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Wright County News

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Number of MN Motorcycle Fatalities So Far in 2015 Surpasses All in 2014 

It's been an especially deadly year for motorcyclists on the state's roads. The number of cyclists killed in Minnesota crashes in 2015 has already surpassed all of last year. Bill Shaffer with the Department of Public Safety says there have been 46 motorcycle fatalities already this year in Minnesota. 31 of those killed were not wearing helmets. And, in 19 of the crashes, riders were negotiating a curve when they lost control. Speed was also a factor in 11 of the crashes.

Wright County EDP to Host Part 2 of "State of the Cities" 

The Wright County Economic Development Partnership will host part 2 of the 2015 "State of the Cities" event next week. The event has been scheduled for Thursday, September 10th at the Eagle Trace Golf Course in Clearwater. Officials say the "State of the City" event is a great way to connect with communities of Wright County, allowing all communities to build off each other's successes, connect with the private or public sector for projects, and enable all communities to work together for the benefit of the region. The communities of Annandale, Buffalo, Clearwater, Cokato, Howard Lake, Maple Lake, Monticello, Rockford and Waverly will provide a year in review, as well as take a look forward, and offer insight on how communities can grow together. The event is scheduled from 11:30 to 1 PM, and is sponsored by Bolton & Menk Engineers and Surveyors. For more information on last-minute registration, contact Jeanene Strum at (763) 477-3035, or by email at; 

U of M Extension Accepting Applications for Master Gardeners 

The University of Minnesota Extension of Wright County is inviting any gardeners in the area who are interested in becoming Master Gardeners to apply to the internship program. Master Gardeners come from all walks of life and volunteer on behalf of the university. They share best practices in gardening with people in their community that promote healthy landscapes, healthy foods and healthy lives. Master Gardeners complete a university-taught course, then contribute a set number of hours to teaching research-based horticultural practices in their communities. Common areas of volunteer activities and events include schools, community gardens, youth programs, environmental education programs and farmers' markets. For more information on becoming a U of M Extension Master Gardener, contact Rod Greder with Wright County Extension at; (763) 682-7381, or Tarah Huston at (763) 682-7394.

Elderly Pequot Lakes Man Dies in Two-Car Crash in St. Cloud 

An elderly man from Pequot Lakes died in a two-vehicle traffic crash that happened Monday morning in St. Cloud. The Minnesota State Patrol says shortly after 7:30 AM, two cars collided at the intersection of Highway 10 and Highway 301 in St. Cloud. A car that was eastbound on Highway 301 was crossing the intersection to go west on Highway 10. The car was hit broadside by a vehicle that was eastbound on Highway 10. The driver of the car that was attempting to cross the intersection, 89-year-old Charles Wall of Pequot Lakes died at the scene of the crash. The driver of the other vehicle involved, 55-year-old Lynn Kaarto of Bloomington, was taken to the St. Cloud Hospital for treatment of a non-life threatening injury. The Sherburne County Sheriff's Office, the St. Cloud Police, St. Cloud Fire Department, and Gold Cross Ambulance all assisted the State Patrol at the scene. 

Traffic Changes on Highway 25 in Monticello 

A new traffic signal is scheduled to become operational today (Tuesday) on Highway 25 in Monticello. The Minnesota Department of Transportation says motorists will encounter some traffic changes on Highway 25 between School Boulevard and Wright County Road 106 or 85th Street Northeast. Among the changes are a single lane of southbound Highway 25 being switched from the existing temporary lane to the newly re-constructed southbound lane. Access to 85th Street Northeast at Highway 25 will be opened and the detour will be lifted. Officials say the existing median crossover at the Kjellberg's Mobile Home Parks will be closed and crews will be reconstructing the median, allowing right-in and right-out access only for entering Highway 25 from the parks. After the Labor Day holiday, beginning next Tuesday, September 8th, motorists will encounter overnight lane closures on Highway 25 between I-94 and School Boulevard while crews resurface the roadway. Those lane closures will begin after 8 PM each night, Monday through Saturday. The project is scheduled for completion later this month. 

September Brings Health Challenge for Minnesota Families 

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and an event statewide and across the nation aims to get kids in better physical health. John Michaelson has complete details in our on-air news today. More information is also available at;

Wright County 4-H'ers at the State Fair 

This is a big stretch of days at the Minnesota State Fair for the many Wright County 4-H'ers who are displaying projects and showing animals. Brittany Eich, Program Coordinator for the Wright County 4-H program says Wright County is well represented at the fair. Many projects from Wright County 4-H'ers will also continue to be on display through the end of the fair on Labor Day.

Kyla Mauk Enjoying First Days as Minnesota's New Princess Kay 

A young woman from Wright County is enjoying her first experiences as Minnesota's State Dairy Princess. 19-year-old Kyla Mauk of Howard Lake was crowned the 62nd Princess Kay of the Milky Way last Wednesday night, prior to the official start of the 2015 Minnesota State Fair. She says she's eager to serve as the official goodwill ambassador for the state's dairy farm families. Kyla will appear at numerous events as a spokesperson and educator about the dairy industry in Minnesota throughout the coming year. She is the first-ever Wright County area dairy representative to be crowned Princess Kay, and she says it fulfills a lifetime dream. Kyla is a graduate of Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School, and Superintendent Brad Sellner is among those adding congratulations to the new Princess Kay. If you visit the fair, you can see Kyla's butter sculpture along with the other dairy princesses in the Dairy Building. The annual Princess Kay contest is sponsored by the Midwest Dairy Association. 

Manitoba Woman Dies in Saturday Traffic Crash in Wright County 

One person was killed, and four others were injured in a 4-vehicle traffic crash in Wright County Saturday afternoon. The Minnesota State Patrol says the crash happened around 1:30 PM on Interstate 94 at Wright County Road 19 in Albertville. Authorities say all 4 vehicles were traveling east on I-94 when the rear-end collision happened in slowing traffic. Killed in the crash was a 38-year-old woman from Manitoba, identified as Erin Bateman. Bateman was the daughter of the driver of the vehicle, 63-year-old Douglas Bateman of Winnipeg. Another passenger in the vehicle, a 10-year-old girl also from Manitoba who is a relative of the family, sustained serious injuries and was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. The driver, and another passenger in the Bateman vehicle, 62-year-old Frieda Bateman sustained non-life threatening injuries, and were also taken to HCMC in Minneapolis. One other driver, a 59-year-old man from Red Wing identified as Ronald Johnson sustained a non-life threatening injury. He was transported to North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale for treatment. The two other drivers, a 30-year-old woman from Fergus Falls, and a 73-year-old man from New London were not injured. The Wright County Sheriff's Office assisted the State Patrol at the scene.

Reminder of CSAH 35 Closure in Chatham and Marysville Townships 

The Wright County Highway Department reminds the public of another temporary road closure in the area. County Road 35 in Chatham and Marysville Townships, about 100 feet west of CSAH 8 at Rassat will be closed through Wednesday to all traffic for the removal and replacement of a deteriorated centerline culvert under the roadway. No detour route will be posted. Motorists are asked to please use alternate routes. Officials say the road should re-open by around 4:30 PM Wednesday, weather permitting. Any questions may be directed to the Wright County Highway Department at (763) 682-7383.

State Fair Poultry Barns Empty 

Like the Wright County Fair earlier this summer, the grounds of the Minnesota State Fair are missing something this year. There are no live bird exhibits at the fair in an effort to keep in check the avian flu that hit many Minnesota turkey farms earlier this summer. State officials are not side-stepping the issue at their booth in the Ag/Horticulture Building. In fact, experts say keeping the discussion front and center is very important. Dr. Beth Thompson with the state Board of Animal Health says many farms that were hit already have birds back in their barns, and she's very hopeful that next year live poultry exhibits will be back at the State Fair. State officials are being very watchful for a possible resurgence of avian flu this fall, and several precautions are already being taken to try to prevent another outbreak.

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.