April 11 news

WORTHINGTON – According to Tracey Haberman of Nobles County Electric, snow and wind have slowed down our restoration process and added stress to our system. On Thursday morning more than 3,400 members were without power. Nobles Cooperative Electric would like to caution members in Nobles County that they may be without power for an extended period of time. Transmission issues continue to be the largest outage factor. Bloom, Worthington, and Adrian Substations continue to have no power.

If any Nobles County Electric members know the location of any damaged poles or wires, please call 1-800-397-4592 and keep everyone away from downed power lines.

JACKSON – In Jackson County, utility crews struggled with wet snow, ice-coated lines and soft ground Thursday morning as they attempted to restore power to approximately 2,000 darkened homes.

Federated Rural Electric’s five line trucks left the Jackson office for continued outage restoration at 7 a.m. Thursday. In addition, three other line trucks from two neighboring cooperatives were called into assist, along with five contractor line trucks. Federated crews had been pulled in Wednesday evening after working for 28 hours straight on outages.

Within Jackson city limits, around 350 properties were without power Thursday morning. Crews from nearby cities were called in for additional manpower and trucks.

LUVERNE – Rock County Sheriff Evan Verbrugge said this morning half of the county, from I-90 south, was still without power. In the city of Hills, a generator was being charged in an attempt to get power to that area. Work crews and lineman from Alliant Energy were out at 5 a.m. this morning, Verbrugge said, and are hoping to have power up and running late this evening. If they can’t get the feed running today, it might take three or four days to do so.

100One hundred to 150 power poles are broken in the county, he said, and 55 workers, roughly 13 crews, are being sent into the area to help.

The city had opened an emergency center at the Luverne High School from 5 p.m. to midnight Wednesday, and no one came in. Most people, he said, sheltered in place or went to the homes of family members.

Verbrugge said the snow is making it hard to assess damages, so decisions about what to do with downed trees and branches may have to wait until next week. The city of Luverne is not going to top trees, he said, just cut them down. Some people are already out helping neighbors drag trees out of yards and into the boulevards. The community is coming together to do what needs to be done, he added.

As long as the wind doesn’t come up too badly, Verbrugge said, the county should okay. With only one feed leading into the city, if that is lost they could be in trouble.

MANKATO – (9:00 a.m.) The Minnesota Department of Transportation advises motorists to use caution due to snow and ice compacted conditions.

Highways have been upgraded to difficult and fair winter driving conditions. The wet, heavy conditions resulted in no travel advised earlier this morning throughout south central and southwestern Minnesota, but snowplow drivers are making progress at this time. Blowing snow may be an issue in some areas throughout the day.

Areas in southwest Minnesota with power outages have resulted in the closure of Rest Areas along I-90 including Adrian and Jackson and Highway 60 at Worthington.

Motorists may encounter brief lane and road closures where stalled vehicles and crashes occur.

Motorists should remember to:

Check road conditions at www.511mn.org or call 511; it takes time to get roads back to good driving conditions.

Be patient and remember snowplows are working to improve road conditions for your trip.
Stay back at least five car lengths behind the plow, far from the snow cloud. Snowplow operators will pull over when it is safe to do so to allow traffic build-up to pass.

Stay alert for snowplows that turn or exit frequently and often with little warning. They may also travel over centerlines or partially in traffic to further improve road conditions.

Slow down to a safe speed for current conditions. Snowplows typically move at slower speeds.

For updated information on road conditions, visit www.511mn.org or call 511.

PIPESTONE - The Edgerton City Council has decided not to sell the city’s ambulance building and has tabled a decision on the sale of the fire hall.

The city had planned to sell the buildings by sealed bid and put the funds toward the construction of its new Emergency Services Building. Bids ranged from $5 to $41,000 for the ambulance building, and from $10,000 to $51,200 for the fire hall. The fire hall has an assessed value of $157,400 and the ambulance building is assessed at $65,100.

About 15 people, including bidders, were at the council meeting earlier this month when the board went into closed session to discuss the sale of the properties. When council members reopened the meeting, a motion was approved to reject all bids. The council said they learned after deciding to sell the buildings by sealed bid that Pizza Ranch owner Craig Vreeman was not going to rebuild a Pizza Ranch or open any other restaurant in town following the fire that destroyed his business in February. They were in favor of holding the buildings for the possibility of a restaurant going in, but are now focusing more on the intended use of the properties.

Vreeman was at the meeting and told the board later that he and his family had looked into reopening a Pizza Ranch or any restaurant in Edgerton. He said a new Pizza Ranch would cost between $1.3 and $1.5 million and that building any restaurant in Edgerton, even in an existing building, would not be financially feasible due to regulations and the costs involved.
We put a lot of time into it and the numbers just don’t work, Vreeman said.
Bidders on the properties were not happy with the city’s decision to reject the offers.

MINNESOTA - Tim Carr, a former music critic for the Minneapolis Tribune who went on to work in the music industry with several major acts, has been found dead in Thailand. Carr, a Hopkins native, was 57.

Carr was found dead in a rented apartment Wednesday in Pattaya, Thailand. He reportedly had a large knife wound across his chest and there were signs of a disturbance at the scene, as well as evidence of drug usage, including prescription medications. Police have reportedly termed the circumstances of his death as suspicious.

Billboard reports that Carr had been living in Thailand for the past eight years and was recently working on a movie about a rock band.

In addition to the Tribune and other local publications, Carr worked with the Walker Arts Center in the performing arts department in the 1970s, and worked as an executive for record labels in New York and Los Angeles in the 1980s and 1990s, including Capitol, Warner Bros. and DreamWorks, Billboard says.
He signed the Beastie Boys to Capitol Records, and also worked with such artists as Babes in Toyland, David Byrne, Megadeth and Joan Jett.

MINNESOTA - State health officials say the number of reportable sexually transmitted diseases increased 10 percent last year.

According to a Minnesota Department of Health news release issued Thursday, there were more than 21,000 cases reported in 2012 compared to 19,547 cases reported in 2011. Dr. Ed Ehlinger, the state health commissioner, says the health department is developing a response plan to address the spike. A new CDC analysis shows half of all new infections occur among young people ages 15-24, HPV (Human papillomavirus) being the most common.

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