Mark Sommerhauser at the St. Cloud Daily Times attended a press conference Monday where sex-abuse victims and their lawyers said St. John’s Abbey and the Diocese of St. Cloud aren’t doing enough to protect victims. The abbey, which shares the campus with St. John’s Preparatory School, houses 14 “credibly accused” sex-abuse offenders. “They disputed recent claims by St. Cloud Bishop Donald Kettler and St. John’s Abbott John Klassen, including their recent assertion that they’ve disclosed all known names of clergy members with credible accusations of abuse,” Sommerhauser wrote. They also said there should be public scrutiny of safety plans for alleged offenders. Peggy LaDue, the executive director of the Central Minnesota Sexual Assault Center, said she’d like to review the experts and sources used to develop those plans. For its part, the abbey released a statement saying it is confident it has named everyone with credible accusations of abusing minors and that its safety plans are effective.
Hormel is salivating over the Chinese market, reports the Albert Lea Tribune. “With another record year, another increase in annual stock dividends and a rosy forecast for 2014, Hormel Foods Corp. took the stage to showcase its growth during the company’s annual shareholder meeting Tuesday. [Hormel President and CEO Jeff] Ettinger said the company plans to continue leveraging brands such as Skippy and Spam in its push into the Asia market, particularly in China, along with strong growth potential in the United States. The company grew its international sales by 38 percent from 2012 to 2013, and Ettinger said he expected international sales to continue to grow at a faster rate than the rest of the company. Hormel recently opened a production plant in Weifang, China, and highlighted its international line’s 13 percent sales growth over the past five years.”
Special Olympians found something special in Hallett’s Pond near St. Peter Saturday: $120,000, reports the Mankato Free Press. “About 700 people took a dip in Hallett’s Pond Saturday and raised about $120,000 for Minnesota Special Olympics. St. Peter’s Chamber of Commerce office Monday announced the results of the 2014 Polar Bear Plunge. … Outside temperatures in St. Peter hovered at around 20 degrees Saturday.”
Travelers now in the St. Cloud area have another option to get to Chicago O’Hare Airport. The Daily Times is reporting that daily air service will return to the St. Cloud Regional Airport after an absence of more than four years. “Beginning on May 6, twice-daily United flights to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport will be provided by SkyWest Airlines. The planes servicing St. Cloud will be 50-passenger Canadair Regional Jet 200 aircraft. The trips to Chicago can link Central Minnesota travelers with connection opportunities to 127 domestic and 37 international destinations on a total of 567 flights.”
The Duluth News Tribune reported an unfortunate story: “The body of Andrew Christopher Kanian, 41, was reportedly found under a porch Monday afternoon, Virginia Police Department reported Tuesday. … Police said they do not believe foul play was involved. ‘Our investigation of the case revealed that Mr. Kanian was intoxicated on the evening of January 2, and it appeared that he crawled under the porch area, fell asleep and froze,’ police said in a statement.”
In an ironic twist of events, Jeffrey Jackson of the Blooming Prairie Leader reports that “special events tied to Blooming Prairie High School’s celebration of Snow Week — that quintessential winter celebration for schools in the Upper Midwest — were postponed, and in some cases canceled, last week when, of all things, winter weather got in the way. ‘We usually do (the coronation of Snow Week king and queen) on Mondays,’ said Mary Worke, the school counselor. But then the bone-chilling temperatures of last Monday caused the cancellation of classes that day.” Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s temperatures were just as bad, so the school decided to move events to the weekend and the following week. On Saturday, Cole Kubicek and Russia Smith were crowned king and queen at the Snow Week dance in the high school gym. Pajama Day followed on Monday, Formal Day on Tuesday, Hat Day on Wednesday, Ugly Sweater Day on Thursday and Spirit Day and the Pep Fest on Friday.