February 4 news

MINNEAPOLIS - Joan Mondale, who built a reputation as a national cultural arts advocate while her husband was vice president, has died. Her family issued a statement through their church saying she died Monday afternoon with family by her side.

Mondale was so passionate about the arts that she was nicknamed "Joan of Art." She herself was an avid potter when her husband Walter, then a Democratic U.S. senator from Minnesota, was elected Jimmy Carter's vice president in 1976.

Carter named Joan Mondale honorary chairwoman of the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities. She traveled frequently to museums, theaters and artists' studios on the administration's behalf, and lobbied Congress and the states for more spending on public arts programs.

WORTHINGTON - The Minnesota County Engineers Association in January honored a team of engineers from the Nobles County Highway Department for the design and completion of the 2.3-mile trail system on the west edge of Worthington. Public Works Director Stephen Schnieder accepted the Highway Safety Achievement Award during the association’s annual meeting in late January in recognition of the county’s work to improve pedestrian safety.

The $975,000 trail project was paid for with a $740,000 federal trails grant, with the additional dollars coming from the State Aid construction fund.

The walking and biking trail, which was completed last fall, extends from Olson Park along Crailsheim Drive to Oxford Street and then east and south to Centennial Park. It offers a path for students to access the Worthington Middle School, while also extending to other facilities such as the Worthington Area YMCA, Minnesota West Community and Technical College and senior housing complexes.

SLAYTON - Michelle Baumhoefner has been named the executive director of A.C.E. (Advocate, Connect & Educate) formerly known as R.S.V.P. (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) of Southwest Minnesota.

The new name became effective as of January 1st, 2014. RSVP will still be available as part of the ACE programming. The name was changed due to the fact that RSVP provides more than volunteer services. The coordinators located in the six county service areas will all remain the same.

RSVP of Southwest Minnesota has had an agreement for director services via the Southwest Regional Development Commission in the past, but one of the primary funding sources does not allow director services to be contracted. The executive director position is something the organization has been working to create for the past year, according to Baumhoefner, who assumed her position on January 2nd.

Baumhoefner is hired as a 3/4 position and will work approximately 30 hours a week as of right now. She said there are three additional counties looking at possibly joining the present six-county group. If this would happen, Baumhoefner’s hours will increase.

LAKE WILSON - During a recent public hearing for the Stoneray Wind Farm, an estimated 30 to 40 people attended the meeting, asking questions that centered on whether the project would move forward, what type of turbine had been selected and when the project would begin. Stoneray is a 105 MW project proposed for eastern Pipestone County and western Murray County.

The final report will be used by the five-member Public Utilities Commission to determine whether or not the proposed project by EDF Renewable Energy of Minneapolis is needed, and if it should be constructed in southwest Minnesota. EDF proposes erecting up to 62-wind turbines north and east of Woodstock in Rock and Burke townships in Pipestone County and Cameron and Chanarambie townships in Murray County.

Late May or June has been tentatively set for the PUC to make a final decision, and the project wouldn’t be ready to go on-line until sometime in 2015.

ESTHERVILLE, Iowa - An Estherville man is facing drug and domestic abuse charges following an incident over the weekend. At 4:30 a.m. Saturday morning, Police were called to a residence in the 400 block of West 5th Avenue North in Estherville for a domestic disturbance. As officers were responding, they found the man allegedly involved in the dispute, 47 year old Matthew Shryock, walking on West 5th Avenue North.

As officers were conducting the investigation, it was determined that Shryock was allegedly in possession of methamphetamine, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia. He was arrested and taken to the Emmet County Jail. Police executed a search warrant for the residence on West 5th Avenue North and found marijuana and numerous items of drug paraphernalia.

As a result of the investigation, Shryock was charged with Second Offense Possession of a Controlled Substance-Methamphetamine with Intent to Deliver, Possession of a Controlled Substance-marijuana-third offense, unlawful Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Domestic Abuse Assault and Child Endangerment.

SIOUX CENTER, Iowa — A machine shed, two tractors and more were destroyed in a fire near Sioux Center on Monday. Four fire departments responded.

Sioux Center Fire Chief David Van Holland says that crews were paged about 10:30 a.m. to 3360 410th Street — the Brad Ver Meer residence. When the fire trucks pulled up, they saw the machine shed was fully engulfed in flame. They sprayed water on nearby buildings to protect them, then started on the machine shed, going through 30,000 gallons of water to fight the fire. Van Holland says there were no injuries and no loss of pets or livestock that he’s aware of.

The cause of the fire is still undetermined. The approximately 80-by-60-foot machine shed was a total loss, as were the contents, which included two tractors, a side-by-side ATV, and many tools.

The Maurice, Orange City, and Hull fire departments assisted the Sioux Center Fire Department in fighting the fire. Fire crews were on scene about two hours.

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