March 27 newsPublished by on
JACKSON - Todd Luke, District Manager of the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Windom petitioned the Jackson County Commissioners Tuesday about a partial abandonment of Judicial Ditch 33 for a wetlands restoration/flood storage project in Christiania Township. A public hearing on the matter is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 22 at the Jackson County Commissioner Room.
PIPESTONE -The Pipestone County Economic Development Authority (PCEDA) Board has decided to dissolve the organization. The board directed Sharon Hanson, Pipestone County administrator, to consult with Jim O’Neill, Pipestone County attorney, about the process to dissolve the PCEDA and what should be done with the remaining funds and assets totaling $90,991. Once the process is clear, the board plans to hold a special meeting to take the necessary action.
The PCEDA has been inactive since 2009 and had recently been working with Vince Robinson, president of Development Services, Inc. (DSI), out of Ivanhoe on plans to reemerge as an effective entity. Board members scrapped those plans after reviewing a contract proposal for Robinson’s services that included estimated annual costs of over $20,000 a year.
County Commissioner Bruce Kooiman said city EDAs in Pipestone, Edgerton and Jasper, the Southwest Regional Development Commission (SRDC) and other regional and state entities rendered the PCEDA unnecessary.
The PCEDA started as a joint powers agreement between Pipestone County and all nine cities in the county in 2000 and was formally established as an EDA in January 2005. It was funded with $50,000 from the county and a fee of $3.75 per capita paid by the county’s member cities.
The city of Pipestone stopped paying its membership fee in 2007 due to a perceived lack of organization, accountability and need. Holland followed suit in 2008 and other cities threatened to do the same. In 2009, the PCEDA refunded membership fees cities had paid for the previous two years.
FAIRMONT – The Fairmont Police Department has received hundreds of reports of credit and debit card fraud since a local restaurant's computer was hacked.
Since early last week, police have received more than 200 reports of credit and debit cards being used to make fraudulent purchases in at least 13 states, including Texas, Arizona and New York. Police say all the cards have been linked to a Fairmont restaurant, El Agave. Officials believe a point-of-sale hack took place at the restaurant.
Authorities say the restaurant was unaware of the hack and is cooperating with the investigation. Police say there is no evidence that any restaurant employees took part in the hack. The U.S. Secret Service has joined local authorities in the investigation
SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa - The splash pad at Spirit Lake's Memorial Park will likely be opening late for the upcoming season. A bid-letting to construct a water recycling system for the attraction was on the agenda for Tuesday's city council meeting, but no bids were submitted. Public Works Director Dwight Dohlman told the council he's optimistic that there are firms out there interested in bidding on the project, and that he'll be contacting them. The council set April 8th as the date for a new bid-letting on the project.
Without the recycling system in place, the splash pad likely will not be allowed to operate in the upcoming season. City officials say they've been notified by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources that they will no longer allow water from the splash pad to be discharged into East Lake Okoboji. City Administrator Mark Stevens told the council the DNR could officially order the city to shut down the splash pad unless some type of water recycling system is in place that would divert the water.
Dohlman told the council the earliest a recycling system could be installed and up and running would be late June.
MANKATO - A 59-year-old woman pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Mankato Tuesday to smuggling a woman into the country and forcing her to work at her son’s restaurant for repayment.
According to court documents, Tieu Tran recruited a woman from Vietnam to travel to the U.S. in 2008 using false promises of legal immigration status and a high-paying job. Instead, Tran, of Mankato, forced the woman to work long hours without paying her as promised, prosecutors said.
The Justice Department said the victim was smuggled along with two other Vietnamese nationals across the U.S.-Mexico border by Tran, who “imposed a significant debt” on the woman. To repay the debt, Tran forced the woman to work at her son’s restaurant, Pho Saigon, in Mankato.
The Department of Justice said in a statement that Tran faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.