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Wright County News  

Friday, February 15, 2019


Buffalo Woman Injured in When Two SUVs Collide in Big Lake 

A woman from Buffalo was injured in a two-vehicle traffic crash Thursday evening in Big Lake. The State Patrol reports that around 6:30 PM, a Chevy Tahoe was eastbound on Highway 10 in the left lane. Meanwhile, a Ford SUV was in the median, waiting to cross the highway onto Phyllis Street. Authorities report that the Ford SUV pulled out in front of the eastbound Tahoe and the two SUVs collided. Injured in the crash was the driver of the eastbound SUV, 47-year-old Melissa Wanner of Buffalo sustained non-life threatening injuries and was taken to CentraCare Hospital in Monticello. The driver of the other SUV, 32-year-old Brianna Stein of Big Lake, was not injured. Officials say roads were slippery because of snow and ice. The Big Lake Police assisted the State Patrol.

Statewide Tobacco 21 Ordinance Being Considered 

A number of communities across the state have passed individual local ordinances that prohibit the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 21 years of age. Now, lawmakers in St. Paul have presented a bill that would make Tobacco 21 a state law. State Representative Laurie Halverson of Eagan says much of the marketing of e-cigarettes and other vaping products are clearly aimed at youth. Earlier this week, the CDC reported that from 2017-2018 in the U-S, there was a 1.3 million increase in teen tobacco users which they link directly to e-cigarettes.

Bill Proposes E-Cigs be Added to List of Products Banned for Indoor Use 

A bill that would add e-cigarettes to products prohibited for indoor use under the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act is making its way forward at the State Capitol. The bill passed out of a key House committee this week. Emily Myatt of the American Cancer Society says the use of e cigarettes in bars, restaurants and other workplaces, is undermining the benefits gained by the Freedom to Breathe Act--which passed in Minnesota in 2007. 

U of M Extension Service Re-schedules Private Pesticide Applicator Training Workshop 

The University of Minnesota Extension Service of Wright County has re-scheduled an important training workshop that was postponed earlier this week because of weather. The Private Pesticide Applicator Training Workshop has now been re-scheduled for next Wednesday, February 20th from 12:30 to 4 PM. Farmers with Private Pesticide Applicator Permits, or PPAs, that expire March 1st will need to renew their license for the 2019 growing season. The Private Applicators Permit is for farm operators who are applying restricted use pesticide products on their fields, including different herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, and other pest control products labeled "Restricted Use." Once again the re-scheduled date for the PPA Training Workshop is next Wednesday, February 20th from 12:30 to 4 PM at the Wright County Government Center in Buffalo. Farmers may also take a written exam available from the County Extension office, or take the exam online at the U of M Extension website. 

Buffalo Community Theater Presents Seussical, Jr. This Weekend 

Youth from the Buffalo Community Theater will take to the stage for the next two weekends with their production of Seussical, Jr. The production features great music, and a number of the most familiar characters of the famous Dr. Seuss books. The family friendly production will be on stage tonight and Saturday night at 7 PM, and Sunday afternoon at 2 PM at the Discovery Elementary School in Buffalo. Next weekend, the performances will follow the same schedule. Tickets are available at;, and at the door.

Dassel-Cokato Expo Saturday 

Community Expo season is getting underway as many of us look forward to spring. The annual Dassel-Cokato Expo will be held Saturday at the Dassel-Cokato High School. Some 50 businesses, service providers and community groups will be represented at the expo. Features of the day include a free breakfast prepared by the D-C Lions, and a Kids' Corner will be hosted by the Knapp Busy Bees 4H Club. The event runs Saturday from 9 AM to 12 noon. 

Expanded DWI Arrest Authority for MN Conservation Officers Being Considered 

A new bill under consideration at the State Capitol would expand the authority of conservation officers under Minnesota DWI law.  As it stands now, conservation officers' DWI enforcement powers are restricted to off-road recreational vehicles, watercraft and hunting while impaired cases. Supporters say that's inefficient, especially in rural areas. The bill has the support of the DNR and the State Patrol. 

Veteran Suicide Awareness Day Proposed in New MN House Bill 

A bill moving through Minnesota House committees proposes a new Veteran Suicide Awareness Day in Minnesota. Assistant House Majority Leader Jamie Becker-Finn, DFL'er from Roseville is the chief author of the bill. She says it's designed to be a start in the discussion of helping to prevent veteran suicides which have had a dramatic increase in the last decade. The measure moved out of the Veterans and Military Affairs Division this week.

Masons Annual Food Shelf Drive Continues in Wright County 

There's still time to donate to area food shelves and have your donation matched by the Buffalo Masonic Lodge. The 8th Annual Food Shelf Matching Funds Drive is once again focusing its efforts on the Buffalo and Annandale-Maple Lake area food shelves. Checks may be made payable to Nelson Lodge #135, with Buffalo Food Shelf, or Annandale-Maple Lake Food Shelf on the memo line. Checks may be mailed to KleinBank at 910 Commercial Drive in Buffalo, 55313. You may also drop checks off in person at the bank. Donations received before February 28th will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Buffalo Area Masonic Lodge, Nelson Lodge No. 135 of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. The local lodge is again partnering with the Order of the Eastern Star, Galilee Chapter No. 53. 

Buffalo Community Orchestra Scholarship Fundraiser Saturday 

The Buffalo Community Orchestra is sponsoring a 1st Annual scholarship fundraiser Saturday in Buffalo. Live music from Group Decision, and the Trackside Bluegrass Band will be featured, along with other cameo performances from numerous area musicians. Dozens of silent auction items will be up for bid, and all proceeds go to young area musicians who are interested in furthering their musical education. A 10 dollar donation is encouraged. The event runs from 7 to 11 PM Saturday at the Buffalo American Legion. Normal food and bar service will be available. 

Hometown Grocery Stores Vanishing in Many Minnesota Communities 

The state House Ag committee recently got an update on the latest Minnesota Rural Grocery Survey. The University of Minnesota's Kathy Draeger says there are only about 250 local "main street" grocery stores remaining in Greater Minnesota. Draeger says losing these "main street" stores in smaller communities can have a significant impact on the healthy eating habits of residents and the local economy. 

Clearwater Travel Plaza Raises More than $200k for Community Health 

A local organization recently reached the 200-thousand-dollar mark in funds raised for the Coborn Cancer Center in St. Cloud. The Clearwater Travel Plaza in Clearwater has raised the funds since 2009 by hosting numerous fundraising events including an annual golf tournament, annual cancer walk and a past outdoor Zumba class event. Company officials say they're focused on supporting their employees, customers and also providing a great experience for all who participate in any of their fundraising events. 

Deadline Extended for Citizen Representative on GRRL Board 

Wright County has extended the deadline for a citizen representative on the Great River Regional Library Board of Trustees. The board meets six times per year at 6 PM at the St. Cloud Public Library to provide direction and vision for the organization. Terms are 3 years, with a term limit of three full terms, or 9 years. The current position for Wright County is for one year, with a term expiring on the last day of 2019. Since the appointed person would complete the third year of the prior representative's 3-year-term, he or she would be eligible for re-appointment to another 3-year term. Anyone interested in serving on the board should visit the Wright County website, and by visiting the Great River Regional Library website at; The County Board will be accepting applications for the position until Friday, February 22nd. 

High-Profile Education Campaign Planned if Hands-Free Cell Phone Bill Becomes Law 

A bill banning cell phone use while driving, other than in hands-free mode is making its way through the state legislature. If the bill is signed into law, safety officials say they would head the campaign to educate the public about the change. State Patrol Colonel Matt Langer says there's been an over 30-percent increase in texting while driving citations issued each year in Minnesota over the last few years. He says increased safety has been and would continue to be the goal if a hands-free bill becomes law. 

Wright County Long-Range Transportation Plan Open House Feb. 21 

Wright County will host a public open house next week to allow the public to learn about the long-range transportation plan. The open house will be held Thursday, February 21st from 4 to 6 PM at the Wright County Highway Department building in Buffalo. The open house will be the second, and final, open house for the long-range transportation plan. The public is invited to stop by to hear about the outcomes from the planning process that has been ongoing for the past several months and share input regarding materials available at the open house. Staff from the plan-development team will be available to answer questions. The open house is a drop-in style, informal format. There will not be a formal presentation. Anyone with questions may contact the highway department at 763-682-7383. The address of the Wright County Highway Department is 3600 Braddock Avenue NE in Buffalo. 

Red Cross Plea for Blood Donors 

The state's blood supply is dangerously low. Sue Thesenga with the American Red Cross Minnesota says currently they have less than a three day supply on hand. Thesenga says it's not unusual for blood donations to fall during the winter months, especially during cold and snowy weather. She says this winter however, not only have weather conditions affected blood donations, donation drives have also been impacted by the recent partial government shutdown. Thesenga says emergency blood donations are needed and all blood types are welcome. For local blood drive information, log onto;

Friday Evening Two-Vehicle Crash Near Rockford Leaves 1 Driver Injured 

A Rockford woman was injured in a two-vehicle traffic crash Friday evening in Rockford Township. The State Patrol reports that around 6:25 PM a passenger car that was westbound on Highway 55 spun out at Eaton Avenue Southeast, and the rear of the car struck the front end of an eastbound mini-van. The passenger car went into the south ditch, while the mini-van was stopped in the eastbound lane of the highway. Injured in the crash was the driver of the passenger car, 57-year-old Tamara Grothe of Rockford sustained non-life threatening injuries and was treated at the Buffalo Hospital. The driver of the mini-van, 41-year-old Amy Buchholtz of Buffalo, and two female passengers ages 13 and 12, all escaped injury. The Wright County Sheriff's Office, the Buffalo Fire Department, and Allina EMS all assisted the State Patrol at the scene. Authorities report the roads were snow and ice covered at the time of the crash. Traffic was diverted from the scene for a lengthy period of time while emergency teams assisted the persons involved and cleared the scene.

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.