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Area News

Feb. 1, 2016

Teenage boy in Meeker Co. alleged target of coercion

An Eden Valley man sought to coerce at least one teenage boy into performing sex acts and providing naked photos of himself, according to allegations contained in criminal complaints filed in Meeker County District Court, the Litchfield Independent Review reported..

Joel Conrad Schmitz, 20, allegedly contacted the boy through text messages and social media while posing as another person named “Jamie.” Schmitz faces coercion and criminal sexual conduct charges in two Meeker County cases. He was also charged Jan. 7 last year with felony intimidation in Adams County, IL.

Two arrested for DUI in same vehicle in Watertown

Two adults were charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in the same night in the same vehicle on Christmas in Watertown, and are scheduled to appear in Carver County District Court Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 8:30 a.m., the Carver County News reported.

According to a press release, Angela Lane Stender, 37, of Watertown, was allegedly found in a Ford pickup asleep at the wheel, with a .11 blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Deputies then noticed Willis David Juusola, 32, of Maple Plain, allegedly stumbling and falling in a yard. According to deputies, Juusola had a second set of keys to the same Ford pickup. Multiple witnesses claim Juusola drove the vehicle several hundred feet before exiting. Breath tests indicated that Juusola had a .33 BAC. In the last six weeks of 2015, 2,502 people were arrested for drunk driving during the statewide extra DWI enforcement campaign from Nov. 25 to Jan. 2.

Waconia and Victoria make changes to attract tourists

Two Carver County cities are hoping to reel in more out-of-towners looking for a weekend escape, the Star Tribune reported. Victoria, with a population of about 8,000, spent about $2 million to build a new city hall and library last year, and now plans to refresh its downtown. The city is encouraging development along Steiger Lake and is partnering with the Three Rivers Park District to create a lakeshore public space and add trails.

Waconia is looking into adding outdoor patios to its downtown, and Carver County is stepping in to revamp Waconia’s long-abandoned Coney Island, which once served as the practice ground for the University of Minnesota football team.

South Haven man accused of hiring a hitman

A South Haven resident with business investments in the Central American country of Belize has been arrested and charged there with attempting to hire a hitman to kill four people, the Annandale Advocate reported.

Pauman was arrested Jan. 6 and arraigned on four counts of abetment to murder Jan. 8. No murders actually took place. Following that hearing, during which Pauman entered a plea of not guilty, he was confined in Belize Central Prison. After paying a bail fee of $50,000, Pauman was released Jan. 15. He must remain in Belize while the matter remains in court. Communicating through a family member in Minnesota, Pauman and his lawyer said he is innocent and the truth will come out as the matter is investigated further.

St. Boni man aims to break fastest wheelie record

Cecil “Bubba” Myers of St. Bonifacius (and a graduate of Mound-Westonka High School) will attempt to break the world record for fastest wheelie on ice Sunday, Feb. 7 on Lake Koshkonong in Wisconsin, the Waconia Patriot reported.

The current world record – set last year by Myers’ friend, Robert Gull – is 128.06 mph. Organizers of the Feb. 7 event plan to be on the ice from about 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. In the world record attempt, Myers is working with Ryan Suchanek, the original holder of the fastest wheelie on ice. Suchanek outfitted Myers’ Kawasaki H2 with studded tires specially designed to grip the ice.

Shed with farm equipment burns near Silver Lake

The Silver Lake Fire Department battled a machine shed fire at the David Pokornowski residence on 228th Street, northeast of Silver Lake at about 2:20 a.m. Sunday (Jan. 24), the McLeod County Chronicle reported.

Pokornowski used the 50-foot-by-100-foot shed for a tractor and implement repair business. The cause of the fire is unknown, but an initial investigation points to the heating system. Firefighters from Silver Lake and three other area departments were on the scene until about 7:30 a.m.

Hutchinson school bus possibly shot with BB gun

Hutchinson police are investigating an incident involving a school bus in which a window may have been shot out with a BB gun Jan. 21, KDUZ reported.

Hutchinson School District Superintendent Daron VanderHeiden said the district received a report of an alleged incident that took place near the Hutchinson Middle School. The alleged incident involved at least one Vision Transportation bus. Potentially, a BB gun may have been fired toward a moving bus, breaking a window. A student is reportedly being treated for minor injuries due to the glass breakage.

Guitar of Vietnam vet arrives in Buffalo 45 years late

In 1970, Dan Husom of Buffalo, who had been serving in Vietnam on a land base for Navy electronic reconnaissance aircraft, purchased a Mosrite electric guitar in Japan for about $300, the Wright County Journal-Press reported.

The guitar was to be shipped home by a friend, but didn’t arrive until Dec. 3, 2015. Today, the guitar could be worth $6,000 to $7,000. When Husom received the guitar, there was $1,000 inside the case. Three days later, he received a note from the friend, saying “I hope you can forgive my procrastination.”

Drugs found at Annandale foster home; license revoked

An Annandale adult foster care home recently had its license revoked after authorities found evidence of drug use at the facility, the St. Cloud Times reported.

Two vulnerable adults had been living in Rita Rudnitski’s large farmhouse. A staff person was arrested in August 2015 after selling 17 grams of methamphetamine in May to an informant with the Central Minnesota Violent Offenders Task Force. In October 2015, a family member of the staff person was arrested when a bag containing drugs was found at the house. The center’s license was temporarily suspended Oct. 30. In November 2015, another family member was arrested and tested positive for methamphetamine use. Later that month, a search warrant at the facility led to the discovery of more than 86 grams of meth and drug paraphernalia.