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Area News

Feb. 23, 2018

Litchfield man sentenced in assault involving chili

A 29-year-old Litchfield man has been sentenced to serve a year in jail after assaulting two women over some chili.

Justin Don Dechon will serve 365 days in the Meeker County jail for a felony domestic assault conviction. He received credit for 108 days already served.

Dechon’s sentence, imposed Feb. 14 by Meeker County District Court Judge Michael J. Thompson, includes a stay on a 27-month prison sentence. As long as he follows the terms of his five years of supervised probation, he won’t have to serve the prison time.

McLeod County receives grant for election equipment

McLeod County has received a grant of $52,024 to purchase new voting equipment, the McLeod County Chronicle reported.

The county will need to match the grant with a minimum contribution of $36,484.

County Auditor/Treasurer Cindy Schultz said she hopes to have the new equipment in place for use at the Tuesday, Aug. 14 pirmary election.

A question that needs to be answered, according to Schultz, is how or if local precincts – townships, cities, and school districts – should contribute to the local match toward the cost of the equipment.

Waconia Theatre closed for interior renovation

Waconia Theatre is closed now for a complete transformation to an “Emagine” theatre, the latest movement in movie viewing, the Waconia Patriot reported.

When the theatre reopens early this spring, moviegoers will be able to recline in large leather seats, choose from concessions beyond popcorn and candy, and even enjoy beer, wine, or cocktails.

In the lobby, there will be a stone fireplace, and the old carpeting will be replaced with a modern aggregate floor. The candy counter will be expanded to include a complete dining menu.

Two sex offenders will live in Litchfield after their release

Two registered sex offenders will take residence in rural Litchfield after their release Friday, the Litchfield Independent Review reported.

The Meeker County Sheriff’s Office reported that Delbert Edward Tucker, 64, and Allen Ray Barth, 63, will live at a residence in the 23000 block of 570th Avenue in Litchfield Township beginning Feb. 23. Both will be released from the Minnesota Sex Offender Program.

Neither Tucker nor Barth are wanted by law enforcement at this time, and both have served the sentence imposed on them by the court, according to Meeker County Sheriff Brian Cruze.

McLeod Co. votes 3-1 for engineering study on bridge

The McLeod County Board of Commissioners voted 3-1 to spend up to $19,050 for a engineering study to design a bridge on the Dakota Trail between County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 1 and the Carver County line, the McLeod County Chronicle reported.

Commissioner Doug Krueger voted against the motion. Commissioner Paul Wright was absent.

McLeod County Highway Engineer John Brunkhorst said he would like to consider a bridge rather than a proposal of two culverts to raise the trail bed. He said there were water issues in the area, and he would prefer “a clean span” rather than culverts, “so there is no pointing back to a culvert issue” if there is flooding in the area.

And although he didn’t have the exact costs at hand, Brunkhorst said the cost of a bridge as compared to culverts was pretty comparable.

Brunkhorst said the cost of the engineering study should be covered by the $650,000 Legacy grant the county received for the trail improvement project, but acknowledged that if construction costs take up that full $650,000, the engineering cost may not be covered.

Monticello remembers marching band director

Monticello recently mourned the loss of former marching band director Dave Thielman, who died Feb. 5 at the age of 77, the Monticello Times reported.

Known to many as “Monticello’s Music Man,” Thielman spearheaded the Monticello High School marching band’s 1983 appearance in the Tournament of Roses Parade at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA.

Thielman was a band director for 23 years, and later started Gateway Music Festivals & Tours.

He is credited with forming the Monticello High School marching band after being hired by the district in 1973.

GSL Schools to hire social worker instead of using co-op

Glencoe-Silver Lake School Board recently approved a recommendation to hire a social worker rather than renewing its contract with Southwest Central Service Cooperative (SWCS), the McLeod County Chronicle reported.

The change, recommended by Superintendent Chris Sonju, will help the district address changing needs at the elementary level.

Sonju noted the plan was to increase the social worker position from a .8 position to a 1.0 full-time position. By changing to a staff position rather than using the co-op, the district can save some of the cost to the school district.

New owners giving business a fresh start in Hutchinson

Hutchinson’s newest business owners may appear young, but both have years of customer service experience they will lean on as they take over Jimmy’s Pizza at 1115 State Highway 7, the Hutchinson Leader reported.

Joseph and Emily McKeown, a married couple of 21-year-olds, recently purchased the business from its previous owner, Tom Hanson.

Owning their own business and working together is something the couple said they’ve thought about a lot, even before they looked into buying Jimmy’s.

Joseph grew up in Shakopee and previously worked at a Papa Murphy’s. Emily is a Dassel native who managed a coffee shop and helped run the farmer’s market on her family’s acreage, Housman Farms.

State opens investigation into Frontier Communications

The Minnesota Department of Commerce has opened an investigation into Frontier Communications in the wake of widespread complaints, reported the Timberjay.

The Commerce Department posted notice of the investigation, and is asking customers of Frontier who have experienced problems with the company’s service quality, customer service, or billing practices to submit comments on their experiences to the state by May 25, at 4:30 p.m.

Members of the public have three options for commenting on their experiences with Frontier, including:

• Submitting comments through the Speak Up! function on the home page of the Public Utilities Commission’s website at mn.gov/puc. From there click on Open for Comment, which will provide a list of the dockets open for public comment. Look for docket number 18-122.

• Email comments to consumer.puc@state.mn.us, and reference the docket number, 18-122.

• Write a letter to the Public Utilities Commission, 121 7th Place East, Suite 350, St. Paul, MN 55101. Include the docket number in your correspondence.