July 23 news

WORTHINGTON – The Nobles County Commissioners Tuesday approved a proposal of more than $10,000 from a Twin Cities consulting firm that specializes in assessing buildings through exterior building surveys and recommending what maintenance will be needed over the next five years.

At the request of Nobles County Administrator Tom Johnson, Inspec worked up an estimate of their services to do complete assessment of the Prairie Justice Center and the Nobles County Library, and to assess the roof on the Government Center, the Public Works building and the Adrian Library.

The total cost for the assessment is $10,600, which will be funded out of the building reserves.

The board accepted a petition for an outlet request into Judicial Ditch No. 76 for property owned by Alba Grain. It is a joint ditch into both Nobles and Jackson Counties, so a joint public hearing will take place in Nobles County at 2:30 p.m. Aug 19.
The commissioners also approved tax abatements for two more new homes in the county, bringing the total of new construction using the Nobles Home Initiative to 12 since it began this year.

Worthington Regional Economic Development Corp Director Abraham Algadi said he needs to work with Nobles County Auditor Beth Van Hove to simplify the process of calculating the tax abatement. Currently, each application has to go to the county, and any city or school district for tax abatement approval. While they made the application process as customer friendly as possible, Algadi said, they need to work out ways to make it less cumbersome for the Auditor’s Office and the other entities involved.

Nobles County Attorney Kathy Kusz brought a legal services agreement to the board for the city of Round Lake. Nobles County will provide criminal prosecution service for Round Lake for $125 an hour for legal work and $70 an hour for work completed by non-attorney staff.

ASHTON, Iowa - An Ashton man has been sentenced to five years in federal prison on a child pornography charge. 22-year-old Todd Techen was sentenced earlier this month after pleading guilty in April of this year to one count of distribution of child pornography.In addition to the prison sentence Techen must also serve a 10-year-term of supervised release.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Tremmel and was investigated by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Lyon County Sheriff's Office.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.

DES MOINES, Iowa - A federal official says 122 children who entered the country illegally were sent to Iowa in the first half of the year.

According to a report Tuesday in the Omaha World Herald, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Kenneth Wolfe said the children were placed with relatives or sponsors.

Gov. Terry Branstad has been opposed to hosting any immigrant children in Iowa. Branstad spokesman Jimmy Centers said Tuesday the state hasn't been notified about the children entering Iowa.

On Monday, Branstad said such children should be returned to their home countries. He contends federal officials must improve border security.

More than 57,000 youths, mostly from Central America, have crossed into the U.S. illegally since October.

MINNESOTA - Would Minnesota be a good place for some of the children who are flooding across the U.S. border from Central America? That question is becoming a political football.

U.S. House Rep. Keith Ellison, DFL-Minnesota, is urging Gov. Mark Dayton to allow some of the unaccompanied children into the state, the Star Tribune reports.
During a community meeting Monday in Minneapolis, Ellison said we have capacity to help here and we should.

Dayton said it’s not clear what Minnesota’s role might be. He said he would have to know what it would cost and where we would have sites potentially available.

But among the conservatives who are not eager for states to absorb the children is Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Honour, who last week prodded Dayton to “let the president know that Minnesota is not the place to send these kids.”

“Before President Obama looks to our state to solve his man-made crisis, it’s time for Governor Dayton to join other Midwestern governors and let the president know it’s time for him to lead,” Honour said in his statement.

Several aid group officials who help immigrants in Minnesota told the Star Tribune they do not have the resources that would be needed to help a new wave of Central American children.

CUTLER, CA - A Central California company has issued a voluntary nationwide recall of specific lots of its fresh peaches, plums, nectarines and pluots over concerns of possible listeria contamination.

Wawona Packing says on its website that no illnesses have been reported and the recall is a precautionary measure.

The company said the recalled fruit was packed and shipped to retailers from June 1 through July 12. Retailers that received the fruit include Costco, Walmart and Trader Joe's. Fair City Foods in Huron sold lug peaches during an indoor tent sale last week. Customers can return the peaches or receipt before Aug. 1.

The recall came after internal testing at the packing house in Tulare County. Officials say they shut down the lines, retrofitted some equipment and sanitized the facility. Subsequent tests have been negative. Clovis-based Wawona Frozen Foods is a separate company and is not involved in the voluntary recall.

Listeria bacteria can cause a dangerous flu-like illness.

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