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WORTHINGTON -- Community members will usher in the New Year with a costume party, a balloon drop, karaoke, dinner specials and the annual Snow on the Porch variety show Thursday. "We're going to ring in the New Year with a balloon drop," said Louise Rients, manager at The Ground Round. "I'm not sure how many balloons we're going to have. We'll have party favors, we'll have champagne and dinner and special table decorations." The balloon drop is usually the highlight of the evening. Management and staff blow up the balloons and place them in a giant net on The Ground Round ceiling.
WORTHINGTON -- As the economy teetered back and forth in 2009 and government officials struggled to find ways to save and create new jobs, the recession struck in southwest Minnesota, causing three large employers to lay off large portions of their workforces. Suzlon, which manufactures wind turbines at its facility in Pipestone, announced in June that it would eliminate 70 positions by August and cut another 90 by the end of September. "I think the community a whole sees it as a crushing blow, so to speak," said Laurie Ness, mayor of Pipestone. Pipestone had already been hit hard after the
WORTHINGTON -- As southwest Minnesota and the surrounding region continued to dig itself out after the Christmas snowstorm, local law enforcement asked travelers to continue driving cautiously and paying attention to road conditions. "We would advise caution, and for people to be very careful when pulling into intersections with higher snowbanks, because you can't see over them," said Sgt. Bill Bolt of the Worthington Police Department. "People need to edge out carefully.
WORTHINGTON -- By the time the first case of H1N1 novel influenza, often called "swine flu," was confirmed in Minnesota April 29, people were already worried about the virus's unusually high fatality rate and its inclination to strike young people as easily as elderly ones. District 518 had already started preparing for the H1N1 incursion by that point, however, and encouraged people in the community to stay calm. H1N1 then began moving across the state, and by May 2, Nobles-Rock Community Health Services Administrator Brad Meyer was warning people that it was only a matter of time before th
OKABENA -- Southwest Star Concept School hopes to turn fat to fit once again this year with its second annual Fitness Challenge, in which community members join teams and compete to lose the most weight. "It's not necessarily a weight loss challenge," said Cindy Owen, dean of students and SSC Wellness Committee member. "We wanted it to be more of a wellness challenge (of) becoming physically fit." In its first year, the SSC Wellness Committee expected participation of about 40 people, and were floored when more than 100 people joined the contest.
WORTHINGTON -- The Christmas Blizzard of 2009, powered by a merger of two separate storm systems, dumped more than 15 inches of snow on southwest Minnesota, brought holiday travel to a standstill, caused a 14-hour power outage in Slayton and cost the City of Worthington alone about $50,000 in snow removal costs. The heaviest snow was over by Christmas evening, as the storm pulled itself west, leaving only a few inches to fall overnight. "It's really bad luck that it happened on Christmas Eve and Christmas," said Richard Ryrholm, lead forecaster at the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls,
JACKSON -- Andrea Ruesch, a spirited, enthusiastic worker in 4-H programs across southwest Minnesota, died suddenly as a result of blood clots in the heart Sunday, at Sanford Health Center, Jackson. Ruesch, 37, graduated from Worthington Senior High in 1991, received a bachelor's degree in mass communications, with a focus in public relations, from Moorhead State University in 1995, and earned a master's degree from the University of Minnesota, Morris.
JACKSON -- To the relief of its dedicated customers, the new owner of Coffee Choices intends to keep the café in downtown Jackson as it is, though she will add more organic coffee to the menu. "What they're doing is working for a reason," said Susan Reiter of Estherville, who will officially take possession of the business Jan. 1. "The only changes might be adding a few things here and there, as customers request them." When Don and Karen Wells were first thinking of selling Coffee Choices a few years ago, Reiter was just becoming a customer there.
JACKSON -- The chill is in the air and the snow is in the sky, just in time for Jackson's 12th annual Holiday Fest this weekend, with fireworks and a parade scheduled for Saturday. "The fireworks are so much better when it's cold and crisp in the night air," said Marilyn Reese, executive director of the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce. "They're just so much better than in the summertime." The fireworks will begin at 6:30 p.m., and will be launched near the Jackson City Hall area.