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Living History: Fists fly at card game

5 years ago

Excerpts from the June 11, 2009 Pioneer Journal

• Charges dropped in snowmobile stalking case

Stalking and harassment charges were dismissed against three young men accused of following and intimidating two 18-year-olds on snowmobiles on Jan. 20 in Wadena and Verndale.

The three men in the pickup said the snowmobiles had sprayed rocks on their vehicle, according to court records, and admitted to following the snowmobilers. Eric Halan Samuelson, 21, of Parkers Prairie, Tyler David Schwartz, 18, of Bluffton and Joshua Jon Kern, 19, of Wadena were charged in March with two counts each of harassment - intent to injure and two counts each of harassment - stalk/follow/pursue.

But those four charges were completely dismissed against Samuelson and Schwartz, and Kern entered a guilty plea to a disorderly conduct charge and received a fine of $300, but the other four charges were dropped against Kern.

• Fists fly at card game

A Wadena man was charged with assault after a card game allegedly ended in violence.

On April 28, about 9:28 p.m. police were called to a domestic disturbance at an apartment on Bryant Avenue in Wadena, according to court records. An officer spoke to a man there who had a cut above his eye, and police asked how it happened. The man said he had been playing cards at the apartment when he got into an argument with the woman. During the argument, the man said he was punched in the face by another man, Marshall Anthony Holmes, 24.

Holmes was charged with fifth-degree assault. His first appearance was scheduled for June 8.

Court documents showed Holmes has previous domestic violence convictions from February 2004, November 2004, May 2005 and February 2006.

15 years ago

Excerpts from the June 10, 1999 Pioneer Journal

• Area youth dies in stopped car

When 17-year-old Jed Steven Branstner, Verndale, was waiting for the light to change at the intersection of Bryant Avenue Southwest and Jefferson Avenue South heading east on June 5, he slumped over in his seat.

His 17-year-old friend and Jed's sister were riding in the car behind him. When Jed's car didn't move, his friend went to find out what was wrong. When he saw Jed slumped over, he got in the truck and drove him to Tri-County Hospital. Doctors there could not revive him.

"It appears to be a natural death,' Wadena Police Chief Lane Waldahl said of the unusual incident. Police checked Jed's truck for any sign of damage and found none. Jed had no signs of traumatic injury.

Cause of death was not released as of press time Wednesday by Wadena County Coroner Dr. Timothy Schmitt. An autopsy and report determining the exact cause of death were completed by Tuesday by the Otter Tail County Coroner.

Jed, son of Steve and Julie Branstner, just finished his junior year at Verndale High School. He was the president of his class and on the honor roll. He was involved with the Knowledge Bowl, D.A.R.E., choir and enjoyed sports like karate, hockey, baseball, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, golfing and bowling. he was also a member of the Zion Free Lutheran Church, Wadena, where he ushered and attended youth groups.

40 years ago

Excerpts from the June 13, 1974 Pioneer Journal

• Pelican Rapids man injured in crash

A Pelican Rapids man was hospitalized at Wesley in Wadena early Tuesday morning after the bulk milk truck he was driving went out of control pinning him in the cab.

Joe Miller, 23, of Pelican Rapids was rushed to Wesley Hospital by Wadena county ambulance for observation and treatment. he was reportedly in fair condition, authorities indicated.

Otter Tail County Sheriff's department reported the accident occurred at about 8 a.m. when a Duane Farnham bulk truck driven by Miller was traveling east on County Road 52, about a mile west of Hwy. 106 on the Ottertail cutoff.

The bulk milk truck reportedly caught the lip of the north edge of County Road 52, then swerved, overturning and rolling into the ditch on the south side of the road. The truck came to a rest headed in a westerly direction, the rear section blocking eastbound traffic on County Road 52.

The bulk truck was to have picked up milk at the John (Jim) Jackson dairy farm about a mile away.

70 years ago

Excerpts from the June 15, 1944 Pioneer Journal

• Cattle thieves are active in New York Mills

Cattle thieves working west of the village Friday night and early Saturday morning escaped with several head of cattle from the Sib Kimmes farm near Richdale. They also made an attempted haul at the John Jaakola farm in the same neighborhood.

Mr. Jaakola heard shots during the middle of the night, coming from the direction of his cattle lane, which is only about 500 or 600 feet from his home. Taking a lantern, he walked out to see what was going on and saw a truck parked there, which drove off when they saw the light.

Mr. Jaakola found one of his young animals that had been shot, but he apparently had come before they had a chance to load any of his stock.