NEWS-July 16
News Director: Bev Alquist Call with news at 320-235-2900 or email

News Archive

Monday the Litchfield Police Department was called to a two vehicle crash at the intersection of West Pacific Street and South Miller Avenue. Drivers were Barbara Smith of Litchfield and Tyler Blair of Savage.  

The Willmar City Council has set the date for two hearings, one on the tap room brew room ordinance, which would allow some off-site sales of growlers, which is about a half gallon of the beer product. City Administrator Charlene Stevnes says this is for new businesses. This is new legislation, and while the city doesn’t have a business that’s specifically applying, they’re being proactive in putting the ordinance and regulations in place to allow it to occur in Willmar if anyone is interested in doing something. The other hearing is for public financing for the helicopters that will be placed at the airport as part of LifeLink. The council was also updated on the Vision 2040 project, highlighting the community meetings that will be held next week July 23rd through July 25th. For specific information on those meetings check out the website,

The city of Alexandria will have a public hearing regarding estimated costs for improvements to two downtown parking lots. That public hearing will be July 22nd at city hall. City Administrator Jim Taddei says one lot is adjacent to 7th Avenue East and the other on Hawthorne Street and 5th Avenue. The bids for the parking lots came in at $144,462 for 7thAvenue and $202,884 for 5th Avenue. Taddei says these costs and possible assessments will be discussed with the downtown property owners at the public hearing.

The Center for Small Towns at Morris is researching and creating a comprehensive report on the state of abandoned and repurposed school buildings throughout the area. The epidemic of closed school in rural Minnesota was brought forward by the Center’s Advisory Council, made up of rural leaders from all over the state. A student employee has been hard at work to find, contact and gather information on every abandoned school within a 60 mile radius of Morris. If you have, or would like more information call the UMM Center for Small Towns.

National Night Out in Willmar will be Tuesday, August 6th. The event is designed to heighten crime prevention awareness and provide an opportunity to promote and celebrate police-community partnerships in crime prevention efforts. Many neighborhoods throughout Willmar will be hosting a variety of special events to spend time with their neighbors. If you’re organizing a neighborhood gathering and would like more information about how the Willmar Police Department can assist at your event contact Sgt. Julie Asmus at 320-214-6700, extension 3107.

Today (Tuesday) is a free food distribution in Morris. The giveaway is a result of several Morris Area student organizations working together, says Student Council Advisor Peg Rinkenberger. She reminds those coming to get food to bring a box or a basket to take your food home in. To participate in the food distribution, visit the Morris Area High School cafeteria on this afternoon at 5:30 p.m. The distribution will run until the food is gone.

The Morris Public Library will be hosting a comic book workshop this week. Tomorrowafternoon (Wednesday) 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 teens and pre-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.

Stevens County Environmental Services will be collecting chemical waste this week.Tomorrow (Wednesday), from 10 to 2 you can get rid of unwanted paints, stains, and varnishes free of charge at the Stevens County Highway Garage in Morris. Acceptable waste items include aerosols, lawn and garden pesticides, and flammable products.  Examples of waste items not accepted are business waste, farm chemicals, explosives, ammunition, asbestos, and fluorescent lights. For more information, contact Stevens County Environmental Services.

The American Red Cross Bloodmobile will be in Stevens County this week. Tomorrow(Wednesday), donors can give at UMM's Oyate Hall from 12:30-6:30. On Thursday, the bloodmobile will be in Hancock at the Community Center from 1-7. On Friday, the bloodmobile will be in Chokio at the St. Mary's Parish Center from 8 to noon. Also on Friday, donors can give in Milan at the Kviteseid Lutheran Church from nine to two. The American Red Cross is looking for eligible donors of all types to give blood this summer to help avert a shortage.

When the summer temperatures rise, conditions are ripe for Minnesota lakes to produce harmful algal blooms. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency reminds people that a type of algae called “blue-green algae” can harm pets, livestock and even people. Harmful algal blooms often smell unpleasant and can look like pea soup, green paint, or floating mats of scum. The MPCA is warning people to stay away from any pond or lake that looks and smells bad, and to keep children and pets away from the affected area until the bloom subsides. Once an algal bloom has started, there is no way to correct it except waiting for weather changes to disrupt the algae’s growth. Over the long term, people can reduce the occurrence of algal blooms by avoiding the use of phosphorus-containing fertilizers, which are generally banned in Minnesota, and by promptly cleaning up pet waste and lawn clippings.

There will be a detour on County Road 130 northeast of Green Lake beginning today (Tuesday) from County Highway 4 to County Highway 2 according to the Kandiyohi County Public Works Department in Willmar. The construction zone will be closed to through traffic. The through traffic will be diverted north on County Highway 4, east on County Highway 40 and south on County Highway 2. The work will consist of grading operations and gravel base. Construction on the County Road 130 project is scheduled to be complete in August.

65 year old Roger Post of Clara City was not injured in a two vehicle crash yesterday (Monday) on U.S. Highway 75 at 21st Street south of Trosky in Pipestone County. According to the Minnesota State Patrol both vehicles were traveling south on Highway 75. 65 year old Judith Vandertop of Edgerton slowed to make a left turn, as Post was attempting to pass. Vandertop suffered non-life threatening injuries.

Trott Avenue Southwest between 16th Street and Industrial Drive is closed for rail crossing improvements. It’s anticipated the road will be re-opened Friday afternoon. Traffic will not be allowed through the construction zone. Motorists will need to find alternate routes. You’re asked to slow down for your safety and the safety of the workers.

71 year old Arnold Jaenisch of Clara City has been found guilty by a Chippewa County jury of two felony criminal vehicular homicide counts in the fatal crash that killed 39 year old Kelly Berghorst of Montevideo. The crash happened Dec. 16th of 2011 when he drove through a stop sign at the intersection of Chippewa County Road 13 and Highway 29, hitting the Berghorst vehicle. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Jaenish was also found guilty of two misdemeanor charges: open bottle and failure to stop. Jaenish had a blood alcohol content of 0.11 percent within two hours of the crash.

58  year old Elgene Mahn of Atwater makes his next appearance in Kandiyohi County District Court August 8th on felony driving while impaired charges. He made his first appearance Monday when unconditional bail was set at $90,000. Mahn has ten prior DWI convictions. Mahn was arrested in Spicer Saturday. He had a blood alcohol count of 0.27 percent.

The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners meet this morning (Tuesday) at ten in the board room at the Health and Human Services Building. The agenda includes bid letting on two bridge replacements; a wetland banking plan; water planning task force recommendation; a resolution authorizing imposition of the Wheelage Tax; conditional use; an amendment to the Joint Powers Agreement Southwestern Minnesota Adult Mental Health Corsortium; and a Hawk Creek low interest loan agreement. Prior to the county board meeting, the board meets at nine as a Family Services Committee.

A food distribution has been planned for the Morris area tonight (Tuesday). The food has been purchased, but the distribution needs volunteers. Organizer Peg Rinkenberger says, other than monetary donations, the food distributions need donations of time. Volunteers help those going through the food line select items and carry out boxes of food to cars. The food distribution is open to anyone who needs food. Doors open at 5:30 this afternoon at the Morris Area High School.

Cassey Hickman has been crowned Miss Morris for 2013. Hickman received her crown in a coronation ceremony this past Saturday. The judges awarded the title of Ambassador to two other Miss Morris contestants: Samantha Searle and Katia Vantries. Hickman will compete in the Miss Minnesota Pageant next June.

A four-vehicle pile-up temporarily closed Highway 28 yesterday (Monday) on the outskirts of Morris. Morris Fire Chief Dave Dybdal reports that at approximately 12:18, the Morris Fire Department was called to the intersection of 468th Ave and Highway 28 East, the intersection at Superior Industries, for a motor vehicle crash. The crash involved two cars, one van, and a semi truck. Two people with minor injuries were transported to SCMC for further evaluation. Dybdal says everyone is lucky, especially when there are multiple vehicles involved. Other responding agencies included the Stevens County Ambulance Service, Morris Police Department, Stevens County Sheriff's Department and the Minnesota State Patrol.

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