November 4 news

SIBLEY, Iowa — Two eighth-grade football players facing charges of assault with sexual intent as a result of a bullying incident were expelled from school for the remainder of the semester during a Saturday closed-door meeting of the Sibley-Ocheyedan school board. If the two boys return to school at S-O next year, they’ll face in-school suspension, and will also be required to do a presentation on bullying to the middle school, take part in counseling and perform community service. They are also banned from all extracurricular activities for the remainder of the school year.

The incident involving the football players took place in a school bus Oct. 15 on the way to a football game in Rock Rapids, Iowa. Several boys reportedly held down the victim, and one put his genitals in the victim’s face while another took a photo with his smartphone that was later sent to several other students. The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office is investigating, and additional charges remain a possibility.

Multiple meetings between S-O Superintendent Bill Boer, middle school principal Mike Morran and the victim’s family preceded Saturday’s meeting, which was attended by nearly 100 people. The S-O school board voted 5-0 on the expelling of the students.
ROCK COUNTY– Five people, including an infant and a child, were injured Saturday when their vehicle collided with a semi. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, a Chrysler Town and Country driven by 21-year-old Hector Morales Bartolon of Sioux City, Iowa, was southbound on Highway 75 at 4:41 p.m. when he attempted to make a right turn. The semi, also southbound, attempted to pass the vehicle slowing for the turn and sideswiped the car. The driver of the semi, Douglas LaFrenz, 44, of Luverne, was not injured. Bartolon and all four passengers were taken to Sanford Luverne for treatment. Assisting at the scene was the Rock County Sheriff’s Office, Edgerton Ambulance Hardwick Fire Department, Jasper Ambulance and Rock County Ambulance.

WORTHINGTON – Just a reminder, the non-essential water ban proposed weeks ago by the Water and Light Commission went into effect Friday. Violators of the ban will be subject to a $90 fine for the first offense, and a $160 fine for a second offense. Continued violations may result in water service to the property being disconnected. The ban includes the use of any water from the public water supply for the purposes of irrigation, the washing of driveways, sidewalks, decks and vehicles, or any other wasteful non-essential use of City of Worthington of water.

WORTHINGTON – Voters in Independent School District 518 in Worthington are being asked to get out and vote Tuesday between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. at the Worthington High School Auxiliary gym.

There are two questions on the ballot, one which would commit the district to another 10 years of a $1,000 per pupil excess operating referendum. The other involves $38.9 million dollars in a building bond referendum. The funds would provide a new intermediate school for grades 3 through 5, an addition of approximately 56,000 square feet to the high school and some additional remodeling. According to Superintendent John Landgaard, If the building bond referendum does not pass, it will come back during a future election with little or no change and will likely cost more due to increased interest rates and construction costs.

District 518 is one of very few rural school districts in Minnesota experiencing a steady increase in student enrollment each year. According to information from the district, the building bond annual tax increase would be about $220 for a residentia homestead with an estimated market value of $200,000, or $7.45 per acre for agriculteral non-homesteaded land with an assessment of $6,000.

WORTHINGTON — Jason Johnson, associate broker at Johnson Builders & Realtors, has announced the addition of Doreen DeWall and Toni Brouillet to the real estate sales team. DeWall was most recently employed with Heron Lake-Okabena Public Schools in the information technology department. Prior to that, she worked in the Worthington public school system. She is married to Matt DeWall, a partner at Carpet Plus. Brouillet grew up in New Ulm but joins JBR after transferring her real estate license from Granite City Real Estate in St. Cloud. She is married to Dan Brouillet, who works for the Worthington Police Department.

HULL, Iowa — The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help to discover out who shot an airsoft gun at some children in Hull at about 8:20 p.m. on Halloween night.

Deputies discovered that a vehicle described as an older, blue or green car with some sort of light-colored stripes drove past some children who were standing outside the Hope Christian Reformed Church. As the vehicle drove past, those inside reportedly shot airsoft pellets toward the children. The vehicle left the area and could not be located.

No injuries were reported. The case remains under investigation. Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at

JACKSON — The public is invited to attend Federated Rural Electric’s 78th annual meeting Nov. 23 and learn about the electric cooperative’s 2013 accomplishments. The meeting is at the Five Lakes Elementary School, 714 Victoria St., Fairmont. Federated is hosting a free pancake breakfast for Federated member families from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

During registration, members may also bring up to four fluorescent bulbs to recycle for free, including CFLs and tubes up to four feet in length; recycling of additional bulbs will be available for a fee. Plus, register and receive the co-op’s Annual Meeting attendance gift — a wood-handle ice cream scoop and an LED night light with safety outlet.During registration, members may visit Federated’s booths for information on Federated’s money-saving programs, Exede Internet, Heartland Security Services, electric fireplaces and grills. In addition, wholesale power supplier Basin Electric Cooperative will have a display area with electrical products and technology.

MINNESOTA - U.S. Sen Amy Klobuchar, D-MN, announced Saturday she would be introducing a piece of legislation this month aimed to curb human sex trafficking.
She spoke Saturday morning at the Breaking Free Breakfast to benefit local sex trafficking victims. Klobuchar outlined legislation she plans to introduce giving prosecutors the needed tools to crack down on domestic minor sex trafficking. The bill will take Minnesota’s ‘safe harbor’ law national to make sure minors sold for sex aren’t prosecuted as defendants, but are instead treated as victims.

There are more than 27 million people around the world victimized by trafficking each year, according to Klobuchar’s press release. Reports on the number of children in the U.S. who are sold for sex range anywhere from 1,400 to 2.4 million. In Minnesota, recent reports indicate that on any given night dozens of underage girls are sold for sex online. The average age of a child when she first becomes a victim is just 13 years old.

MINNESOTA - State Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, is planning to introduce legislation next year that would prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes in public places. Kahn said her bill would amend the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act, which already bans traditional cigarette smoking in public places, to include electronic cigarettes in its definition of smoking.

E-cigarettes are a smoking substitute that deliver nicotine without burning tobacco. They produce vapor which the user inhales rather than smokes. Kahn said a state law would bring more consistency than the patchwork of regulations being implemented by local governments. In addition, she’s concerned that e-cigarettes set a bad example for young people.

Kahn said she will introduce her bill at the beginning of the 2014 session in February.
Gregory Conley, legislative director for the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association, said his organization will fight the proposal. There is no evidence that e-cigarette vapor poses any threat to bystanders, Conley said. He also rejected Kahn’s assertion that the product could be a negative influence.


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Nov 4

Very informative article. But I was saddened by the news about the trafficking. - Scott Sohr Nashville

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