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Area News

Oct. 18, 2019

Suspected explosion at outlet mall may have been firework

Evidence gathered on Oct. 11 from a reported explosion that occurred in an exterior garbage can at the Albertville Outlet mall has been preliminarily identified as being a commercial grade firework, according to a release from the Wright County Sheriff’s Office.

On Oct. 11 at approximately 8:41 p.m., the Wright County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Albertville Outlet mall for a report of a possible explosion. Deputies located a garbage can that had been damaged with evidence of a small explosion in the garbage can. The garbage can was located outside of the Nike outlet store. Witnesses at the scene described seeing a flash and then hearing an explosion from the garbage can. There were no reported injuries due to the incident.

The incident is still under investigation by the Wright County Sheriff’s Office.

Litchfield adds Grab & Go lunch options

In an effort to give students more healthy food options – and to improve its food service bottom line – Litchfield Public Schools created a Grab & Go lunch program that offers a variety of wraps and salads, as well as fresh fruit and vegetables, the Litchfield Independent Review reported.

The district created a Grab & Go breakfast two years ago, and saw a 200 percent increase in student participation in school breakfast.

Early figures show the Grab & Go lunch has increased lunch participation by about 24 percent so far.

Hutchinson man is new Grand Chef de Gare

The veterans organization 40&8 has a new state commander, and he’s from Hutchinson, the Hutchinson Leader reported.

Elmer Baysinger recently accepted the gavel from past Grand Chef de Gare Steve Dircks. Baysinger will now lead the 1,100-member state organization this coming year as Grand Chef de Gare. The 40&8 support charitable and patriotic aims, with programs promoting child welfare and nurse training.

Baysinger is a 1962 graduate of Hutchinson High School who served in the United States Army from 1963 to 1965. He joined the National Guard for 12 years following his honorable discharge. He enjoys fur trade era reenactments and modern camping. He assists in training service dogs for disabled veterans at Believet Canine Service Partners in Northfield.

To become Chef de Gar of the 40&8 he worked his way through local chairs at Voiture Locale 414 in McLeod County, where he is the aumonier. He then worked his way to the top in the state.

Buffalo Civic Center needs immediate repairs

Buffalo City Administrator Mert Auger learned Oct. 3 that the cooling tower at the Buffalo Civic Center was leaking R-22 refrigerant, the Wright County Journal-Press reported.

The city is in the final planning stages for replacing the cooling system with a new one that does not use R-22 refrigerant, which is being phased out worldwide. In the US, R-22 cannot be manufactured or imported after Jan. 1, 2020.

The council, during its Oct. 7 meeting, approved the purchase of a used unit for $40,000, plus $28,000 for installation.

Auger told the council the used unit could be traded in on a new unit, and the cost could be part of the bonding for a new system.

WM board rebrands primary school as ‘learning center’

The Watertown-Mayer School Board met Sept. 23 to discuss a number of items including the renaming of the primary school, the Waconia Patriot reported.

The primary school has been renovated using funds from an Otto Bremer Grant to update facilities in order to make room for the growing senior programs as well as the infant and toddler program the district has been working on since last year. Kindergarten was also moved from the primary school to the elementary school last year. With all the changes to the building, it was determined that “Watertown-Mayer Primary School” no longer sufficed for the name of the building, since there are plans for a large variety of programs.

The name that received the most votes from the community was Watertown-Mayer Community Learning Center.

Glencoe City Council denies park board applicant 3-2

Glencoe City Council, during its Oct. 7 meeting, rejected Kevin Dietz’s application to serve on the park board on a 3-2 vote, the McLeod County Chronicle reported.

Those opposed to Dietz’s application noted he is serving a five-year term on the planning and industrial commission. Councilor Allen Robeck said the city should have a broader range of people serving on its advisory boards and commissions.

City Administrator Mark Larson said the city has advertised the vacancy, and the only two applicants were Dietz and a resident who has medical issues preventing regular attendance at meetings.

Waconia implements new reading curriculum

Waconia School District 110 has added a new word study curriculum to its language arts program, the Waconia Patriot reported. The district selected Wilson “Fundations” for its kindergarten through second grade curriculum, according to Sarah Klitzke, Waconia Public Schools teaching and learning manager.

With Wilson, the path to meeting literacy objectives is all mapped out, with a focus on early intervention for K-2 students.

The best way to achieve literacy success is to identify the individual student’s needs and then implement the correct teaching strategy, according to Wilson lesson planners. Each model in the Wilson system differs in practice, intensity, and duration, but all have been designed to help students master the appropriate level of literacy.

Litchfield approves parking lot improvement

The Litchfield City Council, at the suggestion of City Administrator David Cziok, approved a proposal to try to improve the parking lot at Memorial Park, the Litchfield Independent Review reported.

The park has seen additions such as a restroom and changing room facility, a large community-built playground structure, and a splash pad, but the parking lot remains unpaved and full of potholes.

The cost to pave the lot is estimated at $500,000. The proposed test improvement involves removing 6 to 12 inches of gravel on 80 feet of along the south edge of the lot, replacing it with fresh class 5 gravel, and topping that with crushed blacktop. The cost of the experiment is estimated at $35,000 to $40,000.

Hutchinson School Board member appointed

The Hutchinson School Board has approved the appointment of a new board member, KDUZ reported.

Tiffany Barnard will serve the remainder of former Board Chair Josh Gehlen’s term on the board.

Even though the board officially approved the appointment, Acting Chair Keith Kamrath explained that Barnard will not begin her duties until next month.