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 Clara City couple have entered pleas to amended felony charges for claiming more than $21,000 in public assistance while he worked under a false name. Sandra Veronica Martinez, 35, pleaded guilty Monday in Kandiyohi County District Court to a lower level felony charge of wrongfully obtaining assistance. Under a plea agreement, another charge for failing to meet declaration requirements for public assistance will be dismissed. She will be sentenced March 8. Isidoro Martinez pleaded guilty Dec. 23 to a similar charge. A check forgery charge was dismissed on Dec.
WILLMAR -- Jimmy Alexander Gogoi, 19, of Willmar, was sentenced to 33 months in prison, which was stayed, 365 days in the county jail, 10 years of probation and a $1,000 on a second-degree assault charge for hitting a man in the head with a crowbar last January. As part of a plea agreement reached in Kandiyohi County District Court, another charge of third-degree assault was dismissed. Gogoi was ordered to pay $4,734.63 in restitution, write an apology letter to the victim and submit to psychological evaluation and treatment.
WILLMAR -- Mathew James Zuroff, 18, of Spicer, was sentenced Monday to 60 days in the county jail, 100 hours of community service and probation until his 19th birthday for his role in a string of burglaries at the Little Crow Country Club that included stealing golf carts, playing "bumper cars" with them, running one into a lake and damaging a church cemetery. As part of his juvenile sentence on a total of nine charges, Zuroff was ordered to report to the Kandiyohi County Jail on Jan. 11. He will do 100 hours of community service before the balance of his jail time could be deferred.
WILLMAR -- Lance Joel Cameron, 27, of Willmar, and Vanessa Ramirez, 23, of Litchfield, made their first court appearances Monday on first-degree drug possession and sale charges for allegedly possessing 52 grams of methamphetamine found in their vehicle on New Year's Eve. The drug search came after a police officer recognized Cameron's vehicle and followed him as he knew Cameron didn't have a valid driver's license. Unconditional bail was set at $400,000 for Cameron, who also faces a gross misdemeanor charge of driving after cancellation -- inimical to public safety.
WILLMAR -- A 38-year-old Waite Park woman made her first court appearance Thursday on a fifth-degree controlled substance charge for procuring, possessing or controlling drugs by fraud or deceit. Unconditional bail was set at $15,000 for Emily Katherine Shaffer in Kandiyohi County District Court. Conditional bail was allowed on her personal recognizance. Her next appearance is March 3. According to the complaint, Willmar police were called Nov.
WILLMAR -- Two women from Spicer made their first court appearances Thursday on multiple drug sale and possession charges for allegedly selling methamphetamine to a CEE-VI Drug Task Force informant in September and for drugs found when they were arrested Tuesday. Kristy Lynn Blinsky, 30, faces three first-degree drug sale charges, two second-degree possession charges and two petty misdemeanor possession charges. Unconditional bail was set at $200,000 in the two cases against Blinsky. Judge Michael J.
ST. PAUL -- The last week of the year is when there are typically more fires than any other week of the year. Therefore, the state Department of Public Safety State Fire Marshal Division is warning Minnesotans to be extra careful. Locally, Kandiyohi Fire Chief Dwight Ryks is echoing those concerns. Ryks warns that with challenging economic times, he's afraid folks will use inappropriate methods in attempts to heat their homes. "When the economy is bad, people use alternative fuels," he said Wednesday.
WILLMAR -- Juanel Anthony Mikulak, 22, of Alexandria and formerly of Willmar, was sentenced Monday to 27 months in prison on a felony domestic assault charge for assaulting Willmar woman on Sept. 21. As part of his sentence handed down in Kandiyohi County District Court, Mikulak was ordered to pay $449.97 in restitution in that case, for items taken from a Willmar apartment where the domestic assault happened. He was given credit for 98 days already served in jail.
WILLMAR -- A 22-year-old Willmar man made his first court appearance Monday on drunken driving charges for allegedly drinking and then driving a vehicle that almost hit a city snowplow early Christmas morning. Edwin Efrain Castellon Lopez was arrested after a snowplow driver called police to report he had nearly struck an oncoming vehicle on Trott Avenue. Lopez was located by police and public works officials nearby after his vehicle got stuck in the snow.
WILLMAR -- Jason Christopher Moe, 25, formerly of Atwater, pleaded guilty Monday to a felony charge of liability for crimes of another - theft by check and an amended fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct charge. The pleas were entered in two separate cases in Kandiyohi County District Court. The first included eight felony charges for theft and dishonored checks against Moe for writing almost $78,000 in bad checks in the spring of 2008.