NEWS-Oct 4
News Director: Bev Alquist Call with news at 320-235-2900 or email

News Archive

Over the last two weeks, elected department heads in Stevens County have been offering annual reviews and salary requests to the Stevens County Board of Commissioners. During his review on Tuesday, County Attorney Aaron Jordan says there were 336 files opened in his office in the last year, including felony, gross misdemeanor, misdemeanor, and probation violation charges. Jordan says part of his job is determining if a crime would likely lead to a conviction. In the last year, his office prosecuted 29 felony cases; he says he declined to prosecute at least that many for lack of evidence. In the previous twelve months, the Attorney's Office has prosecuted criminal charges in 2 jury trials, 16 court trials, and through 332 hearings.

Just before six last Wednesday night the Meeker County Sheriff's Office, several fire departments and the Meeker Co-op Light and Power Association responded to multiple calls at 31252 733rd Avenue, for a barn fire. One of the reporting parties, a neighbor, noticed the fire after a lightning strike had hit the barn. The owners, Dale and Linda Atkinson of South Haven, were not at home at the time the fire started. The 32 x 60 foot barn was used to store antiques and household items. The barn had an attached 16x30 foot on one side, and a second shed, a12x20 foot chicken coop with about 50 young laying chickens that were caught in the fire. The barn was insured and was a total loss. The damage is estimated at approximately $207,000 with buildings and contents. There were no injuries resulting from the fire and no one was present at the residence at the time of the fire.   Lindberg Excavating Inc. of Cokato, was called to assist in spreading the rubble, to extinguish hot spots.

There will be a legislative review at the community center in Raymond tomorrow morning (Saturday)at eight. Present will be Representatives Andrew Falk of rural Murdock and Mary Sawatzky of Willmar and Senator Lyle Koenen of Clara City. All are welcome to attend.

According to officials of the city of Willmar, Ella Avenue Northeast and Hawaii Street Northeast will experience lane closures starting Wednesday for sanitary sewer lift station improvements. The temporary lane closures will affect traffic in all directions from the intersection. The project is expected to take about eight weeks to complete. Traffic will be allowed through the construction zone and motorists will need to use extreme caution. You’re asked to slow down for your safety and the safety of the workers.

The Willmar Police Department is asking for your help in finding a hit and run driver from a crash on Wednesday in the 1500 Block of 6th Street Southwest in Willmar. Officers were called to that home where a vehicle had crashed into a garage causing extensive damage. After hitting the garage, the suspect vehicle hit a tree in the yard and left the area. Thesuspect vehicle is possibly a tan GMC Envoy or Chevy Trailblazer, with a missing passenger mirror. There may be white transfer paint on the front of the vehicle and a headlight may be missing. Call the police department if you have any information.

19 year old Travis Wennerberg of Kerkhoven was injured Wednesday in a two vehicle crash near the Highway 12 and 30th Street Southwest intersection. Wennerberg was traveling east on his Yamaha motorcycle, stopped behind two semis who were stopped on the highway for the railroad tracks, and was hit from behind by a vehicle driven by 48 year old Celeste Vorhees of Murdock. Wennerberg was taken to Rice Hospital.

The Willmar area Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be held in the Willmar Civic Center. It was originally planned for Robbins Island Park. Registration and check-in is from nine to 10:15. The opening ceremony is at 10:15, with the walk to start at 10:30; and closing ceremonies to be held at 11:30. Due to moving indoors, dogs will no longer be allowed on the walk. While the check-in, event festivities and opening and closing ceremonies will all be indoors, you have the option to walk the two mile route either inside or outside, both are paved routes. The call will be made the morning of the walk.

60 year old Janice Wadsworth of Svea has been sentenced on a felony charge of stealing thousands of dollars in state lottery tickets from the Eagle Lake Country Store where she worked. She was sentenced in Kandiyohi County District Court to 75 days in jail and ten years probation. She was ordered to pay a fine of $1000, and to pay restitution of just over $6,000.

A Rule 8 hearing for 28 year old Andrew Dikken of Renville was held yesterday (Thursday) in Yellow Medicine County District Court in Granite Falls. Dikken is charged with two second degree intentional murder charges in the deaths of 26 year old Kara Monson of Granite Falls and 28 year old Chris Panitzke of Redwood Falls. He is being held in the Yellow Medicine County Jail on three million dollars bail. He did not enter a plea yesterday, and he waived his right to an omnibus hearing within 60 days.

Yesterday morning (Thursday) while on patrol, a deputy clocked a Dodge pickup at 103 miles per hour traveling east on Highway 12 near 660th Avenue in Darwin Township. The Meeker County Deputy stopped the vehicle on Highway 12 near County State Aid Highway 24 and issued a citation for speed of 103 miles per hour and a warning for a loud exhaust.


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