Nonprofit, independent journalism. Supported by readers.


St. Cloud Latino group protests treatment of immigrants

ALSO: Murder charge in 1987 killing dismissed; family shares memories of musician Bobby Vee; Rochester men help Somali-Americans with election; and more.

Stearns County courthouse in downtown St. Cloud.

About two dozen people staged a sit-in at the Stearns County sheriff’s office Monday to protest actions toward undocumented immigrants. David Unze and Kirsti Marohn of the St. Cloud Daily Times write that the sit-in was organized by Asamblea de Derechos Civiles, which claims that Central Minnesota law officers racially profile Latinos. They say family members are followed, questioned and arrested for minor offenses or no reason at all, then turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Protesters also met with Sheriff John Sanner, who said he supports immigration reform, but that there are laws he has to follow.

A district court judge has thrown out a murder charge in the 1987 slaying of 83-year-old Leona Mary Maslowski in Virginia, Minn. Tom Olsen of the Duluth News Tribune reports that Bruce Wayne Cameron, 45, will be released from the St. Louis County Jail 16 months after authorities charged him with second-degree murder. Maslowski was found stabbed, beaten and strangled on Oct. 5, 1987, in her duplex. Cameron, who was 16 at the time, had been at a party in the duplex above Maslowski’s apartment the night of her death. He was identified as a suspect last spring through a palm print and fingerprints found in her apartment. He confessed in June 2015 when confronted with the forensic evidence, police said. On Friday, Sixth Judicial District Judge David Ackerson ruled that “detectives essentially told the defendant what they wanted him to say and then led him into saying it.” 

Apple-picking season started and ended early this year, according to Larry Harbo of Welsh Heritage Farms in Lake Crystal. Deanna B. Narveson of the Mankato Free Press writes that Welsh Heritage Farms use five or six types of apples to make apple cider and harvests the apples as they ripen between August and October. Harbo said even though there was a freeze just after the trees bloomed this year, steady rain throughout the summer helped make some of the late-bloomers into fantastic apples. “The later varieties, like the Haralson, are some of the best crop I’ve seen,” he said. The orchard is also replacing about 50 trees with more than 100 dwarf trees that are easier to care for, can be planted closer together and help reduce the hazards of picking because they’re closer to the ground.

The St. Cloud Times’ Dave DeLand followed the news of singer Bobby Vee’s death Monday at age 73 with this story: “Family Treasures Vee’s Legacy of Joy.” “Dad was like an ambassador for joyfulness,” Jeff Velline said. “He went from town to town to town and left a bag of smiles behind him.” Vee had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease nearly six years ago, DeLand wrote, and died in hospice care. 

Article continues after advertisement

Two men are helping the Somali-American community in Rochester become more engaged in this year’s election. Taylor Nachtigal of the Rochester Post-Bulletin reports that court interpreters Ahmed Aden and Mascuud Xaaji started Engaged Local Citizens, a group to help the community get facts about candidates before heading to the polls. The group will host a voter forum Sunday that will be translated into Somali and will feature candidates for school board, city council, county board and the Legislature. The Minnesota State Demographics Center estimates the Somali population in Olmsted County to be between 1,300 and 2,300.  

A 32-year-old Fergus Falls man has pleaded guilty to the August break-in of a Fergus Falls home in which he slept on a spare bed and stole potato salad from the refrigerator. The Fergus Falls Daily Journal reports that Joshua Ray DeFries pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary Monday in Otter Tail County District Court. According to the court complaint, DeFries broke off a partially opened basement window and entered a home on Aug. 16, then proceeded to an upstairs bedroom and slept on a bed. Homeowners also reported missing leftover potato salad. A Fergus Falls police officer arrested DeFries at the home after the owners called authorities.

Former Watson Mayor Joseph Mark Rongstad has pleaded guilty to breaking into the current mayor’s home in March. The West Central Tribune reports that Rongstad, 34, will be sentenced on a felony charge of third-degree burglary. At the time of his arrest, Rongstad said he believed the town had “a conspiracy going against him.” He was also arrested in February for allegedly firing a rifle from his truck and claiming he was “trying to get away from the corpses that were after him,” according to court documents. The February charges will be dismissed as part of the plea agreement. Rongstad lives across the street from current Watson Mayor Kyle Jones. Rongstad was elected mayor in 2012, and Jones was elected mayor in 2014.

Hormel Foods Corp. CEO Jeffrey Ettinger, who will retire at the end of this month, was ranked No. 84 on the Harvard Business Review’s international best-performing CEOs list. The Austin Daily Herald reports the Harvard Business Review’s goal is to measure CEOs’ effectiveness over the long term rather than by short-term results. Ettinger became Hormel’s chairman of the board, president and CEO in 2006. Hormel had about $2.8 billion in sales in 1991, about $5 billion in 2006 and about $9.3 billion last year. Ettinger joined fellow Minnesota CEOs Doug Baker Jr. of Ecolab, No. 41, and Ken Powell of General Mills, No. 71, on the annual list.