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 The Farm Bleat.
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WORTHINGTON -- The morning crew at US 104 is once again seeking people to take a dip in the frigid waters of Lake Okabena to help support local World War II heroes embarking on Honor Flight Southwest Minnesota . Worthington's second annual Winterfest celebration is more than a week away, and the station is working hard to recruit jumpers ages 18 and older willing to take the Deep Freeze Dip.
WORTHINGTON -- The Nobles County Planning Commission took the first step Wednesday night in approving an update to the county's All Hazard Mitigation Plan. The document paves the way for the county to access federal funds that could alleviate some of the costs of mitigating natural, man-made or technological disasters. Nobles County was among the first in southwest Minnesota to write its initial mitigation plan back in 2004.
SIBLEY, Iowa -- For years, the Family Medicine Clinic in Sibley has remained a private clinic owned in partnership by the physicians who worked there. With three physicians leaving within the last couple of years -- one due to retirement and two to relocation -- the partnership had dwindled to two: Dr. Doug Miedema and Dr. Greg Kosters. On Tuesday, the clinic announced it will join the Avera Medical Group network and be owned by Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center.
HERON LAKE -- 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. A release issued by the MPCA on Monday states the ethanol plant violated conditions of both its state-issued air quality and water quality permits on a number of occasions after HLBE began operating in September 2007. "The air quality violations covered in the agreement include exceedances of permitted emissions limits, failure to conduct monitoring as required by the permit
WORTHINGTON -- 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. Third District Commissioner David Benson, who serves Bigelow, Dewald, Grand Prairie, Little Rock, Ransom and Worthington townships, in addition to the cities of Bigelow, Ellsworth, Rushmore and Ward 1, Precinct 2 in Worthington, collected the highest pay with per diems and reimbursements at $31,651.
AUSTIN -- On a cold day last January, Lynette Carlson turned on her computer, logged into the social network website Facebook and found a message in her inbox that would change her life forever. With a click of a mouse she opened the note and read: "Have you ever lived in Slayton, Minnesota or Roswell, Kansas? If so, does the name Steven Michael ring a bell to you?" "At that point I was bawling my eyes out," she said. Lynette was as sure of her answers as she was of who sent the message. She had finally been discovered by the son she gave up for adoption.
WORTHINGTON -- A new program will be introduced at Worthington High School after students return from their holiday break, and it's one that will draw out their math, science and technology skills and demand their creativity. For more than a decade, First Robotic Competition has encouraged ninth- through 12th-graders around the world to design and build robots with the ability to roll over speed bumps, maneuver through tunnels, kick, toss, reach and grab, among other things.
WORTHINGTON -- Nobles County commissioners took final action on the 2011 budget and levy during their Tuesday morning meeting, making no changes since conducting the public Truth in Taxation hearing a week ago. The overall budget was approved at $23,405,602, with the property tax levy approved at $9,808,556. Commissioner David Benson said he was concerned about setting the levy increase at 2.51 percent -- a decrease from the 4.5 percent levy increase commissioners proposed in September. "I'll vote for the levy at that level, but I do have some misgivings," Benson said.
WORTHINGTON -- 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. Commissioner Vern Leistico, who requested the 3 percent increase, said it still will not be enough to cover the more than $800 increase they will see in their costs for insurance in the coming year. "Really, we're going to be in the hole from where we were last year," Leistico said.
BREWSTER -- 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. In May, MnSP spokesperson Kim Collin said the Brewster plant had already cut back on biodiesel production. It was stopped entirely Nov.