June 21 news

WORTHINGTON – The Worthington Police Department has alerted the Chamber of Commerce and local businesses about counterfeit checks being cashed in the area. One such check was passed in Worthington, another at a business in Marshall.

The fake checks bear the name of Probuild in the upper left-hand corner, but are not associated with that business. The phone number listed on the check is a Lakefield number, the check number does not match the check number at the bottom and the address of the payee does not exist. Nothing glaringly obvious, but mistakes all the same. According to Worthington Police Det. Dave Hoffman, the best defense businesses can take against cashing a counterfeit check include scrutinizing it well and getting good identification. Basically, he said, know who is cashing the check.

For more information, contact the Worthington Police Department at 507-295-5400.

WORTHINGTON - Staff members from the offices of U.S. Sen. Al Franken and U.S. Rep Tim Walz met with local veteran service officers Thursday to discuss the Quicker Benefits Delivery Act, legislation aimed at tackling the Department of Veterans Affairs benefit claims backlog.

Although a news release sent out earlier in the week states the backlog is forcing thousands of returning veterans to put their lives on hold for months at a time while claims are processed, Veterans Field Representative Shawn Schloesser of Walz’s office said the backlog of benefit claims is only about 20 percent Iraq and Afghanistan vets. The bulk of the backlogged claims, Schloesser said, are from Vietnam vets. As of this week, he added, all claims two years old have been handled, and now the focus is on one-year-old claims.

The St. Paul office is not nearly as backlogged as others in the country, he said.

County Veteran Service Officers from Nobles, Rock, Jackson, Murray and Cottonwood counties listened as Schloesser and Southern Field Representative Bruce Barnum of Sen. Al Franken’s office described the points of the proposed bill. The legislation would prohibit the VA from requiring a VA medical exam when non-VA medical evidence is competent and credible. By making stronger use of non-VA medical information, the VA would be able to process claims more quickly and resources would be freed up.

The bill would also create a third prestabilization level, so veterans discharged from active duty because of injuries or illnesses not fully healed could be rapidly awarded at least a minimum level of benefits while they continue to recover. Similarly, the bill would direct the VA to award temporary ratings for claims where evidence is sufficient to support a minimum service-connected disability rating while the claim continues to be developed. Those veterans would no longer be considered part of the backlog.

The five service officers in the room told the staff disability claims could be slow, but they have more problems with survivor claims and burial claims.

WORTHINGTON - Treasure Village will be giving two fun and interactive performances of "Pinocchio" on Monday. The first performance will be at 10 a.m. at Adrian Elementary School, and the second is at 1 p.m. at Worthington’s First Lutheran Church. Both performances are free, and all ages are welcome. These performances are funded in part by Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage fund.

ARNOLD’S PARK – It’s time once again for the annual “Smoke on the Water” barbecue competition today and Saturday at Preservation Plaza in Arnold’s Park. There will be entertainment, a craft beer tasting, and, of course, barbecue. The competition is run similar to a Kansas City Barbecue Society event. Barbecue Masters will compete for up t $7,000 in prize money, and the competition runs from noon until 2 p.m. Saturday. At 2 p.m., the public tasting begins. Guests can purchase five tickets for $5, and can then wander to the 20 vendors for some delicious barbecue before voting on their favorite.

OCHEYEDAN, Iowa — The Ocheyedan Christian Reformed Church is celebrating its centennial this weekend with special services and programs. To celebrate “100 years in His service,” the congregation and guests will gather at the 9:30 a.m. service on Sunday. A worship and praise service with special remembrances will begin at 2 p.m. Sunday. For more information, go to www.ocheyedancrc.org

JACKSON - The Jackson City Council will again accept bids for the sale of the Chozen building in downtown Jackson. The bids must be a minimum of $10,000 and the building has to be used for a retail business. The council also reserves the right to refuse bids.

The building was previously occupied by Sievert's Furniture and Flooring until it vacated the property at the end of May. Since then, the City has been trying the sell the building. The city sought bids for the building with a minimum bid of 35,000 dollars with no results, so the council has lowered the minimum bid to $10,000.

TIPTON, Iowa (AP) - A 9-year-old girl from eastern Iowa has been selected as a winner to a national healthy lunchtime challenge organized by first lady Michelle Obama. The White House said Thursday that Corrine VanderGaast's recipe for stone curry with brown rice was the winning selection for the state of Iowa.

The challenge asked participants to come up with a healthy recipe that featured each of the food groups, including whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy foods. Fruits and vegetables had to make up roughly half the plate.

Corrine is one of 54 winners ages 8 through 12 that represents all 50 states, the District of Columbia and three territories. The children will have lunch with the first lady on July 9 at the White House.

MINNESOTA - The Great Minnesota Get-Together will feature more than 20 new attractions and exhibits this year, the Associated Press reports.

Four new rides (including a roller coaster), an improved fish exhibit by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and new cooking competitions will make their debut. In addition to the Riptide rollercoaster, a Kiddie Coaster for the litte ones is also new this year, along with the Big Bamboo Fun House and Air Raid, an acrobatic flight ride.

A variation of the glowing Luminarium featured last year, the Luminarium Exxopolis is 32,000 square feet of winding paths, enchanting coves and soaring domes inspired by natural geometry, Islamic architecture and Gothic cathedrals.

The celebration marking the end of summer will also offer a taste of winter. New this year, D1 Backyard Rinks gives fairgoers a chance to skate on a sheet of synthetic ice surrounded by NHL-style dasher boards.
The fair begins Aug. 22 and runs through Labor Day.

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