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Area News

Feb. 15, 2019

Watertown accepts $5,000 donation for disc golf course

Jim May, owner of Marketplace Foods, donated $5,000 to Watertown’s park fund during the Jan. 22 city council meeting, to be used to create a disc golf course in one of the city’s parks, the Sun Patriot reported.

“I’ve thought about different ways to kind of make a memento of the occasion of being here 10 years,” May said at the meeting. “I thought a donation for something that’s close to my heart here in the community would be a good idea.”

“I cannot emphasize enough how appreciative we are of the donation and his commitment to the community,” Mayor Steve Washburn said. “We’re really thankful for him giving back like that.”

Litchfield man claims $100,000 lottery prize

Derik Friel of Litchfield won $100,000 by playing the Lottery’s Gold Premium Play scratch game, the Minnesota State Lottery reported.

Friel claimed the prize at lottery headquarters in Roseville Feb. 4. He purchased the winning ticket at SuperAmerica, located at 639 E. Highway 12 in Litchfield. The business earned a $500 bonus for selling the winning ticket.

Minnesotans win: More than $2.9 billion in lottery proceeds has helped the state – more than $1.2 billion has helped preserve, restore and protect Minnesota’s environment in each of the 87 counties, and $1.7 billion has helped fund state programs including education, public safety, and health and human services. Lottery players have won more than $7.3 billion.

Annandale fire causes severe damage to residence

An Annandale family is without a home after a Feb. 3 fire, the Annandale Advocate reported.

The Annandale Fire Department received a call about noon reporting flames coming out of a garage at a residence on Bay Circle.

The fire was located in the attic and ceiling area, which made it difficult to fight, according to Fire Chief Brian Haag.

He described the damage to the house as a total loss.

Firefighters were on the scene for about four hours.

Arrest made in Hutchinson school threat

Friday morning, an email threat was made toward Hutchinson High School, KDUZ reported.

Hutchinson Public Schools immediately requested the assistance of the Hutchinson Police Department in investigating this threat.

Although school had already been canceled due to severe cold temperatures, Hutchinson Public Schools went into an External Threat Watch lockdown to ensure the safety of staff who had reported to their school locations. The External Threat Watch was canceled shortly after noon Friday.

Friday evening, the Hutchinson Police arrested an individual believed to be responsible for sending the threatening email.

Hutchinson Public Schools will continue to coordinate with the Hutchinson Police Department and McLeod County as this incident moves towards legal resolution.

In light of the fact that Hutchinson Public Schools has received two digital (social media; email) threats in as many months, they’re asking all parents, guardians, and teachers to review with students the gravity of making threats to schools, how these threats are handled in a serious and humorless fashion by schools, police, and courts, and the incredibly negative impact that making threats like these can have on an individual’s life.

Minnesota law prohibits threats of violence, and individuals found guilty of this offense can be sentenced to up to five years in prison or be subject to a fine of up to $10,000, or both.

Buffalo approves bond refinancing, saves $800,000

Buffalo City Council Feb. 4 approved refinancing bonds originally issued in 2009, and currently valued at $9,075,000, the Wright County Journal-Press reported.

As a result, the City of Buffalo will be saving more than $800,000 over the next six years on the general obligation water and sewer revenue bonds.

The true interest rate of 1.95 percent was much lower than expected, according to Nick Anhut of Ehlers and Associates, the city’s financial advisor.

Waconia home construction is gaining momentum

After a relative lull the past couple of years, building activity in the city of Waconia started to pick up in 2018, and 2019 could be a breakout year, the Waconia Patriot reported.

On the residential front, the city issued 50 permits for new single-family homes and permitted 20 townhome units last year, according to Lane Braaten, community development director. In December, the city council approved a preliminary plat for The Meadows, a 70-acre parcel of property just west of the city that could eventually host 234 single-family homes of varying types and lot sizes.

That’s the biggest development since building additions like Crosswinds, Interlaken Woods, and Oakpointe took shape several years ago. It’s also one of the largest developments currently proposed anywhere in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

The Meadows is slated to be done in phases, with development of the first 58 parcels expected to be started this spring, contingent on final plat approval and execution of annexation and developer’s agreements.

I-94 construction in Monticello to start this fall

The reconstruction of Interstate 94 to three lanes from St. Michael to Clearwater will begin this fall, starting with the portion between Monticello and Clearwater, the Monticello Times reported.

MnDOT conducted an open house to provide information about the project Feb. 4.

MnDOT’s goal is to keep two lanes of traffic open in each direction during the construction phase of the project.

Repairs underway at Hutchinson Event Center

City staff and contractors are still working on the problem at the Hutchinson Event Center, the Hutchinson Leader reported.

As of 5 p.m. Saturday, workers finished drying and dehumidifying areas of the event center that were affected by a burst pipe. The flooding from Feb. 1 yielded an inch of standing water over a large portion of the facility, affecting carpets and drywall. Costs for the repairs are still being evaluated, but will likely exceed $25,000, the city’s insurance threshold, according to Dolf Moon, director of Parks, Recreation and Community Education. As such, the city will have to use the facility’s operating budget of $11 million.

As of Monday, city staff were consulting with a drywall company to determine the replacement cost of wall roughly 2 feet high in the affected areas.

Mold, initially a main concern, will pose no risk “if any at all,” according to Moon.

All carpet in the affected rooms — about 10,500 square feet — will have to be replaced.