August 8 news

WORTHINGTON – During a presentation of the first Property Assessed Clean Energy or PACE check in the southwest Minnesota 18-county Rural Minnesota Energy Board Area, Slayton Mayor Miron Carney opened remarks by stating his parents were of the hippy generation. He said he grew up hearing about how solar and natural power and energy efficiency were going to clean up our planet and turn lives around.

Now we’re starting to see it, he said, and thanked Sen. Al Franken for being such a strong supporter of PACE.

In a the back meeting room of the Blue Line Café, where a check for nearly $75,000 to fund the retrofitting of many lights used to light the outdoor canopy and building fascia would be used, Carney said he was very optimistic the PACE program would be a success.

According to Nobles County Commissioner Gene Metz, the program is open to commercial and industrial entities within the 18 counties. Twenty percent of their assessed market value can be used to fund projects, which is assessed twice a year on tax rolls. Slightly more than $1 million is available for use in the fund.

Franken called PACE a win-win situation, because businesses not only improve energy efficiency, but save money each year they can use to hire employees or make other improvements. That can lead to creating jobs, creating nicer, brighter work environments and enhanced property values, he said.

WORTHINGTON - There’s a lot going on today at the Nobles County Fair. Things start at 8 a.m. with the 4-H beef show. The 4-H and commercial buildings open at 10 a.m. From 3 to 5 p.m. there will be 4-H demonstration in Benton Hall, and the 4-H ribbon sale begins at 6 p.m. in Olson Arena. At 7 p.m. the demolition derby begins in the grandstand.

Saturday is Kid’s Day at the Nobles County Fair. From 9 a.m. to noon, there are free pancakes, sponsored by Nobles Cooperative Electric. The 4-H and commercial buildings open at 10 a.m., and Tri-State Beef Show check-in begins at 10 a.m. Premier Showmanship is at noon. Kids Day activities are from 1 to 3 p.m., and both the team horseshoe tournament and the Tri-State Junior Beef Show begin at 2 p.m. The Zoo Express runs from 2 to 4 p.m. and the Prairie Ecology Bus Center in from 2 to 8 p.m. The endurance race begins at 7 p.m. in the grandstand.

Nobles County Fair activities wrap up Sunday with some great activities, beginning with an inspirational service at 10 a.m. at Olsen Arena. There’s both a horse shoe tournament and a kids pedal pull at 1 p.m.

You can check out the complete line-up of events at noblescountyfair.com

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa - Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources say they've been looking into two separate fish kills on two of the Iowa Great Lakes. Fisheries Biologist Mike Hawkins said one is on Big Spirit Lake along an extensive stretch of shoreline that reaches from Sunset Park to Reed’s Run.

Hawkins said they have seen lots of small fish that look as if they have died recently, that include a number of different species. The DNR believes the kill is due to low oxygen conditions due to calm conditions combined with a blue-green algae bloom, which can cause oxygen levels to sag.

The other fish kill was reported on East Lake Okoboji and included larger fresh water drum or sheephead. Hawkins said it is not uncommon this time of year in high density areas – that they ciuld have a bacterial infection or other disease that causes a kill.

He said both kills look like naturally occurring events.

Hawkins encourages the public to remain vigilant and report any fish kills they may happen to see to the DNR.

IOWA - A northwest Iowa agency will share in more than $2.5 million in homeless assistance grants awarded by the Iowa Finance Authority. The funding is made available through the federal Emergency Solutions Grant program administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Upper Des Moines Opportunity has been awarded $123,538 for its Homeless Prevention and Rapid Rehousing programs in Buena Vista, Clay, Emmet and Palo Alto counties.

ARNOLD’S PARK, Iowa - It may still be more than five months away, but the 2015 University of Okoboji Winter Games will be here before we know it.

The Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce Thursday announced Alison Schmitz will serve as Chairperson and Nick Stauss as co-chair for the 35th annual event.

The 2015 University of Okoboji Winter Games will take place January 23-25.

MINNESOTA - New economic data is confirming Minnesota's status as a top performer among Upper Midwest states. The U.S. Department of Commerce for the first time is releasing state-by-state breakdowns of personal income and consumption.

North Dakota is the runaway growth leader nationally and regionally thanks to its oil boom, with double-digit gains.

Minnesota's per capita personal income rose 4 percent to almost $47,000 in 2012, the latest year available. Wisconsin's per capita income rose 3.6 percent, Iowa's 3.4 percent and South Dakota's 1.2 percent.

Minnesota's per capita consumer spending also outpaced that of Wisconsin and Iowa.

MINNESOTA - Sometimes it’s miserable to be a Minnesota sports fan – OK, maybe it actually feels that way most of the time. But just in case you weren’t sure, someone has now acknowledged how consistently agonizing the disappointment can be.

Forbes ranks Minneapolis No. 9 on its annual list of Most Miserable Sports Cities, which was released Thursday.

Atlanta ranked No. 1, followed by Phoenix, Cleveland and San Diego. For the complete list, click here.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal notes “long-suffering Minnesota sports fans now have some validation” that it is “painful” to cheer for the home team. Adding that “somehow” Forbes left Minneapolis off the lit for the last few years, but it finally “came to its senses” with this year’s list.

Forbes graded the misery of major sports cities (cities with 75 cumulative years in the NFL, NBA MLB and NHL – not counting cities that have won a championship in the last five years) based not so much on “sheer futility” as much as the “letdown factor” or “the tease” – when a team builds up fans’ hopes and dreams, only to crush them with a heartbreaking loss in the playoffs.

For the ranking, Forbes awarded “misery points” for teams’ postseason records – if a team made it to the finals and lost, it was awarded more points than the team that was knocked out in the first round. Forbes also added points for championship droughts and fewest championships, and added bonus points for losing a sport to another city through relocation.

For Minneapolis’ ranking, Forbes considered past and present Minnesota teams, including the Vikings, Twins, Timberwolves, Lakers, Wild and North Stars.

Forbes says those six Minnesota teams have played a total of 184 seasons and have had seven championship wins – the last time the state celebrated a professional sports title (not including the Minnesota Lynx) was in 1991 with the Twins.

Minnesota has a combined championship round record of 7-8 (which includes four Super Bowl loses) and a semifinal round record of 12-18.

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