Wright County News
Two Arrested in South Haven After Pursuit Through Western Wright County
Two people are in custody after a pursuit through parts of the western portion of Wright County on Monday night. The Wright County Sheriff's Office reports that just before midnight on Monday evening, a Wright County Deputy observed a passenger car driving slowly through multiple lots of closed businesses in the Clearwater area. Officials say as the marked squad approached to investigate, the passenger car fled the scene at a high rate of speed. The deputy pursued the vehicle through portions of Stearns County and into the Fairhaven area. Assisting deputies disabled the vehicle with spike strips in the community of South Haven, and two suspects fled from the car on foot. A male suspect then stole a vehicle and drove into nearby farm fields before crashing on the railroad tracks east of South Haven. The male suspect, identified as 36-year-old Robert Bohach of St. Louis Park was arrested on multiple charges including Felony Fleeing in a Motor Vehicle, Felony Theft and Felony Controlled Substance Possession. The other suspect, a female identified as 27-year-old Jessica Hanson of Howard Lake was found hiding in a wooded area close to where she fled from the first vehicle. The Minnesota State Patrol Ai Unit assisted in locating the woman. She was arrested on charges of Felony Controlled Substance Possession and Misdemeanor Fleeing on Foot. Officials say there were no injuries to either suspect, or any deputies involved in the pursuit.
Renewed Push for Hands-free Cell Phone Use in Vehicles
A bipartisan group of state lawmakers has introduced legislation that would ban the use of cell phones when behind the wheel--unless the devices are in "hands free" mode. DFL Representative Frank Hornstein of Minneapolis says it isn't about restricting liberties, it's about public safety. Hornstein says it appears that there is enough support in both the Minnesota House and Senate for the bill to move forward. GOP Senator Scott Newman of Hutchinson introduced a companion bill last week. The bill would allow voice-activated calls or other actions that only need one-touch activation, including navigation or playing music. Local organizations including Just Drive, and Safe Communities of Wright County continue to be supporters of the legislation.
Google Continues Consideration for New Data Center in Becker
Officials say Google is continuing to consider construction of a gigantic data center in the community of Becker. Xcel Energy has said the proposed agreement would include selling Google some 300 acres of land for construction of the facility. The land currently hosts two of Xcel's coal generators at the Sherco plant. The units are set to be retired soon. Since Google has already committed to powering any new facility with mostly renewable energy sources, Xcel would dedicate to new wind farms to help power the facility. If constructed, the proposed 600-million-dollar data center would become one of the largest private projects in recent years, and could help Becker as the Sherco power plant is eventually de-commissioned. Early projections indicate that about 50 full-time tech jobs would be created.
"Take a Kid Ice Fishing" This Weekend
The Minnesota DNR is reminding state residents that this coming weekend is "Take a Kid Ice Fishing Weekend" in Minnesota.During the weekend, Minnesota residents age 16 or older can fish or dark-house spear without an angling or spearing license, provided that they take a child younger than 16 fishing or spearing. Officials say the weekend is a good way to encourage anglers to take a kid fishing, and enjoy the great winter-time outdoors in Minnesota. Before heading out, anglers should be sure to check ice conditions on the lake of their choosing. More information on "Take a Kid Ice Fishing Weekend" , and ice safety guidelines is available at the Minnesota DNR website at; www.mndnr.gov.
Emergency Call for Blood Donations
A donation shortfall over the holidays has prompted the American Red Cross to issue an emergency call for blood and platelet donors to give now to prevent a blood shortage from continuing throughout the winter. Spokeswoman Sue Thesenga says the Red Cross collected 27-thousand fewer donations than needed during the weeks of Christmas and New Years. She says finding blood donation opportunities is as easy as going on-line, or calling 1-800-RED CROSS. All eligible donors, especially platelet donors and blood donors with type "O" blood, are urged to make an appointment to give in the coming days.
MN Assistant Principal of the Year Award Goes to John Hayden, Buffalo Community Middle School
An administrator in the Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose School District has been honored as the Minnesota Assistant Principal of the Year. The Wright County Journal Press reports that John Hayden, Assistant Principal at the Buffalo Community Middle School was recently named as the recipient of the award for the Central Division. Hayden is credited with creating, and helping to implement strong, innovative programs such as the Where Everyone Belongs, or WEB program where student leaders help to guide and welcome incoming sixth graders each fall. His on-going support and development of staff members is also cited as one of his main strengths. Hayden has been with District 877 for some 16 years. He is now one of six Minnesota finalists for the National Assistant Principal of the Year honor, which will be announced later this month.
Local Man Injured in Monday Morning Crash in Albertville
One person was injured early Monday morning in a rear-end type crash in Albertville. The State Patrol reports the crash happened just after 6 AM on westbound I-94 at County Road 37 in Albertville. Officials say a passenger car was exiting from the westbound lanes of the freeway when it rear-ended a semi-truck. The driver of the car, 20-year-old Marco Vasquez of Albertville sustained non-life threatening injuries and was transported to North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale. Authorities report that alcohol was detected in the driver's system, though they did not say whether or not that was the cause of the crash. The driver of the semi, 55-year-old Donald Vorderbruggen of Albertville, was not injured.
Winsted Man Injured in Pickup Rollover Near Sandstone
A Winsted man was injured in a Monday morning traffic crash near Sandstone in Pine County. The State Patrol says the crash happened around 7:30 AM on northbound I-35 at Sturgeon Lake. The driver of the pickup, 19-year-old Blake Posch of Winsted apparently lost control of his truck on snowy and icy roads and ran into the ditch. No other vehicles were involved. He sustained non-life threatening injuries, and was transported to Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids. The Moose Lake Police Department assisted the State Patrol at the scene.
Ice Fishing Contest Time Just Around the Corner
As we enter the middle of January, the time for several ice fishing tournaments is just around the corner. The 2019 Maple Lake Ice Fishing Derby is scheduled for Saturday, February 2nd. The event is one of the largest in central Minnesota, and traditionally draws thousands of fisherpersons to the area for the tournament and many associated activities. The St. Michael Lions have also set the date for Saturday, February 9th for their annual contest on Beebe Lake. KRWC Radio will play a part with broadcasts and other exciting events from both tournaments. Several other contests will also be held in our area in the coming weeks. Stay tuned to KRWC for more information on the various ice fishing tournaments in our region.
Lawmakers Divided on Urgency of Tax Conformity Legislation
It's no surprise that lawmakers at the State Capitol are divided on a number of issues already in the early days of the 2019 Minnesota Legislative Session. GOP leaders have made it clear that they plan to push federal tax conformity legislation, but newly-elected House Speaker Melissa Hortman doesn't share the same level of urgency. House Minority Leader, Republican Kurt Daudt says much of the federal tax relief depends on clearing up conformity between the federal and state tax interpretations. Daudt says Minnesotans deserve tax certainty and should have gotten it last session.
Push for Broadband Expansion Among Hot Topics for MN Lawmakers
Advocates want 35 million dollars a year in ongoing funding from the state to expand broadband Internet access in rural Minnesota, and bills have been introduced in both the Minnesota House and Senate. Judy Erickson with the Rural Broadband Coalition is pushing for broadband funds to be included within the base budget rather than one-time allocations. The new bills have influential Republican and Democratic sponsors in the Minnesota Senate, and bipartisan support in the House as well. The 20 million dollars appropriated last year was the victim of budget bill vetoes by then-Governor Mark Dayton, prompted by other disagreements with the legislature which was controlled by Republicans.
Elk River Man Injured in Weekend Rollover Crash Near Fargo / Moorhead
An Elk River man was injured Saturday morning in a rollover crash in Clay County in northwestern Minnesota. The State Patrol reports that shortly after 9 AM on Saturday, a pickup truck that was westbound on I-94 near mile marker 7 went of control and the vehicle rolled over in the ditch. The driver of the truck, 68-year-old Dennis Kuechle of Elk River sustained non-life threatening injuries, and was transported to the Sanford Medical Center in Fargo. Authorities say the freeway was snowy and icy at the time of the crash. The Clay County Sheriff's Office assisted the State Patrol.
MDA Requests Value-Added Grant Proposals
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications for the competitive AGRI Value-Added Grant Program. The aim of the Value-Added Grant is to increase sales of Minnesota agricultural products by diversifying markets, increasing market access, and increasing food safety of value-added products through equipment purchases and facility improvements. New or established for-profit businesses can apply for funding to support start-up, expansion, and updates, as well as developing the processing and capacity of farmers selling to institutions, and to increase food safety. Grant funds reimburse up to 25 percent of the overall project cost. Funding under this round of grants will come at two levels, with Level 1 projects having a minimum of 1 thousand dollars and a maximum of 200 thousand dollars. Level 2 projects will have a minimum award of just over 200 thousand dollars and a maximum amount of 1 million dollars. Applications must be received by no later than Friday, March 8th at 4 PM. Applications are available on the Value-Added Grant Program website and may be submitted online, by mail, or in-person. More information is available on the Minnesota Department of Agriculture website at; www.mda.state.mn.us.
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.