May 10 news

WORTHINGTON - The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) has scheduled Public Assistance applicant briefings May 13-15 for the five counties designated as part of the presidential disaster declaration. FEMA’s Public Assistance program is not designed to assist individual residents. It is open to representatives from state and local governments and certain private, nonprofit organizations. The briefings are held to help those representatives apply for federal disaster assistance following the ice storm of April 9-11, 2013.

State disaster recovery specialists, supported by FEMA officials, will explain the application requirements to obtain federal funds for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and the repair, restoration or replacement of damaged public facilities or infrastructure.

Cottonwood and Jackson officials will meet with FEMA at 2 p.m. Monday in the Jackson County Emergency Management office. On Tuesday, FEMA will meet with officials from Rock County in the Rock County Law Enforcement Center at 9 a.m., and with Nobles County officials in the Nobles County Government Center Farmer’s Room at 1:30 p.m. On Wednesday, FEMA will meet with Murray County officials at 9 a.m. in the 4-H building on the Murray County Fairgrounds.

WORTHINGTON – During a special meeting Thursday, the District 518 School Board opted to move forward with a referendum for a new intermediate school, with an approximate price tag of $37 million dollars. That referendum will be on the ballot in November. By having the referendum vote in November, occupancy could be in the fall of 2015 if the measure passes.

The board had looked into possibly building a new high school, but wasn’t able to locate a site that suited their needs. The board had looked at purchasing either the Northland Mall site, or locating a new high school at the Worthington Country Club, but those sites did not work out. The alternative was to build a new intermediate school, which includes closing West Elementary and relocating the Alternative Learning Center to the high school. The new school will house grades 3-5, and the high school will expand to accommodate 1,000 students. The operational costs for the school and addition would be between $92,000 and $100,000 a year, plus the cost of staffing.

The board will be looking to secure an architect in the coming months, with proper paperwork needed at the Department of Education by Aug. 1. The project bid and award is scheduled for June 2014, with the construction phase from June 2014 through August 2015.

LUVERNE - The Hallstrom Glass Studio Gallery in Luverne is featuring the works of seven regional artists during the month of May. The show kicks off with an opening reception from 6:30 to 9 p.m. tonight. The public is invited for free food and drink and social time with the artists.

Gallery owner Lori Hallstrom said the show includes a variety of new work by artists who participated in the gallery’s 2012 Halloween show and fundraiser. That show raised $850 from a silent auction to support the Fine Arts Council of Rock County’s public art fund. Monies generated for the fund are dedicated to outdoor art beautification projects.

SHELDON, Iowa - An assisted living center in Sheldon has announced plans for a substantial expansion. Officials with Fieldcrest Assisted Living Center say the $3.4 million dollar project will result in 25 new units, 13 assisted living units and 12 memory care units. They say the expansion will also result in 13 new full time jobs.

The city has agreed to extend utilities to the site and plans to develop 16 residential lots on land adjacent to the facility. Officials with the city of Sheldon say it’s the first of several projects scheduled for the upcoming summer in which the city will invest more than $8.2 million.

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa - Spirit Lake police once again remind everyone to keep things locked up whenever they’re unattended. The reminder comes as authorities continue to investigate a recent rash of thefts to vehicles and even some garages that have been left unlocked. Spirit Lake Police Chief Jeff Hanson said in most cases cash and personal property such as Ipods, backpacks and other items, have been reported missing.

Police are also asking residents to be vigilant and report anything suspicious as soon as possible.

MINNESOTA - After an emotional debate, Minnesota House members put the state on a path toward recognizing same sex marriages, approving the measure on a 75-59 vote.

House approval was seen as a linchpin, since the Senate is expected to pass the bill in a vote scheduled for Monday and Gov. Mark Dayton has said he’ll sign it into law. The legislation would allow same-sex marriages beginning Aug. 1.

Thursday’s debate lasted more than two hours. While the arguments were emotional they were also respectful. Bill opponents argued the legislation would alter the traditional concept of marriage and leave those people opposed for religious reasons tarred as bigots.

As lawmakers debated the bill, the chants of thousands of supporters and opponents were audible. Citizens filled the corridors of the Capitol and overflowed the building, with many standing outside in the rain. When it came time to vote, four Republicans joined the DFL majority in voting for the bill.

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