April 29 news

WORTHINGTON – The abatement plan filed by Northland Mall owner Mike Kohen is insufficient, according to Worthington Director of Community and Economic Development Brad Chapulis. He explained to the city council Monday night that he and his staff had examined the plan of action Kohen had submitted last month and found there was no specific schedule or scope of work, and no executed contracts.

The city got involved with the mall last year when the old K-Mart portion of the property was found to be a hazard after a drug bust. Since that day, the city has been trying to work with Kohen regarding a plan to fix or demolish that portion, but Kohen has waited until the last minute for any kind of replies to legal requests. As a result, the city has hired a company to assess the K-Mart portion to determine whether it can be saved or should be knocked down. That company will be on site today.

The rest of the mall has now been declared hazardous due to issues with the roof, ceiling, ventilation and HVAC systems. Kohen will be given 60 days to address the problems before the city once again turns to the courts.

The council on Monday also approved a draft of the Nobles Home Initiative guidelines. The program would allow for 100 percent tax abatement of the city’s share of real estate taxes for a period of five years. The city, county and local school boards had all approved the concept, now approval for the guidelines will be sought. The first application for use of the program has already been received.

The council approved a couple of different funding options for a housing project through the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership. The Housing Partnership is proposing a 60-unit apartment building on Grand Avenue, and will use the city’s partnership to strengthen its application for low income housing tax credits through the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency.

WORTHINGTON – A 45-year-old Worthington man charged with six felony counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct is scheduled to make his first appearance in Nobles County District Court next week.

Conrado Abundiz-Aguilara is accused of sexually abusing at least two children. Both were interviewed at Child’s Voice, and reported Abundiz-Aguilara had touched them intimately. One reported he would hit her with a belt or a hanger, causing scars.

Of the six charges, three are for sexual contact with a person under the age of 16, and three are for sexual contact with a person under the age of 13. All six charges claim Abundiz-Aguilara had a significant relationship with his victims.

WORTHINGTON – Charges were filed Friday against Dave Jonathan Phillip, age 60, of Worthington, who is accused of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult and theft.
According to the criminal complaint, Nobles County Family Services contacted law enforcement in January with concerns. Phillip has power of attorney for his father, who resides at The Meadows in the Memory Care Unit. Investigation showed the elderly man’s account showed overdraft fees, ATM withdrawals amounting to more than $4,000 in two years, payments to a liquor store and an airline ticket. One of the ATM withdrawals was made in Las Vegas.

Authorities talked to Phillip, who said his father’s monthly bills were more than his Social Security income, and he was using some of his own money to make up the difference. He admitted he sometimes used the account, but always paid money back in. Phillip told authorities his father only left The Meadows to go to the doctor or visit his house on holidays.

The complaint states authorities found no evidence of money Phillip had paid back into his father’s account. They did find that in 24 months, the account at The Meadows was in arrears for 18 of them.

Phillip is scheduled to make his first appearance in Nobles County District Court in mid-May.

WORTHINGTON - Worthington Middle School music teacher Jeanette Jenson has been named the Education Minnesota Worthington 2014 Teacher of the Year.

Jenson has entered her 21st year as a music teacher, with 18 of those years spent at District 518. She has served as music department chair and co-director of the comprehensive arts planning program. She has also been a participant in the quality teaching network and most recently assisted in the completion of the new teacher evaluation model.

LUVERNE — Luverne Mayor Pat Baustian will join a select group of individuals Wednesday evening as Gov. Mark Dayton presents his State of the State address at the Minnesota Capitol. The address begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday, and it will be aired on Minnesota Public Television. Baustian will get to meet with the governor at 6:15 p.m. and then be escorted to the chamber to hear the speech. Following the address, invited guests will return to the Dayton’s office for a social gathering.

Baustian, who is past president and current member of the Southwest Minnesota Lewis & Clark Joint Powers Board, was asked to be present as Dayton discusses his requested $1.2 billion state bonding bill. If legislators approve Dayton’s request, the governor has said he will guarantee $69 million to fund the completion of the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System, Baustian said.

SHELDON, Iowa — Two Sheldon men have been arrested in connection with the vandalism incident at the City Park, and are accused of defacing equipment with Nazi insignia.

The City of Sheldon reported that sometime between Wednesday, April 23rd at 6 AM and Thursday, April 24th at 6 AM, someone vandalized the bathroom at City Park. The report says the bathroom partitions were scratched with a swastika; the words, “Whitey Power”; and an SS Lightning Bolt. A park bench was also damaged. The property damage was estimated at $200.

Sheldon police report 20-year old David Bradley Robinson and 28-year old Anthony Paul Van Dellen of Sheldon have been arrested on charges of 4th & 5th Degree Criminal Mischief in connection with the incident. Sheldon police say both subjects were taken to jail following their arrests. According to jail records, they are out on bond.

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