WORTHINGTON – During a pre-trial hearing Wednesday in Nobles County District Court, a change of venue request made by Josue Fraga’s defense team was denied. Fraga, accused of murdering his 2-year-old niece Samantha in 2008, is scheduled to go on trial in September. He was convicted of first-degree murder in May of 2009, but that conviction was vacated in 2012 when new evidence was discovered. Jury selection is scheduled to begin September 9.
WORTHINGTON – Southwest Crisis Center Director Sara Wahl on Tuesday met with the Nobles County Commissioners, updating them on the latest statistics that include assisting more than 160 victims of domestic assault since Oct. 1, 2012. Wahl said just in the past three months in Nobles County, they have assisted 37 domestic assault victims, nine of whom are children, and four victims of sexual assault. More than 30 people were safe-housed..
ST. PAUL — The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) and the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office have completed the active portion of the investigation of the November 29, 2012 murder of Cold Spring Police Officer Tom Decker. As new information emerges, the investigation will continue. In discussions with the Stearns County Attorney, the BCA and Stearns County Sheriff’s Office have been advised to leave the case open.
WORTHINGTON - Even though the non-essential watering ban has been lifted, the odd-even watering is still in effect. Those with even numbered addresses can water on even numbered days and those with odd numbers can use water on odd numbered days. According to Worthington Public Utilities General Manager Scott Hain, there’s a $95 fine for watering on the wrong day, and it is being enforced.
WORTHINGTON – Worthington / Nobles County Law Enforcement and Worthington Fire Department / EMS will be competing to see who can recruit the most blood donors to boost the summer blood supply for the community in the 8th annual “Heroes Behind the Badges” blood drive Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 3 to 6 p.m. at Sanford Worthington Medical Center. The public is encouraged to come in to donate and designate their donation to the department of their choice. All donors will receive a free Subway meal at the time of donation and a t-shirt.
HERON LAKE — Granite Falls Energy has purchased a majority interest in a financially struggling southwest Minnesota ethanol company.
Granite Falls will assume management of the Heron Lake BioEnergy plant, which has been financially troubled for more than a year. The match is a good fit, Granite Falls CEO Steve Christensen said. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Both Granite Falls Energy and the Heron Lake plant produce about 60 million gallons of ethanol annually.
An agreement last fall to sell the Heron Lake facility to the Guardian Cos. for $55 million fell through.
BIGELOW – The Bigelow Fire Department has been extremely busy this week. Tuesday they were called to a motorcycle versus deer crash, Thursday they were alerted to a small brushfire, and at 2 a.m. this morning they responded to a report of a barn fire at 33887 King Avenue in Rushmore. According to Bigelow firefighter Terry Neugebauer, the property owner had been burning garbage earlier, which likely sparked the blaze that burned the barn to the ground. Neugebauer said the structure was already beyond saving when the department responded.
WORTHINGTON – Our weekly construction update from the City of Worthington Engineering Department states work is continuing on 10th Street from First Avenue to East 9th Avenue for the ADA curb and ramp work, and water main reconstruction continues on Park Avenue from West Oxford Street to West Clary Street. On First Avenue SW, bituminous overlay from west of Knollwood Drive to near Pleasant Avenue is scheduled to begin Monday.
WORTHINGTON – Linda Lund is the new coordinator of the Nobles County Integration Collaborative, taking over the position from Lakeyta Potter. A resident of rural Fulda, Lund graduated from the University of Sioux Falls and taught music education in Fulda for 17 years. She is a member of the Fulda School Board, a position she has held for the past 10 years, and also has a master’s degree in English as a second language.
MINNESOTA - Much has been made of a new law that legalizes same-sex marriage in Minnesota, effective Aug. 1. But eight lesser-known laws also take effect on Thursday.
Among them is a new law that adds adult children, spouses, parents, grandparents and step-parents to the family members an employee can take paid sick days to care for. It applies to companies with 21 or more workers.
Another law aims to help Minnesotans struggling to make mortgage payments by offering homeowners new leverage under tighter foreclosure rules.