Tyler Toll

Tyler Toll was only 18 when he died in a car wreck on Tuesday. His passing has left those who knew him grief-stricken, with many memories of their times together.

The Facebook group Tyler Toll Memorial, started by a junior high student at Toll’s school, Cedar Valley Christian, is a monument to the young man’s influence and faith. More than 500 people have joined the group in support of his family and friends. I’d encourage you to check it out if you have a Facebook account. Many of the entries made me cry.

If you don’t have Facebook, here’s an excerpt:

From Ashley M. — i miss you sooo much even tho we havent talked much lately i feel like something is missing…ik ill see you again its just hard to wait. Im actually jealous of you, ur in such a better place now…no more worries, tears, pain…nothing but complete joyyy…you lucky duck! youve taught me so much…to just live life the way we are suppose to and do the things we want cuz its sooo short. I wanna be more like you…and just try and enjoy every lilttle thing. ill never forget you ever! && i cant wait to see you again…ull always be in my heart!
love youuuuu tylerrrr♥ ♥ ♥


The intrepid police of Marion are investigating the folks who live at 1225 Fourth Ave. there for drug activity following the alleged kidnapping and beating of 18-year-old Joseph Darden last month.

Overnight Sept. 13 to Sept. 14, Marion police said in an application for a search warrant of the residence that they got two 911 calls regarding a white van with four men were in possession of guns and making threats. Officers identified and questioned the people inside the van, and they told officers an occupant of the Fourth Ave. house stole money from them. Well, that was the van full of people Darden went with to buy a half pound of marijuana that night. It may also help explain why they didn’t get it.

Apparently, a resident at 1225 Fourth Ave. known as “Huffy” has been a good source for the ganja for a while, police said in the search warrant application. The house is near Vernon Middle School. Officers found some marijuana in the residence when they searched it, and a plastic straw with white powder residue in it.

Ever since the day Gale was found dead behind Marion High School, speculation has run wild about how it happened. Now that we know how, that speculation seems worse. It was bad enough that the 58-year-old was dumped there by two people who he considered his “friends,” but they robbed him, stole his possessions and left his pants around his ankles. That left all sorts of unanswered questions, and cruelly affected Gale’s family and friends, not to mention Gale himself.

At the end of August, Gale’s remaining siblings and relatives had him cremated and his ashes sent to Rohnert Park, Calif., where his brother, Louie, lives. They held a funeral for him there and had him buried. Louie told me today his youngest sister, Marie Gray, 60, who lives in Glendale, Ariz., just couldn’t bring herself to come.

“She got on the plane and sat there for a minute, but she had to get off the plane,” he said. “This is has all really upset her.”

If Gwen and Eric Townsel had just taken a minute to think, it may not have kept Marie from Gale’s funeral. His death may not have taken such a toll on his only daughter, Valerie Gilkison from Washington. It may have helped soothe his ex-wife, Cathy Huggins, who still lives in the area.

I hope that, if the Townsels did what the police said they did, they pay the price so Gale and his family can finally rest in peace.

Diona England was NOT pleased when the 32 ounce cup of Wild Cherry Pepsi she was holding between her legs started sloshing all over her lap in the Taco Bell drive-thru on Marion Boulevard. She became upset because the lid “wasn’t on tight enough” when it was given to her, according to a report filed with Marion police May 12. England, 29, started swearing at employee Kristina Wyatt and assistant manager Amy Brewster and threw the cup through the drive-up window, police said, splashing them with leftover pop. Nevertheless, they gave England her $8 back for the food. They took down her license plate number as she drove away.

Days later, England was arrested for assault. The moral to this story — put your pop in your car’s drink holders. Seriously. Your lap wasn’t made to hold spillable liquids.

Over the Memorial Day weekend, about 18 drunken drivers and 25 people charged with public intoxication were booked into the Linn County Jail. I’ve always found it amusing that many feel the need to celebrate our country’s landmark holidays by getting drunk and causing trouble.

Mostly people were being rowdy at the bar or at home, nothing new there. But two Cedar Rapids men took the celebratory mood a bit farther. Chad Teslick, 28, decided on Monday that he wanted to trash the new Volkswagen dealership on Blairs Ferry Road in Marion. Police said he broke the glass window out of a door in the dealership’s service area and took a van, plowing it through the closed garage door and then damaging several vehicles in the lot. He was arrested for third-degree burglary and public intoxication. The dealership opened its doors little more than a month ago.

On Saturday, Jeffrey Gremm got into a fight with his Century Cabs driver, Thair Alterbal, as Alterbal was taking him to Marion. In the area of 10th Street and Seventh Avenue, police said Gremm, 44, punched Alterbal while he was driving, and Alterbal punched him back. Gremm ran from the car, but Alterbal caught him and they started fighting again. Gremm was arrested on charges of assault causing bodily injury, fifth-degree theft (for not paying his $20+ cab fare) and, you guessed it, public intoxication.

Kelvin X. Louis Jr., 20, better known as “K-Lou” to his clientele, has sold “a lot” of pot out of his father’s apartment at 2981 Ninth St., in Marion, according to a search warrant of his residence. But in early May, police received a tip about the illegal activities going on there — right across from Linn-Mar High School — and got a warrant to search the apartment.

Officers served the warrant four days later and found small amounts of marijuana ALL OVER THE PLACE in his bedroom, according to the search warrant. Under the mattress, leftovers in baggies under the bed, on the night stand, in two dresser drawers. Even two baggies in his pants pocket!

You’ve gotta be nuts if you think that the kids at Linn-Mar didn’t know this guy was there. Teenagers can sniff out illegal substances just like K-9s…in fact, I think they’d do better in a contest. Anyway, he’s out of business for the time being. Louis was arrested and is being held in the Linn County Jail in lieu of $20,000 bond. One of the several charges against him is delivery of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school.

Louis graduated from Kennedy High School last year, according to Gazette archives.

While they were on a walk along the Thomas Park trail in Marion on April 22, a random person found a random Nokia cell phone laying on the ground, Marion police reported in a search warrant returned Tuesday. The “concerned citzen,” as he or she was called, looked at the text messages on the phone to see if they could find out whose it was (in my case, it would have been just plain curiosity). The concern came in when they noticed the messages contained detailed information about thefts and other criminal mischief.

The phone was turned in to Marion police. Now they’ve got all the person’s contacts and text messages. I wouldn’t be surprised if some people get arrested. I’ll let you know!

UPDATE: Marion police Lt. Steve Etzel said the phone turned out to belong to a teenage Marion girl who was exchanging the text messages with her friends as a joke. Police talked to her parents, they gave back the phone, and now everything’s grand.

So…I suppose you shouldn’t lose your phone when you’re joking about committing crimes, either.

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