A new research project on free-ranging, wild elk of northwestern Minnesota aims to improve understanding of elk movements and habitat use. This research project is the first of its kind in Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The goal is to improve understanding of the species and ultimately develop management programs that benefit elk and their habitat, while also minimizing conflicts with landowners. Beginning Feb. 15, the DNR will collar approximately 20 adult female elk in northwestern Minnesota, from three herds in Kittson, Roseau and Marshall Counties. The information collected will aid researchers in tracking elk movements and determining habitat use during different seasons.
The deadline is Monday to sign up for mentored turkey hunts that give youth, adults and families opportunities to learn under the guidance of National Wild Turkey Federation volunteers. This year, the mentored hunts take place Saturday, April 16, and Sunday, April 17. The hunts for youth, adults and families are open to those who have purchased no more than one turkey license in a previous year and have not harvested a turkey. Hunters must have a valid firearms safety certificate and must be 12 years old on or before April 16. Youth from 12 to 17 must have a parent, guardian or adult authorized by a parent or guardian accompany them for all activities. If there are more applications than available mentors, hunters will be selected in a lottery.
The Benson Police Department had 90 calls last week. A motor vehicle crash was reported but there were no injuries. A Benson man was charged with no motor vehicle insurance in connection to this incident. Officers investigated the theft of a vehicle, and upon investigating discovered the victim, was driving the vehicle a short time later when the vehicle went into the ditch. The man was charged with falsely reporting a crime. Officers responded to two domestics, both of which they mediated; they assisted the Swift County Sheriff’s Office with a vehicle in the ditch just north of Benson; and investigated a report that a juvenile was throwing snowballs at passing cars. Officers didn’t find anyone throwing snowballs.
Senator Lyle Koenen of Clara City will host a town hall meeting at the Benson Public Library meeting room at 2 Saturday afternoon. Koenen will be discussing the upcoming legislative session and the issues that matter most to Minnesota families and businesses. He says meetings like this affords him the opportunity to listen, learn, inform, and work with constituents toward a shared objective: making our communities the best they can be.
The Meeker County Sheriff’s Office was called to a two vehicle crash with injuries Mondayat the intersection of US Highway 12 and MN Highway 15 in Meeker County. 36 year old Kimberly Meece of Hutchinson, was traveling north on Highway 15. 47 year old Troy Buchholz of Princeton, was traveling east on Highway 12, driving a van, pulling a small trailer. Meece struck the passenger side of the Buchholz vehicle. Meece was taken to the Hutchinson Hospital with minor injuries. Meece was issued a citation for failure to obey a traffic signal. Both vehicles and the trailer received heavy damage. The crash is under investigation by the Meeker County Sheriff's Office.
Representative Dave Baker, Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Emily Johnson-Piper and House Health and Human Services Finance Committee Chair Matt Dean will be in Willmar tomorrow (Thursday). There will be a roundtable discussion and tour with local healthcare offices and providers at Rice Hospital. The roundtable is closed to the public. The lunch discussion and tour starts at 11:30.Representative Baker invited the commissioner and chairman to the Willmar area as the community is a regional hub for a wide variety of healthcare services.
There will be $1.7 million in budget cuts for the Willmar School District for the 2016-17 school year. 13 teachers and 11 paraprofessionals are on the list to be terminated. It’s expected there will be unforeseen extra expense with the building of the new elementary school and expansion of the middle school and senior high.The cuts include the fourth grade orchestra, crossing guards and morning supervisors.
The Willmar School District will have a special election on May 16th to fill a vacancy on the school board with the resignation of Mike Carlson who no longer lives in the district. The filing is open Feb. 11th through the 25th from 8-4:30 weekdays and from 8-5 on the 25th. You can file in the school district’s main office.
In a hearing yesterday (Tuesday) in Kandiyohi County District Court, 77 year old Richard Otterness of Willmar was committed as being mentally ill. He has to serve six months in a treatment facility and follow a plan for services. Otterness is charged with two counts of second degree criminal sexual conduct involving an 11-year-old child. Last month the court found Otterness was incompetent to proceed with a hearing on the charges.
Swift County Sheriff John Holtz gave his annual report at the Kerkhoven City Council meeting Monday night. The city contracts with the county for police protection. Holtz told the council overall they did about 170 more hours than they were contracted for over the year, something he said is typical. There were 260 verbal/warnings given out over the year; 14 speeding tickets; four driving after revocation, 8 no driver’s license, nine no proof of insurance, 22 dog complaints, 7 disturbances. He said there was nothing unusual, pretty typical there.
Sam Drodofsky, golf pro and general manager at the Little Crow Country Club, has been terminated, alleging the unauthorized use of an estimated $100,000. According to an article in the West Central Tribune, Drodofsky has reimbursed the country club $100,000 and is willing to pay any further outstanding debt based on results of the audit. The Country Club is searching for a new general manager.
The next weekly installment Pioneer Public Television’s ‘Compass’ public affairs program will be on a ten county historical society collaborative effort to bring a traveling World War 1 exhibit to the region. It will air on Sunday afternoon at 12:30. The counties of Big Stone, Swift, Kandiyohi, Chippewa, Yellow Medicine, Lac qui Parle, Renville, Lincoln, Lyon and Redwood have formed the West Central Minnesota Historical Association for the purpose of creating traveling exhibits.
On Monday Willmar Police responded to a residence in Southwest Willmar to assist with a medical call of a person that collapsed shoveling their driveway. On scene, officers performed CPR and administered a shock with an AED. The person was transported to Rice Hospital by ambulance. Before leaving the residence, the officers finished shoveling the driveway before returning to duty. They said the person’s family was already dealing with a tragedy and the least they could do was not have them deal with the driveway when they got home.