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Sheriff Criticizes Wetterling Investigation Before Releasing Files

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09/21/2018 - 11:30 AM

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) - A Minnesota sheriff says opportunities were missed early on to catch the man who kidnapped and killed 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling in 1989.

Stearns County Sheriff Don Gudmundson said Thursday that the investigation "went off the rails" decades before the suspect was finally caught.
Danny Heinrich confessed to killing Jacob and led investigators to his remains in 2016. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison for child pornography.
The sheriff revealed that Heinrich was arrested at a bar in Roscoe, Minnesota, in February 1990, a few months after Jacob was kidnapped. But Gudmundson said inexperienced FBI profilers concluded after an interrogation that Heinrich did not abduct Jacob.
Former FBI agent Al Garber called the analysis unfair.
The sheriff spoke before releasing investigative documents that Jacob's parents had fought to keep private.

McKinley-Alternative Learning Center To Host Its Annual BBQ

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09/21/2018 - 11:15 AM

An annual BBQ is coming to Waite Park.

St. Cloud Area School District 742 says the McKinley Alternative Learning Center will be hosting its annual neighborhood BBQ.

Catering will be provided by Smoky South Kentucky BBQ and the Waite Park Police Department.

A fundraising bake sale will also be held, with desserts provided by Melrose Bakery.

The event will be held on Tuesday, September 25 from 4:30-6:30 p.m at the learning center at 218 8th Avenue North.

Metro Bus Proposes New On-Demand Ride Service

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09/21/2018 - 10:45 AM

Sartell residents struggling to make it to the bus stop could benefit from a proposed on-demand ride service.

Metro Bus says the new service ConneX would pick people up closer to their homes and drop them off closer to their destination. They're planning to pilot ConneX for six months starting January 2 to test the idea if it's approved by the Metro Bus Board of Commissioners in October.

There will be two open houses scheduled to show off the service trials to the public. These events will lay out the details of the proposal, show service maps, and allow the public to give feedback.

The first open house is scheduled for immediately after a Sartell city council meeting, during which Sartell and Metro Bus will present the idea.

The first open house will be held on Monday, September 24 from 8-8:30 p.m. at Sartell City Hall. The second will be held on Saturday, October 6 from 3-5 p.m. at the Sartell Community Center.

Wetterling Files To Be Released Thursday

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09/20/2018 - 9:45 AM

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) - The family of Jacob Wetterling is expressing condolences before investigative files on the 1989 abduction and killing of their son are released.

The Wetterling family issued a statement Wednesday saying, "Our hearts are hurt for anyone who is pained or hurt from the release of this file."
Stearns County authorities plan to release their investigative files to the public Thursday.
Jacob's parents, Patty and Jerry Wetterling, fought unsuccessfully to keep some documents private. But media organizations persuaded a judge that the documents were public information under state law because the investigation was over.
Jacob was 11 when he was abducted near his St. Joseph home in 1989. In 2016 Danny Heinrich confessed and led investigators to his remains. In a deal with prosecutors, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison for child pornography.

Watkins Man Extricated Thursday Morning From Stuck Car

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09/20/2018 - 9:00 AM

A man was extricated early Thursday morning after rolling his car into a ditch near Collegeville Township.

Stearns County Sheriff Don Gudmundson says at 1:15 a.m. 34-year-old Edwin Nelson of Watkins was driving south on County Road 50 near Fruit Farm Rd on a curved section. Nelson went into the ditch and hit a driveway approach, launching him into some trees on the other side.

Nelson came to rest between trees and a power pole and was trapped. County Road 50 was shut down while Nelson was extricated.

Nelson was taken to St. Cloud Hospital for his non-life threatening injures, the crash is currently under investigation.

St. Cloud Domestic Incident Ends With Three People Arrested

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09/20/2018 - 3:15 AM

St. Cloud Domestic Incident Ends With Three People Arrested

A domestic dispute in St. Cloud on Tuesday ended with illegal drugs being found and three people arrested

The Benton County Sheriff's Office says they received a report of a man wielding a gun in front of a house in the 1600 block of 2nd Street Southeast. When police arrived, they found 33-year-old Candice Counter of Sauk Rapids and 53-year-old Eric Robertson of St. Cloud sitting in a car outside. Inside the home, they found 50-year-old homeowner Carlos Mendoza of St. Cloud and another woman.

A quick investigation found that Counter and Mendoza had recently broken up and Counter had showed up to remove her property from inside while Mendoza was gone. Mendoza then came home, which started a physical altercation. 

Counter told police that Mendoza came up to her with a gun and she attacked him to make him drop it. Mendoza denied her claim, saying that he never had a gun and that Counter had attacked him. Robertson was called by Counter once the situation escalated.

K-9 units were unable to find a gun, but were able to discover illegal substances in the car Counter and Robertson were in, which belonged to Robertson. A search found two baggies of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia in Counter's purse.

Mendoza and Counter were arrested for domestic assault charges, along with an additional controlled substance crime for Counter and Robinson. They are booked in Benton County Jail.

Little Falls Man With Outstanding Warrants Discovered In Car Containing Drugs

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09/20/2018 - 2:45 AM

Little Falls Man With Outstanding Warrants Discovered In Car Containing Drugs

A Little Falls man was arrested on Tuesday after being discovered in a car containing drugs.

The Benton County Sheriff's Office says that around 11:30 a.m. a deputy arrived at a house in Watab Township north of St. Cloud to conduct an investigation when he came across three people in a car parked in the driveway. The deputy was looking for someone to speak to and smelled marijuana coming from inside the car when he started talking to them. 19-year-old Willow Adkins-Bollig admitted to have been smoking and handed the deputy a container believed to be holding marijuana.

The front-seat passenger, 32-year-old Daniel Hoehle, lied about his identity when asked, claiming to be his twin brother. Once his name was found out, it was discovered he had two active warrants for his arrest.

A plastic baggie likely containing methamphetamine was removed from the car. Hoehle admitted to being the owner of the illegal substances.

Hoehle was arrested for giving a false name to police and possession of methamphetamine, along with his outstanding charges. He was taken to Benton County Jail. Adkins-Bollig was released at the scene after receiving a citation for possession of drug paraphernalia. 

Building Fire at St. Cloud Manufacturing Company

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09/20/2018 - 12:00 PM

Fire prompted a brief evacuation at a St. Cloud manufacturing company.

WestRock production manager Allen Mackedanz tells the St. Cloud Times that staff noticed flames at the base of an exhaust fan on the building's roof after the facility lost power for about 10 minutes on Thursday morning. The business is located at 655 41st Avenue North, just west of Highway 15.
He says no one was hurt, and employees later returned to work.

SCSU Art Magazine Taking Submissions

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09/20/2018 - 11:45 AM

 The St. Cloud State Writing Center is taking submissions for its Kaleidoscope Literary Arts Journal.

Kaleidoscope Staff say “To be accepted for publication, submissions must match the publication's multicultural theme, and must follow our guidelines…We are looking for submissions that offer a unique perspective of our world. This could  include, but is not limited to, different  racial and ethnic groups, LGBTQ communities, genders, ages,  physical and mental abilities, socioeconomic statuses, and family backgrounds and structures.” The magazine will accept submissions from staff and students.

To submit any work, send submissions to They’ll be accepting submissions through Monday, October 15th.

Stearns County to Recognize Purple Hearts

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09/19/2018 - 4:00 AM

 Stearns County will soon start recognizing veterans in the community in a new way. On Tuesday Stearns County announced they are now a Purple Heart Community. Assistant News Director Spencer Schacht has the Audio Story.

Sustainable Farming Association To Host Minnesota Salsa Fest In Long Prairie

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09/19/2018 - 10:00 AM

If you enjoy live music, food vendors, contests, and most importantly, salsa, then the Minnesota Salsa Fest is the perfect event for you.

The Sustainable Farming Association (SFA) says their Central Chapter is holding the event. It will feature music by the Stearns County Pachanga Society. 

The most popular event, however, is expected to be the salsa contest. People who attend can try out different salsas that contestants have brought and pick out their favorite.

The event will also include salsa-making demonstrations, samples of salsa ice cream, and vendors that will sell different kinds of salsa and farmers' market goods.

According to the SFA, the event comes as a celebration of all the local food that is grown in Central Minnesota.

The event will be held on Saturday, September 22 from 1-10 p.m at the Todd County Fairgrounds in Long Prairie. The salsa contest will run from 1-6 p.m. and the music will take place from 6-9 p.m. Admission is $5 a person and is free for children 12 and under. For more information, including an application to compete in the salsa contest, visit the SFA's website.


Telephone Scammers Reported In the St. Cloud Area

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09/18/2018 - 3:30 AM

Several scam calls have been reported in Stearns County.

The Stearns County Sheriff's Office says scammers have been calling people and telling them they have pending criminal charges and need to call the IRS otherwise they will be arrested.

The Sheriff's Office says these calls are fake and should be treated as attempts to steal your money. 

If you receive a call similar to the ones reported, hang up. You no longer need to report the call as there have been multiple reports of scam calls.

SCSU President Inauguration Date Set

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09/18/2018 - 1:15 AM

St. Cloud State University has set a date for the inauguration of the school’s 24th president, Robbyn Wacker.

The theme of the event is hope due to Wacker’s vision of rejuvenating a sense of hope and pride in the university. She has begun her first year as president on the school’s yearlong sesquicentennial celebration.

The ceremony will involve speakers such as Faye Hummel, a professor from Northern Colorado, and Minnesota Lieutenant Gov. Michelle Fischbach. Past university presidents and delegates from colleges across the country are also expected to attend.

The ceremony will be held on Monday, October 15th at 10 a.m. in the Ritsche Auditorium in Stewart Hall.

Medicare Cost Plans Will No Longer Be Available in Most Minnesota Counties

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09/18/2018 - 11:00 AM

Medicare Cost Plans Will No Longer Be Available in Most Minnesota Counties

Many counties in Minnesota, including Stearns County, will see changes to their Medicare plans starting in 2019.

Dr. Dan Trajano of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota says if you are on a Medicare cost plan, that specific plan will no longer be available at the beginning of next year. Cost plans are ending due to recent changes in federal law. The new law requires all health insurance companies to stop offering Cost plans in most Minnesota counties.

Only 21 counties will be keeping cost plans and those include:

  • Aitkin
  • Goodhue
  • Kanabec
  • Koochiching
  • Lake
  • Le Seur
    Mille Lacs
  • Rice
  • Rock
  • St. Louis
  • Sibley
  • Stevens
  • Traverse
  • Yellow Medicine

the Minnesota Blue Cross Blue Shield website also provides more information on what to do if you are one of the 400,000 Minnesotans who are affected by this new law.

Suspect Identified In Compound Bow Assault on Deputy

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09/17/2018 - 9:45 AM

Suspect Identified In Compound Bow Assault on Deputy

The 31-year-old man who shot Stearns County Deputy Paul Orvis has been identified.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says Ramey Olson of Alexandria was released from the hospital on Saturday and has been moved to Stearns County Jail on probably cause of felony assault.

Olson crashed into several cars and drove through several yards before entering an unlocked home, grabbing a compound bow, and shooting Orvis in the forearm.

The officers who fired their guns and taser during the incident have also been identified. Minnesota State Patrol Trooper Anthony Butler and Melrose Police Officer Patrick Nechanicky fired their weapons while Sauk Centre Sergeant Joseph Jensen fired his Taser at Olson in an attempt to subdue him. 

While all of the major figures of the case have been identified, the case is still under investigation by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the St. Cloud Police Department.

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