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Area News

Feb. 15, 2016

St. Michael man sentenced for murders of father, brother

Christopher Besser, 22, of St. Michael was sentenced to 61 years in prison Feb. 5 at the Wright County Government Center in Buffalo for the murders of his father and brother, the Wright County Journal-Press reported. In addition, Besser was ordered to pay restitution of $19,200 to the Crime Victim’s Reparations Board. He could be eligible for parole after 41 years.

Besser’s father, Todd Besser, was an Elk River police officer. The murders took place at the Besser home in St. Michael May 9, 2015. Todd was shot and killed, followed by Chris’s brother, Blake, who called 911 before he died. Chris later called authorities and was taken into custody.

Montrose HS sweethearts celebrate 70th anniversary

Jay and Marie Rasset met while attending Montrose High School in 1942, and are now celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary, the Wright County Journal-Press reported.

They became engaged in 1944, after getting to know each other while Jay was home on leave from the Merchant Marines. They were married Feb. 23, 1946 at St. Mary of Czestochowa Church near Delano. Most of their married life has been spent on a farm between Montrose and Watertown, where they raised eight children. Today, they have 26 grandchildren, 40 great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren. Their 70th anniversary party, hosted by their children, will take place Sunday, Feb. 21 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Montrose Community Center.

Waconia ice arena under new management

The Waconia City Council approved turning the management of the city-owned Safari Island community center and ice arena over to a Virginia-based company, Rink Management Services, the Waconia Patriot reported.

City Administrator Susan Artz said the move is aimed at improving three aspects of the city-owned facilities – employee culture, guest experience, and fiscal health. The contract with Rink Management Services is for five years. The company will be paid about $4,000 per month to manage Safari Island and $3,000 per month to manage the ice arena. The company has agreed to hire all current employees.

Vehicles break through ice near Annandale

A few people driving their vehicles onto frozen lakes near Annandale recently discovered the hard way that this winter’s ice conditions have been unpredictable, the Annandale Advocate reported.

One truck broke through ice at the Clearwater Lake narrows entering Glendale Bay Feb. 3. Another vehicle fell through the ice on the north side of Buffalo Lake Jan. 31. Two vehicles, including one four-wheeler, broke through thin ice at the south access on Pleasant Lake the first week of February. Both were pulled out of shallow water without involving authorities, but the sheriff’s office came out to investigate conditions at the landing Feb. 5 and ultimately decided to close it down after finding just 4 inches of ice a short distance off the access ramp.

Meeker Co. Fair seeks more attendees with new carnival

The Meeker County Fair Board signed a contract in January with a new carnival operator in hopes of drawing more families to the fair amid a slump in attendance, the Litchfield Independent Review reported.

The contract with Amusement Attractions, the same company that provides rides and games at the McLeod County Fair, comes after last year’s attendance dropped to 13,765 people, down from 15,720 the year prior and 16,271 in 2013. Other updates for the fair are still being discussed by the fair board, but possible new events include mud volleyball, a meat smoking competition, a bean bag competition, and a kid’s movie night.

Buffalo Lake man arrested at SuperAmerica on warrant

A 32-year-old Buffalo Lake man was arrested at SuperAmerica, 1210 State Highway 7 W., about 3:27 p.m. Feb. 1. He was recognized by a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officer as someone sought on a McLeod County warrant, KDUZ reported.

The DNR officer called Hutchinson police to arrest Alexander W. Henning, who allegedly had failed to appear in McLeod County District Court on charges of driving after revocation, open bottle, failing to drive with due care, and the illegal transport of a firearm. It was determined that the 2004 Ford truck Henning was driving was not insured and did not have a registered owner. The vehicle was towed and impounded. Henning was unable to post $700 bail and was taken directly to the McLeod County Jail in Glencoe.

Cabin Fever Days event in Brownton Feb. 19-20

Brownton’s fifth annual Cabin Fever Days celebration is set for Friday, Feb. 19, and Saturday, Feb. 20, the McLeod County Chronicle reported.

The celebration opens Friday evening with two shows at the Brownton Area Civic Center gymnasium (the former Brownton school). Doors open at 7 p.m., and the first show starts at 7:30 p.m. Up first will be comedian Ron Lamprecht, a Brownton High School alumnus who entertains crowds coast to coast with his quick wit and self-deprecating style. There will also be a performance by a local country band, 2/3rds Minnesota, which features local musicians Josie Sanken of Brownton and Keenan Dummer of Glencoe, as well as Tyler Stehr and Mary Speerstra. There is a cover charge for the evening’s activities, and a cash bar will be available.

Hutchinson takes first step toward new hotel

The Hutchinson City Council approved Tuesday the first step in the process of allowing a new 54-unit hotel to be built in the city, KDUZ reported.

The council approved selling nearly 3 acres of city-owned property at the northeast corner of Highways 7 and 15 to Duluth-based Titanium Partners LLC for $1. Hutchinson Economic Development Authority Director Miles Seppelt said that at this time, he was not authorized to reveal the brand name of the hotel chain that wants to build, but said it was a mid-level hotel chain. Seppelt said the chain estimates the total cost to be just under $4 million.

Best Western hotel plans expansion in Monticello

Plans for a 21-room, three-story addition at the Best Western Chelsea Inn & Suites in Monticello recently received unanimous approval from the Monticello Planning Commission, the Monticello Times reported.

The next step will be for the request to be reviewed by the Monticello City Council Monday, Feb. 22. The renovation and expansion is designed to help serve Monticello’s growing need for upper mid-scale hotel rooms, based on current market studies, according to Joe Siefert, president of Miller Architects & Builders of St. Cloud.