Newsletter: Friday, February 9th, 2024

Newsletter: Friday, February 9th, 2024

--Little Falls City Administrator announced that at Monday’s council meeting the Council approved changing the utility billing cycle to align to their billing cycle with each month. The billing cycle before was from the 10th to the 10th and then bills were due on the 5th, example the bill due February 5th was for consumption from December 10th to January 10th, the change will go into effect starting in March and will account for the consumption from January 11th to February 29th, and the bill will be due March 25th. Moving forward the next cycle will be March 1st to March 31st due April 25th. There will have a grace period on this change until June, during the grace period we will not charge late penalties or do disconnects for those that are two months behind or over $200 behind on their bill. Questions can be directed to Little Falls City Hall at 320-616-5500.

--Mille Lacs County Sheriff Kyle Burton said the investigation into the hit-and-run death of Dr. Cathy Ann Donovan of Onamia is one of the more tech heavy they’ve had recently. Court records show investigators looking at Donovan’s death found a person of interest by using technology to search the suspect vehicle and cellphones. Putting all of that together, along with results aimed at recovering DNA from the suspect vehicle, is likely to take time. Burton said he didn’t have an exact estimate but just getting the DNA back alone can take weeks. Burton noted the suspect denied he struck Donovan and finding information to suggest the contrary would be problematic for the man. The suspect also said he never heard about the case. If he has text messages to the contrary, that would again be problematic. Burton said with all the publicity surrounding the case, he finds it hard to believe the suspect never heard of it. Burton said what initially pointed the investigative team toward the suspect was a cell tower dump warrant to look at all the cell phones active in that area. Then it took whittling down that massive amount of information to what vehicles were registered to those people. “This particular one, this Tesla X is a very similar vehicle to that photo that we had released previously to the media that we were looking for a vehicle of interest, and it matches very closely, this particular person that he has a cabin, supposedly up in the Brainerd lakes area and says he was likely driving, likely driving through that area on his way to the cabin, and says he drives that route quite frequently according to cell phone records.” The warrant was to search and seize a 2022 Tesla Model X, keys and a cell phone, along with any related forensic evidence such as blood, hair, fibers, latent fingerprints and trace evidence. The Tesla belongs to a 42-year-old Edina man, who hasn’t been named and has not been charged.

--Weekend events include the Mardi Gras event tonight at St. James Church in Randall. Tickets had to be purchased in advance. There is a soup and sandwich event after the 4pm Mass Saturday at Sacred Heart in Flensburg. Soup supper at the St. Francis Convent in Little Falls 4:30-7pm Saturday with many soups, bread and desserts, tickets sold at the event Saturday or today at the gift shop. St. Ann's Mission Quilt Bingo at the Sobieski Community Center at 1pm Sunday. Knight of Columbus District Level Free Throw Competition will be Sunday at Upsala High School starting with registration around 11:30am. Also the Vintage Snowmobile Race in Cushing on Saturday is now an all-wheel event for vehicles on land due to lack of snow and ice. More details on events at

--Today will be the final shift for Little Falls Police Chief Greg Schirmers who announced he retirement after 25 years with the Little Falls Police Department. Schirmers said his final shift would be into February 10th. The City Council announced that Assistant Police Chief Kyle Johnson will take over until a full time police chief is selected.

--A Royalton man has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for producing child pornography. The U.S. Attorney's Office says 35-year-old Andrew Groen contacted a minor victim using a texting app and coerced the child into sending sexually explicit photos. He pleaded guilty to a federal charge of producing child pornography in August. The case was a result of an investigation by the FBI and police.

--A single-vehicle crash South of Avon sent the driver to the hospital Tuesday. The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office was notified of the crash just before 1pm. A 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by 72-year-old Kathleen Cvancara of Cold Spring was northbound on County Road 50 when the vehicle left the road and hit a utility pole. Cvancara was
wearing a seatbelt and was sent to an unnamed hospital.

--The Minnesota Association of Townships (MAT) is proud to announce its 2024 Scholarship Program, which will award up to five $2,000 scholarships to high school juniors. The Scholarship Program is designed to heighten awareness among young people about Minnesota’s grassroots township government. All students currently enrolled in 11th grade and attending a Minnesota public, private, or parochial school, or a home-study program, are eligible to apply for this program. Applicants should submit a written essay using critical thinking on the topic of promoting awareness of township government by June 1, 2024. Winners will be chosen by an independent panel of judges and will be notified in September 2024. For more information and application details, call 1-800-228-0296 or visit the MN Association of Townships website.

--The Minnesota State Fire Marshal has released an initial statement on the fire that destroyed Minnesota's oldest resort. They say by state statute hotels, motels, and buildings used for lodging, with six or more guest rooms for short-term rentals, are inspected for fire safety once every three years. The last inspection for Lutsen Resort Lodge took place in July 2023. They found seven violations, four of which were repaired by the property owner. The Fire Marshal says it is too soon in the inspection to know if any of the outstanding violations played a role in the fire as their investigation continues.

TODAY= cloudy skies, scattered snow showers, steady temps in 20s.
TONIGHT= mostly cloudy skies, low around 18.
SATURDAY= partly cloudy skies, high 26, low around 17.
SUNDAY= sunny skies, high near 32, low around 22.
MONDAY= sunny skies, warmer, high near 40, low near 26.

HS BBB= Little Falls at Willmar Saturday 6pm on Q92 WYRQ.
LFCHS= LFCHS announced that Little Falls High School Senior Isaac Olson has committed to play football at Northern Michigan University. Dylan is the son of Ryan and Sarah Olson of Little Falls.
NFL= Super Bowl 58 is Sunday with kickoff at 5:30pm in Las Vegas with Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers. Full coverage begins at 1pm Sunday on AM960 KLTF and