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 -- There may be fewer dairy farms and cows than in previous years, but the dairy production and processing industry remains a powerful force in west central Minnesota and for the entire state. According to the 2009 Minnesota Dairy Industry Profile from the state Department of Agriculture, there are about 4,700 dairy farms in the state producing about 8.8 billion pounds of milk each year. The state is home to about 470,000 head of dairy cows, about 5 percent of the nation's herd.
WILLMAR -- Two of the men charged in connection with a March 26 incident where they attempted to run over and kill a 27-year-old man in Cedar Mills have entered guilty pleas. Jeremy Jon Hoff, 26, of Bird Island, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a felony third-degree assault charge in Meeker County District Court. He will be sentenced July 6. Alexander David Jensen, 26, of Dassel, pleaded guilty May 25 to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge. He was sentenced to a year of probation and a $200 fine.
NEW LONDON -- The New London-Spicer School Board delayed action Monday on adding exploratory classes at the district's middle school. While the classes will offer students exposure to a wide variety of subjects, the district needs to consider the impact on student participation in band and choir, according to Superintendent Paul Carlson. "We have to be very careful in how we proceed," Carlson said.
WILLMAR -- A 20-year-old Clara City man made his first appearance Tuesday on a felony charge of fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle. Unconditional bail was set at $5,000 for Daniel Aaron Ammermann. Conditional release was allowed on his person recognizance. His next appearance in Kandiyohi County District Court is June 7. Ammermann also faces misdemeanor charges of driving without a valid motorcycle endorsement and no proof of insurance. According to the complaint, a Kandiyohi County sheriff's deputy received a report from dispatch around 8:45 p.m.
WILLMAR -- Gary Lee Mattson, 56, of Willmar, pleaded guilty Monday to a misdemeanor charge of failure to stop for a blind person for a Nov.
WILLMAR -- Craig Allan Hargreaves, 40, of New London, was sentenced Friday in Kandiyohi County District Court to 143 months in prison for second-degree criminal sexual conduct for molesting a then-12-year-old boy in the summer of 2007. During the sentencing hearing before Judge David L. Mennis, the now 14-year-old boy told the court he was emotionally injured and depressed after the incident at Hargreaves' home. "I didn't want any of this," he said. "I was scared, dumbfounded and angry." Hargreaves was also sentenced Friday on other related charges.
WILLMAR -- Eric Flores, 25, of Willmar, pleaded guilty Thursday to an amended third-degree drug possession charge and a felony weapons possession charge for possessing meth and a rifle when he was stopped by Willmar police in March. As part of a plea agreement reached in Kandiyohi County District Court, the charge was reduced from second-degree. Also as part of the agreement, two additional felony charges of first-degree drugs - manufacture of methamphetamine and firearms possession, plus two misdemeanor charges, will be dismissed.
WILLMAR -- Kristy Lynn Blinsky, 31, of Spicer, was sentenced Wednesday to 48 months in prison on a second-degree controlled substance sale charge for selling methamphetamine to a CEE-VI Drug Task Force informant last summer. As part of her sentence handed down in Kandiyohi County District Court by Judge Michael J. Thompson, Blinsky was also fined $500 and given credit for 105 days already served in jail. As part of a plea agreement, four additional felony drug sale and possession charges and two petty misdemeanor charges were dismissed.
WILLMAR -- Dino John Bastian, 39, of New Ulm, was ordered Thursday to serve 21 months in prison on a felony charge of second-degree criminal sexual conduct for molesting an 8-year-old girl in May 2006. The stay of execution on Bastian's prison sentence was ordered revoked by Judge Michael J. Thompson in Kandiyohi County District Court. Bastian was also ordered to serve a 10-year conditional release period upon completion of his prison term. Bastian had been sentenced in July 2008 to 25 years of probation, 270 days of jail time and a $1,500 fine in the case.
WILLMAR -- A 21-year-old Willmar man pleaded guilty Monday to a third-degree assault charge for stabbing a juvenile male on Jan. 15. As part of a plea agreement, a second-degree as-sault charge against David Hernandez will be dismissed and he will pay restitution. He will be sentenced June 24. The charges were filed after Willmar police officers were called around 9:15 p.m. Jan.