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Area News

May 30, 2016

Man dies after tree falls on him north of Arlington

Marvin Ziesmer, 62, died after a tree fell on him Tuesday evening, KDUZ reported.

The Sibley County Sheriff’s Office said it received a 911 call just after 6:30 p.m. that a man had been hit by a falling tree in a pasture about four miles north of Arlington. On arrival, rescue workers found Ziesmer under the tree. He died at the scene.

The sheriff’s office said he was on a four-wheeler attempting to herd his cattle from the pasture due to the stormy weather when the tree fell on him. The Arlington Fire Department and Ambulance Service assisted the sheriff’s office at the scene.

Litchfield schools to follow transgender guidelines

Litchfield School District now allows transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity, the Litchfield Independent Review reported.

The school must follow guidelines, known as Title IX, which the federal government announced this month extends to gender identity, Superintendent Dan Frazier said at the May 23 school board meeting. Litchfield students will also be able to participate on sport teams associated with their gender identity. Gender identity is defined as an “individual’s internal sense of gender.” An individual whose gender identity differs from their sex assigned at birth is considered transgender. It’s unclear whether transgender students are currently enrolled at Litchfield Public Schools.

Cologne baseball receives $10K grant from MN Twins

Cologne baseball will be getting an upgrade in facilities due to a grant from the Minnesota Twins Community Fund and Twins Fields for Kids program, the Norwood Young America Times reported.

The team applied for the $10,000 grant in December, according to Cologne Baseball Association representative Jason Kuerschner. The upgrades to Robert G. Fritz Memorial Field will cost a total of $24,000, and will start in August. New, larger dugouts will be created, concrete steps will be replaced, new fencing will be added for safety, and a storage shed will be added. The field is the site for about 85 games per year.

St. Michael grad writes book about foraging for wild foods

Mark Vorderbruggen, a St. Michael-Albertville High School graduate, has written a book published by Penguin Random House called “Idiot’s Guide: Foraging,” the Press & News reported. Vorderbruggen is a scientific research chemist in Texas. His book includes recipes, what equipment to use in foraging, how to contain the food, and more. A variety of plants are explored for their food value, such as maples, oaks, Japanese hawkweed, and Jerusalem artichoke.

Vorderbruggen’s father, Jim, recently gifted the book to the St. Michael Library. (Jim was a founder of the original St. Michael library.) The book is also available on Barnes & Noble’s website.

Internet company breaks ground in Annandale

Midcontinent Communications (Midco) broke ground in Annandale May 19, ending a five-year quest to connect the city to broadband internet, the Annandale Advocate reported.

Construction of Midco’s network has already been underway for more than six weeks, and the company’s director of governmental affairs, Dan Nelson, said crews are on schedule to begin hooking up new customers in late June. According to Mayor Dwight “Dewey” Gunnarson, Annandale’s access to broadband will improve quality of life for residents, and enhance educational opportunities and business operations. Previously, the sole internet provider in Annandale was Windstream.

Mound family asks council to allow backyard chickens

About a year after the family of Amy Velsor in Mound obtained a total of five egg-laying hens, they received a citation from the city, stating that chickens are not allowed, the Laker & Pioneer reported.

The Velsors hoped that the city council itself would consider drafting an ordinance to allow backyard chickens, but some members of the council, Amy said, expressed the viewpoint that keeping chickens was regressive or too rural for Mound. Among chicken-friendly cities are Orono, Minnetrista, Minnetonka, Bloomington, Richfield, Golden Valley, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Burnsville, Robbinsdale, Maplewood and Eagan. Some have adopted ordinances fairly recently, and other cities are considering the move, including Waconia.

Hutchinson native’s book depicts 117 MN waterfalls

Hutchinson native Lisa Crayford recently released a new book, “Waterfalls of Minnesota,” the Hutchinson Leader reported. Published by Adventure Publications, the book offers the inside scoop on 117 of the state’s waterfalls, ranging from notable landmarks such as Minnehaha Falls and Gooseberry Falls to lesser-known gems such as the Japanese Garden Waterfall at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and Fairy Falls near Stillwater.

The full-color paperback includes information about the waterfalls’ locations, including the nearest town, hiking difficulty, admission, and more. It can be purchased at The Village Shop in downtown Hutchinson, at Crayford’s studio (Country Gallery in Kimball), and online at amazon.com.

Trailblazer hires company to help with workplace issues

A long, closed session held by the Trailblazer Transit Joint Powers Board May 19 resulted in a series of motions, including one to write a letter of reprimand to Executive Director Gary Ludwig, and another to hire Sand Creek to help implement workplace changes to improve the working environment. No reason for the reprimand was given, the McLeod County Chronicle reported.

Most of the discussion of the open portion of the meeting focused on a report presented by Sand Creek’s Susan Herreid regarding an assessment of the transit system’s workplace environment.

MN state parks see record number of campers

Heading into the first major holiday weekend of 2016, Minnesota state parks have already seen a record number of visitors, the West Central Tribune reported. Compared with 2015, year-to-date sales of one-day permits are up 41 percent, sales of year-round permits are up 24 percent and overnight stays are up 39 percent.

New this spring, all campsites at Minnesota state parks must be reserved in advance. Previously, up to 30 percent of the sites at each park were “unreservable” and available only on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, visit www.mndnr.gov.