October 11 news

WORTHINGTON – Seniors in the area have been the target of yet another scam attempt, this one similar to one that was reported several weeks ago involving medical alert company. In the first scam, a phone call told seniors a medical alert service had been purchased for them, but they needed to set up details. It asked for personal banking information.

The new twist on the scam tells callers they qualify under a new program, the National Senior Assistance Program, to receive $3,000 in free grocery certificates. In addition, the client is offered a free medical alert bracelet or necklace.

Sound too good to be true? That’s because it is. The National Senior Assistance Program doesn’t exist. Anyone receiving such a call is encouraged to simply hang up the phone.

JACKSON - The Jackson Kiwanis Club has been honored as one of the top fundraising clubs in the entire southern region of the state.

Having raised more than $350 per member over the course of the last year, the local Kiwanis club bested fundraising rates by clubs in cities across southern Minnesota, including Worthington, Fairmont, Mankato, Willmar, Marshall and Owatonna. In terms of total fundraising, the Jackson club fell short of only the Mankato club, which Jim Bock, immediate past lieutenant governor of Region 6 of the Minnesota-Dakotas District of Kiwanis International, said has three times as many members.

SLAYTON - Murray County Medical Center has completed Phase 3 of the construction project, which is the Emergency and Pharmacy Departments. These departments opened their new areas on October 8. The Emergency Department (formerly called Emergency Room or ER) consists of two large exam rooms that have been expanded to facilitate the care and treatment of emergeny and critical patients. A third exam room accommodates less critical patients. According to CNO Lorrie Mortensen, the staff is excited about the newly remodeled Emergency Department. The larger trauma bays will give ample room to work with patients.

LAKEFIELD - Ducks Unlimited has received a $10,000 donation from ITC Holdings Corporation to help protect and restore habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife on the shallow-lake-dotted landscape of Minnesota and Iowa.

The gift from ITC will help Ducks Unlimited leverage nearly $1.5 million dollars in public grants and an additional $500,000 dollars in private funds provided by Ducks Unlimited members and philanthropists. These project will take place on a series of managed shallow lakes and wetlands from central Iowa through northern Minnesota that provide high-quality aquatic food and habitat resources for migrating and breeding waterfowl.

ITC is embarking on the Minnesota to Iowa 345 Kilovolt Transmission Line Project. The new line will run from ITC’s Lakefield Junction substation in Jackson County to a new ITC substation located near Winnebago, before turning south to connect to a new MidAmerican Energy Company substation in Kossuth County, Iowa.

BOYDEN, Iowa - A Benefit Supper and Auction for Mady Hansmann will be held on Saturday, October 19 at the Boyden-Hull Elementary School in Boyden. Serving will be from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. with the auction to follow. Supper will consist of tavern, hotdogs, pork patty, applesauce , chips, baked beans, ice cream and cake.

Mady Hansmann is 12 years old and attends Boyden-Hull Schools, where she is in the 7th grade. This past spring Mady had an 11 pound tumor removed, along with 1 ovary. Last week doctors found another tumor, which propmpted another surgery and will most likely be followed up with chemo treatments.

Mady is the daughter of Dwayne and Becky Hansmann. Mady is a very energetic young lady, and she proudly wears her “cancer boots” with the motto “Let’s give cancer the boot!” If you have any questions about Saturday’s events, items or pies for the auction, contact Darnell Clark at 725-2663 or LaVonne Sietstra at 725-2090.

OKOBOJI — In addition to falling leaves and football, another fall ritual is taking place around the area: the removal of docks and boat hoists. When it comes to that, Mike Hawkins, a fisheries biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is reminding everyone to look over those items once they’ve been removed from the water for any signs of zebra mussel. They will be very small, he said, only an eighth to a quarter of an inch in size and it actually makes sense to look at the hoist and dock after it’s had a chance to dry in the air. These little shells become a lot more visible once the surface is dried.
Even though zebra mussels were discovered in a couple of the Iowa Great Lakes this past spring, Hawkins says recent testing turned up no additional zebra mussels. Hawkins says boaters need to continue preventive measures which include draining, drying and inspecting their water craft.

Anyone who does find something out of the ordinary on a dock or hoist once it's been removed should contact a Conservation Officer.

MINNESOTA - The State Patrol is investigating a threatening phone call allegedly made against a whistleblower who raised concerns about hospital payment practices by the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

DHS purchasing manager Paul Olson said he was at home about 10 p.m. Wednesday when he received the threat, which according to Caller ID was made from his own desk at work. A TV news piece on the concerns he raised aired until about 10:04 p.m., though the report didn’t name him. At 10:06, the phone rang, and the unidentified caller told him, “You’re marked.”

A DHS spokesman declined to comment, other than to say that “we fully investigate any concerns that are brought to our attention.”

Olson raised objections earlier this year to several state Medical Assistance payment practices, including the fairness of an exemption granted to the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital from a 10 percent hospital payment rate cut. An internal DHS audit of the complaint was completed this month and found that state officials erred in granting that exemption to Amplatz without conducting a legal review of whether it was appropriate.

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