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Wright County News  

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


Plow Drivers go to School 

While Minnesota roads show no signs of winter just yet, MN-DOT is already preparing for the first blast of snow. Dozens of snowplow operators will spend the next two weeks training at Camp Ripley in Central Minnesota. Maintenance Training Coordinator Rick Shomion says when the time comes that the trucks are needed, they want their drivers prepared. Shomion says the response from drivers is positive and they come out of the training feeling confident in what they will take with them out on the road. He says all Minnesota drivers should take some time to review their winter driving skills and safety strategies regarding sharing the road with a plow. More than 100 state and local snowplow operators are taking part in the training near Little Falls.

National POW / MIA Recognition Day Event Friday in Greenfield 

A National POW / MIA Recognition Day event is planned for Friday in Greenfield. While currently not a federally-recognized public holiday in the U-S, the September 21st National POW / MIA Recognition Day is a national observance, as many Americans across the country pause to remember the sacrifices and service of those who were prisoners of war, and those who are missing in action, and their families. The local event will be held Friday at 5:30 PM at the City of Greenfield Central Park at 7200 Greenfield Road in Greenfield. Many American Legion and VFW Post Ritual Squads and Color Guards will be on hand to participate. The Hamel VFW will lead the ceremony. Officials say at present there are more than 83 thousand Americans who remain missing from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War and the Gulf Wars and other conflicts. 

Minnesota Pioneer Park to Honor Founder Nobel Shadduck at Harvest Festival Saturday 

Minnesota Pioneer Park in Annandale will pay homage to one of its founders on Saturday at the Nobel Shadduck Harvest Festival. The park will dedicate its nature trail, and will also feature old-fashioned games, and activities, and will serve food for guests to enjoy. The Annandale Area Community Band will also be on hand to provide music. The festivities run from 11 AM to 3 PM at the Minnesota Pioneer Park, just east of Annandale on Highway 55. The event is free and open to the public. 

Rear-End Crash in St. Michael Leaves One Person Injured 

A rear-end collision Monday night in St. Michael left one person with injuries. The State Patrol reports that around 10 PM Monday, a smaller SUV and a large pickup were westbound on Highway 241 in St. Michael. The SUV was slowing for right-turning traffic and was struck from behind by the pickup. Injured in the crash was the driver of the SUV, 36-year-old Aislinn Anderson of Rogers. She sustained non-life threatening injuries and was taken to the Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids for treatment. The driver of the pickup, a 16-year-old male whose name was not reported, was not injured. 

Click It or Ticket Underway 

Over the next two weeks, more than 300 law enforcement agencies will be targeting motorists not wearing their seatbelts. State Patrol Lt. Tiffani Nielsen says last year, 78 unbelted motorists lost their lives on Minnesota roads. She says drivers and passengers alike are often lulled into a false sense of security on rural roads and city streets in smaller towns. Nielsen says often times an unbelted motorist is ejected from the vehicle and killed. The "Click it or Ticket" campaign runs statewide through September 29th. 

Late Summer Unemployment the Lowest in Nearly Two Decades 

U-S employers added more jobs than forecast in August, and wages increased at their fastest pace since the Great Recession --- holding the national jobless rate steady at 3.9 percent. So how does Minnesota compare? State Jobs Analyst Steve Hine says Minnesota's jobless numbers are also trending in the direction of being the lowest since 2000. The August unemployment numbers for Minnesota and Minnesota counties are due out later this month.

Master Gardeners of Wright County Accepting Applications for Internship Program 

University of Minnesota Extension, Wright County is inviting gardeners who are interested in becoming a Master Gardener to apply for their internship program. Wright County has a very active group of 49 Master Gardener members who volunteered more than 26 hundred hours last year at a value of more than 72 thousand dollars for local communities. Master Gardeners are from all walks of life and volunteer on behalf of the university. They share best practices in gardening with people in their community that promote healthy landscapes, healthy foods and healthy lives. The activities of the U of M Extension Master Gardeners benefit schools, community gardens, youth programs, environmental education programs, farmers markets and more. Members of the program are required to volunteer 50 hours the first year as interns and 25 hours annually thereafter as certified active Master Gardeners, as well as participating in 5 hours of continuing education each year. For more information on the Master Gardner program, or to apply to the internship program, contact Wright County Extension at (763) 682-7394. Applications are due by October 2nd. 

Emerald Ash Borer Discovered in Wright County 

The destructive tree pest known as the emerald ash borer has been on the move in Minnesota for a number of years, and now, EAB has been discovered in Wright County. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has confirmed that the invasive pest was recently discovered along the I-94 corridor in Clearwater. The MDA has placed Wright County under an emergency quarantine to limit the movement of firewood and ash material out of the county. Officials say the quarantine will help to reduce the risk of further spreading the tree-killing insect. The MDA says it was not that surprising to find the invasive pest along I-94 as it's a high traffic area for truckers and travelers. Officials say that it's almost a certainty that EAB was brought into Wright County by someone moving infested ash wood. MDA officials say there are three easy steps that Minnesotans can take to keep EAB from spreading. 1) Don't transport firewood. Buy it locally from approved vendors, and burn it where you buy it. 2) Be aware of the quarantine restrictions. Those who live in a quarantined county should be aware of the restrictions on movement of products such as ash trees, wood chips, and firewood. 3) Watch your own ash trees for infestation, and if you think you have an ash that is infested, report it to MDA's Arrest the Pest line at 1-888-545-6684, or email at; A total of 17 Minnesota counties are now under a full or partial quarantine to prevent the spread of this highly destructive tree pest. 

Soybean Growers Group Warms up to New Government Program 

The CEO of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association says he has reviewed the details of the government-announced Market Facilitation Program aimed to help farmers who are hurt by trade disputes and tariff issues. Tom Slunecka says thankfully, the program, which was announced earlier in the summer, is pretty simple. Slunecka says soybean farmers who have lost revenue due to the trade war with China weren't looking for a handout-style payment, but after reviewing this program, it will help in the short-term. Slunecka says the government would have looked at longer-term production records and would have brought in other solutions if it wanted a more long-term solution. He says this should be a simple way to make soybean farmers "whole" for 2018.

Humphrey Elementary in Waverly Recognized in State List of Top Schools 

The Humphrey Elementary School in Waverly is one of the schools on the Minnesota Department of Education's list of top performing schools in the state. Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted school officials say Humphrey Elementary is one of 526 public schools being recognized as a part of the new North Star accountability system that aims to create more equitable and well-rounded learning opportunities for all students across the state. The five indicators that make up the North Star rankings are; Academic Achievement, Progress Toward English Language Proficiency, Academic Progress, Graduation Rates, and Consistent Attendance. Humphrey Elementary students made the list for progress in mathematics, progressing at a rate that ranks them in the top 5 percent of progress made by students across the state.


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.