NEWS-July 24
News Director: Bev Alquist Call with news at 320-235-2900 or email

News Archive

To help boaters prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is adding more than 200 ‘clean-and-drain’ areas to statewide public water access sites this summer. The special areas act as visual reminders to boaters to clean and drain their boats properly while providing a safe and convenient place to do that. According to DNR Commissioner Tom Landwher, installing components of the ‘clean and drain’ areas at high-use sites on infested waters is a priority. It’s the worst offense in Minnesota to be blocking somebody else’s access to the ramp, right especially during peak times, so they want to make sure that is not a problem for people. This way they have a place to pull over, a place to do their inspections, they are out of the way, they can deal with the water and the plants in a responsible manner and then move on off the access.

Landwehr says Minnesota is the first state in the nation to implement this type of modification at multiple water access sites. The new clean-and-drain areas should be used whether or not a watercraft inspector is present at the access.

Youth who want to experience waterfowl hunting for the first time can apply to be one of 65 participants in this year’s mentored youth waterfowl hunt on  Sept. 7. The application deadline is  Aug. 12. The hunts will be conducted at Hamden Slough near Detroit Lakes, the Morris Wildlife Production Area near Morris and on private lands in the Prior Lake, Windom and the Fergus Falls areas. To participate, youth must be 12-15 years old and completed firearms safety training. A parent or guardian must accompany the youth during the orientation, education and field sessions that begin Sept. 6, and the Saturday hunt.

The Kerkhoven City Council discussed briefly a bill they just received for work on a watermain break that happened this past February. The city has a policy that was put in place last year that invoices have to be billed to the city within 30 days from when the job was done. The council said they would send him a letter with a reminder as to what the policy is so he’s aware of that the next time. In other business, Kim Harkema, city clerk, had a question from the fire chief on a fire call in town. A fire started in the city’s brush pile on the other side of the tracks, which the fire department responded to. The fire chief didn’t know if he should bill the city like he would bill anybody else. The council said since it’s the city’s fire department, they shouldn’t get billed for it.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has cited the Granite Falls Construction Company for several violations of water pollution rules. The company has made corrections and has paid a 10-thousand-dollar civil penalty. From 1984 to June 2010, the company disposed of concrete waste on Northern States Power Company property along the Minnesota River east of Granite Falls. Discharges from the site entered a wetland that is hydrologically connected to the Minnesota River. Granite Falls Construction Company has stopped the discharges, started conducting stormwater inspections, and is working to properly dispose of waste concrete.

The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office and Paynesville Police Department were dispatched to a watercraft crash with injuries on Lake Koronis in Paynesville Township yesterday (Tuesday). A 1966 Arkan Runabout, operated by 66 year old Donald Manion of Coon Rapids, was pulling a water skier on the lake. Manion collided with a kayak that had two juvenile males on board. One of the juveniles, a five year old from Edina, received non-life threatening injuries and was taken to the Paynesville Hospital by the Paynesville Ambulance. The case is under investigation by the sheriff’s office.

One person was injured in a rear-end crash yesterday (Tuesday) at the intersection of Highway 212 and Chippewa County Road 16 in Chippewa County. 19 year old Kaitlyn Burner of Marshall was traveling west on Highway 212, rear-ending a vehicle in front of her driven by 57 year old Gary Weckwerth of Benson. Burmer suffered non-life threatening injuries. Weckwerth, who was driving a semi, was not injured.

This morning (Wednesday) there will be a community meeting at the Willmar Conference Center from 7:30 to 9 to discuss ‘Things to Do,’ as part of the Vision 2040 project public forums. Tonight there will be a public forum from 4:30 to 6:30 at the New London Spicer High School in New London. Thursday morning the forum is on ‘Well-Being’ from 7:30 to nine in the Life Science Innovations Auditorium at the MinnWest Technology Campus, and Thursdaynight, from 4:30-6 its on ‘Inclusion’ at the Willmar City Auditorium.

The demolition of the old Morris Elementary and High School complex is on track, with hazardous abatement complete. City Manager Blaine Hill says the site underwent inspection and it is believed all hazardous materials have been removed. The site is now being prepared for demolition, with the removal of windows. The entire site is scheduled to be completely returned to green space by September 2nd.

Students at the Morris Area High School will not be allowed to wear head apparel in school next year, a change to the student handbook one parent is calling too strict. Sue Dieter addressed the change before the Morris School Board last night, saying the rules was unnecessary. The headwear ban is included under "Dress Code" in the handbook. Board member Dick Metzger, who sits on the handbook committee, says the change was included to encourage students to show respect to teachers who don't want hats, caps, or skullcaps in the classroom. The dress code does not mention an exception for head apparel worn as part of religious practice. The ban was not included in the elementary handbook. The school board voted to include the change with one "nay" vote from Robin Anderson.

The final Friday Flick of the summer has been scheduled at the Morris Public Library. The kid-friendly movie starts Friday afternoon at 2. There is no cost and no need to pre register. Popcorn and drinks are provided.  Call the library for the movie title or for more information.

The Alexandria City Council has authorized the fire marshal to purchase an outdoor siren for 50th Avenue and Highway 29. There is an existing 3-phased siren there now, which will be relocated to the Douglas County Fairgrounds property. City Administrator Jim Taddei, says they will replace the old siren with a new one. The average cost of a new siren is about $14,000. The relocation cost is about $500. That will be paid by the fair board. They also held a public hearing on downtown parking lot improvements. There are two lots on the east side of Broadway between 5th and 7th avenues. Taddei says the idea is to assess a portion of that to the downtown businesses. The total cost for the one parking lot is $170,000 and the other is about $96,000. The city will pick up 20 percent with the remainder to be assessed to the businesses in downtown.

A Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Deputy faces felony charges for allegedly having sexual contact with several children. 29 year old Deputy Aaron Heuer of Isle has been charged in Otter Tail County District Court with four counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct and four counts of second degree criminal sexual conduct. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s (BCA) preliminary investigation identified incidents at two locations in June 2013. According to the criminal complaint, the first incidents allegedly took place when Heuer was volunteering as a fishing guide at Lutheran Island Camp in Henning in Otter Tail County. Heuer allegedly inappropriately touched the four male victims, ages 8-10, and instructed them to have sexual contact with him. Additional incidents are alleged to have taken place with two of the victims on a separate fishing trip in Aitkin County that was unrelated to the camp. Investigators believe Heuer knew all of the victims prior to the incidents. Deputy Heuer has been placed on administrative leave from the Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Office and is currently in the Otter Tail County Jail. Heuer has been with the Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Office for 6 years.

An FBI agent testified yesterday (Tuesday), that a witness said 24 year old Buford (Bucky) Rogers of Montevideo was involved in an alleged plot to bomb the Montevideo police station, and was also planning to attack a communications tower and a National Guard armory. The testimony came in a federal court hearing for Rogers, who was indicted on illegal weapons charges last month after a raid on his father's mobile home outside Montevideo. Rogers was arrested May 3rd and indicted on four felony counts, including being a felon in possession of a firearm and three counts of possessing "unregistered destructive devices." The devices included two Molotov cocktails, two "black powder nail devices" and a pipe bomb. He has pleaded not guilty.

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