Firemen from Paynesville, St. Martin and Lake Henry were called out to a barn fire around 2:30 Monday afternoon at the Randall Hemmesch farm 6 miles southwest of St. Martin. Hemmesch was not home at the time. The barn had 5000 bales of hay & straw. No Animals were inside. The large barn was a total loss and the cause of the fire is being investigated.

Monday night around 10:15 pm Litchfield Police arrested a 26 year old man from Litchfield on numerous charges, including terroristic threats, 2nd degree assault and threats with a replica firearm. He was arrested at an East 3rd Street home and is being held in the Meeker County Jail pending a court appearance.

As of this past Monday, landowners in 54 southern and Western Minnesota counties can once again submit applications to enroll in the Minnesota Conservation reserve Program. The voluntary program pays landowners to retire marginal cropland to create Permanent conservation easements to protect environmentally-sensitive land. The program is a state-federal program designed to improve water quality and conserve habitat. Contact the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources and the USDA Farm Service Agency for more info.

The Willmar City Council Monday night hired Brian Gramentz of New Ulm on an interim basis to serve as the City of Willmar’s Administrator. His first day will be June 11th . There were 2 unanimous votes for Gramentz, who will commute from New Ulm 3 days a week. The city will pay him for mileage and hotel lodging, along with an annual salary of $87,360, plus $70.00 an hour for any extra time put in. Gramentz has over 34 years of experience as a city manager or administrator. He was one of 9 applicants for the job. The search for a permanent administrator continues. Current Administrator Ike Holland’s last day is June 18th .

A chance for you to get better at handling your motorcycle takes place in Willmar on Saturday. An advanced motorcycle course will be held from 9-5. Scott Stephen, retired motor officer and one of the best instructors in the state will be in Willmar to teach the course, and a few openings are available. Contact Stephanie Felt with the Sheriff’s Office to get signed up.

The DNR is looking for volunteers for its loon monitoring program. The DNR has also launched a new online system that will help volunteers identify lakes available for monitoring. The sign up process will be easier, as will managing lake assignments, viewing information and printing datasheets. Lakes to be monitored are pre-selected by the DNR and will be monitored June 28th thru July 8th on a total of 150 lakes in Kandiyohi, Aitkin, Becker, Crow Wing, Cook, Itasca, Lake and Ottertail counties. Instruction, training, maps & more will be provided with a time commitment of 2-4 hours per lake. Go to www.mndnr.gov to find more information.

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