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Area News

Oct. 12, 2015

Litchfield mother concerned after daughter was assaulted

The mother of a Litchfield High School senior says her daughter still suffers from headaches and neck pain after a brutal Sept. 24 assault, the Litchfield Independent Review reported.

As of last Monday, the daughter had not returned to school or work, according to her mother, who asked not to be identified out of concern for her family’s safety. Four people were arrested in connection with the assault, though only one, 17-year-old Cassidy Patzold of Litchfield, has been charged. Meeker County Attorney Brandi Schiefelbein said her office is still reviewing police reports for three others, who were released from custody Sept. 25 without being charged.

Orono man jailed for wind turbine conflict

In the latest chapter of legal conflict between the Nygard family and the City of Orono, Jay Nygard was found to be in contempt of court Oct. 2, and sent to jail, Press & News reported. He spent five days in a short-term facility in Minneapolis before being released the afternoon of Oct. 6.

The source of this conflict is a wind turbine that once stood on the Nygard’s property in Orono. The largest turbine has now been removed, but three smaller turbines still stand. The concrete footing for the largest turbine was problematic to excavate, due to its proximity to Nygard’s house. Engineers advised against taking the footing out, for fear of further damage to the house’s foundation.

Buffalo man’s engine wins Minnesota Cup award

An engine designed by Mark McNitt of Buffalo took first place (a $30,000 prize) in the Minnesota Cup clean technology and energy division, the Wright County Journal-Press reported.

The StreamLine Engine has an opposed piston configuration, and the pistons are guided and rotated by “cam rollers” sliding along curved “cam paths.” McNitt, who has a degree in aerospace engineering, had worked at a defense contracting firm in Fridley and at Remmele Engineering in Big Lake before starting his own company, Stratetek, about three years ago. He came up with the design for the StreamLine Engine in his spare time at home.

McLeod Co. Board considers ‘town square’ in Glencoe

The McLeod County Board gave its OK Tuesday to allow Glencoe Area Vitalization Initiative (GAVI) to develop plans to convert a lot northwest of the courthouse into a town square, the McLeod County Chronicle reported.

The idea is for the square to attract people to the community and provide a place for people to gather downtown. Potential plans may include a band shell and picnic tables. County Attorney Mike Junge voiced concern over the proposal, stating that the county acquired the property for potential future growth of the courthouse. Commissioner Doug Krueger said he will keep the board updated as the proposal progresses.

Abandoned Waconia kitten rescued from compactor

Abandoned, cold, and just 2 days old, a little black and white kitten named Oscar had nowhere to turn when he was rescued from a recycling compactor on a chilly morning in early September, the Waconia Patriot reported.

Luckily, workers at the Adult Training and Habilitation Center (ATHC) heard him and quickly brought him inside to safety. According to ATHC manager Elysia Hillyer, the kitten still had his umbilical cord. She cared for the kitten round the clock, and Oscar is now old enough that he doesn’t need to be fed every two hours. Hillyer noted that ATHC helped Oscar survive, like the facility helps adults with disabilities.

Annandale woman attends school for the blind

Lynda D’Heilly has traveled a dark path since losing her sight, but two years after brain surgery to remove a benign tumor destroyed her vision, she is about to graduate from a school for the blind with renewed confidence in her ability to navigate everyday life, the Annandale Advocate reported.

D’Heilly has spent most of the past year living in Minneapolis while attending classes, returning home on weekends to spend time with her husband, Gary, and their two teenaged children. After graduation this month, she’ll be back home full time and returning to work at the family business, D’Heilly Engineering.

Former homeless family doing well in Monticello

After losing their home in Belgrade in 2011, Tanya Barkhausen and her two young sons had reached their end, an article from the Salvation Army noted. Barkhausen, a certified nursing assistant, had been battling cancer, mental health issues, and a serious back injury.

After spending two months at a shelter, Tanya and a Salvation Army social worker applied for Shelter Plus Care, a US Department of Housing program offering permanent supportive housing for parents with a dual-diagnosis disability. Today, Tanya works part time at Walmart, she has remarried, her sons are getting good grades, and she has a 2-year-old daughter.

Body found in Mississippi River in Otsego

The body of an adult male has been recovered from the Mississippi River in the city of Otsego, according to Wright County Sheriff Joe Hagerty.

The body was discovered at about 11:30 a.m. by volunteers assisting in the search for Joseph Brunn, who went missing from the area Oct. 3.

The body was found about 300 yards south of the Highway 101 Bridge and 30 feet from shore. It was transported to the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office for identification and an autopsy. The circumstances surrounding the death of this individual are under investigation by the Wright County Sheriff’s Office.

Two Hutchinson volunteers honored by 3M

3M honored Art Kasal and Tim Welsch, both of Hutchinson, as two of 30 individuals worldwide to receive the 3Mgives Volunteer Award in a ceremony Sept. 21 in St. Paul, the Hutchinson Leader reported.

This award is given in recognition of outstanding employee and alumni volunteers who are devoted to improving and enriching lives in their community. In the name of each recipient, 3M will donate $1,000 to the nonprofit of his or her choice. Kasal is giving his donation to the backpack program at Hunger Free McLeod, and Welsch is directing his donation to Kathy Nordby, West Elementary’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) room teacher.