A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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WILLMAR — A loose-knit coalition of local transportation advocates may soon be reinvented — and reignited — in its mission to complete a four-lane route between Willmar and St. Cloud. The group has been lobbying for decades to make state Highway 23 a four-lane link to Interstate 94.
WILLMAR — A Spicer man accused of assaulting a woman and later threatening a good Samaritan who helped her was sentenced last week to more than three years in prison. Darren Gregory Melges, 45, of Spicer, had earlier pleaded guilty to felony charges in five separate cases including second-degree assault, first-degree tampering with a witness/aggravated, illegal possession of ammunition/firearm and three drug-related charges.
WILLMAR — After a cool, wet spring kept most farm implements inside the machine shed in April, farmers are out in force this week getting field tillage and planting underway. Statewide, 35 percent of the corn was planted. That's 16 days behind last year and eight days behind the average, according to the latest crop report released Monday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
NEW LONDON — Objections from several parents about the content of a book assigned to eighth-grade English students in the New London-Spicer School District could result in the removal of the book from the school's curriculum. Others who praised the book hope to keep it in the classroom. The decision to review the book will be up to the district's advisory committee, but at the very least, the school district will try to better inform parents when their children may be exposed to sensitive material.
WILLMAR—Two men who played key roles at two separate area golf courses made their initial court appearances Wednesday in unrelated cases alleging they stole from their employers. A former assistant golf pro at Willmar's Eagle Creek Golf Course is accused of swindling nearly $90,000 from the business during a seven-month period in 2015. Phillip Andrew Sam, 31, of Coon Rapids, made his first appearance Wednesday before Judge Jennifer Fischer in Kandiyohi County District Court in Willmar on one felony charge of theft by swindle.
DANVERS — A semi hauling liquid fertilizer was struck by a train last night in Danvers. The driver of semi had non-life-threatening injuries and there was minimal spillage of the fertilizer, according to a press release from Swift County Sheriff John Holtz. The accident was reported at 10:15 p.m. when semi, driven by Jonathan Peterson, 31, of Milan, was crossing a train track on 80th Avenue Southwest and failed to yield to the train.
MONTEVIDEO — The former owner of the Montevideo Insurance Center is facing four felony charges of insurance fraud for allegedly accepting insurance premiums from clients but not applying those payments to the policies. Jeremy Lee Olson, 45, of Boyd, is also charged with one count of aggravated forgery and one count of issuance of a dishonored check, which are both felonies. The charges were filed April 27 in Chippewa County District Court. Olson is expected to make his first court appearance May 15.
GRANITE FALLS — A Granite Falls woman was killed early Wednesday morning in a one-vehicle accident in Yellow Medicine County. The name of the woman 48-year-old woman was not released. According to the State Patrol, the accident happened around 12:35 a.m. on state Highway 67 in Minnesota Falls Township when a southbound 2002 Dodge Caravan ran off the road struck an embankment and tree. Road conditions were dry at the time and the driver was not wearing a seatbelt, according to the State Patrol.
NEW LONDON — Three dangerous intersections on state Highway 23 near New London will be studied this summer and recommendations for improvements will be made by this fall. Public input is crucial to the development of those plans, said Mandi Lighthizer-Schmidt, public affairs coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Transportation District 8 office in Willmar. An open house will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Peace Lutheran Church, 100 Fourth Ave. S.W., New London, to ask questions about the safety assessment and provide personal input about the intersections.
NEW LONDON — A wing of the GlenOaks long-term care campus in New London will be transformed into a specialized memory care unit. The secure facility will provide suites for 11 residents with various types of dementia and other types of memory issues. Construction — which includes removing a few walls and adding some doors to an existing wing — is expected to begin in early June and will be completed in time for a July 1 opening, said James Ingersoll, administrator and CEO of Grace Living Community of GlenOaks.