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Wright County News

Sunday, March 29, 2015


Construction to Officially Begin on CSAH 12 in Buffalo on Monday 

Road construction is slated to begin on the County State Aid Highway 12 project just west of Buffalo beginning on Monday. The Wright County Highway Department is set to begin preliminary work on the major reconstruction project from State Highway 55 to CSAH 37. Officials with the Wright County Highway Department say preliminary work will include the removal of trees along the project route. That work is expected to take about 2 weeks to complete. Knife River Corporation of Sauk Rapids is the prime contractor on the project. The company plans to construct the area south of County Road 138 first, including the construction of a roundabout at 138. Some spot grading north of County Road 138 is also expected to be needed. Residents will also see a good deal of work related to the movement of privately owned utilities including gas lines, phone and internet cables, and overhead power lines, all of which must be relocated within the new road right-of-way limits. County Road 12 will be closed to thru traffic throughout the construction period. Traffic will be directed to use a posted detour route along County Road 138 at Aadland Avenue. The Wright County Highway Department is thanking motorists and property owners in advance for their patience and understanding during the upcoming construction. Questions on the project may be directed to the Wright County Highway Department at (763) 682-7383.

Farmers Getting Ready For Planting Season 

Farmers across the state and here in Wright County are getting anxious for the upcoming planting season. University of Minnesota Extension educator Dan Martens says even though ideal conditions may still be a few weeks away, planting preparations are underway. Martens says especially in light of last spring's extremely late planting, farmers want to be ready to get to work just as soon as the fields will allow. He says most farmers hope to start planting crops around April 15th.

March Foodshare Month Continues 

Minnesota Foodshare Month continues in Minnesota. Wright County Community Action says the demands on its food shelf have continued to increase as low-income families in our area struggle to attain self-sufficiency. Many individuals and families reach out to area food shelves for help in meeting their nutritional needs in today's stressed economic conditions. To best meet the immediate needs of the community, monetary donations are preferred. All local donations of both food and money remain at the local food shelf. Monetary donations may be mailed to Wright County Community Action, P. O. Box 787, Maple Lake, Minnesota 55358. Food donations may be delivered to the WCCA Food Shelf located at 411 Elm Avenue in Waverly. Food drives also continue through March in virtually all communities in Wright County for other local food shelves.

Minnesotans Urged to Re-think Their Drink 

March is National Nutrition Month, and this month, Minnesotans are being urged to "Rethink Your Drink." John Michaelson has a full report in our on-air news. Nutrition officials say just one 12-ounce soda contains around 150 calories and around 40 grams of sugar, which in itself is more than the daily recommendation on added sugars from the American Heart Association. 

February Unemployment Down for Third Consecutive Year 

Wright County's unemployment rate in February dropped slightly from January, and marked the third straight year that the February jobless rate has fallen from the same period the previous year. New statistics from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development show that Wright County's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in February was 4.7 percent, down two tenths of a point from January, and down a full point from the 5.7 percent rate of a year ago. The drop in unemployment came despite an increase in the labor force to just over 72 thousand, marking the highest number of available workers in at least 3 years. The U-S unemployment rate in February was 5.5 percent, down slightly from January, while the Minnesota jobless rate last month stayed at 3.7 percent, marking the 7th straight month that state unemployment was stable at that rate. 

Kimball Woman Injured in Single-Car Crash in Wright County 

A Kimball woman was injured early Tuesday morning when she was involved in a single-car rollover traffic crash in Wright County. The Minnesota State Patrol says the accident happened shortly after 7 AM Tuesday on Highway 55 at 67th Street Northwest, just east of Annandale. Officials say a car driven by 34-year-old Hiliary Cooper of Kimball was eastbound on Highway 55 when she swerved to avoid some debris on the roadway, lost control and her car entered the ditch and rolled over. Cooper was transported to Buffalo Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The Wright County Sheriff's Office assisted the State Patrol at the scene.

Lake Maria State Park Maple Syruping Demonstrations Today 

Lake Maria State Park near Monticello will present its annual maple-syruping demonstrations this weekend at the park's nature center. Tree tapping techniques will be described, followed by a hike into the woods to identify maple trees, tap a tree and collect the sap. Visitors can also watch the cooking process and syrup preparation. Park Manager Mark Crawford calls the annual maple-syruping a fascinating and historically significant event for the entire family. Crawford says maple-syruping began more than a century ago when Native Americans and later European pioneers used essentially the same tapping and collection methods to produce maple sugar, maple syrup and candy. The demonstrations will run from 11 AM to 2 PM today, Sunday, March 29th at Lake Maria State Park. The event is free, however, a 5 dollar vehicle park entry fee is required for those with the annual state park permit. More information is available at;, or by calling the park office at (763) 878-2325. Lake Maria State Park is located 7 miles northwest of Monticello,10 miles northeast of Annandale, and 5 miles north of Maple Lake on Wright County Highway 111. 

Influenza B Surges As Normal Flu Season Winds Down 

The state Department of Health has a reminder for Minnesotans due to a recent uptick in influenza B activity, it's still not too late to get a flu shot. State Epidemiologist Melissa McMahon says just like a March snowstorm isn't unusual, an upturn in flu cases toward the end of a typical flu season is pretty common. McMahon says this year's flu vaccine is a good match for the influenza B strain circulating in the state. That was not the case with the AH-3 strain earlier this season. 

Cell Phones Create Challenges For 9-1-1 Operators in Minnesota 

If you need to call 9-1-1 from a cell phone, be prepared to give detailed location info. That's the message from Jackie Mines, Director of Emergency Communication Networks in Minnesota. Mines says if you call 9-1-1 from a cell phone in an emergency, and you're not able to say your location, stay on the line and the operator can use various tools at the 9-1-1 center to try and determine the area you are calling from. 

Warmer Weather Often Means Increased Thefts 

We've begun to see some long-awaited warmer temperatures, and with the warmer weather, the Wright County Sheriff's Office has begun to see an increase in people having items stolen out of parked vehicles. Sheriff Joe Hagerty advises residents and visitors to be sure to remove valuables from your vehicle. The prime targets for thieves are cell phones, GPS devices, stereo equipment, purses, laptops, portable DVD players, tools and garage door openers. He says once the valuables have been removed, be sure to lock your vehicle. At home, close your overhead garage doors. The sheriff notes that limiting visibility from the street keeps would-be thieves from being curious. You should also always remember to lock your doors and windows to your residences and garages. Sheriff Hagerty says a few simple steps can significantly reduce the chances of being the victim of a crime. 

Minnesota Homeownership Center Offers Free Services and Advice 

Anyone who is feeling a bit overwhelmed when considering their first home purchase may want to reach out to the Minnesota Homeownership Center. Spokesman Ed Nelson says Minnesota Homeownership Center employees can put potential homebuyers in touch with people with the buyer's best interest in mind. Nelson says they oversee a statewide network of nonprofit organizations that offer home buyer education and services.

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.