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WILLMAR - A three-hour standoff Friday night with an armed and apparently suicidal man ended without injuries after negotiators were able to persuade him to surrender peacefully. Willmar Police were called at 11:23 p.m. Friday to the 300 block of Becker Avenue Southeast in response to reports of a suicidal male. Chief Jim Felt said officers who arrived at the scene spoke with a witness who reported the man was possibly intoxicated, threatening suicide and armed with a shotgun.
WILLMAR — Discussion of a potential local option sales tax will continue when the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners meets this coming week. The board will meet at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the board room at the Kandiyohi County Health and Human Services Building, 220 23rd St. N.E. in Willmar. The County Commissioners have been debating on and off for several months the possibility of a half-cent local sales tax to help fund designated transportation projects.
LITCHFIELD — A Grove City father whose teenaged son and daughter died last year in a murder-suicide received a stayed sentence Thursday on gun and drug charges arising from the death investigation. Thomas Jon Cunningham, 53, will spend five years on probation for removal or alteration of a firearm serial number and for fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance. Both are felonies. Judge Stephanie Beckman also ordered him to undergo a chemical assessment and mental health evaluation.
WILLMAR — As talks move forward on a proposed affiliation agreement between the city-owned hospital, Affiliated Community Medical Centers and CentraCare Health, Rice Memorial Hospital's board of directors has voted to support a memorandum of understanding that calls for Rice to pay the city of Willmar's attorney fees. The board's action Wednesday was mostly a formality, since the memorandum has already been adopted by the executive committee of the board.
WILLMAR—Despite a request for leniency, a Willmar man convicted of kidnapping his estranged wife was sentenced Monday to more than three years in prison. Judge Jennifer Fischer ordered Cesar Octavio Garcia-Gonzalez, 38, to serve 41 months in prison. In an agreement reached in July, Garcia-Gonzalez pleaded guilty to one count of kidnapping, a felony. Seven additional charges, including stalking, assault and domestic assault, were dismissed as part of the agreement.
OLIVIA—Nearly two months after the body of 59-year-old Randy Oletzke was found in a farmyard in rural Franklin, criminal charges have been formally filed against the man who allegedly fatally ran him over. Russel Allen Doucette, 37, of Franklin made a first appearance Monday in Renville County District Court. He is charged with second-degree manslaughter and two counts of criminal vehicular homicide. All three charges are felonies.
Altamira was found abandoned with another dog, cat and multiple goldfish on a rental property. This senior rat terrier is energetic and affectionate. She is able to keep track of the whereabouts and tasks of multiple people. Expect her to zoom by you for a quick kiss before she checks on someone or something else. If you are feeling needy, one friendly look and she will be at your side to check on you. Altamira is a joy to have in your life and would make a great companion.
WILLMAR—Kandiyohi County officials have identified eight projects, totaling nearly $26 million, as candidates for funding via a local option sales tax under consideration by the County Board. During a work session Tuesday, the County Board of Commissioners also went through an in-depth analysis of the county's long-term transportation needs, funding sources and options for filling an unfunded gap.
BENSON—A 27-year-old man pleaded guilty Monday to criminal sexual conduct in the second degree. Nathan Lee Wersinger, of Pennock, also faced one felony count of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a minor, but that charge was dismissed as part of a plea agreement reached in conference Monday in Swift County District Court. Sentencing is Nov. 14.
WILLMAR — Ideas for improving local health will be explored at a series of upcoming meetings hosted by a Willmar initiative to reduce health inequities. Organizers seek to create an "idea fund" to spur new and innovative projects that will lead to fewer barriers and more opportunities for promoting better health across the community. "We welcome all thoughts and all comments. We know that health really is created in communities," said Wendy Foley, project manager with the Healthy Together initiative.