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News headlines

4-H Orientation to be held in Jackson County - Jan. 22, 2015  

LAKEFIELD - New 4-H families or those interested in learning about 4-H are encouraged to attend a new member orientation on February 7th.  The event will be from 10:30am to noon at the Lakefield Multi-Purpose Building.

This informal meeting for both youth and parents include information on project ideas, 4-H, county fairs, and much more!  Youth activities will be led by Ambassadors while an informational meeting is being held for adults. 

Please RSVP to the Jackson County Extension Office at 507-662-5293 by February 6th.  

IRRMA Rock the Roof on Friday - Jan. 22, 2015  

ARNOLDS PARK - The Iowa RockNRoll Music Association will be hosting the University of Okoboji Winter Games Rock the Roof tomorrow night at the Pavilion at Arnolds Park.  Doors will open 6:30pm with the dance and show from 7:30-10pm.

Opening the show will be the winners of the 2014 Battle of the Bands, Black Diamond from Carroll.  Sly James & the New City Council will headline the show and dance.   South Dakota and Iowa Hall of Fame Inductee Kevin King (Hot Rod Chevy Kevy) from Des Moines leads this talented group of musicians. On bass guitar and vocals will be Hall of Famer Shane Von Holdt from Sac City.  Spirit Award winner Tyler Pedersen (BB & the Bullfrogs) is the drummer/vocalist.

For complete information you can go online to iowarocknroll.com.

Tickets are only $10 each and available at the door - no advance ticket sales. Kick off the 2015 University of Okoboji Winter Games with Rock the Roof, tomorrow night at the Pavilion at Arnolds Park.  Doors open at 6:30pm with the show and dance starting at 7:30pm.

Sheriff's office investigating break in at MN West - Jan. 20, 2015  

JACKSON -  The Jackson County Sheriff's Office is investigating a break-in at MN West Community and Technical College in the city of Jackson last week.

Last Monday, January 12th, the suspects gained entrance into the college through a rear door and once inside the college, broke into an ATM machine. An undetermined amount of cash was taken from the machine.

Anyone with any information is urged to contact the Jackson County Sheriff's Office at 507-847-4420.  

IA Jazz Band Contest this week - Jan. 20, 2015  

ESTHERVILLE - The annual Iowa Jazz Band Contest for area high schools will be tomorrow and Thursday at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville.  Fifteen schools will perform and compete for first, second and third place ratings in three classes.  Each band will also be given valuable feedback from experienced judges. 

Class 1A and 3A schools perform on Wednesday with Class 2A schools performing on Thursday.  1A schools start at 9am with awards at 10:25.  3A schools start at 10:30 with awards scheduled for 3:45pm tomorrow.

Class 2A schools start at 9am Thursday with awards scheduled for 1:15pm.  All performances take place in the Iowa Lakes Community College gymnasium.

There is no admission for this event and the public is invited to attend. Please contact Linda Kautz at 712-362-8345 or check the Iowa Lakes website at iowalakes.edu for more details. 

JCC HS One Act Play to perform/compete - Jan. 19, 2015  

JACKSON - The JCC High School One Act Play will be competing in the Sub-Section 9 Contest on Saturday, January 31 at Springfield High School.  JCC will be performing the one act play “The Invasion of Earth as It Began in Grover’s Mill, New Jersey” by J. R. Mimbs.

This one act play is based upon the radio play by Orson Welles from 1938. The plot takes you into the lives of the people listening to the Welles radio play to see the effects upon different characters.

17 JCC students will perform during the One Act Play.  They include Hannah Guggisberg, Derek Somnis, Katrina Stoltenberg, Nick Reed, Rebecca Dose, Josie Nunez, Nic Koehne, Abby Brinkman, Janice Zhang, Teague Schultz, Maddie Isaacson, Maggie Post, Isaac Johnson, Ashley Kennedy, Jenna Sassenrath, Kristin Stoltenberg, and Tara Porter.  The One Act Play is directed by Tracy Steiner.

  Seven schools will perform at the Sub-Section Contest on January 31st to see who moves on to the Section contest.  The performances begin at 10:30 with JCC performing sixth at approximately 2:00 P.M.  Each play is about 30 minutes long.  Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for students.

JCC will be doing a preview performance on Friday, January 30, at 7:30 P.M. in the JCC Performing Arts Center.  Admission for this performance will be free.

Lakefield Business Association meets - Jan. 18, 2015   

LAKEFIELD - The Lakefield Business Association held their annual meeting Sunday night at the Hi-Lo Club in Lakefield.  A summary of 2014 events and treasurer reports were reviewed. 

In Board action, Heather Hussong was elected to the Board to fill the seat vacated by Tracy Wheeler. 

JCC gets ready for Winterfest - Jan. 17, 2015  

JACKSON - Winterfest will be next week at JCC.  This year’s theme is “Winter Wonderland”.   Coronation will be at 8pm on Monday, January 26th in the High School Auditorium. 

Senior Royalty is Hannah Guggisberg and Brandon Schmit, Macy Kalfs and Paden Moore, Riley Schneekloth and Scott Ringquist and Jessica Jandera and Jack Ringkob.

Freshman attendants are Kelsey Kannenberg and Hunter Gustin, Sophomore attendants are Jayni Anderson and Chris Gumto and Junior attendants are Emma Pohlman and Bodey Behrens.

Dress up days for Winterfest week are Pajama Day on Monday, Tuesday is Twin Day, Wednesday is White Out, Thursday is Thrift Shop and Friday is Husky Day.

There will be a Winterfest Dance from 9pm to midnight on Friday, January 30th in the Auxiliary Gym.

Two injured in one-vehicle accident Friday - Jan. 12, 2015 

JACKSON - Two people were hurt in a one vehicle accident just west of Jackson on Interstate 90 Friday afternoon.

33 year-old Jeffrey Barnes of Rapid City, SD was driving a 2010 Ford Expedition eastbound on I-90 around 2pm on Friday when he left the roadway and entered the median.

Two passengers, 34 year-old Sarah Brashear and 8 year-old Taycen Barnes, both of Rapid City, SD were transported to the Sanford Jackson Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and Jackson Fire and Ambulance assisted the State Patrol at the scene.

Long-term camping applications available from DNR - Jan. 10, 2015  

ST. PAUL - Those who want to stay longer than a week or two at a Minnesota state park should act now to nab one of the few campsites available for longer stays, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

At a limited number of state park campsites, visitors can stay for a whole month or even a full season. Reservations for these opportunities in 2015 are due by Saturday, Jan. 31.

Nine Minnesota state parks have monthly and seasonal openings for camping in 2015.  Kilen Woods State Park will offer monthly and seasonal camping from May 22 to Sept. 6 at three sites with electric hookups. Call Phil Nasby at 507-831-2900, ext. 225, for information.

If demand exceeds availability at a particular park, a lottery will be held on Monday, Feb. 2, and the park will notify applicants whether or not they were selected. If sites are available after this date, they will be administered on a first-come, first-served basis. No preference will be given to monthly or seasonal campers from prior years.

Luverne wind farm investors file for bankruptcy - Jan. 9, 2015  

MINNEAPOLIS - Farmers and land owners who invested in two small wind farms in southwest Minnesota have filed for bankruptcy reorganization.

Regulatory filings say the 360 owners stand to lose their investment and the wind farms may eventually have to shut down.

The two Minwind Energy projects are located near Luverne. Minwind says the turbines have needed extensive repairs and it can no longer afford the maintenance.

Minwind has also failed to file some paperwork with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission since 2006 and has a $1.9 million liability. Minwind's attorneys have told the government the owners are "unsophisticated" about regulatory matters and should be excused for the filing lapse.

The Minwind farms went online with 11 turbines in 2002 and 2004. The electricity is sold to Xcel Energy and Alliant Energy.

Operation Round Up deadline is Feb. 9th - Jan. 9, 2015  

JACKSON - February 9th is the next deadline to request Operation Round Up funds from Federated Rural Electric’s Trust Board.

The application form can be downloaded from Federated’s website, federatedrea.coop. You can also call Federated at 507-847-3520, 728-8366 or 1-800-321-3520. Ask for Andrea to request an application or by e-mail to info@federatedrea.coop.

Since 1995 Federated's Trust Board has distributed more than $450,000 to local organizations including senior dining, hospice, fire/ambulance departments and as high school scholarships. Details on Federated’s Round Up scholarships for high school seniors will be announced in the April 1 electric bills and April Connections newsletter.

Organizations that serve Federated members in Jackson or Martin Counties can request funds for projects involving community service, community leadership programs, disaster relief, environmental programs, youth education or emergency-energy assistance.

Federated is a Touchstone Energy Cooperative serving 5,000 members in Jackson and Martin Counties.

Moore elected JCC Board Chair - Jan. 8, 2015 

JACKSON - The Jackson County Central School Board held their reorganizational meeting Wednesday night in the Board Room at the JCC High School.  The meeting was called to order at 7:02pm.  Tim Thurmer was the only board member absent.

The Oath of Office was given to newly elected board members Brad Anderson, Holli Arp and Rhonda Moore.  Rhonda Moore was elected the new Board Chair, with Jody Thrush elected Vice-Chair, Kirk Dunlavey elected Clerk and Jeff Johnson elected Treasurer.

The board approved increasing board compensation by $10.  Board meeting compensation for regular board members and compensation for committee meetings is now $55, Compensation for Chair and Clerk for board meetings is set at $65 and all day in-services and workshops are set at $85.  This is the first increase for board members since 1998 and it was noted that JCC Board is still among the lowest paid in our area.

The Board recognized and thanked Gary Place for his service on the board this past year.  Place stepped in when there was an vacancy and really went above and beyond while filling in.

The meeting went into closed session at 7:30pm for Superintendent review.

The next regular meeting of the JCC School Board is scheduled for Monday, January 26th.

Jackson Council tables roundabout approval - Jan. 7, 2015   

JACKSON - The Jackson City Council met in regular session Tuesday night in the council chambers at City Hall.  The meeting was called to order at 6:30pm.  Donnie Schoenrock was the only council member absent.

The Oath of Office was given to Mayor Wayne Walter, then to elected council members Mike Handevidt, Brandon Finck, Ken Temple and Dave Cushman.

Chris Bower with MnDOT addressed the council regarding the Highway 71 bridge project and the proposed roundabout at the intersection of Highway 71 and Industrial Parkway.  Bower says if the city moves forward with the roundabout, they could delay parts of the bridge project until 2016.  The project would have to be approved in 2015 for funding, but the majoritity of work could be postponed until 2016 leaving Highway 71 to be closed for only 1 year, rather than 2.

The council tabled action approving the roundabout until the next council meeting.

Susan Reiter of Coffee Choices asked the council to consider eliminating the 2 hour parking limit in the downtown business district.  Reiter said that the current parking limit is not welcoming to those wanting to shop and stay downtown.  No action was taken on the request.

In other action, the council approved Ordinance 83 regarding Fees, Rates and Charges for 2015, eliminated the Sidewalk Display Permit requirement, authorized hiring Blaike Smith as a part-time liquor store clerk at the Jackson Liquor Store, approved Fred Bern as Mayor Pro Tem and moved the January 20th meeting to January 27th.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:00pm.  The next regular meeting of the Jackson City Council will be at 6:30pm on Tuesday, January 27.

Jackson man arrested for marijuana - Jan. 6, 2015  

JACKSON - A Jackson man is under arrest following the execution of a Search Warrant in Jackson last Friday.   

The Jackson County Sheriff’s office seized approximately ˝ pound of marijuana and two indoor hydroponic marijuana grow boxes during the execution of the Search Warrant. No marijuana plants were found growing at the time.

Arrested was 66 year old Clarence Franklin Higdon of Jackson. Higdon stated he purchased the grow boxes online for approximately $6000. The boxes were manufactured exclusively to grow marijuana.

Higdon was released after posting a $5000 bond.

Henkels elected Board Chair - Jan. 6, 2015 

JACKSON - The Jackson County Board of Commissioners met this (Tue 1/6/15) morning and approved the re-appointment of Roger Hartman to the Heron Lake Watershed Board of Managers for a three year term. The vote was 4-1 with Commissioner Rose Schultz voting against the motion. A letter of interest for the position was also received from Lloyd Kalfs.

County Coordinator Jan Fransen informed the board that a new County 4-H coordinator has been hired. Her name is Sarah Jacobs and she grew up in 4-H in Nobles County and is currently teaching in Marshall. She will begin her new duties on January 12. Another new county hire is Heavy Equipment Operator Randy Schubert, who also begins January 12. The list of candidates for the open Assistant County Attorney position have been narrowed to four.

Information Systems Department Head Dennis Fields requested and the board approved authorizing the filling the full time position of PC/Network Specialist One. The position is currently held by Damon Radcliffe, who has accepted a position with another company. They also reclassified at part-time Information Systems Administrative Assistant position, which is currently vacant, to a full-time Administrative Assistant/Software Specialist position and to also advertise and fill that position.

Sheriff Roger Hawkinson asked the board to approve a request that results in Deputy Brad Nestegard resigning his full-time position and remaining with the county as a part-time deputy. Part-time Deputy Adam Cook is interested in moving from part-time to full time. The board approved the request.

County Attorney Sherry Haley was pleased to report that Jackson County was approved to receive a little over seventy-eight thousand dollars in state grant money to implement e-citations throughout the entire county.

Commissioner Dave Henkels was elected board chair. Henkels also presented a prepared statement outlining county accomplishments in the past six years and his vision for the future.  Rose Schultz was elected vice-chair. Don Wachal was welcomed as a new board member, and retiring board member Gary Willink was thanked for his service.

Regular board meetings in 2015 will be held on the first at third Tuesday of each month at 9:00 a.m. Garren Paulson and Dave Hargan were reappointed to the Planning, Zoning and Parks Board; Commissioner Rose Schultz was reappointed to the Plum Creek Library Board; appointments to board committees were made; the 2015 Summary Budget was approved which includes estimated State and Federal Aid revenues; they accepted the proposals to publish all Board Proceedings, the annual financial statement and list of delinquent real estate taxes in the Jackson County Pilot, Lakefield Standard and Tri-County News; the Jackson County Pilot was designated official newspaper; and it was reported that the Jackson Speedway For Sale official notice will be published in the paper starting this week and that bids will be received until 2:00 p.m. on Friday, January 30th.

Lakefield Council names Bakalyar Mayor Pro Tem - Jan. 6, 2015   

LAKEFIELD - The Lakefield City Council met in regular session Monday night at City Hall in Lakefield. 

The Council named Bruce Bakalyar Mayor Pro Tem, approved a quote for crushing a concrete pile, and received an offer to purchase property near the cell phone tower, which was declined.

The meeting was adjourned around 7:30pm.  The next regular meeting of the Lakefield City Council will be at 7pm on Tuesday, January 20th at the City Hall in Lakefield.

Jackson Co Historical Society sets 2014 Annual Meeting - Jan. 5, 2015   

LAKEFIELD - The Jackson County Historical Society will hold their 2014 Annual Meeting at 1:30pm on Saturday, January 17th at the Museum in Lakefield.

The Agenda includes the business meeting followed by Board elections.  After that is the program consisting of 2014 in review and a retrospect of photographer Harold F. Strom.

Strom operated a photography store in Jackson until he passed away in 1953 at the age of 54.  On display will be a sampling of his photographs which will include both family and professional pictures alike.

Refreshments will be serviced. 

The 2014 Annual Meeting of the Jackson County Historical Society will be at 1:30pm on Saturday, January 17th at the Jackson County Historical Society Museum in Lakefield.

IRRMA names 2015 Hall of Fame Class - Jan. 4, 2015   

 ARNOLDS PARK - The Iowa RockNRoll Music Association has chosen 24 musicians and music related entities for induction into the IRRMA Hall of Fame in 2015.

Bands slated for induction include: Smokin’ Clams (Sioux City), Windfall Jac (Fayette), Inner Lite (Marshalltown), Castels (Milford), FreeStyle (Des Moines) and Interstate Cruisers (Sibley). The Out-of-State honorees this year will be Jan & Dean.

Individual musicians to be honored include: Scott Cochran (Des Moines), Craig Bavender (Waterloo), Dave Christopherson (Waterloo), Carey Crowson (Ankeny), Kevin Lind (Laurens), Andy Avery (Burlington) and Taylor Mills (Des Moines - in the Women Who Rock category).

The Border Band honoree for 2015 is Steve Ellis & the Starfires from Pipestone, Minnesota.

The late Dick Dale from Algona is the recipient of the Matousek Family Lifetime Achievement Award. Receiving the IRRMA Lifetime Achievement Award will be Bob Gamble (Spirit Lake), the late Richard (Dick) Burns from Woodbine, Jerry LeMire of Minneapolis and Darwin Eaton from Pocahontas.

Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines, Catamount Studios in Cedar Falls and Hi-Way Gardens of Stanwood, and the Riviera Ballroom at Janesville will also be inducted.

In addition to the Hall of Fame Induction, IRRMA will honor the band November 35th from Sioux City and Barbara Lancaster of Arnolds Park with the 2015 Spirit Award for their continued efforts to preserve the music and its history now and into the future.

The 2015 IRRMA Hall of Fame Induction Spectacular weekend, full of exciting activities, will take place on Sept. 4-6 in Arnolds Park. For more details, go online to iowarocknroll.com.

Two injured in Worthington rollover accident - Dec. 30, 2014  

WORTHINGTON - Two people were injured in a one vehicle rollover accident near Worthington late Monday night.

47 year-old Michael Bousema of Worthington was driving a 2008 Ford F350 pickup southbound on Nobles County Road 25, turning eastbound onto Interstate 90 when he lost control, skidded off the road and rolled into a dry waterway.

Bousema was taken by Worthington Ambulance to the Sanford Worthington Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.  A passenger, 17 year-old Olivia Bousema of Worthington also sustained non-life threatening injuries.

Severe damage was reported to the F350 pick up.

The Nobles County Sheriff’s Office and the Worthington Police assisted the State Patrol at the scene.

Kemna-Asa undergoing changes in 2015 - Dec. 29, 2014  

JACKSON - The Kemna-Asa Auto Plaza is taking another step forward come January first as the store will officially become Asa Auto Plaza under the leadership of local dealer Todd Asa.

Asa has annouced that he has finalized the transaction to assume full ownership from longtime partner Ken Kemna, who continues to operate dealerships in Algona and Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Asa, and longtime partner Ken Kemna, purchased the former Hedenquist Motors in December of 1998 with the goal of Asa eventually taking over. 

Plans are in the works for a grand opening event and sale in the near future.  Details will be available in the coming weeks.  

Housing Funds available in Northwest Iowa - Dec. 29 2014  

SPENCER - The Northwest Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund, Inc announces the release of almost $340,000 from the state Housing Trust Fund for fiscal year 2015.  The money was released from the Iowa Finance Authority who administers the State Housing Trust Fund.

This financial assistance, along with over $63,000 in matching funds from participating counties will provide financial assistance to low and moderate income homeowners in making necessary repairs to their homes.  Financial assistance will be in the form of both grants and low interest loans.

The Northwest Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund is a non-profit housing organization that promotes the creation and preservation of affordable housing in Dickinson, Emmet, Osceola, Lyon, Buena Vista, O’Brien and Sioux Counties.  The Trust has awarded over $1,000,000 in loans and grants to 192 low and moderated income households.

For additional information, you can contact Sherry Zinn at Northwest Iowa Planning and Development Commission at 712-262-7225 extension 139.

Conservation Corp accepting applications - Dec. 29, 2014 

ST. PAUL - Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa is accepting applications for 2015 AmeriCorps field crew member positions from individuals, ages 18 to 25, who have an interest in working outdoors. The priority application deadline is Dec. 31, but applications will be accepted until all positions are filled.

These positions are for an AmeriCorps service term that runs Feb. 16 – Dec. 11.

Corps field projects are completed on public land in cooperation with nonprofit organizations and government agencies, such as the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. These jobs provide technical field experience and professional certifications for future natural resource careers. Many DNR employees got their start in natural resources with the Conservation Corps, formerly known as Minnesota Conservation Corps.

Corps members receive on-the-job training in natural resource management and put those skills into practice working on habitat restoration projects. Typical work includes exotic species management, prairie and oak-savanna restoration, stream bank stabilization, trail building and maintenance, prescribed burning and wildland fire suppression. AmeriCorps positions with the Conservation Corps involve physically challenging, team-oriented work to accomplish habitat restoration and emergency response projects. Projects are usually completed outdoors, and about 70 percent involve camping near the project location.

Applicants should have an interest in working in a team setting, giving back to their community and exploring professional development opportunities. Crew members receive a living stipend of $1,235 a month, health insurance, student loan forbearance during the service term and a post-service AmeriCorps Education Award that may be used for college expenses or to repay qualified student loans.
To apply, visit online at conservationcorps.org/apply, contact the recruitment coordinator at recruit@conservationcorps.org or call 651-209-9900, ext. 31.

Libraries hosting Device Advice in January - Dec. 29, 2014  

JACKSON - The Jackson and Lakefield Libraries will be holding “Device Advice” sessions on January 9, 2015 for those who have questions regarding their technology devices. 

The Lakefield session will be held from 12:00- 2:00 pm and the Jackson session will be held from 3:00-4:30 pm. Bring your device to the library and staff will help you with your questions. They will also help you set up accounts on your device to checkout e-books through OverDrive and e-magazines through Zinio.  Please bring your library card and account passwords.

Call or stop at the library to register for a time slot. Space is limited and registration is required. For more information please call either the Jackson library at 847-4748 or the Lakefield Library at 662-5782.

ILCC Hosting "Express Registration Days" - Dec. 28, 2014  

ESTHERVILLE - Iowa Lakes Community College is hosting two ‘Express Registration Days’ in January in an effort to help individuals get registered for college classes in a short amount of time.

The days will be on Monday, Jan. 5, from 3-6:30 p.m.; and Tuesday, Jan. 6, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Express Registration Days will be held in Emmetsburg, Estherville and Spencer. The goal of ‘Express Registration Day’ is to provide a wide range of services for individuals interested in completing the entire admission and registration process in one session. Spring classes at Iowa Lakes Community College begin Jan. 14.

Those interested are encouraged to arrive no later than 5 p.m. on the 5th and by 2 p.m. on the 6th to ensure they get all their questions answered. Students should bring their diploma, ABE/HiSET/GED certificate, ACT scores and college transcripts to the admission office when they arrive on campus, if they have them.

In addition to applying for admission, attendees may meet with staff, take placement testing and begin the registration process without taking very much time out of their busy work schedules. One-on-one financial aid application assistance from the college's financial aid staff, assistance with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and information on scholarships, work study and student loans will also be available.

For more information on Express Registration Day, contact Iowa Lakes Community College Estherville Admission Office at 800-521-5054 or e-mail jmckinney@iowalakes.edu.

Those registering in Algona and Spirit Lake may register any weekday starting Jan. 2, 2015.  Regular business hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday. Those who are registering in Algona and Spirit Lake may wish to call in advance to ensure a speedier response.  Registration information can also be found on the college website online at iowalakes.edu.

Lakefield woman escapes injury in rollover accident - Dec. 28, 2014  

SPIRIT LAKE - A Lakefield woman escaped injured in a one vehicle rollover early Wednesday on Highway 86 in Dickinson county.

According to the Iowa State Patrol, 18-year-old Shelby Rademacher was driving a 2003 Chevrolet Impala northbound on Highway 86 around 3am when she lost control on the ice-covered road while rounding a curve. The vehicle slid off the road and went into the west ditch before travelling into a field where it rolled once coming to rest on its wheels.

The vehicle was a total loss.

Ruby's Pantry will distrubute for third time in Jackson - Dec. 23, 2014 

JACKSON - Ruby’s Pantry returns to Jackson Tuesday from 4:30 to 6pm at the Jackson National Guard Armory.  This will be the third distribution in Jackson.

There are no income or residency requirements to participate in Ruby’s Pantry.  Everyone participating needs to bring two large boxes or laundry baskets and a $20 donation for the abundance of food that you will receive.

Ruby’s Pantry will be in Jackson from 4:30 to 6pm Tuesday at the Jackson National Guard Amory.

MnDOT considers delaying part of Hwy 71 project - Dec. 22, 2014 

MANKATO - The Minnesota Department of Transportation is exploring options to reduce the duration of detours for work planned on Highway 71 in Jackson.

MnDOT staff will be at the Tuesday, January 6th City Council meeting in Jackson, and will be available from 5:30-6:30 before the meeting at City Hall to discuss the proposed roundabout at the intersection of Highway 71 and Industrial Parkway.

The Highway 71 bridge over the Des Moines River in Jackson is currently scheduled to be replaced in 2015, with work on the Industrial Parkway intersection scheduled for 2016.  Both require detours.

MnDOT is exploring the possibility of constructing some of the Highway 71 bridge replacement and resurfacing project under traffic in 2015 and completing the project in 2016 when the highway is expected to be detoured for the Industrial Road intersection project.

Anyone with questions, or for more information, is encouraged to attend the Tuesday, January 6th Jackson City Council Meeting at 6:30pm at City Hall in Jackson.  MnDOT staff will be available from 5:30pm until the time of the meeting.

K9 Bosco awarded vest - Dec. 22, 2014 

JACKSON - The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office K9, Bosco, has been awarded a ballistic vest thanks to the nonprofit organization, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc., and a private sponsor, Abby Norbin of Arizona, who donated $950.00 to the nonprofit. Ms. Norbin, an animal lover, opted to have the vest embroidered in memory of her beloved companion dog, Bandit.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is a 501c (3) charity located in East Taunton, MA. whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. Each vest costs $950.00 and has a 5 year warranty. The nonprofit was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with this potentially lifesaving body armor for their four legged K9 Officers. Through private and corporate sponsorships, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provided almost 1,200 law enforcement dogs in 40 states with protective vests since 2009 at a cost of over $1 million.

New K9 graduates as well as K9's with expired vests are eligible to participate. The program is open to law enforcement dogs who are US employed, certified and at least 19 months of age.

Spirit Lake woman injured in accident - Dec. 22, 2014 

WINONA - A Spirit Lake woman was injured in a two vehicle accident Sunday night on Interstate 90 near Winona.

24 year-old Paige Swanger of Spirit Lake was driving a 2001 Pontiac Sunfire westbound on I-90 when the vehicle stalled on the shoulder and was struck by a 2000 Freightliner Semi driven by 48 year-old Tad Farrey of Apple Valley.

Swanger was taken to Winona Health in Winona with non-life threatening injuries.  Farrey had no apparent injuries.

Moderate damage was reported to Farrey’s semi.  The Sunfire was a total loss.

The Winona County Sheriff’s Office assisted the State Patrol at the scene.

Pleasantview recognized December students - Dec. 20, 2014  

LAKEFIELD - December WBR and “Paws”itive Performers were recognized at Pleasantview Elementary.

Recognized for WBR (Without Being Reminded) were Kindergartener Leah Nichols, First Grader Bennet Eidhammer, Second Graders Karsen Phillips and Alex Koster, Third Grader Mariah Vancura, Fourth Grader Dillon Burgy and Fifth Graders Trinity Schultz and Emma Singler.

“Paws”itive Performers were Kindergarteners Elliot Anderson and Hunter Schwering, First Graders Rylie Allen and MacKenzie Ehlers, Second Graders Logan Henderson, Madilynn Singer, Xander Schultz and Isabelle Thies, Third Graders Tristan Zinnel and Joshua Clymer, Fourth Graders Skyler Andrews and Avre Brunk and Fifth Graders Trayton Kolander and Emma Singler.

Jackson Crossing progressing - Dec. 20, 2014  

JACKSON - Progress continues on the new Jackson Crossing Development in Jackson.  The Jackson Economic Development Corporation has spent the last few months organizing and detailing a marketing plan for the new development.

The public works building that were on the site have been removed, and the city will install a hard surface street, curb and gutter, water, sanitary sewer and a detention pond in the development.

Jeff Greischar, owner of Tech Builders in Fairmont, plans to build a 5,000 sq. ft retail/commercial business on the land he owns adjacent to the JEDC property.

According to Jackson City Administrator Jennifer Bromeland, the city is exploring the possibility of relocating the Jackson liquor store to the Jackson Crossing Development.

Incentives are available for those assisting in the recruitment process.  Anyone who assists in finding a new retail business that creates 2 or more full time jobs in Jackson would receive a $1,000 reward for doing so.  Another program offers $5,000 to anyone who helps in finding a new business or industry that creates 10 or more jobs.

Prudence Lodge again fundraising for area food shelves - Dec. 18, 2014  

JACKSON - Members of the Prudence Lodge #97 are again conducting a fundraising campaign to help area food shelves.  All donations will be matched, up to $3,000.

Checks should be made out to Prudence Lodge #97, with the food shelf you wish to have the donation go toward noted in the memo line of the check.  Checks can be dropped off at the food shelf.

Donations need to be received by Monday, January 5, 2015.

December Terrific Kids honored at Riverside - Dec. 18, 2014  

 JACKSON - December’s Terrific Kids were recognized Thursday afternoon at Riverside Elementary.

For the 22nd year, the Jackson Kiwanis Club honors Terrific Kids monthly throughout the school year.  In addition to the Kiwanis Club, sponsors of the program include Jackson businesses Burger King, Livewire Printing Company, Santee-Crossing Embers America, the Historic State Theater, the AmericInn, the JCC Swimming Pool, the Pizza Ranch, Casey’s, Dairy Queen and KKOJ/KRAQ.  The Terrific Kids are chosen from nominations that are submitted by teachers and staff during the past month.

December’s Terrific Kids honored for being “Responsible” were Pre-K student Bently Runge, son of Andy Runge, Fourth Grader Cameron Scholten, son of Chris and Cara Scholten, and Fifth Graders Molly Turner, daughter of Kelly Antonson and Tom Turner, Payton Handevidt, son of Chris and Tammy Handevidt and Landin Warmka son of Justin and Stacy Warmka. 

Terrific Kids honored for being “Respectful” were First Grader Payton Hartley, daughter of Alissa Hartley and Second Grader Erica Hanson, daughter of Nate and Kristin Hanson.

Terrific Kids honored for being “Positive” were First Grader Isabella Moonen, daughter of Annette Noonen, Second Grader Allie Robertson, daughter of Sara Robertson and Fourth Grader Jack Pierson, son of Lisa Riemer.

And the Terrific Kid honored for being “Safe” was Kindergartener Donovan Gray-Nohrenberg, son of Travis Nohrenberg.

The students honored as November’s Terrific Kids received a Certificate proclaiming them as a Terrific Kid, a magnet, a button, pencil and certificates from the sponsoring businesses.

JCC Board moves forward with building security - Dec. 17, 2014  

JACKSON - The JCC School board met Tuesday night and approved the 2014 Payable 2015 Levy Limitation and Certification in the amount of three million ninety-seven thousand dollars, which is approximately one and a half percent lower than last year.

They approved authorizing I.S.G. to prepare plans and specs for a JCC Building and Security Improvement project. Plans are to do the work over the summer and have the improvements complete for the start of school next fall.

The board approved changing the dates for parent teach conferences for Riverside and Pleasantview Elementary to Thursday, February 19th and Monday, February 23rd. Middle and High School Conferences will remain as originally scheduled on Thursday, January 22nd and Monday, January 26th.

They approved the hiring of Lindsey Chapman-Nesseth as the new school nurse, starting in January, hiring Danyelle Swanson as Middle School Assistant Cook effective immediately, and hiring Patty Morton as part-time high school Lunch Cashier, strating in January. Approved one year of service wage increases for pool lifeguards: Jeremiah Manwarren, Ana Dunlavey and Emma Pohlman.

 In other action the board approved Riverside’s One School One Book Project Fundraiser, accepted several donations, and set Monday, January 5th at 6pm at the date and time for their annual Reorginzation Board meeting. 

Jackson Commissioners approve final levy - Dec. 16, 2014 

The Jackson County Board of Commissioners met Tuesday morning and approved the 2015 Final Tax Levy at nine million eight hundred eighty two thousand dollars, a three point six percent increase over 2014.

They set elected officials salaries for 2015; approved a three year tentative contract with the highway maintenance union calling for a 1% increase in 2015, 1.5 in 2016 and 2 percent in 2017.

Board members salaries were set for 2015 at $18,500 for each commissioner and $19,000 for the board chair; a fifteen hundred dollar increase from 2014. The per deim rate will stay at $75 per meeting, the same as 2014.

The board held a joint conference call meeting with commissioners from Nobles County regarding Judicial Ditch numbers thirteen and forty-five. They appointed Chuck Brandel of I and S Group as the engineer for the improvement of both Judicial Ditches.

Land Management Director Andy Geiger presented a plan to prevent Aquatic Invasive Species in Jackson County which was approved by the board:

In other action, the board authorized official notice for the sale of Jackson Speedway; approving the Legal Notice, Bid Conditions and Bid form for the sale and directed County Coordinator Jan Frantsen to publish the documents. In order to sell the property, it must be advertised in the County’s legal newspaper for three consecutive weeks and once in a newspaper of area general circulation.

The board designated the Personnel Committee to hear and act on a grievance request filed by two deputies in the Law Enforcement union regarding wages.

They approved the legislative platform to be presented to the legislators representing Jackson County.

The board met in closed session for the county coordinator’s annual performance review. 

MCW School Board approves levy - Dec. 16, 2014  

SHERBURN - The Martin County West School Board met in regular session Monday night.  The meeting was called to order at 6:04pm with all members present.

Joel Stencel, an auditor from Eide Bailey presented the 2013-14 School District Audit which was approved.

In other action, the board certified the Final 2014 Payable in 2015 Levy for just over $2,250,000, approved letting bids for building improvement projects, approved child care leave for Leah Rode-Mulder, accepted the resignations of Jannee Wagenman, paraprofessional at Sherburn Elementary and Cindy Nelson, food service staff at Sherburn Elementary with regrets and authorized the South Central Service Cooperative to conduct the request for proposal process as is required by the Health Insurance Transparency Act.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:05pm.  The next regular meeting of the MCW School Board will be at 6:30pm on Wednesday, January 21st with a reorganizational meeting scheduled for 6:15pm.

Butterfield teen killed in accident - Dec. 14, 2014  

MADELIA - 16 year old Ross Blomgred of Butterfield died as a result of a one car accident on Highway 60 near Madelia on Saturday night.

A 17 year old Butterfield male was driving a 2003 Chevrolet PT Cruiser westbound on Highway 60 when he entered the center median and rolled several times coming to rest upside down.

The driver along with two passengers, 16 year old Julie Hiebert and 17-year old Rose Martinez received non-life threatening injuries.

The PT Cruiser was a total loss.

The Madelia Police, Lake Crystal Police, Watonwan County Sheriff, Madelia Fire Department, Madelia Ambulance and Lake Crystal Ambulance assisted the State Patrol at the scene.

Nutcracker Ballet to be performing in Spirit Lake - Dec. 12, 2014  

SPIRIT LAKE - Ballet Nebraska, along with Iowa Great Lakes Nutcracker, is excited to present The Nutcracker Ballet at the Sami Bedell Center for the Performing Arts in Spirit Lake on this weekend. Show time for is 7:30 pm with a matinee being presented at 2:00 pm on Saturday.

Performances will feature 67 local young dancers from Jackson, Fairmont, Worthington, Spirit Lake, Estherville, Spencer, Sheldon, and Storm Lake including Makenna Richter who has been cast to play Clara.

Follow the magical story as Clara braves fearsome giant mice and is transported to a beautiful land of snow. With the Nutcracker Prince as her guide, she is led to a fabulous kingdom where she is entertained by characters from around the world.

Tickets are available online now at tututix.com and enter Spirit Lake Nutcracker to purchase tickets for either show.

Ballet Nebraska, along with Iowa Great Lakes Nutcracker presenting The Nutcracker Ballet this weekend at the Sami Bedell Center.  Friday night at 7:30pm with a Saturday matinee at 2pm.

Jackson County Libraries hos "Device Advice" sessions - Dec. 12, 2014  

JACKSON - The Jackson and Lakefield Libraries will be holding “Device Advice” sessions for those who have questions regarding their technology devices. 

Bring your device to the library and staff will help you with your questions. They will also help you set up accounts on your device to checkout e-books through OverDrive and e-magazines through Zinio.

The Lakefield Library session will be on Tuesday, December 16 from 2:00-3:00 PM.  The Jackson session will be on Thursday, December 18 from 2:00-3:00 PM.  Please bring your library card with you.

For more information please call either the Jackson Library at 847-4748 or the  Lakefield Library at 662-5782.

Riverside to perform "The Incredible Reindeer" - Dec. 11, 2014  

JACKSON - The Riverside 2nd and 3rd grade classes will perform “the incredible reindeer” at 1pm Thursday afternoon at the JCC Performing Arts Center in Jackson.

Fog is rolling in on Christmas Eve and Santa is getting a little nervous. The elves aren't worried because good old Rudolph will guide the sleigh. Not this year...Rudolph played a little too much snow football and is sick! What is Santa going to do? With Christmas not happen? Join us to see if Santa can figure out a solution to his Christmas Eve problem.

Prior to the program, the 2nd and 3rd grade classes will be holding an art show in the conference room across from the auditorium.  The students have been busy creating masterpieces and their ceramic projects will be on display starting at 11:30am.  Everyone is invited to the art show then encouraged to stay for the program at 1pm.

Compassionate Friends Candle Lighting is Sunday - Dec. 11, 2014  

WINDOM - Compassionate Friends of Windom will host a special holiday Candle Lighting starting at 6:30 PM on Sunday evening, December 14th,  at the Cottonwood County Historical Society located at 812 4th Avenue in Windom.  The event is free and open to all area parents and families of children who have died at any age from any cause, no matter how long ago their child died. 

Doors will open at 6:00 PM and materials will be provided for people to make a special tree ornament for their child or they may bring an ornament of their own to place on the tree.  Everyone who attends will have the opportunity to light a candle for their special child.  There will be refreshments afterward. 

For more information, call Carol Hartman at 507-831-4235 or 507-822-2781. 

Highway 86 to be detoured on Friday - Dec. 11, 2014  

MANKATO - Highway 86, at the junction of Highway 60 near Wilder, will be detoured tomorrow (Fri 12/12) for track repair by the Union Pacific Railroad.

The UP Railroad will be setting up the detour and motorists are advised to watch for signs.  The Railroad estimates Highway 86 will detoured from 8am to around mid-afternoon.

Jackson County Historical Society received grants - Dec. 10, 2014  

ST. PAUL - The Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) announces the most recent recipients of over $1 million in funding from three grant programs that collectively preserve, conserve and enhance access to Minnesota’s cultural heritage.

The Jackson County Historical Society received 2 of the 64 Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Small Grants.  A grant for $10,000 was awarded to purchase a microfilm reader/printer and $8,000 was awarded to microfilm newspapers.  In all, 31 counties were awarded  more than $520,000 in grants.

Funded by the Legacy Amendment, small grants of up to $10,000 each provide a valuable opportunity for Minnesota’s non-profit and educational organizations, government units and tribal organizations to preserve and share the state’s history and cultural heritage.

All grants are competitive and are awarded according to program guidelines and criteria and professional standards.

Heron Lake man arrested in joint investigation - Dec. 10, 2014  

JACKSON - The Jackson County Sheriff's Office cooperated with the Cottonwood County Sheriff’s Office and the MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension with a drug investigation last Thursday.

As a result of the investigation, 55 year-old Antonio Garcia Nieblas of Heron Lake, MN was arrested in Windom, MN for a 1st degree controlled substance crime after selling methamphetamine to an undercover agent.

A search warrant was issued on the residence where Nieblas was residing in the city of Heron Lake. The Jackson County Sheriff's Office K9 Unit, Bosco, was deployed and approximately 2 ounces a possible controlled substance was located.

This is the same residence where approximately 1 year ago, the Jackson County Sheriff's Office and the MN BCA arrested 51 year-old Esteban Chavez-Cruz and located 5 pounds of marijuana, 3 pounds of methamphetamine, and seized over $50,000.

Chavez-Cruz was prosecuted federally and is currently serving a 22 year sentence for controlled substance crimes.

The Heron Lake Police Department also assisted with the search warrant.

JCC FFA Hosts Crop Show and Degree Night - Dec. 9, 2014  

JACKSON - The JCC FFA Crop Show and Degree Night was held Monday night at the JCC High School.  The Shelled Corn Champion was Clair Smith.  Jordan Winter was the reserve champion.  Soybean Champion was Michaela Kellner.  Jacob Christopher was the reserve champion.  The Ear Corn Champion was Jacob Christopher.  Megan Edlin was the reserve champion.  And the Specialty Crop/Small Grains Champion was Zach Bargfrede.  Maggie Post was the reserve champion. 

The Premier Showman was Maggie Post, Reserve Showman was Megan Edlin.  Top Senior was Megan Edlin.  Top Junior was Maggie Post.  Top Sophomore was Jordan Winter.  And Top Freshman was Ashley Keck.

Guest speakers were the JCC FFA Veterinary Science Team members Jacey Edlin, Hannah Holmberg, Alexa Palmer and Elyse Johnson. They competed at the National FFA Convention and finished 11th in the Team standings, earning a Gold. The team members spoke about what the competition consisted of, their preparations for competing at the National FFA Convention and their Convention experience. The other guest speaker was Justin Petersen who told about his experience serving as a Barnyard Assistant at the Miracle of Birth Center at the 2014 Minnesota State Fair.

Alpha man arrested in Jackson - Dec. 9, 2014 

JACKSON - A 23 year-old Alpha man was arrested last Thursday by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department.

Deputies responded to a report of a person slumped over the steering wheel of a vehicle at the Super America parking lot around 9pm.  The vehicle was running and they woke an individual identified as Joshua Joe Kauffman of Alpha.

 Jackson County Sherriff’s Office K-9 Bosco was deployed and located approximately 11.2 grams of methamphetamine in the vehicle.

Kaufman was arrested and charged with a controlled substance crime in the 2nd degree and 4th degree DWI.  He remains in custody under a $25,000 bail.

IRRMA to host December "Third Saturday" - Dec. 9, 2014  

OKOBOJI - The Iowa RockNRoll Music Museum in Arnolds Park will host “Third Saturday” with a Christmas carol sing-along and the opportunity to taste delicious holiday treats this Saturday. All those who would like to share their favorite holiday candy are invited to bring a plate of their tasty delicacies along with copies of the recipe if you are willing to share.

Special guest will be Don Bourret, the original drummer for the famous Velaires from Sioux City. He will talk about the band’s early years and travels with Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars. Don will also answer questions from the audience.

Hot coffee and cider will be served along with everyone’s Yuletide nibblies. “Third Saturday” begins at 1 p.m. and concludes at 2:30. There is no admission charge to join in the fun, enjoy Don’s interesting stories, sing your favorite holiday songs, satisfy your sweet tooth and take home a recipe or two to try for the family.

The Iowa RockNRoll Music Museum is located on Lake Street next to the Amusement Park. Winter hours are Thursday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information call the IRRMA office at 712-330-0889.

JHCF awards almost $14,000 to 5 organizations - Dec. 8, 2014   

JACKSON - Six organizations were awarded a total of almost $25,000 from the Jackson Healthcare Foundation during their 3rd Annual Holiday Gala held Saturday. 

Awards presented include $3,557 to Sacred Heart Mercy Health Center for a digital scale and 24-hour BP monitor, $3,500 to the JCC School District to help install three Halsey Taylor water bottle filling stations at Riverside Elementary, Pleasantview Elementary and the JCC Middle School.  $3,500 to the Jackson County Food 4 Kids Program.  $2,096 to the Good Shepherd Church for an AED Plus system and $1,200 to the Alpha Youth Group to build an ice rink at the park in Alpha.

The Jackson Health Care Foundation presented the Jackson Ambulance Services with an donation of $10,500 at the 3rd Annual Holiday Gala.  The Jackson Ambulance Service receives an annual donation from the Foundation to be used for training and equipment purchases.  The Jackson Health Care Foundation recognizes the importance of having such a great crew and appreciates everything the Jackson Ambulance crew does for our community and citizens.

Iowa Lakes names new Executive Dean - Dec. 8, 2014  

ESTHERVILLE - Iowa Lakes Community College has a new Executive Dean of Instruction and Development.

Scott Stokes was officially named the Executive Dean at the Board of Trustees meeting in October.  He was selected from a field of five finalists.

Stokes has nearly 12 years of experience at Iowa Lakes having most recently served as Executive Dean of the Estherville campus.  Before that, Stokes was the college Registrar for six years and started at the college with housing and assistant coaching responsibilities.

During his tenure at Iowa Lakes, he has served on several college committees including academic policies, curriculum, advising and enrollment management.

Robert (Bob) Leifeld was hired as Executive Dean for the Estherville campus of Iowa Lakes Community College replacing Stokes.

Bob has worked as an administrator, a coordinator of online programming at a university, a coordinator of cooperative programs as well as having served as a faculty member.

Leifeld plans on being actively involved in the Estherville community.

Those interested in more information about Iowa Lakes Community College may refer to the college website at iowalakes.edu.

Cub Scouts take Holiday Fest Parade honors - Dec. 8, 2014  

JACKSON - The Holiday Fest Parade was Saturday night in Jackson. Judges selected the top three entries in the lighted parade. First place honors went to the float by Jackson Cub Scout Pack 80....Second Place to Tri-County Implement and Third Place honors to the Jackson Lions Club.

There was a drawing for two kids' sleds after the parade. Winners were Ben Botsch and Hailey Petticord.

One injured in two-car accident near Mt. lake - Dec. 8, 2014  

MT. LAKE - One person was injured in a two vehicle accident early Monday morning on Highway 60 near Mountain Lake.

72 year-old James Forman of Windom was driving a 2013 Chevrolet Pick-up eastbound on highway 60 and 62 year-old James Dykstra of Butterfield was driving a 1992 Olds 88 Royale southbound on County Road 1 when the vehicles collided in the intersection.

Forman was transported to the Windom Area Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.  Dykstra sustained no apparent injuries.  Moderate damage was reported to both vehicles. 

The Cottonwood County Sheriff’s office assisted the state patrol at the scene.

Spirit Lake apartment building destroyed in fire - Dec. 8, 2014  

SPIRIT LAKE - A Spirit Lake Apartment was destroyed by fire this weekend.  The Spirit Lake Fire Department was called to Hill Avenue Apartments around noon on Sunday.  Upon arriving, the firefighters found the entire building engulfed in flames.

Initial reports say the call came in as a report of a kitchen fire in one of the apartments.  It wasn’t reported the number of residents in the building.  At least one person was hospitalized.

The Arnold’s Park-Okoboji, Superior, Milford and Lake Park Fire Departments assisted at the scene.

The American Red Cross set up a shelter at Spirit Life Fellowship Church in Spirit Lake for those affected by the fire.  Donations of new clothes, including socks, shirts and pants of all sizes may be dropped off at Spirit Life Fellowship Church.