While Southern Minnesota farmers have enjoyed near perfect growing weather for their corn and soybeans, early season forecasts of a poor market have held true and many growers that have storage capabilities in Nicollet, Le Sueur and Waseca counties will likely hold on to their product, says Dana Melius of the St. Peter Herald. At Traverse Elevator in rural St. Peter, corn was selling at $3.34 a bushel and soybeans at $8.62 a bushel. Farmer Steve Hulke of Courtland said farmers will have difficulty turning a profit, so if storage is an option, they’ll take it. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s October forecast puts Minnesota’s corn crop at 1.33 billion bushels, up 2 percent from a year ago, but down 2 percent from its forecast of a month ago. And yields are expected to average in the 170-bushel per acre range, up 10 from two years ago, but similar to 2014.
John LaDue made a surprise plea before a judge Friday, pleading guilty to having one explosive device, according to Suzanne Rook of the Waseca County News. LaDue’s lawyers had been expected to fight the entire case, especially after having all charges alleging physical harm off the table. LaDue was initially charged in April 2014 with four counts of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of attempted damage to property and six counts of possession of an explosive or incendiary device. A Waseca County judge dismissed the attempt charges, a move upheld by the state Court of Appeals. Later it was decided that only one of the devices met the legal criteria of either an explosive or incendiary device. Under the plea agreement, LaDue will be placed on probation and immediately sent to a secure facility specializing in treating autism spectrum disorder. Once successfully completing treatment there, he will be sent to a halfway house, according to the judge.
Funny money is being passed around Crow Wing County, according to the sheriff. The Brainerd Dispatch writes that the money is the type used in motion pictures. Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl said, “The money appears real at first glance. However upon closer examination, it is obvious that it is not. Wording on the bill is different, along with the pictures on the bill.”
A 61-year-old Austin woman, Richianne Burger, accidentally drove through a fence on the south side of a new Hardees restaurant in Austin, the Austin Daily Herald reports. Burger said the gas pedal inside her silver Pontiac Grand Prix got stuck. Hardees opened on Sept. 8, about seven years after the last Hardees closed in Austin.
A downtown Rochester hotel is being closed for a complete renovation by its new owners, according to Kay Fate in the Rochester Post-Bulletin. The Center Street Hotel, 101 E. Center St., was bought by Kari and Andy Friederichs in June 2013. Police made 184 responses at the hotel in the past year, although only 50 resulted in a criminal report. The other calls include intoxicated persons, assisting other agencies, medicals, probation checks and trespassing.
Fall colors are coming and that should help turn a good year at parks in southeast Minnesota into a great year, says the Winona Daily News. Not one park in the region saw a drop in attendance. In fact, the Department of Natural Resources reports that between Jan. 1 and Sept. 7, one-day permit sales were up 16 percent, year-round permit sales were up 12 percent, and campsite stays were up 9 percent. Great River Bluffs State Park saw a 26 percent increase in permit sales, and a 23 percent increase in overnight stays.
A massive letter-writing campaign worked and got seventh-grader Mackanzie Chan backstage to meet country music star Carrie Underwood when the singer appeared at the Minnesota State Fair, writes Linda Vanderwerf in the West Central Tribune. Last year, doctors discovered a tumor pressing against Chan’s lung and spine. When they removed it, they found the cancer had spread throughout her body. A teacher and some of her friends started a letter-writing campaign to get the girl to meet her favorite singer, and after more than 150 individual letters mailed to Sony, the company made arrangements for Chan and her family to meet Underwood backstage. “We talked about stuff normal people talk about,” said her father, Doug Chan. “She was so down to earth.”
A formal complaint of sexual harassment has been filed against soon-to-be former Northfield City Administrator Nick Haggenmiller, saying he refused to leave a female department head alone after she attempted to end an intimate relationship, according to the Northfield News. Haggenmiller, who is on paid administrative leave, will be terminated at the end of the month as part of a separation agreement with the city of Northfield. As part of the agreement, there is no admission of liability or wrongdoing. He also gets two months’ salary, cell phone and automobile allowance, and the city will pay his insurance premiums. In the report, the female department head wrote, “In trying to terminate a romantic relationship, Nick Haggenmiller has refused to leave me alone, and has lied, manipulated … which has created a hostile work environment,” the News wrote.
Several hunters are hopping mad after they saw a pontoon driver intentionally drown a buck in a Detroit Lakes lake, writes the West Central Tribune. The incident happened Sept. 6 on Tulaby Lake. Ray Thorkildson said a buck was swimming across the lake when a pontoonist maneuvered his craft between the buck and the shore until the buck drowned. Thorkildson said his son was able to drag the deer’s body to shore. “It had a rack on it,” Thorkildson said. “It was just absolutely a gorgeous buck.” DNR Conservation Officer Angela Warren confirmed there is an active investigation into the case.
A Faribault woman allegedly stole a $3.99-bag of chocolate from Fareway Stores in Faribault on Saturday and when confronted by police, admitted she had a meth pipe in her purse. The story in the Faribault Daily News said Charlene Ann Stuart, 43, of Faribault, also had hypodermic syringes or needles in her purse. Stuart told a police officer she went to buy cigarettes and saw a bag of chocolate. She said she took the chocolate by mistake. Nevertheless, thanks to the felony meth charge, her bail was set at $3,000.