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Area News

Aug. 29, 2016

Lake Waconia beach closed due to high E.coli levels

The Carver County Parks Department has closed the beach at Lake Waconia Regional Park until further notice, the Waconia Patriot reported.

The parks department announced that high levels of E.coli have been found, and the closing is being done as a precautionary measure. No illnesses or health impacts have been reported. The elevated level of E.coli could be due to water temperature, storm water run-off, animals, or other environmental conditions. The beach at Lake Minnewashta Park in Chanhassen was also closed earlier this month due to E.coli contamination.

Buffalo grad writes book about his China travels

Back in 2007, facing college graduation and college debt, Nick Lenczewski wasn’t sure if he wanted to enter the corporate world with his degree in math from St. John’s University, the Wright County Journal-Press reported.

Instead, Lenczewski decided to teach English in China as a way to travel and learn about life in another country. Now back in Minnesota, Lenczewski has written a book about his experiences, “Ultimate China Guide: How to Teach English, Travel, Learn Chinese, and Find Work in China.” Lenczewski’s how-to guide is reinforced by personal stories. More information is available at www.ultimatechinaguide.com.

Litchfield pharmacist retires after 58 years in industry

After nearly 60 years as a pharmacist, Bill Peltier, 79, is retiring from the Medicine Shoppe in Litchfield, the Litchfield Independent Review reported.

Before beginning his career, Peltier’s first job in high school was in his hometown pharmacy in Marshall. He served soda and milkshakes, washed windows, and swept the floors. After high school, he attended college at South Dakota State University in Brookings, and graduated from the pharmacy program in 1958. His first pharmacist position was at his hometown pharmacy in Marshall. He moved to Litchfield in 1970, and worked as a full-time pharmacist until 2000. Since then, he’s been working at the pharmacy part-time each Wednesday.

McLeod County may soon recycle foam packaging

McLeod County Solid Waste is on track to receive a new machine capable of processing foam packaging, which is commonly used to protect valuable items such as tools, computer parts and glass during shipping. The foam is usually difficult to recycle, the Hutchinson Leader reported.

Currently, the county can only accept foam that is 100-percent clean. Because it gets dirty so easily, foam that is dropped off at the solid waste facility in Hutchinson is bound for the landfill. A ZW3000 Screw Compactor with pre-crusher is capable of processing the material much more easily, but costs $53,425. A $50,000 grant from the Foam Packaging Institute made the cost more palatable for the McLeod County Board Aug. 16, and the purchase was approved.

Monticello students will get one hour lunch period

An hour-long lunch concept will be implemented this year for Monticello High School students in order to provide time during the day for students to meet with teachers if needed, the Monticello Times reported.

Joel Lundin, who recently moved from his high school principal post to a special assignment position within the district, said different lunch schedules have been studied for decades. With the new format, teachers will have a duty-free lunch period of 25 minutes, and office hours for 25 minutes. If students finish eating early, they can go to the media center and work on homework or go to the computer lab.

Friends remember Cologne public works director

About 40 family, friends and co-workers attended a tree dedication ceremony in honor of Cologne Public Works Director Jeff Wildung Aug. 1, the Norwood Young America Times reported.

Wildung, who passed away at the age of 45 Nov. 21, 2015, as a result of an accident, was remembered by family and friends who shared their memories. City Clerk Sue Mueller said the tree will serve as a fitting tribute to Jeff’s impact on the city. Jeff is survived by his wife Victoria Wildung, parents Mary Lou and Dale Wildung, siblings, and many other relatives and friends.

Heated debate continues for McLeod Co. Trailblazer

A motion to immediately terminate Trailblazer Transit Director Gary Ludwig’s employment was declared out of order and ultimately withdrawn at a Joint Powers Board meeting Aug. 18, the McLeod County Chronicle reported.

The motion was made in the midst of a long and messy discussion regarding Trailblazer’s workplace environment, and whether Ludwig was complying with a letter of reprimand issued by the board. The motion to terminate Ludwig was made by Sibley County Commissioner Jim Swanson and seconded by McLeod County Commissioner Doug Krueger. After more discussion, Swanson and Krueger agreed to withdraw the motion until the matter could be reviewed by a law firm.

St. Michael man sentenced for $12.9M piracy scheme

Donnetto Deantoni, 44, of St. Michael was sentenced Aug. 19 to one year and one day in prison for his role in a $12.9 million software piracy scheme, Press & News reported.

Deantoni was also ordered to forfeit more than $4.4 million in proceeds and to pay the victim, Autodesk, Inc., more than $12.9 million in restitution.

Donnetto Deantoni’s brother, Deonnetti Deantoni, who led the conspiracy, was sentenced to 40 months in prison in April, and ordered to pay over $6.5 million in forfeiture and over $7.7 million in restitution. According to court documents, over the course of a 26 month conspiracy the brothers conspired to distribute pirated versions of nearly $13 million worth of copyrighted engineering and design software belonging to Autodesk, Inc.

Annandale man recovering from severe heart attack

Bruce Skappel, 61, doesn’t take a single day for granted, the Annandale Advocate reported. He suffered a major heart attack in January and spent six weeks in a medically-induced coma, and remains in recovery.

The trouble began shortly after the turn of the new year, when Skappel began to feel unwell. On the fourth day, Jan. 8, he saw a doctor at Buffalo Hospital and learned he was having a heart attack. Doctors determined that there was 95-percent muscle damage to the left side of Skappel’s heart. He remains dependent on a left ventricular assist device, which functions as his heart circulating blood. He is grateful to his wife who has helped care for him during this time, and he is making slow progress moving around with the help of a cane.