Archive for Hot Topic

Dassel-Cokato Schools closing early today

DASSEL, COKATO, MN – Dassel-Cokato Schools are closing at 1:30 p.m. today (Monday, Jan. 22) due to inclement weather.

All practices are cancelled for today. Middle school conferences have also been cancelled.

Truck falls through ice on Lake Washington

DARWIN TOWNSHIP, MN – A pickup truck broke through thin ice on Lake Washington in Darwin Township yesterday evening (Jan. 11), according to a press release from the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office.

The driver of the 2003 Ford Ranger, Alexander Madsen, 25, of Litchfield, and his passenger, Thomas Wold, 26, of rural Darwin, were able to get out of the water and walk to shore for help.

“We are both lucky to be alive,” Wold said.

Wold posted on social media that he and Madsen had been on the lake to check on the fish houses when the ice suddenly broke out from under them and the truck began to roll to the passenger side. Wold noted that Madsen was able to jump out onto the ice, but Wold was pinched between the door and was getting pulled under. Wold said Madsen grabbed hold of him, pulling him back onto the ice.

They were able to dial 911, and the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched at 7:28 p.m. When the sheriff’s deputy arrived, Wold and Madsen were walking toward the shore, near 233rd Street. The sheriff’s office stated that Madsen and Wold were treated on scene by Gold Cross Ambulance. The Dassel Fire Department and Litchfield Rescue also assisted at the scene.

The pickup truck was fully submerged in the lake, and attempts to locate it were unsuccessful, according to the sheriff’s office. The sheriff’s office urges the public to be careful on Lake Washington. Thin ice signs are posted at the public water access locations.

Look for more details in the Friday, Jan. 19 edition of the Enterprise Dispatch.

Scam calls on the rise in Dassel

DASSEL, MN – Two scam phone call attempts were reported in Dassel Tuesday morning, reflecting a growing trend in the area recently.

One was a Lottery scam, in which the person is told to pay taxes or a fee up front, in order to receive millions of dollars.

“We always tell people to be cautious of anyone calling to give you a prize if you pay something up front,” Meeker County Sheriff Brian Cruze noted. “If you truly won a prize, especially a lottery or one worth millions, you are not going to get a phone call requiring you to pay a fee up front to get the prize.”

The other scam was a caller claiming to be an IRS agent, demanding payment for past-due taxes. Cruze noted that this scam often involves the caller threatening the person with arrest if they don’t make the payment.

“We have seen an increase in scam calls with the holiday season approaching,” Cruze noted.

Another scam that has cost some local residents thousands of dollars is one in which the caller claims to be a police officer, Cruze noted. The caller tells the person a relative is in jail, and the only way to get them out is to buy gift cards and give them the gift card’s Personal Identification Number (PIN).

“Law enforcement does not make calls on behalf of inmates to get bail money, nor do we accept gift cards for bail money,” Cruze stated. “There is nothing legitimate about this. If your relative is in jail, they will have the opportunity to call you themselves. If they are able to bail out of jail, they will make those arrangements themselves. We only accept cash or work through a bail bonds service, and all of that happens at the jail, not over the phone.”

Cruze noted that if anyone gets one of these calls and has some doubt of its legitimacy, they should hang up and call the relative themselves. The list of inmates in custody is public information, and many county jails list the inmate roster on their website. Citizens can also call the jail directly to verify if their relative is in custody.

“Because of all these scams, never give full name, date of birth, or account information to a caller of a call you did not initiate yourself,” Cruze noted. “If you ever question if someone is legitimate, get their company name and find a callback number on your own.  Don’t use their callback number.”

The Meeker County Sheriff’s Office can be reached at (320) 693-5400. In an emergency, dial 911.

Dassel woman hurt in Highway 12 crash

MEEKER COUNTY, MN – A woman from Dassel sustained non-life threatening injuries in a crash on Highway 12 near Darwin yesterday evening (Dec. 4), the Minnesota State Patrol reported.

According to the report, Philip Wendell Gould, 55, of New London was driving a 1998 Buick LeSabre west on Highway 12 near County Road 24 in Darwin at about 8:33 p.m. when he lost control of the vehicle and veered left of the centerline.

His vehicle struck a 1996 Oldsmobile LSS that was traveling east on Highway 12. The driver of the Oldsmobile, Barbara Jean Erickson, 69, of Dassel, was transported to Meeker Memorial Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries, according to the state patrol.

No injuries were reported for Gould. He and Erickson were both wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.

Four hurt in Darwin Twp. crash

DARWIN, MN – Four people sustained non-life threatening injuries in a two-vehicle crash on Highway 12 in Darwin Township Nov. 23, according to the Minnesota State Patrol.

A 2003 Ford F150 driven by Scott James Steuck, 28, of Dassel had been traveling west on Highway 12 just before 6 p.m.  At the same time, Mitchell Ray Magnuson, 28, of Litchfield, had been traveling east on Highway 12 in a 2016 Chevrolet Equinox.

According to the state patrol, the Equinox collided with the F150 as Magnusun attempted to turn left onto Johnson Drive.

Both drivers were transported to Meeker Memorial Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. The Equinox had two passengers who were also transported: Judy Lynn Magnuson, 53; and Melanie Marie Magnuson, 27; both of Litchfield. The airbags deployed in both vehicles.

Assisting agencies included the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office and the Litchfield Police Department.

Two corn dryer fires in Meeker Co.

MEEKER COUNTY, MN – The Meeker County Sheriff’s Office responded to two corn dryer fires Nov. 9.

The first was at 4:19 a.m. at a property on 210th Street in Collinwood Township. The Dassel Fire Department was dispatched and extinguished the fire. Approximately $180,000 worth of damage was reported. Dassel Fire Chief Dale Grochow said the dryer was lost, as well as the corn.

“It ended up being about a four-hour deal,” Grochow said, explaining that firefighters had to unload all the corn from the dryer. Grochow said that, fortunately, the Dassel Fire Department hasn’t had to respond to many of these types of fires.

As for grain dryer safety, Grochow said the best thing to do is to make sure the equipment is clean and free of fine accumulation prior to use. However, that doesn’t always prevent a fire, he added, as other things can go wrong, such as malfunction of a burner. In the case of the Nov. 9 fire in Collinwood Township, Grochow said property owner Andy Nelson had cleaned the dryer just before he used it, so the problem wasn’t accumulation.

The second corn dryer fire was at 4:59 p.m. at a residence on County State Aid Highway 16 in Harvey Township. This fire was extinguished by firefighters from Litchfield. About 2,100 bushels of corn were lost.