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Wright County News

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


August Unemployment up Slightly in Wright County in August 

Wright County's unemployment rate in August was up a tenth of a percent. The latest report from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development reports that the non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate in Wright County last month was 3.6 percent, up from 3.5 in July. The new August rate is also a half-point higher than the 3.1 percent rate during the same month last year. The 3.6 percent rate is equal to that during the month of August in 2014. The new figures show the overall labor force was down by nearly 800 persons, while the overall employment was also down by more than 760 persons. Minnesota's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in August was also up a tenth of a point to 3.6 percent, while the seasonally adjusted U-S unemployment rate last month stayed steady at 4.9 percent. 

Two Injured in Head-on Crash on Highway 12 in Meeker County 

A head-on crash on Highway 12 in neighboring Meeker County late Monday afternoon left two people injured. The State Patrol reports that the crash happened around 5:30 PM on Highway 12 near Meeker County Road 6. Authorities say a westbound passenger car turned south onto Meeker County Road 6 and collided head-on with another car that was eastbound on Highway 12. The driver of the westbound car, 19-year-old Christopher Benford of Burnsville sustained non-life threatening injuries, and was taken to the Meeker County Memorial Hospital in Litchfield for treatment. A passenger in the Benford vehicle, 14-year-old Kailan Benford, also of Burnsville, was not injured. The driver of the eastbound car, 30-year-old Charity Sanden of Dassel, also sustained non-life threatening injuries. She was treated at the Meeker County Memorial Hospital in Litchfield. Two passengers in the Sanden vehicle, a 4-year-old and a 6-year-old, both daughters of the driver, escaped injury. The Meeker County Sheriff's Office, the Dassel Fire Department and Gold Cross Ambulance assisted the State Patrol at the scene.

Minor Injuries in Mini-van vs. Pickup Crash in Buffalo 

A mini-van collided with a pickup truck Monday afternoon on Highway 55 in Buffalo. Eyewitnesses say around 3:45 PM, the mini-van struck a pickup truck that was turning into a business access driveway just west of the Highway 55 and Highway 25 junction, causing the truck to roll over. Because there was no official report from the State Patrol, the names of the drivers involved is unknown. No serious injuries were reported. 

Partnership With Xcel Could Bring Energy From Renewable Sources to State Capitol 

A new program would ensure about a third of the State Capitol complex's energy comes from renewable sources. Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith says the Minnesota Department of Administration and Xcel Energy are partnering to form a pilot program. The program, if approved by the Public Utilities Commission, would incorporate solar and wind energy on a long-term basis. 

MnDOT Snowplow Operators in Training 

Around 120 snowplow operators from the Minnesota Department of Transportation are participating in SPOT, or Snow Plow Operator Training at Camp Ripley near Little Falls in the next two weeks. Riders do get the plows out on a practice course and on nearby roads, but MnDOT's Kevin Gutknecht says there are ways to train even without snow. Gutknecht says the training is very comprehensive. He says trainees also get updates on new equipment, policies and procedures. Overall, MnDOT has more than 15-hundred snowplow operators clearing 30,000 lane miles of state highway each winter in Minnesota. 

One Injured in Rear-end Crash on Highway 12 in Wright County 

One person was injured in a two-vehicle, rear-end type traffic crash in Wright County Sunday evening. The State Patrol reports around 9:25 PM Sunday, a passenger car that was westbound on Highway 12 near Bishop Avenue in Montrose was slowing for a turning vehicle when it was rear-ended by an SUV that was also westbound on Highway 12. Officials say the driver of the vehicle that was rear-ended, a 28-year-old woman from Winsted escaped injury, but a passenger in her vehicle, 26-year-old Breanna Bilefeld of Winsted, sustained non-life threatening injuries, and was transported to the Buffalo Hospital for treatment. The driver of the SUV, 27-year-old Aubrey Wren of Waverly, was not injured. The Wright County Sheriff’s Office assisted the State Patrol at the scene.

Absentee Voting Underway in Minnesota 

Absentee voting is underway in Minnesota. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon says his goal is to put Minnesota at number one overall in voter turnout this election year. Secretary Simon says it's easier now than ever for voters to get the information they need at; Voters may request an absentee ballot in person at their local election office, or they can visit and request a ballot be mailed to them. 

Ag Officials Give Advice on Applying Ammonia-based Nitrogen 

The state Department of Agriculture is advising farmers and fertilizer applicators to check soil temperatures closely this fall. Officials say the warm, wet weather may delay the optimal time for fall application of ammonia-based nitrogen fertilizers. MDA spokesman Ron Struss says soil temps should stay below 50 degrees Fahrenheit before applying. Struss says the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has added additional real-time soil temperature monitoring sites to aid farmers in fall fertilizer application, and he says a link can be found on their website at; There are currently 48 monitoring stations located around the state, and the on-line map is updated every 15 minutes.

Heroin Overdose Drug Highly Effective, Extremely Expensive 

The price of a life-saving drug that counteracts the effects of heroin overdose has skyrocketed in recent months. The auto-inject version of the drug Naloxone used to cost around 575 dollars for two doses, and now costs nearly four-thousand dollars. Lexi Reed Holtum is with the Steve Rummler Hope Foundation. She says availability is not the problem, in fact, in Minnesota anyone of legal age can go to their doctor and ask for a prescription for Naloxone. She says the high drug costs are even making it difficult for their organization to obtain the drug. Minnesota is in the midst of one of the worst heroin and opioid addiction epidemics in its history.

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.