September 6 news

WORTHINGTON – Here’s our weekly look at construction updates from the City of Worthington Engineering Department. On the Park Avenue water main restoration from Oxford Street to West Clary, pavement restoration was completed Thursday. Turf restoration remains. Fourth Avenue storm sewer restoration from Lake Okabena to Ninth Street is also complete with turf restoration remaining. On both Fox Farm Road near North Crailshiem and Summit Avenue near Knollwood, bituminous overlay is done, with turf and topsoil work remaining on Fox Farm Road. On Nobles Street from Highway 60 to Orchard Road, the water main and sewer work has been postponed to a later date.

WORTHINGTON - The Worthington Police Department is asking King Turkey Day parade goers not to place chairs along the parade route until after 7 p.m. next Friday. During last year’s celebration, chairs were being placed along the route a full day or two before the event, which caused problems and complications at local businesses. King Turkey Day is Saturday, September 14. Please do not place chairs along the parade route until after 7 p.m. that Friday.

WORTHINGTON -- The Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys will have a new member event at 6 p.m. Tuesday at First United Methodist Church, 408 11th St., Worthington. Girl Scout activities cover many areas, including career exploration, science, technology, engineering, math, financial literacy, outdoor skills and healthy living.

There is a membership fee; financial aid is available. For more information, contact local Service Unit Manager Ellen Hoefker, 376-9638.

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa — Rapid increases in construction costs have Spirit Lake city council members taking another look at the city hall project. Meeting during a work session this week, an architect on the project told the council the price of construction materials has shot up 15 percent since June. As a result, she said the newest estimated cost for the city hall project is coming in some $540,000 over the $1.456 million dollars budgeted for the project. Some possible options identified by the council to bring the cost down include decreasing the square footage of the basement but keeping it at least 4,500 square feet; deleting some basement walls; and changing the fascia material on several sides of the building’s exterior.

Mayor Blaine Andera told the council it’s crucial to keep the cost within budget to avoid having to raise taxes. The architect was directed to have a new estimate drawn up based on the reductions outlined and report back next week.

Meanwhile, City Administrator Mark Stevens reported asbestos removal on the old city hall was completed last week and that demolition of the building is scheduled for sometime later this month.

SPENCER, Iowa—An accidental shooting Thursday morning in Spencer injured an Arizona man. Police say 64-year-old John Muetzel was handling a .45 caliber semi automatic handgun when it went off, striking him in the left leg. Muetzel was transported by ambulance to Spencer Hospital. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injury. Police say Muetzel was visiting family members at the time.

Officers were called to the scene in the 800 block of 13th Avenue West shortly after 9 a.m. Police Chief Mark Lawson says no charges are pending in connection with the incident.

JACKSON - The 11th annual Prairie Winds Kite Fly will take to the skies Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Jackson Municipal Airport. The event will include a kids’ kite-making opportunity in the hangar and the annual scavenger hunt, being done again this year in conjunction with the Fort Belmont Rendezvous.

The kite fly will continue until 4 p.m. that day and, depending on the wind, those attending will get to fly the kites they bring, make or purchase onsite.

HULL, Iowa — As if all the festivities and the free community dinner weren’t enough, Foreign Candy Company Founder Peter De Yager had more gifts for the community. A lot more.

Foreign Candy Company in Hull invited everyone to their “BIG PARTY” Thursday, celebrating their 35th Anniversary by hosting an open house of the new corporate office building and warehouse outlet store.
There were lots of fun events for all ages, a free community celebration dinner, and nationally-known Christian singer Laura Story was there too.

But De Yager didn’t stop with the celebration. He announced that he’ll fund the construction of a half-million dollar spec building to attract more businesses to Hull. He’ll also donate $100,000 to his church. Plus he says he’ll give $50,000 to needy Hull families, $50,000 to the public golf course, and $50,000 to the EMS and fire departments.

ST. PAUL - The number of Minnesotans who struggle to put enough food on the table remains at its highest level since the government started counting two decades ago. A new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture says about one in 10 Minnesota households doesn't have access to enough food for healthy living.

The report is the closest thing the government has to an official hunger count. Once a year, census workers ask people all over the country a series of questions about food. Questions like: "In the last 12 months, were you ever hungry, but didn't eat because there wasn't enough money for food?" The government then calculates how many people are "food insecure," a wonky way of saying they lack consistent access to enough food.

This latest report shows 10.6 percent of Minnesota households are food insecure. It also shows that 4.8 percent fall in more severe category called "very low food security," which means they sometimes ate less than they should have or skipped meals due to insufficient funds.

Minnesota is doing better than the national average of 14.5 percent, but the state's numbers seem stuck at an all-time high, and they've been there for several years. Colleen Moriarty, who directs Hunger Solutions Minnesota, says we shouldn't expect the problem to go away anytime soon because people hit by the recession are still trying to recover.

But Moriarty points to a sign that things are improving: Food shelves, which saw double-digit increases in visits during the recession, have watched those numbers start to level off. Now, only food shelves in certain pockets of the state are seeing big jumps in need.

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