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Fillmore County District Court

Fri, Aug 22nd, 2003
Posted in Features

Felony ChargesAccording to court records, the following individuals were charged in Fillmore County District Court on Monday, August 18:•Travis Ryan Jonsgaard, 19, Rushford, was charged with felony theft of a motor vehicle, and burglary in the third degree, stemming from an incident in Rushford on July 7.According to the criminal complaint, Jonsgaard is alleged to have broken into a garage belonging to Dale Jonsgaard and taking a van valued at more than $20,000 without the consent of the owner.•Lowell Lavern Stephas, 62, Fountain, was charged with felony criminal damage to property in the first degree.According to the criminal complaint, Stephas is alleged to have cut down trees on property belonging to Jane Gehrking in Pilot Mound Township valued at $2993.88 on or about May 1, 2003.•Michael Allen Douglas, 27, Harmony, was charged with felony theft by check and issuance of dishonored check more than $500. According to the criminal complaint, Douglas is alleged to have issued a check for $1,349.56 on January 7, 2003 to pay for transmission work at Rich’s Repair.Felony Dispositions•Elizabeth Ann Giese, 23, Preston, pled guilty in Fillmore County District Court on Monday, August 18, to controlled substance crime in the fifth degree related to an incident on August 10, 2001.Judge James Fabian imposed a stay of adjudication for five years and placed the defendant on probation for five years. She must follow the terms of her probation, which includes continuing ongoing treatment and complying with random drug testing. Giese was fined $300 and must serve 30 days in jail.

Charges against Sveen dismissed

Charges against Jason Duane Sveen have been dismissed by the Fillmore County Attorney’s office because of “insufficient evidence to justify continued prosecution.” Sveen had been charged with Criminal Sexual Conduct in the fifth degree following an incident in Preston on June 27.Sveen, a Level Three Sex Offender, is under the supervision of probation officers with the Dodge-Fillmore-Olmsted Community Corrections in Rochester.

Former Ostrander officials found guilty of violating open meeting law

By John Torgrimson

A six member jury deliberated 35 minutes before finding that three former Ostrander city council members violated the Minnesota Open Meeting Law in December 2001. The trial took place in Chatfield on Thursday and Friday, August 14-15.Former mayor Victor Feine and council members Kenneth Shaw and John Schraeder were found guilty of holding a “serial meeting” to reach a decision to terminate city employee Darrell Berg in advance of the December 3, 2001 city council meeting. The jury found that the three “intentionally” violated the open meeting law by holding a series of one on one meetings by phone or in person.The plaintiffs in the case, Mark Schumann, Jim Start and 40 citizens of Ostrander, maintained that the serial meeting carried out by Mayor Feine with council member Schraeder, and then Shaw, were for the purpose of avoiding public discussion and reaching a majority decision prior to the council meeting. They further maintained that Feine’s meetings with the two men constituted a quorum of the city council, which should have been open to the public.The jury imposed penalties of $150 to Feine and $50 to Shaw and Schraeder. The three men have 60 days in which to appeal the court’s decision. The court will decide at a later date whether the three men are required to pay attorney fees and court costs.

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