35 year old Caleb Blue, also known as Caleb Jorgenson of Willmar, and 51 year old Lori Gafkjen, formerly known as Lori Glesne, of Brooten, are charged in the murder of David Medellin Jr. of Willmar. In a crowded courtroom in Willmar yesterday, Blue was charged with a count of 2nd degree murder-with intent-not premeditated. Blue’s bail is $2 million unconditional and $1 million with conditions. Gafkjen Is charged with 2 counts of aiding an offender-an accomplice after the fact, and one count of aiding to avoid arrest, all felony counts. Her bail is a half a million without conditions and a quarter million with conditions. Blue & Medallin had allegedly been seen at Jackpot Junction Casino on October 25th-with Blue supposedly driving back to the Willmar area, forcing him out of the car and stabbing him. Blue then called Gafkjen to pick him up-she took him to the Glenwood hospital for a cut hand. Gafkjen was later arrested in a hotel parking lot in the Twin Cities area. Blue was arrested after jumping out a hotel window and trying to get to his car. Reports say that Blue and Gafkjen met when he was in jail in Willmar and she worked as a corrections officer for the county. Both will be in court again later this month.
If you have any Duncan Hines cake mixes in your cupboard you may want to check them. 5 salmonella illness cases have been reported and 4 cake mixes are being recalled, including classic white, classic yellow, classic butter golden and signature confetti, all in the 15.25 ounce size from Duncan Hines. All have best if used by dates ranging from March 7th to March 13. The FDA investigation is ongoing. You can google the Centers for Disease Control or the Food & Drug Administration for more information.
A break in at a garage in southwest Willmar yesterday morning around 5:30 in Willmar resulted in a juvenile being arrested. Sheriff’s deputies used a drone and the K-9 unit to help find the burglar. The incident happened on 75th Avenue Southwest in Willmar. Another garage break in happened yesterday morning around 8:15 in southwest Willmar, this one on Highland Road. Guns and other items were stolen.
A two vehicle accident in Alexandria yesterday injured 3 people. An SUV driven by Ron Berneking of Farwell was headed west on 34th avenue when another car driven by Payton Edevold of Bagley turned in front of him. Berneking and a passenger, as well as Edevold, suffered non-life threatening injuries. All were wearing seat belts.
Janelle Negen has been hired and is now working as the executive director of the Glenwood Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce. Negen was previously the 4-H coordinator for the University of Minnesota’s 4-H extension. She replaces Scott Forsmo, who resigned after ten years to pursue other work. Negen, who studied at NDSU and the U of M, has both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Also of note, current executive director of the Glenwood Lakes Area Welcome Center Kay Blauert, will remain in her position.
Yesterday morning around 4:25, Stearns County Sheriff’s Officials were called about a fire behind the Cenex gas station in St. Martin. Firemen from St. Martin, Albany and Lake Henry responded, finding the shed totally engulfed in flames and about 30 to 40 feet from several large fuel tanks. The wind was blowing the right direction and the fire was controlled enough to keep the tanks from exploding. No evacuations were needed either. Half of the burned building was used as a maintenance shop and the other half was used as a place to store seed corn.
Noxious fumes at a pig barn 5 miles south of Sauk Centre on 415th Avenue sent two men to the hospital around 6:30 Wednesday evening. Robert Alverson, 27, of Osakis and 31 year old Brad Kettering of Glenwood had been working in the barn when they noticed around 50 dead pigs. After ventilating the area they became ill, showing signs of hazardous gas exposure and were taken to the Sauk Centre Hospital to be treated. Firemen, ambulance personnel and the HazMat team from St. Cloud found no hazardous fumes and believe it was hydrogen sulfide gasses that caused the illness and the death of the pigs. Owner of the barn, Paul Fiedler of Sauk Centre said the barn contains about 5,000 pigs overall.
Construction work on a water control structure on Hurricane Lake Wildlife management area in Cottonwood County may interfere with hunting and other recreational activities this fall. Water levels have also been temporarily lowered up to one and a half feet. The DNR is working with Ducks Unlimited and other partners to do the modifications on the structure that was installed back in 2010. The goal is to eliminate the odor that occurs in the spring, which is a sulfur smell. The work will help prevent a discharge of the water down the outlet pipe prior to ice out.
With colder temps this week, the Minnesota Department of Public Health reminds you check carbon monoxide alarm is working properly. By law, alarms must be placed within ten feet of each room used for sleeping. And a general rule of them is to replace them every 5 years or according to the manufacturer’s instruction. The Dept. of Health also strongly recommends having your furnace and wood burning stove checked for safe operation and proper ventilation.
With Veteran’s Day on Sunday, a number of area events will be taking place, including a Veteran’s Day Supper at the community center in Clara City with a social hour at 5, and dinner at 6. Cost is a free will donation. Sibley State Park invites you to join a Naturalist Sunday from 11 am until noon to remember and honor all Veteran’s with West central Minnesota ties. The land at and around Sibley was a site of conflict during the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. Meet at the Lakeview Campground Sunday at 11 am. There’ll be a free dinner for Veteran’s and guests Monday from 11 :30 until 1 pm at the Willmar American Legion. Locally grown turkey and donated wild game will be served. Veteran’s, wives, vets widows and caregivers are all welcome.
The Kandiyohi County Historical Society has a West Central Minnesota World War One exhibit on display through the end of the month. The Museum is on North Business 71. And the Jon Linstrand collection of over 6,000 military items dating back to the Civil War are on display at the War Memorial Auditorium in downtown Willmar tomorrow, Monday and Tuesday from 8 am to 8 pm. There is no charge to get in. A special program Sunday night at 7:30 features Rear Admiral Thomas Luscher, Commander of the Navy reserve Forces Command.