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Wright County News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

 

State Health Officials Urge Influenza Vaccinations 

The spread of influenza is sporadic so far in Minnesota and health officials are urging everyone to get vaccinated before activity is widespread. The state Health Department's Lynn Bahta says there is plenty of flu vaccine available. Bahta says the nasal spray could be more effective than the flu shot in kids ages 2 to 8. Health officials confirm that 5 people in Minnesota were hospitalized last week with influenza. 

Coats For Kids Distribution Today 

Distribution will take place today in the 2014 Coats For Kids campaign, co-sponsored by Love, INC Big Woods and the Salvation Army. For several weeks, coats and winter outerwear items were collected at several area businesses and most Buffalo churches. Tom Kunz, Executive Director of Love, INC Big Woods in Buffalo says if this year's distribution is anything like last year, a lot of families will be served. The Coats For Kids distribution will be held from 10 AM to 6 PM today at the Buffalo Community Center. Kunz says there are some pretty simple requirements to participate. For more information, contact the Buffalo Community Center at (763) 682-6036.

More Minnesotans Consider When to Give Up Car Keys  

More and more families across the state are having a conversation about when a family member should stop driving. With the number of Minnesotans age 65 or older expected to double by 2030, the topic will continue to get closer examination. John Michaelson has a full report in our on-air news throughout the day. More information is also available at; www.aarp.org/drive, and on the Minnesota Department of Public Safety website at; www.dps.mn.gov.  

Monticello Chamber of Commerce Trick-Or-Treat This Evening 

The members of the Monticello Chamber of Commerce will host their 2014 Downtown Trick-or-Treat Event this afternoon and evening. Participating businesses will be set up along the sidewalks in and near downtown Monticello from 4 to 7 PM. Youngsters in costume are encouraged to trick or treat the various business displays. Drivers are asked to be extra cautious when driving through the downtown Monticello area during the hours of the trick-or-treat event. Motorists are asked to be aware of the extra children and adults walking in downtown Monticello to make it a safe event for all.

Annual "Health Care Choices For Minnesotans on Medicare" Booklet 

The Minnesota Board on Aging is out with their annual booklet on "Health Care Choices for Minnesotans on Medicare." Spokeswoman Jean Wood says it contains comprehensive information about Medicare plan options. The latest Medicare open enrollment period is underway and runs through December 7th. The Medicare booklet is available on-line or by calling the Senior Linkage Line at 1-800-333-2433. 

Buffalo Tip-A-Cop Event to Raise Funds for Special Olympics Minnesota 

Some Buffalo law enforcement officers will be trading in their ticket books for food server order pads next week to help support the Special Olympics. The Buffalo Tip-A-Cop event will take place Friday, November 7th from 5 to 9 PM at the Buffalo Applebee's. Law enforcement officers will volunteer their time as servers alongside Applebee's wait staff to collect tips from guests to raise funds for Special Olympics Minnesota. The Tip-A-Cop fundraiser is a component of the Law Enforcement Torch Run program, a grassroots campaign of law enforcement representatives worldwide, who have generated funds and created awareness for Special Olympics programs in their areas for the past 25 years. For more information about Tip-A-Cop and other Special Olympics Minnesota events, log onto; www.specialolympicsminnesota.org. 

Lane Closures on Highway 10 in Elk River Through Thursday 

Anyone traveling through the community of Elk River over the next two days may encounter delays on Highway 10. Lane closures are planned to repair pavement. Officials with the Minnesota Department of Transportation say eastbound Highway 10 between Joplin Street and Upland Avenue will be down to a single lane today between 9 AM and 4 PM, and westbound Highway 10 will be limited to a single lane during the same time period on Thursday. The closures are needed while crews remove and replace deteriorated sections of pavement. Officials say motorists should plan for additional time getting through the construction zone, or plan to take an alternate route.

Wright County Attorney Says Charges Could be Harsh for Anyone Withholding Information in Rossing Case

The time to be forthcoming about any information surrounding the Christopher Rossing case is right now according to Wright County Attorney Tom Kelly. Kelly says as investigators continue to look deeper into the newest developments of the case, it's more than likely just a matter of time before the picture becomes more clear, which could mean a longer list of people who know something. Kelly says it would be better for any such person to share that information now, rather than wait until investigators piece it together. You'll remember that Christopher Rossing of rural Howard Lake was last seen alive on the night of August 23rd. It is believed that he had an altercation with the prime suspect in the case, Robert Nuttall of Hutchinson, outside a bar in Howard Lake. Rossing never returned home that night, and was never heard from again. Investigators found human bone fragments and teeth in a fire pit at the rural Hutchinson property that Nuttall was residing at with the other suspect in the case, Gwen Butcher. Nuttall remains jailed on charges of kidnapping but could face more charges if forensic testing on the remains shows they were the remains of Rossing. Gwen Butcher is currently free on bail. She is charged with aiding an offender after the fact. Wright County Sheriff Joe Hagerty told KRWC Radio News on Monday that the evidence is still being studied by the medical examiner's office. From there, the remains will be sent to the Minnesota BCA crime lab to attempt to obtain DNA evidence.

Monticello Man Charged After Head-on Crash Saturday 

A Monticello man faces multiple charges after a head-on traffic crash in Monticello Township on Saturday. Wright County Sheriff Joe Hagerty reports that around 7:30 Saturday evening, two vehicles collided at the intersection of County Road 39 Northeast and Aetna Avenue Northeast, about 3 miles west of Monticello. Officials say a westbound mini-van driven by 42-year-old Darin Hayes of Clearwater, collided with an eastbound pickup truck driven by 54-year-old Brian Krautbauer of Monticello. Sheriff Hagerty says the preliminary investigation shows that Krautbauer attempted to turn north on Aetna Avenue in front of the westbound mini-van, and the two vehicles collided head-on. Darin Hayes sustained severe injuries. He was airlifted to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale. Meanwhile, Brian Krautbauer was treated and released at Buffalo Hospital, and was then booked into the Wright County Jail on Felony Criminal Vehicle Operation, 2nd Degree DWI, and Driving After Cancellation.

Gas, Fuel Price Outlook for Winter 

There's good news, and not so good news about heating our homes in the coming winter. The good news is that home heating fuels will cost less than last winter -- natural gas prices should be about eight percent lower and propane users will pay about 30 percent less. The not so good news according to American Petroleum Institute chief Economist John Felmy says we'll still be paying among the highest prices in the country. Minnesotans however, will pay less than those that live in the northeast region of the country, which he says also has rough winter weather and not enough pipeline capacity. Felmy says that making the extra effort now to make your home more energy efficient can really pay off. Felmy says for instance that for every 1 degree you set your thermostat back, you can save 1 to 3 percent on your annual heating costs. He also says propane users who own their own tank should shop around now for the lowest fuel prices and fill up to have some peace of mind should propane supplies tighten like they did last winter.

Smoke Alarms Still Top the List of Fire Safety Items 

National Fire Safety and Prevention month continues. There were 44 fire deaths last year in the state, the lowest number since 2010. The latest "Fire in Minnesota" report, which takes information from more than 99-percent of Minnesota's 785 fire departments, shows unattended cooking and careless smoking were the top causes of fire deaths. State Fire Marshal Bruce West says home smoke detectors have been around now for decades, but they're still one of the most simple and effective ways to avoid a catastrophe. West says four of last year's fire fatalities happened in homes without working smoke alarms--or with no alarms at all. 

3 Arrested in Maple Lake on Drug Charges 

Three people were arrested recently in Maple Lake on charges stemming from drugs allegedly found at a residence when a search warrant was executed in that community. The Wright County Sheriff's Office says around 10:40 AM on October 22nd, a search warrant was served at 233 Birch Avenue South in Maple Lake. 4 adults and 2 children were home at the time of the warrant being served. Deputies located a substance in the basement of the home that is believed to be a synthetic hallucinogen called 25C-NBOMe. Arrested at the home were 22-year-old Ashley Andrews of Maple Lake, and 19-year-old Shawn Benson of Delano. A third person, 27-year-old Justin Jensen of Maple Lake was arrested for 3rd degree possession of a controlled substance and child endangerment. Two children, ages 3 and 1 were placed into protective custody.

Weekend Crash in Big Lake Leaves One Person Injured 

A weekend traffic crash in Big Lake left one person injured. The State Patrol says around 1:40 PM on Saturday, a small pickup that was southbound on Lakeshore Drive in the city of Big Lake apparently turned into the right lane on Highway 10, broadsiding a passenger car that was westbound on the highway. Officials say the impact of the crash resulted in the passenger car rolling into the center median, and coming to rest back on its wheels. The driver of the passenger car, 52-year-old Deborah Bailey of Zimmerman sustained a non-life threatening injury. She was taken to the Fairview Hospital in Princeton. The driver of the small pickup, 19-year-old Alec Sharkhaus of Big Lake, and a passenger, identified as 20-year-old Mason Fritz were not injured.

Triple-A Study Finds Hands-Free Technology May Increase Driver Distraction 

A new Triple-A study shows that instead of simplifying driving, the popular hands-free features now available in some vehicles may actually increase driver distraction. Gail Weinholzer of Triple-A Minnesota says they'll use the data to convince the developers of those systems to help improve safety. The group also believes that the devices should limit the number of things those systems can do. Weinholzer says that in some cases the technology creates a worse distraction problem than the one it was intended to eliminate. The study shows that the less accurate the voice recognition software is, the more agitated a driver usually becomes.

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.