May 29 news

WORTHINGTON – With the last date for city residents to put tree debris out on the curb now past, the Worthington City Council Tuesday turned to scheduling the annual spring clean-up dates for the week of June 17 through June 21. Public Works Director Jim Eulberg coordinated the dates with Eric Joens of Schaap Sanitation, and said residents can start placing items on the curb June 10.

Tree debris removal is on track to come in at just over $900,000, but the city opted to move forward with more aggressive tree trimming and stump grinding, hoping to gain reimbursement from the state’s portion of the disaster funds. The cost for the additional trimming was capped at $100,000, and grinding will be addressed at a council meeting down the road.

In other council business, the donation of two benches was accepted from the Don and Rita Hanson family to be placed on the west end of Centennial Park. A donation of trail signs and bike racks was also accepted from the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP). The council also accepted a donation of a raised-bed garden at the Center for Active Living, which will be paid for with a SHIP grant. Labor will be provided.

A temporary on-sale liquor license for wine and beer sales during the Worthington Windsurfing Regatta was also approved.

WORTHINGTON - The Worthington Economic Development Authority (EDA) established asking prices for city-owned property during a closed session Tuesday after receiving an appraisal for industrial and commercial lots on Highway 59 and 20 available lots in the Bioscience Industrial Park. The per acre value for the industrial land was set at $57,350, The price for the commercial land north of the Event Center was set at $250,000. Across the highway, the price for an eight-acre plot of land was set at $400,000, while a 3.2 acres plot was $250,000 and a 3.9 acre plot $275,000.

ASHTON, Iowa — An Ashton, Iowa man faces animal neglect charges after the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office paid him a visit. The sheriff’s office reports they filed charges against 38-year-old Cory Gene Osterbuhr of Ashton on Saturday. According to authorities, Osterbuhr allegedly had 15 horses and 3 dogs that were neglected.

The sheriff’s office reports they started the investigation after receiving an anonymous Text-A-Tip. The Sibley Veterinary Clinic assisted with the investigation.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office reports that they have received over 90 anonymous Text-A-Tips since implementing the program in 2008.

JACKSON - A local wind energy developer announced Tuesday its intent to bring a major new wind farm project to Jackson County.

Geronimo Energy, which first developed the nearby 20-megawatt Odin Wind Farm and previously proposed a not-yet-constructed 20-megawatt South Fork Wind Farm in Ewington and Round Lake townships, asked for and received a county government letter of support for a new project 10 times that size — roughly equivalent to EDF Renewable Energy’s Lakefield Wind Project and more than half of Iberdrola Renewables’ combined Trimont, Elm Creek and Elm Creek II wind projects.

According to project Manager Jordan Burmeister, Geronimo’s new Odell Wind Farm has the potential for 200 megawatts of wind energy production from as many as 119 turbines spread over 35,000 acres, with almost half of that in Jackson County, almost half in Cottonwood County and some spillover into Martin and Watonwan counties.

MINNESOTA - Two programs that help restore wetlands in Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota have received federal grants worth a total of $3.4 million. Ducks Unlimited received $2.4 million for three projects designed to maintain wetlands and prairies in all three states. Pheasants Forever was awarded $1 million to restore prairie and wetland habitat in parts of southwest Minnesota. The program benefits both aquatic and grassland birds.

The money was awarded through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.

MINNESOTA - Two groups who have been leading the campaign against Minnesota’s wolf hunting season lost another battle in court Tuesday. The Minnesota Court of Appeals dismissed a petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and Howling for Wolves that aims to undo rules that allowed for the state’s wolf hunting and trapping season. The judges claimed the groups lacked sufficient legal standing to challenge the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ rules.

State lawmakers authorized the first-ever state managed wolf hunt last year shortly after wolves came off the list for federal protection. The DNR and wolf biologists have maintained that the hunt helps manage the population and has no impact on the long-term viability of wolves in the state.

Hunters and trappers killed 413 wolves during the season and another 298 were killed for predator control.
There was a little push by local lawmakers to reinstate a five-year moratorium on wolf hunting during the most recent legislative session, but the bill never made it farther than committee approval.

In February, The Humane Society of the United States filed a lawsuit in federal court against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its parent agency, the U.S. Department of the Interior, that aims to restore protections for gray wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.

MOORHEAD - Less than half of the 1,300 union workers locked out of American Crystal Sugar for 20 months returned to their jobs on Tuesday. About 400 workers went back to work after the union ratified Crystal’s longstanding contract offer last month. Members had rejected the labor deal four previous votes.

About 650 union workers retired or moved on to different jobs, according to the Moorhead-based co-op.
American Crystal is the nation’s largest sugar beet processor, with four Minnesota plants in Moorhead, Crookston, East Grand Forks and Chaska.

MINNESOTA – In a message to supporters released this morning, embattled Republican U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann announced she would not run for re-election next year.

The high-profile congresswoman had a narrow re-election last year and is under federal investigation for her 2012 presidential campaign. A recent poll found that a rematch with her 2012 Democratic challenger, Jim Graves, was a dead heat.

In a video message, which included her personal list of what she believes she accomplished during her eight years in Washington, she said supporters could "rest assured" that neither of those challenges influenced her decisions. Bachmann said she would consider any future path, "if it can help save and protect our great nation for future generations."

Bachmann's announcement will set off a political scramble in the Republican-leaning Sixth Congressional District.

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