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Wright County News

Sunday, May 29th, 2016


Highway 12 Backdrop for Special Session Push 

House Republicans visited portions of Highway 12 west of the Twin Cities this week as they continue to push Governor Mark Dayton to call a special session so the legislature can pass a bonding bill that died in the final minutes of the regular session. That bonding bill would include significant funding for transportation improvements. Many residents of the area call the section of Highway 12 from the Twin Cities to Delano the most dangerous stretch of road in the state. House Speaker Kurt Daudt says a group of Senate Democrats stood in the way of funding for critical roads and bridges. Democrats respond Republican game-playing over the Southwest Light Rail Line killed the bonding bill. 


Wright County Memorial Day 2016 Preview 

Wright County will join the state and nation on Monday in marking Memorial Day 2016. Communities all across the area will host various ceremonies honoring the nation’s deceased veterans, including those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. Today a preview of the Monday services...

In Annandale…

A parade begins at 10 AM beginning at the middle school, then proceeds to Pleasant Lake, where a naval ceremony with a rifle salute, "Taps," and flowers on the lake will take place. The parade will then continue down Highway 24 to the Woodlawn Cemetery for another program with the keynote speech from lifelong Annandale resident Brian Partridge with a message on Civil War history.

In Buffalo…

A parade will begin around 8:45 from the area just north of the American Legion. The annual ceremony will follow in front of the American Legion building, with the keynote address from General Ken Penttila. Music from the Buffalo High School band will be featured. American flags will be given away to children in attendance. The roll call of deceased veterans, and rifle salute will again be a part of the ceremonies. Refreshments follow inside the legion clubrooms.

In Clearwater...

The Clearwater Legion Honor Guard will pay respects at the Clear Lake Cemetery at 9 AM, the Highway 10 Cemetery at 9:15, the Highland Cemetery at 9:45, the Mount Hope Cemetery at 10 AM, St. Luke's Cemetery at 10:15, and the Acacia Cemetery at 10:30. A short ceremony with a guest speaker is scheduled for 11 AM at the Clearwater Legion.

In Cokato…

A 7:30 AM rifle salute at the Cokato City Cemetery will be followed by the raising of the colors at 8 AM at the Veterans Memorial Park. The annual Cokato Memorial Day parade begins at 10:15 at the Cokato Elementary School, and winding its way back to the school for a program in the auditorium. Meeker County Veterans Service Officer Jim Lauer who served as a paratrooper and helicopter pilot in Iraq and Afghanistan will be the guest speaker.

In Delano…

Line-up for the parade begins at the American Legion at 10:15 AM, with the parade to begin at 10:30, proceeding to the downtown bridge for a brief ceremony, followed by a stop at the city park gazebo for the annual program featuring local veteran, Captain Andrew Jaunich. A lunch will follow at the Delano Legion club rooms.

In Howard Lake…

A parade beginning at 9:15 AM from the St. James Church to the Howard Lake Cemetery is planned. A ceremony at the cemetery features guest speaker, Charlie Borrell of the Wright County Board of Commissioners. Music from the high school band, and a roll call of deceased veterans is also planned.

In Maple Lake…

A parade from the American Legion club to the memorial monument at the city park is planned for 10 AM. The guest speaker will be Retired Lt. Col. Guy Konietzko of Sauk Rapids. A potluck lunch will follow at 11:30 at the Maple Lake Legion.

In Monticello…

A wreath laying service and honor guard gun salute will be held at the St. Henry's Catholic Cemetery, as well as the Riverside and Hillside Cemeteries, also at Ellison Park and at the American Legion Post. A parade beginning at 11:45 AM at the American Legion will be followed by a lunch at the Monticello VFW.

In Montrose…

A program will be held at 10:30 AM at the Wright VFW Post 1901. Some 400 crosses will be displayed on the lawn. The program will feature a speech from State Senator Bruce Anderson of Buffalo. Music from the Buffalo High School Band will also be included.

In Rockford…

The annual parade begins at 10 AM at the Rockford Middle School. A Navy Service will be held at the Crow River bridge, followed by Memorial Services at the Elmwood Cemetery. The annual Rockford Lions pork chop dinner follows at 11 AM at the Riverside Park. A pie and ice cream social is also planned at the historic Ames-Florida Stork House from 10 AM to 3 PM.

In St. Michael, Hanover, Albertville and Greenfield…

Services begin at 8 AM at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Hanover, followed at 9 AM with services at St. Albert’s Cemetery. At 9:35, services will be held at the St. Michael South Cemetery. At 10:15, services will be observed at the St. Paul’s Cemetery in Hanover, followed by a 10:45 service at the Salem Lutheran Church Cemetery in Greenfield. A brunch follows at the Salem Lutheran Church.

In Watertown...

Ceremonies are planned for 10 AM at the Watertown-Mayer High School Performing Arts Center, and will include patriotic music and guest speakers.

And in Waverly…

A program conducted by the Legion and Legion Auxiliary Unit will be held beginning at 10:30 AM at the Railroad Park. The keynote address will be from Colonel Stephan Gulyas, a member of American Legion Post 305. The Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School band will also be featured.

No matter where you are in the Wright County listening area, services marking Memorial Day 2016 are sure to be held somewhere near to you. KRWC encourages all area residents to take part in services in their area, and remember those who have served, and continue to serve, to protect our freedoms.

Rural Rogers Man Hospitalized With Burns Sustained in Horse Farm Fire 

A man from rural Rogers is hospitalized in the Twin Cities after he sustained serious burn injuries in a fire at a horse farm early Monday evening. North Wright County Today reports that 49-year-old Chris Leatherdale, co-owner of Grace Farms sustained burns over nearly 40 percent of his body while he tried to save livestock after the fire broke out around 5 PM Monday. He was airlifted to the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. Three horses that were being boarded in the barn at the farm reportedly were lost in the blaze, which destroyed the barn, an older horse training area and a commons area according to North Wright County Today. Monday's fire broke out after a wave of thunderstorms moved through the region, though it is not yet known whether lightning may have been a factor. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. The St. Michael, Hanover and Osseo Fire Departments assisted the Rogers Fire Department at the scene, along with other agencies including the Rogers Police and Hennepin County Sheriff's Office. 

Minnesota Fire Deaths Up 

57 people died last year in fires in Minnesota, up nearly 30-percent from both 2013 and 2014. State Fire Marshal Bruce West says his department is investigating the circumstances behind the jump in fire fatalities. Historically, home heating and cooking accidents are the leading causes of home fires, while careless smoking is the most common cause of fire deaths. The 57 fire deaths in the state last year was the highest number of fire fatalities since 2002 when 64 people were killed.

MN Ag Officials Talk Cuba Trade Possibilities 

Minnesota farmers and agriculture experts met with officials at the White House Wednesday to discuss possible trade opportunities with Cuba. Paul Simonsen with the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion council says there's much potential if a trade embargo is lifted. Simonsen says soybeans are Minnesota's top export crop and are the second leading import for Cuba.

Multiple Fire Departments Battle Blaze at Loretto Auto Dealership 

Numerous fire departments from our region battled a fire overnight at an auto dealership in Loretto. Officials say shortly after 11 PM Tuesday, a driver passing by the area reported a fire at the Laurent Motor Cafe on east Highway 55 in Loretto. The fire appeared to be confined to the workshop area at the dealership. No damage was reported to the offices or auto inventory. Some 12 fire departments and around 100 firefighters were involved in battling the blaze as all of the water had to be trucked in due to no fire hydrants in the area. No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Franken on Battle Against Zika Virus 

U-S Senator Al Franken met with Minnesota health leaders in recent days as a part of a roundtable discussion at the University of Minnesota that highlighted a coordinated response to the Zika virus if there were a public health emergency. Congress has approved bills to help pay for the fight against the virus, but President Obama says it's not enough and Senator Franken agrees. The president is asking for nearly two-billion dollars to combat the virus, which is linked to birth defects. Officials say there have been over 1,200 reported cases of the Zika virus in the U-S, including several in Minnesota.

YMCA Camp Manitou Open House June 18th 

The YMCA's Camp Manitou is looking forward to a great summer of events at the new Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park near Monticello, and in just a few weeks, the park will host an open house. Camp Manitou will feature an outdoor splash pad, heated pool and waterslide, outdoor swimming lessons, canoeing on Long Lake, challenging fun on the climbing walls and archery range, arts and crafts in the art pavilion and much more! The grand opening open house at Camp Manitou will be held Saturday, June 18th from 1 to 4 PM. The get-acquainted event is free and open to the public. More information is available by contacting the Wright County Parks Department at (763) 682-7693, or online at;

Heavy Rains Accompany Monday Evening Severe Storms 

One of the first incidents of severe weather of the soon-to-be summer season for 2016 hit the Wright County area along with much of southwestern and east central Minnesota Monday evening. Showers developed in the late afternoon and early evening, and turned severe by around 6 PM in some areas. Lightning was a common feature, especially in south-central parts of the state, and some small hail was reported. The biggest factor in our listening area was rain, which was torrential in the southern and southwestern parts of Wright County. 5-plus inches of rain was reported in Stockholm Township, with 4-plus and 3-plus inches in Howard Lake and Waverly, respectively. Lesser amounts of rain were reported in the eastern portion of the county, with 2 inch and 1-plus inch rains in the Buffalo and Monticello areas. No damage or injuries were reported. Dryer weather is expected today, but more rain is expected for Wednesday, and the early part of the Memorial Day weekend.

April Unemployment in MN Unchanged From March 

Minnesota's unemployment rate last month was unchanged from March. New statistics from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development show that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the state in April was 3.8 percent, equal to that of March, but slightly higher than the same period last year. The April 2015 seasonally adjusted jobless rate in Minnesota was at 3.6 percent. Meanwhile, the national unemployment rate was also stable last month. Statistics show that the seasonally adjusted U-S unemployment rate in April was an even 5 percent, unchanged from March. The April 2016 national rate however, was down slightly from the 5.4 percent rate of April 2015. Information on the county-by-county unemployment rates for April should be released in the next week to 10 days.

Incidents of Children Poisoned by E-Cig Products Rising 

The number of children under the age of six in the U-S who were poisoned by nicotine in e-cigarettes rose by nearly 15-hundred percent between 2013 and 2015, and one of those children died. Dr. Travis Olives with the Minnesota Poison Control System says the state is mirroring those numbers. He says in 2011 there was only one exposure reported to poison control. More than 90% of the children swallowed the nicotine-laced liquid, known as e-juice, that is smoked inside e-cigarettes, and Dr. Olives says that can be a dangerous situation. Officials say liquid nicotine needs to be treated like any other poison in your home. 

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.