May 23 news

WORTHINGTON – It isn’t often a Minnesota Supreme Court Justice quotes fiction while writing case law, but in a case originating from Nobles County District Court, that is exactly what happened. Justice Paul Anderson, in dissenting with the majority regarding a woman trying to expunge her criminal record, expounds on what he calls Inspector Javert Syndrome, bringing into question the common humanity of the law that is the focal point of “Les Miserables.”

The Justices, in a 5-2 decision released Wednesday, sided with the Nobles County Attorney’s Office against the expungement of records in a case involving a woman who pleaded guilty to aggravated forgery more than five years ago. The woman had allegedly altered a prescription containing codeine to a larger dose, later telling authorities she did so in case the smaller amount did not work. She could not afford to go back to the doctor, she told law enforcement. Later, that conviction impeded on her ability to get employment and fulfill her dream of becoming an accountant, she stated.

Nobles County Assistant County Attorney Travis Smith argued before the Supreme Court justices in December, siding against the district court and the Minnesota Court of Appeals in a case with possible statewide impact. The woman, known in the case by her initials MDT, unsuccessfully petitioned the court less than two years after her conviction. In 2011, she requested again her record be expunged. MDT requested that all records involving the case be sealed, regardless of where they were held. That request was granted, but the Nobles County Attorney’s Office successfully argued against that decision all the way to the Supreme Court, feeling the law needed clarification.

WORTHINGTON — An open house at the brand new Worthington Event Center is scheduled for Saturday. The open house, featuring tours, will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visitors will be able to both view the new facility and pick up event packets. The Worthington Event Center is located at 1447 Prairie Drive, across from the Prairie Holdings Group building.

HULL, Iowa — A Fulda woman has been arrested on a warrant and on drug charges in Hull, Iowa.
The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports one of their deputies arrested 31-year-old Gretchen Scott of Fulda on Monday afternoon. She was arrested at a home on First Street in Hull on an outstanding warrant for a parole violation and forgery from South Dakota. While arresting Scott on the warrant, deputies discovered that she was in possession of illegal drugs.

In addition to the warrant, Scott was charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of prescription drugs without a prescription. Scott has an extensive criminal history in southwest Minnesota.

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa - Northwest Bank has announced plans to close its location in downtown Spirit Lake effective the end of June. Joe Conover, Lakes Market President for Northwest Bank, said the decision to consolidate the operations with Northwest Bank’s other locations in the Iowa Great Lakes followed a lot of careful deliberations, concluding customers and employees would be best served with four locations in Dickinson County, rather than five. Employees will be transferred to other locations.

Northwest Bank has two other locations in Spirit Lake, along with locations in Arnolds Park and Milford. Northwest Bank closed its location in Okoboji in August of last year.

OKOBOJI, Iowa - The Growing Iowa's Economy Speaker Series resumes this evening at the Pearson Lakes Art Center, featuring the CEO of Diamond Vogel Paint in Orange City, Iowa, Dru Vogal. The presentation includes the story of how a one-man paint shop from a barn in the Netherlands became one of the largest paint companies in the world. The free presentation begins at 7 p.m. in the Pomerantz Hall at the Pearson Lakes Art Center.

ST. PAUL - The group that pushed Minnesota lawmakers to legalize gay marriage invested more than $2 million in its successful lobbying effort, according to figures disclosed Wednesday by Minnesotans United for All Families leader Richard Carlbom.

That amount should rank Minnesotans United at or near the top of legislative lobbying this year if history is any guide. The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and Xcel Energy are the only entities to recently surpass $2 million in a single year, and some of that includes lobbying state utilities regulators.

The Minnesotans United money fueled personal lobbying, phone banks and television commercials. The group used 14 lobbyists. Gay marriage advocates went from narrowly defeating a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage last fall to winning the new law in mid-May.

ST. PAUL - An elementary school field trip in St. Paul turned deadly Wednesday when the earth gave way on a Mississippi River bluff, killing one child and leaving another buried beneath the fallen hillside.
Confronted by darkness and dangerous conditions, authorities called off the search shortly after 10 p.m., when a search dog returned from the slope without finding a scent of the buried child.

The family of the missing student stood vigil Wednesday night, hoping for news about the missing 10-year-old. Authorities plan to meet this morning to continue the search.

Two other children from Peter Hobart Elementary School in St. Louis Park were injured in the landslide deep within Lilydale Regional Park, a popular destination for school students searching for fossils.

MONTEVIDEO - A grand jury has indicted a man whom the FBI claimed was planning a terrorist attack in Montevideo. The federal indictment charges Buford “Bucky” Rogers with four felony counts, including possession of Molotov cocktails and a pipe bomb. Rogers is also charged with possession of a firearm by a felon. His 2011 burglary conviction prohibits him from owning a gun.

Rogers was arrested during an FBI raid at a Montevideo mobile home on May 3rd. Law enforcement authorities said then that the arrest was timed to prevent a terrorist attack against Montevideo police. Family members disputed that claim and his lawyer complained that authorities had released false information about Rogers.
Rogers was not charged under any terrorism statutes and the indictment makes no mention of any plan to attack police.

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