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Area News

Nov. 30, 2015

Solar power gardens coming to Montrose

Two solar arrays generating electric power are closer to becoming part of the Montrose landscape, the Wright County Journal-Press reported.

The city will take advantage of connecting with SunShare to possibly save money on city electricity costs. A SunShare Community Solar Gardens array will be built on land north of the city’s wastewater treatment plant. A second array will be built by Aurora Distributed Solar, LLC, in the township just south and west of Rock Brook development on agricultural land. Access to the property will be on the south end of Bishop Avenue.

Litchfield man pleads guilty to bank robbery

Jeremy Fahleen, 34, of Litchfield has pleaded guilty in federal court to robbing a Fargo bank in April, KDUZ reported.

Authorities say Fahleen entered the Gate City Bank and handed a clerk a threatening note demanding money. Fahleen fled on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash. He was arrested the next day in St. Cloud. Sentencing is set for Thursday, Feb. 25. Fahleen faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Prosecutors are asking that he pay back about $4,000 that was not recovered from the robbery.

Woman has natural C-section at Buffalo Hospital

After losing a baby during childbirth, Angela Guse and her husband, Dr. Shawn Guse, were not certain they wanted to try having another baby – until Angela came across a relatively new and uncommon type of Caesarian called a natural, family-centered C-section, the Wright County Journal-Press reported.

Now, the Guses have a new family member, baby Ozias. For the birth, Angela was awake and given a spinal anesthesia. A key component of a natural C-section is immediate skin-to-skin contact between the mother and the baby. Also, when the baby’s head is out, time is allowed for breathing to begin as the pressure from the uterus helps the baby expel liquid from the lungs, mimicking a vaginal delivery.

One dead, two injured in car crash north of Cosmos

One person died and two people received non-life threatening injuries after a head-on collision at Highway 4 and County Road 37 north of Cosmos last Monday, the Litchfield Independent Review reported.

A Volkswagon Jetta crossed the center line and struck another vehicle that was heading south on Highway 4, according to the Minnesota State Patrol. The driver of the Jetta – 49-year-old Paula Jorgenson of Cosmos – was killed. Ralph Pearson, 57, and his passenger Connie Pearson, 58, both of Grove City, sustained non-life threatening injuries.

West metro woman shares story of escaping abuse

A domestic abuse survivor, Renee, described her marriage as “holding onto an electric fence,” the Waconia Patriot reported.

A resident of the west metro area, Renee declined to have her last name published, but did want her story told. She was married for more than 20 years to the father of her four children. Some of the abuse was physical – such as being pushed up against walls – but the emotional abuse was just as terrible, she noted. She described being manipulated, coerced, belittled, insulted, and threatened. “You start looking like – and feeling like – the crazy one,” she noted. Coming forward takes courage, and victims should not hesitate to escape their situation, she said.

Unique play park for all ages to be built in Hutchinson

The Hutchinson Elks Lodge is in the beginning stages of developing and building an “inclusive” play park in Hutchinson, KDUZ reported.

The cost will be about $306,000, and it will be located next to the current Elks Park. The park is designed for children and adults of all abilities to be able to have the opportunity to play and grow together. The components within the structure are designed and built to accommodate those with mobility and sensory impairments. When the park is completed, Hutchinson would be the only out-state community to have this type of play park. Elks officials said they expect to break ground this coming spring.

Former Maple Plain clerk hired in Montrose

At a special meeting Nov. 3, the Montrose City Council decided to hire Margaret McCallum for a city clerk/treasurer position at an annual salary of $63,000, the Wright County Journal-Press reported. Her first day is Monday, Nov. 30. McCallum previously worked for the City of Maple Plain.

Ten people had applied, with four meeting the preferred qualifications in the job description. With the hiring of McCallum, the council eliminated the “Office Clerk I” position, terminating the employment of Nicole Sargent, the current utility clerk.

National Geographic targets Monticello

Monticello residents and businesses can contribute to a unique opportunity to help city officials leverage an online partnership with National Geographic, the Monticello Times reported.

National Geographic is seeking help from the community to identify, map, and promote what is unique about the Mississippi River. City officials plan to capitalize on the opportunity to talk about Monticello as a destination. To get involved with the project, contact Community Development Director Angela Schumann at (763) 271-3224 or Communications Coordinator Rachel Leonard at (763) 314-0108.

Trailblazer Transit considers 2016 budget

With its growth into Wright County, Trailblazer Transit was anticipating a $4.55 million budget for 2016, the McLeod County Chronicle reported. And it was anticipating that the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) would approve a budget of $4.3 million in qualifying expenses, of which it would pay 85 percent, or $3.65 million.

However, MnDOT set the operating cap for 2016 at $3.7 million, which means Trailblazer will receive $3.145 million.Gary Ludwig, executive director of Trailblazer, said the lower budget will be fine, since the program won’t have 29 buses on the road as of January 2016. One reason for this is the struggle to find drivers.