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Wright County News  

Monday, May 21, 2018

 

 

Intermittent Lane Closures on Highway 10 This Week, Major Construction to Begin in Early June

Motorists on eastbound Highway 10 between Big Lake and Clear Lake are reminded that they may encounter delays as segments of the road are reduced to a single lane during non-rush hours this week.
MnDOT says beginning today, the lane closures will occur during daytime hours, and will be complete by Thursday, May 24th. No lane closures are planned in the westbound lanes.
The closures are needed while crews clear trees at several locations along the corridor. The work is the first part of a major project that will re-construct eastbound Highway 10 between Clear Lake and Big Lake in the weeks to come. Officials say daily lane closures for that project will begin in both directions of Highway 10 on June 4th.
In addition to roadway re-construction, an intersection re-construction is planned at Highway 10 and County Road 23 in Becker. Turn lanes will also be extended in some areas, and underground infrastructure will be repaired or replaced.
MnDOT asks motorists for their patience during this and many other construction projects which will be done throughout the summer and fall seasons.
For real-time travel information anywhere in Minnesota, log onto; www.511mn.org, or call 511.

Property Owners Deadline This Week for Self-Management of Roadside Brush and Weeds

The Wright County Highway Department reminds resident that this Friday, May 25th is the day that it plans on starting vegetation spraying in roadside areas along Wright County highways.
In addition to spraying, the unwanted brush and noxious weeds will be cut and treated with herbicide.
Officials with the Wright County Highway Department say the goal is to eliminate the brush and noxious weeds to promote grass cover along the roadsides.
Brush along the road reduces driving visibility, obstructs road signs and r
educes driver reaction time to crossing wildlife. Brush can also present maintenance problems by retaining water along the roadbed, obstructing ditches and damaging equipment.
Crews will use EPA and MDA-approved herbicides to control brush and noxious weeds, but allowing grasses to grow unharmed. They will take care to avoid sensitive areas such as tree and ornamental plantings, crops, gardens, yards, lakes and streams.
Property owners who prefer to maintain the roadsides on their own have until May 25th to get completed paperwork back to the Wright County Highway Department. Residents must also post the "Do Not Spray" signs that they will be given, and must continue to maintain the un-sprayed areas throughout the summer season. If those areas are not maintained, crews will treat the areas as a part of the vegetation management program.
Questions should be directed to the Wright County Highway Department at (763) 682-7383, or 1-800-362-3667, extension 7383.

May Observed as Mental Health Month

The month of May is Mental Health Month, and officials with Wright County want all residents to know that a number of services are available for care and support of those seeking or continuing with treatment. Laura Scharber is the Adult Mental Health Intake and Outreach Professional with Wright County Health and Human Services. One of the hopes of the department is to inform residents and families of the various services available, thereby helping to ease some of the stigma that has sometimes been associated with mental health concerns.  For further information on mental health resources in Wright County, call (763) 684-8509. More resources are also available online at; www.mnmentalhealth.org.
Recently, Wright County began utilizing the national Crisis Text Line. If you or someone you know struggles with mental well-being or experiences a mental health crisis, text MN to 741741 for free 24-7 support. All messages to the text line are confidential, and trained counselors offer help and connect individuals with local resources.

Life Saving Efforts Recognized at County Board Meeting 

Wright County Sheriff Joe Hagerty recognized individuals at this week's meeting of the Wright County Board of Commissioners for efforts that saved two lives. Citizen Letters of Recognition Awards were presented to Monticello High School teachers Bruce Balder-Lanoue and Jason Telecky. Both had instrumental roles in saving the life of a 15-year-old who collapsed in the Monticello High School gym during basketball practice. Sheriff Hagerty said swift action by the men to obtain and use a nearby AED, and to call 911 for medial help saved the young person's life. The sheriff also recognized Deputy Eric Thole with a Letter of Commendation for his response to a citizen aid request where an elderly gentleman had fallen and needed assistance in getting to his feet. Though the man assured Deputy Thole that he was fine, the deputy wasn't convinced. He continued the conversation, and soon the man began showing signs of having a stroke. Deputy Thole called for an ambulance which transported the man to the hospital where the deputy's suspicions were confirmed. Deputy Thole's intuition and persistence saved the man's life. The County Board joined in the recognition of the life-saving efforts in the two separate incidents. 

MN Secretary of State Calls for Release of Federal Funds for Cybersecurity 

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon is calling on lawmakers to release a million-and-a-half dollars in federal funding for statewide election cycbersecurity upgrades. Simon is urging lawmakers to pass a clean bill allowing the release of the funds. He says Minnesota was one of 21 states Russians targeted in the 2016 election, though Simon says those attempts were unsuccessful. 

High School Graduations for Wright County School Districts 

It's only mid-May, but high school graduation time is here, and two Wright County districts hosted commencement exercises last weekend. On Saturday the 140 graduates of Annandale High School Class of 2018 received diplomas. Then yesterday, 178 Delano High School graduates received diplomas.  Graduations will actually spread-out over four weekends this year. This upcoming weekend, Watertown-Mayer High School will hold their annual ceremonies on Friday, May 25th. Several schools will host graduations during the first weekend of June, while still others including Buffalo High School, will hold their commencement exercises the weekend of June 8th. 

MN Senate Vote Calls for Reimbursement for Deputy Registrars 

The Minnesota Senate voted 46 to 20 this week in passage of a bill that would take 9 million dollars from Driver and Vehicle Services to reimburse deputy registrars impacted by the failed MN-LARS rollout. Republican Senator Scott Newman of Hutchinson spoke in support of the proposal. It's not clear if Governor Dayton would sign the measure, but DFL Senator Scott Dibble of Minneapolis is doubtful. An amendment to pull a portion of the reimbursement money from the state's general fund failed.

Explore MnDOT Showcase Tuesday in St. Cloud 

The Minnesota Department of Transportation invites the adventurous, the curious, career seekers and business people to the first-ever Explore MnDOT showcase and community open house next Tuesday in St. Cloud. The event will showcase the tools, equipment, technology, jobs and career tracks that help MnDOT serve Minnesota motorists each day. Some 17 informational booths, displays and activity areas will be featured. Visitors will be able to network and lean about opportunities within the department. The Explore MnDOT showcase will be held Tuesday from 3 to 7 PM at the MnDOT St. Cloud facility at 3725 12 Street North, near Apollo High School. The event is free and open to the public, and will be held rain or shine. 

Dassel Man Injured in Car vs. Semi Crash in Litchfield 

A Dassel man was injured Wednesday evening in Litchfield when the car he was driving collided with a semi truck. The State Patrol reports that around 9:30 Wednesday night, a passenger car driven by 23-year-old Travis Geesey of Dassel was northbound on Highway 22 near Pleasure Drive in Litchfield when it crossed the centerline and struck the semi. Geesey sustained non-life threatening injuries and was treated at the Meeker County Memorial Hospital in Litchfield. The driver of the semi, 40-year-old Jeremiah Andreoff of Cosmos, was not injured. The Meeker County Sheriff's Office and the Litchfield Police Department assisted the State Patrol. 

5th Annual "Broadway in Buffalo" Last Weekend 

Your favorite musical theater songs from shows such as Cinderella, Cabaret, Grease, Kiss Me, Kate, The Music Man and Phantom of the Opera were featured at  the 5th annual "Broadway in Buffalo" event at the Buffalo High School last weekend, May 19th and 20th. The event was presented by Buffalo Community Theater, and the BHS Tri-M Music Honor Society. The all-star cast included many past leading actors from Buffalo Community Theater and Buffalo High School productions, all brought together in one show. Including 18 singers  accompanied by piano, bass and drums.  Proceeds was the event went to help provide scholarships for BHS music students and a BCT college scholarship. 

GOP Childcare Fraud Plan Released 

Republican lawmakers have unveiled their plan to help cut down on childcare fraud in the wake of recent reports that millions of dollars are being funneled overseas--at times allegedly to support terrorism. Representative Nick Zerwas of Elk River supports a plan that calls for harsher penalties for those who transfer public program money to countries on the U-S travel ban list. It's unclear whether or not the proposal will get action with just days remaining in the 2018 Minnesota legislative session. Meanwhile, acting Department of Human Services Commissioner Chuck Johnson says staff has more than doubled over the last several years to try to combat childcare fraud. Several childcare centers in the state are accused of being involved in the diversion of child care assistance funds.

Clear Lake Man Injured in Two-Vehicle Crash in Elk River 

A Clear Lake man was injured Tuesday morning in a two-vehicle traffic crash in Elk River. The State Patrol reports that shortly after 7 AM Tuesday, an SUV and a passenger car were both eastbound on Highway 10 approaching Waco Street in Elk River when authorities say the SUV rear-ended the sedan. Injured in the crash was the driver of the passenger car. 51-year-old Mark Theis of Clear Lake sustained non-life threatening injuries and was taken to the St. Cloud Hospital for treatment. The driver of the SUV, 83-year-old Dennis Ekholm of Big Lake, was not injured. The Elk River Police and Fire Departments and the Elk River Ambulance assisted the State Patrol. 

Funeral Services in Recent Days for Noted Residents of Wright County 

Funeral services were held in recent days for three prominent residents of the Wright County area. Services were held late last week in Monticello for longtime Monticello banker Dale Lungwitz who passed away May 6th at the age of 86. Dale worked his way up from a janitor position at age 10 at the Wright County State Bank to eventually becoming the bank's President. He and his brother-in-law and business partner, George Phillips assumed leadership positions in the bank in 1956. Dale also was a member of the Monticello Rotary for more than 60 years, and was a Past President of the organization. He also was a longtime member and officer in the Monticello Chamber of Commerce, the Monticello Planning Commission and the Industrial Development Committee. Dale also served as the 6th District Councilman for the Minnesota State Bankers Association, and was a State Representative for the Independent Bankers of Minnesota. After the Wright County State Bank was purchased in 1992, Dale worked for First National Bank in Monticello.

Funeral services were held also held for longtime Monticello High School Principal Robert Voecks, who passed away May 4th at the age of 80. Bob served as principal at the high school for more than 25 years, was an active member of the International Flying Farmers organization, and was an active member of the Trinity Lutheran Church of Monticello for nearly 50 years.

Funeral services were also held over the weekend for a longtime Buffalo resident, businessman and township official. Thomas "Tom" Kleist passed away May 9th at the age of 63 after a battle with cancer. Tom was involved for decades in nuclear medicine, and later was a successful sales representative for Lake Region Medical in Chaska. After his retirement, Tom started Kleist Lawn Care. He also served a term as the Clerk/Treasurer for Buffalo Township, and continued serving on the board until last month when his successor was trained. Tom also was a dedicated member of the Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church at Pelican Lake for some 27 years, and was involved in numerous positions and volunteer activities.

Six People Injured in Last Monday Evening's Crash in Buffalo 

Six people were injured, two seriously, on Monday, May 14th in an evening traffic crash in the City of Buffalo. The State Patrol reports around 7:45 PM, a pickup truck was traveling south on 2nd Street, and was crossing the intersection at Highway 55 when it was struck broadside by a Cadillac Escalade that was traveling east on Highway 55. Officials say it appears that one of the two vehicles involved was trying to get through the intersection at the end of a signal light cycle, though it's unclear which of the two vehicles had a green light. Injured in the crash was the driver of the pickup, 42-year-old Scott Czanstkowski of Buffalo, and a passenger in the truck, 42-year-old Sarah Julius, also of Buffalo. Both sustained non-life threatening injuries, but were taken to North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale for treatment. The driver of the SUV, 31-year-old Natalya Innamorato of Buffalo, and three children in the vehicle, ages 10, 5 and 3, all sustained non-life threatening injuries and were taken to Buffalo Hospital for treatment. Officials say the roads were wet from evening rain showers at the time of the crash. 

Area Farmers Taking Advantage of Reasonably Good Planting Weather 

With early spring resembling the dead of winter across our region this year, many farmers were very concerned about being able to get crops in the ground. Thankfully, once the snow melted, the weather has shaped up into some generally decent planting weather. University of Minnesota Extension Service Agent Rod Greder says while planting is definitely behind schedule, it could have been much worse if we had gone from snow melt right into a rainy period. Greder says most growers in our area have been focusing on the corn so far, but once that crop is in, those that will be growing soybeans will be back in the fields for another round of planting.

Deadline Nearing for Property Owners Who Want to Manage Roadside Brush and Weeds Themselves 

The Wright County Highway Department is notifying residents that May 25th is the day that it plans on starting vegetation spraying in roadside areas along Wright County highways. In addition to spraying, the unwanted brush and noxious weeds will be cut and treated with herbicide. Officials with the Wright County Highway Department say the goal is to eliminate the brush and noxious weeds to promote grass cover along the roadsides. Brush along the road reduces driving visibility, obstructs road signs and reduces driver reaction time to crossing wildlife. Brush can also present maintenance problems by retaining water along the roadbed, obstructing ditches and damaging equipment. Crews will use EPA and MDA-approved herbicides to control brush and noxious weeds, but allowing grasses to grow unharmed. They will take care to avoid sensitive areas such as tree and ornamental plantings, crops, gardens, yards, lakes and streams. Property owners who prefer to maintain the roadsides on their own have until May 25th to get completed paperwork back to the Wright County Highway Department. Residents must also post the "Do Not Spray" signs that they will be given, and must continue to maintain the un-sprayed areas throughout the summer season. If those areas are not maintained, crews will treat the areas as a part of the vegetation management program. Questions should be directed to the Wright County Highway Department at (763) 682-7383, or 1-800-362-3667, extension 7383.

No Ease Into Allergy Season in 2018 

Allergy sufferers know it full well. There was no slow transition into allergy season this spring in Minnesota. Allergy and Asthma specialist Dr. Gary Bermann with Clinical Research Institute says the delayed start to spring makes the timing of the rest of the allergy season hard to pin down. Bermann says it's important that people with strong allergy reactions to take precautions like keeping windows closed and not drying towels and bedding on an outdoor clothes line.

 

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.