NEWS-July 10
News Director: Bev Alquist Call with news at 320-235-2900 or email

News Archive

Last night (Tuesday), the Meeker County Sheriff's Office and Minnesota State Patrol were called to a one vehicle crash on Highway 24 near the intersection with 309th Street. 40 year old Dennis Bernier of Stewart fell asleep and drove off the road near this intersection. He was treated by medical personnel at the scene without transport. The crash is currently under investigation by the Meeker County Sheriff's Office.

The Farm Service Agency’s local committee elections will be held this fall and your help is being requested. The farmer-elected committee is your voice in USDA’s programs here in the local area. Members of the committee work with area residents to maintain the local focus of many USDA programs, inform people of what’s available, and help producers understand how the programs work. Committee members work to help shape national programs into working local programs, and all they really need to know is farming here in the community. If you think you can help, contact your local Farm Service Agency office.

The Next Generation Consulting team will be back in town for large, public community input sessions July 23rd, 24th and 25th. On Tuesday, the 23rd the team will be at the MinnWest Technology Campus from 4:30-6; on Wednesday, the 24th they’ll be at the Willmar Conference Center from 7:30-nine that morning and at the New London-Spicer High School from 4:30-6 that afternoon. On Thursday, the 25th they’ll be at the MinnWest Technology Campus from 7:30-9 that morning.

Senator Torrey Westrom of Elbow Lake says Minnesota’s new fiscal year comes with a plethora of new taxes passed by the legislative majority. He says new increased taxes, which he didn’t support, totals more than $2 billion. He says Minnesota’s higher income earners will see their tax rate increase from 7.85 percent to 9.85 percent; and that this plan will make Minnesota’s income tax rate the second highest in the nation for comparative income. Westrom says farmers and all consumers will be affected by the new sales taxes on warehousing and storage; services like car and tractor repairs and new taxes on downloaded ringtones, music, videos, books and online computer games.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security will be in Morris today (Wednesday) assessing damage done in the county during the June 21st storm. Emergency Management Director Dona Greiner says if FEMA determines enough damage was done in the county, and statewide, the affected counties could be eligible for federal disaster relief funds. Greiner says preliminary estimates of the county indicate there was over $200,000 worth of damage. The federal agencies will also be assessing seventeen Minnesota counties this week, including Pope, Swift, Traverse, Douglas, and Big Stone Counties.

The Morris Public Library will be hosting a comic book workshop next week. On Wednesday afternoon, July 17th, from 2-4,  participants in the workshop will learn about Minnesota cartoonists and apply techniques learned from a professional cartoonist to their very own mini-comics. This event is for tweens and teens and is sponsored by the Morris and Viking Library System. The workshop is free put participants are asked to preregister by calling the library.

41 years old Brooks Gunderson of rural Paynesville was taken into custody Monday and booked into the Meeker County Jail on multiple charges including driving while intoxicated, driving after cancellation, fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident, and criminal damage to property. A formal complaint is pending from the Meeker County Attorney's Office. Gunderson is reported to have hit a stop arm crossing at the BNSF railroad crossing on CSAH 1 in Litchfield after they were activated and down for a slow moving three-car train. The vehicle then fled the scene after doing damage to the stop arm. A Litchfield officer located a vehicle matching the description given out on the suspected vehicle, attempted to initiate a traffic stop but the driver refused to stop. The officer was finally able to get the vehicle stopped approximately two miles west of Litchfield, where deputies and other officers assisted.

Yesterday afternoon (Tuesday), the Alexandria Police Department arrested 35 year old Joshua Hamilton of Alexandria for fleeing in a motor vehicle from police, domestic abuse related charges, possession of narcotics, felony warrant for controlled substances and several traffic related violations. Officers were called on an alleged domestic related incident, attempted to stop Hamilton, who led them on a high speed chase onto I-94, back into Alexandria where at County Road 17 he lost control of the vehicle. He attempted to run from police on foot, was apprehended and taken into custody and transported to the Douglas County Jail. Speeds during the chase reached 100 mph. A passenger in the vehicle was later released. The suspect vehicle is being held for forfeiture. Assisting in the pursuit were the Douglas County Sheriff's Office and Osakis Police Department.

The following Renville County Parks are still closed due to flooding until further notice: Mack Lake County Park, Anderson Lake County Park, and Skalbekken County Park on the west side of County Road 10. Parks that are open include the Beaver Falls County Park, Birch Coulee County Park, Vicksburg County Park, and the main camping site in Skalbekken County Park. For park closure information updates, you can call the Renville County Parks Department.

A number of bicyclists are participating in a Habitat for Humanity fundraiser for families in Manitoba, Canada and will be in Willmar today (Wednesday). You’re asked to slow down and watch for them. The Cycle of Hope bicyclists left Louisville, Kentucky June 28th for a two week journey to celebrate the 20th annual Cycle of Hope’s 1,000 Miles Home Challenge. They will be in Willmar until tomorrow (Thursday) when they depart on the return trip to Manitoba.

The University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center of Morris is hosting the Renewable Fertilizer Conference and Renewable Energy Tour today (Wednesday) and tomorrow (Thursday). The conference will feature the latest research and developments in the emerging field of renewable fertilizer production. Highlights of the tour include wind energy, renewable hydrogen and ammonia, biomass gasification, anaerobic digestion and solar energy systems.

54 year old Jose Ramos of Willmar appeared in Kandiyohi County District Court Mondaywhere he was sentenced to 156 months in prison with a conditional release period of 100 years. Ramos pled guilty in an amended plea of felony first degree criminal sexual conduct involving two young girls. He was given credit for serving 143 days in the county jail, ordered to pay fines and fees totaling $3,090; and has to register as a predatory sex offender. In exchange for his guilty plea, seven other felony criminal sexual conduct charges and one gross misdemeanor criminal sexual conduct charge were dismissed.

The Kerkhoven City Council approved the purchase of a 29 gallon air compressor for $650 when it met this week. Mayor Brian Thompson says the city maintenance department is also installing the last of the electronic meters. Installation has been going on in segments over the last three years. In other business. They had a pool inspection and was told to look into the possibility of getting a lift. Thompson said it isn’t something the city has to do but it’s something they recommend. It’s nothing they can enforce, it’s just a suggestion, he said.

The New London Spicer School Board met Monday night. Supt. Paul Carlson says the board will be considering the authorization and sale of Aid Anticipation certificates at the August 12th meeting. Carlson says they also reviewed projected enrollments and shared information on school board levy seminars being held throughout the state to hear about regarding some of the legislative changes. In other business. School board member David Kilpatrick provided highlights of the school’s educational regional meetings and reviewed the impact of the current legislative sessions that ended recently and also the information that will be gathered to establish the next legislative session for the 13-14 school year.

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