Area News

Oct. 12, 2018

Greenleaf Lake State Recreation Area improved

More than a decade after its founding — as a state park — Greenleaf Lake State Recreation Area celebrated with a birthday party of sorts Sept. 28, the Litchfield Independent Review reported.

“This was a long time coming,” state Rep. Dean Urdahl said as he sat at a table in the newly-created picnic area. “This was one of the first things presented to me when I was elected (in 2002), was the desire of folks to get this done.”

The event, sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, highlighted significant improvements at the recreation area, located seven miles south of Litchfield on 640th Avenue.

Upgrades included a day-use area with picnic tables, fire rings, grills, and an aggregate pad for a portable restroom facility; grading of the road into the recreation area and parking area near the public water access; a fishing pier; and upgrades to a one-mile hiking loop to the south of the main entrance.

Mound residents surprised, upset by townhomes decision

Aug. 15, at the Mound concurrent HRA and city council meeting, the Mound Harbor District townhomes purchase agreement was tabled. When asked to set a date when the item would return for discussion, Mayor Mark Wegscheid told staff that the item would be addressed “within the calendar year,” the Laker and Pioneer reported.

Nine days later the item appeared on the agenda for the Aug. 28 meeting. However, there was an error in the notification for the Aug. 28 meeting, so the council decided to push its meeting back another two weeks to Sept. 11. It was at the Sept. 11 meeting that the council approved the final purchase agreement for the Mound Harbor District townhomes 4-1, with Council Member Kelli Gillispie opposed.

The chief complaint among residents seemed to be that they did not see the meeting listed on the website’s calendar, or that they did not see the townhome purchase agreement discussion in the posted agenda. Council and staff responded to residents’ concerns with an explanation that they did what was legally required of them, and that they also did their best to keep the public informed and stated that they were not trying to keep the meeting a secret.

Staff did admit to an error in which the meeting may not have appeared on the city’s calendar, and Director of Finance and Administrative Services Catherine Pausche apologized for this. “That was a lapse in our communication,” said Pausche. “Our administrative assistant updates that, and these are unique times. It was not intentional.”

Moose on the loose in Monticello

Central Minnesota, including the Monticello area, has been in a bit of a frenzy over a young bull moose that has made its way through the region, North Wright County Today reported.

It was spotted near Olivia late last month, and has slowly drifted north. Footage of the moose from areas around Monticello, including Bertram Chail of Lakes Regional Park, has been posted across social media.

The moose now has its own Facebook Group, as social media followers track the Central Minnesota Moose.

Rumors spread yesterday the county had put the animal down, for fear of danger to residents. However, it’s not uncommon for a bull to leave the common territory of northern and northeastern Minnesota for areas south, according to the Minnesota DNR. Officials said they will leave the bull alone as much as possible.

Glencoe City Council begins mulling big-ticket purchases

Glencoe City Council took a look at trucks needing replacement this week, the McLeod County Chronicle reported.

Meeting in a workshop session at the city’s public works garage on West 13th Street Monday afternoon, councilors discussed with staff the need to replace up to two trucks during the next five or more years. The two trucks date back to 1996 and 1999. Based on the cost of the new truck the city purchased in 2014 and the price of it with annual inflation, James Voigt, the city’s director of public works/streets and parks, said the price of the trucks increases about 3 percent annually. He informally estimated the cost of replacing the trucks with new vehicles could approach $200,000 each.

The council and city staff will begin looking at potential options in the weeks and months to come. Councilors were told ordering a new truck in early 2019 would have it ready for delivery in just over a year.

Dog statue stolen from Wright County cemetery

Authorities in Wright County are investigating the theft of a statue at a Wright County cemetery, kstp.com reported.

According to Wright County Sheriff’s Office, the statue of a German shepherd was reported stolen from the St. Francis Catholic Church Cemetery in Buffalo Township.

It is believed the statue was stolen between Sept. 25 and Oct. 7. The sheriff’s office said the statue weighs 60 to 70 pounds and is valued at about $400.

Authorities do not have suspect information at this time.

Hutchinson man paralyzed in crash near Stewart

A head-on collision on County Road 7 and 85th Street near Stewart left a Hutchinson man paralyzed, according to the McLeod County Sheriff’s Office, the Hutchinson Leader reported.

Scott Schindler, 54, of Hutchinson, suffered injuries Sept. 26 when a Ford Expedition driven by Robert Polfus, 73, of Buffalo Lake, crossed the centerline and swiped the driver side of his 2015 Chevrolet Malibu. Schindler was transported to Hutchinson Hospital and later flown to Hennepin County Medical Center where he received emergency surgery on his spine. He was found to be paralyzed from the neck down.

Polfus was transported to Glencoe Hospital.

Schindler’s brother-in-law, David Wegscheid said doctors at HCMC are working with Schindler on his ability to communicate.

Schindler’s children, Brittany and Shaun, created a GoFundMe page for his recovery a day after the crash. The page garnered more than $10,000 in contributions in one day.

Two drivers killed in crash in Corcoran identified

Officials have identified the two drivers killed in a head-on crash on Highway 55 last week, kstp.com reported.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner said 36-year-old Jimmie Ralph Burnes of Plymouth and 70-year-old Richard Anton Mueller of Rockford both died at the scene of the crash in Corcoran Thursday morning.

Officers were called to the scene of the crash around 6:45 a.m. Thursday. The crash closed Highway 55 at Hennepin County Road 19 for some time.

Five arrested, dive team called in Meeker County

An aggravated robbery in Meeker County led to multiple arrests recently, the Hutchinson Leader reported.

At 2:55 a.m. Sept. 29, the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office received a report of an assault and aggravated robbery in rural Harvey Township.

The victim told deputies a suspect had pointed a gun at his head and pulled the trigger, but the gun did not fire. According to a sheriff’s office report, suspects demanded personal items from the victim.

A search warrant executed at a residence in the 32900 block of 580th Avenue in Harvey Township revealed personal items from the victim. Drug-related items and a stolen vehicle were also found in this search.

Carmin Hedtke-Kaffar, 49, and Scott Mooney, 47, both of rural Grove City were arrested on drug-related charges. Dawn Karnik, 30, of Eden Valley was arrested for drug-related charges including alleged storage of methamphetamine paraphernalia in the presence of a child. Tyler Kretsch, 29, homeless, was arrested on an outstanding Stearns County warrant for drug-related charges.

Tre Ertl, 20, of Litchfield was found later and arrested for alleged aggravated robbery and assault.

According to the sheriff’s office, Ertl reached out while in jail to have an accomplice dispose of the firearm believed to be used in the alleged assault. As the investigation continued in search of the weapon used, Michelle Patzold, 33, of Litchfield was arrested for allegedly aiding an offender for aggravated robbery.

The firearm was located in a rural Meeker County lake with the assistance of the Litchfield Rescue Squad dive team.

The investigation is ongoing, and additional arrests are expected. Litchfield police assisted with the investigation.