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Wright County News  

Saturday, January 20, 2018


Record Enrollment in MNsure 

Officials say a record 116-thousand 358 Minnesotans signed up for health insurance through MNsure during the open enrollment period that just ended, and officials say 30 percent of those enrollees were new. C-E-O Allison O'Toole says that's despite uncertainty at the federal level. O'Toole says MNsure is the only place consumers can get federal tax credits. GOP Senator Michelle Benson from Ham Lake responds that the record number of enrollees reflects the continued lack of affordability for consumers. Benson is among the lawmakers proposing more incentives for people to make good choices, including holistic approaches to health care. 

Regional Lawmaker Recovering After Heart Procedure 

A state lawmaker from our region is recovering after undergoing a heart procedure performed this past week. State Representative Nick Zerwas, Republican from Elk River, was originally intended to have a stent placed in one of the major arteries in the right side of his heart, but during the course of the operation, doctors determined the original plan of action was no longer feasible. Spokespersons for Representative Zerwas say a new care plan will be developed over the next few months. Meanwhile, he is resting comfortably at his home in Elk River, and is expected to return to a normal schedule within the next few days. The heart defect was discovered during a routine annual checkup. Representative Zerwas and his family remind Minnesotans of the importance of routine checkups as a part of a healthy lifestyle. 

Funeral Services Today for Longtime Monticello Businesswoman, Sharon Martie 

Funeral services are scheduled for today, for a longtime businesswoman and well-known resident of the community of Monticello. Sharon Martie passed away January 9th at the age of 74. Sharon was born and raised in Monticello, and married her high school sweetheart, Russell Martie in 1962. The couple began providing foster care shortly after their marriage, and continued for nearly 30 years. In 1982, Sharon and Russell opened their first of what would become three feed stores known as Martie's Farm Service. She continued to care for all the children and work as the bookkeeper for the family business, and was still working at the business until the time of her death. She also had a great love for animals of all kinds, especially her horses. Sharon is survived by her husband, Russell, 12 children, 24 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild. Funeral services for Sharon Martie are scheduled for 11 AM today, at the Community United Methodist Church in Monticello. 

Dayton Bonding Proposal at 1.5 Billion, GOP Says 800 Million More Realistic 

Governor Mark Dayton wants Republicans to approve a 1.5-billion-dollar bonding package for state public works projects that emphasizes preservation of current assets over new construction. State Management and Budget Commissioner Myron Frans sees many positives in the governor's plan. Republicans say they're not generally in disagreement with the types of projects proposed by the Governor, but rather, the broad scope of his plan. State Representative Dean Urdahl, who represents a portion of Wright County, says the request is nearly double what the state can actually afford. Urdahl chairs the House Bonding Committee. He says his committee is looking at a bonding bill of around 800 million dollars.

MDH Offers Simple Words to Slow Flu Spread: Sick? Stay Home 

Seasonal influenza continues to circulate across the state, prompting some simple words from the Minnesota Department of Health to help slow the spread of the flu. MDH spokeswoman Karen Martin says if you're sick, stay home. Martin says there is still plenty of flu season left, and it's still not too late to get vaccinated.

State Senate Panel Examines "Cost Drivers" for Health Care in MN 

Do doctors order unnecessary tests because they're afraid of lawsuits by patients? That's one of the areas a special Minnesota Senate committee is examining as it prepares recommendations on controlling health care costs in Minnesota. Attorney Barb Zurek, who defends providers accused of medical malpractice, told lawmakers her clients sometimes order more tests than medically required both because they don't want to miss anything, but also in some cases, to limit liability concerns. Kathryn Kmit with the Minnesota Council of Health Plans shared her thoughts on whether or not the volume of medical service use is higher in the U-S than other parts of the world. She says Americans don't use health care any more frequently than other industrialized countries, but our costs are significantly higher. The special committee has examined a number of areas in about a half-dozen meetings. Chairman, Chaska Republican Scott Jensen, expects a final report to be issued after the legislature goes back into session in late February.

MDA to Host Workshops on Farm-related Stress 

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is offering a free workshop that will focus on farm-related stress. MDA spokeswoman Meg Moynihan has complete information in our on-air news throughout the day. The three-hour workshops are free. The closest location to Wright County will be on Tuesday, January 30th at Ridgewater College in Willmar. Sessions will be held at both 9:30 AM and 1:30 PM.


Delano Jaycees to Host "Puck in the Park" This Weekend 

The Delano Jaycees will again host "Puck in the Park" this weekend at Delano's Central Park. Today, the hockey games begin with Youth Mites from 9 to 11 AM. Kids games and other activities will also be held from 10 AM to 12:30 PM. From 12 noon to 10 PM, the adult hockey tournament will be held, and from 1:30 to 4 PM, a bean bag tournament will take place. A pork chop dinner will be offered beginning at 5 PM. Advance tickets are available for 10 dollars at Coborn's and Minnesota Lakes Bank. Dinner tickets at the gate will be 12 dollars. Live music from The White Keys will close out the event in the heated tent from 8 PM to midnight. For more information, visit online at;


MnDOT Urges Motorists to be Cautious When Driving Near Snowplows 

Snowplow crews will be continuing to try to improve road surfaces this week after Sunday's snowfall in our area. The plows will be sharing the roads with regular traffic and officials with MnDOT urge motorists to use extra caution when plows are on the roads. MnDOT officials say plow operators are well trained, but motorists need to be patient and stay back from the plows. Plow trucks travel much slower than the posted speeds because it is the most effective speed to clear the roads. The operator's vision can often be hampered by the snow clouds created while they plow. Motorists are urged to stay alert, stay back, slow down, and be patient with plowing crews. Drivers should also keep their headlights on, turn off the cruise control, use safety belts, and don't drive distracted. There have been at least 22 crashes so far in this early winter season involving vehicles and snowplows. Last year there were 58 crashes involving plows and vehicles over the course of the entire winter. 

Shop STMA Hosts 3rd Annual Business Expo Today 

The third annual Shop STMA Business Expo is scheduled for this weekend. Organizers say there will be numerous vendors will be on hand with information on their businesses and services. Visitors will also be able to attend an open house at the Crow River Senior Center and take in a craft sale. The St. Michael-Albertville-Hanover Library, which is also located in the City Center will have a special presentation. Many of the businesses will have giveaways, and visitors can sign up for door prizes. The event is scheduled from 10 AM to 1 PM today at the St. Michael City Center. The event is sponsored by Shop STMA, and additional information is available at;., and on the Shop STMA Facebook page. 


Flu Season Hitting Hard in Some Areas 

Influenza is taking its toll throughout the state and in our area. The first flu death of the season has been reported as that of a pediatric patient. Over the last reporting week, officials confirmed that there were also close to 18-hundred hospitalizations, and 43 outbreaks in Minnesota schools. Even with widespread activity, Karen Martin with the Minnesota Department of Health says It's still not too late to get your flu shot if you haven't yet done so. Martin says the state's nursing homes are also being hit hard with the flu. She says if you or a family member is sick, please refrain from nursing home visits. She says there were 55 reported outbreaks in the state's nursing homes during the last reporting week.

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.