October 9 news

WORTHINGTON – Nobles County Public Works Director Steve Schneider Tuesday gave commissioners an overview of projects in the county that have been neglected or put off due to lack of money, stating Public Works has been doing the best they can with reduced staff and stagnant funding. Schneider said it was just recently that the county provided the department additional funding beyond what they were allotted in 1983, 30 years ago.

Not only does the department have aging equipment and facilities, he said, but when something breaks, dollars have to be taken from budgets that should be used to repair roads. With 383 miles of paved roads in Nobles County, a certain amount of that road needs to be updated or repaired each year.

Schneider said they overlay roads less frequently than needed because the money to do so is not available, they patch spots more often than they should and are not putting enough gravel down. They receive requests to widen intersection, but cannot afford to do so, and roads they should be reconstructing are just being patched or overlaid.

Schneider said they have lost out on 30 years of work, and it would take 11 million dollars to catch up to where they could have been. He listed out numerous individual projects that have been delayed or ignored for years.

Chairman Bob Demuth Jr said Schneider had given the commissioners ‘an awful lot to chew on,’ stating list added up to $32 million in projects that he referred to as Schneider’s Christmas wishlist. Demuth said he wasn’t sure where the board was going to start, but the general consensus was that Public Works would be seeing additional funding.

In other business, the commissioners approved a resolution for the newly named Southwest Minnesota Regional Communications Board, authorized a joint powers agreement with the Minnesota Department of Corrections, accepted grants for foster care and childhood immunization funding and authorized the issuance and sale of bonds for Lincoln Pipestone Rural Water revenue refunding.

WORTHINGTON – According to Lauren Ryan of the International Institute of Minnesota, their office dealt with 587 sex trafficking cases and 52 labor trafficking cases in the state in 2011.

Ryan, who is a program manager of Anti-Trafficking Services for the Northern Tier Anti-Trafficking Consortium, spoke to a packed room Tuesday afternoon at the U of M Extension Office Conference Room, talking facts and statistics that are happening all over the nation, including southwest Minnesota. Human trafficking, she said, is the fastest growing crime in the word – a profitable criminal industry.

In 2012, a total of 15,362 phone calls came in to the Polaris Project hotline, a national phone line for victims and survivors of human trafficking. In Minnesota, Ryan said they see labor trafficking in workplaces, households, restaurants, factories, hotels and agriculture. Sex trafficking can happen on the street, in brothels, in massage parlors or even in the house next door. Victims include people both foreign-born and domestic.

Sara Wahl, Director of the Southwest Crisis Center, said she is hoping dialogs about the topic will lead to more general awareness of the crime in the area. The center has contracted with the Northern Tier Anti-Trafficking Consortium to provide a wide variety of services to victims and survivors of both labor and sex trafficking in southwest Minnesota.

For more on the subject, including red flags and what can be done, you can hear pieces of Ryan’s presentation at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday on Talk of the Town on AM 730 KWOA. For more information about human trafficking, contact the Southwest Crisis Center at 376-4311, the national Polaris Project hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or the Minnesota hotline at 1-866-223-1111.

WORTHINGTON — Local Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts will participate in an upcoming Scouting for Food drive to benefit the local food shelves. The Scouts will distribute collection bags to households on Saturday and pick them up Oct. 19. People are asked to put non-perishable food items inside the bags and place them near their front door or mailbox by the morning of Oct. 19. Used eyeglasses will also be collected. Anyone who doesn’t receive a bag but would like to participate can contact Karen, 329-4266; or Scott, 370-1024.

WORTHINGTON – An early morning mishap led to traffic backups Tuesday morning when a 2003 Freightliner semi loaded with beans rolled to its side on the I-90 exit to Minnesota 60 after hitting the median curb. Driver Devin Wendt, 21, of Garden City was uninjured in the crash, as was passenger Katie Wendt, also 21 of Garden City.

PIPESTONE – A one vehicle rollover in Pipestone County sent a Rapid City man to the hospital Tuesday morning on Highway 30 near the Minnesota border. Lenny Lowell, age 51, was westbound when the vehicle ran off the road and rolled. His 1993 Ford Tempo was totaled. Pipestone Fire and Ambulance responded to the scene, as did the Avera helicopter.

DOON, Iowa - The Lyon County Sheriff's Office investigated a motor vehicle accident that occurred on Hubbard Avenue in Doon, IA at 8:32 p.m. Tuesday, and is seeking the public’s assistance. Blake Kruger, age 22, of Sioux Center parked his gray 2007 Chevrolet Impala near 102 Hubbard Avenue across from the Sparkle Car Wash. When Kruger returned to his vehicle he discovered his vehicle sustained approximately $1,500 in damage. A white early 2000's Chevrolet Silverado pick up may be involved.
Anyone with information about this accident is asked to contact the Lyon County Sheriff's Office.

SPENCER, Iowa - Spencer police say they’ve arrested two suspects in connection with two residential burglaries. Officers say 18-year-old Wesley Daniel of Spencer was arrested shortly before 11:30 a.m. Monday in the 600 block of East 19th Street in Spencer. He was charged with three counts of burglary in the 2nd degree. Also arrested was 18-year-old Lee Marshall of Spencer. He was charged with two counts of burglary in the 2nd degree. Both men were being held in the Clay county jail on bond.

Police say one of the burglaries took place in the 1300 block of East 18th Street and was reported to them on May 12. The other took place in the 700 block of East 18th Street. It was reported to authorities on Sept. 28.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison was arrested Tuesday by U.S. Capitol Police during an immigration rally on the National Mall in Washington DC. At least eight Democratic members of the House were among about 200 people arrested after blocking a main street near the Capitol during a massive rally seeking to push Republicans to hold a vote on a stalled immigration reform bill.

As protestors marched toward the U.S. Capitol, Ellison and several other House Democrats sat in the middle of First Avenue NW, blocking traffic. Police led Ellison away in cuffs shortly after 4 p.m.

Ellison’s office said the move was an act of “civil disobedience” designed to urge Congress to pass legislation that would allow the nation’s undocumented immigrants to apply for U.S. citizenship.

The march was held on the National Mall even though the open-area park is closed due to the federal government shutdown. The protestors were allowed to rally under their First Amendment rights, the National Park Service said.

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