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Wright County News

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


Pedestrian Struck by Train in Waverly 

The investigation continues into the incident Monday evening in Waverly during which a young man from neighboring Meeker County was struck by a freight train. Wright County Sheriff Joe Hagerty says around 7:30 PM Monday, his office received word of a pedestrian that was struck by a train near 4th Street in Waverly. Authorities say the initial investigation indicated that a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train was eastbound when the crew reported seeing a male walking on the tracks. Despite sounding the train's horn and applying the brakes, the conductor said the train was unable to stop, and it struck the pedestrian. Responding deputies and officials with Waverly Rescue and Allina Ambulance found 18-year-old Tre Ertl of Litchfield on the north side of the tracks just east of the city limits. Ertl was transported to a metro area hospital in critical condition. 

Dayton and GOP Leaders at Odds Over Automatic Increase in Cigarette Tax 

Governor Mark Dayton opposes House Republicans' plan to eliminate the automatic annual increase in Minnesota's cigarette tax, freezing it at $3.04 per pack. House Speaker Kurt Daudt says the on-going upward spiral in the cigarette tax hits those who can least afford it the hardest. The Minnesota Retailers Association is also pushing for the change. Spokesman Brian Carr told lawmakers at a hearing last week that Minnesota has the seventh-highest cigarette tax rate in the country, and automatic adjustment drives consumer prices up to a level that he called uncompetitive for Minnesota retailers. But DFL Representative Jennifer Schultz of Duluth opposes the GOP bill, saying the cigarette tax automatic inflator should stay in place. She says a lot of money is spent in the state on health care related to smoking. She added that former governor, Republican Tim Pawlenty called the cigarette tax a health care "user fee." Republicans floated a trial balloon on the bill last week for what could become a controversial issue later in the session. 

Veterans Affairs and Suicide Prevention Presentation Tonight in Cokato 

Officials with Wright County Veterans Affairs will be in Cokato tonight to provide information on a number of topics, including suicide prevention. Members of the Wright County VA staff will open the general discussion of topics including VA health care at 6 PM, followed by the important information on suicide prevention beginning at 7 PM. The session is free and open to the public at the Cokato City Hall. 

Letter Sent to Sessions about Ag Mega-Mergers 

A letter sent to new Attorney General Jeff Sessions and members of Congress urges oversight as the U.S. Department of Justice looks at the proposed mega-mergers of giant chemical companies. Veronica Carter has a complete report in our news throughout the day. Those signing the letter include Pollinate Minnesota, Environment Minnesota, the Midwest Pesticide Action Center and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. 

Spring Road Weight Limits Now in Effect on Wright County Highways 

Those limits took effect Tuesday, and will remain in effect until further notice. The truck weight limits on county roads help to protect the travel surface as frost leaves the materials in the roadbed. All roads will be posted with signs indicating maximum allowable axle loads, and the Wright County Sheriff's Office will enforce these limitations. Any questions regarding specific route postings should be directed to the Wright County Highway Department at (763) 682-7383, or 1-800-362-3667, ext. 7383. Maps showing specific restrictions are available for viewing in city and town halls. The map is also available on the home page of the Wright County website at; Spring weight restrictions also go into effect on state highways in the central frost zone as of today. Weight limits went into effect on state roads in the south, southeast and metro frost zones on Friday, February 17th.

Franken Bill Aims at Cutting Medicare RX Costs 

U.S. Senator Al Franken has re-introduced legislation that he says would result in lower Medicare prescription drug costs by allowing the program to negotiate prices with manufacturers. Franken says right now many Minnesota seniors face some very hard choices that affect their livelihoods. Senator Franken says his bill could save Medicare up to 24-billion dollars.

MN Schools Among the Most Fire-Safe in U-S 

Minnesota schools are among the safest in the country when it comes to fires--that's according to a new report from the Department of Public Safety. State Fire Marshal Bruce West attributes that to a strong partnership between fire officials and school employees. Minnesota's annual average of 43 school fires is 47-percent lower than the national average of 81. About 60-percent of Minnesota school fires happen in middle schools, junior highs and high schools. And about a third of school fires start in bathrooms and locker rooms.

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.