A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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ST. PAUL – A Willmar man pleaded not guilty Friday afternoon in federal court in St. Paul to 18 weapons charges. Chad Lee Monson, 46, appeared in a hearing that lasted just three minutes, according to court documents. The Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported that bail was denied.
WILLMAR — Federal weapons charges have been filed against a Willmar man who had been set to face a jury trial on similar charges later this month in Kandiyohi County. Chad Monson, 46, made an initial appearance Tuesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in St. Paul on 18 federal charges, including possession of machine guns, possession of machine guns with obliterated serial numbers, possession of unregistered destructive devices described as pipe bombs and possession of unregistered silencers.
WILLMAR — Heavy rains fell with car-wash force across west central Minnesota Monday, dumping 3 to 4 inches in some areas. The day-long rain caused storm water drains to back-up on city streets and filled farm fields with ponds. Outdoor activities, like community recreation classes were cancelled and the Dorothy Olson Aquatic Center in Willmar closed during what would've been its first full day of the 2018 season. "We're trying to keep our head above water," said John Douville, Cosmos city administrator.
WILLMAR — The pager on Denny Jordahl's hip squawked out a rapid-fire message about an accident north of Pennock, but number 9514 on the Kandiyohi County Rescue Squad took a pass on this call. After serving for 46 years, Jordahl — who is just a few days shy of turning 85 years old — earned the right not to hop in a rig and respond to this crash.
NEW LONDON — Fresh from winning the DFL endorsement for governor, Erin Murphy made a campaign stop Thursday afternoon in New London to hear concerns from voters and discuss her views for improving the state if she is elected. "I am excited to be here," Murphy told a crowd of about 80 people who sat outdoors at the Goat Ridge Brewery along the Middle Fork of the Crow River listening to what Murphy had to say. With five Democrats and three Republicans running for governor in a primary election Aug. 14 ahead of the Nov.
OLIVIA — Jose Acension Lopez, 21, of Olivia was arraigned Wednesday in Renville County District Court on three felony domestic assault-related charges. Lopez pleaded not guilty to charges of domestic assault, terroristic threats and domestic assault by strangulation. Lopez, who was convicted in two separate domestic violence-related offenses in 2017, is being held in the Renville County Jail on $75,000 unconditional bail and $25,000 conditional bail.
BENSON — The body of a missing fisherman, whose unoccupied boat was discovered over the weekend in a central Minnesota lake, has been found. According to the Swift County Sheriff's Department, the body of Ricky Longnecker, 60, of Appleton was recovered at around 12:05 p.m. Tuesday on the south side of Lake Oliver. The lake is located north of Appleton. Authorities had been searching for Longnecker since receiving a 911 call shortly before midnight Sunday after someone found his boat located on the shore of Lake Oliver. The boat was reportedly running at the time.
NEW LONDON — Less than a month ago there was still ice on many area lakes. But Thursday — as a five day stretch of 90-degree weather kicked off — Lake Andrew was full of kids swimming at the Sibley State Park beach. "It's cold when you first get in, but you get used to it," said Charissa Davis, 11, of Willmar, as she floated in the lake with friends from the Grace Homeschool Cooperative.
SPICER — A series of highway improvement projects slated for northern Kandiyohi County this summer will keep travelers driving in construction zones through the end of September on U.S. Highway 71 and state Highway 23. Pending good weather that allows contractors to keep on schedule, one project should finish before two others begin. "We deliberately planned it so they won't be occuring at the same time," said Mandi Lighthizer-Schmidt, director of public engagement for the Minnesota Department of Transportation District 8 office in Willmar.
BENSON — A Swift County man was injured Monday afternoon in an explosion at a rural residence east of Benson. The injured man was identified as Brian Orsten, 51, of Benson. He was initially taken to the Swift County Benson Hospital and later airlifted to a hospital in Minneapolis for medical evaluation, according to Swift County Sheriff John Holtz. The explosion was reported at 3:55 p.m. Monday in the 1300 block of state Highway 9 Northeast. There was no additional information about how the explosion happened or if the home was damaged.