Sun Focus Editions Columbia Heights/Fridley

F ocus Columbia Heights • Fridley Girls softball The Hylanders dropped 12-1 and 16-3 contests to Maranatha Chris- tian Academy April 4 and South- west Christian April 5 in the fi rst week of the season. See page 10 $ 1 Friday, April 21, 2017 • Focus.mnsun.com • Vol. 27, No. 17 News Update Columbia Heights #superintendent connects with students through Instagram #HeightsPride BY SARAH BURGHARDT SUN FOCUS NEWSPAPERS Heights retirement Columbia Heights li- brarian Barb Kondrick has retired as the adult services librarian at the newly built library on Central Avenue. To page 9 Forget Twitter and Face- book, a picture is what re- ally says a thousand words. Columbia Heights Supt. Kathy Kelly is well aware of that fact as she has spear- headed a new pathway to connect with the students in her district by creating a Superintendent Instagram account. Some adults can barely keep up with the social me- dia trends on Facebook. Although Kelly is new to the young generation’s plethora of social outlets, she found that Instagram is a current and exciting plat- form to connect with stu- dents in a new way. Instagram, a mobile pho- to-sharing application that allows users to share pic- tures and videos, has gained popularity in the past few years. The app is similar to a personalized photo album, a collection of photos that exhibit one’s own self, busi- ness, or in this case, Colum- bia Heights Public Schools. “We like to get things out and tell our story in Colum- bia Heights,” Kelly said. “I really wanted to connect on a different platform with a different group of people on social media.” Kelly’s Instagram ac- count launched at the be- ginning of the 2016-17 school year. “What I’m fi nding on my fi rst year of this little adven- ture, is that I seem to have more students following me right now because they’re on the platform,” Kelly said. “Primarily, it’s more students at this point, but that gives me joy, because I like to connect with the stu- dents whenever I can.” Kelly said she noticed that more parents were get- ting on board the Instagram Columbia Heights Supt. Kathy Kelly has discovered a new way to connect with students and INSTAGRAM - TO PAGE 5 parents in the district on Instagram. (Photo courtesy of Columbia Heights Public Schools) Anoka man indicted on murder charge New Anoka communica- tions director The Anoka County Board April 11 up- graded its public infor- mation unit to com- munication department status and named in- ternal candidate Erik Thorson as the new di- rector. To page 9 Fun Fair Anoka County 4-H in- vites the community to attend the fi rst annual 4-H Environmental Fun Fair at Springbrook Nature Center Satur- day, May 6, from 9 a.m. to noon. To page 2 Boys lacrosse Irondale mustered a 3-12 record last sea- son but return some of the state’s top scoring freshmen. To page 10 Public Notices Check out the latest public notices for the Fridley and Columbia Heights areas. To page 11 Sun Focus 33 Second St. N.E. Osseo, MN 55369 763-425-3323 sunfocus@ecm-inc.com BY SARAH BURGHARDT SUN FOCUS NEWSPAPERS An Anoka man has been in- dicted on charges of killing a 95-year-old man in his home in November. An Anoka County Grand Jury has indicted Isaiah Mon- trell Thomas, 27, in the murder of Anoka man Al Loehlein. Thomas had previously been charged with two counts of sec- ond-degree murder in Decem- ber. He has now been indicted on charges of fi rst-degree pre- meditated murder, fi rst-degree murder with intent while com- mitting a felony, and second-de- gree murder with intent but not premeditated. “The fi rst-degree murder in- dictment refl ects the horrible loss of life suffered by Mr. Loehlein in this case,” said Anoka County Attorney Tony Palumbo. According to the criminal complaint, Loehlein had been beaten to death with severe inju- ries to his head and face in his Anoka home. He had been liv- ing alone in the residence, and his family had dropped him off at home on Thanksgiving eve- ning. The family later discovered his body while dropping off gro- ceries on Nov. 28. Thomas was identifi ed by fo- rensic analysis of fi ngerprints. Through further investigation, it was determined that Thomas resided in an apartment less than one-fi fth of a mile from the home. Several items were stolen from the home, including a small mantle clock and two pocket watches. Investigation discov- ered the clock had been pawned on Nov. 27 at Excel Pawn in Ma- plewood. On Nov. 30, offi cers conduct- ed a traffi c stop on a vehicle in which Thomas was a passenger. He was then arrested, and upon search, offi cers located a gold pocket watch on his person. Thomas’ next hearing is scheduled for Aug. 29. Isaiah Montrell Thomas (Photo from Min- nesota Department of Corrections) Columbia Heights community raises funds for Lentz family medical expenses BY SARAH BURGHARDT SUN FOCUS NEWSPAPERS ruptured. She is set to have surgery in August to remove the two addi- tional aneurysms. Lentz’s husband Mike spent nights at the hospi- tal to ensure that she was never alone. Mike and Alyce have four children, all of whom have attend- ed Columbia Heights schools. Samuel, their oldest son, graduated in 2013 and lives at home while working. He has been able to help watch over his mother since she has returned home. Their two twin daughters, Abby and Lizzy, gradu- ated in 2016 and are at- tending St. Cloud State University. The sisters are able to visit home on the weekends and help when they can. Their young- est, Dylan, is a junior at Columbia Heights High School and is a three sport athlete. Follow- ing school and practices, Dylan is able to help care for Alyce. Dylan said time with his mother is even more appreciated and special now. “Every single second with her is a blessing,” Dylan said. “It’s just so good to have her around, and seeing how fast she is The Columbia Heights co VG26PFvWFW"F&6RWf"&W6FVBǖ6RVGv27VffW&VBg&Ц'WGW&VB'&WRЧ'6FvR0vFVW&W2VFЦ6WV6W2BBЦFF7W&vW'V@f"VwW7BFRVGf֖ǒ7FVBgVG&2ЦrWfVBBW'&"V&ǒ#6VGV&W'2BЧFVFVBFRWfVB6rЦrFV"7W'Bf"FPVGf֖ǒFRgFW&`fV""VGv2FЦrVG'vV6P7VffW&VBg&'WGW&V@'&WW'6FBv0FW"F66fW&VBF&RWfV2WBbv66VBfRVBW"Ч7FFǒ6Rv2'&Vv@FFR'FV&5RvW&R6R&V6VfV@Fǒ5B6627W&vW"ЦW2BVF6FFP662&WfVVBFBVG2F&VRWW'62GvFRVGf֖ǒ7FVBgVG&6W"BW'F&6RWf"FV"FW"ǖ6RVGv&V6VFǒ7VffW&VBg&bv6fRBWB'WGW&VB'&WW'6g&VgC6VV&'֖Rǖ6RƗBGVG7Vf7W2F'6&'W&v&GB