A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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WILLMAR -- A 30-year-old Willmar man was sent to prison for 12 years for sexually assaulting a 6-year-old boy. Once his sentence is complete, Manuel De Jesus Diaz-Orellana will be de-ported to El Salvador. In May, a Kandiyohi County ju-ry found Diaz-Orellana guilty of a felony charge of criminal sexual co-nduct in the first degree for raping the boy, who was 6 years old at the time. Judge Mi-chael Thompson sentenced Diaz-Orellana on Thursday to 144 months in prison.
WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners has approved two road construction agreements with the city of Willmar for two phases of a three-phase project that will link Willmar Avenue with the new County Road 5 on the west side of town. The first phase includes reconstructing Willmar Avenue from 18th Street to 22nd Street Southwest. The county will pay $248,814 for the project. The city's share is $209,760.
WILLMAR -- A 30-year-old Willmar man was sentenced today to 12 years in prison for sexually assaulting a six-year old boy. Once his sentence is completed, Manuel De Jesus Diaz-Orellana will be deported back to El Salvador. In May, a Kandiyohi County jury found Diaz-Orellana guilty of a felony charge of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree for raping the boy, who was six years old at the time. Judge Michael Thompson sentenced Diaz-Orellana today to 144 months in prison. Assistant County Attorney Connie Crowell said Diaz-Orellana will be deported when he is done serving his time. Rea
WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County Public Works Department will begin work Friday in New London Township on a bridge replacement project that will require traffic to be detoured. Another project and detour will begin Monday in the southern part of the county. Weather permitting, work will begin Friday to replace a bridge in New London Township located three-tenths of a mile southeast of the junction of Kandiyohi County Road 9 on 153rd St NE. The construction zone will be closed to traffic.
BENSON -- After realizing they'd be part of a lone county unable to communicate with emergency personnel from other counties, the Swift County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to change their current emergency radios to the 800 MHz system. The county agreed to participate in the statewide Allied Radio Matrix for Emergency Response network, which will give emergency agencies a common radio frequency to use. Currently, different entities use different frequencies, which can make it difficult to share communications. The Federal Communications Commission is also requiring that entities
WILLMAR -- The unallotment of state funds is hurting community partners, such as nursing homes and residential group homes, that provide services to Kandiyohi County Family Service clients. It's hoped that new federal stimulus mo-ney will help fill the financial gaps, but Kandiyohi County Family Services Director Jay Kieft is worried about what will happen when the federal money disappears next year. "The stimulus monies are only around for a brief period of time," Kieft said Tuesday, following a presentation to the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners. "The challenge will be, once they'
OLIVIA -- Charges are expected to be filed today against a 31-year-old woman suspected of being drunk as she drove a van over a tent at a Renville County campground Sunday, killing a 4-month-old baby boy and injuring his mother. Nicolle Prechel, who lives in Redwood Falls but had lived in Willmar and Kandiyohi in recent years, is being held in the Renville County Jail in Olivia on charges of vehicular homicide, third degree driving while intoxicated and driving with a suspended license. Assistant County Attorney Glen Jacobsen said it is "highly likely" that additional charges will be filed.
Updated 2:30 p.m.
WILLMAR -- At least 18 full- or part-time positions were eliminated last week at the Child Adolescent Behavioral Health Services hospital in Willmar. The cuts follow a decline in patient numbers at the acute psychiatric hospital, said Dr.
WILLMAR -- Area legislators -- both Republicans and Democrats -- expressed relief Tuesday afternoon that the U.S. Senate race appeared to be over with the Minnesota Supreme Court's unanimous ruling that Al Franken defeated Norm Coleman. "I think it's time to be over and to move on," said Sen. Joe Gimse, R-Willmar. "It's been too long." Gimse said most people he's talked to were more than ready to have the decision made, although "some of us aren't going to be happy" with the outcome. "But that's the way it goes, he said. "Tomorrow's another day in politics." Rep.