NEWS-May 15
News Director: Bev Alquist Call with news at 320-235-2900 or email

News Archive

Moldy birdseed and unclean bird feeders can make birds sick according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. In the spring and in hot, humid weather it’s common for mold to form on wet birdseed. The mold can cause a fatal avian disease called aspergillosis, which affects the birds’ respiratory systems. Rake or sweep up any fallen seeds and seed hulls under their feeders to prevent moldy conditions from occurring on the ground. Salmonella is another disease that affects birds and is associated with unclean feeders. To clean a feeder use a solution of two ounces of bleach with one gallon of water and scrub the entire surface, or ten parts water to one part bleach. Always allow the cleaned feeder to dry out in the sun as the sunlight will help kill bacteria on the feeder.

U.S. Senator Al Franken says the Affordable Health Care Act known as Obamacare, will be a benefit to most young people because of the subsidies, plus it includes a National Diabetes Prevention program which was started by the Centers for Disease Control and National Institute for Health. This program gives people who are pre-diabetic 16 weeks of physical training at a YMCA and 16 weeks of nutritional training. Franken says the studies found that 58 percent fewer people became diabetic under this program. Diabetes is the most expensive disease in our country. 75 percent of all our health care costs are incurred by chronic diseases. Diabetes is the number one cost in chronic diseases. It costs about $7900 more to provide the health care for a person with diabetes than a person without diabetes.

According to the Department of Minnesota Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Willmar will be one of their ‘rally points’ for the weeklong Ride for Healing May 27th through June 1st. All Veterans and community members are invited to the Finstad-Week VFW Post 1639 onWednesday, May 29 at 4:30 to take part in the rally. State Veterans of Foreign Wars Commander Lee Ulferts has asked that all communities statewide gather for this weeklong event to honor the sacrifice and service of our Vietnam Veterans. Additionally, Ulferts is calling for donations to build the Education Center at the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The week starts at the Minnesota Vietnam Veterans Memorial in St. Paul on May 27th and ends in Brainerd on May 31st for a two day event that features the AVTT Traveling Wall, military flyovers, ceremonies and entertainment.

The Minnesota State Robotics tournament is taking place Saturday at Williams Arena at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul. Thirty (30) teams of Minnesota High School students will be there with robots they designed, built and control. Among the teams are students from Alexandria, Morris Area and New London-Spicer. The teams will be competing to claim the state championship. New London Spicer Supt. Paul Carlson says throughout the year, the NL-S competes in robotics competitions, Best Robotics and now First Robotics. Currently the team is ranked fourth out of 180 teams. Carlson says the team thinks they have some tricks up their sleeves to actually upset the number one ranked team of Prior Lake. In First Robotics, it’s a competition around the world. There’s 2,509 teams and New London-Spicer is ranked 157th out of 2,509 teams. “We want to recognize our robotics team and advisor Aric Harrier and wish them well in the state tournament this weekend.”

The Litchfield School Board met Monday night. They awarded bids for a track project. Interim Supt. Dan Fraizer says it’s been a long time since the school district resurfaced its track. It’s worn, decayed and deteriorated and it’s time to improve the track so they can provide a quality performance experience for the district’s track runners and field event athletes. Frazier says there has been some criticism. The district is going through some tough financial times, and there are people that question whether or not the district can afford to spend money on the track when the district has so many other money needs. The track project is funded from the Capital Projects fund and that money can only be spent on buildings and grounds. Therefore the money could not have been redirected toward other budget items such as salaries, textbooks or curriculum. The track bid came in for $512,000. The school board also picked up an extra $30,000 bid so the board is also replacing the high jump. 

A federal indictment unsealed yesterday (Tuesday) charges 62-year-old John Parent of Graceville, Big Stone County, with distributing and possessing images of child pornography. He is charged with five counts of distribution of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. The indictment was unsealed following Parent’s initial appearance in federal court. The indictment alleges that between March 15, 2011, and September 25, 2011, Parent distributed via a computer visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. It also alleges that on June 12, 2012, Parent possessed more than 800 images and videos of similar conduct. Authorities found the items on computers, hard drives, and other digital media that they seized during the execution of a state search warrant at Parent’s residence.

This morning (Wednesday) at nine, staff members from U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office will be in Willmar to highlight resources available to Veterans and their families. Klobuchar’s staff will be joined by veterans’ affairs officials. The meeting is in the county board room at the Health and Human Services Building from 9-10. She will also be at the American Legion in Redwood Falls from 12:30-1:30 this afternoon. The forums are open to the public and provide attendees the opportunity to learn about local, state and federal resources to improve the health care services, educational benefits, and job opportunities for veterans.

20 year old Juan Dominguez and Jose Dominguez Jr., both of Kerkhoven, appeared in Swift County District Court yesterday (Tuesday) for allegedly shooting a man in the face with a BB gun, and hitting him with the stalk of the gun. The incident happened Sunday in the 200 block of 10th Street South in Kerkhoven. Juan Dominguez was charged with two felony counts of 2nddegree assault and possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a violent crime, plus a petty misdemeanor for possession of drug paraphernalia. His next appearance in court is May 21st. Jose Dominguez was charged with three felony charges of second degree assault, reckless discharge of a weapon and possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a violent crime. His next court appearance is May 20th.

There will be a special Willmar City Council workshop and Labor Relations committee meeting this afternoon (Wednesday) at 4:45 in the council chambers of the Willmar Municipal Utilities building. Consultants Richard and Irina Fursman of Brimeyer Fursman of Maplewood, will report preliminary findings of their study regarding organizational assessment of the city government. The meeting is open to the public.

Last night (Tuesday), the Litchfield Police arrested a 19 year old Litchfield male for domestic assault, disorderly conduct, and domestic strangulation. The arrest occurred at a South Davis Avenue residence. He is being held in the Meeker County Jail pending an appearance in Meeker County District Court.

A Grant County man accused of felony counts of kidnapping and false imprisonment has made his first appearance in court. Thirty year old Joshua Warner of Elbow Lake, is accused of two felony counts and a misdemeanor count of domestic assault following an incident on April 30th. The criminal complaint alleges Warner forced a female victim into her vehicle and drove a short distance down the road before crashing her car into some trees. The victim sustained multiple injuries, including a humeral fracture and facial lacerations. Warner appeared in court on Monday, and will return to court July 22nd for an omnibus hearing. He has not yet entered a plea.

Late yesterday afternoon (Tuesday), the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office responded to and dispatched Eden Valley Fire Department and Watkins Fire Department to a wooded area and grassland on fire on 370th Street, Forest Prairie Township. The fire was contained to approximately 10 acres of grassland and trees. The Watkins Fire Department was canceled a short time later.

Yesterday afternoon (Tuesday), the Meeker County Sheriff's Office, and Dassel Fire Department and Rescue responded to a fire at the Richard Schmidt home in Dassel.  Schmidt came home and noticed his 24x24 double stall detached garage was on fire. No one was injured due to the fire, but the garage burned to the ground along with all the contents. There were no vehicles in the garage at the time. The contents in the garage were miscellaneous tools and other items. There was also a pontoon standing next to the garage which sustained some interior damage. The exact cause of the fire is undetermined at this point. This fire is currently under investigation by the Meeker County Sheriff's Office working with the Dassel Fire Department.

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