June 11 news

WORTHINGTON – The Windsurfing Regatta and Unvarnished Music Festival Officially kicks off today and continues through Sunday, with a weather forecast that should be a crowd pleaser for guests and windsurfers alike.

Worthington plays host this year to the US Windsurfing Nationals, which has already brought people from around the nation to compete. Registration begins today, and the sight of surfers shooting across Lake Okabena will be a common one in the coming days.

Food vendors are open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. today, the beer tent opens at 3 p.m. and opening ceremonies will take place on the Sailboard Beach Stage at 5:30 p.m.

JACKSON - Local authorities stumbled across nearly 2 pounds of marijuana last week following a routine traffic stop. Shortly after noon on June 4, a deputy with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office initiated a traffic stop on Highway 60 near the city of Heron Lake.

The driver was identified as Benjamin Hallgren, 23, of Inver Grove Heights. The deputy observed drug paraphernalia in the vehicle. When Hallgren was asked if there was anything else illegal in the vehicle, he allegedly handed the deputy a small bag containing marijuana. Hallgren also allegedly told the deputy there was more in the back of the vehicle. Jackson County Sheriff Roger Hawkinson said a search of the vehicle yielded approximately 1.9 pounds of marijuana.

Hallgren was arrested and released after posting a $10,000 bond. He faces felony drug charges.

CHEROKEE, Iowa — Police have identified a body pulled from a river in Cherokee. The body was found in the Little Sioux River in Cherokee just before 2 p.m. on Monday afternoon. The individual has been identified as 44-year-old David Driesen of Cherokee.
Cherokee Police say a local resident found Driesen in the river near Westcott Park. Investigators have not ruled out foul play and say the body has been sent to Ankeny for an autopsy.

FOSTORIA, Iowa - Construction is underway on a new indoor shooting range set to open this fall in Fostoria. APEX Firearms and Ammunition will operate the facility. The foundation for the building is poured this week and they hope to open in late October or early November.

APEX has been manufacturing ammunition and firearms in Milford since 2010 and an indoor shooting range has been a goal for a few years, but it took a while to get the funding secured.

The new automated electronic shooting range will feature 24/7 access for members. They will also offer safety classes and shooting leagues. Memberships will go on sale in August. The name for the new shooting range is still under consideration.

MILFORD, Iowa - A proposal to install a turning lane off Highway 71 onto County Road A-34 in Milford has taken a step forward. The city council Monday evening authorized the City Attorney to begin negotiations with the owner of a former business at the corner for the city to purchase the property at fair market value.

City officials hope the project will increase safety at the intersection, which has experienced a number of accidents over the years.

On another matter, some at Monday's meeting questioned the absence of the City Administrator at the session. Mayor Don Lamb said it was a personnel matter and that city officials couldn't comment on it for legal reasons. The City Attorney indicated the council will likely hold a special meeting on the matter sometime in the next couple of days, adding that while a portion of that meeting will likely be a closed session, that there will be an opportunity for public comment.

ROCK VALLEY, Iowa — A Rock Valley man was arrested after an accident near Rock Valley on Friday, June 6th.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s office reports that about 11:15 p.m., they investigated a motor vehicle accident that occurred on 340th Street, three miles southeast of Rock Valley.

However, when emergency personnel arrived on scene the driver of the vehicle had left the area and could not be located. Officers later located him at his home.

Upon further investigation deputies discovered that 34-year-old Israel Silva-Ruiz of Rock Valley had been driving a 2002 Ford F-150 pickup eastbound on 340th Street at about 10:30 that night, when he lost control, and the pickup entered the south ditch and rolled.

Silva-Ruiz reported minor injuries but refused further medical treatment. The Ford sustained $10,000 damage.

Silva-Ruiz was arrested for operating while intoxicated. He was also charged with driving without a valid driver’s license and failure to maintain control.

MINNESOTA - Gov. Mark Dayton is making a trip to Washington, D.C., where he will urge federal officials to come up with the funding for a water pipeline that was authorized 14 years ago.

Dayton is meeting today with Interior Secretary Sally Jewel to push for completion of the Lewis & Clark water project that will serve southwestern Minnesota.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar is hosting the meeting, which will also include other members of Minnesota’s Congressional delegation.

The Lewis & Clark Regional Water System is intended to pipe drinking water from the Missouri River to 20 cities and rural water districts in Minnesota, Iowa, and South Dakota.

President Bill Clinton signed the bill that Congress passed in 2000 authorizing the project but since then the federal government has neglected to provide the money to fund construction.

Minnesota allocated $22 million for the project in this year’s legislative session to complete its piece of the funding.

Lewis & Clark’s executive director, Troy Larson, said last month the state understands how important the project is to the region “… and that message is just not resonating on the federal level. What don’t they get about water?”

The projected cost of the pipeline has now reached $570 million – a figure that has been climbing as the project drags on. The pipeline is now about two-thirds finished and is connected to 11 of its 20 member communities.

In 2010 $194 million from Washington would have finished the federal portion of the project, but inflation had pushed that to $203 million by last year.

The non-controversial nature of the project only adds to the frustration of Lewis & Clark’s Larson, who said, “The Republicans agree, the Democrats agree, the agencies say it’s a high priority. There’s no environmental opposition. No one’s opposed to it – and they can’t get it done. That shows you how dysfunctional D.C. is where everyone agrees and still can’t get anything done.”

Gov. Dayton will stay in Washington through Thursday. He plans to take part in a roundtable discussion on Minnesota’s economy and will be on hand when President Obama pays tribute to the WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx at the White House.

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