Saturday, the Litchfield Police Department arrested a 30 year old Savage woman for domestic assault, disorderly conduct, and a probation violation out of Scott County. The arrest occurred at an East US Hwy 12 business. She is being held in the Meeker County Jail pending an appearance in Meeker County District Court. The police department also arrested a 23 year old Willmar man for 4th degree DWI and .08 or more. The arrest occurred at a 6th Street/Sibley Avenue location. He was later released and will be appearing in Meeker County District Court on a later date. Also Saturday, police officers were called to a two vehicle crash at the intersection of East 6th Street and North Holcombe Avenue. An 18 year old female was charged with fail to yield to a motor vehicle. She will be appearing in Meeker County District Court on a later date.
Congressman Collin Peterson says the United States Postal Service is a vital public service that our rural communities in particular rely on. Limiting mail delivery to five days a week will place a burden on those communities that still use the postal service on a daily basis to serve their needs. There is a significant need for postal reform that addresses their continuing deficits, he says, but there should be a way to fix the problems without limiting the services that remain a lifeline to rural America and many small businesses. Peterson says the USPS needs to find ways to generate additional revenue instead of focusing on cutting costs. The USPS also needs to address the pre-funding mandate for future retirement benefits, which totaled nearly $5.5 billion and accounted for a large part of the postal service’s losses last year.
Craig Edwards of New London has received a $10,000 Minnesota State Arts Board Grant from the Southwest Minnesota Arts & Humanities Council. He plans to create a body of work for use in East Asian tea ceremonies, presenting it in a manner consistent with longstanding traditions of tea culture. It will be displayed in a gallery exhibition. Janet Olney of Willmar also received a $10,000 grant. She plans to work with gourds and fiber to create woven wall pieces that will culminate in a permanent installation for the Barn Theatre in Willmar.
Rice Memorial Hospital has launched its Healthy Communities Partnership program by hiring two new staff members: Kelly Tauber, wellness coordinator, and Amber Chevalier, wellness guide. Within the next few months, the Rice HCP team will begin offering free health screenings for adults throughout the community. They’re looking for a diverse cross-section of participants. Local support for the effort is important in defining the hospital’s most effective role in community wellness.
This week they’re taking up the Tax Conformity bill before the full chamber of the House of Representatives according to Representative Andrew Falk of rural Murdock. Falk says this will likely be the first bill they pass as a chamber, and it will help people across Minnesota as they begin to file their taxes. He describes it has kind of common sense legislation that Minnesotans expect them to work on in the legislature. He says the bill adds clarity and simplicity to Minnesota’s tax system by conforming to federal tax changes made in 2012. These changes will result in tax relief for middle class Minnesotans.
According to Meeker County Sheriff Jeff Norlin 30 year old Bryan Moham of Cokato, formerly from Dassel, has been arrested on 68 counts of possession of child pornography. Investigators ultimately executed a search warrant at Moham’s residence in Dassel. During the search warrant, investigators found a computer that contained child pornographic images. The computer was seized and extensively examined by investigators where tens of thousands of suspected child pornographic images were located. The images were then sent to, and examined by experts, who identified 4,607 documented images and videos confirmed to be child pornographic images of victims under the age of 16 and originating from throughout the US and other various countries worldwide. Moham is currently in the Meeker County Jail awaiting his first court appearance.
Following a week dubbed "Gun Week" at the Minnesota Capitol, legislators are still weighing the benefits and consequences of increased gun and ammunition control. Elbow Lake Senator Torrey Westrom says without the second amendment, you don't have the first. Westrom says gun ownership is an important right for Americans and he plans to protect that right in Minnesota. There are mental health issues that need to be addressed, Westrom says, and he hopes to see legislation this session that will work on that issue. Gun control issues may see bipartisan support: Murdock Representative Andrew Falk also supports gun freedoms. Falk does not sit on any public safety committees, but says when the bills come to a vote, he will need to review any proposed changes carefully.
Stevens County Commissioners have signed a resolution to send to the state capitol, reminding legislators of their legal obligation to fund probation services at the local level. Stevens County Attorney Aaron Jordan says the state is required to fund 50% of probation services but for several years have not sent the necessary funds. Stevens County is one of five counties that contract for probation officers through Traverse County. Jordan says the state would prefer counties use Department of Corrections officers and might be withholding funding to force local counties to switch to state services.
The Morris City Council meets tonight (Tuesday) at 5:15 in the Morris Senior Community Center. The council meeting includes an update from City Manager Blaine Hill.
45 year old Darrin Schaefer of Paynesville has been identified as the man killed in a rollover Saturday on County Road 195 in Zion Township. According to the Stearns County Sheriff’s Department, Schaefer’s vehicle left the roadway, rolled on its side and landed in a drainage ditch. Schaefer, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected out of the passenger side window. He was taken to the Paynesville Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The crash is under investigation.
I-94 between Alexandria and Moorhead is now open to travel. The Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Minnesota State Patrol opened the interstate yesterday afternoon. While the no travel in west central Minnesota has been lifted, driving conditions are difficult due to drifting snow, blowing snow and icy patches. You need to use extreme caution when traveling. MnDOT also reminds you to be patient while snowplow operators work to improve driving conditions. The majority of snowplow crashes take place during ‘clean up’ when motorists resume their normal speeds.
State Representative Mary Sawatzky of Willmar is co-author of a bill that would offer tax credits to businesses that hire unemployed Minnesota veterans. Minnesota has the highest unemployment rate in the nation for veterans who have served since 2001. The bill has strong support from a number of veterans and veterans’ advocacy groups, including the Military Action Group, United Veterans Legislative Council, Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans, and the Association of the United States Army.
Representative Paul Anderson of rural Starbuck says the Minnesota House Public Safety Committee spent most of last week debating a series of bills that address gun use in our state. The bills included legislation requiring background checks for gun shows and private sales, limiting gun permit access for some Minnesotans and a ban on so-called ‘assault weapons.’ Anderson says bills sponsored by Democrats in Minnesota are even more restricting than what the presidents wants to pass, and the new laws would do nothing to keep certain firearms out of the hands of wrong-doers.
Yesterday afternoon (Monday), the Meeker County Sheriff's Office, MN State Patrol, Grove City Fire Department, Grove City Rescue, and Gold Cross Ambulance, responded to US Highway 12 west of Grove City, for a two-vehicle crash. A juvenile male from Atwater, driving a 2007 Pontiac Vibe, lost control and collided head-on with a 2003 Chevy Cavalier driven by 35 yer old Mauro Martinez of Glencoe. A 13-year-old juvenile male passenger in the Pontiac, also from Atwater, was taken to the Meeker Memorial Hospital. This crash is currently under investigation by the MN State Patrol.