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WILLMAR, Minn. - The Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office is investigating as a homicide the death of a 24-year-old Willmar man whose body was found Wednesday east of the city Sheriff Dan Hartog reported late Friday afternoon, Nov. 2. The victim has been tentatively identified as David Medellin Jr. and the cause of death ruled a homicide, according to the sheriff. The manner of death was not disclosed.
An Itasca County sheriff’s official who alleged retaliation after a wrongful termination dispute has received a payout in excess of $500,000. Lt. Michael Bliss filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the county in November 2016 — months after an arbitrator said his termination by Sheriff Vic Williams was unwarranted. Bliss and the county settled the case last month, averting a jury trial. Under the terms of the agreement, the county will be on the hook for $191,417.13, while insurance will cover another $330,000.
ST. PAUL - The Minnesota Board of Animal Health reported Thursday, Nov. 1, that it has identified H5N2 low pathogenic avian influenza in a Stearns County turkey flock in central Minnesota, making it the second case found in Minnesota this season. The low pathogenic avian influenza was detected in nearby Kandiyohi County turkey flock on Oct. 19.
WILLMAR, Minn. -- Kandiyohi County officials are investigating after a body was found in a Kandiyohi Township field Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 31. The Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office responded at 3:12 p.m. Wednesday to the scene near the intersection of 49th Street Northeast and 8th Avenue Northeast after receiving a call of a deceased person. The location is located about 4 miles from Willmar in a farmland area.
CALLAWAY, Minn. — Honor the Earth, a Minnesota nonprofit group led by Winona LaDuke, will get a scoop of funding through a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor dubbed “Pecan Resist.” LaDuke, executive director of Honor the Earth, joined Ben & Jerry’s to launch Pecan Resist on Tuesday, Oct. 30, in Washington, D.C., at the National Press Club.
ODANAH, Wis. -- The pilot of an Enbridge Energy helicopter died in a crash Monday night, Oct. 29, near Odanah in far northern Wisconsin. Ashland County received notice of an overdue flight at approximately 8:15 p.m. The helicopter was en route from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to Duluth — which is about 80 miles to the west.
CHISHOLM, Minn. -- A Chisholm city councilor was sentenced Monday in District Court in Hibbing following his conviction this summer on a gross misdemeanor charge related to a groping claim. Kevin R. Scaia, 51, was sentenced to two years of supervised probation and 30 days of jail or 60 days of community-related service.
WILLMAR, Minn. — A Willmar man who was convicted this spring of swindling $89,000 from a Willmar golf course where he worked at the time faces new charges in Benton County for allegedly forging two sizable checks last year from a golf course near Brainerd where he had worked. Phillip Andrew Sam, 33, made his first court appearance Monday, Oct. 26, on two felony charges of check forgery and offering forged checks. There was no bail set and he was released following the court appearance.
BEMIDJI, Minn. — A Moorhead man has been sentenced to just more than eight years in prison for a first-degree aggravated robbery in May in Bemidji when he held up a cell phone store with a handgun. Judge Paul Benshoof sentenced Ricky Lidel, 62, to 98 months, or eight years and two months, in prison. Lidel will be eligible for supervised release for a third of the sentence. He also received credit of 161 days for time served.
RED LAKE, Minn. — The FBI is investigating the deaths of two men in Redby on the Red Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota on Sunday, Oct. 21. According to FBI representative Mike Kulstad, victims Dustin Barrett, 26, and James Rojas III, 32, were involved in the single incident. “It remains an active investigation,” Kulstad said. Kulstad could not confirm what circumstances surrounded the deaths.