Wright County News
Bi-Partisan Support for Governor's New Senior and Vulnerable Adult Safety Plan
Governor Dayton this week rolled out a nearly $15 million plan to better protect the health and safety of Minnesota seniors and vulnerable adults in care facilities. Dayton says the proposal strengthens and expands the rights of older Minnesotans and their families, along with outlining new areas of protection. The plan has bi-partisan support. Some lawmakers stress that the bill is actually non-partisan, including Republican Senator and Lieutenant Governor Michelle Fischbach. State Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm calls the plan a "public health approach." The proposal is the result of recommendations from the Office of the Legislative Auditor and an independent work group convened by A-A-R-P.
Spring Load Limits Now in Effect on State, County Roads in our Area
Spring load weight restrictions went into effect on Minnesota Highways in the central frost zone, and on Wright County Highways as of 12:01 AM this morning.The load limits are placed on the roadways to limit pavement damage during the spring thaw. The weight limits allow the materials used in the road base to thaw out and firm up before heavy loads are again allowed. The practice of load limits has proven to be an effective way to prevent or limit buckling and major cracking of the road surface. The ending dates for Spring Load Restrictions are based on how weather is affecting roadway strength. The date will be established by monitoring roadway strength as weather conditions change, therefore, the ending date for Spring Load Restrictions are variable. Anyone with questions on weight limits on area roads may learn more on the MnDOT and Wright County Highway Department websites.
Minnesota WorkForce Center to Host 14th Job Fair & Career Expo
The Minnesota WorkForce Center of Monticello and its partners will present the 14th Annual Central Minnesota Job Fair and Career Expo later this month. The event is scheduled for Tuesday, March 27th from 2 to 7 PM at the Monticello High School. Visitors and job seekers will be able to talk with numerous companies offering careers in manufacturing, transportation, health care, construction, agriculture, skilled trades, and many other areas of employment. Many of the companies represented will be seeking both full and part-time employees, and summer season employees. Visitors will be able to meet with company representatives, and in some cases, may be able to take part in on-site interviews. The event is free and open to the public. For more information on the Job Fair and Career Expo, as well as information for businesses who may want to display at the event, contact the Monticello WorkForce Center at (763) 271-3722.
Officials Looking for Mattress Dumpers
Township officials in Maple Lake Township, along with authorities with the Wright County Sheriff's Office are asking for help from the public in identifying the person or persons who have recently dumped mattresses in the ditches in rural areas of the township. Officials say mattresses have been dumped on 60th Street Northwest between Bishop Avenue Northwest, Clementa Avenue Northwest and 45th Street Northwest between Bolton Avenue Northwest and Crofoot Avenue Northwest. Anyone with information on this illegal dumping, or the identity of those responsible should contact Maple Lake Township at (320) 963-3927, or the Wright County Sheriff's Office at (763) 682-1162.
Bill That Would Require Hands-free Cell Phone Use in Vehicles Moves Forward
A bill is moving forward at the State Capitol that would limit cell phone use behind the wheel, allowing only voice-activated or other hands-free modes. A local lawmaker supporting the bill is Republican Representative Jim Newberger from Becker. Newberger has worked as a paramedic for 30 years, and says he's seen his share of motor vehicle accidents. He says living is a right, and driving is a privilege. Newberger says the hands-free cell phone measures would help to protect a basic human right. D-F-L Representative Frank Hornstein from Minneapolis agrees, saying distracted driving is the fastest growing cause of death and injury on the state's roads. Hornstein says while speeding and impaired driving numbers are going down, incidents of distracted driving are on the rise. In 2016, texting and driving citations in Minnesota were up 23-percent. Recent reports also show one in five traffic fatalities on Minnesota roads involve distracted driving.
Four Injured in Rear-end Crash in Benton County
Two young children were among four people injured Wednesday afternoon in a rear-end type traffic crash in Benton County. The State Patrol reports that just before 4 PM, an SUV and a passenger car were both northbound on Highway 10, just north of 85th Street in Watab Township. Authorities say the SUV slowed for backed-up traffic when it was rear-ended by the passenger car. The driver of the car, a 17-year-old girl who was not identified, was injured and taken to CentraCare Hospital in St. Cloud. The driver of the SUV, 34-year-old Sarah Johnson of South Haven sustained non-life threatening injuries, and was taken to the St. Cloud Hospital. Two young boys, ages 7 and 4, also from South Haven were also treated at St. Cloud Hospital for non-life threatening injuries. A third passenger, a 1-year-old girl from South Haven, was not injured. The Rice Fire Department, Gold Cross Ambulance, and MnDOT assisted the State Patrol at the scene.
One Injured in Two-Vehicle Crash in Albion Township
One person was injured in a two-vehicle traffic crash late Tuesday afternoon in Albion Township in Wright County. The State Patrol reports that around 5:20 PM, a Jeep Commander SUV was southbound on Spruce Avenue, and stopped at the intersection with Highway 55. Officials say the Jeep then continued to cross the highway, pulling out in front of an eastbound pickup truck. The vehicles collided, and the Jeep rolled onto its side. The driver of the Jeep, 16-year-old Ivan LaTour of Maple Lake, sustained non-life threatening injuries and was taken to the Buffalo Hospital for treatment. The driver of the pickup, 55-year-old Bruce Burkowske of Cokato, was not injured.
Spring Load Limits to go Into Effect on State, County Roads in our Area
Spring load weight restrictions will be going into effect on Minnesota Highways in the central frost zone, and on Wright County Highways beginning Friday at 12:01 AM. The load limits are placed on the roadways to limit pavement damage during the spring thaw. The weight limits allow the materials used in the road base to thaw out and firm up before heavy loads are again allowed. The practice of load limits has proven to be an effective way to prevent or limit buckling and major cracking of the road surface. The ending dates for Spring Load Restrictions are based on how weather is affecting roadway strength. The date will be established by monitoring roadway strength as weather conditions change, therefore, the ending date for Spring Load Restrictions are variable. Anyone with questions on weight limits on area roads may learn more on the MnDOT and Wright County Highway Department websites.
Most Wright County Townships Hold Annual Elections
Most Minnesota townships held their annual elections Tuesday. Here in Wright County, 15 of the18 townships held their annual elections. Here are the results in alphabetical order:
Supervisor: John Uecker (inc.)50
Clerk: Debbra Uecker (inc.) 50
Supervisor: Terry Weese (inc.) 106 Joe Coolen 59
Clerk: Mark Hoffman 145(Incumbent Clerk Tom Kleist did not run for re-election)
Supervisor: Thomas Schuveiller (inc.)12
Clerk: James Bischoff (inc.)12
Supervisor: Dean Mahlstedt 3-year term (inc.) 41
Supervisor: Dan Bravinder 1-year term 43
Clerk: Brad Morris 35
Supervisor: John Dearing (inc.) 36
Supervisor: John Czanstkowski, Sr.
French Lake Township
Maple Lake Township
Supervisor: Tom Neumann (inc.) 53 Misc. Write-ins 13
Supervisor: (Special Election – 1 yr. Term) (All votes write-in)
Kevin Marquette 20
Tom Otto 20
Misc. Write-ins 6
*Officials to meet with legal team to determine how to break tie vote
Supervisor: Augie Riebel (inc.) 29
Supervisor: Walt Barlow (inc.) 23
Clerk: Joey Berg (inc.) 23
Supervisor: Pete Stupar
Supervisor: Karen McDougall (inc.) 28
Supervisor: John Deitering (inc.) 28
Supervisor: Keaton Danielson 78 Greg Howell 61 write-ins
Clerk: Jody Selseth (inc.) 92
Supervisor: David Glessing 40
Clerk: Sharon Glessing (inc.) 26 Michelle Basscom 14
Supervisor: Dan Domjahn (inc.) 23
Clerk: Gloria Janikula (inc.) 23
Waconia Man Dies After He Kills Girlfriend and Their Baby While in Florida
A Carver County man has died of self-inflicted gunshot wounds after he killed his girlfriend and the couple's young child. Authorities in Marion County, Florida say 27-year-old Kevin Farias of Waconia died at a Florida hospital after a motorist found the family on a remote road in the Ocala National Forest in north Florida last Saturday morning. Officials believe Farias shot and killed 32-year-old Jessica Johnson of Holmen, Wisconsin, and the couple's 1-year-old daughter, Gabriela, before turning a gun on himself. The gunman initially survived, but died at the hospital. Investigators are still searching for answers regarding what prompted the murder-suicide.
Buffalo Man Charged With Arrested on Suspicion of Assaulting 6-month-old
A Buffalo man remains in custody on charges of suspicion on the first-degree assault of a 6-month-old child. Waite Park Police officials say 21-year-old Cody Anderson of Buffalo, was charged late last week in Stearns County in connection with the violent assault of the baby at a Waite Park home. Officials say they responded to an emergency call around 10 PM March 6th. The police report indicates that officers found a 6-month-old child "unconscious and having difficulty breathing." Authorities say their investigation determined the baby had "non-accidental internal brain trauma." The infant was taken to the St. Cloud Hospital, and later was transferred to the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. The StarTribune reports that Waite Park Police indicate that Anderson is not related to the child. He reportedly was caring for the injured infant and the baby's twin while the children's mother was away from the home. Anderson reportedly remains jailed after bail was set at 200-thousand dollars. A March 26th court appearance has been scheduled. Meanwhile, officials are continuing their investigation.
Wright County Soil and Water Conservation District Encourages Tree Planting This Spring
Wright County residents and property owners are being encouraged to plant trees this spring. The Wright County Soil and Water Conservation District reminds residents that trees benefit many wildlife species, help to provide snow and wind protection, benefit water quality, help to increase property value, and can help save energy. For information and advice on some of the trees that may be best for specific properties and planting areas, contact the Wright County SWCD in Buffalo at (763) 682-1970, or visit online at; www.wrightswcd.org.
Eleven Injured When Charter Bus Crashes in St. Michael
Eleven people were injured, none seriously, when a charter bus crashed on Interstate 94 in St. Michael over the weekend. The State Patrol reports that around 6:45 Saturday evening, the bus, carrying players and coaches from Highland Community College of Freeport, Illinois was heading back to that city after playing a game in Wahpeton, North Dakota when the driver had an unspecified medical emergency. Authorities say the bus entered the median where it struck several trees, road signs and a roadway fence. The bus reportedly traveled some 300 yards before coming to a stop. Officials say the driver and five others were taken to CentraCare Hospital in Monticello for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. Hospital officials say all have been released. Traffic was backed up for an extended period Saturday evening because of the crash, but no other vehicles were involved. The State Patrol is continuing its investigation into the crash.
Lawmakers Propose Raise in Tobacco Purchase Age to 21
A bi-partisan group of state Representatives wants to raise Minnesota's tobacco sale age from 18 to 21. Republican Representative Dario Anselmo of Edina says the effects of smoking are devastating. Opponents of raising the age say it would hurt local store owners and should be a federal-level decision--not made at the local level. They also say it would set up another potential border sale situation similar to when Sunday off-sale liquor was prohibited in Minnesota, but not in neighboring states.
Skywarn Spotter Training to be Held Later This Month in Wright County
The annual National Weather Service Skywarn Spotter Training sessions will be held later this month in Wright County. Steve Berg, Emergency Management Co-ordinator in Wright County says the classes will be held on Tuesday, March 27th in Room 120 at the Wright County Government Center. The Skywarn Spotter Training sessions are free, and will be held at 1:30 and 6:30 PM. Trained severe weather spotters provide essential information for all types of weather hazards, and the main responsibility of a spotter is to identify and describe severe storms in local areas. Classes are about two and a half hours in length, and will include a slide and video program that teaches potential spotters about severe storm structure, and other environmental clues to identify severe storms and tornadoes. Once again this year, the classes will be hosted by instructors trained by the National Weather service. For more information, contact Steve Berg with the Wright County Sheriff's Office at; (763) 684-2364.
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.