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Wright County News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


McDonald Calls Senate Office Project "Bloated"  

Minnesota lawmakers are back in their districts for the Easter recess, and are speaking their minds on legislative action taken so far in the 2014 session. District 29 A State Representative Joe McDonald has been one of the most outspoken of local lawmakers on a number of topics. The Delano Republican minced no words recently on the agreement that will allow construction of a new Senate office building. McDonald attended the recent 6th District GOP endorsing convention held in Monticello, where fellow Delano Republican Tom Emmer received the party endorsement for the U-S Congressional seat currently held by Michele Bachmann.  

Cold Weather Rule Expires 

Minnesota's Cold Weather Rule which protects residents from shut-offs of their primary heating source during the cold weather months expired as of April 15th. If you or someone you know has a past-due balance with a utility, that utility should be contacted right away to avoid the costly disconnection process. Patrick Boland with Xcel Energy says there were a number of sub-zero days this winter and as a result, the price of natural gas did go up. He says the higher prices may mean that more people had trouble meeting their energy costs. Though Boland represents only Xcel Energy, most other utilities have similar policies in place in attempting to come to a working agreement with customers to get their bills current while at the same time keeping their utility service intact. Officials also say that customers should keep in mind that there is still heating assistance funding available for those who qualify. Minnesota’s Cold Weather Rule protects residents from getting their primary heating source disconnected between mid-October and mid-April. 

Funeral Services Today for Former Buffalo Businesswoman, Volunteer, Ferne Peterson 

Funeral services are scheduled for today in Buffalo for a longtime resident of the community, and a former businesswoman and volunteer. Ferne Peterson passed away April 5th at the age of 88. For many years, Ferne owned and operated the Soo Cafe in Buffalo, along with helping out with the bookkeeping for her husband, Bud's plumbing business. Later she worked in bookkeeping for Centra Sota, a local dental office, the Buffalo Chamber of Commerce, and also at First State Federal Savings and Loan in Buffalo. As a community volunteer, Ferne was instrumental in establishing the recycling program in Buffalo, serving as the waste management director. She was also active in the Buffalo Senior Center, and the local Eastern Star chapter, as well as at her church. 

Emmer Campaign for Congress Proceeds With Party Endorsement  

The Emmer for Congress campaign says it's full steam ahead now that their candidate has the GOP party endorsement for the 6th District U-S Congressional seat being vacated at the end of the year by 4-term Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Delano Republican Tom Emmer told KRWC News at the recent endorsing convention in Monticello that getting the GOP endorsement is another success on a checklist of campaign accomplishments laid out prior to his announcement that he was entering the race. Emmer received an overwhelming 76 percent of the vote on the first ballot, giving him the GOP endorsement in the 6th District. He also got the endorsement of Michele Bachmann who said though she is retiring from the U-S House, it doesn't mean that she will be absent from the public eye. Bachmann says she is exploring all avenues of ways to stay engaged on national topics, but says she is not planning to do so through political office. 

Minnesota MADD Cheers DWI Immunity Bill 

The Minnesota House recently passed a bill that erases any immunity for state lawmakers facing felony or misdemeanor charges. The bill initially focused on drunken driving, but was amended to include all felonies, gross misdemeanors and misdemeanors. Jennifer Freeburg of MADD Minnesota says giving a free pass to the very people who are elected to create our laws and punish criminals is hypocritical. She and her group believes that lawmakers who drive drunk and get caught, should be arrested on the spot. The immunity provision in the state constitution dates back to 1858, long before automobiles. It's believed that the state’s founding fathers wanted to protect legislators from being arrested, which may have prevented them from voting on important measures. 

Wright County Community Action Announces Consumer Sector Representative Elections 

Wright County Community Action is seeking energetic individuals who are familiar with the needs of their neighborhoods, and who would be interested in working with the organization. WCCA will be holding elections for one Consumer Sector Representative to serve a term on the agency's Board of Directors. The person elected will work on the WCCA board in its mission to prevent and resolve conditions of poverty within the community. The upcoming elections will be held Tuesday, April 29th at 6:30 PM at the WCCA offices in Maple Lake. For additional information, or for special accommodations for a disability, contact Wright County Community Action at (320) 963-6500. 

Funeral Services Wednesday for Steven Crowley, Delano Man Killed in Orono Traffic Crash 

Funeral services have been set for Wednesday for a Wright County man who was one of two people killed Friday morning in a head-on traffic crash in nearby Orono. Authorities identified 50-year-old Steven Crowley of Delano as one of the victims of that crash that happened around 7 o'clock Friday morning on Highway 12, just west of Hennepin County Road 6. Both drivers died at the scene of the crash, but the name of the other victim still has not yet been released. Steven Crowley was a longtime financial advisor in the Twin Cities. He and his wife, Anne, also owned and operated a horse breeding and training facility in Delano. A funeral Mass will be held Wednesday at 11:30 AM at the St. Peter's Catholic Church in Delano. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be sent to Courage Kenny Foundation of Golden Valley. 

Emmer Gets Republican Endorsement for 6th District U-S House  

Republicans in the 6th Congressional District endorsed Tom Emmer of Delano for the race this fall to try to retain the congressional seat held for the last 8 years by Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. The endorsement came on the first ballot at the GOP endorsing convention in Monticello on Saturday. Representative Bachmann also gave her endorsement to Emmer, who lost a very close 2010 governor's race in Minnesota to Mark Dayton. Emmer, a former Minnesota House member has demonstrated some very impressive fundraising since announcing last summer of his intentions to run for the U-S House. He will face a primary challenge from Anoka County Board member, Rhonda Sivarajah, and former state representative and Minnesota Taxpayers League President Phil Krinkie, both of Lino Lakes. Minnesota 6th District Democrats will hold their endorsing convention May 3rd, at the Monticello Middle School.

DNR Imposes Burning Restrictions in Central Minnesota, Including Wright County 

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says burning restrictions are now in effect over the central part of the state, including Wright County because of the quick warm-up and windy weather we've been experiencing. Officials say the state will not give out burning permits for burning brush or yard waste while the restrictions are in place. Other counties also under restriction include Anoka, Benton, Chisago, Dakota, Douglas, Hennepin, Isanti, Otter Tail, Pope, Ramsey, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd and Washington. Other Minnesota counties in the north-central part of the state will be added to the list next week. Officials say the restrictions normally last from 4 to 6 weeks until sufficient green vegetative growth occurs. Campfires are still allowed, but officials urge campers to be extremely careful with their campfires. For more information and maps, log onto;

I-94 Lane Closures Now in Effect in Monticello 

Work crews and heavy equipment will be a common sight on I-94 in Monticello as a major reconstruction project on the freeway is now underway. Officials with the Minnesota Department of Transportation say lane closures will occur overnight 7 days per week as crews construct temporary crossover lanes and complete other work as a part of the project that is designed to preserve and improve the freeway from Wright County Road 18 to just west of Highway 25. Crews will ultimately reconstruct all the lanes of the freeway, add an auxiliary lane to westbound I-94 between County Road 18 and Highway 25, reconfigure the ramps at Highway 25 and upgrade other infrastructure while the lanes are closed for construction. Single lane traffic will continue throughout the construction season, resulting in traffic slow-downs. Officials say the result of the work will be improved traffic flow and better safety features with a smoother ride along the two miles of the construction area. MnDOT estimates the project to be completed in November.

City of Buffalo Compost Site Now Open 

City of Buffalo residents who have been doing some yard clean-up now that the weather has improved will be happy to know that the city's compost site is now open for the season. Hours of operation are Monday 10 AM to 8 PM, Wednesday and Friday 10 AM to 6 PM, and Saturday 8 AM to 4 PM. City residents may bring yard waste, leaves, branches and other compostable materials to the site free of charge during those hours. Persons using the facility will be asked to show proof-of-residence before dropping off their materials. Residents may also pick up some of the compost product for use in their yards and gardens.

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.