May 13 news

WORTHINGTON — The finishing touches are being put on the Worthington Event Center and by the Grand Opening Gala on Saturday, the center will finished, marking the end of a long process. The building is 14,153 square feet and will come in at a cost around $3.75 million.

The gala will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a wine tasting by the Worthington Liquor Store. A social hour begins at 6 p.m. with dinner to follow at 7. Three local bands — Sideline, Starfire and Tommy Gunn — will be performing following the meal. Tickets can be purchased at the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce, the Worthington Liquor Store, city hall or Schafer’s Health & Gifts, and the public is encouraged to buy them by Tuesday.

WORTHINGTON — Sanford Worthington Medical Center will offer Sanford Cancer’s Embrace Survivorship Program from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday via teleconference in the hospital classroom. This series is offered every month on the third Thursday. The program for May will be “Neuropathy – Nerve Problems from Cancer Treatment” with presenter Dr. Jonathan Bleeker, Sanford Oncology Clinic. There is no cost to attend. For more information, email embracesf@sanfordhealth.org or call Jerre. 372-3106, or Leah Seurer, (605) 328-6939.

WORTHINGTON — Richard Shrubb is staying at Minnesota West Community and Technical College. One of three final candidates for the position of president at Johnson County Community College, Shrubb was not hired at the Overland Park, Kan. school. Shrubb said he has not applied at any other colleges since being hired as president of Minnesota West, nor does he intend to do so. JCCC opted to hire Joseph Sopcich, who has worked at the college since 1992.

SPENCER, Iowa — A Spencer man has been sentenced to 45 years in prison after he was convicted of beating another man to death.

At a sentencing Friday presided by Judge Carl Petersen, 21-year-old Christopher Fitzpatrick was sentenced to ten years on the Voluntary Manslaughter charge, twenty-five years on the First Degree Burglary Charge, and ten years on a Possession of a Controlled Substance/Methamphetamine charge, with all time to be served consecutively. He’s also to pay $30,000 in fines. An additional $30,000 in fines was suspended.

Fitzpatrick admitted that he severely beat 59-year-old Edward Kitto, then stole money from his wallet. Kitto received major injuries and was flown by helicopter to a Sioux Falls hospital. A few days later, he died from the injuries Fitzpatrick admits he inflicted.

ASHTON, Iowa — After the final diner leaves on Saturday June 15th , the Cedar Cabin in Ashton will close its doors for a final time. Owners Tom and Lori Cutsinger made the announcement Saturday night to their employees that Tom has accepted a job at Iowa Lakes Community College as the college’s food service coordinator beginning July 1st. Those with Cedar Cabin gift certificates are asked to redeem them by June 15th. The Cedar Cabin will be closed all this week reopening Friday night May 17th.

IOWA - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has included 14 Iowa counties as part of Presidential or Secretarial Natural Disaster Area declaration. A Presidential Major Disaster Declaration was issued for Dickinson, Lyon, O'Brien, Osceola and Sioux counties as the primary disaster area for severe winter storms from April 9 - 11. Five contiguous counties are included. The final date for making application under this designation is January 6, 2014.

A Secretarial Natural Disaster Declaration was issued for Plymouth and Sioux counties as the primary disaster area for drought conditions beginning May 1st, 2013 and continuing. The contiguous counties are Cherokee, Lyon, O'Brien, Osceola and Woodbury. The final date for making application under those designations is January 8, 2014. Producers in the affected area may obtain additional information from their local Farm Service Agency office.

WORTHINGTON - The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) has scheduled Public Assistance applicant briefings this week for the five counties designated as art of the presidential disaster declaration. Cottonwood and Jackson officials will meet with FEMA at 2 p.m. today 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.

MINNESOTA - The Minnesota Senate is scheduled to vote on a bill today to legalize same-sex marriage in the state. Passage would send the measure to Gov. Mark Dayton, who has already vowed to sign the legislation into law. Same-sex marriage supporters are cautiously optimistic the plan will pass the final legislative hurdle. District 22 Sen. Bill Weber has already stated he would vote no on the measure.

After more than three hours of debate on Thursday, Minnesota House members voted 75-59 to let gay couples marry. Both Reps. Rod Hamilton and Joe Schomacker voted no on the bill.

The legislation includes language to protect religious institutions and groups from being forced to perform or recognize marriages between same-sex couples.

If the bill clears the Senate, Minnesota would become the 12th state in the country to allow same-sex marriage starting Aug. 1. This comes just six months after Minnesota voters rejected an amendment to the state constitution that would have essentially banned gay marriage in the state.

MINNESOTA - Gov. Mark Dayton and DFL leaders in the House and Senate say they’ve agreed on the parameters of a two-year state budget, clearing the way for the Legislature to implement the plan before their May 20 deadline for adjournment.

The deal increases state revenue by $2 billion and provides $400 million in property tax relief. Much of the additional money comes from raising income taxes paid by the highest-earning two percent of Minnesotans and from a higher tax on tobacco. A Senate plan to extend the sales tax to clothing was left out of the package.

The agreement leaves some specifics – such as whether to raise the alcohol tax – up to the conference committees that will be busy this week putting flesh on the bones of the budget deal. A gas tax hike and a pay rise for legislators are also among the issues to be worked out at the committee level.

Dayton, House Speaker Paul Thissen, and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk held closed-door meetings through the weekend before the agreement was announced Sunday afternoon.

The plan closes a $627 million deficit. Much of the additional revenue would be put toward education and steers an additional $725 million to programs from pre-school through college. All-day kindergarten would be available to all Minnesota families beginning in 2014. The agreement also calls for paying off the state’s debt to its school districts over the next two years.

Lawmakers will need to pass a package of nine or ten bills involving taxes and state spending. Those bills will comprise Minnesota’s budget for the two year period beginning July 1st.

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