April 23 news

WORTHINGTON - The Worthington City Council Monday night listened as Director of Public Works Jim Eulberg reminded the public the city-wide cleanup has been postponed indefinitely. The annual cleanup will still take place, but at a future date —which has yet to be determined. Eulberg also stressed that cleanup crews will still be making trips to pick up branches. Even if the crews has been by once, they will return, Eulberg said.

Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will meet with city officials at 2 p.m. today at the Worthington Fire Hall as a step in the process of getting federal funds. The council will reconvene at 7 a.m. Wednesday to continue discussion about bids for cleanup.

The council approved a $7,000 grant through the Worthington Rediscovered Funds. The money was awarded to BTLA, LLC, for the purpose of purchasing and renovating the property located at 701 11th Street. Mayor Alan Oberloh explained the purpose of the funds is to improve the quality of the neighborhood.

According to Oberloh, it isn’t necessarily a monetary investment, but something to improve the community.

In other action, the council heard the first reading for a proposed ordinance providing criminal history background checks for applicants for city employments. The council also approved the job description for a code enforcer officer/housing inspector.

BREWSTER - The Shakopee man who authorities claim was responsible for the “Man in Black” bank robberies across Minnesota pleaded guilty Monday to holding up Brewster’s Rolling Hills Bank & Trust in January 2012 during a hearing in U.S. District Court in St. Paul.

A toy gun and a large amount of cash, including marked money taken from the Rolling Hills Bank in Brewster, was found in a car 49-year-old Mark Edward Wetsch was driving when he was stopped in St. Peter on Jan. 3, 2012. The Brewster bank had been robbed fewer than two hours before the stop.
Mark Wetsch still must face two back-to-back trials beginning June 3 on 12 other robberies across the state. A federal indictment was filed on Feb. 6, 2012.

Westch represented himself at Monday’s hearing, although he was accompanied by attorney Jordan Kushner, his standby counsel. After a 55 minute hearing, Judge Susan Richard Nelson ordered a presentence investigation while Westch remains in custody in the Sherburne County jail.
During his months in jail awaiting trial, Wetsch has kept himself busy filing two civil cases against jail and court officials, in one accusing court officials of perjury, and in the other regarding his wish to follow a diet in accordance with his religious practice of Islam.

Westch most recently worked as director of community relations for a Minneapolis-based health advocacy group. He was sentenced to four years in prison in 2005 for defrauding the Shalom Home West nursing home in St. Louis Park of more than a million dollars while working as its nursing director.
He took the money from September 1997 to January 2005 and used it to pay for a Corvette, three snowmobiles, a deck and gazebo for his house in Chaska and for competition and training for his daughter, a competitive runner in both high school and college.

WORTHINGTON — First State Bank Southwest will host a Replant a Tree Community Program on Friday, during which more than 1,000 trees will be given away on a first come-first served basis. First State Bank Southwest worked with the Nobles County Soil and Water Conservation District and city forester Scott Rosenberg to find the right types of trees for this area. Bank president Greg Raymo said they will be giving out Rubrum maple, white oak and Black Hills spruce trees. Each family can get up to five trees. The tree giveaway begins at 11 a.m. in front of First State Bank Southwest, 1433 Oxford St., Worthington, and will continue until 5:30 p.m., or until all of the trees have been given away.

WORTHINGTON - Monday's snow storm had plenty of area schools sending students home early, but District 518 had already planned to do just that. Teachers had an in-service day so they could learn how to use their new iPads. District staff gathered in the Prairie Elementary gym to receive their new iPads and have their first of what emcee Diane Standafer said would be many training sessions, marking the launch of the district's initiative to give every student in most grades one-to-one access to iPads within two years.

The district plans to give iPads to each student in grades 3-8 next fall, with some mobile labs in the high school and elementary school. In the fall of 2014, students in grades 3-12 and at the Alternative Learning Center will receive iPads. Amy Ernst, District 518 technology coordinator, said that students in kindergarten through second grade will have access to iPads as needed.

JACKSON - A Jackson woman faces a charge of felony check forgery stemming from a series of forged checks she allegedly passed from November 2011 to May 2012. Michelle Anderson-Eggestein, 35, was arrested by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office on April 16. Court documents allege she forged signatures on nine checks throughout the city of Jackson over the course of the six months. Bail was set in the amount of $1,500. She was released from custody after posting bail.

An Iowa man faces four counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree out of Jackson County. Jason Herselius, 30, of Armstrong, Iowa, was arrested April 17 by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, following a three-day investigation, and was charged by criminal complaint. The complaint alleges Herselius had a sexual encounter with a child under the age of 13 years. Bond was set at $70,000, and Herselius was released after posting it.

MINNESOTA - A sharp increase in the most serious allegations of maltreatment of vulnerable adults and children is leading to a growing backlog of investigations within the Minnesota agency charged with protecting them. The number of reports assigned by the Department of Human Services for out-of-office maltreatment investigation or death review rose 10 percent, to 1,053, in the year ending July 1, 2012. In 2010 there were 883 such cases.

In a report released Monday, the DHS asked the Legislature for additional investigators to help tackle a backlog of cases that has nearly doubled to 724 in the last 18 months. The department is also concerned about potential new regulatory responsibilities for home- and community-based services for disabled and vulnerable people.

DHS Inspector General Jerry Kerber said Gov. Mark Dayton’s budget proposal would add about a dozen positions, including eight investigators. The new jobs would come primarily from higher fees on businesses regulated by the DHS. Monday’s report said the number of neglect cases is increasing, while cases of abuse are “generally decreasing.” The number of financial exploitation cases is relatively constant.

Kerber said one proposal in the Legislature would shift some maltreatment investigations, such as those involving adult foster care programs, from state to county investigators to help ease the caseload on state investigators.

COLORADO - The five victims of Saturday’s fatal avalanche in Colorado include a man who grew up playing hockey in Minnesota before discovering a new passion in the Rocky Mountains. 32-year-old Joe Timlin grew up in Rosemount before moving to the Vail area in the 1990s.

Timlin was among the snowboarders killed in Colorado’s deadliest avalanche in more than 50 years. The Denver Post reports they were killed during an event that Timlin helped organize to promote backcountry boarding and raise money for Colorado’s Avalanche Information Center.

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