April 30 news

WORTHINGTON – The Worthington city council met Monday to discuss several items that had been pushed onto a backburner for a bit while the April ice storm crisis was in full swing. Items included in the short agenda included discussion regarding a request for an outdoor pool, a request for repairs and upgrades at the Beach Nook, the cost of membership at the Center for Active Living and whether animals can be sold at the local farmer’s markets.

Council members seemed to agree the best option for an outdoor pool would involve expanding the facility at the Worthington Area YMCA, rather than open a new pool on an alternate site. After some discussion, it was decided the YMCA, MnSCU and the group that had originally made the request would both be contacted for a reaction to the YMCA suggestion. Several council members voiced an opinion that they would rather see funds spent on the Centennial Beach site.

The council discussed some requests made by current Beach Nook operator Roger Grimmius, who would like to see improvements made to the city-owned facility. Grimmius, in a list to the city, said he needs some kind of payment from the city to make the Beach Nook worth operating. He would also like a seating area, better lighting, more docking for boats and wifi access. He also wants the city to drag the beach weekly.

Council members decided to look more closely into the subsidy issue and speak with Grimmius. Mayor Al Oberloh said he did not want to subsidize the Beach Nook, but he would rather see it subsidized than close.

Council members also approved a motion to place a moratorium on the sale of live farm animals at the various farmer’s markets until language in the current animal ordinance can be changed addressing the selling or butchering of farm animals within city limits.

A discussion regarding some people’s displeasure with a $30 membership fee for the senior center was brought up by Mayor Al Oberloh, who said he doesn’t believe the price is out of line. Councilmember Ron Wood said people were still adjusting to the fee, and if everyone was patient, the complaints would cease. Councilmember Mike Kuhle said if the Center for Active Living was just built for the pool and card players, then the city spent way too much money. The real key, he said, was in the programming that will happen now that the center is open.

WORTHINGTON – Despite the ice, snow and rain from a wild month of April, drought conditions still persist and the city of Worthington remains under a watering ban. Because of the ban, the city has opted not to put out the planters that normally hang downtown, and the landscaping at the new event center may have to wait. The Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce will to forego its Flower Power promotion this year.

Worthington Public Utilities Manager Scot Hain said the static levels in the wells have improved from the low point in March by more than seven feet, but are still three and a half feet lower than they were at this time last year, and more than 12 feet lower than they were in 2011.

The U.S. Drought Monitor released last week showed Worthington on the line between a moderate and severe drought. Communities from Luverne to Pipestone and Marshall to Windom are all still thirsting for rain, and experts say there’s no strong sign of a drought relief event in the near future. Until that happens, the watering ban will stay in place, which means no washing of cars or watering plants on private property. Car wash businesses, however, are allowed to remain open, and greenhouses can water – for now.

WORTHINGTON — Suzy Brandner was awarded the 2013 Education Minnesota Worthington Teacher of the Year award during a Monday program at Worthington High School.

Brandner has spent her entire 22-year teaching career in District 518. She currently teaches third grade at Prairie Elementary and was previously a second-grade instructor. A graduate of Waseca High School, Brandner attended Mankato State University and received a degree in elementary education, a coaching license and a minor in business. In 2009, she received her master's from St. Mary’s University. Brandner is married to Bob Brandner, and together they have three sons.

WORTHINGTON — University of Minnesota Extension will host a tree assessment workshop from 1:30 to 3 p.m., Wednesday, at the University of Minnesota Extension Regional Center, 1527 Prairie Dr., Worthington. Topics to be covered include assessing ice damaged trees, tree diseases and replacement trees. A second session will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, at the Luverne Elementary commons, 709 N. Kniss Ave., Luverne. For more information, contact Gary Wyatt at (507) 389-6748 or wyatt@umn.edu.

JACKSON - Following a Board of Review session that lasted more than two hours, the Jackson City Council approved a motion to have the Jackson County Auditor look into creating a special taxing district for the Sunset View Subdivision. Residents of the subdivision have seen their assessed valuations take a big jump from last year due to recent sales. Three homes sold in the past year have been purchased for $60,000 to $103,000 more than their assessed value. There was no action by the council reducing any assessed tax valuations at the meeting.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa - Police are looking for 22-year-old Jamal Dean, who also goes by the name "Outlaw," in connection with the shooting of a Sioux City Police Officer Monday afternoon. The suspect is described as 6'1" and 230 lbs and wearing black clothes. He is believed to be armed and dangerous. If you see him, do no approach him, but call 911 or 258-TIPS.

The suspect was pulled over by Sioux City Police during a routine traffic stop. Dean at that time got out of the vehicle and opened fire on the officer. He then ran and was last seen running South/Southwest.

Officer Chad Sheehad reports that the department is waiting to release the officer's name until all family is notified. The officer’s wounds are not deemed life-threatening. Sheehad said it has been 15 to 20 years since a Sioux City officer had been shot.

ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa — The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports two recent incidents.
48-year-old Brenda VanOort of Ashton, Iowa was arrested Sunday after she broke the windshield on a vehicle that did not belong to her on Friday. She is charged with Criminal Mischief in the 3rd Degree, an aggravated misdemeanor.

51-year-old Eric Millis of Ireton was also arrested Sunday and transported to the Lyon County Jail. He is accused of stealing merchandise from a business in Inwood on April 12. Millis is charged with Theft in the 5th Degree.

MINNESOTA - The Minnesota Senate Monday rejected the sales tax changes its DFL leadership proposed. Before changing its mind and passing the bill a couple of hours later. Lots of eyebrows went up when Senators defeated the tax bill on a 34-32 vote. But DFLers quickly called for a recess, met behind closed doors, came back onto the floor, and passed the bill 35-31.

Two DFLers switched their votes and a third who sat out the first go-round voted yes the second time.
The bill would actually lower Minnesota’s sales tax, but it would raise revenue by extending that tax to many currently exempt services and items.

Taxing clothing purchases of $100 or more is among the most contentious provisions. But the expansion of the tax would encompass over-the-counter drugs, haircuts, car repairs, and piano lessons, among other things.

In addition to lowering the expanded sales tax, the bill would reduce the corporate tax rate to what the Star Tribune reports is the state’s lowest level since the 1960′s. Republican critics say the extension of the sales tax amounts to a tax hike on all Minnesotans and violates the DFL campaign to confine tax increases to the wealthy.

Of course, the Senate plan is still not law. Gov. Mark Dayton abandoned a similar plan to expand a lowered sales tax. And the tax bill the House passed last week leaves the sales tax as is. It’ll be up to a conference committee to work out the differences.



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I hope outlaw will be caught. - Eric Ludy

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