Last Friday afternoon around 3:30 the Renville County Sheriff’s Office got a call of a fire at Schweiss (swhise) Bi-Fold doors north of Hector. A fire in a wall of the robotic welding shop was discovered, believed to have started after a large outside gutter had been welded to the building the day before. No one was injured and a damage estimate has not been made yet. The business is owned by 65 year old Mike Schweiss of rural Hector.

A fire in New London last Saturday night at 413 Main St. South has left the family without a home. New London firemen were called out just before 11 pm. The home, across from the high school, had flames coming out of a bedroom window according to Fire Captain Mark Skindelin. One bedroom was destroyed and there was smoke damage throughout the
house. One person was home at the time and got out ok. The cause of the fire is being investigated. Crews were there until around 4 am Sunday. The family is now staying with


52 year old Melissa Bengston, also known as Melissa Zwart of Pennock, entered an Alford Plea to a felony charge of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult. Bengston was in court in Willmar last week, and will be sentenced on the 31st of January. An Alford plea means that she will not admit to committing the crime but thinks there is enough evidence against her to convict her. Charges say that she failed to pay bills for a relative who was in a Willmar nursing home and took the money.

Three men and a woman, all in their 20s, were arrested in Willmar after a search warrant was issued and police went through their home last Friday in the 300 block of Robert Street Southeast in Willmar. Drugs and stolen property were found and the case is still under


The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office reports several fish houses broken into on Stowe, Devils and Moon Lakes recently. A number of items were stolen after the houses were forcibly broken into. Reports are that the items were taken between midnight and sunrise. Police throughout the area remind you to not leave anything of value in the houses, and report anything suspicious to local authorities.

An accident Saturday morning around 10:30 sent two people to the Alexandria Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. A semi driven by 28 year old Logan Meyer of Swanville was turning off the freeway ramp onto highway 27. He pulled in front of an SUV driven by 56  year old Melissa Udomah of Balaton, who could not stop in time. Udomah and her passenger, 59 year old Greg Clater of Balaton were injured while the semi driver was not.

The Minnesota Department of Health says there is local geographic spread of influenza around parts of Minnesota. Last week there were 5 new school outbreaks, bringing the total this flu season to 20 schools. 6 people had to be hospitalized last week, bringing the total to 69 for the season. 2 of the hospitalizations were in West Central MN. Two people have died this flu season, both were elderly people.

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