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Wright County News  

Wednesday, November 20, 2019


State Unemployment Steady in October 

Minnesota's unemployment rate held steady at 3.2 percent last month. Despite the flat nature of unemployment, Oriane Casale with the Department of Employment and Economic Development says there were distinct positives in the October numbers. She says the continued low unemployment continues to generate a positive impact on the labor market. The state added 74-hundred jobs in October with leisure and hospitality, transportation and utilities and manufacturing leading the way in job gains. Minnesota's unemployment rate was four-tenths of a percent lower than the national rate for October. The county-by-county unemployment rate for October should be released in the next week to 10 days. 

Senator Anderson Tours Veterans Court 

Members of the Minnesota Senate Judiciary committee and the Veterans committee, including Senator Bruce Anderson of Buffalo, the chair of the committee, recently took a joint tour of the Veterans treatment courts. Veterans treatment courts play a significant role in keeping veterans out of the criminal justice system by taking the impact of their military service into account. The courts require regular appearances, treatment sessions, and random drug and alcohol testing. By meeting obligations set by the courts, veterans are getting the help they need to re-integrate. Connecting to specific benefits and services is proving very useful as the veterans pursue a successful future. The senators and staff heard success stories and shared their plans to grow their motivational mentor support system. Senator Anderson called the tour encouraging. He said "...the camaraderie built here is inspiring." The senator says he will continue to support the work being done in the Veterans treatment courts. 

One Injured in Two-Vehicle Crash in Neighboring Stearns County 

One person was injured when two vehicles collided Tuesday evening in neighboring Stearns County. The State Patrol reports that the crash happened around 9:30 PM Tuesday on Highway 15 at the intersection with Stearns County Road 136 in Saint Augusta. Officials say a passenger car was westbound on the county road, while an SUV was southbound on Highway 15. As the passenger car entered the intersection, the SUV reportedly ran a red light and collided with the car. The driver of the car that was struck, 33-year-old Aaron Baros of Avon, sustained non-life threatening injuries and was taken to the St. Cloud Hospital for treatment. The driver of the SUV, 26-year-old Morgan Alt of St. Augusta, was not injured. The Stearns County Sheriff's Office assisted the State Patrol. 

RSV Cases on the Increase 

Health officials are seeing an uptick of Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or, RSV cases in the state. Karen Martin with the Minnesota Department of Health says at first, symptoms can be similar to the common cold, as well as irritability and no appetite. Martin says steps to combat the spread of the virus are right in line with normal good health practices such as frequent hand washing, covering coughs, and staying home if you're sick. She says currently there is no vaccination for RSV. Martin says young children and older adults are most at risk for viral infection. She says if you suspect RSV, you should contact your doctor right away.

Methamphetamine Manufacturing Materials Located in Monticello 

Wright County law enforcement officials are investigating the discovery of a suspected methamphetamine manufacturing location near Monticello. Saturday evening, deputies were called to a drug complaint near the intersection of 90th Street Northeast and Haug Avenue Northeast in Monticello Township. During the investigation, deputies located items and chemicals consistent with those used to manufacture meth. The investigation led deputies to a residence in the 6900 block of 91st Street Northeast in Monticello where more items common to the production of meth were found. Due to possible hazards involved in the containment, collection and clean-up of the area, specialized units from the BCA and DEA were contacted and were expected to be on the scene Monday, collecting evidence and disposing of any hazardous materials that may be at the location. Wright County Sheriff's Department officials say while the investigation is active, there is no immediate danger to the public. As a result of the investigation, officials say 39-year-old Jeremy Willer of Monticello was arrested for 1st degree controlled substance crimes as well as possession of counterfeit currency. 

"State of Lung Cancer" Report Offers Some Good News, Bad News for Minnesota 

The second-annual "State of Lung Cancer" report has some good news and not so good news for Minnesotans. Pat McKone with the American Lung Association says that Minnesota has some of the best lung cancer survival rates in the country. She says however, that unfortunately, lung cancer is still very deadly. McKone says one of the reasons that lung cancer survival rates are lower than many other forms is that cases are often diagnosed at a later stage after the disease has already spread. The Lung Association will observe the "Great American Smokeout" this coming Thursday.

Montrose Man Seriously Injured in Saturday Evening Motorcycle Crash 

A local man was critically injured in a motorcycle crash Saturday evening in Delano. The State Patrol reports that just before 6:30 PM, the cycle was southbound on 5th Street South in Delano and was turning left to go east on Highway 12 when the rider lost control and crashed. The motorcycle rider, 26-year old Ian Scheie of Montrose sustained life-threatening injuries and was air lifted to North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale. Authorities say the man was not wearing a helmet, and alcohol was involved in the crash. The Wright County Sheriff's Office, Ridgeview Ambulance, the Delano Fire Department and North Air Care all assisted State Troopers at the scene. 

MNSure Officials Encouraged Despite Slightly Lower Initial Sign-ups

Despite some slightly lower initial enrollment numbers, MNSure officials remain positive. CEO Nate Clark gave the MNSure board of directors an update following the first 10 days of open enrollment activity. Clark says the pace of enrollments in qualified health plans is down slightly from last year, but there has been an uptick in brand new consumers signing up through MNSure for health coverage in 2020. Open enrollment runs through December 23rd.

"Kids Count" Report Says Accurate Census Count Among Key Issues for MN Kids 

An annual report says the future well-being of Minnesota children will depend, at least in part, on getting them counted in next year's U.S. census. Mike Moen has a complete report in our on-air news today. More information on the report is available online at;

Distracted Driving Citations up Statewide 

Distracted driving citations were up statewide in September compared to August. That despite the recently enacted hands-free law which went into effect on August 1st. Mike Hanson with the Department of Public Safety says the increase is similar to what happened when the primary seat belt law was enacted. Hanson says that in the first month of hands-free law enforcement, there were 2,317 tickets issued statewide by law enforcement. That number went up to 2,729 in September. Drivers are reminded to put the distractions away and put the phones down when behind the wheel. 


These stories and more follow the Westwood One 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.