I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.
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WILLMAR — A Willmar man has pleaded guilty to two felonies related to a violent assault and rape of a woman in Willmar in August 2016. Bernie Mena Delbosque, 34, pleaded guilty in Kandiyohi County District Court to domestic assault by strangulation and first-degree assault. Delbosque had been charged with 12 felonies in connection with the assault, including several counts each of criminal sexual conduct and domestic assault. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 23.
OLIVIA — A Glencoe man received a four-year prison sentence Wednesday for raping a woman in July 2016 in Buffalo Lake. Eric Edward Dostal, 23, of Glencoe, pleaded guilty in May in Renville County District Court to a felony charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct using force or coercion Dostal was given credit for 10 days already served in jail and will be on conditional release for 10 years after his prison sentence. He will also be required to register as a predatory offender.
LITCHFIELD — A Grove City man has pleaded guilty to one felony charge connected to an incident in which he choked a man, hit him with a beer bottle and threatened people with an ax. KC Matthew Cline, 26, of Grove City, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Meeker County District Court in Litchfield. He was originally charged with five felonies and pleaded guilty to second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. The other four charges were dismissed in a plea agreement. Cline's sentencing date is Oct. 3.
WILLMAR — Lakeland Elementary Principal Gretchen Baumgarn and Assistant Principal Melissa Wilson started their new jobs July 1, another big step toward the opening of Willmar Public Schools' new school. Lakeland had been scheduled to open next month, but construction delays pushed the opening back to January. The school district plans to open the building as soon as it's ready. The new school was approved in a 2015 bond referendum to alleviate overcrowding in the two existing schools.
WILLMAR — Officer-involved shooting incidents have been exceedingly rare in Willmar. On Sunday afternoon, Willmar officers responded to a call of a suicidal man at a home in the 400 block of 11th Street Northwest. During their encounter with the man, two officers discharged their weapons and injured a man who was transported to St. Cloud Hospital. The two officers are on standard administrative leave while the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigates the incident. The BCA did not release any further statement Monday on the Sunday shooting.
WILLMAR — Two Willmar Police Department officers are on standard administrative leave after an officer-involved shooting incident Sunday afternoon in northwest Willmar. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the incident which began with a 911 call about a suicidal man at a home in the 400 block of 11th Street Northwest, according to a news release from BCA. According to the release, two officers were dispatched to the address and encountered the man in the backyard of the home holding a gun.
WILLMAR — A Willmar man on parole from a 2005 drive-by shooting conviction was arrested Saturday evening and charged with possession of 1.9 pounds of methamphetamine. According to a news release from the Willmar Police Department, Jose Armando Padilla, 37, was arrested on suspicion of first-degree drug possession and first-degree drug sale after officers assisted the Minnesota Department of Corrections in searching his home in the 300 block of 10th Street Southwest.
WILLMAR — Health care was the main topic when two area legislators met with constituents in downtown Willmar Saturday morning. State Rep. Dave Baker, R-Willmar, and Sen. Andrew Lang, R-Olivia, spoke with about 30 people at The Goodness Coffee House. They provided an update on the 2017 legislative session,which included funding for a children's mental health facility in Willmar, increased funding for public schools and tax relief.
WILLMAR — A man was transported by ambulance away from the scene of what was reportedly an officer-involved shooting in northwest Willmar late Sunday afternoon. More than a dozen squad cars were parked at both ends and on both sides of the street in the 400 block of 11th Street Northwest after the incident, and the street was cordoned off with yellow crime scene tape. Witnesses said the person in the ambulance appeared to be a white man in his 50s.
RENVILLE — Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative and its labor union announced Friday that they have reached agreement on a five-year contract. The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International AFL-CIO/CLC, Local 369, voted to accept the co-op's offer, and the contract will be effective July 23, 2017. The contract calls for an increase in wages over five years. Other terms include updates to pension benefits, pension lump sum death benefits and life insurance benefits.