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Area News

March 27, 2020

Hwy. 12 project in Litchfield set to begin

The reconstruction of Highway 12 from 4th Street to the intersection of Highway 12 and Highway 22 will begin Monday, March 30, which means the detour will also go into effect, KDUZ reported.

This is the second year of the project. Last year, 4th Street from Highway 12 to the outlet at Jewett Creek was reconstructed, and a pond was built to improve drainage.

The City of Litchfield is updating utilities (sanitary sewer and water) in the downtown as part of the 2020 project.

Officials said benefits of the project include a smoother road surface, modernized sanitary sewer and water, and improved drainage. Landwehr Construction is the contractor on the project.

NYA’s St. John’s joins His House Foundation to distribute supplies

There are Carver County residents far from a grocery or convenience store, and those that cannot buy supplies in bulk. To help combat this, places all over Carver County are working hard to help those in need. St. John’s United Church of Christ, for example, has partnered with His House Foundation to help bring supplies to anyone who needs them, the Waconia Patriot reported.

“Not everybody can afford to buy things in bulk, like toilet paper and laundry detergent,” said Catherine Kolwey, pastor for St. John’s UCC. “We’re working with His House to help those people get what they need.”

St. John’s and His House were actually already in contact before the COVID-19 outbreak to create a way to help the community, according to Kolwey. The pandemic simply sped up the process, and made a few specific goals, namely the things that are hard to get in the store right now: toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, hand sanitizer, and laundry detergent.

“What we’re asking is that anyone who buys in bulk look at what they bought and give just a couple things, like a couple rolls of toilet paper, so those without can at least can one or two,” said Kolwey. “I buy in bulk myself, and I can definitely afford to give a couple things.”

The idea is fairly simple: those who can afford to donate, even if only one or two detergent pods, can do so. To do this, donors can go to St. John’s and make a drop off just outside the front door in a large bin. His House will come and pick up the donations every other day to then distribute to those in need of them.

St. John’s specifically is only doing supplies, not food, and is looking for the following supplies.

“We’re going to collect basic necessities, like bathroom tissue, cleaning products, and soap,” said Martha Brannon, executive director for His House Foundation.

Silver Lake City Council hires police chief on 3-2 vote

The Silver Lake City Council voted 3-2 to extend an offer to Evan Brown for the open police chief position, the McLeod County Chronicle reported.

Mayor Dorothy Butler and Councilor Chris Penas cast the dissenting votes. The council had concerns about Brown’s lack of experience as chief, but were impressed with his dedication to community involvement.

Buffalo city administrator retiring, assistant promoted

Buffalo City Administrator Merton Auger has decided to retire after serving the city for 43 years, the Wright County Journal-Press reported.

Auger announced his retirement, effective April 30, at the end of the March 16 city council meeting.

Following the announcement, the council promoted Assistant City Administrator Loreen Bodin to city administrator. Bodin has worked for the city for 39 years.

Waconia food shelf taking steps to ensure safe, steady food distributions

To protect clients and volunteers, Waconia United Food Shelf will be switching to a drive-through pick up system effective Monday, March 23, according to Associate Director Angela Rud. Bags will be packed with a seven-day supply of food. Clients will stay in their vehicles and volunteers will bring food to their cars, the Waconia Patriot reported.

The local food shelf also will be implementing an early “summer lunch program” for families with students now that those students are missing out on school lunches due to schools being closed by COVID-19. An extra bag of kid-friendly food like cheese sticks, granola bars, mac and cheese and spaghetti will be provided.

While Waconia Food Shelf hasn’t yet seen a spike in clients, as businesses shut down and workers are idled, Rud expects “more people to need our services.”

“We will not be turning anyone away,” she said. “We are working with Second Harvest and The Food Group to stay stocked.”

Rud also indicates that it’s too early to tell if the recent run on grocery stores and supermarkets will affect food shelf donations, but Second Harvest Heartland has issued a plea for donations to provide emergency food boxes so those experiencing hunger can access needed meals while reducing their risk of exposure.

Fire damages building in downtown Hutchinson

Crews were called to a fire in Downtown Hutchinson Wednesday morning, KDUZ reported.

A call came in at 10 a.m. that flames were seen coming from the west side of the Aubony Bridal building in the first block of Main Street South.

Authorities said everyone was evacuated safely, including a family of four living in an apartment adjacent to the bridal shop.

The fire was contained to the Aubony Bridal building.

The cause and extent of damage is not available yet, but damage is believed to be substantial.

Glencoe and Silver Lake fire departments assisted.