ADVERTISEMENT Top-viewed news stories of 2022

Here are the top-viewed news stories on ranked by the individual story's pageviews for 2022.

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Here are the 25 top-viewed news stories on for 2022.

The news stories on are ranked by the individual story's pageview totals for 2022.


Nicholas William Steffel, 28, of Olivia, pleaded guilty to six separate counts — one for each victim — of interfering with privacy. He taped them as they showered to enter his biosecure hog barns.


Roger Joseph Ebnet, of Benson, a teacher for more than 30 years, is being charged with three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, alleging he had sexual contact with three minor boys. Benson Public Schools said Ebnet is on paid administrative leave.



RJ and James Orsten, two brothers who raise cattle north of Willmar under the name Cardinal Creek Cattle Company, are trying to get the message out that they are looking for land to rent and that they do, indeed, know what they’re doing.


A collection of key election results for the Willmar Lakes Area.


Pro Rodeo performer Reid Oftedahl suffered a head injury at the World Championships


Share your storm photos with West Central Tribune by sending photos or video to:


A 13-year-old boy died of a stab wound after being transported to the Olivia Hospital & Clinic on Thursday morning. His mother is recovering from injuries. A man known to them is in custody.


A MACCRAY school bus driver was found deceased in Tyler, Minn., while waiting for the school's girls' basketball team Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022, according to Tyler law enforcement.


A Minnesota House committee advanced a Department of Natural Resources policy bill that includes provisions to eliminate the state's shotgun zones during the deer firearm season and allow two lines for fishing on the Minnesota River during the open water season.


A long-duration snowfall event running well into Tuesday will impact travel across the region.



Ryan Leif Erickson, 63, had been a Blomkest volunteer firefighter since the age of 18. He died in the line of duty Thursday when a large grain bin was blown over by the high winds and fell on him as he was preparing to leave his farm to monitor storms.


According to a news release from the Meeker County Sheriff's Office, a standoff was still underway as of noon Tuesday, south of Dassel, with a barricaded subject who was reported to have been threatening family members Monday evening. Authorities have been trying to negotiate with him.


Former Kerkhoven Mayor James Rothers and attorney Gregory Anderson have signed plea agreements to fraud charges alleging they concealed more than $1.2 million of Rothers' assets in bankruptcy court.


A 52-year-old Willmar woman died early Sunday after two vehicles collided on U.S. Highway 71 west of New London. A passenger in the woman's car and the driver of the other vehicle were injured and taken to area hospitals.


Three people from Missouri were killed Thursday evening in a crash west of Willmar. Another person from Missouri was seriously injured, according to the Minnesota State Patrol, and a semi driver from Raymond also suffered injuries.


The severe weather that had been expected to hit west central Minnesota over the holiday weekend did materialize. There were reports of a tornado near Appleton and Milan late afternoon Monday, as well as high winds, hail and rain throughout the area. Power outages, trees down and damage to structures were reported.


Dr. Mark Eakes of Granite Falls is facing three felony charges of criminal sexual conduct for allegedly performing unnecessary pelvic exams on a patient in 2020 and 2021. He made his first court appearance March 21, and will next be in court June 13. In an agreement with the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, he is not practicing medicine while the charges are being resolved.


Craig Michael Van Dam, 41, was sentenced to 60 months in prison for a single felony charge of driving while impaired. A Renville County jury found him guilty in August. The charge stemmed from a traffic stop in Olivia after Van Dam was seen speeding through Bird Island in July 2021. During a pursuit, Van Dam hit speeds over 110 mph. A subsequent search of his vehicle yielded a glass pipe and a prescription bottle with suspected marijuana buds.



Tyler Stone was a senior at West Central Area High School. He was killed in a crash Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022.


A second-grade teacher at Benson's Northside Elementary School was arrested Friday by the Benson Police Department. Roger Ebnet is in jail pending a court appearance on an expected charge of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. The charge can involve a sexual assault on an adult or a minor.


Marv Spomer will be turning off the neon signs at Spomer Classics in Worthington, Minnesota. Spomer spent much of his life building his large collection — some of which is likely going to auction.


Bus driver Jean Waltz was remembered fondly at MACCRAY Public Schools Wednesday as a much-loved bus driver and former school paraprofessional. Waltz was found unresponsive in her bus in Tyler Tuesday. She had been waiting in the bus while the MACCRAY girls basketball team played Russell-Tyler-Ruthton.


Court papers say 41-year-old Shannon Brandt confessed to a 911 dispatcher and police that he killed 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson due to a political dispute.


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A civil lawsuit by a man against two other siblings charges that the Cedar Hills Century Farm land eyed for the proposed Tepetonka Golf Course can only be sold to family members.


A federal civil lawsuit accuses a Montevideo police officer of violating the Fourth Amendment rights of two residents when obtaining a warrant that led to a search of their residence and criminal charges. The charges were dismissed when the search warrant was ruled void by a Chippewa County District Court judge.

Kelly Boldan has been editor of West Central Tribune and in Willmar, Minnesota, since October 2001. He joined Forum Communications Co. in November 1998 as editor of the Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer.
Boldan can be reached via email: or telephone: 320-214-4331.
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Kaye Heins, 66, of Sartell, was injured Saturday in snowmobile crash in Brockway Township near St. Stephen. She was transported to CentraCare — St. Cloud Hospital for treatment.
BOLD Superintendent Jim Menton reports there were no injuries when an electrical fire broke out at the Olivia school on Wednesday morning, and the evacuation went well. He is hopeful that classes can be resumed on schedule Thursday.
BOLD students are being moved to Cross of Calvary Church in Olivia and buses were to begin transporting them home this morning after a water leak in the pool area set off fire alarms.
"Wait Until Dark," a Barn Theatre production, will have four more shows at 7 p.m. Feb. 9-11 and 2 p.m. Feb. 12.