September 16 news

WORTHINGTON – It took four and a half days, but a jury has been selected for the trial of Josue Fraga, 40, who is accused of murdering his 2-year-old niece Samantha in March of 2008 in Worthington. Opening statements are set to begin today. Keep an eye on the kwoa.com website for trial updates and action.

This will be Fraga’s second time facing murder charges in Samantha’s death – the case originally went to trial in May of 2009, just 14 months after the little girl was brought into the emergency room by her aunt and uncle. She was cold and unresponsive, slightly damp and lifeless.

Assistant Attorney General Bill Klumpp will once again serve as the lead prosecuting attorney in the case, with the assistance of Nobles County Attorney Kathy Kusz. Senior Judge David Christensen will preside over this second trial, with public defenders Cecil Naatz and Pamela King continuing their defense of Fraga.

The trial is scheduled on the court calendar for the next two weeks. A witness list filed by the prosecution contains the names of 72 potential witnesses, including law enforcement officers, medical personnel, forensic experts, Fraga’s children and ex-wife, and his brothers, one of whom is the father of Samantha. Fraga did not testify on his own behalf during the first trial. It is unknown whether or not he intends to take the stand this time around.

WORTHINGTON – You’ve probably heard by now that once again, the first leg of the Great Gobbler Gallop ended up with a win for Ruby Begonia, the well-focused, straight-running, get-to-the-finish-line turkey from Cuero, Texas.

As for Worthington’s Paycheck… well, the focus was not quite so much. As Ruby crossed the finish line, Paycheck’s team was once again trying to pluck him out of the crowd. Apparently a very social bird, Paycheck has shown a disturbing tendency to leave 10th Street and head into the crowd of Great Gobbler Gallop attendees. More than one person was startled to find a turkey darting past them between chairs, closely followed by his team of handlers.

Ruby came in at a respectable time of one minute, 18.12 seconds with no penalties. Paycheck, however, was a different story. With all his visiting and tangling with the feet of onlookers, he took five minutes, 56.35 seconds. And was carried across the line by handler Jason Vote. He had four carries, a significant amount of penalty time.

Now, this does not mean all hope is lost. As the saying goes, “It’s not over ‘til October.” On the second Saturday in October, the second heat of the Great Gobbler Gallop will take place in Cuero. With a little work on Paycheck’s part and maybe a little lollygagging on Ruby’s, the claiming of the Traveling Turkey Trophy of Tumultuous Triumph could still belong to the city of Worthington for 2013.

BREWSTER – A 16-year-old Austin teenager received no significant injuries Sunday night when her 2003 Saturn Vue ran off the road and rolled several times. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, Riley DeBoest of Austin was southbound on Highway 264 when her vehicle left the roadway at about 7:30 p.m. DeBoest suffered no apparent injury, but damage to the Saturn was severe. Nobles and Jackson Sheriff’s Deputies were on the scene, as was Brewster Fire and Rescue and the Worthington Ambulance.

WORTHINGTON – There will be an open house from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday at the West Learning Center Community Education Office to honor Bob Emary’s 50 years of service to Independent School District 518. Emary started working for the district on Sept. 1, 1963 in the Science/Biology Departments at the Senior and Junior High. Bob was very involved with the Worthington Education Association in many different roles. After retiring from the classroom, Bob joined the staff at Community Education as an instructor, presenter, and assistant. Please stop by Monday to join us in honoring his 50 years of service.

BREWSTER - The Round Lake/Brewster School District will hold a meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Brewster school to inform the public of the integration plan in place for the 2013-14 school year.

Legislative mandates will be discussed including the emphasis on closing the achievement gap. Program opportunities that are offered through the collaborative districts will be reviewed. All are encouraged to attend this meeting to learn how tax dollars are being used.

WINDOM - Windom will no longer have its annual Riverfest celebration. In a press release issued Friday, the Riverfest committee voted unanimously to dissolve Riverfest in its current form with the intent to transition into a new structure and governing body.

The committee had sent out a request to the Windom community seeking 12 volunteers to commit to 12 months to help organize the event. Fourteen people attended Thursday’s meeting, eight of whom were willing to serve as one of the 12 needed volunteers. After a lengthy discussion, the motion was made to dissolve the Riverfest celebration. The motion was unanimously approved.

Those attending the meeting agreed to work toward having a vibrant 2014 community celebration in Windom and agreed to assist in the transition to a new governing body and event structure. A community meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 30 at the Windom Chamber Office to discuss the possible future celebration.

JACKSON - The Shopko Pharmacy store in downtown Jackson is closing. According to Katie Dobschuetz of Skopko, the Jackson store will close on Oct. 4. Prescriptions have been sold to Wal-Mart Pharmacy in Worthington.

Shopko purchased the Jackson store in June 2012, converting it from a Pamida.

WORTHINGTON – It can sometimes be nice to have a little notoriety, but not when it’s making the Top 5 list for highest blood alcohol content during a DWI Toward Zero Death campaign.

Law enforcement arrested 1,556 impaired drivers as part of a statewide Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over DWI enforcement campaign Aug. 16 through Sept. 2, according to Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety preliminary reports from 344 reporting agencies. Highest alcohol concentrations recorded during the campaign topped out at a .4 percent BAC in Woodbury, and the second highest number came from an arrest made by the Worthington Police Department. During the campaign, local law enforcement pulled over a driver that registered a .37 BAC.

Each year, around 30,000 motorists are arrested for DWI in Minnesota. Drunk driving crashes have resulted in 585 deaths during the past five years — 104 in 2012.

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