A farmers' co-op in western Minnesota is suing two of the big-game hunting outfitters who took money from Jerry Hennessey, the longtime co-op manager who scammed the business out of $5.3 million.

Hennessey, who managed the co-op for nearly 30 years, pleaded guilty last month to federal criminal charges of mail fraud and tax evasion, admitting to a 15-year scheme of bilking the co-op and using the money to finance a lavish lifestyle for himself and his wife.

Hennessey admitted spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on exotic hunting safaris as well as more than $500,000 on taxidermy.

In two suits filed this month in Grant County District Court, the Ashby Farmers Co-Operative Elevator Co. sued Mabula Pro Safaris of South Africa and Stone Mountain Safaris of Canada, charging them with fraud and unjust enrichment.

The co-op claimed the safari operators should have known that checks for hunting fees written to them by Hennessey on the co-op's account weren't legitimate. The suits seek more than $46,000 from Stone Mountain and more than $33,000 from Mabula.


Lake Superior

Ice-breaking ships to start this week

A sure sign of spring: The U.S. Coast Guard is set to send ice-breaking ships through Lake Superior this week in preparation for the start of the Great Lakes shipping season.

The Coast Guard cutter Alder and heavy icebreaker Mackinaw, followed by the Canadian ship Samuel Risley, will start in Whitefish Bay on Wednesday and move west across the lake, according to the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. The first two ships are scheduled to go to the Port of Duluth-Superior and the third to Thunder Bay, Ontario.

They will have a big task ahead of them. More than 90 percent of Lake Superior was covered in ice earlier this month, according to the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

Pam Louwagie


Job fair to focus on future truckers

Rochester's CareerForce is hosting a job fair for people interested in a career in truck driving. All candidates are welcome, whether experienced or new to the field. It's not necessary to have a commercial driver's license.

The job fair will be March 28 from 1-3 p.m. at CareerForce, 2070 E. College View Road.

CareerForce is made up of private, public and nonprofit partners offering a range of services including one-on-one guidance, training, networking and labor market information.