Archive for Gabe Licht

Suspected impaired driver causes crash on Highway 12

INDEPENDENCE, MN – Charges are pending against a man suspected of being impaired and allegedly causing a crash on Highway 12 in Independence shortly after 5 p.m. Sunday.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, a westbound Honda Civic driven by Raul Cruz-Diaz, 24, of New Brighton, made an illegal u-turn at the intersection of Hitsman Road in front of an eastbound Honda CRV driven by Emily Bobick, 18, of Delano. The vehicles collided.

Paramedics checked Cruz-Diaz and Bobick for injuries, but neither was transported to a hospital for treatment.

Authorities suspected that Cruz-Diaz was driving under the influence, arrested him, and obtained a blood sample to be tested.

Court of appeals affirms shooting range decision

ST. PAUL, MN – Wright County Planning Commission’s approval of the expansion of the Delano Sportsmen’s Club into Wright County was consistent with the county’s zoning ordinance, the State of Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed in a decision filed Monday.

On behalf of relators Aaron and Jean Milton, attorney Mark Thieroff, of Siegel Brill, PA, had brought the case against Wright County, Delano Sportsmen’s Club, and Mark Bauman, who had applied for the conditional use permit for the shooting range in Wright County March 8, 2018.

After four public hearings, and receiving a petition signed by 98 residents opposed to the project, the Wright County Planning Commission voted 5-2 to direct the county attorney and staff to draft proposed findings and conditions for approving the CUP application.

The Miltons contended that a shooting range is not permitted under the zoning ordinance because it does not fall under the definition of “commercial outdoor recreation,” which is a use that is conditionally permitted in general agriculture/residential recreational shoreland areas.

For more coverage of this story, see Friday’s edition of the Delano Herald Journal.

UPDATE: Wright County sheriff reports thefts, burglaries

WRIGHT COUNTY, MN – Since June 3, the Wright County Sheriff’s Office has responded to more than 20 reports of vehicle thefts, theft from vehicles, and residential burglaries in Otsego, Monticello, Monticello Township, Rockford, and Buffalo. The Howard Lake Police Department also reported a similar incident Monday.

The suspects have been targeting unlocked vehicles and have been gaining entry into residences by utilizing the garage door opener that they locate inside of those unlocked vehicles at or near the residence.

In the case of the Howard Lake incident, several items were stolen from inside the vehicle and occupied residence, and a different vehicle was stolen from the residence using keys left in its cup holder.

The sheriff’s office believes these crimes are being perpetrated by the same suspect(s) or group(s).

At about 6 a.m. Monday, Wright County Deputies responded to a burglary in progress in the City of Otsego. Two adult males were apprehended and arrested for burglary and related crimes. This case, as well as several others, are still under investigation.

The suspects in these incidents are believed to be involved in similar criminal activity in other jurisdictions within Minnesota. The Wright County Sheriff’s Office has been working with those other law enforcement agencies from seven different counties.

The sheriff’s office would like to remind everyone to lock vehicles and not leave valuables inside vehicles. If valuables must be left inside a vehicle, they should be put out of sight, preferably in a locked trunk or glove box. Individuals with garage door openers inside their vehicles, should make sure they are secured inside a locked compartment or placed in a location that is not visible from outside of the vehicle.

The suspects in these incidents have been working in small groups. The sheriff’s office encourages residents to call 911 if they see something suspicious in their neighborhoods.

Helmet protects motorcyclyst from serious injuries

MAPLE PLAIN, MN – A motorcyclist avoided serious injuries when he was involved in a crash on Highway 12 Tuesday afternoon.

At about 2:15 p.m., a motorcycle ridden by Joel Mastel, 60, of Buffalo, was westbound on Highway 12 near the intersection with Hennepin County Road 29 when it rear-ended a westbound truck.

Mastel was thrown from the motorcycle and onto the pavement. He sustained several abrasions and a possible broken collar bone, and was taken by ambulance to Buffalo Hospital.

He was wearing a helmet at the time.

Sgt. Rick Denneson, of the West Hennepin Public Safety Department, investigated the crash.

“Mr. Mastel was fortunate to be wearing a good quality helmet,” Denneson said. “The gouges and scrapes on the helmet show the severity of the impact it took. His situation would have been critically worse had he not been wearing one.”

The driver of the other vehicle was uninjured.

Police departments from Medina and Orono, as well as the Maple Plain Fire Department, assisted at the scene.

Cars, other items stolen in western Hennepin County

HENNEPIN COUNTY, MN – Police are reminding people to make sure their houses are locked, including doors between their house and garage, after a string of more than 10 burglaries in Independence, Loretto, and Orono May 30 and 31.

Individuals entered unlocked cars, used garage door openers to access garages, and entered at least two residences. Two cars were stolen.

The burglaries were concentrated on or near Hennepin County Road 11.

In addition to locking houses, cars should also be locked, and valuables should be removed, police say.

Individuals should call 911 if they see or hear anything suspicious, and can call West Hennepin Public Safety Department at 763-479-0500 if they see or hear anything suspicious.

Wright County: Hot mix plant a hot topic

BUFFALO, MN – Should an Environmental Assessment Worksheet be required for a temporary hot mix asphalt plant on an existing gravel pit in Silver Creek Township?

That was the question before the Wright County Board of Commissioners Tuesday following a petition from neighboring property owners.

The answer will have to wait until at least Tuesday, June 11, when the board will allow 10 minutes each for the proponents and opponents of the project before making a decision.

Before the board voted to table the matter, Commissioner Charlie Borrell had made a motion to direct staff to draft a resolution declining an EAW and Commissioner Mike Potter had seconded it.

“I’m going to strongly urge the other commissioners to vote against this motion,” Chair Darek Vetsch said. “If we don’t do this EAW, we’re basically saying we won’t do EAWs on anything again. You guys are setting yourselves up for a dangerous precedence. I want (Interstate) 94 to get done as much as anyone else, but there is a process we have to go through. People have been here way longer than the proposed asphalt plant. They’ve spent a great deal of time collecting names and getting information. They’re not killing the project, they just want to know they’re being found safe in the process.”

“In places like this, we get people (who say) ‘Not in my backyard,’ but they’re the same people who say, ‘We want the roads fixed,’” Potter said. “When prices come in high, (they say), ‘Oh my god, why are you spending so much money on these roads? They’re going to have to be somewhere. The farther away, the more expensive they are.”

Vetch suggested that the plant could be moved “a mile in a lot of different directions, and you would impact a far, far less amount of individual residential housing.”

Before commissioners Christine Husom and Mark Daleiden could chime in, Potter called to question, forcing a vote.

Husom and Daleiden abstained, citing a need for more information, which caused the motion to fail for lack of a majority.

“We’ve heard from a number of the citizens in the area and they are concerned,” Husom said.

Petition regarding bonds

“Today was the day we were to reward the sale of 2019A and 2019B bonds,” Auditor/Treasurer Bob Hiivala said, referring to $60 million in bonds for a government center and tactical training center. “A petition was filed with my office. We are still validating that petition. We’ve postponed the sale of those bonds . . . I have no update other than we are working on it.”

Hiivala noted there are more than 700 pages his staff are reviewing to make sure that all signatures came from Wright County voters, and that no one signed it more than once.

In a related matter, the board scheduled a workshop to take place following the board meeting in order to discuss the next steps to take with the county’s bond counsel.
For more coverage, see the June 7 edition of the Delano Herald Journal.