January 15 news

WORTHINGTON - The Freedom Veterans Memorial Park Board of Directors will hold their annual meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, January 20 at the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce.

All members of Freedom Veterans Memorial Park are urged to attend. Membership, as defined in the by-laws, is such persons, natural or corporate, who contribute to and assist in the conduct of any of the promotional activities by this corporation.

WORTHINGTON — The Worthington District 518 Community Education Department will offer a four-hour AARP Smart Driver Refresher class on Thursday. The class will begin at noon at the West Learning Center. An eight-hour AARP Smart Driver class will be offered on two nights, Jan. 21 and Jan. 23, beginning at 6 p.m.

To register, call 376-6105. Bring a driver’s license and AARP card, if an AARP member.

PIPESTONE - The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), concerned about the Casey Jones State Trail, has asked for setback requirements for the proposed Stoneray Wind Project that would extend from Woodstock into Murray County. The concern was listed in the draft environmental report.

Turbines could “diminish the (trail’s) qualities of perceived remoteness and scenic value,” the DNR wrote. It’s suggested in the report that the turbines be located 250 feet away from the trail, a similar distance requirement away from public roads. It also suggested that Stoneray, when deciding a turbine’s location and type, utilize the area’s topography and vegetation to reduce visual intrusions.

The public may give comments about possible environmental and human impacts before the final report is drafted for the Commission for the final permit determination, currently scheduled for June. The final environmental report will help the five-member Minnesota Public Utilities Commission decide whether to grant a certificate of need and a site permit necessary for the wind farm, which is estimated to cost $160 to $232 million to construct.

ARNOLD’S PARK, Iowa - A fundraising campaign by the Iowa Rock 'n Roll Music Association to build a new museum is about to kick into high gear. Jenna Hardy Pederson, the organization's Executive Director, said they received a land donation from Toby Shine, located on Highway 86 next to Shine’s classic car museum. The hope is that a museum can be built within the next five years.

About two-thirds of the museum’s collection is in storage right now due to the lack of space in their current facility. Pederson said the construction will be a multi-million dollar project, but they don’t have bids yet, so exact figures are not known.

The association will continue to lease its building in Arnolds Park even once the new museum is completed. Pederson said it will continue to serve as a satellite museum and that they'll continue to hold their Rock The Roof concerts and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at the Roof Garden in Arnolds Park.

SHELDON, Iowa - Sheldon Police are investigating the weekend theft of a Polaris ATV from Glen’s Sport Center in Sheldon. According to the police report, the theft occurred sometime between 5:30 p.m. on Friday, January 11 and 12:35 p.m. on Monday, January 13. Taken was a 2011 Polaris Razer S800, valued at $9,200. The report says it was taken from the west side of Glen’s Sport Center. Anyone with information is asked to contact law enforcement at 712-324-2525.

HARTLEY, Iowa — A rural Hartley family is without a home after a house fire on Tuesday morning. Hartley Fire Chief Curt Stoltz said the department was paged at about 3:30 a.m. to a house fire two and a half miles east of Hartley on Highway 18.
At the scene, Stoltz says they found the house mostly engulfed in flame. Mutual aid was requested from the Everly Fire Department. There were no injuries reported and the family got out safely, but the damage to the home was significant.

According to Stoltz, the cause of the fire appears to have been a heating device on the porch of the home.

HARTLEY, Iowa - The firing of Hartley Police Chief Mark Younie had people on both sides of the issue packing Monday evening's city council meeting. Supporters of Younie expressed their opposition to his firing by Mayor Clayton Pyle and requested Younie be reinstated. Others said they were at the meeting to show their support of the city's elected officials and their decisions.

While the termination of Younie wasn't specifically listed on the agenda, members of the public were still allowed to express their views to the city council. City council members, the Mayor and other city officials again refused to comment on the matter at Monday evening's meeting.

A date for a hearing that Younie requested to appeal his termination has not yet been set.

MINNESOTA - After multiple squad cars were hit recently, the Minnesota State Patrol is reminding drivers to slow down or move over when they see flashing lights.

Since Friday, crashes in which vehicles slid into patrol cars parked on shoulders resulted in four damaged squads. None of the troopers involved were seriously hurt.

IOWA - Gov. Terry Branstad is expected to announce that he will seek re-election. Branstad is scheduled to hold a "major announcement" tonight in West Des Moines. The 67-year-old Republican governor will then kick off a statewide tour.

Branstad, who is currently serving his fifth non-consecutive term, enjoys strong approval ratings. He is touting property tax cuts, education investments and a decline in unemployment as key accomplishments. His campaign announced last week that he had just over $4 million in his campaign account at the end of December.

The main Democrat seeking to oppose Branstad is 63-year-old state Sen. Jack Hatch, of Des Moines.

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