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 jury found Mowalid Muse Hirsi, 25, of Willmar, guilty on Thursday of aggravated robbery for robbing a man at knifepoint in November. The verdict came after a one-day trial in Kandiyohi County District Court. He will be sentenced March 8. The charges were filed after a man called police around 2:40 a.m. Nov. 8 from the area of Ella Avenue and Seventh Street Northwest and reported he had been robbed at knifepoint.
WILLMAR -- Ernesto Pacheco Nieto, 49, and Susana Nieto, 42, of Willmar, made their first court appearances Thursday on felony charges of wrongfully obtaining assistance for taking more than $7,000 in public benefits while he was employed. Unconditional bail was set at $10,000 for both, with conditional release allowed on their personal recognizance. Both make their next appearances on Feb. 16 in Kandiyohi County District Court. According to court files, this is the second time the couple has been charged with welfare fraud in the county.
BENSON -- The Benson City Council will continue to work with the same engineering firm on city projects. The council voted Monday to continue working with Bonestroo Inc., according to Benson City Manager Rob Wolfington. The city had invited other engineering firms to present information and offer proposals.
WILLMAR -- A 31-year-old man from Brownsville, Texas, made his first court appearance Tuesday on multiple criminal sexual conduct charges for allegedly molesting an 8-year-old girl while his family lived in Willmar. Renato Rodriguez faces three first-degree charges and one second-degree charge in Kandiyohi County District Court. Unconditional bail was set at $100,000 with conditional bail at $50,000. His next court appearance is Feb. 16. The court file shows Rodriguez also faces first-degree sexual abuse charges in Cameron County, Texas.
WILLMAR -- Gary Lee Mattson, 56, of Willmar, has been cited with three misdemeanor charges for allegedly running his vehicle over a blind man on Nov. 16 at the intersection of First Street South and 19th Avenue. The incident left Thomas Dennis Sykora, 58, of Willmar, with numerous broken ribs, plus a broken scapula, or shoulder blade, and a broken ankle that required surgery to repair. Sykora was taken by ambulance to Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar and was later airlifted to St.
WILLMAR -- Jason Christopher Moe, 25, formerly of Atwater, was sentenced Monday to 60 months in prison, plus a 10-year conditional release period, on a fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct charge for sexually assaulting a 6-year-old girl in January 2008. Moe was also sentenced to 45 months in prison and ordered to pay a $50 fine and $9,127.45 in restitution on a felony charge of liability for crimes of another - theft by check for his role in writing almost $78,000 in bad checks in the spring of 2008. He was given credit for 287 days already served and was ordered to register as a predatory
WILLMAR -- Willmar Police officers and Ambulance personnel responded to a one-vehicle rollover crash around 9 a.m. Tuesday along the 500 block of Willmar Avenue Southwest. A one-block section of the street was blocked off for a period for the crash investigation and removal of the vehicle, a large sport utility vehicle. More information about the accident and the extent of injuries sustained will be available later.
NEW LONDON -- The New London-Spicer School Board reviewed a list Monday of almost $560,000 in potential budget cuts. However, the actual amount the district will need to trim for the upcoming school year hasn't been determined, according to Superintendent Paul Carlson. He said the figure could be as low as $225,000, due in large part to declining enrollment. Carlson stressed the district is "very early" in the budget process. Officials will have a greater idea of what will be cut following a Feb. 22 board meeting, when budget revisions for the current school year are approved.
WILLMAR -- Isidoro Martinez, 29, of Clara City, was sentenced Thursday to 100 days in jail, five years of probation and a $50 fine on a felony charge of wrongfully obtaining assistance. As part of his sentence handed down in Kandiyohi County District Court, Martinez was ordered to cooperate with agents from the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and pay $21,065 in restitution, jointly with his wife. He was given credit for 100 days already served in jail.
WILLMAR -- David Dennis Jacobson, 49, of rural Blomkest, made his first appearance Thursday on drug sale charges for allegedly selling methamphetamine to a confidential informant in November. Jacobson faces first- and third-degree charges in Kandiyohi County District Court. Unconditional bail was set at $200,000 with conditional bail at $75,000. His next appearance is Feb. 8. According to the complaint, an informant for the CEE-VI Drug Task Force purchased 1.7 grams of meth on Nov. 19 and 14.9 grams of meth on Dec. 1 at Jacobson's home.