November 6 news

WORTHINGTON – Both the building bond and the excess operating referendum failed Tuesday during a referendum vote for Independent School District 518 in Worthington.

The first question addressed a building bond referendum for $38.9 million to build a new intermediate school for grades 3, 4, 5, and an addition of approximately 56,000 square feet to the high school. That vote failed with 965 yes and 1,756 no votes. The second question also failed, with 1,457 no votes and 1,261 yes votes. It asked voters to revoke the last year of a current $1,000 per pupil excess operating referendum and begin a new referendum of the same amount for 10 years.

District 518 is one of very few rural school districts in Minnesota experiencing a steady increase in student enrollment each year. According to previous remarks by Superintendent John Landgaard, the building bond referendum will come back in future elections with little or no change and will likely cost more due to increased interest rates and construction costs.

In Ellsworth, voters approved a new operating levy referendum in the school district 214 to 62, A levy of $1,845 per-pupil unit passed, a figure that represents a $705 per-pupil-unit increase. The previous levy referendum of $1,139 per pupil unit had been approved by voters in 2010.

The Windom school operating levy referendum passed by a vote of 678-150.

WORTHINGTON – Icy road conditions led to a crash on I-90 in the early hours Wednesday morning that involved four vehicles, according to the Minnesota State Patrol. At approximately 1:27 a.m., the driver of a 2005 Jeep Liberty was westbound when he lost control on the icy bridge. A second vehicle hit the Jeep, causing two other vehicles in the vicinity to crash while trying to avoid the pile-up. The names and conditions of motorists have not yet been released by the state patrol. We will bring you more information as it becomes available.

This was not the only crash attributed to icy roads in the region. A fatal crash took place in Pipestone County at 5:37 p.m. Tuesday on Highway 23. A semi driven by Joshua VanHill, 26, of Sioux Falls, SD was southbound when it collided with a 2007 Ford Focus heading north. The name of the victim has not yet been released pending notification of family.

And on Highway 59 in Yellow Medicine County, Brenda Parsley, 19, of Adrian suffered non-life threatening injuries when her southbound 2002 Pontiac Bonneville collided with a 1999 Ford Ranger that was heading north. The driver of the Ford, Mark Long, 63, of Clarkfield, also received non-life threatening injuries.

IOWA - Turnout for the most part in Tuesday's Municipal Elections in Iowa was described as being very light for the most part. But there were a few exceptions in towns that had contested races.

In Dickinson county, Mary Vanderwoude was re-elected Mayor in Okoboji, defeating challenger Leo "Butch" Parks. Vanderwoude received 281 votes while Parks had 207. Julie Mau Andres, Walter Mendenhall and Jerry Robinson were elected to the three seats up for election on the city council.

In Milford, Mary Kay Rolling, Jason Simpson and John Walters were elected to three seats up for election on city council. Incumbents Mike Anderson and Chris Hinshaw were both defeated in their bids for re-election.

In Arnolds Park, incumbent Mike Mitchell was re-elected Mayor, defeating challenger Len Rettinger III, 178 to 21. Matt Richter and Mitch Watters were elected to the two seats up for election on the city council. Incumbent Mike Koppert was defeated in his re-election bid.

In Orleans, Keith Ostrum, Eric Anderson and Benjamin Radcliffe were elected to city council.

In a race for Mayor in Superior, Terry Buchman, a write-in candidate, received eight votes while incumbent Everett Houge had seven. There were no contested races in Lake Park, Spirit Lake, Terril, Wahpeton and West Okoboji.

WORTHINGTON – Nobles County Commissioners on Tuesday heard the last of the special budget requests from Emergency Management Director Joyce Jacobs, who asked that the Farmers Room in the Nobles County Government Center be upgraded to handle technology and infrastructure so it could be used as a training room and an adequately furnished Emergency Operations Center should the need arise.

Jacobs said the lack of technology in the room is an issue. During a recent Region 5 Emergency Management meeting, there were problems relating to a lack of plug-ins, wireless Internet and an inability to do phone conferencing. Unofficial quotes regarding what could be done with the room varied, but Jacobs told commissioners the quotes were only suggestions from sources. The work could also be done over a three year period, she said. No action was taken, but the subject will come up as the board finalizes its budget.

Commissioners also heard from Public Works Director Steve Schneider, who looked into having 911 address signs made that include a street name instead of just a house or site number. Having a street name would be beneficial for those traveling the roads who might not be familiar with the area. Since more than 2,000 signs need to be installed at a cost of up to $60 per site, Schnieder said an additional $6 to add the street name would add approximately $15,000 to the total. Jacobs, Nobles County Sheriff Kent Wilkening and former police chief and current commissioner Don Linssen approved the idea.

The board also approved a conditional use permit for Great River Energy to rebuild approximately four miles of 69-kilovolt line to 115-kV standards, with conditions that the project conform to local, state and federal airport regulations and that all permits be obtained prior to construction in 2014. The line is located in portions of Worthington and Lorain townships.

LUVERNE - The Rock County Sheriff’s Office receive an award for its Safe and Sober Program Tuesday during the Rock County Board of Commissioners meeting in Luverne.

Scott McConkey, the law enforcement liaison for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, presented the award to Sheriff Evan Verbrugge, who is a Minnesota Traffic Safety representative. Instead of a traditional plaque or certificate, Verbrugge and the sheriff’s office received $4,000 worth of new equipment for the department, including a Stalker Lidar XLR, a hand-held speed detection device. They also received a breath-testing device and high-quality flashlights.

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