May 14 news

WORTHINGTON – The Worthington City Council is hoping to get some answers this afternoon when they meet with FEMA and Homeland Security Emergency Management officials regarding tree trimming and reimbursement from the April storms. During a meeting last night, the council discussed how the trees broken in the storm are being trimmed. Public Works Director Jim Euhlberg said his office is getting multiple phone calls each day from citizens concerned about how the trees look.

Representatives from Ceres, the company hired to remove the debris, and True North, the monitoring company, were in attendance during the Monday meeting. Company spokespeople said they are following the regulations to make sure the city is fully reimbursed. To date, Ceres has picked up 43,507 cubic yards of debris in the right of way. They have trimmed 4,999 trees and removed 55 more.

In other business, the council approved an amendment to the policy for private docks on city property. The council approved the new policy, which includes an increase in the fees, allows the council to set the maximum number of private docks and requires signs to read “Open to the public.”

Director of Engineering Dwayne Haffield presented plans to improve 10th Street and First Avenue Southwest. The two roads will be milled and replaced, which will take about four days, weather permitting.

WORTHINGTON — With one school year winding down, District 518 is in the process of preparing for the next, hiring 25 to 30 new staff members. Between retirements, resignations and new positions, there will be a substantial amount of new faces at the schools in the fall.

There were more retirements than usual due to an early retirement the district offered, according to Superintendent John Landgaard. Replacing approximately 12 percent of the positions in the school can create some challenges, but will also bring new ideas to the district.

During the last meeting, the school board approved a total of 11 new hires. Among those was Zach Dingmann as an assistant principal at Prairie Elementary, which is a new position within the district. Another key position approved was Josh Dale as the new activities coordinator, replacing Mike Traphagen. Katie Clarke was also approved to become the director of school improvement.

WORTHINGTON – The MN DNR has issued a burning ban for Nobles and Murray Counties. The burning ban is in effect all day. Due to dry conditions and wind the potential for fires getting out of control are great.

MINNESOTA - Flags are to be flown at half-staff on Wednesday, May 15th for Peace Officers Memorial Day. This tribute to American law enforcement officers is part of the historic crime bill that President Bill Clinton signed into law in 1994. At the request of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, Public Law 103-322 designates Peace Officers Memorial Day as one of the days each year during which government agencies, businesses and residents are to fly their U.S. flags at half staff.

ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Department of Transportation invites the public and transportation stakeholders to learn about the upcoming draft of the Minnesota 20-year State Highway Investment Plan. MnSHIP connects the Minnesota GO 50-year Vision and policies established in the Statewide Multimodal Transportation Plan to capital improvements on the state highway system. The plan establishes spending priorities for projected capital revenue. These priorities influence the selection of projects throughout the state.

MnDOT will conduct in-person meetings around the state in late May and early June. At the meetings, MnDOT will share what was heard at fall outreach, discuss how investment priorities were set, and share information and facilitate discussion related to the upcoming draft plan. Those unable to attend the in-person meetings are encouraged to learn more about the draft at one of two live webinars. Additional information can be found at http://www.dot.state.mn.us/planning/statehighwayinvestmentplan/participa...

IOWA - Iowa Lakes Community College began summer hours of operation Monday, which means offices are open Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to noon. Those who wish to conduct business with Iowa Lakes outside of summer business hours can visit www.iowalakes.edu. There they will be able to apply for admission and scholarships, as well as review the variety of all scholarships available at Iowa Lakes. Regular hours will resume on August 19, 2013.

IOWA - A Spirit Lake man convicted on a child pornography charge has been sentenced to federal prison. Prosecutors say 26-year-old Edward Robertson of Spirit Lake was given seven years. Robertson must serve 10 years of supervised release after he leaves custody. A U.S. District Court jury in Council Bluffs found Robertson guilty of receiving child pornography over the internet from October 2008 until March 24, 2009.

MINNESOTA – In a 37-30 vote, the same-sex marriage bill was passed Monday by the Minnesota Senate after more than four hours of debate. District 22 Sen. Bill Weber voted against the bill. The House passed the measure Thursday on a 75 to 59 vote.

Before Monday’s debate, Sen. John Hoffman of Champlin told his peers to do anything less then vote yes was to continue the pain of exclusion. More than one senator mentioned the opportunity to become a part of history, or compared the marriage of same sex couples to the fight for the right of interracial marriage.

On the other side of the argument, Sen. Dan Hall of Burnsville said the document would bring civil disobedience and confuse our children. Sen. Torrey Westrom of Elbow Lake called the bill a wrong step in history.

Gov. Mark Dayton’s signature is the only step remaining before gays can marry starting Aug. 1. Dayton plans to sign the bill at 5 p.m. today on the front steps of the state Capitol, where large crowds gathered Thursday and Monday, mostly supporting gay marriage. After today’s signing ceremony, downtown St. Paul will host an outdoor Freedom to Marry concert.

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