the Historic Palace Theatre in Luverne. A majority of the 108 men and women on the April 30-May 1 flight attended the free showing, along with a reunion and luncheon that followed at the Blue Mound Banquet Center.
ADRIAN -- Students at Adrian Elementary kicked off their day Friday with a Rockin' Recess, dancing to the Macarena and rolling through the motions of the Chicken Dance. The event was part of day-long festivities at the school to celebrate its silver rating in the Healthier U.S.
LUVERNE -- The Minnesota Chapter of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) honored a Luverne man for his dedication and service to the Luverne HRA during its annual conference in Duluth recently. Michael Engesser, president and CEO of First Farmers and Merchants National Bank in Luverne has served on the community's HRA board since 1991, and is now in his second year as board chairman.
ROUND LAKE -- Dennis Duitsman pumped his fist in appreciation as a neighboring farmer drove passed with a couple wagon loads of grain Wednesday morning on a minimum maintenance road near Spafford. The farmer was among nearly 30 neighbors and friends to come to the aid of the Duitsman family after Dennis' dad was hospitalized late last week.
WORTHINGTON -- Greg Ponto of rural Reading is feeling really good about this year's harvest, but it pains him in a way. Other farmers in southwest Minnesota weren't lucky enough to escape mid-season hail storms and late-season drown-outs. As some bring in below-average yields -- if they have yields at all -- Ponto is harvesting some of the best corn and soybean crops he's seen in a while. "The yields are fantastic," he said.
WORTHINGTON -- Unseasonably warm temperatures and clear skies have been a perfect combination for farmers working to get this year's crop into the bins, but they have also lead to a later-than-usual algae bloom on Lake Okabena. Since Saturday, visitors to the eastern shore of Worthington's lake have encountered a foul smell and a layer of slime that, except for its color, could mirror an oil slick.