Grass fire season is beginning. Firemen from Rockville were called out to a fire Wednesday at 12:50 pm near the corner of highway 23 and county road 6. The large fire was started by sparks or ashes from a burn barrel on the Mike Fanslau property. Around 2 acres of wetlands grass were burned and caused a hazard to highway 23 traffic for a short while. There were no injuries and no damage to any buildings nearby.

Local Police and departments all around the start will have extra enforcement on the roads beginning Monday, looking for distracted drivers, specifically people using cell phones while driving. This will be the longest enforcement period ever done by police since the annual April crackdowns on distracted driving began in 2010.

The Willmar brush site will open Saturday according to city officials. The site is located near the wastewater treatment plant west on highway 40 then south on 75th ST. for a mile then back to the right. The site, open only to city of Willmar residents, is open Monday, Wednesday & Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm and accepts only leaves, grass clippings, and
branches and brush smaller than 18” round No stump grindings are accepted. Neither is lumber or garbage, no plastic or boxes, and mechanical dumping, dump trucks & trailers aren’t allowed. Users can take finished compost from the site, but no mechanical loading is allowed. Firewood cannot be removed. The site cannot be used by contractors.

The DNR has issued a $500.00 reward for information that leads to a poaching case in Douglas County. A doe and a yearling white tail deer were shot and killed in northern Douglas County on March 25th . A report of someone shining and shooting at deer was reported that night, and a trumpeter swan was shot and killed in the same area the next morning. The animals were left at the scene. The incident happened in Millerville Township and the DNR is asking anyone with any info to come forward.

Meeker County Sheriff Brian Cruze says that the counties cold red emergency notification system will be tested Thursday April 11th at 1:45 pm in conjunction with the statewide tornado drill. There is no need to take action if you receive the call. The process will help
county officials to help improve the system. You can visit the website at co.meeker.mn.us and look up information. You can also find out how to create a code red account.

U.S. Senator Tina Smith will be in Willmar today to meet with advocates who work with older adults, to discuss efforts to help the regions elderly rural residents stay healthy and independent. Senator Smith will be at Bethesda Home & Health on Willmar Avenue
Southeast at 10:30 this forenoon to discuss her work on the older American’s act and her efforts in trying to lower the cost of health care and prescription drugs. Smith is a member of the Senate Health Committee.

Barns and other farm outbuildings were not the only ones damaged from this past winter’s heavy snow. At least 6 buildings on the Runestone Museum grounds in Alexandria suffered
damage. Three had water damage due to leaks, while three others had exterior log damage. The blacksmith shop appeared to have suffered the worst damage. No roofs collapsed. There are a total of 9 buildings on the grounds.

Republican State Senator Andrew Lang of Olivia says his party has come up with a $47.6 million dollar budget proposal that does not raises taxes for the coming two year period.
Lang calls it a starting point for negotiations with Democrats, who want to raise taxes despite a budget surplus and the state already being one of the highest taxed in the nation.. He pointed to gas prices, already .70 cents higher from the first of the year and no end in sight for the coming summer season, along with the fact that they want to raise the price by another .20 cents per gallon.

2 men from Ortonville were arrested Wednesday around 5 pm at Kentucky Fried Chicken in Willmar. Police were called after one of them had jumped the counter and was assaulting the staff at KFC. Arrested were 18 year old Steve Perry and 40 year old Louis Hodge. They were taken to the Kandiyohi Co. Jail. An employee suffered minor injuries from the incident.

18 year old Jesse Lopez was sentenced for his part in connection with a gang rape 2 years ago. Lopez, of Willmar, was sentenced to 10 days, which he has served, and will be on supervised probation for 5 years with conditions. Lopez had pleaded guilty earlier this year.

53 year old Sean O’Grady of Willmar was sentenced this past week after pleading guilty to disorderly conduct from an incident last fall in Willmar that happened in the 4000 block of 22nd Street Northeast. He had threatened a neighbor, and when police showed up he threw toys at them. O’Grady’s 60 day jail sentence was stayed and he’ll be on probation for a year and pay a $290.00 fine.

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