September 30 news

SLAYTON —The Lake Shetek Chapter of Let’s Go Fishing will have its annual Grain Drive Fund Raiser this fall. Since organizing in 2009, the Lake Shetek Chapter has averaged more than 20 outings each summer, which means 250 to 300 area residents have enjoyed free fishing and boating excursions. The handicap-accessible pontoon travels to Fulda, Worthington and Balaton for outings in those communities. At Lake Shetek, residents from Marshall, Tracy, Tyler and Walnut Grove have all been able to enjoy time on the pontoon.

The grain drive is one of the fund raisers the chapter depends on to continue to be able to offer these free outings. Farmers may donate one or more bushels of their crop to the Lake Shetek Chapter of LGF by filling out a card with their name and donation amount at their elevator.

Those participating in the grain drive are CHS elevators in Marshall, Ruthton and Tracy ; Meadowland elevator in Walnut Grove; Schmitz elevators in Avoca, Currie, Dovray and Lake Wilson. Cash donations are also accepted; checks can be mailed to: Lake Shetek Chapter/LGF 1554 U.S. 59, Slayton 56172.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa - A Fenton man has pleaded guilty in federal court to child sexual exploitation charges. 54-year-old Timothy Koenck entered the plea to one count of enticing a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity, one count of committing a felony offense involving a minor by a person required by federal and Iowa law to register as a sex offender, and two counts of possession of child pornography after having been convicted of an offense related to sexual abuse or abusive sexual conduct involving a minor.

At a plea hearing last week, Koenck admitted that between 2010 and 2012 he used a cell phone and the internet to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity and that he possessed child pornography. Koenck had previously been convicted of enticement of a minor and possession of child pornography in 2001-2002.

Sentencing will be held pending completion of a pre-sentence report. Koenck remains in the custody of a U.S. Marshal in the meantime. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment and a possible maximum sentence of life imprisonment; a $1 million fine; a $400 special assessment and supervised release for 5 years to life following any imprisonment.
The case was investigated by the Kossuth County Sheriff’s Office and the Mower County, Minnesota Sheriff’s Office along with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

JACKSON - The Jackson City Council is seeking input on whether to move forward with an effort to pursue getting a second interchange on Interstate 90 for Jackson. Although the city received a grant from the Minnesota DOT, it would still cost $1.9 million in matching funds.

Also as part of the process, an environmental study will need to be done at an estimated cost of $100,000.

Even at that, there is no guarantee the Federal Highway Administration will approve a second interchange.

A recent traffic study showed that while a second interchange would benefit the community, it would not significantly relieve traffic congestion on Highway 71 over the next 30 years. Also, there has been no definite decision from the county if it would share in any costs.

SHELDON, Iowa— The 2013 Sheldon United Fund Drive is underway and will continue through the rest of the year. The goal this year, like last year is $33,000. The fund is up to $9,929.
Contributions may be left at any of the four Sheldon banks, or you can also send them to PO Box 41, Sheldon. Essays explaining each organization are available at the banks.

MINNESOTA - Minnesota’s health insurance exchange is planning for lots of opening-day traffic when MNsure opens its website to shoppers looking for coverage Tuesday.

But executive director April Todd-Malmov tells the Associated Press that in the early going most of the visitors are likely to be curious window shoppers, with purchases of health plans through the Paul Bunyan-promoted site likely to ramp up slowly.

Unless, of course, the whole system gets put on hold. On Capitol Hill House Republicans have voted to postpone key parts of the Affordable Care Act for a year. That move lacks support from the Senate and President Obama, though. If neither side budges, the standoff may lead to a partial shutdown of the federal government this week.

MINNESOTA - The impact of a looming shutdown by the federal government would be felt across the state. The shutdown would begin on Tuesday if Congress can’t agree on the nation’s next budget. The budget is tied to the start of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
The Minnesota Congressional delegation voted along party lines, with the state’s five DFL Congressional representatives voting not to defund the government and the three GOP Representatives voting yes.

The Waite Park offices of the Farm Service Agency and National Resource Conservation Service have been told they would close during a shutdown. More than 1,100 military technicians who support the Minnesota National Guard could be furloughed.; about 350 of those are stationed at Camp Ripley near Little Falls.

U.S. State Department workers wouldn’t be around to process visa and passport applications. National parks, including Voyageurs National Park in northern Minnesota, also could face closure.
Minnesota families that receive government assistance for food also have something to worry about. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is scheduled to end Oct. 1. Last year this program, formerly widely known as food stamps, was paid to more than a quarter of a million households in the state.

No disruption in payouts of Medicaid, Social Security, and Supplemental Social Security is expected. The U.S. Postal Service would keep functioning and the VA Health Care System would stay open.

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