A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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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.
LITCHFIELD — A Grove City man accused of raping a young girl multiple times over a three-year period was charged this week with three felonies. Christopher Allen Bengtson, 42, faces three counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree. Bengtson made a first court appearance Monday in Meeker County District Court where Judge Stephanie Beckman set unconditional bail at $150,000 and conditional bail at $75,000.
WILLMAR — A Level 3 sex offender who was scheduled to be released from prison Tuesday and had plans to move to a house in rural New London and begin a new job will instead be going back to the state penitentiary in Stillwater. Craig Allan Hargreaves, 49, will remain in prison until a civil commitment hearing is held to determine if he is a sexually dangerous person and should be committed to the state's sex offender program at Moose Lake.
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.
NEW LONDON — Pity the poor plantain. The flat, low-to-the-ground, broad-leafed weed that likes to poke through cracks in sidewalks and carpet routes on well-worn walking paths is used to being looked over and walked on. But during the 20th annual herb walk May 27 at the Timberlake Orchard near New London, the plantain will be the star of the show where participants will learn about the healthful qualities of this native herb and many others that grow in west central Minnesota.
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.