April 24 news

OCHEYEDAN, Iowa — After an autopsy, the cause of death of an Ocheyedan, Iowa man was determined to be blunt force head injuries from an accidental fall in the victim’s home. The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office investigated the death of Steven Bruce Noble, age 46, after responding to a 911 call Monday afternoon. The autopsy was performed Tuesday by Dr. Jonathan Thompson at the Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner in Ankeny.

WORTHINGTON - Cheryl Avenel-Navara recently announced her candidacy for the District 22B House of Representatives seat. She was endorsed by the DFL District Convention in Murray County April 10.

During the 2012 election, Avenal-Navara challenged Republican Rod Hamilton, losing to the long-time representative by more than 3,000 votes.

In her comments during the recent convention, Avenel-Navara stated she is not a politician, but a citizen concerned about common sense, compromise and an emphasis on the common good.

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa - In Dickinson County, a hearing for a proposed cattle confinement in Milford Township is scheduled for 10 a.m. May 6 during the county board of supervisors meeting.

The Dickinson County Planning and Zoning Office has received a construction permit application for a confinement feeding operation and a revised manure management plan for a new 700 head deep pit dairy cattle confinement operation and a new 300 head deep bedded dairy cattle barn for section 34 of Milford Township.

County officials say the operator is proposing to remove two existing dairy cattle bedded confinement barns and construct one new 700 bed deep pit dairy cattle confinement barn and one new 300 head deep bedded dairy cattle barn.

The animal unit capacity after expansion is projected to be 2,110 animal units, or 1,150 head of mature dairy cattle and 500 head of immature dairy cattle. They say the increase in animals resulted in the need for the operator to file a revised manure management plan reflecting additional acres.

JACKSON - An injury has forced “Bear,” the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office’s highly decorated K-9 unit dog, into a premature retirement. Jackson County Commissioners on Tuesday approved the German shepherd’s retirement at the recommendation of Jackson County Sheriff Roger Hawkinson and offered to gift the dog to his former handler on the force, Jackson County Deputy Sheriff Nick Schwalbe.

Hawkinson said nobody is quite sure how or when Bear sustained the back injury that ended his career a half-decade early. The problem was first noticed last November and, by the first of the year, Bear could hardly climb into Schwalbe’s cruiser.

TRACY – Tracy Area Public Schools is the latest to send a letter home to parents warning of the dangers of suspicious activity involving strangers and children. The letter states two rural police departments in southern Minnesota have confirmed males trying to lure young children to get in a vehicle by telling them their parents wanted him to come pick them up.

In one case, the suspect is described as a 20-year-old white male, 6 feet tall, chubby, with a mustache and a black Mohawk. The other is described as a 20 to 30-year-old male, white or light skinned, with short brown hair spiked in the front.

One vehicle was described as a gold, 4-door mid-sized sedan with a dent on the front door, the other a newer black 4-door larger car or SUV. The incidents may or may not be related. Anyone with a reason to be suspicious should contact law enforcement immediately by calling 911 or their local police department. If it is safe to do so, an attempt should be made to get a description of the suspect and vehicle, with a license plate number.

MINNESOTA - Supporters of legal marijuana packed the Minnesota Capitol rotunda Wednesday. Lawmakers are debating a bill that would legalize marijuana for medical purposes, but members of Minnesota’s Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws are pushing a much broader effort – full legalization of marijuana. No bills have been introduced this session to legalize marijuana but Rep. Rena Moran, DFL-St. Paul, told the rally she supports it to increase state revenue and reduce arrests for possession.

Backers of medical marijuana were careful to distance themselves from the rally, but Nathan Ness, organizing director for Minnesota’s chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana laws, said there’s no reason to limit marijuana use to people who need it for medical reasons.

Both groups are at odds with police and prosecutors who don’t want to increase access to marijuana.

A Senate committee is scheduled to debate the medical marijuana bill on Friday.

MINNESOTA - The Minnesota Supreme Court Wednesday warned district court judges to be more wary when statistics are used to civilly commit people who have served their sentences for sexual crimes.

Under Minnesota law, a person can only be civilly committed as a sexual predator or “sexually dangerous person” if he is “highly likely” to commit more sexual crimes and is unable to control the urges to do so, and if there is no other alternative to confinement.

What constitutes “highly likely” has been a problem for courts since the state Supreme Court shifted the burden of proof from the inmate/patient to the authorities in the ’90s.

The court didn’t outright reject the use of a statistical model to predict the chances of a person reoffending, but it said other factors must be considered, too.
Justice Alan Page, in his concurrence, said people who are committed as sexually dangerous in Minnesota face an “impossible task.” He chided the Legislature, which has failed again this session to reform the system.

Page’s comments seem timed to pressure the Legislature to reform the sex offender program in Minnesota, after a federal judge warned the state if lawmakers don’t do it, federal courts will intervene, possibly ordering the release of hundreds of “patients.”

Last month, Gov. Mark Dayton acknowledged reform isn’t likely to be accomplished before the Legislature adjourns.


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I feel bad for bear. I hope he retires happy and taken care of. - Weathershield Reviews

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