The Le Center City Council approved restrictions last week limiting where in town certain sex offenders can live. Suzanne Rook of the Le Center Leader reports that Level 3 predatory offenders will be banned “from living within 2,000 feet of parks, schools, child care facilities and other places where children congregate, essentially keeping them from moving into town. Only a small segment of the city near the industrial park isn’t covered by the restrictions.” The action follows the release of Robert Jeno, a Faribault man convicted in 1984 of first-degree criminal sexual conduct who was released in December and placed in an adult foster care center in Le Center. Council members said they believe their concerns about having such an offender in their city weren’t heard.
The DNR says ice anglers are too messy and leave too much of their junk behind on the ice. They want people to clean up their messes, reports the Brainerd Dispatch. “Conservation officers see everything from wooden fish house blocking materials on lakes to empty propane cylinders, plastic bottles, pop cans, and even bags of human waste.” The fish house removal deadlines are March 2 in the southern part of the state and March 16 in the north.
The number of students attending Moorhead Public Schools will jump roughly 20 percent by 2025, so the school board wants to do something about the need for more space, writes Helmut Schmidt of the Fargo Forum. But new construction to handle the growth could cost as much as $190 million over the next 10 years, so the school board has decided on a go-slow approach before deciding how and when to handle the increase in students. Public input, a demographics report and a community survey are all necessary before they decide what to do.
There was a sighting in Faribault of a creature rarer than the Chupacabra or the jackalope: a RadioShack not under threat of imminent closure. That’s right. Cammy Thibodeau of the Faribault Daily News writes that the Faribault store has survived the first of three waves, or “tranches,” of closures. RadioShack, as you may recall, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and is closing or selling almost all of their 4,485 outlets across the country. For now, the Faribault store is safe with only two more tranches to go!
Hormel is on the verge of making another aggressive purchase, reports the Austin Daily Herald. If the deal to buy Applegate Farms LLC in a deal worth between $600 million to $1 billion goes through, it would be the third year in a row Hormel made a significant acquisition: Hormel bought Skippy for $700 million in 2013 and CytoSports Holdings for $450 million in 2014. Hormel also bought Wholly Guacamole dip in 2011, Country Crock and Don Miguel in 2010 and MegaMex Foods in 2009. Hormel was also rumored to be interested in buying the Ragu brand, but it sold to Japan’s Mizkan Group in 2013. Applegate Farms, based in Bridgewater, New Jersey, produces organic deli meats, hotdogs, bacon and sausages, among other products.
Crime is down in Northfield. Not by much, mind you, but the trend still exists. Chris Houck of the Northfield News reports that the city saw a drop of one felony between the 289 committed in 2013 and the 288 in 2014. The trend in misdemeanors was a little more stark, with 472 reported in 2013 and 439 in 2014. “I like to see the downward trends,” Northfield Police Chief Monte Nelson said.
In Owatonna, 43 percent of the students live below the poverty line and qualify for free or reduced-price meals at school. Two churches have joined the effort to make sure they have food on days when they are not in school, writes Kim Hyatt of the Owatonna People’s Press. The program is called Weekend Pantry. Volunteers pack a weekend’s worth of goods from food shelf programs and families can pick them up before the weekend. At Wilson Elementary, 61 students take home food for their families each week, according to the school’s social worker, Susanne Schroeder.
The seven-member Lego robotics team from Rochester has bested all comers in the state and has advanced to the national competition, to be held in Legoland in San Diego on May 15. Matthew Stolle of the Rochester Post Bulletin reports that the 72 teams that competed in the state contest were judged on robot performance, robot design, research project and how well the team works together. Rochester’s “Peanut Butter Bots” came out on top. They’re called the Peanut Butter Bots because they shoot peanut butter cups into the air with a catapult, and they hand out peanut butter cups to competitors. The top two teams at nationals will go to the world competition in St. Louis.
A St. Cloud State University graduate has found out he didn’t make the cut to be one of the 24 people to colonize Mars, reports the St. Cloud Daily Times. Paul Larson, a 2012 SCSU grad and father of two, was told by the Netherlands-based nonprofit Mars One that he was not one of the finalists for the space venture. As cold consolation, last fall Larson began a disappointingly earthbound job as planetarium director with Mayo High School in Rochester.