Wright County News
Voters Turn Down Construction Referendum Proposal in Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School District
Residents of the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School District have voted down a proposed two-part construction referendum. The district held a referendum vote Thursday on a proposed construction project of just under 19.8 million dollars for the addition of a new middle school to be connected to the existing high school. On Question 1, 897 voters said "no," to 496 voters who said "yes." Question 2 asked residents for approval of an additional 5.8 million dollars for improvements at the existing Humphrey Elementary School in Waverly, and the Winsted Elementary School in Winsted. On that question, voters also said "no," on a vote of 908 votes "no," to 483 votes "yes." The vote on Question 2 was somewhat academic as Question 2 was able to pass only if Question 1 passed. For more on the voting information, log onto the District 2687 website at; www.hlww.k12.mn.us.
New Early Voting Bill Awaiting Governor's Signature
Secretary of State Mark Ritchie is hopeful that Governor Dayton will sign legislation that allows no-excuse absentee voting. Ritchie says this is something Minnesota voters have been calling for. The legislation would allow in-person early voting without providing a reason. Ritchie says his office will start the implementation process as soon as the governor signs the bill into law.
Wright County Tea Party to Host Legislative Round Up
The Wright County Tea Party has announced that they will welcome area lawmakers to their annual Minnesota Legislative Round Up in early June. State Senator Bruce Anderson, and State Representatives Marion O'Neill, Joe McDonald and David FitzSimmons will attend the meeting on June 4th that will consist entirely of questions from the floor regarding the legislation that came out of the 2013 session, and how it will affect local residents. A video produced by the John Birch Society entitled, "Constitution is the Solution" will be shown from 5:30 to 6:30 PM, prior to the 7 PM start of the regular meeting. The meeting is open to the public, and will be held in the meeting room at the Buffalo Airport, off County Road 134, just north of Menards. For more information, call (320) 963-5520.
Wright County Citizen SignUp Page Announced
The Wright County Public Health Department has announced a new on-line sign-up page for automatic calls to a person's cell phone in case of emergency, or to relay important information. The Wright County CityWatch notification system is used to notify citizens on the 9-1-1 system via their landline phones, but by registering your cell phone, you can be a part of the network of households to be notified. A link is posted on the Wright County homepage at; www.co.wright.mn.us. Officials say when you click the link indicating "Sign up to Receive Emergency Notifications," you will be brought to the "Wright County Citizen SignUp" page where your address may be registered, along with a private password created by the user. Officials estimate that between 25 and 30 percent of Wright County households have only a cell phone.
CSAH 35 Closed North of Cokato for Bridge Replacement Project
Motorists in Wright County are reminded that County Road 35 north of Cokato between County Roads 3 and 4 is closed in preparation for a summer-long bridge removal and replacement project of the bridge over the North Fork of the Crow River. Some of the work to be accomplished before the bridge removal includes removal of trees and guardrail, and hauling of soil materials to the east side of the river. Detour signage is in place, and motorists are urged to pay close attention to the detour route. Bridge removal is scheduled for the week of June 17th. Officials anticipate that final work on the project should be completed by September 30th. The Wright County Highway Department thanks residents and visitors in advance for their patience during the improvement project.
Howard Lake Man Dies in 2-Vehicle Head-on Crash
A Wright County man is dead following a 2-vehicle traffic crash in the city of Howard Lake on Tuesday. The State Patrol reports that 66-year-old Keith Hardel of Howard Lake died when the vehicle he was driving collided head-on with a westbound vehicle on Highway 12 at 12th Avenue in the city of Howard Lake. The crash happened around 12:20 PM Tuesday when Hardel's eastbound vehicle veered into the westbound traffic lane, and hit a westbound vehicle head-on. The driver of the westbound vehicle, 45-year-old Karrie Taylor of Hutchinson, was not injured. There is no word from authorities as to whether or not it was the actual crash that caused the Howard Lake man's death, or if there were other factors involved. The incident is under investigation by the State Patrol.
Bachmann Launches TV Ad Campaign for November 2014 Election
Even though it's nearly a year and a half until the 2014 elections, 6th District Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has already launched a TV ad campaign. Carleton College political analyst Steven Schier says it's highly unusual for a candidate, and particularly an incumbent, to be running ads this early. Bachmann is facing a rematch against Democrat Jim Graves, a hotel company executive who lost to Bachmann by only about 5 thousand votes last November.
State Capitol Renovations Among Items Approved in Bonding Bill
109 million dollars to renovate the State Capitol is the key feature of a scaled-back bonding bill Democrats agreed on late Monday night, which passed two hours prior to the adjournment of the Minnesota Legislature. GOP State Representative Dean Urdahl of Grove City, who represents a portion of western Wright County in the Minnesota House pushed hard for inclusion of the renovation funds in the bonding bill. Also included in the bill...22 million dollars for a new parking ramp at the State Capitol, 20 million for flood mitigation, 19 million for improvements at the Minneapolis Veterans Home, 45 million for metropolitan regional parks, 11 million for the Como Zoo, plus funding for a number of smaller projects. The total dollar amount of the bonding bill ended up at approximately 177 million dollars, versus the nearly 800 million originally proposed by the House.
CSAH 12 Improvement Project Open House This Evening
A reminder that the Wright County Highway Department will host an open house this evening regarding a proposed re-construction of Wright County State Aid Highway 12 from just north of Highway 55 in Buffalo, north to County Road 37. The project would bring the roadway up to current MnDOT standards, as well as improving stopping sight distances. All area residents and public agencies are invited to the open house today from 4:30 to 6:30 PM at the Wright County Public Works Building off north Highway 25 in Buffalo. No formal presentation is planned. Wright County Highway Department staff will be available to discuss design concerns about the project. Written comments will also be accepted. Comments should be sent to Chad Hausmann, in care of the Wright County Highway Department at 1901 Highway 25 North in Buffalo, 55313. You may also fax written comments to (763) 682-7313, or via email at; email@example.com. For more information, call, (763) 682-7386.
Darwin Man Faces Felony Charges in Connection With May 12th ATV Crash
A Meeker County man is facing two felony counts of criminal vehicular injury after being the driver of an ATV that crashed near Cosmos, Minnesota May 12th. The Dassel-Cokato Enterprise Dispatch reports that the Meeker County Attorney's Office has filed two felony charges of criminal vehicular injury, and two gross misdemeanor charges against 30-year-old Michael Thomas Vollmer of Darwin. Vollmer was driving an ATV at the Thompson Lake Park near Cosmos around 3 PM on May 12th, and was giving a ride to a 5-year-old girl, identified as Kaylie Garfin of Cosmos, said to be the daughter of a friend. The Meeker County Sheriff's Office says eyewitnesses reported that Vollmer attempted to climb a steep embankment, and the ATV rolled over backwards onto Vollmer and the youngster. The criminal complaint indicates that Vollmer got the vehicle upright, and again tried to climb the embankment , and rolled the vehicle over a second time on both himself and the 5-year-old passenger. A by-stander reportedly attempted to help the child, but Vollmer reportedly resisted, and fled the scene on the ATV with the youngster aboard. The girl was transported to her grandparents' home where she was then taken by ambulance to the Meeker Memorial Hospital in Litchfield, and later was airlifted to Children's Hospital in Minneapolis with injuries that were said to be life-threatening. The criminal complaint indicates that the child had facial fractures and lacerations, a broken rib and punctured lung, and bleeding on the brain. The report indicated that more than 4 hours after the accident, a breath sample of Vollmer showed a blood alcohol concentration of 0.14. The Enterprise-Dispatch reports that if found guilty, Vollmer would face a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison and a 10 thousand dollar fine for each of the criminal vehicular injury charges, and the potential for a maximum of one year in prison and a 3 thousand dollar fine for each of the driving under the influence charges. The criminal complaint reportedly indicated that Vollmer had a previous DWI conviction in late 2005. There has been no report of the recovery progress of the youngster hurt in the incident.
DNR Reminds Residents to Check Used Docks for Aquatic Invasive Species
The DNR is reminding Minnesotans who purchase a used dock, boat lift or water toy about a new aquatic invasive species law. Watercraft inspector Nathan Olson says that equipment must remain out of the water for three weeks. Olson says buying a dock from a neighbor on the same lake does not require the 21-day waiting period. The law is aimed at preventing the spread of zebra mussels and other invasive species in Minnesota lakes.
Minnesota's Unemployment Rate Drops in April Despite More Job Losses
The April jobless rate in Minnesota was down, despite employers shedding another 11-thousand-400 jobs. Steve Hine is with the state Department of Employment and Economic Development. Hine says the April unemployment rate also reflects revisions to March figures. He says the original report showed 52-hundred jobs lost. Following revisions, that's down to just 33-hundred shed. He says the biggest job losses last month occurred in trade, transportation and utilities down 57 hundred positions, followed by government down 2 thousand. Hine says unusual spring weather and the federal sequester could be the reason behind so many cuts. The county-by county unemployment rates in Minnesota for April should be out in the next week to 10 days.
State Health Dept Encourages Hepatitis C Test for Baby Boomers
State health officials are encouraging baby boomers born between 1945 and 1965 to get a one-time test for Hepatitis C virus. Kris Ehresmann with the Minnesota Health Department says Hepatitis C can cause serious liver disease, including cirrhosis and cancer. The good news she says is that treatment is available. Ehresmann says about one in 30 baby boomers may have been infected with Hepatitis C, and most still don't know it. May is observed as Hepatitis C Awareness Month.
DPS Urges Motorcycle Safety Training
Motorcycles are back on Minnesota roads. In fact, ridership is at an all-time high in the state with more than 237-thousand registered cycles. Department of Public Safety motorcycle specialist Bill Shaffer is encouraging riders of all skill levels to take a training course. Shaffer says spring cycle riding often requires skill and good judgment. The state offers motorcycle training courses at 30 MnSCU campuses from April through October. Interested riders can sign up online at; www.motorcyclesafety.org.
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.