Two have been charged in the death of a 3 year old boy in foster care. 31 year old Zeporia Fortenberry of Eagan is charged with 2 counts of 2nd degree manslaughter, one with knowingly allowing child abuse and the other with child endangerment. 27 year old Charles Homich has been charged with 3 counts of 2nd degree murder as well as First degree manslaughter in connection with the death of three-year-old Zayden Lawson, a foster child in the care of Fortenberry, in June of 2017. On the afternoon of June 7th, 2017, Eagan police officers and paramedics were dispatched to a townhome on a report that a three-year-old male was not breathing. The child was found to be cold to the touch and without a pulse. He was
transported to Children’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Evidence in the criminal complaint suggests that Homich had been beating the child for having to use a diaper and that Fortenberry allowed it to happen. An autopsy revealed multiple blunt force injuries. Fortenberry’s bail was set at $100,000 without conditions ($50,000 with conditions). Her next court appearance is April 25th. Homich was arrested over the weekend, his bail was set at $1 million without conditions ($750,000 with conditions). His next court appearance is May 9th.
Council will vote on raise and hearing on conduit bonds
Northfield City Council will vote tonight on giving themselves a 2% raise in 2019 and 2020. Staff is recommending approval of the first reading. Currently Council members receive $8,435 a year and the Mayor receives $11,248. They last voted to increase their salary in 2016. At that time, the vote was 4 to 3. All four women on the current council voted yes in 2016, DeLong, also on the Council then, voted no at that time. Also on the agenda is a call for a public hearing on the issuance of $25 million in Conduit Revenue Bonds to finance the senior housing project across from the Northfield Hospital. However, Northfield plans on issuing $10 million for their own projects which would exceed their “bank-qualified” threshold and result in a higher interest costs. So, they’ve requested that the City of Red Wing issue the Conduit Bonds. No actual dollars exchange hands. Representatives from Kennedy and Graven will be on hand to explain. You can comment online on any item until noon today. Meetings begin at 6pm and are open to the public. Mayor Pownell and Administrator Martig will be in studio tomorrow morning at 7:20 with a recap.
Epic seeks support for legislation to ease funding cuts
Changes in funding is causing panic at some non-profits. Epic Enterprises in Dundas, provides services to adults in the Rice County area. Executive Director Linda Hibbard said that recently the Federal government has created a 7% cut in funding. Currently, Epic provides support services for about 125 people. Those services vary widely with some needing full basic needs to those who are employed. They help find jobs for them. Hibbard said the cut is significant at $150,000 and was unexpected. She added that there is a plan going through legislature right now to ease the cut. Sen. Rich Draheim and Rep. David Bly have been responsive and are supportive of legislation. Hibbard said the biggest expense is their staff who are critical to their services and supports they provide and they’re already challenged with wages. She encourages the community to contact your legislators to support, in the Senate, file number 2889 and in the House, file 3191
Community garden plots available
The Northfield Streets and Park Department is now accepting applications for community garden plots at Meadows Park. They have two plot sizes available at the southernmost end of Erie Drive. They are 20 ft by 10 ft or 10 by 10. There are 20 plots available right now. A water tank is out there for use. There’s no charge but it IS, first come, first served. For more information call Wanda Playter of the Streets and Park Department at 645-3045.