Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications.
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WILLMAR -- A 19-year-old Spicer teen made his first court appearance Monday on five felony charges for allegedly breaking into a Willmar home, causing the pipes to freeze, burst and cause water damage, and taking $10,000 in property, including a gun. According to the juvenile petition against Mathew James Zuroff, analysis of a blood sample taken from the scene of the crime implicates him as the burglar. The analysis was completed by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Zuroff's next appearance in Kandiyohi County District Court is a certification hearing on Sept. 13.
WILLMAR -- A 26-year-old Willmar woman made her first court appearance Tuesday on seven charges, including two felonies, for allegedly fleeing law enforcement officers at speeds over 100 miles per hour early Sunday morning. Carlota Elizabeth Gades faces felony charges in Kandiyohi County District Court for fleeing in a motor vehicle and for assaulting a peace officer.
NEW LONDON -- The New London-Spicer School Board raised participation fees Monday for student activities, but did not raise school lunch or event admission fees. Student activity fees will be $100 per sport for high school students and $75 per sport for middle school participants for the coming school year. In addition, high school fees will increase to $80 for cheerleading, $50 for participation in drama and knowledge bowl, $70 for speech and $40 for band/choir and math league.
WILLMAR -- Gina Ann Lopez, 24, and Emilio Florez, 35, of Willmar, both made their first appearances Friday on three felony charges for allegedly possessing methamphetamine and cocaine and for storing drug paraphernalia in the presence of children. Both also face a gross misdemeanor charge of child endangerment and misdemeanor charges for wea-pons and drug possession. Unconditional bail was set at $100,000 for Florez and at $20,000 for Lopez.
WILLMAR -- A 43-year-old Willmar woman made her first appearance Thursday on three felony charges for allegedly taking $1,710 from a vulnerable woman whom she befriended by helping with household chores. Kristi Friese faces charges for financial transaction card fraud and financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult in Kandiyohi County District Court.
WILLMAR -- Jeremy Jon Hoff, 26, of Bird Island, was sentenced Monday to five years of probation, 120 days in jail and a $500 fine for his role in a March 26 incident where three men attempted to run over and kill a 27-year-old man in Cedar Mills. As part of his sentence on a third-degree assault charge in Meeker County District Court, Hoff was also ordered to pay $2,249 in restitution, jointly with co-defendant Bruce John Johnson, 25, of Hutchinson.
WILLMAR -- A 24-year-old Willmar man faces felony charges for forgery and terroristic threats after a woman reported Monday that he assaulted and threatened her. The subsequent investigation by police revealed the man was using at least one false name. Edil Pineda Santos, who is also known as Omar David Sanchez Melendez and Ericberto Pineda, appeared Wednesday on seven felony charges in Kandiyohi County District Court. He also faces misdem-eanor ch-arges of assault and dom-estic as-sault. Unconditional bail was set at $100,000.
WILLMAR -- A 29-year-old Willmar man made his first court appearance Tuesday for allegedly threatening his former companion with a knife Sunday after finding the woman's boyfriend hiding in her home. Jose Oswaldo Moreno also faces a misdemeanor domestic assault charge in Kandiyohi County District Court. Unconditional bail was set at $20,000. Conditional release was allowed on his personal recognizance. He must also have no contact with the woman or her residence and possess no weapons or firearms.
WILLMAR -- "Betty's Spies," a woodcarving of a diner scene by Fred Cogelow, has been honored as the best of show at the recent 44th annual International Woodcarvers Congress in Maquoketa, Iowa. And if local folks recognize the principal figure in the relief carving, that's because he's Don Niece of Willmar. The Willmar wood carver uses his camera for "idea filing" and began gathering ideas for the carving when he met his sister at the McDonalds in Two Harbors as the family was gathering for his aunt's 90th birthday party.
WILLMAR -- A 21-year-old woman made her first court appearance Thursday on seven felony charges for allegedly receiving public assistance while claiming the man she lived with was her brother and not the father of her two children. Hawo Mohamed Ali faces one count of wrongfully obtaining assistance and six charges for false declaration in Kandiyohi County District Court. Her next appearance is July 15. According to the complaint, Ali applied for public assistance in Hennepin County in July 2007.