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Wright County News

Thursday, June 30, 2016


Heinrich Trial Delayed to October  

The trial of a Wright County man on multiple charges related to child pornography has been re-scheduled to later this year. The StarTribune reports that a U-S District Court Judge this week delayed the start of the trial of 53-year-old Danny Heinrich of Annandale to October 11th instead of the original trial date of July 11th. You'll remember a federal magistrate judge recently recommended against requests from the defense for a change of venue for the trial, and for some of the evidence in the case to be barred from use by the prosecution. The legal team for Danny Heinrich argued that he would not be able to get a fair trial in Minnesota because of extensive publicity about the case, particularly because prosecutors have called Heinrich a "person of interest" in the 1989 disappearance of Jacob Wetterling of St. Joseph. Heinrich has continually denied any involvement in the Wetterling abduction. He has not been charged with any crime related to the Wetterling case. Heinrich's attorneys now have until July 15th to appeal the federal magistrate judge's recommendations on the change of venue and suppression of specific items of evidence. Heinrich has pleaded not guilty to some two dozen charges of possession and receiving of child pornography that is unrelated to the Wetterling case.

One Car Rollover Near Clear Lake Injures One  

A young man from South Dakota was injured Wednesday afternoon in a one-car rollover crash on Highway 10 near Clear Lake. The Minnesota State Patrol reports that shortly after 12 noon on Wednesday, a westbound passenger car hit the rumble strips on the side of the roadway on Highway 10. The driver then apparently over-corrected and the car rolled over several times, ending up in the center median. The driver is identified as 19-year-old Luis Cocon Martinez of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The young man sustained non-life threatening injuries, and was transported to the St. Cloud Hospital for treatment. A passenger in the car, another 19-year-old man also from Sioux Falls, was not injured. The Sherburne County Sheriff's Office, Clear Lake Fire and Rescue, and Gold Cross Ambulance assisted the State Patrol at the scene.  

Buffalo Woman Injured in Todd County Traffic Crash 

A local woman was injured earlier this week in a two-vehicle crash in Todd County. The State Patrol reports that around 5:30 PM Tuesday evening, a passenger car and a pickup truck collided on Highway 10 and Todd County Road 83 near Staples. Authorities say the car and the pickup truck were both waiting in the crossover between the two roadways, to turn left. The pickup and the car collided, apparently when the both turned left at the same time. Injured in the crash was 37-year-old Sara Bender of Buffalo, who was a passenger in the car. She was treated for non-life threatening injuries at the Lakewood Hospital in Staples. The driver of the car, a 65-year-old man from Lauderdale, and the driver of the pickup, a 32-year-old man from Pillager, Minnesota escaped injury. The Staples Police Department assisted the State Patrol at the scene.

Annandale Independence Day Celebration Begins Tonight 

One of the biggest 4th of July celebrations in the region officially gets underway tonight in Annandale. Today, the carnival opens in Annandale at 4 PM, and the KRWC Road Show will have lots of fun, games and prizes in the park from 7 to 8:30. The events for the 127th annual celebration of the 4th of July in Annandale continue through Monday. The full list of events may be found at; Events in Delano get underway on Friday for a full weekend of Independence Day celebrations.

Buffalo Thursday Concert Series Begins Tonight at Sturges Park 

The 2016 season of Buffalo's Thursday night Concert in the Park series opens tonight. Each summer, the City of Buffalo, along with event partners and business and individual sponsors present live music in the Sturges Park Bandshell covering a wide variety of musical styles. Tonight the opening concert of the series features the variety music of Dale Dahmen and the Beats, sponsored by the Buffalo Rotary Club. Music begins at 7 PM at Sturges Park. The concerts, as always, are free and open to the public.

Elk River Man Injured in Mille Lacs County Crash  

An Elk River man was injured in a Mille Lacs County traffic crash late Tuesday afternoon. 60-year-old Paul Craven was the driver of a pickup truck that ran off Highway 169 near milepost 217. The truck ran into the right ditch and struck a tree. Craven was taken to the Mille Lacs Health System Hospital in Onamia for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. The Mille Lacs County Sheriff's Office assisted the State Patrol at the scene. 

Man Injured in Meeker County Motorcycle Crash 

A Grove City man remains hospitalized after a motorcycle crash in neighboring Meeker County on Sunday afternoon. The Dassel-Cokato Enterprise Dispatch reports that the crash happened around 12 noon on Sunday. Authorities say 27-year-old Benjamin Rossow of rural Grove City was riding a motorcycle east on 240th Street in Darwin Township when he reportedly went through a stop sign, and nearly struck a vehicle that was northbound on County State Aid Highway 9. Officials say Rossow then lost control of the motorcycle and ran into the ditch. Rossow was transported by Life Link helicopter to the St. Cloud Hospital. The extent of his injuries was not listed. The accident remains under investigation. The Meeker County Sheriff's Office was assisted at the scene by the Litchfield Fire Department, Litchfield Rescue, and Gold Cross Ambulance.

State Money Dedicated to Prevention of Animal Disease Transmission 

Nearly 2-million dollars in state-approved funding will help the Minnesota Board of Animal Health expand its emergency planning for animal disease transmission. State Veterinarian Dr. Beth Thompson outlines the main areas of the emergency planning. She says around $1.8 million originally meant to address avian influenza can now be used to identify risks and help develop strategies to prevent and reduce other animal diseases throughout the state as well.

MN Youth Facing Suicide as 2nd Leading Cause of Death 

Suicide now is the second-leading cause of death among young people in Minnesota and across the country, according to new research published this week. Brandon Campbell has a report in our on-air news throughout the day. More information on the report is available on the American Academy of Pediatrics website at;  

Rail Safety Response Training Continues  

First responders and emergency managers continue their training focusing on rail transportation of oil and hazardous substances. Kevin Reed with the Department of Public Safety says more than 5,000 local emergency managers and first responders across Minnesota are among those attending the training sessions. Rick Luth with the DPS says the training provides some critical information for responders to prepare for events that everyone hopes will never happen. Luth says on average, more than 40 trains carrying million of gallons of crude oil cross through Minnesota every week. The safety training is the result of legislation signed by Governor Dayton in July of 2014.

Teen Driver Crashes Rise During Summer Season  

Just because your child has their license doesn't mean they're a safe driver, and Minnesota Public Safety officials say as the summer begins, that's even more of a concern. Spokesman Gordy Pehrson says the crash rate is lower for young drivers with their instruction permit, because a licensed driver is with them. Pehrson says while it may not be convenient, he urges parents to continue monitoring and practicing with teen drivers even after they have their license. Pehrson stresses anyone with a provisional drivers license, or those under age 18, cannot use a cell phone at all while driving, and it's illegal for all drivers to text while their vehicle is in traffic, even when stopped at a light.

Flu Mist Nasal Spray Likely Won't be Offered in 2016  

A CDC advisory panel says nasal spray mist should not be used in the upcoming flu season. Kris Ehresmann with the Minnesota Health Department says unfortunately, the mist simply hasn't had the same effectiveness level as the traditional vaccine. Ehresmann says the nasal spray will not be offered this upcoming flu season. Though it may not be a favorite of many people, she's urging parents and kids to opt for a shot instead.

May Unemployment Down in Wright County  

Wright County's unemployment rate was down again last month. New statistics from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development show that the non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate in the county in May was 3.2 percent, down six-tenths of a point from the 3.8 percent rate in April, and down two-tenths of a point from the 3.4 percent rate in May of 2015. The local unemployment rate last month is also marks the lowest rate thus far this year. The low rate for 2015 was 2.8 percent in October. For comparison, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Minnesota in May was 3.8 percent, while the seasonally adjusted U-S rate was 4.7 percent.  

Two Injured in Single Vehicle Traffic Accident Near Clearwater 

Two people were injured in a single-vehicle traffic accident near Clearwater late Sunday afternoon. The State Patrol reports that around 5:45 PM Sunday, a passenger car that was eastbound on Interstate 94 drifted onto the right shoulder. The driver then apparently over-corrected, causing the vehicle to travel across the eastbound lanes and into the center median where it struck the median cables. The car came to a stop on the westbound side of the median. The driver of the car, a 36-year-old woman from Eagan, and a passenger, a 25-year-old woman from Minneapolis sustained non-life threatening injuries. Both were transported to the St. Cloud Hospital for treatment. The Stearns County Sheriff's Office assisted the State Patrol at the scene.

Animal Health Officials Remain Vigilant in Watch for Bird Flu Resurgence 

Though no new cases of highly pathogenic bird flu have been reported in Minnesota since last summer, State Veterinarian Dr. Beth Thompson says it will always be a threat and the state remains prepared should it happens here again. Last year, some 9.5 million turkeys were euthanized due to the avian flu in Minnesota.

New DNR Requirements When Renewing Watercraft License 

Next time you renew your boat or other watercraft license, you will need to sign a card affirming you know what state law requires to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. April Rust with the Minnesota DNR says non-resident anglers also must sign the affirmation card when getting their fishing license. Rust notes if you just renewed your watercraft license, you don't have to go in again right away, because renewals are every three years. State law requires boaters clean aquatic plants and prohibited invasive species from watercraft...drain lake or river water from all equipment and keep drain plugs out during transport...and dispose of unwanted bait in the trash, not in the water. For more info, visit the Minnesota DNR website at;

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.