A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers county government and regional news with the West Central Tribune.
- Member for
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WILLMAR -- A 22-year-old Willmar man, who is married and has an infant child, was found guilty Friday of having sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old girl. A 12-member Kandiyohi County jury delivered a guilty verdict to Rosny Yovany Dubon on a "serious felony" charge of criminal sexual conduct in the third degree following a two-day jury trial. Assistant Kandiyohi County Attorney Connie Crowell said she was pleased that the jury "saw through" Dubon's conflicting stories and "unbelievable" alibis. The victim, of Willmar, testified against Dubon.
WILLMAR -- In a coffee house packed so tight with teens and adults that some people just stood outside and looked through the windows, four women had their hair cut for charity Friday night. The event culminated efforts by 18-year-olds Jenna Kolstad and Janine Kidd to raise money for Rice Hospice over the last five months. Their goal was to raise $5,000. By Friday night, the donations had reached nearly $7,000. Once the $5,000 goal was reached, the two said they would also donate their hair.
ATWATER -- The day before Atwater Police Officer Paul Schmidt appeared in court on charges that he sexually assaulted a woman while on duty, the Atwater City Council placed the officer on unpaid administrative leave, effective immediately. The action was taken Wednesday night during the council's first meeting of 2008. Schmidt was placed on unpaid administrative leave "pending the outcome of the trial," Mayor Bruce Baker said. "We'll let the chips fall where they fall." On Oct.
ATWATER -- Blueprints will be drawn up and bids will be sought in the next couple months for a 5,000-square-foot city building that is being proposed for the city of Atwater. The Atwater City Council agreed Wednesday to proceed with the proposal to build the one-story facility, estimated to cost $350,000. The building will house the city offices, library and Police Department. The city's Mayor Bruce Baker said the Atwater has enough money in savings to pay for the structure. The project will not proceed without the blessing of residents, however.
WILLMAR -- When a new "made in America" law goes into effect Jan. 1, Mark Erickson won't have to change a thing about how he does business. For 21 years, Uncommon USA Inc. in Willmar has been selling flags and flag poles all around the country. And for all of those years, every single flag the business has sold has been made in the United States. "We've never ordered any foreign-made flags," Erickson said. Starting Jan.
WILLMAR -- Health insurance premiums will increase 11 percent in 2008 for Kandiyohi County government, continuing a trend of double-digit increases. The total premium for 2008 will be $3.9 million.
This Christmas, many families will be trying to celebrate the holiday here in Minnesota while a husband, wife, son, daughter or other close family member are away from home on military duty. With the hubbub of Christmas preparations occupying most people's time, it can be easy to forget about the soldiers who are gone and their families back home. The West Central Tribune spoke to four women from the community who have a husband or fiancé deployed to Iraq this Christmas.
Chasity Ommodt didn't really want to get ready for Christmas this year. Instead of pulling out the numerous boxes of decorations and trimming a big fresh-cut tree, the New London woman said she wanted to just get a small table top tree "put a little tinsel on it and -- viola -- there's Christmas." At the urging of her oldest daughter, however, Ommodt bought a live tree and -- for the first time in her life -- hefted the tree into the metal basin and got it to stay upright without leaning against a wall. Ommodt's husband had always done that task in the past.
The buzz and rush of Christmas preparations have given Colleen Walquist of Willmar something to focus on so she isn't constantly reminded that her soul mate, 1st Lt. Robert Walquist, won't be home for Christmas. Because of the extra energy she's pouring into Christmas to "make everything perfect" for her four children, Walquist was ahead of schedule for shopping, wrapping and decorating for the holiday. She's been thankful for the distraction of the holiday preparations, but at the same time is dreading spending Christmas without her husband. Lt. Walquist is currently deployed in Iraq.
Fellowship with family and friends, laughter, playing games and eating a lot of traditional food -- including a 12-course Ukrainian meal -- is how Helen and Alan Arends usually spend Christmas. On New Year's Eve they eat German pancakes. This year, however, Alan Arends will be eating in the mess hall in Baghdad with other National Guard troops on the holidays.