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NEWS
Dec 12

News Director: Bev Alquist
Call with news at 320-235-2900 or email bahlquist@k-musicradio.com

Friday, the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a burglary in the 20800 block of 735th Avenue, in Dassel Township. Two suspects fled the location prior to the arrival of deputies. The Litchfield Police Department located one of the suspects at an apartment complex on West 11th Street, in Litchfield. A follow up search warrant was executed at the apartment complex and items from the burglary were recovered. 42 year old Todd Smith Litchfield, was arrested for aiding and abetting a burglary and possession of stolen property. The investigation is ongoing to identify the second suspect.

One person was injured in a two vehicle crash Monday morning on Highway 12 about two miles west of Willmar. 46-year-old Jeffrey Loher of Appleton was traveling east on Highway 12 and 26-year-old Stephanie Rodriguez of Willmar was traveling west on Highway 12. She lost control on the icy road, crossed the center line and hit the Loher vehicle. Rodriguez was taken to Rice Hospital in Willmar with non-life-threatening injuries. Loher was not injured.  Assisting the Minnesota State Patrol was the Willmar Police.

The Minnesota State Patrol says one person was injured in a rollover Monday morning on Highway 9 and 10th Street Northeast in Kandiyohi County. 27-year-old Jarvis Campbell of Oxford, MS was traveling west on Highway 9, lost control, ran off the road and rolled. Campbell was not injured. A passenger, 27-year-old Jerry Butler, was taken to Rice Hospital in Willmar with non-life-threatening injuries. Assisting the state patrol were Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s deputies.

One person was injured in a one vehicle crash yesterday (Monday) on County Road 67 in Otter Tail County, according to the Minnesota State Patrol. 18 year old Andie Haller of Pine Island was traveling west on County Road 67 near Henning, hit a patch of ice, went into the ditch, hit a culvert and vaulted into a field over Highway 210. Haller was taken to the Tri County Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The Minnesota State Patrol says one person was injured in rollover yesterday (Monday) on I-94 in Melrose. 20 year old Mauricio Perez of Melrose lost control of his vehicle on the icy road, ran off the road into the ditch and rolled. He was not injured, but a passenger, 21 year old Norberto Munoz-Martinez of Melrose, was taken to the Centra Care Hospital in Sauk Centre with non-life-threatening injuries.  

A bipartisan pair of lawmakers has unveiled proposed changes to House rules that would alter how the institution handles accusations of sexual harassment. Their aim is to institute a clear, fair process for dealing with allegations of sexual harassment against House members — and one that avoids any whiff of partisanship, or that appears to unfairly protect elected officials. The proposal follows a string of allegations of sexual harassment leveled against two legislators in recent weeks. The proposed rule changes would expedite the investigation process when allegations are reported, provide confidentiality to complainants, and would ensure due process protections are afforded to all parties involved in a complaint.

Minnesota is the best-run state in the nation, according to a new study from USA Today that cites Minnesota’s strong fiscal management, low unemployment and poverty rates, above-average median household income, and the state’s nearly perfect credit rating. Since ranking tenth in 2012, Minnesota has consistently climbed in the rankings under the same study, including ranking second last year. Governor Dayton says next session, he will urge the Legislature to work with him to protect the long-term fiscal stability of our state, which is essential for Minnesota’s future. The study notes that Minnesota’s strong economy and sound fiscal management have allowed the state to save more – approximately ten percent of our annual budget – which is more than most other individual states, and above the average of all states’ savings, which is eight percent. The study also cites Minnesota’s near-perfect credit rating from Moody’s, and our currently stable long-term outlook.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Minnesota Grown program is now accepting new members. Ten randomly selected new members who apply before December 31st will receive a Minnesota Grown prize pack, which includes a metal “Proud Member” sign and a Minnesota Grown hat. Farms, farmers’ markets and food businesses that sell products grown or raised in Minnesota may register at one of two membership levels. New Minnesota Grown members will join a statewide network of more than 1,300 existing members. A Minnesota Grown membership comes with a lot of benefits. All members can use the iconic Minnesota Grown logo and have access to unlimited branded promotional pieces.

The Kandiyohi County Public Works Department reminds you that it is unlawful to deposit snow on or next to a public highway or street. Improperly placing snow on or near a public road creates hazards including slippery areas, drifting, sight obstructions, unsafe access, and drainage problems. While clearing your driveway isn't a crime, the way you clear it can be. This means, you can't push snow across or into the road to get it out of your driveway. The law is very specific on this issue and you can get fined for this action. Although violations are considered misdemeanors, civil penalties may also apply. If the placement of snow creates a hazard, such as a slippery area, frozen rut or bump that contributes to a motor vehicle or pedestrian crash, the civil liability can extend to both the property owner and the person who placed the snow.

32 year old Phillip Sam of Coon Rapids appeared in Kandiyohi County District Court yesterday (Monday) on a felony theft by swindle charge. Sam is the former assistant golf pro at the Eagle Creek Golf Course in Willmar. He is accused of swindling almost $90,000 from the golf course in 2015. A plea hearing has been set for January 5th.

The Willmar School Board last night (Monday), adopted the tax levy following its annual Truth in Taxation hearing. The total levy for the district this year will be $8.12 million, down from $8.78 million.

A trooper in northern Minnesota stopped two vehicles in a 24-hour period on Interstate 94 near Alexandria for speeds over 100 mph. The first stop was for 110 mph in a 70 zone. The driver stated he knew he was speeding, but didn’t know how fast; a citation was issued for speed and careless driving. The trooper stopped a vehicle the next day for 103 mph in a 70 zone. During the stop, the driver was found to be unlicensed and a 6-month-old was improperly restrained in the back seat. The driver was cited for speed, no driver's license, careless driving, and the child restraint violation. The State Patrol says speeding puts lives at risk. Obey the speed limits — they are there for a reason.

According to the Willmar Police Department, eight people died in alcohol-related crashes on Kandiyohi County roads from 2011-2015. 1,032 people were arrested for DWI in that same timeframe. Officers ask that you be careful this holiday season. There will be more enforcement in the area to keep you safe. They ask that you see the warning signs so you don't become a statistic, and that you drink responsibly.

The Benson Police Department had 109 calls in the past seven days. They located a small child that was wandering around inside a business without any supervision in the 300 Block of 14th Street South. The responding officer was able to locate the child’s mother and the two were reunited. Officers received a report of theft from a business in the 1900 Block of Minnesota Avenue. An employee reported an individual acting suspiciously while inside the store. After reviewing recorded video the officer identified the suspect and a Willmar woman was cited for theft. A theft from a business was reported in the 1900 Block of Minnesota Avenue. This incident is currently an open investigation.

The deadline for firearms wild turkey hunters to apply for early season spring hunting permits is Jan. 26, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The spring season, which runs from April 18, to May 31, is divided into six time periods. Only people age 18 and older who want to hunt using a firearm during the first two time periods need to apply for a spring turkey permit. Permits for the remaining time periods can be purchased over-the-counter. Archery and youth turkey hunters can hunt the entire season without applying for the lottery. Permits for the last four time periods and youth licenses are sold starting March 1. Surplus adult licenses from the first two time periods, if available, are sold starting around mid-March. People applying for permit area 511, the Carlos Avery State Wildlife Management Area, are advised that the sanctuary portion of the WMA will be closed to turkey hunting except for the special hunt for hunters with disabilities.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services is seeking proposals from eligible applicants for grant funding to implement programs that improve accessibility and quality of community-based, outpatient mental health service for adults. The purpose of the grant is to expedite the optimal care for persons with mental illness while freeing up capacity to serve people that truly need hospital level of care. These grants are a chance to improve quality of life for Minnesotans with mental illness around the state, says Representative Dave Baker of Willmar. The grants are awarded to both metro and rural communities. This grant was established by a provision included in the Health and Human Services bill passed during the 2017 Special Session that was co-authored by Baker. Half the grant funds will be awarded to eligible applications in the metro and half will be awarded to applications outside the metro. All proposals must be submitted by January 8th.

Governor Mark Dayton has appointed Bradley Bonk of Glenwood to the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission, representing District 3. The term begins Wednesday and expires January 7 of 2019. He replaces Michael Hulett.  

One person was injured Saturday when his vehicle ran off the road. The driver overcorrected and rolled into the center median on westbound I-94 just east of Highway 78 in Grant County. The Minnesota State Patrol says 21 year old Jimmie Xiong of Minneapolis was taken to the Douglas County Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The Minnesota State Patrol and Grant County Sheriff’s office are investigating a crash with injuries, but the extent of the injuries have not yet been determined. The crash happened this morning on Highway 59 near 297th Street in Pomme De Terre Township, Grant County. 18 year old Malcolm Cabaniss-Smith was taken to the Prairie Ridge Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Four people were injured in a two vehicle rear-end crash Saturday on Highway 68 west of Marshall in Lyon County. 18 year old Alyssa Anderson of Tracy was slowing/stopping when she was rear-ended by a vehicle driven by 16 year old Cole Friedrichs of Minneota.  Anderson, her passengers, 15 year old Karley Cunningham of Arco and 14 year old Ayden Parker, along with Friedrichs, were taken to the Marshall Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

19 year old Faith Palmer of Grove City, who was traveling north on I-35 at Mesaba on Saturday, was struck by a vehicle driven by 26 year old Isaac Fuhrman of Staples. Palmer had slowed to a stop in traffic congestion. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, Palmer and her passenger, 20 year old Jose Sauceda of Atwater were taken to St. Lukes Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Fuhrman was not injured. His two passengers were taken to St. Lukes with non-life threatening injuries.

Three people were killed Saturday in a head-on crash on Highway 71 in Morton, Redwood County, according to the Minnesota State Patrol. 41 year old Teresa Linde of Redwood Falls was traveling south on Highway 71 and 34 year old Shaunna Kraft of Lakefield was traveling north on 71. She attempted to pass a vehicle on a bridge and struck the Linde vehicle head-on. Killed were Linde, Kraft and a one year old, Brexlee Tammalong of Lakefield. Two other passengers in the Kraft vehicle were injured. 27 year old Khampong Tammalong of Lakefield was taken to the Hennepin County Medical Center, and 7 year old Ryler Ybarra of Lakefield was taken to Children’s Hospital in St. Paul. Assisting at the scene were the Morton and Redwood Falls Police Departments, the Redwood and Renville County Sheriff’s Offices and MnDOT.

The Board of Directors of Farmward Cooperative has approved the redemption of $3.4 million of patron equity. The $3.4 million redemption will retire approximately 10 percent of the pre-merger patron equity held by both Harvest Land Cooperative’s and Co-op Country Farmers Elevator’s patrons. It is Farmward’s intent to have all equity redemption checks available at its annual meetingDecember 20, 2017 at Jackpot Junction Casino, Morton. Members will receive a formal invitation in the mail with details. Any check not collected at the annual meeting will be mailed on December 21

Last week, Representative Dave Baker of Willmar joined a group of doctors, stakeholders, and bipartisan officials to announce new prescribing guidelines for opioids. These come from the Opioid Prescribing Working Group, a coalition of doctors, health care professionals, and other stakeholders who understand the issue. At the press conference to announce the guidelines, Baker talked about the Opioid Family Recovery Act, a bill that could use $15-$20 million to fight the opioid crisis by funding community grants, treatment centers, PMP integration, and more. Baker says he’s working diligently with bipartisan legislators in the House and Senate, as well the governor’s office to get this passed. He says this is the year to take a strong stand in our fight against opioid abuse and addiction.

As chair of the Select Committee on Technology and Responsive Government, Representative Dave Baker has taken the issues plaguing the state’s new licensing system, MNLARS, very seriously. He says they’ve held a couple meetings around the state to hear from residents about problems the state needs to fix. At a hearing in St. Paul, despite those in charge of MNLARS saying things were improving, they heard from more license center workers and small business owners who are still desperate for a fix. Baker says they’re doing all they can to ensure the state agencies are working to fix the ongoing problems.

Imagine you had to walk up to someone’s front door this holiday season and deliver the terrible news that you’d killed their loved one in a drunk driving crash. Would you still make the decision to get behind the wheel? The Minnesota State Patrol says we all have the power to make our roads safer, to keep troopers and officers and deputies from walking up to someone’s door to deliver life-shattering news. All it takes is a little planning ahead for a sober ride. Extra DWI enforcement is on Minnesota roads weekends through Dec. 30.

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