Each year on July 4th, Spicer’s population of about 1,200 swells to 12,000. They come to the west-central Minnesota city for the street dance and the parade, which runs on Lake Avenue, alongside Green Lake.

But this year, construction planned for Lake Avenue threatened to disrupt the festivities. Organizers planned an alternate route. Business owners braced themselves.

“We knew this could create some problems,” said Mayor Dennis Baker.

But when it became clear that project delays would push back the street and utility work until at least mid-June, Baker proposed a delay. At a meeting this month, the City Council agreed, pushing back construction until July 5 or later.

So the parade will be held in its traditional spot.

“As much as we’d like to see the project get underway and get going,” Baker said, “we just felt, why disturb the festivities?”

Jenna Ross @ByJenna



Attorneys: Child porn trial should move out of state

Attorneys for Danny Heinrich, an Annandale man who faces federal charges for possessing and receiving child pornography, are arguing that he can’t get a fair trial in Minnesota.

In a memorandum filed Wednesday, the attorneys said that federal prosecutors’ decision to name Heinrich as a “person of interest” in Jacob Wetterling’s 1989 abduction has “inextricably intertwined the child pornography case with the public’s desire for justice for the Wetterlings.”

They want his trial moved to Milwaukee, Madison, Wis., or Des Moines.

“It is not possible to seat a jury untouched and unaffected by the ubiquitous media exposure that surrounds this case,” Katherian Roe and Reynaldo Aligada wrote.

Federal prosecutors will have two weeks to respond to their arguments. For now, Heinrich is scheduled to stand trial July 11 in Minneapolis.

Jenna Ross



Five new buildings planned for Main Street

With one exception, all of the businesses displaced by the Feb. 3 fire in downtown Madelia have reopened in temporary spaces, said Thomas Osborne, a local accountant and organizer of the nonprofit relief group Madelia Strong.

The owners of the Mexican restaurant La Plaza Fiesta continue to work on a temporary space at the Madelia Golf Club, but have not yet announced an opening date. A food trailer delivery is expected next week, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page.

Some $400,000 in donations have been collected for the town and business community. The fire destroyed seven buildings. No one was seriously hurt and no cause has been determined. Construction on five new buildings should begin next month, with plans to finish by the end of the year, said Osborne.

Matt McKinney @_mattmckinney