Bricelyn Man Charged After Assaulting a Woman Over Several Days

A Bricelyn man is behind bars, accused of punching and choking a woman.

Last week, Faribault County Deputies responded to a home in Bricelyn, where a report of domestic abuse had apparently lasted several days.

According to the report, 41 year old Brent Neal Shaikoski punched the victim in the eye last Thursday, giving her a black eye.  Police says the victim’s eye showed “significant discoloration and bruising.”

Then on Saturday, Shaikoski allegedly strangled the victim until she lost control of her bladder.  Investigators photographed visible bruising on the victim’s neck and a scratch on her chest.

On Monday, Shaikoski was charged with two counts of felony domestic assault in Faribault County Court.  Shaikoski has previous domestic assault convictions.

MN Dept of Ag Confirms Emerald Ash Borers in Blue Earth

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has confirmed cases of Emerald Ash Borers in ash trees within Blue Earth.

According to the MDA’s report, the infestation was detected on the border of the city boundary after MDA employees noticed some ash trees that showed signs of infestation while traveling through the area.  The infested ash trees were found at the I-90 westbound Blue Earth Rest Area.  The report further states that any ash trees within the area of detection has a high likelihood of have EAB to some extent, whether showing signs of infestation or not.

As a result of the new detection, Faribault County will be placed under quarantine to limit the movement of any ash material, and all hardwood firewood.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture will be hosting a virtual information meeting on April 13th.  Visit the MDA’s Facebook page or website for more details.

Barbara Ann Crumb

Funeral Services for Barbara Ann Crumb, age 82, of Freeborn, will be Sunday, March 26th, at 11am, at First Congregational Church in New Richland.  Family will receive friends from 11am until time of service at the Church on Sunday morning.  Barbara Ann Crumb died December 25th, at Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin.

Gary Ehrich

Memorial Services for Gary Ehrich, age 78, of Blue Earth, will be Wednesday, March 22nd, at 11am, at St. John’s Lutheran Church, rural Elmore.  Burial will be in St. John’s Cemetery.  Visitation will be Tuesday, from 5-8pm, at Patton Funeral Home in Blue Earth and one hour prior to the service at the Church on Tuesday morning.  Gary Ehrich died March 15th, at Select Specialty Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD.

Kenneth James Mosser

Funeral Services for Kenneth James Mosser, age 81, of Wells, will be Wednesday, March 22nd, at 10am, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Cemetery in Minnesota Lake.  Visitation will be Tuesday, from noon – 3pm, at Nasinec Funeral Home in Wells.  Military Honors will be accorded by the Wells Color Guard.  Kenneth James Mosser died Sunday, March 19th, in Cannon Falls.

B.E. Council Approves Police Department Hire at Regular Council Meeting

The Blue Earth City Council held its regular meeting on Monday night, handling some house keeping and a new hire and updates pertaining to Emerald Ash Borers were given.

Blue Earth Police Chief Tom Fletcher attended the meeting to show his support for a new full time officer hire, Andrew Thorson, by providing some background for the council.  Thorson has worked part time in the county jail since 2019, previously worked in Winnebago prior to 2019, has 2 years of college education under his belt and currently works for the Olmstead County Attorney’s Office.  Chief Fletcher stated that Thorson is a “good Hire and good worker.”

The council like what they heard and said they trust the Chief’s opinion, leading them to vote in favor of hiring Thorson.  His expected start date in the city of Blue Earth is April 1st.

In a couple of other brief update, City Attorney Frundt informed the council that the Three Sisters Organization wants to move forward in giving the Three Sisters Building back to the city.  Otherwise, no other progress has been made at this time.

City Engineer Wes Brown informed the council that the city was not successful in earning the Emerald Ash Borer grant funding to handle ash tree treatment for the larvae.  City Administrator Mary Kennedy added that EAD has been confirmed to be in Blue Earth by the state.

Winnebago Council Passes Tax Abatement Program for New Housing

The Winnebago City Council passed a new Tax Abatement program for new single family and multifamily housing.  The program would allow for 100% of city taxes to be eligible for abatement for 5 years for newly build single and multifamily projects.  This is a project that is currently under revision and consideration in Blue Earth and Wells.

City Administrator Judy Hynes has also announced that there is a new website for the City of Winnebago,  The redesign and release was intended to modernize the sit and to make it more user friendly.

B.E. Council Holds Special Meeting to Discuss Riverside Heights Annexation

The Blue Earth City Council held a special meeting on Thursday to discuss a potential annexation between the Township of Blue Earth City and the City of Blue Earth with Riverside Heights Residents.

The annexation had been authorized on February 21st, however, Mayor Rick Scholtes clarified that the council has not officially voted to annex Riverside Heights.

He added that the annexation had been under consideration for many years.

The council visited the possibility of annexing the area when they learned Riverside Heights is in need of a new sanitary sewer system.

Bolton & Menk had drafted an engineering estimate, laying out the cost of Riverside Heights’ alternatives for addressing the issue.  Construction of a new sanitary sewer system is estimated to cost $498 per month, per resident, while connecting to the city’s sanitary sewer, without annexing to the city, would cost residents $301 per month.  Connecting to the city’s system and annexing to the city would cost residents $193 per month.

The council clarified that Riverside Heights will not have the option of connecting to Blue Earth’s sanitary sewer if they are not annexed into the city, per city ordinance.

Riverside Heights residents explained their primary objection is the lack of notice they received before Frundt was directed to prepare for annexation, to which Mayor Scholtes responded that he was under the impression that the residents were invited to attend the previous meeting on February 21st.

The residents also wanted to know what a street and sanitary sewer improvement project would entail, should Riverside Heights be annexed.

The council clarified that the projects estimated cost assumes its eligibility for a Point Source Implementation Grant, which would fund 80% of the project’s eligible costs.  City Engineer Wes Brown said he is fairly confident the project will receive the grant funds.

The project’s remaining cost will be funded much as any improvement project is funded in Blue Earth.  Tax increases for residents would be phased in over five years.  Starting in 2024, their property taxes would be paid to the city of Blue Earth, but their taxes would not increase until 2025, when they would go up by 20%.  Taxes would increase by that amount for the next five years.

Wells City Council Looking at Ways to Deal With an Uninhabitable Building

The Wells City Council learned it could be a complicated process to deal with demolishing a hazardous and uninhabitable building in the city.

Speaking at a City Council meeting last week, City Attorney Pamela Whitmore addressed the situation, stating that there is a specific statutory process which must be followed.  Whitmore explained that the city can save money if they can reach the owner and get their consent.  However, the city has been unable to reach the owner and they do not anticipate success in doing so.

Whitmore then explained the possible approach, requiring a city council resolution ordering the abatement of the building, posting an order on the front door and publishing it in the municipal newspaper for four weeks, serving papers for a lawsuit.  The council asked about getting HRA involved to take over and Whitmore informed them that getting the HRA involved may lead to some requirements in the way the property is used after demolition.

The Council directed Whitmore to outline different options available for utilizing the property, including having the HRA take ownership and report back at a later meeting.

Nicholas Wayne Mart

Funeral Services for Nicholas Wayne Mart, age 65, of Armstrong, will be Monday, March 20th, at 10:30am, at United Methodist Church in Armstrong.  Burial will be in Armstrong Grove Cemetery.  Visitation will be Sunday, March 19th, from 2-4pm, Henry-Olson Funeral Chapel.  Nicholas Wayne Mart died Thursday, March 16th, at his home in Armstrong.