A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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WILLMAR, Minn. — When he looks at the herd of 100 Angus cows and their frisky spring calves grazing in a pasture of belly-high grass, Cullen Fischer still can't believe his lifelong dream of raising cattle is coming true. "It's kind of a pinch-me thing," said the 31-year-old from Lake Lillian about his good fortune of taking over ownership of the well-established cow-calf operation from a retired farmer he met just a few years ago — a man who will continue to be his mentor.
WILLMAR, Minn.—Efforts were underway Friday morning, July 6, to move a bog on Norway Lake in northern Kandiyohi County. The bog is currently impeding boat traffic through the channel between Games Lake and Norway Lake, north of Willmar. A floating bog estimated to be the size of a football field had first entered the narrow channel between the two popular recreational lakes in 2016. Last month, a crew led by Kevin Lundberg was able to remove a 20- to 30-foot-wide section of the bog to create an opening wide enough to allow passage by some boats.
WILLMAR, Minn. — Federal weapons charges have been filed against a Willmar man who had been set to face a jury trial on similar charges later this month in Kandiyohi County. Chad Monson, 46, made an initial appearance Tuesday afternoon, June 12, in U.S. District Court in St. Paul on 18 federal charges, including possession of machine guns, possession of machine guns with obliterated serial numbers, possession of unregistered destructive devices described as pipe bombs and possession of unregistered silencers.
SPICER, Minn. — A historic Spicer community landmark that operates as a restaurant and bed and breakfast on the southeast shore of Green Lake is closing and is for sale. The change could bring an end to the 123-year ownership of the Spicer Castle by the family of the man who built the structure and helped found the town that bears his name. "This is the last season the Spicer Castle will be open," said Mary Latham, a fourth-generation member of the John M. Spicer family who has owned the classic old lake home since 1895.
WILLMAR, Minn. — About the time west-central Minnesota farmers were ready to plant sugar beets and pick up seed corn from the co-op, there was a blizzard whipping across the state. The late spring storm and lingering cold temperatures kept frost deep in the ground and kept farmers out of the fields in April. "We should've been planting peas that week and instead we had a blizzard," said Jamie Vanderweyst, Farm Service Agency director for Meeker County. But once May arrived with warm temperatures, farmers hit the ground running and quickly made up for lost time.
NEW LONDON—Since Oct. 4, 2010, Rick and Tracy Clark have been on a journey that every parent of every military service member hopes they don't have to take. That's the day their 22-year-old son, Ryane, was killed by enemy fire while serving with Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Knowing that other Gold Star families have also walked in their shoes, the New London couple will lead a three-day, 44-mile walk this weekend on the Glacial Lakes Trail to honor the 109 Minnesota service members killed in action since 9/11.
SPICER, Minn. — Artwork for a new speciality Minnesota license plate honoring law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty was created by Spicer artist Michele Steffen. The new plate will be available soon through state Driver and Vehicle Services offices. Money raised through the additional license plate fees will help support families of Minnesota's fallen officers.
WILLMAR, Minn — The weekend blizzard, which caused church, school and community events to be canceled and kept many people hunkered down Saturday and Sunday, April 14 and 15, dropped record-breaking snow in some parts of the state. This was a "historic storm" for the metro area and some communities south of U.S. Highway 12 — like Montevideo that reported as much as 20.5 inches of snow — said Lisa Schmit, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Chanhassen, Minn.
MONTEVIDEO, Minn. — A Paynesville man charged in the homicides of his grandparents last month in Stearns County was free on bail at the time from a 2017 case after his grandfather cosigned the bail bond. According to court documents, Thomas Bail Bonds Inc. had issued the $75,000 bond on behalf of Gregory Allen Scheel, who was charged in December with burglary, theft and escape from custody charges in Chippewa County. The company indicated that Scheel's grandfather, Wilbert Scheel, was the sole co-signer of the bond that got his grandson out of jail.
NEW LONDON, Minn. — The New London and Spicer communities are rallying around the family of Tim and Heather Shumaker following a car accident this past week that injured the mother and three of her children, including two who were airlifted to a Twin Cities hospital with one still dealing with life-threatening injuries. Eleven-year-old Nate took the brunt of the impact with the semi and suffered internal injuries and brain trauma and late this week was "fighting" and trying to breath and move. "We gave him to God," said the family.