Wright County News
Monday's visits from the CP Railway Holiday Train helped to collect thousands of pounds of food, and tens of thousands of dollars for local food shelves. In Loretto, just over 27 thousand dollars in cash donations, and around 11 hundred pounds of food were collected. In Buffalo, around 55 hundred dollars in monetary donations and around 1 thousand pounds of food were collected. And in Annandale, an incredible estimate of some 35 thousand dollars in monetary donations were collected, along with about 1 thousand pounds of food. The monetary total in each community include a check for 45 hundred dollars from Canadian Pacific Railway, as a gesture of goodwill and support for the communities that the CP Railway's trains run through during the year. 2017 was the 19th year overall of the CP Railway Holiday Train's trip throughout the Upper Midwest and Canada.
Ice Safety Reminders
Now that temperatures have been cold enough to make ice on many area lakes and streams, outdoor enthusiasts are getting anxious to get started with fishing and other activities. Wright County Sheriff's Department Emergency Management Coordinator Steve Berg says however that everyone needs to remember the safety guidelines for ice thickness, and no one should set out on any ice until it's more than 2 to 3 inches for foot traffic. Safety officials say ice is never completely safe, and often freezes unevenly on lakes and streams. There have already been a number of ice-related accidents across the state so far this winter, including a fatality this week in Crow Wing County.
Christmas Angels Program Helps Seniors in Area Communities
A new program this holiday season hopes to spread joy and care for area senior citizens. The Christmas Angels program is similar to other efforts for families and children in our communities. The difference is that the focus in on senior citizens who may be alone or forgotten during the holidays. With the efforts of volunteers and donors, each senior in the program will receive a blanket a sweat suit and personal hygiene products such as lotions, soaps and lip balm. Donation boxes are available at the Buffalo Hospital, Cub Foods, Kids Haven, BankWest, Stellis Health and the Allina Clinic in St. Michael. For more information on the program, or to help by adopting-a-senior, email; firstname.lastname@example.org.
On-line Shopping Safety Tips Offered From Better Business Bureau
More and more Minnesotans are doing their holiday shopping on-the-go from their smartphone or other mobile device, but the Better Business Bureau warns of security risks. Better Business Bureau spokesman Dan Hendrickson advises that everyone check their phone's settings to make sure you're not automatically connecting to open wi-fi networks. He says sometimes it's safer to use direct cellular coverage. He adds that it's not a good idea to let your tablet "auto-fill" debit or credit card information when placing on-line orders, because that data could then be accessed by thieves if your mobile device is lost or stolen. Hendrickson says the safest way is to enter the credit card number yourself each time.
Be Safe When Using Space Heaters
This week's colder winter temps are bringing reminders about using space heaters. State Fire Marshal Bruce West recommends at least 3 feet of free and open space around any space heater when it's in use. He also says it's also important to connect the space heater to a power source properly, and never use an extension cord with a space heater. Safety officials also recommend that you never let a space heater run unattended and always shut them off while you're sleeping.
Final Days of Buffalo Rotary's Toys for Tots Program for 2017
We're in the final days for donations of toys for this holiday season's Toys for Tots campaign organized by the Buffalo Rotary. Collection boxes will remain in place at drop off sites located at numerous businesses in Buffalo and Montrose through December 18th. Monetary donations may also be made by mailing to Toys for Tots c/o Buffalo Rotary P. O. Box 501, Buffalo, MN 55313, or submit online at; www.toysfortots.org.
Wright County Historical Society Annual Online Auction Ends Thursday
The 7th annual Wright County Historical Society online auction is scheduled to come to a close on Thursday. The auction is a major fundraiser for programming at the Historical Society, providing funds for free presentations and events for the public. Items include toys, themed baskets, items for sports fans, food and cooking items and much more. The bidding ends at 4:30 PM on Thursday, so log onto; www.wrighthistory.org, or see the Wright County Historical Society Facebook page to make a bid, or to watch your items closely so that you don't get out-bid. Organizers also say that at least one new item per day is added to the auction.
MN Legislators Propose New Procedures to Investigate Sexual Harassment Allegations
In the wake of recent reports of sexual harassment in and around the State Capitol, a bi-partisan pair of state lawmakers introduced a series of proposed changes to the rules of the Minnesota House. The new rules, proposed by Republican Representative Marion O'Neill of Maple Lake, and DFL Representative John Lesch of St. Paul focus on a fair and timely investigation of complaints of sexual harassment. Representative Lesch said both parties acknowledge the heightened need for new procedures that will ensure a safe, respectful work environment at the capitol. Representative O'Neill said the new proposals would not only create a streamlined process for filing a complaint, it would also outline procedures to ensure that any and all complaints are credible. Under the new proposals, a probable cause hearing would need to be held by the House Ethics Committee within 30 days of the filing of any complaint. Other highlights include a requirement that an outside employment attorney or consultant be retained to investigate the complaint and submit a report to the Ethics Committee. The proposal also would require the Ethics Committee to develop specific due process requirements for complaints regarding sexual harassment and discrimination. Complaints of a confidentiality breach by a member or employee would also be subject to disciplinary action by the Ethics Committee.
CP Railway Holiday Train Visit Draws Hundreds at Each Wright County Area Stop
Hundreds of holiday revelers braved some cold wind chills Monday night to greet the spectacular Canadian Pacific Railway Holiday Train at three stops in our area. Visitors of all ages thrilled to the sight of the special train decorated with thousands of lights and holiday themes, as well as a half-hour concert from a special box car with a drop-down stage featuring performers Teri Clark, Dallas Smith and Kelly Prescott. The annual Holiday Train tour helps to raise money and food donations for local food shelves, and Canadian Pacific Railway made a donation to area food shelves at each stop, adding to the food and monetary donations from visitors. Spokesperson Vanessa Difrucia told KRWC Radio News that it's one way that CP Railway gives back to the many communities it's trains travel through during the year. KRWC provided live coverage Monday from each of the stops in our area, as well as on-board the Holiday Train itself. The final numbers from Monday night's donations for area food shelves should be available in the coming days. The Holiday Train visits some 170 communities in the upper Midwest and Canada on its annual run in December.
Report Finds Insurance Parity Still Lacking for Mental Health Services
Minnesotans with private health insurance are having a tougher time finding treatment for mental health conditions than for physical ailments, says a report from the National Alliance on Mental Illness. NAMI Minnesota's Sue Abderholden says the promise of mental health "parity" hasn't been realized and over one-in-four are forced to seek services out-of-network. Abderholden says under the current system, the State Commerce Department is allowed to review insurance plans' coverage for mental health only based on complaints.
Flu Activity Picking Up
It's been a slow start to the flu season across the state but activity is increasing. State health officials categorize influenza activity as local. Over the last reporting week, 39 people were hospitalized with flu-related symptoms compared to 28 the week before. Health officials say it's still not too late for a flu shot. Karen Martin with the Minnesota Department of health says so far this season, 130 people have been hospitalized with the flu. There was one school outbreak last week and five in the state's nursing homes.
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.