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Fillmore County District Court: Former Lanesboro teacher faces felony theft charges


Fri, Oct 29th, 2004
Posted in Features

Criminal theft charges were filed in Fillmore County District Court on Monday, October 25, against Vernon Wayne Groen, 56, of Lanesboro for misuse of funds from an FFA account at the Lanesboro Public Schools. Groen is former teacher at the school.

Groen is charged with two felony counts of theft by check, as well as two gross misdemeanor counts of theft. According to the criminal complaint, Groen used an FFA checking account under his supervision to write checks for FFA activities, but would then submit false claims for personal reimbursement to the school.

The complaint lists checks written by Groen between 1996 and 2003, but an investigation by the Lanesboro Public School indicates that the practice may have taken place before that time.

The school had asked for a settlement by which Groen would relinquish $8,500 in severance pay and pay an additional $11,000 to the school.

Groen was released on his own recognizance on the condition that he have no contact with anyone associated with the Lanesboro Public School system. His next court appearance is December 13.

Felony Charges

•Timothy Robert Lawstuen, 38, of Chatfield has been charged with six felony counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree. The charges stem from April 1995, where it is alleged the defendant had sexual contact with a minor female between the age of 13 and 16.

Judge Benson released Lawstuen on his own recognizance on the condition that he not have any contact with the victim, nor unsupervised contact with females under the age of 18. His next court appearance is December 13.

Felony Dispositions

•Amber Lee Finley, 24, of Chatfield pled guilty in Fillmore County District Court to one count of felony check forgery - aid and abet, related to an incident in Spring Valley in September 2003.

Judge Benson stayed sentencing for five years. Finley was fined $500, must pay $300 in restitution and serve 30 days in jail. She was given credit for 11 days served.

•Travis Robert Nord, 20, of Grand Meadow, pled guilty in Fillmore County District Court to two felony counts of fleeing a police officer and obstructing the legal process. The charges stem from an incident in March in Wykoff.

Judge Benson stayed sentencing for three years .....
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A Lesson in Intolerance

Fri, Oct 29th, 2004
Posted in Features

The history of our United States is a rich trove of information on human nature. We rarely teach our complete history in our public schools, choosing instead to feed ourselves a fairy-tale, sanitized version, with shining heroes and great achievement ..... 
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Commissioners’ Report: Citizen voices heard on Heartland about JOBZ

Fri, Oct 29th, 2004
Posted in Features

Citizens took the opportunity on this last County Board meeting in October to voice their concerns and objections to the awarding of JOBZ to Heartland Energy and Recycling.

Fran Sauer requested that the Board carefully consider ..... 
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County EDA recommends acceptance of Heartland pre-application

Fri, Oct 29th, 2004
Posted in Features

The pre-application from Heartland Energy and Recycling for a business subsidy moved one step closer to approval on Wednesday, October 27, when the Fillmore County EDA voted to accept a full application from the tire burning plant. The matter now goe ..... 
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Rushford City Council Report: Bartelson resigns effective December 31

Fri, Oct 29th, 2004
Posted in Features

Larry Bartelson, Rushford City Administrator, officially resigned from his position at the Rushford City Council meeting Monday, October 25. Bartelson said he was resigning for “personal reasons” effective at the end of the calendar year, December 31 ..... 
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Fillmore Central School Board: District accepts MnDOT offer on sale of land for Hwy 52

Fri, Oct 29th, 2004
Posted in Features

The Fillmore Central School Board, at its Tuesday, October 26 meeting, accepted an offer to sell 3 - 1/3 acres of land near the school complex in Preston to the state of Minnesota for the Highway 52 project.

The district will re ..... 
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Fire claims life of Fountain man

Fri, Oct 22nd, 2004
Posted in Features

The house on 1st Street in Fountain looks like most of the other homes on the quiet, tree lined street. The two story white clapboard house has a large cedar tree in the front yard and a statue of the Virgin Mary in front of the house.

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Davids seeks eighth term in House

Fri, Oct 22nd, 2004
Posted in Features

Editor’s note: The Journal’s Al Mathison sat down with Republican candidate Greg Davids to discuss his campaign for the District 31B House seat. This interview took place prior to the ruling by the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board on Octo ..... 
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Commentary: Change is needed on the political landscape

Fri, Oct 22nd, 2004
Posted in Features

Editor’s note: The Journal invited former PBS Almanac co-host Jan Smaby to comment on the upcoming election.  I have been in and around the world of politics for over 50 years. During this time I have found political heroes, ..... 
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