A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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WILLMAR — After more than 24 years serving as an Eighth District Court judge, Donald Spilseth, of Willmar, has announced his retirement. In a letter he is sending today to Gov. Mark Dayton, Spilseth said it has "been a pleasure to serve the State of Minnesota as a District Court Judge" but that the "time has come to close this chapter of my career." His retirement is effective Oct. 6. "It was a little hard to write that letter," Spilseth said in an interview Wednesday. "Twenty-four years is a long time ... It becomes part of your persona."
WILLMAR — Rufujio Kooky Schorn, 21, made a first court appearance Thursday in Kandiyohi County District Court on multiple charges of allegedly robbing four individuals and threatening to kill or harm six individuals during two separate incidents last month in Willmar. Schorn, no address given, who is also known as Rufugio Kooky Muniz III, was charged with four felonies, including one count of aggravated robbery in the second degree and three counts of threats of violence. He also faces a petty misdemeanor for possession of drug paraphernalia.
WILLMAR — A well-known Willmar musician, who was playing music to entertain residents at a memory care facility earlier this spring in Willmar, has been charged with sexually touching one of the residents who has dementia. Terrance Raymond Shaw, 72, faces two felony counts of criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree with a victim who was mentally impaired, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless.
NEW LONDON — Jeremy Losinski was still absorbing the news Wednesday that nearly $2.6 million in state bonding money had been approved to extend the Glacial Lakes State Trail from New London to Sibley State Park. "It's still kind of sinking in," said Losinski, who is the area supervisor for the Department of Natural Resources' Parks and Trails Division in Spicer. "I'm happy to hear that the (public works) bill was signed."
GROVE CITY — Sherri Broderius' desk is neat as a pin. Maybe it's because she's rarely sitting there. Much of the time, Broderius — who wears two hats as both superintendent and high school principal in the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School District — is in the hallways talking to students about how they are doing in school and at home or she's in the classrooms conferring with teachers about test data and new curriculum and teaching methods.
LITCHFIELD — A Grove City man accused of raping a young girl multiple times over a three-year period was charged this week with three felonies. Christopher Allen Bengtson, 42, faces three counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree. Bengtson made a first court appearance Monday in Meeker County District Court where Judge Stephanie Beckman set unconditional bail at $150,000 and conditional bail at $75,000.
WILLMAR — A Level 3 sex offender who was scheduled to be released from prison Tuesday and had plans to move to a house in rural New London and begin a new job will instead be going back to the state penitentiary in Stillwater. Craig Allan Hargreaves, 49, will remain in prison until a civil commitment hearing is held to determine if he is a sexually dangerous person and should be committed to the state's sex offender program at Moose Lake.
WILLMAR — A Raymond man who set his own house on fire is also charged with sexually assaulting a juvenile. Kyle Clarence Rhoda, 48, of Raymond, was charged last week with two felony counts of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl. The assault involved multiple acts committed over an extended period of time. According to the charges, Rhoda had a significant relationship with the victim.
WILLMAR — A registered Level 3 sex offender convicted of molesting a child is set to leave prison Tuesday and move to a home in rural New London. But before that happens, Craig Allan Hargreaves, 49, will be in court Monday in Willmar for a hearing that could result in his civil commitment to the state's sex offender program as a sexually dangerous person. In 2010, Hargreaves was sentenced to 143 months in prison for molesting a 12-year-old boy during the summer of 2007.
NEW LONDON — Pity the poor plantain. The flat, low-to-the-ground, broad-leafed weed that likes to poke through cracks in sidewalks and carpet routes on well-worn walking paths is used to being looked over and walked on. But during the 20th annual herb walk May 27 at the Timberlake Orchard near New London, the plantain will be the star of the show where participants will learn about the healthful qualities of this native herb and many others that grow in west central Minnesota.