A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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WILLMAR — It was the fall of 2014 and Jill Zimmer and her young son, Jordan, were sleeping in a van in the 10-hour parking lot in downtown Willmar. On the coldest night the temperature was a bone-chilling 4-degrees above zero. Wearing snow pants and coats inside their sleeping bags, Zimmer said she'd wake up when it got cold and let the vehicle run for about 20 minutes to warm up the interior so they could sleep a little more.
OLIVIA — Jose Acencion Lopez, 21, of Olivia was sentenced Wednesday in Renville County District Court to two years in prison after pleading guilty to a felony charge of domestic assault by strangulation. His sentence to the Minnesota correctional facility in St. Cloud was to begin immediately. He was given credit for six days already served. Judge Randall Slieter also ordered Lopez to provide a DNA sample as part of the sentence. Lopez had originally been charged with three felony charges.
NEW LONDON – A 49-year-old Atwater woman sustained serious injuries Saturday night in a one-vehicle crash east of New London. The accident was reported at 10:40 p.m. on Kandiyohi County Road 40 and 141st Street Northeast. According to a news release from the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office, a 2006 Nissan Murano was going east on County Road 40 and drove straight off the road where it intersects with 141st Street Northeast.
NEW LONDON — The process for selecting a new superintendent in the New London-Spicer School District has begun. Current Superintendent Paul Carlson is not retiring until the end of June, but the board has set a schedule that calls for interviewing finalists for the job by the end of January. Because the board wanted to get the "cream of the crop," members decided to start looking for candidates now, said Megan Field, NLS director of communications.
ST. PAUL — A former Willmar businessman will spend the next three years in prison for illegally possessing machine guns, pipe bombs and silencers. Chad Lee Monson, 46, was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court to 36 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised probation. The sentence brings a close to a high-profile case that started Jan. 30 when law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Monson's residence in Willmar and found personal use amounts of illegal narcotic drugs, as well as 16 firearms and a large quantity of ammunition.
LONG BEACH – A woman was injured Tuesday in Pope County when her vehicle struck an ATV that slid off a trailer and was on the road. The accident was reported at 5:21 p.m. on state Highway 28 at Golf Course Road near Long Beach.
WILLMAR – Post offices around the country will be closed and there will be no regular mail delivery service on Wednesday, which President Trump has declared a National Day of Mourning in honor of former President George H. W. Bush. The announcement was made Monday by the U.S. Postal Service.
WILLMAR — Toys and money were donated Friday as the Willmar Ambulance Service conducted their annual "Stuff the Ambulance" toy drive. Toys and gift cards will be distributed to 800 families who are registered to receive the donations through the Salvation Army's toy store program, which will be held later this month at the First Covenant Church in Willmar. Jim Kroona, from the Ambulance Service, said the goal is to receive $10,000 this year in toys and cash donations. "The willingness to give in this community is fantastic," Kroona said.
SPICER — Kay Rosendahl had just finished her shift at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar and was driving to her home in New London when she saw something odd while waiting at the stoplight in Spicer. "I saw something cross the four-lane highway and I thought, that does not look like a dog to me. That looks like a bear. I couldn't believe my eyes." To make sure she wasn't seeing things, Rosendahl drove her car behind what, indeed, was a black bear, as it trotted past the Dairy Queen and Perkins Lumber and ambled by a city playground and front yards of houses.