June 20 news

WORTHINGTON - Key staff members from the offices of U.S. Sen. Al Franken's (D-Minn.) and U.S. Rep Tim Walz (D-Minn.) will meet with local veterans and veterans advocates today to get input on the expanding veterans benefits claims "backlog" that is forcing hundreds of thousands of returning veterans to put their lives on hold for many months while their claims are being processed.

Sen. Franken and Rep. Walz, who recently introduced legislation to help the clear up the backlog, said the meeting is part of their effort to get input from Minnesotans on the problem and on their legislation. Today, more than 600,000 veterans benefits claims are caught up in the backlog, forcing veterans to wait an average of 300 days for their claims to be processed.

The meeting is one of several similar events that Sen. Franken's and Rep. Walz's staff will hold across the state. Today’s meeting will be at 10 a.m. at the Nobles County Government Center Conference Room.

ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa — An Inwood, Iowa man is dead after a semi versus car crash Tuesday afternoon in Lyon County. Authorities said Gilbert and Betty Teunissen were travelling north on K30 when Duane Middle, of Rock Valley, Iowa attempted to make a turn onto A52 in front of the Teunissen vehicle. Middle’s semi collided with the Toyota Avalon of Teunissen.

Gilbert, age 79, was transported to Avera Hospital in Sioux Falls by the Sanford Helicopter with life-threatening injuries while his wife, Betty, 75, was transported by the Lyon County Ambulance with non-incapacitating injuries. Gilbert died later at the Avera Hospital due to injuries received in the accident.

Teunissen’s 2011 Toyota Avalon received approximately $15,000 in damage, while the 2001 Freightliner semi owned by Hartland Farms of Doon, Iowa received approximately $10,000 in damages. Middle, 55, was cited for failure to yield upon a left turn.

WORTHINGTON — The fifth annual All American Blood Drive will take place from 11:30 to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, June 27 at the Ground Round Grill and Bar. The event, hosted by the Ground Round, Sanford Worthington, Radio Works and the Daily Globe, hopes to bring in 50 people or more to donate blood. Each will receive a Ground Round voucher and a t-shirt.

The Community Blood Bank has been the sole supplier of blood and blood product for Sanford Worthington for more than 12 years. In addition to supplying Worthington, the Community Blood Bank provides blood and blood products for other area hospitals including Tyler, Tracy, Westbrook, Slayton, Pipestone, Luverne, Jackson and the V.A. Medical Center.

Donors must be at least 17 years old (or be 16-years old with a signed parent/guardian consent form), weight at least 110 pounds and be in good general health the day of the blood drive. Donors are asked to bring identification. Appointments are available, and walk-ins are also welcome. More information is available at www.cbblifeblood.org.

LUVERNE — Jazmine Olson of Luverne was recently crowned Miss Minnesota USA Teen in the USA Ambassador Pageant. She is the daughter of Denise and Mike Olson. She will represent Minnesota when she competes for the national title in the national pageant July 31-Aug. 4 in Tampa, Fla.

The Teen division included 16 to18 year olds competing in Interview, USA Fashion Wear, Evening Gown and On-Stage Chat categories. Olson’s state charity of choice is Paint the Night Pink, which benefits the Avera Cancer Institute.

JACKSON - The last of the concrete was poured Tuesday for the new Springfield Parkway Trail in Jackson. A ribbon cutting for the new trail will be held at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 29 during Town and Country Days. The ribbon cutting will take place in the lower north parking lot of the Jackson County Central High School.

ARNOLD’S PARK - An Arnolds Park woman is a recipient of a 2013 Governor’s Volunteer Award. Jean Mahannah was honored recently during a ceremony recognizing volunteers from throughout the state.
Mahannah is a longtime volunteer at Thee Garage Sale in Milford. She was nominated for the honor by Warren Jager, manager of the store, and Jan Turner, Executive Director of Cherish Center. The Governor’s Volunteer Awards program was created in 1982.

ST. PAUL – Nearly 50 Minnesota farmers, producers and processors will share $1 million in Value Added Grants distributed by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA). The Value Added Grant Program helps agricultural producers add value to their businesses resulting in the development of new products, creation and expansion of marketing opportunities, and an increase of agricultural sales.

Locally, Brandt Gardens and Greenhouse, southwest of Lakefield, received a grant to help fund the purchase of produce handling and storage equipment that allows for the provision of fresh local foods to schools and local manufacturers. Brandt said the expansion will lead to the hiring of four additional employees. Johnson’s Meats in St. James will use their grant to open a satellite location in Windom and hope to hire two full-time workers.

Other projects that were awarded funding include the purchase of coolers and grinders for meat processing facilities, installation of creamery production and cheese processing equipment for dairy farms, and construction of high tunnels for extending the growing season on fruit and vegetable farms.
The Value Added Grants are made available through the Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation Program (AGRI), established by the legislature to advance Minnesota’s agricultural and renewable energy industries. Another round of Value Added Grants will begin later this summer.

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