June 19 newsPublished by on
WORTHINGTON – Nobles County Commissioners Tuesday listened to the pros and cons of four possible locations for a new library and decided they needed input from the general public before a decision could be made. Nobles County Library Director Julie Wellnitz was asked to prepare a public presentation of the four sites for display at the library and the upcoming fair booth.
The four sites include the old Campbell’s Soup lot, the current Lampert Lumber Yard, the county’s public works area or, surprisingly, the site of the old outdoor pool. In a letter dated May 10, one of the heirs of the E.O. Olson foundation said the family was now willing to entertain ideas from the commissioners regarding a library at the old pool and rearing pond site – something they originally rejected.
According to architect Steve Johnson, the pool site is easily accessed, size appropriate, and the least costly of the options. There are no environmental issues and, unlike the other three locations, the site is potentially ready for use.
The Campbells site would be the costliest, in terms of development. Environmental concerns exist, with soil contamination and de-watering the excavation problematic. At the Lampert site, visibility is optimal, but traffic is difficult. There are no solid figures on what acquisition of the site would cost, but the commissioners have been told Lamperts would require a significant delay while they built a new facility.
Nobles County Public Works, located on Diagonal Road, would be the most expensive prospect, because it would require the county to build a new public works facility.
During an informal ranking of the sites, Commissioner Matt Widboom said he values the ranking of county residents more than his own, and suggested giving the citizens a chance to weigh in.
In other business, the commissioners approved hourly and monthly contracts for child protection public defenders. Court Administrator Steve Schultz three area counties were being approached with the idea of a monthly contract with Steve Forest, something that could be a model for the state. Rock County has already approved the idea, Pipestine is expected to approve it at their next meeting, but Murray County, he said, was being wishy-washy. Nobles County Attorney Kathy Kusz explained that hourly contracts are also needed with various attorneys to prevent conflicts of interest, but not many local attorneys were willing to get involved for the low fee of $90 per hour.
WORTHINGTON – Due to a lack of participation, the girls hockey program at District 518 is in jeopardy, and some tough choices will have to be made in the near future. Currently, there are nine girls who would potentially be on the Worthington varsity team, which Superintendent John Landgaard said at Tuesday’s school board meeting is not enough. Cooperative efforts with Windom’s team had been proposed, but Landgaard said the hockey association is not in favor of the joint venture. The association hopes to recruit more players to fill out the team, and has been given until September 1 to do so. The deadline with the Minnesota State High School League to enter into a co-op is the end of September.
The school board also accepted an initial budget of operating funds for the 2013-14 school year at $34.2 million, and expenditures at $33.1 million. Those budget figures are up $1.4 million and $3.4 million respectively from the 2012-2013 school year.
WORTHINGTON — The Nobles County 4-H program will offer a Wildlife Academy 4-H Day Camp from 8 a.m. to noon July 9 at Chautauqua Park, Worthington. Participants do not need to be 4-Hs member to attend. They will learn about animal habitats, trees, bison, nocturnal animals and how to track them. There is a fee to participate to cover the cost of materials. For more information or to register, contact the Extension office at (507) 295-5315 by July 2.
WORTHINGTON – The Minnesota Court of Appeals this week reversed a sentence made by the Nobles County District Court for convicted kidnapper William Perez. According to documents filed by the appellate court, Perez kidnapped his estranged wife from Pipestone County and brought her to Nobles County, where he burned her with a cigarette, assaulted and raped her. He pleaded guilty in Pipestone County in a plea agreement that anticipated a sentence of 86 to 110 months imprisonment. In Nobles County, he pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual assault, expecting a concurrent sentence at the lowest end of the presumptive sentencing guidelines. Instead, Nobles County added criminal history points from the Pipestone County conviction and imposed a sentence of 199 months.
Perez appealed the sentence, arguing the points from the Pipestone County conviction should not have been calculated into his criminal history score. Appellate judges agreed, reducing the sentence by approximately 4 and a half years. The case has been remanded to the district court for issuance of a new sentencing order of 144 months imprisonment.
SHELDON, Iowa — The official count is in. People of all ages came from miles around Saturday to make Risefest 2013 a huge success. The total number of people at Risefest this year was 6100. Festival organizers had 6300 tickets for sale and at the end of the evening 200 remained unsold.
Risefest is a Christian music festival put on each year by Rise Ministries, located in Sheldon. This was the second Risefest to be held in Sheldon, and the first to span a two day period. Planners say Risefest will remain in Sheldon in 2014 but a new location is being sought.
DES MOINES, Iowa - Iowa Governor Terry Branstad says the rules governing school start dates in Iowa are "too lax". Branstad told reporters Monday that the existing policy hurts summer tourism in the state and that he expects to see some changes made by the Department of Education.
Under current Iowa law, schools are supposed to start the week that includes September 1st. But nearly all districts apply for and get waivers to start earlier in August. A group led by Iowa State Fair Manager Gary Slater has filed a petition with the State Department of Education seeking tougher enforcement of the law. The Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce has also been a long time proponent of requiring schools to start after Labor Day.
Department of Education Director Jason Glass says the department is reviewing the petition with the Governor's Office, but no final decision has been made.
MINNESOTA - In advance of having to collect online state sales tax, Amazon.com said Tuesday that at the end of the month it will sever ties with its Minnesota-based affiliate websites that receive a fee for referring shoppers to the retail giant's online store.
The move comes less than a month after Gov. Mark Dayton signed a law requiring certain online businesses with a physical presence or affiliates in Minnesota to charge sales tax on items it sells to the state's residents. The law takes effect July 1, one day after Amazon's move.
Yet Amazon is not opposed to collecting online sales tax -- just not on a state-by-state basis.
"While we oppose this unconstitutional state legislation, we strongly support the federal Marketplace Fairness Act now pending before Congress," Amazon told its affiliates in an email. "Congressional legislation is the only way to create a simplified, constitutional framework to resolve interstate sales tax issues, and it would allow us to reopen our associates program to Minnesota residents."
Amazon representatives could not be reached for further comment Tuesday.
Online sales taxes are not new. They are supposed to be paid to the state voluntarily by consumers who buy goods online. But most consumers do not pay the taxes. Many don't even know about them.
What's new in Minnesota is the law requiring the vendor, such as Amazon, to collect the taxes upon purchase. By ending the affiliate relationships, Amazon exempts itself from that obligation, but that doesn't exempt the consumer. Amazon also has ended affiliate relationships in other states that have passed similar laws, such as California.