January 10 news

WORTHINGTON — The Marketing/Visitors Committee of the Worthington Area Convention and Visitors Bureau is looking for a 2014 Snow Queen to preside over the Winterfest festival set for Jan. 17-18 in Worthington.

Duties for the Snow Queen include representing Worthington in the King Turkey Day Parade and the Holiday Parade, along with other public events throughout the year. Sophomores and juniors in high school will be considered as candidates. The Snow Queen will also receive $100 in Chamber Bucks.

To obtain an application, stop by the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce office at 1121 Third Ave., Worthington, or call 372-2919.

WORTHINGTON – The Frosty Riders Snowmobile Group will sponsor a food stand during Worthington’s Winterfest celebration Jan. 18 at Chautauqua Park. They will have hamburgers, hotdogs, hot chocolate and more, and will also be selling t-shirts and sweatshirts to promote the club. Anyone interested in joining the club can sign up at that time.

The Frosty Riders meet the third Monday of each month at their clubhouse on East Avenue in Worthington. Meetings begin at 7 p.m., and the public is invited to attend to learn more about or join the club. The Frosty Riders has a membership of about 130 families. For more information on becoming a member, contact Austin Wolf at 360-7247.

WORTHINGTON – The Governmental Affairs Committee of the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a Legislative Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Saturday at the Hickory Lodge. The breakfast is open to the public at a cost of $7.50 per person. The program begins at 8 a.m. Invited to attend are District 22 Senator Bill Weber, District 22B Rep. Rod Hamilton and District 22A Rep. Joe Schomacker. To submit a question or reserve a seat at the breakfast, please contact the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce at (507) 372-2919, 1121 Third Ave., Worthington 56187, by fax at 372-2827 or by email at wcofc@frontiernet.net.

PIPESTONE – Pipestone American Legion Post 6 will be hosting a National Commander’s Breakfast Monday, Feb. 3 at their post home. National Commander Dan Dellinger of Virginia will be making his tour of Minnesota and American Legion members and their families are welcome are invited to join the commander for breakfast. The event begins at 8 a.m. To make reservations, contact Willis Van Roeckel at 507-825-3211. Cost of the breakfast is $8 in advance, $10 at the door.

WORTHINGTON — A parent-student meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday in the Worthington High School cafeteria for anyone interested in learning more about the Crailsheim Student Exchange Program. Students must complete German 2 to be eligible for participation. All questions regarding the program will be answered at the meeting.

HARTLEY, Iowa - The termination of Hartley Police Chief Mark Younie is stirring some controversy. Younie was fired last Friday by Mayor Clayton Pyle, who in a letter to Younie, said Younie demonstrated an unwillingness to recognize the mayor’s authority. Pyle also stated certain city ordinances weren't being enforced.

In a return letter, Younie says he was never aware such problems existed, stating he never received any reprimands, and that if there were problems, he would have corrected them. Younie also said he can't figure out where the complaints are coming from, citing support he's been getting from the community since his termination.

Younie has requested a hearing to appeal his termination. Jordan Kerr, an officer with the Hartley Police Department, has been named interim Chief.

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa - Fire has gutted the interior of a home in Spirit Lake. Spirit Lake Fire Chief Pat said firefighters were called to the Doug and Tammy Zemler residence in the 2100 block of Denver Avenue shortly after 11 a.m. Thursday morning. No one was home at the time, but five dogs that were in the house perished in the blaze.

Firefighters remained on the scene well into the afternoon. Donations for the family, who lost all their possessions in the blaze, can be dropped off at Bank Midwest in Spirit Lake.

DES MOINES, Iowa - Officials behind the Iowa State Fair say they're scrapping plans to eliminate cash sales at food vendors and other attractions, following a heavy public backlash. The Iowa State Fair Board canceled plans for the cashless payment system at a meeting Thursday.

Fair officials had announced earlier this week they would sell 50-cent tickets online and at multiple locations at the fairgrounds for food and other rides. They said the new system would be more secure and speed up food purchases.

In response, some fairgoers said the hassle of lines and other confusion would keep them at home.

MINNESOTA - Minnesota legislators blasted the troubled MNsure website Thursday and railed against a lack of accountability over its continued woes.

In their first opportunity to question leaders of the insurance exchange since it opened for business, the 10 members of the bipartisan MNsure Legislative Oversight Committee grilled agency executives about decisions last year to downgrade the participation of the lead technology contractor, which came to light only in recent days.

Maximus Inc., a Reston, Va., data services firm that specializes in government projects, was initially awarded the job as general contractor under a $41 million federal grant that later grew to nearly $46 million. But that contract was amended last February, and MNsure took over management and responsibility for building its website and technical infrastructure, according to a document that Maximus provided to the committee.

MNsure board Chairman Brian Beutner and interim CEO Scott Leitz deflected responsibility, saying decisions about Maximus were made before each came aboard.

MINNESOTA - The Minnesota Lottery is moving ahead with plans for an online version of its scratch-off games, but critics of the idea want it delayed to give the Legislature a chance to reconsider.

At a Capitol hearing Thursday members of a group called Citizens Against Gambling Expansion argued the lottery should need permission from the Legislature to bring its Minnesota games to the Web. The group maintains the instant results and repeated plays available online would make an Internet version of the scratch off games more addicting than the paper cards sold in stores.

One report says lottery officials plan to introduce their first online game by the end of the month, but opponents want that delayed to allow for legislative debate in the session that starts in February. The lottery’s executive director, Ed Van Petten, tells the station the move online is a convenience more than an expansion, since the online games will mirror those available at retailers. He says online losses will be capped at $50 a week.

Minnesota customers who set up an online account can already buy tickets for national lottery games, such as Powerball and Mega Millions. But the number of people who have done that is miniscule.

Lottery officials said sales of scratch off tickets to young customers have plummeted in the last decade. Using a mouse and cursor to scratch off a card is seen as a possible way to reverse that trend.

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