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Wright County News

Friday, October 9, 2015


Robert Nuttall Pleads Guilty to Amended Charges in Rossing Murder Case 

The main suspect in the 2014 disappearance and death of a rural Wright County man entered a guilty plea today in Wright County court on amended charges. 29-year-old Robert Nuttall entered a guilty plea to Felony Unintentional Murder in the death of Christopher Rossing, as well as Second Degree Assault stemming from a case in November of 2013. In a press release from the Wright County Attorney's Office, County Attorney Tom Kelly states that Nuttall admitted the assault on Chris Rossing on August 23rd of 2014 in Howard Lake. Nuttall said he had not intended to kill Rossing, but admitted that his assault did cause his death. Kelly says that Nuttall agreed to an upward departure in sentence for the crime because he admitted concealing Christopher Rossing's body, causing anguish and pain to the family. In the press release, County Attorney Kelly indicated that because the prosecution did not have positive identification of a body, a first degree murder charge would be difficult to prove. Though teeth and human bone fragments were found on a property in rural Hutchinson where Nuttall had been residing, Kelly said the evidence was burned too badly to get a positive DNA identification. In all, Nuttall's sentence will be 22 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled to take place on October 30th.

Search for Missing Monticello Man, Joe Brunn Ends as Body Pulled From Mississippi River in Otsego 

The search has come to an end for a man from Monticello who went missing early last Saturday morning in Otsego. Local authorities say a body was been recovered in Otsego in the general area where a search had been on-going for nearly a week. Wright County Sheriff Joe Hagerty says around 11:30 Thursday morning, Sheriff's Deputies recovered the body of an adult male from the Mississippi River in the City of Otsego that is presumed to be 23-year-old Joseph Brunn. The body was reportedly first spotted by volunteers who were assisting in the search, and the body was found about 300 yards south of the Highway 101 bridge, and about 30 feet from shore. The Midwest Medical Examiner's Office is working on determining the cause of death. Thursday night, the family of Joseph Brunn held a candlelight vigil at the site that had been their headquarters for search efforts throughout the week. Brunn had gone missing after attending a wedding reception a week ago.

Wright County Emergency Medical Services Advisory Board Receives State Award 

Members of a Wright County organization that has played a large part in molding the emergency response and services available in the area received a state award this week. Dennis Bobrowske, a retired 36-year veteran and former Fire Chief with the Howard Lake Fire Department and a member of the Wright County Emergency Medical Services Advisory Board was on hand to help accept the award. Steve Berg, the Emergency Management Coordinator with the Wright County Sheriff's Office, and a retired 30-year veteran of the Howard Lake Fire Department says 21st century emergency response continues to be more and more specialized. The award for the Wright County organization comes during Fire Prevention Week 2015, which runs through Saturday. 

Wright County Health & Human Services to Host Public Flu Clinics This Month 

Wright County Heath and Human Services has announced that they will host two public flu clinics in October. The influenza virus changes a little each year, but health officials believe that they will have a good match in this year's vaccine. Officials say getting vaccinated early drastically reduces your chances of getting ill with the flu, or could reduce its severity if you do come down with influenza. The public flu clinics will be held Monday, October 12th from 4 to 7 PM at the Zion Lutheran Church in Buffalo, and on Monday, October 19th from 4 to 7 PM at the Albertville Parish Center. The flue shots will be free for children 6 months to 18 years of age. Flu shots may be administered to the entire family by billing your insurance, or providing low cost flu shots to those who are uninsured or lack vaccine coverage. The flu shot clinic is first-come, first-served. An on-line screening form is available at; under the "Public Health" tab. Filling out the form at home will save time on the day of the flu shot clinic. Due to low availability, FluMist will not be an option at the upcoming public clinics. Anyone with questions should contact Wright County Public Health at (763) 682-7516. 

Wright County Woman Among Minnesota Red Cross Volunteers Deployed to South Carolina 

A Wright County woman is among a handful of Minnesotans who have been deployed by the American Red Cross to help in flood stricken South Carolina. Peg Craig of St. Michael says she will be working in an emergency shelter where Red Cross workers help out in a number of ways, sometimes just meeting the most basic of needs. Craig expects to be deployed for two weeks, or longer if needed. At least 13 people have died in the South Carolina floods. 

Buffalo Police Announce "Tip-A-Cop" Tonight at Applebee's 

Buffalo Police officials remind residents that it's "Tip-A-Cop" night tonight at the Buffalo Applebee's to benefit Special Olympics Minnesota. Buffalo Police officers will be dinner servers at the Buffalo Applebee's restaurant on Highway 55 and the tips they receive will go to Special Olympics. Police Chief Pat Budke says last year, the department set a new state record for donations from a single service event, and organizers hope to defend that title again this year. The "Tip-A-Cop" event runs tonight from 5 to 9 PM. 

Wright County Unemployment Down in August 

Local unemployment numbers were down in Wright County in August, and were down slightly from the same period a year ago. New statistics from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development show that the non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Wright County in August was 3.2 percent, down from 3.6 percent in August of 2014, and down from 4.4 percent during the same month two years ago. The 3.2 percent is the lowest in Wright County so far this year. Meanwhile, Minnesota's seasonally-adjusted jobless rate for August was an even 4 percent, unchanged from July, and the seasonally-adjusted U-S unemployment rate in August was 5.1 percent, down two-tenths of a point from July. The county-by-county September statistics should be released in the next week to 10 days. 

Xcel Energy Shutting Down Two Coal Fired Units 

Xcel Energy says it plans on shutting down two of the three coal-fired units at the Sherco power plant in Becker. The units will be retired in 2023 and 2026. Becker Mayor Lefty Kleis says in his opinion, there's no doubt that the job losses will hurt the community and the region. Kleis says the good news is Xcel Energy plans to convert unit 2 at the Sherco plant to natural gas by 2026. The reinvestment in the site means it will continue to generate a property tax base for the City of Becker. Kleis says Xcel Energy is also committed to continuing to provide steam to Liberty Paper in Becker. 

MN Fire Marshal Urges Residents to Plan Ahead for Winter Home Heating 

During Fire Prevention Week, State Fire Marshal Bruce West is reviewing some simple, but frequently overlooked checklist items for keeping your home safer. He says when it comes to heating your home, it's a good idea to plan now for the colder months ahead with a furnace or heating system check-up from a qualified technician. West says if you're using portable heaters--they should always be at least three feet from anything flammable such as newspaper, clothing, bedding and curtains. He adds that portable heaters should always be turned off when you leave the room. He says the tragic Minneapolis house fire in recent days that claimed the lives of 3 children also illustrates why you should never use your oven to heat your home. 

Buffalo Police, Fire Departments to Host Open House Events Saturday 

The Buffalo Police and Fire Departments will host Open House events on Saturday in Buffalo. The Buffalo Fire Department will hold its annual Open House and pancake breakfast from 8 AM to 12 noon at the Centennial Fire Station on the east side of the city off County Road 134. The event features all-you-can-eat pancakes for 5 dollars, plus balloons, fire hats and wooden toys will be provided free for the kids who attend. Fire extinguisher training, fire truck rides, a squirt house, fire safety information, and a possible visit from a helicopter are all a part of the annual event which coincides with Fire Prevention Week. Meanwhile, the Buffalo Police Department will hold an Open House at the Buffalo Police Station in downtown Buffalo from 9 AM to 12 noon. Visitors can meet Chief Pat Budke and other police officers, take tours of the Police Department building, and look through a police squad car. Refreshments will also be served. 

CSAH 3 , CSAH 12 Railroad Crossings to be Closed for Repairs 

Three railroad crossings in southern Wright County will be closed for repairs in the coming days. The Wright County Highway Department says Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway will be making improvements to the CSAH 3, or Broadway Avenue crossing in Cokato, and to the County Road 153, or Jackson Avenue crossing this Sunday, October 11th. The closures are expected to be for one day only, from approximately 7 AM to 7 PM. BNSF also plans to make repairs to the crossing on CSAH 12 in Montrose on Sunday, October 18th. The crossing is expected to be closed for one day only, for approximately the same 12-hour time period. No detours will be posted, motorists are asked to use alternate routes. Anyone with questions should contact the Wright County Highway Department at either (763) 682-7374, or (763) 682-7391. 

Fire Prevention Week Being Observed in Minnesota 

It's Fire Prevention Week in Minnesota, and State Fire Marshal Bruce West has a reminder for all residents....check all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they're working properly. He also adds that it's a good time to change the batteries in all detectors. West says fire prevention week is also a good time to go over your home fire escape plan, and stress the importance that all family members follow that plan to the letter. Officials from many local fire departments are visiting classrooms at elementary schools throughout the week, promoting fire safety.

Christmas Sales Pushed Up, Halloween Sales Might Suffer 

The competition for retail dollars spent for Christmas may have gotten to the point that it could affect Halloween sales. Over the last decade or two, Halloween has quietly become one of the biggest holiday sales periods for retailers. In fact, Halloween sales are expected to reach around 7-billion dollars nationwide this year. The early push for Christmas sales is on, but University of St. Thomas Marketing Professor David Brennan says overall he doesn't think Halloween sales will suffer too much. The average person celebrating Halloween this year will spend just over 74 dollars, compared with nearly 78 dollars last year. 

Wright County Farm Bureau Members Visit Nation's Capitol 

Three residents of Wright County were among the 27 farmers and ranchers from across Minnesota to meet with members of Congress in Washington, D. C. recently. Pat Bakeberg of Waverly, the state winner of the 2014 MFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Achievement Award, Jenna Davis of Cokato, a semi-finalist in the 2015 MFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Discussion Meet contest, and Dan Glessing of Waverly, a vice-president on the MFBF Board of Directors were among the Minnesota contingent to visit the nation's capitol. Participants met with U-S Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, and U-S Representatives Tim Walz, Erik Paulsen, Keith Ellison, Tom Emmer, Collin Peterson and Rick Nolan, as well as staff members from the offices of John Kline and Betty McCollum. During their meetings, Farm Bureau members discussed the role of biotechnology both in food production and food labeling, including the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act. Other topics included the Endangered Species Act, and long-term transportation issues. Members also met with officials with the EPA regarding clarification on a new rule that expands the definition of the "Waters of the United States" under the Clean Water Act. Other discussions with the EPA included provisions of the Renewable Fuels Standard.

DNR Remind Motorists to Watch for Deer 

We're now in that time of year when deer-vehicle crashes in Minnesota are most common. Rich Sprouse with the Minnesota DNR says the more frequent car vs. deer incidents are the result of several factors that include reduced daylight, and higher deer activity. Sprouse says a common reaction from drivers that see a deer in the roadway is to swerve, which he says might actually be one of the worst things you can do. He says swerving can confuse the deer on which way they can run to escape. Swerving also sometimes leads to head-on crashes with other cars, or a car running into the ditch. Sprouse also says deer often run together, so if you see one, expect others to follow. Sprouse says if you do hit a deer, report the crash immediately.

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.