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WILLMAR — It was definitely an illuminating night on Oct. 2 for the first group of Willmar's Community Emergency Response Team trainees. In addition to learning search and rescue operations, the group had the opportunity to put out fires with fire extinguishers, part of the hands-on portion of the nine-week training course. Outfitted in CERT vests and hard hats, teams of two beat back fires started in the parking lot of the Willmar Fire Department.
WILLMAR — Loretta Simonet and Curtis Teague, as the folk duo Curtis & Loretta, have traveled the country sharing the music they love. Saturday night they will take to The Barn Theatre stage. In addition to being the first show they have ever performed in Willmar, this performance will be extra special because of a song Simonet wrote for the group's latest project. "I had the idea to make a CD about people who had extraordinary things happening in life," Simonet said.
LITCHFIELD — A second man and a woman have been charged in an alleged assault and robbery Sept. 28 in rural Grove City. The man who is the alleged victim in the case was punched, threatened with a rifle and had personal items taken from him by the suspects, court documents state. Benjamin Keith Berry, 32, of Lester Prairie, is facing felony first-degree aggravated robbery — liability for crimes of another and a misdemeanor charge of fifth-degree assault. He is in custody in the Meeker County Jail with unconditional bail set at $150,000.
WILLMAR — With just over three weeks remaining until Election Day on Nov. 6, the League of Women Voters of the Willmar Area continued to sponsor candidate forums Tuesday night, this time focusing on the races for the Minnesota House of Representatives in District 17A and 17B. Attending the forum were Republican incumbent Dave Baker, a Willmar business owner, and Democrat Anita Flowe, a mechanical engineer from Willmar, who are running for the seat in 17B.
BENSON — A candidate forum for the Minnesota House District 17A race is scheduled for 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16, at the Law Enforcement Center in Benson. Incumbent Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, and challenger Lyle Koenen, D-Clara City, have been invited to take part. The forum will be moderated by Reed Anfinson, publisher of the Swift County Monitor-News/Grant County Herald, and Sara Lundquist, morning show host and program director for 93.5 KSCR.
WILLMAR — The road closure of 19th Avenue Southwest between 22nd Street and County Road 5 in Willmar has been pushed back until Oct. 12 due to weather. Starting on Friday, traffic on that section of 19th Avenue will be detoured to Willmar Avenue Southwest. The road will be closed as part of a storm sewer project. The project is estimated to take two weeks, depending on the weather. It is expected that 19th Avenue Southwest will reopen to through traffic on Oct. 26.
WILLMAR — The 21-year-old Willmar man charged in the alleged kidnapping of a teen girl from her home is accused of handcuffing her and choking her until she blacked out. Jesse James Rhoades, 21, of Willmar, appeared Monday in Kandiyohi County District Court on three felony charges: second-degree assault, kidnaping — to commit great bodily harm/terrorize and false imprisonment — intentional restraint.
WILLMAR — If the local option sales tax is approved by Willmar voters in November, there will be $2 million raised for the Willmar Community Center. If that money becomes available, the city will need a plan on how to use it. Questions would include whether to tear down the current building and build completely new or possibly undertake a massive repair job. Also, people have asked if the current site is the best location or if the city should look elsewhere.
WILLMAR — Plans for a new 16-bed child and adolescent mental health hospital were approved Wednesday evening by the Willmar Planning Commission. The hospital will become the new home of Child and Adolescent Behavioral Services, currently housed on the MinnWest Technology Campus. The new facility will allow for more youth to take part in the programs offered, as well as give both clients and staff a state-of-the-art facility. "It is a highly regulated facility that will require a lot of specialty features," said Willmar City Planner Sarah Swedburg.
WILLMAR — The James House isn't literally rising from the ashes of the home it lost following a lightning strike in 2017. But, it is rising again, this time with a new location and a change in mission. "We do want to keep the James House going," said James House board chairman Dwayne Bonnema.