September 18 newsPublished by on
WORTHINGTON - We have a notice from the City of Worthington Engineering Department: Bituminous overlay work is scheduled to begin today on East Ninth Avenue from Eleventh Street to Clary Street and 13th Street from west of E. Ninth Avenue to Eighth Avenue. Both streets will be closed during construction activities. Paved areas will be reopened as soon as the new bituminous surface has adequately cooled.
Please reduce your speed, watch for construction workers and equipment, and drive carefully near the construction zone. Weather permitting and construction proceeding as planned, work should be completed in one or two days.
WORTHINGTON – Fraga trail update: In a letter to a friend in 2011, Josue Fraga’s only daughter stated her father had raped her more than 100 times before she turned 12 years old. Then her two young cousins came to live with them, she stated, and her father did something worse when she refused his advances. The death of 2-year-old Samantha is her fault, the daughter wrote, because she didn’t let him rape her that night.
According to the letter, Fraga duct-taped his daughter to a chair and killed Samantha in front of her, then threatened to hurt her mother or brothers if she didn’t keep quiet.
Worthington Police Detective Dave Hoffman read the letter aloud to the jury during day two of testimony in the retrial of Fraga, who is charged with the first-degree murder of his niece. He was convicted of the murder in 2009, but that conviction was later vacated when new evidence was discovered.
Fraga’s oldest son, Josue David, allegedly admitted during therapy he had fondled Samantha several times, which he had denied during the first trial. In the daughter’s letter to her friend, she wrote she had read her father was trying to blame her brother, which she said was untrue. She also expressed concern that if her father got out of prison, he might come looking for her.
Hoffman testified for a majority of the afternoon, revisiting his part in the investigation that led to Fraga’s arrest and first conviction.
The jury also heard testimony from medical staff from the emergency room, including Dr. Lisa Gerdes, who was the pediatrician on call when the couple brought their niece to the ER. Gerdes described the toddler’s injuries, explaining if she had been conscious with a ruptured stomach, the child would have been screaming in pain. Gerdes said she believes Samantha was dead when her aunt and uncle brought her to the ER.
Testimony continues Wednesday with cross-examination of Hoffman, more medical personnel and possibly some of the Fraga children taking the stand.
WORTHINGTON — The West Central High School marching band of Hartford, S.D., took home the top prizes in the marching band competition portion of the King Turkey Day Parade. West Central received 200 points to earn the first-place spot in the Class A category, while Luverne High School, receiving 177 points, finished second. West Central also received awards for People’s Choice, Outstanding Drum Major, Outstanding Drum Line, Outstanding Winds and Outstanding Color Guard.
In Class B competition, the Adrian High School Marching Dragons received first-place honors with 168 points, while the Fulda High School Raiders band placed second with 146 points. The marchers from Central Lyon Middle School of Rock Rapids, Iowa, were the lone entries in the middle school category, earning 151 points for their efforts.
Host bands for the King Turkey Day parade were Worthington High School and Worthington Middle School.
WORTHINGTON — Nobles County commissioners on Tuesday approved 4 to 1 to moving forward with repairs to Judicial Ditch 11B, which will include the replacement of approximately 2,500 feet of county tile. According to Nobles County Public Works Director Stephen Schnieder, the tile line was in worse condition than previously thought, and plans to run a water jetting system through the tile line could further damage or destroy it.
Commissioners denied a request to replace the tile in July, but is now aware that a silt blockage exists in the 93-year-old system, which is functioning at just 20 percent in some areas. Schnieder estimated the cost to replace the line to be between $10,000 and $15,000. The project would be paid for by the Judicial Ditch 11B account, which has a current balance of more than $70,000.
Commissioner Gene Metz moved to proceed with repair of the system by replacing the 2,500 feet of tile line, with the hookups to be at the expense of the property owner. The motion passed on a 4-1 vote, with Board Chair Bob Demuth opposed, citing his wish for a public hearing.
IOWA - Representatives of Iowa’s electric cooperatives were in Washington D.C. Tuesday to discuss a recent decision by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to deny federal disaster aid, and potentially force them to repay millions in disaster aid previously awarded.
Of concern locally is a late winter snow, ice and wind storm in April that resulted in a federally declared major disaster declaration for Lyon, Osceola, Dickinson, Sioux and O’Brien counties. Officials say three electric cooperatives and two municipal utilities suffered damage in that storm.
In the past, FEMA followed a policy where visually observable criteria were used to determine if power lines had been damaged beyond the point of repair. FEMA reversed that policy and denied disaster aid following the April storm, saying the affected electric cooperatives did not conduct comprehensive laboratory testing on every mile of line on an annual basis. Utility officials say such a test isn’t performed as a matter of industry practice nor are they required to do so by the Iowa Utilities Board.
GRANITE FALLS - Homicide suspect Andrew Dikken, wanted in the September 2 double homicide of Kara Monson and Christopher Panitzke, was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon at the Renville County Sheriff's Office in Olivia, Minnesota. He was brought to the Sheriff's Office by family members who have been cooperating with the investigation and related search for Dikken over the past two weeks.
Dikken was transported to the Yellow Medicine County Jail in Granite Falls, where he will be held pending arraignment in Yellow Medicine County District Court.
The Granite Falls Police Department is continuing their investigation into the homicides. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is assisting in this active and ongoing investigation.
MINNESOTA - The Minnesota Supreme Court will not consider Amy Senser’s hit-and-run case. The one-sentence order written by Chief Justice Lorie Gildea reads: “Based upon all the files, records, and proceedings herein, it is hereby ordered that the petition of Amy Margaret Senser for further review be, and the same is, denied.” No specific explanation for the decision was given.
In 2011, 47-year-old Senser, the wife of former Minnesota Vikings player and restauranteur Joe Senser, struck and killed 38-year-old Anousone Phanthavong on an exit ramp of I-94 while he was refilling the gas tank of his stalled car. Senser was found guilty of criminal vehicular homicide and sentenced to four years at the state women’s prison in Shakopee. The state Court of Appeals upheld Senser’s conviction in June. Senser is set for supervised release in Oct. 2014.