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Former Ostrander City Clerk sentenced to jail and home monitoring


Fri, Apr 25th, 2003
Posted in Features

Saying that he wanted to send a message to others who hold a position of trust, that abuses of power will be dealt with harshly, Judge Robert Benson sentenced former Ostrander City Clerk Tonya Michelle Burns to 15 days in jail, 130 days electric home monitoring and fines totalling $2,000.

"You we’re in a position of trust," Benson told Burns prior to sentencing in Fillmore County District Court on Monday. "And you abused it greatly."

Burns was sentenced after pleading guilty to one felony count of theft by check and one felony count of credit card fraud. The charges stem from several incidents in 2002 where Burns misused a city owned credit card and wrote unauthorized checks on the city account.

According to the criminal complaint, Burns, 29, of Cresco, attempted to sell a computer to CPU Computers in Cresco on October 10, 2002. The owner of the store became suspicious and contacted the manufacturer and found that the computer had been originally sold to the city of Ostrander.

Upon further investigation by Ostrander Police Chief Dave Hadland, it was found that the computer in question was paid for by a pre-authorized debit with the Security State Bank, without the knowledge of the Ostrander City Council. In addition, Burns charged more than $3,500 on a city owned credit card between August 1 and August 25.

Burns was represented in court by Attorney David Joerg, who told the court that Burns was led by desperate circumstances to steal. Joerg said that at the time of the criminal activity, Burns was struggling to support her family by herself and was under tremendous pressure from her boss, the mayor of Ostrander. Burns is a single mother of four children, including twin three year olds. Before sentencing, Burns read a letter of apology to the people of Ostrander.

On the felony theft charge, Judge Robert Benson ordered a stay of imposition for five years. Benson ordered Burns to serve 30 days in jail, of which 15 days could be served through electric home monitoring. He also fined Burns $1,000 and ordered her to pay restitution of $5,384, at a rate of no less than $50 per month. Benson further ordered that the defendant should write a letter of apology to the citizens of Ostrander and that Burns could not be employed in a position of public trust during the term of her probation.

Benson also imposed a st .....
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Lanesboro Council responds to citizen requests, adjusts budget

Fri, Apr 25th, 2003
Posted in Features

Art promotions, a raffle, a dance, and the brush dump were on the minds of citizens as they addressed the Lanesboro City Council April 21, 2003.

Holly McDonough, Executive Director of the Cornucopia Art Center, asked the counci ..... 
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City of Rushford Audit report presented

Fri, Apr 25th, 2003
Posted in Features

At a special meeting of the Rushford City Council on Monday, April 21, 2003, Tom Wente of Smith, Schafer and Associates presented the city’s audit report to the council.

"You’ve done a good job either budgeting or staying in th ..... 
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A “Norwegian” farm girl returns to her native Vietnam

Fri, Apr 18th, 2003
Posted in Features

A self-described “Norwegian” farm girl, Julie Knutson DeHart grew up in rural Lanesboro, the adopted daughter of Sharon and Robert Knutson.   At Lanesboro High School, the 1992 graduate played in the band, went out for volley ..... 
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Preston Planning & Zoning Commission recommends granting CUP to Heartland

Fri, Apr 18th, 2003
Posted in Features

It was a balmy summer-like evening, the Preston City Hall overflowing with interested residents, when the Preston Planning & Zoning Commission met to consider a conditional use permit application from Heartland Energy & Recycling, LLC.

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Council hears possible water solutions

Fri, Apr 18th, 2003
Posted in Features

The Water Utility System Analysis Report presented by Bill Chang of BDM was the focal point of the Rushford City Council meeting on Monday, April 14. Chang first detailed some recent improvements to the water system of the city such as the new well # ..... 
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The fourth time’s the charm

Fri, Apr 18th, 2003
Posted in Features

Signs of spring were popping up all over the barnyard recently at the Paul and Cindy Lorius farm seven miles south of Cherry Grove. It's peak lambing time and the Lorius' herd of Suffolk sheep is growing by leaps and bounds. In fact, one of the coupl ..... 
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Council looks for ways to cut budget

Fri, Apr 18th, 2003
Posted in Features

With Local Government Aid (LGA) reductions affecting Harmony to the figure of $43,000 this year, and an additional $80,000 next year, council members started to take a close look at department budgets at their Tuesday, April 15 meeting.   ..... 
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County accepts bids on courthouse project

Fri, Apr 11th, 2003
Posted in Features

"I was 28 years old when I started this project, and look at me now," joked David Kane, President of Kane and Johnson Architects, Inc. in Rochester, as his team was finally given the green light on the project to remodel the courthouse.
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