A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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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.
WILLMAR — A New London couple arrested this week for allegedly having over two pounds of meth and three-quarters of a pound of pot in their apartment made their first court appearances Wednesday on three felony drug charges. Citing the seriousness of the charges, their potential for being flight risks and risks to public safety, Assistant Kandiyohi County Attorney Aaron Welch asked that bail be set at three-quarters of a million dollars for Jeremy Shane Rudolph, 39, and Amber Dawn Gandrud, 33.
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.