April 17 news

WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. Secret Service says it has intercepted a letter addressed to President Barack Obama that contained a "suspicious substance."

Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan says the letter was intercepted at a facility away from the White House Tuesday. This comes a day after lawmakers said a letter was mailed to Sen. Roger Wicker that tested positive for poisonous ricin. Another senator said police have a suspect in mind.

Tensions have been high in Washington and across the country since the deadly bombings Monday at the Boston Marathon that killed three people and injured more than 180.

WORTHINGTON - Nobles Cooperative Electric continues to make progress in restoring power to members. As of 8 a.m. this morning, there were 328 members without power. More than 100 linemen are working to restore power. According to General Manager Richard Burud, workers say this is one of the worst storms they have seen. The goal still stands to have all members restored by Friday, weather permitting. Crews will continue working until all power has been restored.

FULDA – According to Murray County Community Relations Director Christy Riley, Seven Mile Park in Fulda is closed until further notice. Riley said the park received a lot of tree damage during last week’s ice storm, but the ground is too soft to get large equipment in for clean-up. For safety reasons, the park will be closed until downed trees and falling tree branches are removed.

Murray County Commissioners yesterday passed a resolution requesting a Presidential Declaration for FEMA Public Assistance and Hazard Mitigation for conditions resulting from the severe weather. According to Murray County Emergency Managements Director Jim Reinert, if this request is granted the county is likely to receive assistance for cleaning up public and private non-profit property. This type of assistance will indirectly benefit the average citizen, Reniert said if the county receives money beyond the local level of government to help recover. It will not directly assist individuals.

WORTHINGTON – Even in the midst of winter weather advisories, Minnesota Severe Weather Awareness Week is upon us. Statewide, there will be tornado drills on Thursday at 1:45 p.m. and again at 6:55 p.m. During those time, sirens will go off in many local cities, including Worthington and Slayton.

WORTHINGTON - The Heron Lake Watershed District (HLWD), in partnership with the Okabena-Ocheda Watershed District (O-OWD) and the Lake Okabena Improvement Association, will hold a public information meeting regarding aquatic invasive species. The meeting will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, 2013 in the Farmer’s Room of the Nobles County Government Center, 318 9th Street, Worthington, Minnesota.

WORTHINGTON — The District 518 School Board voted unanimously Tuesday night to accept Bud’s Bus Service as the transportation company beginning in the fall. Bud’s Bus Service Vice President Darin Fritz said they are excited to start doing bus service again. They had eight rural routes 12 years ago and still do charter busing for extracurricular activities for the district. According to Director of Management Services Dave Skog, Bud’s bid was $1,045,880. American Student Transportation’s bid was $941,336. He explained those numbers only included the routes to and from school.

The school board also gave the administration authority to begin making plans to move forward with a new intermediate school, as well as a new addition to the high school. That gave the authority to explore land acquisitions, if needed, as well as the beginning stages of planning of the building and addition. The school board had earlier abandoned the negotiations for a piece of land —called Property A —for a location of a new high school, due to a higher cost than anticipated and tenant/lease issues. The board voted to drop the pursuit of the property. Once the motion passed, Landgaard said the property in question was the Northland Mall.

The board also approved the agreement with the city for the purchase of property on Stower Drive, which will be used for a shed for buses.

WORTHINGTON — The Worthington Area Elks Lodge and Worthington VFW and Auxiliary will host a pork chop feed fundraiser for new K-9 units for Nobles County and the city of Worthington Friday night at the Elks Lodge, 1105 Second Ave. All profits from the meal, which includes a pork chop, baked potato, corn, applesauce and dinner roll, will be divided between the two K-9 units. Serving is from 5 to 8 p.m., and tickets may be purchased in advance at the Prairie Justice Center, the Elks or VFW, or at the door Friday night. Fundraising for the two new K-9 units has been ongoing for months.

WORTHINGTON – Nobles County residents who plan to burn branches or trees need to stop at the sheriff’s office at Prairie Justice Center and obtain a burn permit. The office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The permit is good for two years. Before burning, call 372-8430 and report your permit number and location so dispatchers can log your position and do not send firefighters if smoke or flames are spotted and reported. Ignite piles only when the wind will keep the smoke away from roads, residences and smoke-sensitive farm operations.

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency concluded 51 enforcement cases in 36 counties throughout Minnesota during the first quarter of 2013. Double D Demo Landfill of Pipestone was fined $4,150 for storm water violations. Penalties from all 51 cases totaled just over $190,000. Imposing monetary penalties is only part of the MPCA’s enforcement process. Agency staff continue to provide assistance, support and information on the steps and tools necessary to achieve compliance for any company or local government that requests it.

MARSHALL - As part of the grand finale to the Southwest Minnesota State University Russian Festival 2013, the Southwest Minnesota Orchestra will perform a Russian Festival concert featuring Russian virtuoso Ksenia Nosikova in Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3. The orchestra will also be performing Glinka’s Overture to Russlan and Ludmilla, Rachmaninoff's Vocalise and concluding with the 1812 Overture of Tchaikovsky. The concert will be on Sunday, April 28 at 4 pm in Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, 501 South Whitney Street, Marshall, MN. Tickets are $12 for adults; $5 for all students and children.

The SMSU Russian Festival 2013 will feature 8 different events, including an evening of all-Rachmaninov, a noon-day chamber concert featuring Russian chamber music, lectures on Russian art, history and contemporary society, as well as actual Russian paintings on display and a two-piano concert performed by Russian twin sisters.

WASHINGTON – The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee yesterday held a hearing regarding the reintroduced Authorized Rural Water Projects Completion Act, which would provide $80 million in mandatory funding per year through 2029 for the Bureau of Reclamation’s six remaining rural water projects, including the Lewis & Clark Regional water System. Lewis & Clark Chairman Red Arndt sent written testimony in support of the bill, which failed to pass last year.

Three states and 20 local members pre-paid close to $154 million – 100 percent of the non-federal cost share, Arndt said, some as much as a decade before expecting to receive water. Water is being delivered to 11 of the 20 members, but the schedule to connect the remaining nine members, including some in southwest Minnesota and northwest Iowa, is entirely dependent on federal funding. That funding, Arndt said, has been gutted to the point that it doesn’t cover the rate of inflation on the remaining federal cost share. The economic impact from the lack of water includes ethanol plants and proposed dairies being turned away and is stopping a processing plant from expanding. To be frank, Arndt said, there are no words left but cuss words to describe the members’ anger and outrage that the federal government is not honoring the commitment it made to the project.

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