I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.
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BENSON, Minn. — A Benson man faces 11 felony charges of possessing child pornography in addition to two felony charges related to his alleged attempts to solicit sex with a minor through electronic communications. Bradley Christopher Alsaker, 33, was arraigned Monday in Swift County District Court on the 13 felony charges. His next court appearance will be Dec. 18 in Benson.
WILLMAR, Minn. — A Raymond man was sentenced on Wednesday, Oct. 11, to nine years in prison and 100 years on supervised release for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old and setting his home on fire. Kyle Clarence Rhoda, 48, of Raymond, pleaded guilty a month ago in Kandiyohi County District Court to second-degree criminal sexual conduct and first-degree arson.
WILLMAR, Minn. — Two Willmar Police Department officers are on standard administrative leave after an officer-involved shooting incident Sunday afternoon in northwest Willmar.
WILLMAR — Two men face felony and misdemeanor charges in connection with the alleged theft of a Pepsi pop machine in April from the front of the Drex Mart General Store in Lake Lillian. Dale Gary Greiner, 51, of Cosmos, and Justin Lamoine Hacker, 36, of Waite Park each face felony charges of theft and first-degree criminal damage to property, plus misdemeanor theft charges. The investigation involved deputies from three area sheriff's offices and was aided by a search warrant that had allowed placement of a tracking device on Greiner's vehicle.
WILLMAR, Minn. — After new seats have been installed in the auditorium at Willmar Senior High School, it will reopen in the fall as the Brau Performing Arts Center. The Willmar School Board approved the new name at its recent meeting. A grand opening and open house for the school's refurbished auditorium will be held in the fall.
WILLMAR, Minn. — Imagine living in a one- or two-room house made of mud bricks. The bricks are a terra cotta color, as is the dust that rises from the dirt path outside your door. Your closest neighbor probably lives only feet away in a community of a half million people, smashed into an area originally intended for 90,000. There's never enough to eat, and, sometimes, the little basic food you have is the currency used to obtain "luxuries" like tea, or underwear. You'd like to have a job but that isn't allowed.
WILLMAR, Minn. — A Willmar man who worked on a nearby dairy farm pleaded guilty Wednesday to kidnapping an 8-month-old baby in February from his ex-girlfriend. Angel Esparza-Mendez, 23, also known as Angel Esparza and Pedro Xavier Rivera-Lopez, has been held in the Kandiyohi County Jail in Willmar on $250,000 bail since his arrest Feb. 24. He is to be sentenced on the felony kidnapping with intent to terrorize conviction June 30.
WILLMAR, Minn. — Jeramy John Wharton of Belgrade was sentenced to 12 years in prison Tuesday for raping and impregnating a 14-year-old girl. Wharton, 38, pleaded guilty in March in Kandiyohi County District Court to first-degree criminal sexual conduct. He will be eligible for conditional release after serving 10 years of his sentence. Wharton was given credit for three days already served in jail and ordered to pay $3,090 in court and victim assistance fees from his prison earnings. He will be required to register as a predatory offender.
SPICER, Minn. — U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson said he has co-sponsored a bill to allow foreign agricultural workers to work legally in this country. However, the bill has not had a hearing in 15 years, he said at a town hall Saturday. State Rep. Dave Baker, R-Willmar, and state Sen. Andrew Lang, R-Olivia, joined Peterson in the 90-minute meeting. About 50 people attended the meeting at Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center in rural Spicer. The town hall started at the close of the center's Earth Day event.