NEWS-Aug 1
News Director: Bev Alquist Call with news at 320-235-2900 or email

News Archive

About six last night (Wednesday), the Meeker County Sheriff's Office and the Dassel Fire Department was called to 71617 178th Street, Collinwood Township, for a propane leak.  A nearby neighbor could smell propane, found a hose leaking, and alerted authorities.  The owner of the property, 72 year old Jim Peterson of Egan was contacted and responded to his cabin on Lake Jennie to assist. As a safety precaution, citizens in a half-mile radius were evacuated and allowed to return to their homes once the leak was contained and the propane had dissipated. It was determined a rubber hose had burst near the propane tank allowing an undetermined amount of propane to leak from the tank.  The tank is an eight hundred gallon tank and after the incident, the gauge on the tank indicated 10 percent remained in the tank.  The property owner is unsure how much propane was in the tank prior to the leak.  There was no other damage to property and the only loss is the propane.

Just before midnight, the Meeker County Sheriff's Office found a person walking along CSAH 11 near the intersection of 560thAvenue.  After stopping and checking on the person, it was determined that the party had been involved in a  rollover near the address of 57263 260th Street in Litchfield Township. It was determined that 22 year old Caleb Rasmussen of Litchfield was driving a 1996 Chevrolet S10 pickup westbound on 260th Street in Litchfield Township, when he lost control and rolled. The vehicle had also driven in a nearby cornfield prior to the crash. A damage amount has not been established. Rasmussen was taken to the hospital. The crash is under investigation by the Meeker County Sheriff's Office and criminal charges are pending.

Yesterday afternoon (Wednesday), the Meeker County Sheriff's Office took a report of a suspicious individual at the Lamson Evangelical Free Church on County State Aid Highway 4 in Dassel.  They arrested 47 year old Arthur Meisenbach of Atwater, for 2nd degree burglary.

The Willmar Lakes Area Chamber has been recognized for its commitment to retaining jobs as a partner of Grow Minnesota!, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce's distinctive private-sector economic development program.  It is one of 60 local partners in the statewide network. ‘Grow Minnesota’ celebrates 10 years of thanking businesses for investing in their communities and our state, according to Bill Blazar, Minnesota Chamber senior vice president of public affairs and business development. He says local chambers are at the foundation of the program's statewide successes. During its 10 years, the program volunteers have connected with well over 7,000 Minnesota companies and provided direct assistance to more than 1,000 businesses.  Retention efforts have protected close to 15,000 jobs.

Demolition began Tuesday on the old Morris Elementary School Building, starting with the building's north end. A backhoe tore into the building, where, over the last few weeks, crews have removed asbestos and other hazardous materials. Morris City Manager Blaine Hill says he doesn't expect the demolition to take very long. Once the building and footings have been removed, Hill says crews will return the space to a flat surface. The deadline for the contractor, Dore & Associates, is September 2. The Morris Police Department has restricted parking around the demolition site and encourage onlookers to stay a safe distance away from falling debris.

Students at the Morris Area High School are collecting donations for their final food distribution event of the summer. The final distribution is planned for Tuesday, August 20th. Morris Student Council member Vaughn Dieter says the distribution is for anyone who needs food. To make a donation toward food purchases, stop in to Bremer Bank in Morris or contact West Central Minnesota Communities Action.

North Dakota customers of Otter Tail Power will continue to foot the bill for a power plant that was never built. The Big Stone II electric power plant in northeastern South Dakota was abandoned in 2009 before construction began. The Public Service Commission in June of 2010 approved a plan to have Montana-Dakota Utilities and Otter Tail customers in North Dakota pay a share of Big Stone's $13.7 million development costs over three years. The PSC on Tuesday extended the payments eight months for Otter Tail customers. Commissioner Brian Kalk says the extended payments will go toward a transmission line that was separate from development costs. An average Otter Tail residential electric customer has been paying 62 cents more per month. MDU customers have paid about $1.50 extra each month.

Community Night Out at the City Park in Alexandria is Tuesday, August 6th from 5-7, with local families invited to come out and join in the event which is coordinated by the Alexandria Police Department. Officers will meet with residents and offer demonstrations of Fatal Vision goggles, Night Vision and SWAT gear. The fire department will have fire trucks on display and have an inflatable ‘Fire Hopper’ for kids to play in. This event is for people of all ages.

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office staff will be in Alexandria today (Thursday) from 2:30-3:30 at the city hall. This is the Veterans Outreach Staff Tour to highlight resources available to veterans and their families. The public is invited to attend. You’ll learn about local, state and federal resources for health care, education and job opportunities for veterans.

Chad Chadderton with the Amvets of Willmar VFW Post 214 says they’re having an awareness drive on Friday, August 16th at the Kandiyohi County Fairgrounds. They’re trying to raise money to help with the production of a movie called Thunder Road, which he says has been internationally researched in order to tell the real and true story of the Iraqi and Afghanistan veterans that are dealing with PTSD and TBI, how they integrate back into society and the trials and tribulations they’re having to deal with. There will be three actors at the event, and they are also the founders of Astoria Entertainment, which is producing the movie. There will be food and entertainment and after that a band from California called The Walking Phoenixes, which is a Johnny Cash Tribute Band, will perform. Actors that will be there are Steven Grayhm, Charlie Bewley and Matt Dallas. Grayhm has been a screen writer and was in the movie White Chicks and in the series Alcatraz. Bewley was in the Twilight Saga and Soldiers of Fortune and Dallas in Kyle-XY and Baby Daddy.

The investigation is still ongoing in the murder of 79 year old Lila Warwick, who was found dead in her home Monday by Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s deputies. They were responding to a welfare check on Warwick. Details of the murder have not been released, and Sheriff Dan Hartog says they believe the general public is not in danger. But, he says, you should always be aware of your own personal safety, and know who is in or around your property. The investigation continues and you’re asked to contact the sheriff’s office if you have any information that would help in the investigation.

Fred Cogelow of Willmar will have a display of his carvings at the ARTmeyerson Gallery in Atwater today (Thursday) beginning at noon, and tomorrow (Friday). This is a fundraiser for Music Matters in Willmar and the AGC Music and Art Deprtments. Cogelow will be in the gallery with scheduled artist talks at four and seven each day.

Yesterday (Wednesday), 76 year old Frederic Brown of rural Darwin was killed when his vehicle crossed the centerline and hit a Freightliner semi head-on. The semi was driven by 28 year old Ricky Lahr of Paynesville and owned by the Paynesville Farmers Union Coop. According to Meeker County Sheriff Jeff Norlin, the crash was near Highway 4 and 380thStreet in Union Grove Township, Meeker County. Brown was pronounced dead at the scene. Lahr was taken to the Paynesville Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The crash is under investigation by the Minnesota State Patrol. Assisting the sheriff’s office and state patrol was the Paynesville Police Department.

63 year old Brenda Swenson of New London was injured in a motorcycle crash on County Road 16 near 263rd Avenue in Zion Township, Stearns County yesterday afternoon (Wednesday). According to the Stearns County Sheriff, Swenson was traveling with three other motorcyclists when she lost control of her motorcycle and crashed. She was taken to the Paynesville Hospital. Assisting at the scene were the Cold Spring Police and Paynesville Fire and Rescue.

The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office has released the names of the males that were involved in a crash Monday night at the intersection of County Roads 185 and 421st Street, Sauk Centre. 18 year old Ethan Ross of Sauk Centre was the driver. Passengers in his vehicle were Luke Baim, Travis Reigel, Derrik Pederson and Austin Moen, all age 18 and from Sauk Centre. Their conditions are not available at this time and the crash remains under investigation.

An Odessa man was back in court in Big Stone County yesterday (Wednesday) facing charges of violence against a police officer. Forty-nine-year old Charles Rackow has been charged with one felony count of assaulting a peace officer, along with charges of obstruction of justice, driving while intoxicated, and drug possession. The incident involving the police officer is alleged to have happened on March 27, 2013. Rackow made an appearance at an omnibus hearing. He had previously pleaded "not guilty" to all charges.

The next Morris Community Meal will be served tomorrow (Friday). All members of the Stevens County Community are invited to partake from  noon to 1:30 at Assumption Catholic Church in Morris. This month's menu highlights ingredients purchased from the local farmers market. The event is free and open to all members of the community.

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