February 13 news

WORTHINGTON – During a work session Wednesday, The Nobles County Commissioners discussed a drainage project that involves assessing all the ditches in the county. Nobles County Administrator Tom Johnson said it could take up to three years to get a reviewer for the system.

The Commissioners also talked about a possible new county assessor, and are hoping to make an offer by the end of the week. Time was also spent on discussing road projects heading into the future, and a new tobacco policy, which would limit the sale of tobacco products.

WORTHINGTON – An Adrian man sustained non-life threatening injuries Wednesday afternoon when the vehicle in which he was a passenger was rear-ended by a semi truck. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, 62-yer-old Luis Cruz of Adrian was taken to Sanford Worthington to be treated after semi driver Steven Phillips, 51, of Ultura rear-ended a Dodge Intrepid driven by Reyna Moreno, 56, of Adrian. Both vehicles were eastbound on I-90 just after 1 p.m.

WINDOM – Icy roads are to blame for a one-vehicle rollover that caused non-life threatening injuries to a Fulda woman. The Minnesota State Patrol states 71-year-old Rose Kopitski was travelling east on Highway 62 in Cottonwood County at 11:32 a.m. when her Chevy Malibu hit a patch of icy road and skidded into the ditch, rolling. She was taken to the Windom Hospital.

SLAYTON - The American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Murray County will host a team kickoff event at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 18, at the Slayton Pizza Ranch. The team kickoff is for current team captains as well as anyone thinking about starting up a new team or looking to join a current team. Information will be handed out as the 2014 Murray County Relay for Life gets started. The 2014 Murray County Relay for Life will be held on Saturday, August 9 at the Murray County Fairgrounds.

ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa — The Rock Rapids Police Department will no longer be providing police protection in Rock Rapids after July 1. The Rock Rapids City Council voted this week to dissolve the department and contract with the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement protection.

Current Rock Rapids Police Chief Jim Killie plans to retire this year and the council decided that, due to cost, it made the most sense to contract with the county. The contract amount for the first year is $243,520, or $95.54 per capita. Even though it was the least expensive option, it will still be an increase of $8.26 per capita, or a little over $20,000.

ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa - The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday conducted an investigation at 108 S. Bradley St in Rock Rapids, with assistance from the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation. During the investigation officers located and seized 32 items related to illegal drug activity.

As a result, officers arrested Kyle King, age 27, of Rock Rapids. King was charged with possession of a controlled substance, a serious misdemeanor, and possession of drug paraphernalia, a simple misdemeanor.

MINNESOTA - The Minnesota Supreme Court has rejected the lawsuit of a driver injured in a crash with a sheriff’s deputy who was responding to a call. A divided court ruled 4-3 that the Hennepin County deputy was immune from liability when he a drove a K-9 unit SUV through a red light in Brooklyn Center in December of 2009.

Jolene Vassalo suffered serious brain damage in the ensuing crash and her lawyer says the 38-year-old will need nursing care for the rest of her life. Deputy Jason Majeski was responding to a security alarm call and a request from local police for K-9 help. The vehicle had a flashing light activated but Majeski had turned off the siren as he neared the scene.

Hennepin County managing attorney Dan Rogan told Minnesota Public Radio the court was correct to hold the deputy immune from liability. Officers who are responding to emergencies need the protection of immunity for split-second decisions they are required to make, Rogan said.

NATION - After announcing last month that the federal government will pay for tracking devices for kids with autism, officials are offering more details about how families can access the technology.

Police departments nationwide will be able to make the tracking devices available to children in their communities who are at risk of wandering using money available through the Justice Department’s Byrne grant program, officials at the federal agency said. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said that his office had determined that Byrne funding could be used for tracking devices.

Police should go through the same process they typically utilize to seek funding from the federal Byrne program. Law enforcement agencies can request grant money to pay for tracking devices and to provide education and training related to the issue of wandering.

All applications must go through law enforcement agencies, so organizations and schools should work with local police to put programs in place. Police departments that receive money through the federal grant will be responsible for designing and administering their local program and determining how tracking devices are distributed.

Many families already utilize tracking devices, but advocates say the technology can be cost prohibitive and note that a monthly fee is often involved.

Under an existing plan, the Justice Department provides funds to pay for similar devices for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease who are at risk for wandering.

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