January 30 news

WORTHINGTON – According to the Minnesota State Patrol, last weekend’s winter storm resulted in 76 vehicles left on the roadway in southwest Minnesota. A report issues Wednesday shows that over the three-day period of Saturday, Sunday and Monday, there were four rollovers and six crashes in the area, and those are just the ones on state roads. Seventeen vehicles were reported stalled on the roads.

According to Sgt. Jacalyn Sticha of the state patrol, the numbers in southwest Minnesota were below the state average, because many motorists in the area are heeding the warnings put out by the state and the National Weather Service. And when roads closed Sunday afternoon, many were given no choice but to leave the roadways and seek shelter.

Approximately three inches of snow fell with that weather event, and wind gusts up to 55 miles an hour caused white-out conditions, making visibility impossible in some places. With the storm came wind chills of 30 to 40 degrees below zero.

WORTHINGTON – A Worthington man is facing charges of controlled substance possession and illegal transport of a firearm after a traffic stop Wednesday. Melvin Larreynaga-Cruz, age 20, was the passenger n a vehicle stopped by a Worthington Police Officer.

The officer recognized the driver of a passing vehicle as someone who had a suspended license, so he stopped the vehicle. When the passenger opened the glovebox to look for insurance information, the officer noted a CO2 canister and asked if there was a pistol in the vehicle. He was told there might be, so both men were asked to leave the vehicle and submit to a search.

During the pat down, the officer located a glass pipe containing meth residue in the front pocket of Larreynaga-Cruz. A CO2 pistol was found under the passenger seat.
The driver was cited for driving after suspension.

WORTHINGTON – An open house reception honoring retiring postmaster Lynel Hokeness will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday at the Worthington Post Office.

Hokeness has worked for the Post Office for 24 years, the last three as the Worthington Postmaster.

She began as a letter carrier in 1990, then worked her way up to a clerk position. She was promoted to a supervisory position, filling in at several post offices in the area until becoming postmaster. Her last day is Friday. Until a new postmaster is hired for the Worthington office, Luverne Postmaster Chris Kemper will serve as the officer in charge.

PIPESTONE - Pipestone County Medical Center and Kraemer Management Service (KMS) will soon be contacting some Pipestone County residents as part of a feasibility study for a possible capital campaign for an estimated $24 million expansion project planned to begin this spring, according to the Pipestone County Star.

Brad Burris, CEO of the medical center, met Jan. 22 with Fred Kraemer of KMS to begin the process. Kraemer told the board in December the study would include interviewing 60 to 90 people, presenting information about the project and asking their opinion of PCMC, including how much they would donate to a capital campaign.

Burris said Kraemer plans to conduct the interviews in February and he expects the study to be completed by the end of March, at which time Kraemer will present a detailed report. The board will use that information to decide whether to conduct a capital campaign.

PCMC hired Kraemer earlier this month from among four potential fundraising firms to conduct the feasibility study. The maximum cost of the study will be capped at $6,500. If the board proceeds with a capital campaign, it would cost $13,500 a month, plus office space and supplies, which Kraemer said he would try to obtain through in-kind donations.

SPIRIT LAKE - The Spirit Lake High School Jazz Band earned top honors at the State Jazz Band Festival earlier this week at the Sami Center. The band, directed by Jody Ingwersen, earned a Division One, Superior rating.

The jazz band will next perform at the Spirit Lake Music Boosters Annual Auction and Soup Saturday evening. Serving will be from 5 until 6:45 p.m. The jazz band will perform at 7 p.m., followed by the show choir at 7:45 p.m. There will also be student performances and silent and live auctions.

SIBLEY, Iowa — The Sibley City Council voted unanimously last week to offer the position of city administrator to Rock Rapids native Glenn Anderson, according to official records.

Anderson has been living in the Twin Cities, but has been in the news in northwest Iowa in the recent past. He ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for Lyon County Auditor in 2012, losing to Jen Smit. Anderson also spearheaded the idea of a casino in Lyon County in 2008, while serving as Lyon County Economic Development Director.

Anderson was released from that position in August 2009.

There has been no word yet if Anderson will accept the position.

MINNESOTA - Fourteen managers at MNsure collectively received more than $26,000 in bonuses in November after the launch of the health exchange website, according to a report in the Pioneer Press.

State officials disclosed the information on Wednesday.

A report last week suggested MNsure’s website is deeply flawed. The report, which was conducted by Optum, a division of United Health Group, said it would take 12 to 24 months to repair the site. It suggested another choice would be to rebuild the website from scratch.

After MNsure’s catastrophic launch, MNsure executive staff received bonus compensation, according to a letter to Gov. Mark Dayton written by Rep. Joe Hoppe of Chaska.

MNsure has been plagued by troubles since its launch on Oct. 1. Software glitches created problems for thousands who were attempting to sign up. Also, consumers faced long hold times during December because of MNsure’s overwhelmed call center.
The Pioneer Press reports MNsure spokesman John Schadl said former executive director April Todd-Malmlov approved the bonuses, which did not require approval from the MNsure board.

Following the review last week, Dayton accepted responsibility for the flaws with the MNsure rollout.

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