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Wright County News

Thursday, April 27, 2017


Wright County Unemployment Drops Again in March 

Wright County's jobless rate dropped again in the month of March. New statistics from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development show that Wright County's non-seasonally adjusted unemployment in March was 4.7 percent, down a half percentage point from the February rate of 5.2 percent. The March 2017 local jobless rate is also three-tenths of a point lower than during the same period last year, when the local unemployment rate was an even 5 percent. Meanwhile, Minnesota's seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate in March was 3.8 percent, down two-tenths of a point from the last 7 months, when the state jobless rate had been an even 4 percent. The seasonally adjusted U-S unemployment rate in March was 4.5 percent, down two-tenths of a point from February. 

Two Wright County FFA'ers Elected to State Offices for 2017-2018 

Two young women from Wright County have been elected to state offices on the 2017-2018 Minnesota FFA State Officer Team. Spencer Flood of the Dassel-Cokato FFA Chapter was elected Treasurer, while Maddie Weninger of the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Chapter was elected Sentinel at the 88th Minnesota FFA Convention this week. The new Minnesota State FFA President is Katie Benson of the Staples-Motley Chapter, Vice President is Emily Pilscott of the Kenyon-Wanamingo Chapter. The new State Secretary is Kylee Kohls of the Litchfield Chapter, and the new State Reporter is Eleora DeMuth of the Grand Rapids Chapter. The newly elected team, including the two Wright County representatives, will serve more than 11 thousand members in Minnesota for one year. They will also spend the next year representing the state and its agriculture and agricultural education at state and national levels. In addition to the Wright County representation on the State FFA Officer Team, the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted FFA Chapter received top honors for the National Chapter Award, sponsored by the Minnesota FFA Foundation. FFA Chapters apply for the honor by highlighting chapter activities in the categories of student, chapter and community development. The chapter applications are reviewed and scored by a series of judges based on innovating ideas and accomplished goals. 

Baby Animal Fair Returns to the Buffalo Civic Center Sunday 

The 2017 Baby Animal Fair returns to the area this weekend. The event, which is held every other year, is a major fundraising effort for Heifer International, which helps families in areas of poverty across the globe with gifts of animals to provide a sustainable source of nutrition, and income. The event also helps to end hunger locally with donations of food or money to local foodshelves, which is the admission to the event. Many live baby animals will be at the event, along with some exotic animals rarely seen in our area. Live local entertainment, delicious ethnic foods games and educational materials will all be a part of the Baby Animal Fair, which will be open from 12 noon to 4 PM Sunday at the Buffalo Civic Center. For more information on the event, visit, and for more information on Heifer International, log onto; 

St. Cloud Area Woman Injured in Wright County Traffic Crash 

One person was injured in an early morning traffic crash in Wright County Wednesday morning. The Minnesota State Patrol reports that just before 5 AM Tuesday, a westbound passenger car on I-94 ran off the road just west of Albertville and ran into the median ditch where it struck the cable median barrier. The driver of the car, 33-year-old Nasra Farah of Waite Park sustained non-life threatening injuries. She was treated at CentraCare Hospital in Monticello. The Wright County Sheriff's Office assisted the State Patrol at the scene. 

Road Construction Time is Here! 

Now that officials have announced the 2017 Minnesota road construction season, they're also urging motorists to keep safety in mind as they drive, not only for themselves, but also for the crews doing the road work. The Minnesota Department of Transportation's Kevin Gutknecht says there will be plenty to watch out for this year with more than 211 road and bridge projects planned throughout the state. He's urging drivers to be aware, take their time and slow down in work zones this spring and summer. 

Spring Clean-Up Days This Weekend in Buffalo, Clearwater, Monticello 

Springtime means spring clean-up time in most communities around Wright County, and several cities will host clean-up events this weekend. In Buffalo, the Spring Clean-Up event will be this Friday and Saturday, April 28th and 29th from 8 AM to 2 PM at the Buffalo Civic Center on County Road 134. Household appliances, personal electronics, tires, batteries, florescent bulbs, scrap metal, demolition materials, and other garbage will be accepted, though items such as petroleum products, paint, and any hazardous materials will not be accepted. A fee will be charged to dispose of most items. The complete outline of acceptable and non-acceptable materials and a guide to disposal fees is available on the City of Buffalo website at; The event is for city residents only. City staff will be on hand to confirm proof of residency. Similar rules are in effect for this weekend's Clearwater Clean-Up day on Saturday at the Clearwater Maintenance Building on County Road 75. Hours for the Clearwater Clean-Up are 8 AM to 11 AM on Saturday. This year's Monticello Spring Recycling Day will also be held on Saturday at the Commuter Parking Lot on Deegan Avenue near the Monticello Theater complex. Metro Appliance will be hosting the Monticello Recycling Day, and will be accepting appliances, tires, furniture, electronics and more. The City of Monticello website has complete information on costs and specific disposable items that will be accepted. Residents should note that the parking lot will be closed to commuters on Saturday because of the recycling event. The hours for the Monticello Recycling Day are 8 AM to 1 PM.

District 877 ECFE Family Fair Saturday 

District 877's Early Childhood Family Education department will host the annual ECFE Family Fair this Saturday in Buffalo. The annual event is a part of the celebration of the "Week of the Young Child," which runs April 23rd through the 29th. The annual Family Fair is an event for families with children learn of the many opportunities and service providers in the area, while allowing youngsters a chance to enjoy many attractions. This year, the Family Fair will feature the RAD Zoo Reptiles and Amphibians, the Wild Things Zoo Attractions, a Family Concert with Will Hale and the Tadpole Parade, a demonstration by Dojo Karate and more. The Family Fair will run Saturday from 10 AM to 1 PM at the Discovery Center gymnasium in Buffalo. Admission to the event is free, though cash donations to the Crisis Nursery of Wright County are appreciated. For more information, contact District 877 ECFE at (763) 682-8780.

"Prescription Drug Take Back Day" This Saturday 

This Saturday, over 100 locations across Minnesota -- the most ever -- will be participating in "Prescription Drug Take Back Day," where people can drop off outdated and unneeded prescription medications, no questions asked. Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson says it's particularly important as overdose deaths from prescription painkiller abuse continue rising. To find a list of locations for either Saturday or year-round, go to; In Wright County, both the Wright County Sheriff's Department and the Buffalo Police Department have free drop-offs for unwanted or unused prescription medications. 

Culvert Replacement to Force Temporary Closing of County Highway 5 Next Week 

Officials with the Wright County Highway Department advise motorists of a one-day road closing next week. A culvert removal and replacement on CSAH 5 in Albion Township just south of Lathrop Drive, and about a mile north of County Road 37 near Annandale will be closed next Tuesday, May 2nd. The roadway will be closed beginning shortly after 7:30 AM, but should re-open by 3 PM the same day. No detour will be posted. Motorists are asked to use alternate routes. Any questions may be directed to the Wright County Highway Department at (763) 682-7383.

Limited Home Inventory Leading to Sketchy Tactics From Buyers 

Historically low housing inventories across the state has some buyers taking shortcuts, with hopes of pushing through a sale faster. Chris Galler with the Minnesota Association of Realtors says he's even heard of buyers skipping a home inspection. He says this is the third year in a row homebuyers have had limited options. Galler says another factor coming into play is homeowners are hesitant to put their property on the market with fears they won't find another house to move into. He says it's definitely a seller's market right now. He says many homeowners are receiving multiple offers above and beyond the list price. 

Weekend Traffic Crashes Involve Residents of the Area 

Several traffic crashes over the weekend involved residents of our region. Early Sunday morning, a one car rollover occurred on I-94 near Silver Creek in Wright County. The State Patrol reports that just after 2 AM, a westbound passenger car on the freeway ran off the road into the right ditch and rolled over onto the roof of the vehicle, coming to rest on top of the interstate fence. Authorities say the driver, 19-year-old Katelynn McComas of St. Cloud and a passenger, 49-year-old Terry Schmidt of Watertown, both sustained non-life threatening injuries and were taken to the St. Cloud Hospital for treatment. Officials say the driver reported that she believed the vehicle developed a problem with a rear wheel causing the car to go out of control. The Wright County Sheriff's Office assisted at the scene.

Early Sunday afternoon, a motorcycle and a pickup truck collided on Highway 15 in Hutchinson. The State Patrol reports that just before 1 PM, a pickup that was southbound on Highway 15 went through a red light, striking an eastbound motorcycle at the intersection with 2nd Avenue Southeast. The driver of the motorcycle, 47-year-old Chad Stassen of Hutchinson sustained non-life threatening injuries, and was taken to the Hutchinson Hospital for treatment. The driver of the pickup, a 52-year-old man from Phillips, Arkansas, and a passenger, a 49-year-old woman from Robbinsdale, were not injured.

Friday morning, a Wright County man was injured in a car vs. semi crash in St. Cloud. The State Patrol reports that crash happened around 10:40 AM on eastbound Highway 10 at Benton Drive South in St. Cloud. Authorities say a passenger car that was merging onto east Highway 10 from Benton Drive South when it was struck by a semi-truck and trailer that was westbound. The driver of the car, 52-year-old Theresa Burnham of South Haven escaped injury, but a passenger in her car, 59-year-old Brian Leet, also of South Haven sustained a non-life threatening injury and was treated at the St. Cloud Hospital. The driver of the semi, a 42-year-old man from Brainerd, was not injured. The Stearns County Sheriff's Office assisted the State Patrol at the scene.

Sen. Bruce Anderson Will Have Key Role in Budget Negotiations 

State Senator Bruce Anderson of Buffalo will have key roles in negotiations on two budget issues over the final weeks of the Minnesota legislative session. Anderson was recently named to serve on the House Senate conference committees for the Judiciary and Public Safety, and State Government and Veterans budget bills. The second term Senator said he was glad to have the chance to help negotiate agreements for two of what he called "top responsibilities" for legislators, keeping people safe and making sure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely. The conference committees will be responsible for working out differences between the House and Senate versions of the bills, and coming up with a unified version to present to Governor Dayton for his signature. Other regional senators will also be highly involved in the process. Senator Warren Limmer of Maple Grove will co-chair the Judiciary and Public Safety conference committee, and Senator Mary Kiffmeyer of Big Lake will co-chair the State Government and Veterans conference committee.

Federal Funds Secured for MN to Battle Opioid Epidemic 

Minnesota has secured over five million dollars in federal funding to help combat the opioid epidemic in Minnesota. U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar says some of the money will go toward improving prescribing measures and prescription monitoring. The Minnesota Department of Health says in 2015, 216 deaths were linked to prescription painkillers, with another 114 deaths linked to heroin. Over the weekend, Minnesota and the rest of the world marked the one-year anniversary of the death of music-icon Prince, who died last year at the result of an opioid overdose.

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.