March 13 news

WORTHINGTON – During a continued meeting Wednesday evening, the Worthington City Council offered their support of the Nobles Housing Initiative, a tax abatement program meant to encourage the building of new housing. The Nobles County Commissioners have already approved the concept, and the school board will make a decision next week.

Abraham Algadi of the Worthington Regional Economic Development Corp will work with his staff and those of the entities to work out language and details, then bring it back to the entities for approval.

In other city business, NutriPro Biosystems Inc. was approved for the permit to remove existing structures and replace them with new grain bin and corn receiving leg and pit. The council also approved a reduction in compensation from Lutheran Social Services for use of the Center for Active Living for the Senior Dining program. The new agreement cuts the cost in half, to $5 per day.

The last item of business was the council approving site preparation assistance for a building at 1425 N. McMillan St., with the cost not to exceed $13,000.

WORTHINGTON -Teenwise Minnesota and Southwestern Minnesota Opportunity Council (SMOC) are partnering together to host a focus group — the Greater Minnesota Listening Project —from 4 to 7:30 p.m. March 20 at the Holiday Inn Express, 1250 Ryan’s Road. The group will discuss the high teen pregnancy rate in Nobles County, which between 2009 and 2011 was the second highest in the state.

The statewide combined pregnancy rate from 2009 to 2011 is 30 per 1,000 girls. It was 60 per 1,000 in Nobles County, according to Teenwise Minnesota Executive Director Judith Kahn.

The listening session will discuss the success and challenges young people experience, specifically around their sexual health. In April, Teenwise will follow up with a phone interview with each participant to get a better picture of the individual’s perspective on these issues. Once a report is complete, Teenwise will return to Worthington to share and discuss the findings with focus group participants and other community leaders.

There is no charge to participate, and dinner will be provided. The focus group is limited to 25 people, but there is still plenty of space available. To register to participate in the Greater Minnesota Listening Project, visit www.teenwisemn.org/lp-worthington.

WORTHINGTON – State Sen. Bill Weber will make an appearance on public television tonight during a broadcast of “Your Legislators,” a live call-in public affairs show. Along with Sen. Richard Cohen of St. Paul and Rep. Bud Nornes of Fergus Falls, Weber will answer questions called in or email during the hour-long show, which begins at 8 p.m.
For the past 33 years, “Your Legislators” has distinguished itself as the only live public affairs show in the state, and in 2013 appearances were made by 40 different lawmakers.

The program will be broadcast live on several Minnesota Public Television stations, and is repeated on Sunday at 4 and 10 a.m. and 4 and 10 p.m. through the legislative session. After a week, each session can be viewed online at www.pioneer.org/recent-episodes.

ARNOLD’S PARK, Iowa - The final forum of the current legislative session, sponsored by the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, will also be held on Saturday, March 15, beginning at 11:30 am in the Hedberg Theatre at the Maritime Museum building in Arnold's Park.

Local lawmakers will give updates on what's transpired to date in the Iowa legislature, followed by a question and answer session.

ALTON, Iowa — The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a man and any clues in connection with a burglary report near Alton.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that on Friday, March 7 at about 2:05 p.m., a burglary and theft report was called in. The crime occurred at a home about three miles east of Alton.

According to the homeowner, when he returned to his home he found a Ford F150 pickup parked near his house. He says a white man got into the truck and drove off the yard at a high rate of speed. The homeowner realized his home had been broken into and called the Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies discovered that the perpetrator had entered the home through a locked door and stole a safe and a camera with two external lenses. The suspect truck is described as a black or dark brown 2005-2006 Ford F150, extended cab pickup truck. The suspect is described as a white man, about 25 years of age, 5’10″, thin build, with dark hair and a beard.

Anyone who saw suspicious people or activity in this area when this crime took place is asked to contact the sheriff’s office. If you have knowledge about the crime and wish to remain anonymous you may use the Text‐ a‐Tip program. Directions can be found at siouxcountysheriff.com.

MINNESOTA - When it comes to a minimum wage increase DFLers at the Minnesota Capitol may be reading from the same book, but the House and Senate are not on the same page. Specifically, the House’s version of a minimum wage bill has an index while the Senate’s does not.

House members want new legislation to include automatic increases tying the wage to the rate of inflation, although they’d be capped at 2.5 percent. Senators are saying no.
The chambers have agreed in principle on a minimum hourly wage of $9.50 by 2016. That’s a higher wage than the Senate had originally wanted. DFLer Jeff Hayden of Minneapolis said he expected that when his chamber compromised on the wage, the House would reciprocate by dropping the automatic increases.

Hayden and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk said a minimum wage that is indexed to inflation would fall at least 10 votes short of passage in the Senate.

MinnPost’s Doug Grow suggests Senate sluggishness on both the minimum wage measure and new tax cuts could be part of a logjam created by a plan for a new Senate office building.

Bakk is a firm supporter of putting up a $63 million office building across University Avenue from the Capitol. The Senate quickly approved the plan but it has stalled in the House, where the Rules Committee has not scheduled a vote.

MinnPost says Senate Republican leader David Hann is among those who’ve suggested DFLers may be delaying some legislation to use as bargaining chips in Capitol dealmaking but Bakk denies that.

DC - Rep. Tim Walz of Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District won a distinct honor Wednesday, as the champion of the Minnesota Hotdish competition with his fellow Minnesota House members and senators. Walz’s winning entry was his “Turkey Trot Tater Tot” hotdish. He took home first place last year as well.

The friendly competition was started four years ago by Sen. Al Franken as a way to give members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation a chance to mingle without the usual political sniping.

For the first time, all 10 members of the delegation participated.

Part way through the event, all eight House members had to leave for votes while Klobuchar left early for a meeting with President Obama at the White House. That left Franken alone as the winner was announced.

Franken jokingly accepted the prize, an engraved hot dish, on Walz’s behalf, saying, “If Tim were here, I know he would thank me.”

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