March 19 news

WORTHINGTON – ISD#518 on Tuesday approved the concept of the Nobles Housing Initiative, making Abraham Algadi and the Worthington Regional Economic Development Corp three for three. Algadi had previously gotten the same concept approval from Nobles County and the city of Worthington. Now, he said, he needs to go talk to the small towns and school districts in the county.

The Initiative will offer 100 percent tax abatement for five years on new home construction. It was proposed by Algadi and the WREDC as a way to work around the housing crunch that plagues some areas in southwest Minnesota.

The school board members had several concerns regarding the plan, one of which was brought up by Steve Schnieder. He pointed out that Worthington lacks water and asked how an influx of new households would affect that problem. WREDC board member Kevin Donovan explained water is being brought in through the Lincoln-Pipestone Water System and would be sufficient.

Donovan said he didn’t foresee it as a problem, commenting he wanted to see board members with nodding heads showing that they understand the concept. He called it a “no brainer” and a concept needed in the community.

Superintendent John Landgaard brought up something on every school board members’ minds – the enrollment figures the Worthington district is battling. Landgaard said they are expecting more than 100 new students next year, and the influx of housing would only make the problem worse, especially since the referendum to build a new school failed in the last election.

Donovan cut into Landgaard’s explanation with the comment, “You scratch our back, we’ll scratch yours,” seeming to indicate the WREDC can help the school district get the referendum passed by educating the public about the issue.

The motion to approve the concept was passed unanimously.

The school board also had a brief discussion about a cooperative agreement with the Adrian School District regarding the gymnastics program. Member Scott Rosenberg said he did not want to see three students from the Adrian school entering the program and possibly taking spots away from the Worthington girls. If it was that important to them, he said, the students should open enroll into the Worthington district.

Member Brad Shaffer concurred, stating it isn’t the Worthington district’s role to provide kids in other districts with opportunities. Schnieder had pointed out the Adrian school doesn’t have a gymnastics program, and the three girls are currently in sixth grade, entering junior high next year. It is not about transplanting kids, he said, and the current gymnasts don’t see it as competition or being displaced.

The cooperative agreement passed by majority vote, with Shaffer and Rosenberg voting against.

WORTHINGTON – During a joint meeting between the Worthington City Council, the Water and Light Board and the Housing and Redevelopment Authority, the city approved a 1.5 percent interest rate on the $800,000 loan to the HRA for the Rising Sun Estates project. The Water and Light Board also agreed to an $800,000 loan, along with a $25,000 grant, keeping the city and the utilities board on the same level.

The Southwest Initiative Foundation will contribute $200,000 to the project, with only interest required for repayment for 15 years.

The apartment project will be located on East Avenue, bordered by County Roads 5 and 35. Eight buildings will house 48 units, 32 with three bedrooms, 16 with two. Four units will be handicap accessible. Rent has been established at $950 for three bedrooms, $850 for two.

According to HRA member Lyle Ten Haken, the $6.4 million project could not use state housing sources for funding unless they were building low-to-moderate income units. Their goal, he said, was to rent to professionals, not produce low income housing.

Council member Ron Wood expressed concern that it would take a while to gain a 93 percent occupancy rate, and the city would end up shouldering the burden of the loans.
Other concerns involved the construction company. The cost per unit ends up significantly lower if Northstar Homes of Marshall is used, rather than Highland Homes of Worthington. Council member Mike Kuhle said he worried what the headlines would say the next day if they select Northstar rather than Highland. They worked diligently, he said, with the local company to try to get the price down, but to no avail.

WORTHINGTON – The Nobles County Commissioners on Tuesday approved a turnback agreement for sections of the old Highway 60 no longer in service as part of the state highway program. The frontage road along the highway that serves the recycling center and salvage yards was constructed along with the 60 project. The county will take over the maintenance of that roadway. An old segment from Nobles County 57 going east toward the new highway will become part of the County State Aid Highway system, with the county receiving more than $800,000 compensation.

The commissioners also approved a slightly unusual purchase – 15 cemetery burial plots. Nobles County Community Services is responsible to provide funeral services for indigent persons and have historically bought plots in advance to be used in those circumstances. Nobles County Community Services Director Stacie Golombiecki said there have been six county-funded burials already in the first two months of 2014.

Currently the county has plots at the Memorial Gardens Cemetery, but had used up plots at the Worthington Cemetery. Regular price for a plot is $425, but by purchasing 15 lots in advance, the county saved $3,000.

The commissioners had visitors during their Tuesday meeting – about 15 high school students from 4 area schools stopped in for American Legion Government Day, chaperoned by legion members from several area posts. Among questions asked by the students was “Do you fight a lot?” and “How much coffee do you drink to stay awake?”

WORTHINGTON – Attention all Worthington area girls softball players. There will be a registration for players of all ages from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Worthington Middle School for the summer league. Registration will include league payment of $40 and jersey deposit of $40. There will be a meeting with parents at 3 p.m., when they will be expected to review and sign the rules and guidelines. All individuals interested in being on a team this summer must be at the meeting.

SHELDON, Iowa— RISE Ministries, the organization behind the Christian music festival RiseFest, has announce the next artist added to the 2014 lineup, highly entertaining and energetic, Rapture Ruckus. The group will perform on Friday night, host a dance party afterwards, and perform on Saturday.

President and Founder of RISE Ministries, Rob Roozeboom said Rapture Ruckus is one of those rare groups who cut through the noise and connect with people all over the world, using their catchy blend of rock and hip-hop.

Originally from New Zealand, Rapture Ruckus has continued to garner an increasing following with extensive touring through the United States, Canada, South Africa, Singapore, and Australia since 2004.

For more information on RiseFest and RISE Ministries visit www.riseministries.com, stay connected with RISE through social media on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, email info@riseministries.com or call 712-324-9763.

SPIRIT LAKE - A 27-year-old Spirit Lake man was arrested Monday night while operating a moped. Tyrell Howard of Spirit Lake was driving a Yamaha Vino moped on Center Lake Drive around 7 p.m. when he was stopped by Spirit Lake Police. Upon investigation, Howard was found to be operating under the influence of a controlled substance and in possession of marijuana.

Howard was arrested and booked into the Dickinson County Jail on multiple charges including Possession of a controlled substance: marijuana 4th offense, a class “D” felony and Operating while intoxicated: 2nd offence, an aggravated misdemeanor.

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa - Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources say the severe winter will likely result in an increased fish kill on several area lakes. The agency's Jim Wahl, a supervisor for fisheries in northwest Iowa, says Minnewashta, Upper Gar and the lower end of East Lake Okoboji have low oxygen levels and ice fishermen have reported seeing dead fish through underwater cameras on Lake Minnewashta.

Wahl said an unusually thick ice cover and the fact many lakes have been under ice for three and-a-half months have resulted in lower than usual oxygen levels, especially on shallow lakes. A late season decomposition of algae may have also contributed to the problem on Lake Minnewashta, he added.

Wahl said they won't know the full impact until the DNR can get boats on the water to conduct sampling operations.

PRIMGHAR, Iowa - An investigation into a disturbance Friday evening at a residence south of Hartley resulted in authorities citing 13 persons for underage drinking. Deputies with the O'Brien County Sheriff's Office, troopers with the Iowa State Patrol and officers with the Hartley Police Department were called to the scene shortly after 10 p.m.

O'Brien county authorities are investigating the theft of a hand drill from a worksite near Granville. Anyone with information should contact the O'Brien County Sheriff's Office. The theft was reported Friday.

Authorities in O'Brien County are also investigating an attempted burglary at the Hideout Bar along with three other attempted burglaries at businesses in Paullina. The incidents were reported on Thursday of last week.

O'Brien county authorities also investigated a report of a stolen XBox from a residence in Primghar. The XBox was found in the possession of another party when it appeared to have been switched for another. During an investigation authorities determined the XBox that had been reported stolen from the residence may have been stolen from a retail establishment.

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