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Sex Trafficking Targeted in Central Minnesota

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05/29/2018 - 4:00 AM

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) - Authorities say there's an alarming amount of sex trafficking at illicit massage businesses in central Minnesota. 

A St. Cloud Times investigation found that a Waite Park business police raided this month is one of a half-dozen in the area regularly advertising on websites known for selling sex. Riverwood Massage and Body Works owner Yanhang Lin has been charged with sex trafficking and promoting prostitution. Jail records don't list an attorney for her.
Officials say Minnesota doesn't regulate massage therapy at a statewide level. Local governments are responsible for regulation, which can create loopholes for traffickers.
The Central Minnesota Human Trafficking Task Force formed in March to address sex trafficking. The partnership involves organizations from Stearns County, St. Cloud, Waite Park and the Central Minnesota Sexual Assault Center.
A Minnesota Office of Justice Programs grant helped fund the task force.

Jeff Howe Files for Michelle Fisbach's Senate Seat

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05/29/2018 - 3:50 AM

Jeff Howe Files for Michelle Fisbach's Senate Seat

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Republican state Rep. Jeff Howe of Rockville is the first candidate to enter the race for the Minnesota Senate seat being vacated by Michelle Fischbach of Paynesville.

Howe entered a race Tuesday that will determine control of the state Senate. Republicans lost their one-seat majority last week when Fischbach stepped down. As Senate president, she automatically became lieutenant governor after Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton appointed then-Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to the U.S. Senate following Al Franken's resignation.

The special election for Fischbach's seat will be the only Minnesota Senate seat on the November ballot.

Her central Minnesota district is heavily Republican, and GOP leaders scoff at the notion that Democrats could win it. No Democrat has entered the race so far.

Howe was first elected to the House in 2012.

Accidents on Highway 169 and County Road 4 Not Connected

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05/29/2018 - 11:50 AM

There were two accidents at the same location near Zimmerman Memorial Day Monday.

The Minnesota State Patrol says that the first crash took place at the intersection of Highway 169 and County Road 4 just after 8:30 p.m. A car was heading south on the highway when it was struck by SUV while attempting to make a left turn. Almost two hours later, an SUV was heading north on the highway when it also was hit making a left turn, this time by a pickup truck heading south.

The incidents are still under investigation, but research has determined that the intersection is safe to drive and there is no danger.

After KVSC looked into the information with MNDOT, they believe the two crashes are a coincidence and not an indication of an unsafe intersection.

St. Stephen Fire Destroys Garage and Truck

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05/29/2018 - 11:12 AM

A garage in St. Stephen burst into flames last Saturday and the garage and a parked truck were destroyed in the fire.

The St. Stephen Fire Department was called to the scene just before 1 p.m. By the time they arrived, the garage at the home of 44-year old Aaron Glenn Starz was already completely ablaze.

The Rice and Holdingford Fire Departments helped with damage control, but they could not save the garage or the truck parked just outside. Stearns Electric and Gold Cross Ambulance also provided assistance. St. Stephen Fire Chief Jeff Drais says the damage total was about $40,000. 

No one was home at the time of the fire. The cause of the fire is still unknown.


Motorcycle Driver Sent Into Ditch Near Holding Township

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05/28/2018 - 8:30 AM

A motorcycle rider was found off the road Sunday morning near Holding Township.

Stearns County Sheriff Don Gudmundson says they found 63-year-old Thomas Skudlarek of Avon in the ditch with his motorcycle damaged. High winds on County Road 151 knocked down a tree, causing Skudlarek to drive over the tree and drive into the ditch to hit a sign and crash into a barbed wire fence.

Skudlarek was taken to St. Cloud Hospital for non-life threatening injures.

Summer Storm Causes Garage to Catch Fire

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05/28/2018 - 8:30 AM

A Sunday night fire burned down a garage after a summer storm rolled through.

Stearns County Sheriff Don Gudmundson says just before 10:30 a.m. fire crews were sent to a garage fire in St. Farming Township. The St Martin Fire department says lightning struck the TV antenna on top of the garage which followed a wire into the garage setting it on fire.

The lightning caused the garage door to buckle in three separate places. Homeowner’s 50-year-old Robert and 46-year-old Deeanna Kulzer were not home during the fire.

Sauk Rapids City Council Meeting Moved From Regular Monday Meeting Time

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05/25/2018 - 10:46 AM

The Sauk Rapids City Council will not hold their scheduled Monday meeting.

The City Council says it will instead meet on Tuesday due to Memorial Day. Sauk Rapids City Administrator Ross Olson also says that the city council meeting will overlap the St. Cloud Area Joint Cities Meeting, but that some people might try and attend that meeting afterward or a representative might be sent to attend.

The city council meeting will start at 6 p.m. at the Sauk Rapids Government Center. While the date has been moved, it will still be considered a regular meeting and not a special meeting.

St. Cloud Airport Continues To Offer Flights To Arizona And Florida

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05/24/2018 - 9:53 AM

St. Cloud Regional Airport will continue to host flights to Southwest Florida.

The Mayor's Office said Tuesday that flights to Punta Gorda Airport just north of Fort Myers will continue to run through the 2018-2019 winter season. This is the second nonstop destination that STC offers, with the other being Phoenix/Mesa, which has been present since 2012.

The nonstop service to Southwest Florida will begin November 7. The flight schedule to Punta Gorda Airport will be twice weekly on Wednesdays and Saturdays. This service does not have an announced end date, though it typically goes through Easter.

For ticket information and specific flight times are available here.

District 742 Has A Wide Variety of Activities to Enrich Your Summer

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05/24/2018 - 8:12 AM

St. Cloud Area School District 742 will have a wide array of summer enrichment opportunities.

District 742 Spokeswoman Jennifer Noble says that a wide variety of adult education and kids summer camps will offer great summer fun. Adults can take classes to learn more about food, life, nature, technology, travel and wellness. The district also offers Project Challenge, a specialized program for adults with disabilities to offer recreational, cooking, arts and special interest classes.

Kids will be able to attend camps like Youth Dance Clinics, ultimate sports camp, arts camp at the Paramount Center for the Arts and other activities like babysitting, gymnastics, BMX Racing, and many more.

To browse through all sessions and register, you can visit and for more information on community education visit

St. Cloud Area Joint Cities Meeting On Sex Trafficking Scheduled

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05/24/2018 - 12:51 PM

A St. Cloud Area Joint Cities Meeting will be held next Tuesday.

The meeting will address sex trafficking in central Minnesota. Stearns County attorney Janelle Kendall and Waite Park Chief of Police Dave Bentrud will present this topic. 

Sex trafficking has been a major focus for law enforcement in central Minnesota This is especially true for St. Cloud, which lies at the intersection of two major roads: Interstate- 94 and Highway 23. Just last December, several Stearns County organizations were given a grant of $313,000. which led to the creation of the Central Minnesota Sex Trafficking Investigative Force. The task force will consist of two full-time investigators who will work with agencies to share information and conduct investigations together.

The meeting will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m at the Sartell Community Center. There will be a dinner that will cost $9 to anyone with a RSVP.

Minnesota Expected To Experience First Hot Spell In Four Years

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05/24/2018 - 10:37 AM

Minnesota has the potential to see a dangerous hot spell over the weekend.

St. Cloud State Meteorology professor and forecaster Bob Weisman says that temperatures from Saturday to Monday could break 90 degrees. Along with the hot weather, wind is expected to be light and humidity levels will be noticeable.

This combination of weather means that the air could be harder to breathe. Anyone with breathing problems or seniors and kids should be careful about the amount of time they spend outdoors.

To follow this potential heatwave, visit this link

Stolen Boat Discovered on Walking Path Is Under Investigation

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05/23/2018 - 11:22 AM

Authorities are searching for information about a stolen boat found north of St. Cloud last Friday.

The Benton County Sheriff's Office got a call just after noon about a stolen boat and trailer parked on a walking path in Bend of the River Park. A deputy on the scene found the motor and battery missing. After investigating, it was found that the boat had been stolen from an Elk River business within 24 hours of it being discovered.

The 2018 Skeeter fiberglass boat was presumed to be stolen, then brought to Benton County, where it was stripped of essential parts before being ditched on the walking path.

If anyone recognizes this boat or knows anything about the theft, you can call the Benton County Sheriff's Office at (320) 968-7201 or report a tip to the Tri-County Crime Stoppers at (800) 255-1301.

Two Organizations Earn Over $35,000 Public Art Grants

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05/23/2018 - 10:50 AM

Two organizations in central Minnesota received over $35,000 public art grants.

The Central Minnesota Arts Board (CMAB) awarded the grants to the City of Monticello and the community Legacy Foundation. The City of Monticello earned about $13,000 for a kinetic mural that shimmers like a lake, it will be installed in downtown Monticello.

Also, the Community Legacy Foundation  of Sauk Centre earned about $23,000 for a mural depicting several children's storybook characters. It will painted on Sauk Centre's Public Library.

The grants were awarded at a CMAB meeting on May 10.


Subway in Waite Park Robbed By Two Men

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05/23/2018 - 10:24 AM

A Subway restaurant in Waite Park was robbed late Monday.

The Waite Park Police Department says that the store located at 145 West Division Street was robbed by two men just before 11 p.m. One threatened an employee with a knife while grabbing him while the other held what he claimed to be a gun, but it was covered. They were able to steal a safe before loading it into a dark vehicle described as looking like a Buick or Chrysler 300.

The men have been described as white and thin built. They were wearing all black and their faces were concealed by aviator sunglasses and bandanas.

If anyone has any information related to this crime, contact the Waite Park Police Department at (320) 251-3281 or report a tip to the Tri-County Crime Stoppers at (800) 255-1301.

Highway 24 In Between Clearwater and Clear Lake To Narrow To One Lane Overnight

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05/22/2018 - 11:36 AM

Highway 24 separating Clearwater and Clear Lake will be getting narrowed to one lane at night.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation says that the lane closures are due to crews needing to resurface the road. The resurfacing is part of a larger project which will focus on improving and quality and safety along Highway 24. Delays during lane closures are expected.

Highway 24 will narrow to one lane from 8 p.m.- 5:30 a.m up to seven days a week starting on June 3 and ending on June 19. 

In related news, both directions of Highway 10 will be narrowing beginning July 12.


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