Newsletter: Thursday, November 16th, 2023

Newsletter: Thursday, November 16th, 2023

--Many Electric Companies and Public Utilities are sending out information on scams going around and tips on how to prevent them. The most common scams are phone calls or emails telling a customer that service is going to be shut off due to unpaid bills unless the customer immediately purchases a prepaid debit card, arranges for a transfer from bank accounts, or provides credit/debit card numbers to pay a bill. These scams often become more numerous as the heating season ramps up in November and energy bills rise. In some instances, phone scammers manipulate caller ID to display a fake number, which may display as your utility or power company phone number on your phone. These calls and emails are not from either company and should not be acted upon. Customers who think they are dealing with a suspicious call or email are advised to hang up immediately, not reply to or open the email, and call your power company if it is Minnesota Power at 800-228-4966 for most Little Falls customers. Anyone who feels they may have been a target of a payment scam should also contact their local police department. These types of scams are a nationwide problem and most power suppliers in Minnesota have joined forces with other utility companies through Utilities United Against Scams to help warn customers not to fall for them. Again if you have questions or concern contact your local power company or public utility for more information.

--One person was hurt in a two-vehicle crash in western Stearns County. The Minnesota State Patrol says the incident happened at about 3:30pm Tuesday. Both vehicles were going south on Highway 71 when they collided. Sixty-year-old Wayne Bechtold of Belgrade was taken to Glenwood Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Thirty-year-old Zachary Thorpe of Willmar was not hurt.

--A 22-year-old Baxter man who faced attempted murder and assault charges following an April 16 drive-by shooting in Brainerd was sentenced Monday, in Crow Wing County District Court. Ridge Austin James Kinney was charged April 18 in Crow Wing County District Court with several serious felonies, premeditated first degree attempted murder, second degree attempted murder in a drive-by shooting, first degree assault, second degree assault with a dangerous weapon, second degree assault causing substantial bodily harm and dangerous weapons violation in a drive-by shooting toward an occupied vehicle. Kinney appeared Monday from the Minnesota Correctional Facility-St. Cloud where the court informed Kinney and the state had reached a plea agreement. He was sentenced for violating the terms of release stemming from an October 2022 offense in which he was charged with second degree assault with a dangerous weapon and fleeing a peace officer. He was sentenced to serve 68 months in that case.

--Local events happening today includes the Scandia Valley Lions hosting their Thanksgiving Dinner 11:30am-1pm at the Scandia Valley Town Hall near Cushing, it is a free will offering for the Motley Food Shelf. CHI Health at Home Hospice is also having their chicken dinner fundraiser with a western theme with kids games, meal and fun to help raise money for Hospice care, 4:30-7pm tonight at the Little Falls VFW Post 1112. Questions call Blaine at 631-5575. More events have been posted at and click on community calendar.

--Another fall play for an area school. Swanville Schools present “Crumpled Classics” Saturday at 7pm and Sunday at 2pm in the Swanville school auditorium. Tickets purchased at the door.

--A Stearns County judge on Monday sentenced 38-year-old Alicia M. Lewis to seven years in prison for her role in the 2021 murder of a central Minnesota woman who was shot in the head and left on the side of the road. Lewis, who court documents list as from Alexandria, was charged with four felony counts in connection with the murder of Keisa M. Lange, who was found dead the morning of June 3, 2021, on the south side of St. Cloud. Lewis was one of four people charged with involvement in the homicide. She pleaded guilty to one felony count of aiding an offender as part of a plea deal that ensured she cooperated with the investigation and prosecution of others involved with the death of Lange and 28-year-old Janesa L. Harris, who was found dead in her St. Cloud apartment the day before Lange was found shot to death. On Monday, Judge Heidi Schultz sentenced Lewis to seven years in prison with credit for 886 days served, and ordered her to pay part of the $38,300 joint restitution ordered jointly with Angela R. Jones and DeAntae D. Davis, who were also convicted for their roles in Lange's death.

--A house fire Tuesday afternoon led to the death of two dogs and a cat. The St. Cloud Fire Department was sent to a house fire in the 300 block of 32nd Avenue North at about 1:45pm. Officials arrived to find a large amount of smoke coming from the eaves and windows of the home. The back door had already been forced open and a dog had been removed by a neighbor. The fire was put out, but the home had heavy fire damage in the attic and kitchen, and smoke damage throughout the rest of the home. No people were injured, but two dogs and a cat died in the fire. The fire is currently under investigation by the Office of the Fire Marshal.

--Two turkeys from central Minnesota have been selected to be pardoned at the White House. Though people sent turkeys to the White House for years, the long standing tradition of the official national turkey presentation in Washington, D.C. began 76 years ago with President Harry Truman, when the National Turkey Federation provided the first. The Jennie-O Turkey Store in Willmar will provide the two birds. After the pardon, they will live the rest of their days at the University of Minnesota campus farm in St. Paul. According to the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association, the state has been one of the top producers in the country and is also home to the largest number of independent turkey farmers in the U.S.

--Darwin Binek, age 71 of Upsala.

TODAY= partly sunny and turning very breezy, high near 60.
TONIGHT= clearing skies, gusty winds and colder, low 22.
FRIDAY= sunny skies, breezy in AM hours, then lightening, high 41.
SATURDAY= sunny skies, warmer, high near 50, low near 30.
SUNDAY= sunny skies, high near 48, low near 27.

COL FB= Gophers travel to #2 Ohio State Saturday at 3pm.
NFL= Vikings are at Denver on Sunday night football, pregame coverage begins at 6:30pm Sunday on AM960 KLTF.
HS FB= state semi-finals today include Ottertail Central vs. Nevis, Byron vs. ROCORI as the Class 9-man, Class 4A has one semi-final and Class 6A has one semi-final today, more Friday and Saturday.