News in the Neighborhood


The special session of the State Legislature ended on June 20 with no action on the final bonding bill, which means no funding for flood mitigation on County Road 6 and Highway 93. The next special session is scheduled for July 12. According to State Representative Glenn Gruenhagen, the GOP in the House has stated they will not vote to pass a bonding bill until Governor Walz ends his emergency powers.  Gruenhagen said there are ongoing negotiations with the Governor’s administration showing hope for a resolution in the next session.


The Gaylord Eggstravaganza Committee recently announced that even though the 2020 celebration has been cancelled, they plan to reuse the theme, “Celebrates the Bold North,” and button design next year. There may still be a few activities on Aug. 8.

The Gaylord Aquatic Center reopens on June 29 with restrictions. The capacity will be limited to 272 combined people (50 percent), lounge chairs and picnic tables will be set six feet apart, and the lockers rooms will be closed to the public. Due to the shortened length, season passes will be offered at a 30 percent discount. The possibility of swimming lessons is still under consideration.

The Tire, Appliance and Electronics Collection event at the fairgrounds last week was a success. More than 630 people participated yielding 173 tons of tires, eight semi-trailers of TVs, electronics and appliances, and six dumpsters of garbage. Director of Tri-County Solid Waste, Al Christensen, said, “This was another safe and successful collection and Sibley County residents should be proud of their clean up efforts.”


After more than 15 years as a Le Sueur police officer, Travis Muchow handed in his resignation this spring. He was diagnosed with grade four glioblastoma, which affects his ability to work and convinced him to concentrate on family for the time he has left. He has already gone through surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, but the cancer is likely to recur. Muchow will be missed, not only by the department, but also by the community as he was an empathetic officer who always tried to understand all side of an issue and to resolve issues through discussion as much as possible.

Over the last 30+ years, students who took agriculture classes at TCU High School (formerly Montgomery-Lonsdale) probably had experiences with Barry Schmidt. Not only a teacher but an FFA advisor, one of his former students said he was a mentor and helped her decide on a teaching career. He made learning fun while sharing his knowledge and encouraged his students to join various competitions.


Dwight Lee Selders, 47, of Le Sueur, has been charged with two felonies, first- and second-degree arson, in connection with the fire that destroyed the KingPins Bowling alley. The co-owner admitted to investigators that he left the bowling alley after a fire he started was burning inside the building and did not call the fire department. The building was a total loss.

The St. Peter Outdoor Pool will open in early July at limited capacity. The plan also includes reservation requirements, rules for unaccompanied children and changes to class offerings. There will likely be some type of swimming lessons but adult programs will be cancelled.


Two altercations in New Prague the night of June 16 have so far resulted in three felony charges against a 19-year-old man from Brooklyn Center, and other charges may be pending for four other people who were involved. Ja Kobe Ja Bree Jones is charged with second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, reckless discharge of a firearm within a municipality and terroristic threats.

According to the report on the first altercation, a 2015 Ford Taurus driven by Alexander Ross Litzau of New Prague, with two passengers from the same city, was being tailgated by a Dodge Caliber SUV. Litzau reportedly braked aggressively in an attempt to get the SUV to back off. His passengers reported Jones was hanging out the passenger window of the SUV while waving a handgun.

When Litzau stopped in the roadway, the SUV stopped and Jones jumped out and allegedly pointed a gun at one of the passengers, Thomas Milton Gleason, and asked him if he wanted to die. When Gleason exited the vehicle, Jones reportedly discharged the handgun into the air four or five times before returning to the SUV, which then drove away.

About 10 minutes later officers responded to a second altercation near the Domino’s Pizza on Main Street where Gleason allegedly sprayed Tatiana Jo Crosby, the driver of the SUV, also from New Prague, with a chemical irritant. Officers later returned to the scene of the first altercation and recovered four shell casings from a .380 caliber firearm.

Jones is in the Scott County Jail awaiting bond. The three felonies carry a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison and up to $29,000 in fines.


The small building located adjacent to the Winthrop Historical Society was originally constructed as the city’s jail. Most recently it was used for storage for costumes and props from the Winthrop Community Theater group. The WHS has started restoration of the site, mostly consisting of clearing out the building thus far. The group would like to recreate the interior to original condition, but have not been able to locate any photographs or blueprints.

Anyone with information on the jail is asked to contact Rob Gleason or Diane Fredin. The WHS hopes to spend about one year on this project and plan to offer tours of the old jail upon completion.


Hundreds of families from across Le Sueur County received free food from a distribution hosted by Second Harvest Heartland on June 19 at the County Fairgrounds in Le Center. More than 36 volunteers helped load boxes of food and the Le Sueur County Posse directed traffic to keep everything running smoothly. Enough food was available for 725 families and between 660 and 680 people were served with no one being turned away.

— Compiled by Beth Cornish

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