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Area News

Sept. 22, 2014

Man dies in Watertown house fire

A house fire on Franklin Ave. NW in Watertown Sept. 13 resulted in the death of one man, whose name had not been released as of press time, the Herald Journal reported.

When emergency crews responded to the scene just before 10 a.m., the residence was fully engulfed. The body of an adult male was located in the home, and he was pronounced dead at the scene. The cause of the fire and the cause of the man’s death are currently under investigation.

Barn quilt on display near Waconia school

The Barn Quilts of Carver County is displaying a new quilt block at the Waconia Public Schools Edible Classroom Site, adjacent to the Clearwater Middle School entrance, the Waconia Patriot reported.

The quilt block has been a work in progress for over a year; its design was influenced by district students, staff, families, nature, gardening, and nutrition. The block pattern is a primitive “flower basket,” and was further designed by Barb Schank, the nutritional services director for the district.

Monticello bonds to pay for $5.75 million lawsuit

The City of Monticello will use a general obligation bond to pay a $5.75 million settlement with FiberNet bondholders who filed a class action suit against the city, the Monticello Times reported.

A final settlement hearing in the FiberNet bondholder lawsuit saga took place Sept. 12 in US. District Court in Minneapolis. In its news release, the city stated that a direct funding source for the FiberNet settlement has not been established at this time, but the $5.75 million will likely be repaid through the liquor store fund, the general levy or a combination of the two.

Hutchinson arts exhibit has ‘Bras for a Cause’

A “Bras for a Cause” exhibit will be on display at the Hutchinson Center for the Arts through Tuesday, Oct. 14, the Hutchinson Leader reported.

Also on display at the Hutchinson art center is an “Arts of Minnesota Mini Art Show” through Friday, Sept. 26. Additionally, Ellen Starr’s exhibit, “Explorations in Metal Clay,” will be on display through Friday, Oct. 3, featuring traditional silversmithing techniques combined with metal clay. The art center is at 15 Franklin St. SW. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday. For more information, call (320) 587-7278.

Buffalo Subway violates US wage rules

The owner of Subway in Buffalo will pay 16 workers a total of $9,800 in back wages and liquidated damages under terms of a consent judgment issued by the US District Court for the District of Minnesota.

The US Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act by store manager, Marvin Baugus, which resulted in the lawsuit. The investigation found that employees did not receive minimum wage because the company rounded and shaved hours from time records. Workers were also not compensated for overtime at one and one-half times their regular rates of pay.

Brownton family earns Century Farm status

An admitted history buff, GFW High School senior Cory Becker has been researching his family heritage, which led to his family’s farm being recognized as a Minnesota Century Farm, the McLeod County Chronicle reported.

Cory, the son of Brian and Wendy Becker of rural Brownton, said he researched his family’s roots in hope of getting to know his late grandfather better. The original 160-acre farm was bought from the US government by Diedrich and Emilie Freymouth in 1861, and was sold to Cory’s great-great grandfather August Becker in 1903.

Buffalo Hospital honored for safety

Buffalo Hospital is one of 16 hospitals in the state being recognized by the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) for superior performance in patient safety.

Buffalo Hospital is specifically being recognized for consistently scoring below the threshold in six high-risk areas. In 2013, Buffalo Hospital had no injuries to patients that were related to falls, venous thromboembolism, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, and catheter-associated blood stream infections; and the hospital consistently scored below the threshold for pressure ulcers and re-admissions.

Litchfield home builder fighting legal battle

Litchfield Building Center (LBC) is fighting a legal battle to get the owner of a Long Prairie-based company to pay $380,087 for several portable residential homes built by LBC for eventual use in North Dakota oil fields, the Litchfield Independent Review reported.

District Court Judge Stephanie Beckman ruled last year in favor of LBC, giving LBC permission to collect what it is allegedly owed. But the case isn’t over, yet. The defendant, Dick Smith, is seeking to overturn Beckman’s ruling, and a hearing is set for Wednesday, Oct. 8 at Meeker County Courthouse to consider a motion filed by Smith’s attorney.

NYA couple shows off antique carriages

Showcased on their farm just west of Norwood Young America, Duwayne and Shirley Schmitz have a unique collection of antique carriages they want to share with interested visitors before they sell them, the Norwood Young America Times reported.

The Schmitz family has collected and showcased the 22 carriages, dating back to the 1850s, for over 45 years. For more information on getting a tour of the carriages (located at 13255 Highway 212), call the Schmitz family at (952) 467-2865.

Two from Annandale die in crash

Two Annandale motorists died in a head-on collision with another vehicle in Monticello Township Sept. 14, the Annandale Advocate reported.

When the Wright County Sheriff’s Office, Monticello Fire and Rescue, and CentraCare EMS arrived, deputies found that a Chrysler 300 and a Ford Super Duty pickup pulling a horse trailer had collided head-on in the curve at 107th St. NE on County Road 39. The driver of the Chrysler, Christopher Hazel, 37, and his passenger, Donna Swenson, 65, both of Annandale, were pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Ford, Andra Olson, 48, of Monticello, was extricated from her vehicle and airlifted to North Memorial Hospital in critical condition.