February 25 news

WORTHINGTON - The Worthington City Council on Monday approved the sale of eight lots in the Bioscience Industrial Park to Prairie Holdings Group, which plans to construct a new 21,000 square foot office complex, along with more than 12,000 square feet of industrial/distribution space.

The council approved the sale of more than 13 acres, of land, structured as a 20-year land forgiveness loan agreement. PHG must produce 18 jobs in the next two years, with those jobs having a minimum wage of $10 per hour inclusive of benefits.

Newport Labs is taking ownership of the current PHG space at the Prairie Expo facility, and construction on the new building in the Bioscience area will begin as soon as the frost leaves the ground. Marc Freese, COO of PHG, said they have new ventures that are getting closer to going live. New jobs will include sales staff, accountants and warehouse staff.

WORTHINGTON – As soon as next week, uninsured residents will have a new option when it comes to health and dental care – Open Door Health Center will provide mobile clinics in Worthington. Mobile Medical and mobile dental laboratories will provide services once a week in Worthington, starting with the medical lab’s visit March 6 and March 13. The mobile lab will offer free health screenings from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. those days in the parking lot of the Nobles County Government Center, near the intersection of Ninth Street and Fourth Avenue.

The mobile medical lab is staffed with a doctor and nurse in a general family practice setting. They can provide anything from well-baby checks to DOT and sports physicals – most things a typical doctors office can do. The mobile dental lab will be staffed with a dentist, dental hygienist, dental assistant and, at times, a dental therapist. Each mobile unit has a wheelchair lift and has both English and Spanish-speaking employees on board.

To make an appointment with either the mobile medical or dental lab, contact Open Door Health Center at (507) 388-2120.

SPENCER, Iowa - The Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation has formed a search committee as it begins the process of looking for a new CEO to succeed Kathy Evert, who has announced her plans to leave the four-county economic development organization. Evert has agreed to stay on until a replacement is hired.

Brad Simington, Chairman of the Corridor Board of Directors, says the search committee will coordinate the candidate recruitment and evaluation process and will make a recommendation for the new hire, subject to review and approval by the full board of directors

The committee will develop a candidate profile, job description, and a plan for soliciting and accepting applications from qualified candidates. Simington did not put a timeframe on when a new executive would be hired, noting the committee will take the time needed to complete a comprehensive and thorough search.

ARNOLD’S PARK, Iowa - The organizing committee for the Iowa Great Lakes overnight RAGBRAI stop will host a public information meeting Wednesday, March 5th at 5:30 p.m. at the Sami Center in Spirit Lake. Organizers say the meeting will consist of an overview of the 18 committees that have been established to plan for the event and to explain volunteer needs. The group anticipates several hundred volunteers will be needed.

Since the announcement as an overnight host town, a seven member advisory group and seven member Executive Committee has been named. The group is currently working to identify chairs for each of the 18 committees.

All interested residents, community groups and organizations are invited to attend the March 5th meeting.

RAGBRAI will overnight in the Iowa Great Lakes on Sunday, July 20th with more than 15,000 people expected.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa - Frontier Airlines says it will resume flights into the Sioux City airport beginning this summer. Frontier in June will begin flights three days a week between Sioux City and Denver.

Denver-based Frontier will return to Sioux City six years after it pulled out of the market. Frontier will become the second carrier at Sioux Gateway Airport, joining American Airlines. The new flights will use 138-seat Airbus 319 jets.

MINNESOTA - With plenty of cold weather still in the forecast for Minnesota, people who use propane for heating their homes are still facing a shortage.

A state House committee met Monday to discuss a $20 million boost in funding for a heating assistance program, the Associated Press reports. Afterward, House leaders said they would seek to suspend the rules today, the first day of the new session, to take up the measure.

An estimated 250,000 Minnesota households use propane to heat their homes, mostly in rural areas. The state has already increased the amount of money available to low-income families for heating assistance to nearly $115 million, after the federal government gave Minnesota an additional $15 million late last month.

MINNESOTA - Republican gubernatorial candidate and state Rep. Kurt Zellers will not run for re-election to his Minnesota House seat this year, MPR News reports.

The announcement was expected, since Zellers plans to run in the August primary for governor and it would be difficult for him to run for both offices in the fall elections.
Zellers, who served as Speaker of the House in 2011-2012, was first elected in 2003. He lives in Maple Grove and represents House District 34B – covering the cities of Maple Grove and Osseo. Zellers is one of six GOP candidates trying to unseat DFL incumbent Gov. Mark Dayton this fall.

NATION - If the $45 billion merger goes through between Comcast and Time Warner, it would create the country's largest cable company, reaching nearly one in three households. The company would also have a major position in broadband internet and TV production. The deal, however, needs federal approval, and US. Senator Al Franken has established himself quickly as one of this deal's critics.

For Franken, a former TV comedy writer, opposing this deal is good policy and perhaps even better politics. The Minnesota Democrat even took the unusual step of emailing his re-election campaign's very large list of supporters to raise concerns about a Comcast-Time Warner merger.

Franken called the mailing an antidote to Comcast's enormous clout in Washington, where the head of the Federal Communications Commission is a former cable industry lobbyist. Comcast has sort of tried to put their tentacles into the regulatory agencies, Franken said, and he wants to make sure they're hearing from the public.

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