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Wright County News  

Friday, February 23, 2018

 

First Significant Snowfall in Weeks Could be Followed by More Saturday 

Wright County and most of the southern half of Minnesota is digging out of the first significant snowfall in weeks, and forecasters say Thursday night's snow could just be a warm-up for the main event this weekend. Snow began falling in the early evening hours on Thursday, and grew in intensity, dropping between 3 to 5 inches of fresh snow throughout the area. The snow ended early enough that plowing crews could get a jump on it overnight, and although roads are compacted, most are passable, and should be improving throughout the day. Only a few schools throughout our area delayed the start of classes this morning. One winter weather component that is not a part of this latest blast of snow is cold temperatures. Temps remained in the 20s overnight, and are expected to climb to the 30s today, meaning that any snow that is left over will be melting, and creating plenty of road spray. The winter weather advisory for our area should be allowed to expire today, only to be followed by a winter storm watch Saturday afternoon until early Sunday morning. Officials say another blast of February snow could drop another 3 to 7 inches of snow, similar to the type we're digging out from today. Stay tuned to KRWC Radio throughout the weekend for the latest weather information.

Officials Discouraged by Proposed Cuts to SNAP 

The Trump Administration is wanting to cut 20-billion dollars next year from the SNAP food assistance program. Colleen Moriarty of Hunger Solutions Minnesota says this comes at a time when we're still seeing record numbers of people using food shelves. She says state food shelves recorded three million visits each year since 2008. Moriarty says more than 600-thousand Minnesotans get help from the SNAP food program, many of them the state's seniors. 

Delano Chamber of Commerce Names Linda's Photography 2018 Business of the Year 

Members of the Delano Area Chamber of Commerce recently named Linda's Photography as the 2018 Delano Business of the Year. Linda Motzko and her daughter, Megan, have worked together for more than 12 years, after Linda started the business some 35 years ago in downtown Delano. The studio currently is located on River Street, but plans to move to a new studio on the family's 5-acre property in Delano. The studio and its photographers have won a number of awards, and Linda's Photography has been a long-standing member of the DACC, giving back to the community with various benefit holiday photo shoots, and other charitable endeavors. The business is also credited with creating a good deal of spin-off business for other area companies as they attract a number of high school students and families to Delano for various photo sessions. Linda's Photography will be honored as the Delano Business of the Year at the annual Delano Area Chamber of Commerce celebration dinner at the Delano American Legion on March 6th. 

Two Monticello Drivers Involved in Three-vehicle Crash in Morrison County 

Two drivers from the Wright County area were involved in a three-vehicle traffic crash Tuesday evening in Morrison County. Officials with the Minnesota State Patrol report that around 7:40 PM, a passenger car was westbound on Highway 27 and was attempting to make a u-turn when it became stuck, partially blocking the traffic lane. The driver of an SUV stopped to assist the passenger car, and parked in the westbound lane. A mini-van that was eastbound on Highway 27 then came upon the vehicles partially blocking the roadway, and struck the SUV. The driver of the mini-van, 27-year-old Michael Marshik of Little Falls sustained non-life threatening injuries that did not require hospital treatment. A passenger in the mini-van, a 23-year-old woman from Little Falls was taken to the Onamia Hospital of treatment of an unspecified injury. Another passenger, a 24-year-old woman, also from Little Falls was not injured. The driver of the passenger car that was involved, 30-year-old Amanda Johnson of Monticello, and the driver of the SUV, 40-year-old Travis Moshier, also of Monticello, both escaped injury. Officials with the Morrison County Sheriff's Office and the Mille Lacs Tribal Police assisted the State Patrol. Authorities say snow and ice were present on the roadway at the time of the crash. 

One Injured in Mille Lacs County Crash Involving Watertown Man 

A Watertown man was involved in a two-vehicle traffic crash early Tuesday morning in Mille Lacs County. The State Patrol reports that just before 5 AM an SUV collided with a Freightliner truck on Highway 169. Officials say both vehicles were northbound, and the SUV rear-ended the Freightliner when the truck slowed down for traffic. Injured in the crash was the driver of the SUV, 56-year-old Bruce Johnson of Ramsey. He sustained non-life threatening injuries and was taken to the Princeton Hospital for treatment. The driver of the truck, 56-year-old Randall Herrmann of Watertown was not injured. Authorities say snow and ice were present on the roadways at the time of the crash. The Mille Lacs County Sheriff's Office assisted the State Patrol at the scene. 

Lester Prairie Man Involved in Two-Vehicle Crash in Stearns County 

A Lester Prairie man was one of two drivers involved in a traffic crash Wednesday morning in neighboring Stearns County. The State Patrol reports that around 8:15 AM, two SUVs were northbound on Highway 15 near 225th Street in St. Augusta when one of the SUVs rear-ended the other vehicle, sending it off the road and into a tree. The driver of the SUV that struck the tree, 73-year-old Mathias Dahl of Hutchinson sustained non-life threatening injuries and was taken to CentraCare Hospital in Monticello for treatment. The other driver, 75-year-old Donald Eastman of Lester Prairie, was not injured. Officials say roads were dry at the time of the crash. 

Cokato City Council Hears Proposals for Bench to Honor Levi Wuollet 

The Cokato City Council this week heard from a resident who proposes a bench to honor a young man from the area who died in a drowning incident last summer. The Dassel-Cokato Enterprise Dispatch reports that Cokato resident Liana Rasset discussed with council members a bench that would remember Levi Wuollet of Dassel, who drowned while swimming with friends and family in Middleville Township near Howard Lake on June 5th, 2017. Potential locations proposed included the Dassel-Cokato High School and a more rural site along a bike trail. A council member suggested the bench may be ideal for the northwest corner of Peterson Park where the parks commission is discussing replacing a flowerbed with flower pots and a community bench. Council members were told that the suggestions would be discussed with the family, and then would be brought back to the council. Levi Wuollet was just 18 at the time of his death last summer, just one day after he graduated from Dassel-Cokato High School. 

SOAR Regional Arts to Present First of Five Weekend Performances of "Shrek, Jr." Tonight 

Everyone's favorite ogre made famous in the animated "Shrek" movies is back, and live on stage this weekend courtesy of SOAR Regional Arts. "Shrek, Jr." is a hilarious stage spectacle based on the Oscar-winning movie. A cast of more than 100 characters tell the tale of Shrek, the unlikely hero who finds himself on a life-changing journey alongside a wisecracking Donkey and a feisty princess who resists his rescue. "Shrek, Jr." will take the stage tonight at 7 PM at the St. Michael-Albertville Middle School West. There will be no performance on Friday, but performances are planned for both Saturday at 2 and 7 PM, and Sunday at 2 and 6 PM. For more information, log onto; www.SOARarts.com. 

State Legislature Opens With Plenty of Business to Attend To 

Lawmakers are back in St. Paul for the 2018 legislative session. One of the first things they must do is pass an operating budget for the legislature after last year's protracted court battle over Governor Mark Dayton's vetoes. Senate Democratic Minority Leader Tom Bakk says approval of state employee contracts should be included so those workers get cost-of-living increases. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka says the GOP would prefer a "clean bill," and Governor Mark Dayton says he prefers a "clean" bill, but at the same time,  acknowledging that legislators have the right take their own action. Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt says he believes passage of the legislative operating budget will likely come in the first couple of weeks of the session.

State Capitol Rally to Highlight Push for Hands-Free Phone Use in Cars 

It's already illegal in Minnesota to send or receive text messages while driving, but a rally at the Minnesota State Capitol on Thursday hopes to highlight a push for a new law that would further limit the way cell phones could be used in automobiles. Bills expected to be considered again this session in the Minnesota House and Senate would mandate that drivers would only be able to use a cell phone in a hands-free manner. Paul Aasen, President of the Minnesota Safety Council told listeners on Tuesday's "Spotlight" on KRWC Radio that the hands-free mandate is gaining support, and he thinks it has a strong chance of passage. Under language of the bill, drivers would only be able to use their cell phone in a voice-activated or other hands-free mode, whether through a device feature such as a speaker phone, or with a wireless earpiece, or with other accessories. Aasen says while holding a phone and talking on it while driving is a distraction, studies show the other types of phone uses that some drivers are attempting take distracted driving to a much higher level. The bill would still allow for hand-held use of a cell phone to obtain emergency assistance and in the event of an immediate life or safety threat. Language of the bill also would allow hand-held phone use in an authorized emergency vehicle while in the performance of official duties. Thursday's rally at the State Capitol Rotunda begins at 10 AM, with a number of speakers scheduled to make presentations beginning at 10:30 AM.

Master Gardeners Planning 15th Annual "Spring Days" 

After a long, cold winter, many people may be looking ahead to springtime and getting back into the garden. Officials with the University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners program in Wright County are planning a great event for winter-weary residents. The 15th Annual "Spring Days" will be presented Saturday, March 3rd from 8:30 AM to 3:15 PM at the St. Michael-Albertville Middle School West. An expo area featuring great commercial and service exhibits will be a part of the day, along with breakout class sessions that will range from flower arranging to protecting pollinators, and everything in-between. The event also includes breakfast and lunch. Tickets are 30 dollars in advance, and 35 dollars at the door. For more information and registration, log onto; www.SpringDays.org. 

Outstate Minnesota Cities Poised to Lobby for More Funding

The Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities is asking Minnesota lawmakers to increase state funding to repair streets and water and sewer systems, plus additional aid to help hold down property taxes. CGMC spokesman Bradley Peterson acknowledges that the group will have a tough fight at the legislature because one of key lawmakers' top priorities is matching Minnesota's tax structure to the new federal tax cuts. He says that Republican lawmakers are also talking about a bonding bill for public works projects that amounts to only about half of the 1.5 billion dollars that DFL Governor Mark Dayton proposes. 

Minnesotans Seek Rx for Drug Prices 

AARP is asking Minnesotans to help solve the problem of soaring prescription drug prices. The organization is arranging conversations around Minnesota to learn about what other states are doing and explore what's possible in our state. Laurie Stern has a full report in our on-air news, and for more information, log onto; www.aarp.org/mn.

Final Days Ahead for Annual Buffalo Masons Food Drive 

We're coming up on the final days of the annual food drive sponsored by the Buffalo Masons. For the 7th year, the Masons are conducting their annual matching funds drive for area foodshelves. As in previous years, the Nelson Lodge #135 in Buffalo of the Masons is partnering with the Order of the Eastern Star, Galilee Chapter #53 for this year's drive. Donations are requested by a check made payable to Nelson Masonic Lodge #135, or Galilee Chapter #53. In the memo area of the check, write the name of the food shelf that you wish your contribution to be donated, either the Annandale / Maple Lake, or Buffalo Food Shelf. The food shelf designated on the check will receive your full donation amount, and the Masons will match that amount. Deposit your donation at any KleinBank branch, or mail it to KleinBank, Attn. Mason's Food Shelf Drive, 910 Commercial Drive, Buffalo, MN 55313.The 7th Annual Food Shelf Matching Funds Drive runs through February 28th.

Stacy Braun Officially Announces Candidacy for Wright County Sheriff

A local man has become the first person to officially announce that he will be a candidate for Wright County Sheriff. Stacy Braun, who challenged Sheriff Joe Hagerty in 2014, has announced that he intends to run again for the office this fall. Braun has been a Wright County resident for some 40 years, and has served with the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office in a number of divisions or units since 1993. In a recent statement, Braun says he plans to base his campaign on community engagement and outreach, the best training and education for officers, and leadership and transparency for the state's third largest sheriff's office. Braun says he will run a self-funded campaign, and plans not to ask for, nor accept any campaign donations. The office of Wright County Sheriff is expected to be wide-open to candidates this fall as Sheriff Joe Hagerty announced earlier this month that he will not run for re-election in 2018, and will retire at the end of his term.

Secretary of State Simon Promotes Cyber-Security for Mid-Term Elections 

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon says that it has come to light that Minnesota was one of 21 states targeted by Russian cyber attacks in the 2016 election, according to intelligence officials. Secretary of State Simon says the fundamentals of Minnesota's election system are "very sound," but he says staying one step ahead of "the bad guys" will take work, focus and resources. The secretary visited Wright County recently to meet with county Auditor / Treasurer Bob Hiivala on cyber-security for the upcoming mid-term elections. National Intelligence officials have warned lawmakers in Washington, D-C that Russia will try to undermine the upcoming midterm elections in the U-S.

Wright County Seeks 2018 Farm Family of the Year Nominations 

The University of Minnesota Extension is seeking nominations for the 2018 Wright County Farm Family of the Year. Each year the U of M Extension recognizes farm families throughout the state, and each county is invited to select a farm family to represent their county. The Wright County Extension Service is seeking nominations for a farm family to be recognized at this summer's Wright County Fair, as well as at FarmFest 2018 near Redwood Falls in early August. Nominees should be actively involved in agriculture with one or more agricultural enterprises, or have made significant short term progress and / or innovative contributions with their agricultural endeavors. Organic, alternative and sustainable farm enterprises along with agri-forestry, aquaculture potato, vegetable, fruit and berry farms should be considered for nomination, along with traditional crop and animal operations. Nominees should also be involved in their communities and related organizations. To nominate a family to be the 2018 Wright County Farm Family of the Year, call Rod Greder at the University of Minnesota Extension Service in Wright County at (763) 682-7381, or to obtain a nomination form. All nominations must be received by March 20th.

These stories and more follow CNN and MNN network news in our Wright County News at 6:10, 7:10, &  8:10 AM and 12:10, 4:10, 5:10, & 6:10 PM on AM 1360 / KRWC.