July 22 news

WORTHINGTON – The non-essential watering ban that has been in effect in the city of Worthington for months was lifted Monday afternoon after the Water and Light Commission met and evaluated the situation.

According to Worthington Public Utilities Manager Scott Hain, the odd/even address rule will still be in effect, and no lawn watering will be allowed between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., but for now, Worthington residents will be allowed to wash vehicles, water plants and use water as they see fit.

Hain said he hopes that people will still work to conserve water.

The main reason behind pulling the ban, Hain said, was the inquiries the WPU has been receiving about deferred maintenance projects such as painting garages, homes and decks. Many of them, he said, need to power wash, and the ban prevented them from doing so.

Water levels have been above the average for the last four weeks or so, Hain said, ever since the main recharge at the end of June, so the Commission decided the time was right to lift the ban. Unless something catastrophic happens between now and then, Hain said, the ban will remain lifted and the Commission will reassess the situation at the September 2 Water and Light meeting.

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama on Monday declared a federal disaster area in Minnesota that covers the severe storms, flooding, straight-line winds and mudslides that occurred between June 11 and July 11 and includes the counties of Jackson, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone and Rock. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the state of Minnesota to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected.

The president’s declaration, which came after a July 9 request from Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, will deliver federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in areas affected by severe storms and flooding.

FEMA will reimburse 75 percent of approved costs. Under legislation signed by Dayton in 2014, the State of Minnesota will pay the non-federal share.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

Warren J. Riley has been named as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. Riley said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

FULDA – The Fulda Fish & Game Club is hosting a fundraising breakfast from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Sunday, August 3 at the Fulda Community Center to fund the new aerators for the Fulda lake. Menu will be pancakes, French toast, sausage, juice and coffee. Suggested donation is $8 for adults, $4 for children 10 and under.

JACKSON - The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office is turning to the public for help in its investigation of a stolen vehicle.

On July 17, the sheriff’s office received a report of a stolen vehicle. Dacia Broesder, 35, of Alpha reported that on July 16, she had left her 2000 Chevrolet Silverado pickup for repairs at Speedy’s Service in Jackson, with the keys in the center console. When she contacted Speedy’s to get a time estimate on repairs, it was found the vehicle was not there.

The vehicle was located the following day by the Faribault County Sheriff’s Office just outside the city of Blue Earth. Jackson County Sheriff Roger Hawkinson urges anyone who may have information about this incident to contact his office.

SIOUX RAPIDS, Iowa - A Sioux Rapids man accused of stabbing a 19-year-old man last week now faces an attempted murder charge. Online court documents show 43-year-old Pedro Orozco was initially charged with willful injury but an attempted murder charge was added Monday.

Buena Vista County Sheriff Doug Simons says the additional charge was added after police discussed the case with the County Attorney.

Orozco is accused of stabbing a Spencer man at a Sioux Rapids home on July 9th. Simons says Orozco and the victim knew each other. The victim remains hospitalized.

An arraignment on the new charge is set for August 4th. Orozco's bond was increased to $50,000.

MINNESOTA - A state agency says thousands of MinnesotaCare recipients may have been billed incorrectly after they applied for health insurance through MNsure, Minnesota’s new health insurance exchange.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services sent 3,000 letters informing MinnesotaCare households that they may have received incorrect monthly billing statements for several months, but the letters instructed people to continue paying their bills anyway.

MinnesotaCare provides subsidized coverage for low-income, working people.
State Sen. Michelle Benson, who sits on the MNsure Legislative Oversight Committee, said she is seeking answers from DHS and MNsure about the mix-up.

DHS officials said they are working with IT staff and MNsure vendors to correct the issues, and that MinnesotaCare coverage for those households remains in place.

Meanwhile, an independent consultant firm hired by the state to assess its troubled MNsure website found no serious security problems, MPR News reports. Deloitte Consulting did fault the state health insurance exchange for being technologically complex and confusing to its users.

MNsure has continued to experience problems, sparking continued concern over whether the exchange is prepared for the November open enrollment period.

MNsure officials recently said 251,592 Minnesotans have enrolled for coverage through MNsure.

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