A 75-year-old Northfield woman and homeowner who shot and killed her longtime tenant last year will not face criminal charges, the Rice County attorney’s office announced.

The Aug. 14 shooting took place in the three-bedroom Northfield house Phyllis Ann Hall shared with Lilly Marie Kirckof, 61. The two were not related or partners, according to police.

The attorney’s office said in a statement that it could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Hall “was not acting in self-defense.”

Public records show that both women had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, Hall doing so more recently in 2014.

Northfield police chief Monte Nelson said there was a claim that Kirckof was upset about the possibility of a foreclosure.

Kirckof was declared dead at the scene. An autopsy said she died of multiple gunshot wounds.

Matt McKinney


DNR seeks public input on Whitewater hunting area

The state Department of Natural Resources wants to know what people think of the Whitewater Wildlife Management Area, a popular public hunting area in Altura, about 20 miles northwest of Winona.

It’s been 40 years since the agency updated the plan for the area.

“A lot has changed in the past 40 years, from a warming climate to the arrival of new invasive species,” said Don Nelson, DNR’s manager at Whitewater.

In managing the area, the DNR strives to provide good habitat for species such as deer, turkeys and squirrels, as well as hunting opportunities.

An open house will be held Jan. 17 from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Whitewater State Park visitor center, 19041 state Hwy. 74, Altura. Those unable to attend can share their thoughts by e-mail to Don.R.Nelson@state.mn.us, or by regular mail to Whitewater WMA, 15035 Highway 74, Altura, MN 55910.

John Reinan


Patty Wetterling to speak at local high school

Patty Wetterling, who became a nationally recognized advocate for children after the tragic 1989 abduction of her 11-year-old son, Jacob, will tell her story at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Springfield High School gym.

Admission is free, but a free will donation is encouraged.

Wetterling and her husband, Jerry, helped to create the Wetterling Act, a national law that requires states to implement a registry for sex offenders and crimes against children. She now works as an advocate with both the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Jacob Wetterling was abducted in October 1989. What became of him was not known until September, when Danny Heinrich led authorities to Jacob’s remains and publicly confessed to kidnapping and murdering the boy.

John Reinan