November 1 news

WORTHINGTON – During a brief hearing Thursday, Nobles County District Court gave the city of Worthington permission to have access to the Kmart portion of Northland Mall, for the purpose of identifying the next steps to renovate or demolish the former Kmart building. Mall owner Mike Kohan did not make an appearance.

Following an inspection in mid-June as a result of a drug bust within the former Kmart building, city officials found numerous violations within the structure. The city council declared the building hazardous on Aug. 12, and Thursday’s court hearing was the next step in the process of repairing or removing the building. Judge Gordon Moore granted access to the portion of the mall that abuts the former Kmart building as of Nov. 14 so the city can determine the best course of action.

Kohan contacted Director of Community and Economic Development Brad Chapulis last week, asking that further action be postponed. He indicated he was in the middle of another transaction and was also making plans to sell the mall.

The mall will now be assessed for what cost it would be to bring it up to the minimum standards of the building code and what is the cost of demolition. The city, including the council, will make a final decision as to what they ask the courts to do to abate the issue, either remodel or demo.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa - The suspect accused of murdering a Sioux City man and leaving his body near Sioux Falls is now in custody. Martin Castellanos, 20, of Sioux City, was arrested Thursday Sioux City Police Lt. Mark Kirkpatrick said. Castellanos allegedly shot 20-year-old Adrian Rojas Hernandez, also of Sioux City, Oct. 27.

Lincoln County Sheriff Dennis Johnson says Hernandez's body was discovered about noon Sunday by a driver on a gravel road between Canton and Sioux Falls. Johnson says there had been an attempt to set the man's body on fire.

Sioux City police arrested Ricardo Jaime Vital, 22, as an accomplice soon after the body was found. Kirkpatrick says all three were acquaintances and were together before the shooting took place.

SPENCER, Iowa - A plea hearing has been set for a Spencer man charged in connection with the robbery and eventual death of 59-year-old Edward Kitto of Spencer. The hearing for Cody Millard is connected to a charge of 1st degree murder. It’s scheduled for 3 p.m. November 4th at the Dickinson County courthouse.

Kitto was found beaten and unresponsive in the back yard of a Spencer residence on August 27th, 2012. He later died of his injuries. Another defendant in the case, Christopher Fitzpatrick of Spencer, was sentenced in May to more than 21 years in jail for his role in the incident.

ADRIAN — The Adrian Women of Today will host a Holiday Glitz Craft and Vendor Fair from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in the gym at Adrian Elementary School. The event will feature about 30 vendors. Admission is free.The lunch menu includes creamy chicken or barbecue chicken sandwiches, beans, chips, dessert and drink.

WORTHINGTON – An open house to feature the photography of Paul Swanson of Worthington will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Nobles County Art Center at the gallery in the lower level of the War Memorial Building at 407 12th Street.

Swanson will feature 20 of the images he captured between May and September in half a dozen counties of southwest Minnesota as part of a project focusing on changes in the rural landscape. The project was the result of a $1,200 grant Swanson applied for and was awarded earlier this year from the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council with funds provided through the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.

ORANGE CITY, Iowa — An Orange City daycare provider faces two felony charges after reports of serious injury to a three-year-old child. On Tuesday, the Sioux Falls Police Department, the Orange City Police Department, and the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office responded to Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls to investigate a report of possible child abuse. Officers found a three-year-old Orange City girl with serious head injuries including a fractured skull and brain trauma.

The child’s mother says that the child received the injuries while in the care of her daycare provider, 33-year-old Rochelle Lynn Sapp. Sapp runs an in-home daycare in Orange City. Sapp initially told investigators that the girl’s injuries occurred when she fell down a flight of stairs. However, the investigation revealed that the child’s injuries were not consistent with a fall down a flight of stairs and upon being questioned, Sapp admitted that she caused the child’s injuries by throwing the child to the floor.

She faces charges of Willful Injury, and Child Endangerment Resulting in Serious Injury, both Class C felonies. She is scheduled to make her initial appearance in Sioux County District Court soon.

MINNESOTA - A federal judge has sentenced a Twin Cities man to 25 years in prison for leading one of the largest identity theft rings Minnesota has seen. Gordon Moore, not to be confused with Judge Gordon Moore of Worthington, was the last of six ringleaders to be sentenced in a conspiracy that grew to involve more than 100 people who stole more than $2.5 million. Both the lead prosecutor and Judge Paul Magnuson said it’s one of the largest fraud and identity theft cases they’ve encountered.

The ring’s organizers broke into homes and businesses to steal private information, but also recruited others to funnel personal data to them. Those included employees of banks, credit unions, and other businesses as the ring eventually spread to 14 states, prosecutors argued.

The U.S. Attorney’s office says those involved in the ring used the information to create counterfeit checks and fraudulent IDs.

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