A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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WILLMAR — It was hot Friday afternoon in the Willmar Middle School gym and many of the 165 volunteers had not eaten or even had a drink of water all day. And yet, here they were cheerfully scooping rice, dried vegetables and protein into plastic bags and hefting heavy boxes filled with the "Manna Packs" designed to feed six each. The volunteers packed 147,750 meals during the two-day, mobile Feed My Starving Children project in Willmar to help meet needs in Somalia, which is experiencing severe drought and famine.
PENNOCK – A family dairy operation west of Willmar was hit hard by a powerful storm that rolled through west central Minnesota early Sunday morning. Nearly every barn on the Carlson Dairy was damaged by the high winds that punched the early morning with a wallop around 7 a.m. According to the National Weather Service, a trained spotter estimated winds at 60-70 mph in the Pennock area, where the farm is located.
PENNOCK -- Volunteers helped clean up debris and move cattle from Carlson Dairy Sunday after strong winds damaged most of the buildings on the fifth-generation farm.
GRANITE FALLS — A Sentencing to Service crew leader who supervised Yellow Medicine County jail prisoners on a Sentence to Service work crew is facing charges of coercing a prisoner to have sex with him in exchange for special privileges.
PENNOCK — In 1953, Dolores and the late Don Youngren bought six spring heifers and started milking cows on their rural Pennock farm. Today, there are 380 cows on the third-generation Youngren dairy farm and robots do the milking. Operated by brothers Mike and Dean Youngren and Mike's son Trevin, the state-of-the-art barn is the site of the annual Kandiyohi County June Dairy Days open house this Saturday. The event is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 10121 120th Street Northwest in rural Pennock.
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.