The Willmar Housing and Redevelopment Authority and Kandiyohi County Housing and Redevelopment Authority will hold a joint Board of Commissioners special meeting today (Wednesday). The meeting is at noon in the HRA office in the Health and Human Services Building. Agenda items include a project manager request for proposal responses; a review of capital improvement plans; a public hearing on the annual plans/capital improvement plans; and adoption of the annual plans/policies/certifications.
Despite the wintry weather Minnesota is experiencing, the Minnesota Department of Transportation has kicked off Work Zone Awareness Week with a public education campaign that reminds you to slow down and pay attention in construction zones. State road crews are starting construction on more than 300 projects across Minnesota, and city, county and tribal governments are working on multiple highway improvement projects. MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle reminds you to drive carefully when you see orange barrels and trucks.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency completed 51 enforcement cases in 36 Minnesota counties during the first quarter of 2013. Those penalties totaled just over $190,000. Local cases include Dave Schwerin/D&D Country Brokerage/D&D Schwering Inc. of Wood Lake; the Monson Pit at New London; CRMI Acquisitions Inc., dba GCC Consolidated Ready Mix of Montevideo; Duininck Concrete LLC, dba Danube Ready Mix of Willmar; Spectralytics Inc. of Dassel; and the Redwood Falls Fire Department.
The Minnesota State Patrol was called to a sideswipe crash yesterday afternoon (Tuesday) on Highway 212 west of Olivia in Renville County. According to the state patrol, 29 year old Michael Wheelock of Lincoln, Illinois, who was driving a Freightliner Tractor, crossed over the center line and sideswiped a Peterbilt garbage truck driven by 70 year old David Thompson of Kasson. Wheelock suffered minor injuries. Thompson was not injured. Assisting at the scene were the Olivia Police Department and Renville County Sheriff’s Office.
A jury trial for 47 year old Timothy Huber of rural Paynesville will begin next week. He was indicted on first and second degree murder charges in the shooting death of 43 year old Tim Larson of Albertville in October of 2011. The trial, which will be in Kandiyohi County District Court before Judge Donald Spilseth, will begin with jury selection on Monday. The trial is expected to last three weeks. Huber’s father, 82 year old Delbert Huber, pled guilty to second degree murder in the case last August and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Yesterday, in federal court, 26 year old Erica Reeves, no known address, was sentenced for her role in the robbery of the Citizens Bank in Hutchinson. United States District Court Judge David Doty sentenced her to 19 months in federal prison on one count of aiding and abetting bank robbery. Reeves was indicted along with a co-defendant on August 22nd, 2012. She pleaded guilty on November 7th, 2012. In her plea agreement, Reeves admitted that on July 17, 2012, she and her co-defendant, 25 year old Eric Ebbers, also no known address, stole $5,770 from Citizens Bank. On February 14th, 2013, Ebbers was sentenced to 71 months in federal prison on one count of aiding and abetting bank robbery. He pleaded guilty on September 27th, 2012. In his plea agreement, Ebbers also admitted robbing the Alliance Bank in Lake City, Minnesota, and the Key Bank in Gresham, Oregon. In both instances, Ebbers presented tellers with a note demanding money and warning that he had a gun.
Just before nine Saturday night, the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a burglary in progress at a garage located on the southeast side of Star Lake off 586th Avenue. Two suspects fled the area but were tracked down to a residence located nearby. Two juvenile suspects were taken into custody and transported to the Meeker County Jail. Both of the juveniles were held on the charge of 3rd Degree Burglary. Just before ten on Monday, a second resident who lives on 586th Avenue reported a window broken on their garage and signs that someone entered the garage and went through a vehicle that was parked inside. It is believed the same two suspects may be involved in this entry as well and this case is currently under investigation by the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s office asks that Star Lake homeowners check their property to determine if there are any other burglaries of lake cabins or garages that may have occurred, or if they have seen anything suspicious during this time period and to contact the sheriff’s office with that information.
33 year old Erik Fultz of Montevideo was arrested Tuesday and formal charges are pending in connection with numerous commercial burglaries in Montevideo. Fultz admitted to being involved in the break-in at Klein Bank, the Plaza Theater, Art’s Dairy Freeze, and Midwest Collision and Glass, and he admitted trying to break into the Minnwest Bank’s ATM on Highway 7th. Police officer are also looking for information on burglaries over the last two months at Jake's Pizza, Beal's Optometry, The Hair Station, and an attempted burglary at Whitmore Slater Insurance. Several storage units on Parkway Drive have also been burglarized over the winter months. If anyone has any information on those crimes they’re asked to contact the police department. Fultz is in custody in the Chippewa County Jail.
Yesterday (Tuesday), the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners set tax abatement hearings for two businesses in Sunburg and one in Willmar. The public hearings will be Tuesday, May 7th at the commissioners’ next board meeting. One is for the Sondrol Service Station in Sunburg, one is for the Sunburg Trading Post, and the third is for the Torgerson properties, which includes the Willmar Holiday Inn and Conference Center. The Willmar City Council approved the tax abatement for Torgerson Properties but Mayor Frank Yanish is withholding his signature on the resolution because he wants to see what a city council committee comes up with for a tax abatement policy.
Affiliated Community Medical Center will build an outpatient ambulatory surgery center on the northeast corner of the new ACMC clinic in Marshall. Groundbreaking will begin this summer. This new surgical center will include two operating suites and two endoscopic suites, and will also include pre-operative and post-operative recovery areas, waiting rooms, consultation areas and support space. The facility will provide same day procedures in multiple specialties, including general surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, gastroenterology, otolarynogology (ENT), urology, ophthalmology and podiatry.
U.S. Senator Al Franken said they had their third annual hotdish event at their office, something they started three years ago. He says they had members of the delegation, both in the House and the Senate taking part in the competition. Franken says hot dish is a great Minnesota tradition and a chance for the delegation to get together, both Republicans and Democrats. Franken won last year but this year didn’t. His hotdish was called Willmar stew and involved turkey, beans and pork sausage, with the turkey as the headliner on the dish.
The Chippewa River Watershed Project is postponing its Annual Meeting slated for this Thursday evening and rescheduling it for Tuesday afternoon, April 30th. The meeting will still be held at the Starbuck Community Center and start with a Social Hour at 5.