Archive for Hot Topic

Fire damages house in Watertown

WATERTOWN, MN – A house fire was reported at about 1 a.m. this morning (Monday, Feb. 20) in Watertown.

Delano Fire Chief Bob Van Lith said the fire occurred at 621 Green Ave. SE. Two people were in the home at the time, and both got out safely. No injuries were reported. Van Lith was not able to confirm the amount of damage to the home, but said it was not a total loss.

The fire appeared to have started in the utility room, and the cause has not yet been determined, Van Lith stated. Firefighters left the scene at about 3:30 a.m.

Assisting agencies included the fire departments of Watertown, Delano, Montrose, Mayer, and Waconia, as well as the Carver County Sheriff’s Office.

Golf season begins Saturday

It’s only February, but the weather says it’s time to golf. Pioneer Creek Golf Course will be opening this weekend, Saturday, Feb. 18, with tee times starting at 10 a.m. for walkers only. The driving range opens at 9:30 a.m.

Based on the forecast Pioneer Creek hopes to stay open through Thursday, Feb. 23.

Dozens displaced in Montrose apartment fire

MONTROSE, MN – At least one person was hospitalized after a fire at Rosehaven Apartments in Montrose late Wednesday night, according to the Wright County Sheriff’s Office.

Keri Lynn Johnson-Reuben, 43, was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center where she is currently listed in stable condition, according to the sheriff’s office. Other news reports noted that two people were hospitalized.

The fire was reported just before 11 p.m., at 330 Garfield Ave. S. Upon arrival, Wright County Deputies assisted with the evacuation of residents.

Several fire departments, including Montrose Fire, Delano Fire, Waverly Fire and Howard Lake Fire responded to the scene and extinguished the blaze.

The fire is currently under investigation by the Wright County Fire Investigation Team, the Minnesota State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Wright County Sheriff’s Office.

Look for more information in the Monday, Feb. 20 edition of the Delano Herald Journal.

Tiger girls to play for section title, state berth

Matt Kane
Sports Editor
DELANO — One more win will turn an already-memorable inaugural campaign for the Delano

Meghan Staunton and her Tiger teammates pushed around St. Peter and New Ulm in the first two rounds of the Section 2A tournament last week. Delano plays Mound-Westonka Thursday at Gustavus for the section championship and the first ever state berth in hockey for Delano High School. Photo by Matt Kane

Meghan Staunton and her Tiger teammates punished St. Peter and New Ulm in the first two rounds of the Section 2A tournament last week. Delano plays Mound-Westonka Thursday at Gustavus for the section championship and the first ever state berth in hockey for Delano High School.
Photo by Matt Kane

girls hockey team into an unprecedented season in the history of Delano hockey — boys and girls.

The lady Tigers will play in the Section 2A championship game this Thursday at Gustavus College against Mound-Westonka, with the first hockey state-tournament berth in the history of Delano High School on the line.

The Tigers (21-4) and White Hawks (18-6) know each other well, having split two regular-season games. Mound-Westonka edged Delano for the Wright County Conference title.
The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.

Delano put itself in position for the state berth Saturday night with a 7-0 shutout of New Ulm in the semifinal round at the Delano Area Sports Arena.

Junior Karly Schmidt was good for saves on all 12 shots she faced.

Rylan Bistodeau, Hannah Tormanen and Jamie Byrne all scored two goals for the Tigers.

Franklin Township Board, residents grill Frontier reps about internet service

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, MN – It was a standing-room-only crowd of about 80 people as Frontier Communications representatives visited the Feb. 6 Franklin Township Board meeting to discuss internet service.
Frontier Area General Manager George Meskowski said in his opening remarks that Frontier had applied for Connect America Funds for areas within Franklin Township but the requests were denied because, according to the Federal Communications Commission, Charter Communications and Broadband Corp. provide 10-megabit internet speed. Residents contested that other options are available where they live.
Frontier Director of Engineering Mark Shannon estimated that a mile of fiber for internet service costs $30,000 to $35,000, plus the cost of electronics in the Frontier office.
Frontier will be pursuing another funding source, Meskowski said.
“The governor made some money available through DEED (Department of Employment and Economic Development) . . . with matching funds from the counties,” Meskowski said.
Supervisor Bill McMullen said, “I was hoping for more information of what Frontier’s plan is without CAF or DEED.”
“When you talk about the return on investment, if you spend $35,000 per mile for one customer, how do you get that back?” Meskowski said.
He also noted that keeping up with demand is difficult.
“Consumption of internet speeds is growing by leaps and bounds,” Meskowski said. “There’s places where we’ve been able to go in and build out to again, and the consumption is almost maxing that out. You have Netflix and everyone streaming everything. On average, there’s six connected devices in every home . . . If you have a lot of stuff connected, maybe make decisions on what you want connected all the time, because that’s definitely drawing down the bandwidth we deliver.”
Chair DeWayne Bauman said that township residents have not been receiving the type of service they are paying for.
Meskowski said internet speed is dependent on the proximity to Frontier’s equipment.
“When you sign up for service with us, it’s always an up-to speed,” Meskowski said. “The way our technology works is the high-speed internet service, the farther out from the device you get, the signal starts to drop. The farther out you live, the slower the speed will be.”
Shannon added that the maximum distance for good internet speed is about 8,500 feet.
Bauman said his internet was down for a month and a half during the summer months.
“Most of these people have the same or similar stories,” Bauman said. “They’re down for a month. Is that OK?”
“No, that’s not OK,” Meskowski said. “That’s a service-level question. That’s a totally different discussion we need to have. I thought we were talking just about speed. If we’re having issues of it being down, we need to look at that.”
Baumman said people would be happy as long as the internet service works and asked Meskowski to address why it continues to fail.
“That I’ll have to find out,” Meskowski said to a chorus of groans.
Residents were asked to write down their phone numbers and Meskowski said he would look into their service issues and return to the township for the Monday, March 6, meeting.
Stan Stanley, who oversees Frontier technicians, addressed service concerns.
“I’m hearing things I was not aware of,” Stanley said. “I do not go looking at your services. I wait for you to call us. We monitor nodes, not individual services. The only way I can know is if I have trouble tickets. I do review them. I crunch the data and try to understand what’s going on . . . I’m new to this territory. We’ve turned the numbers around within 90 days regarding how long it takes us to get to you.”
Several residents commended the technicians for the work they do, but were not as positive about customer service representatives.
“This is an indictment against your customer service department that it’s come to this,” Luke Bauman said.
“Maybe I’m just blind to it,” Meskowski said.
He offered to help customers work through service issues, as well as reviewing accounts to see if customers could get the same internet speeds with a less expensive package, as was the case for one customer who said his home consistently receives 12-megabit speed despite paying for up to 40-megabit speed.
Township Clerk Stephanie Russek summarized what Meskowski said he would do.
“You said you would look into how to reposition packages to save money, look into bad equipment, look into DEED, and help with the FCC,” Russek said, and Meskowski agreed with that summary.
Russek also noted that Rep. Joe McDonald helped secure DEED funds for broadband in Annandale and has pledged to help Franklin Township, as well.
Meskowski said it is important for local residents, local government representatives, and legislators to work together to apply and lobby for such funds.
Russek encouraged residents to contact her if interested in serving on a resident steering committee regarding internet service.
Odds and ends
In other business, the board:
• approved a quote of $4.58 per column inch from Delano Herald Journal to be the official legal newspaper of the township and a quote of $557 plus postage for 1,185 recycling calendars to be produced by Herald Journal. No other bids were received and it was noted that the rates had not increased from the previous year.
• heard from McMullen that the township may be eligible for state grant funds for 40th Street because it is an access road for a park. It was noted that applying for funding would likely delay the project a year.
• detailed some of the differences between Franklin Township’s solar ordinance and the county’s ordinance. Bauman said the township will not allow solar projects on the top four categories of farmland; the township’s setbacks are 300 feet, compared to 100 feet for the county; the township is requiring all wires to be underground and not on poles; and the township will not allow more than three acres or 40 to 45 percent of the property – whichever is less – to be clear cut.
• approved soliciting bids for magnesium chloride application for dust control, which is considered more environmentally friendly.

Delano man charged with burglary

James Wray

James Wray

ROCKFORD TOWNSHIP, MN – A Delano man is facing felony charges following a Jan. 18 burglary in Rockford Township.
According to a criminal complaint, a Minnesota State Patrol trooper responded to a burglary alarm at a property on Dague Avenue Southeast at 4:45 a.m. and observed a truck leaving that property at a high rate of speed.
The trooper stopped the vehicle, observed a large amount of antique items strapped in the bed of the truck, and identified the driver as 52-year-old James Michael Wray, of Delano.
A Wright County Sheriff’s Office sergeant arrived on scene and observed an aluminum keg in the front seat of the vehicle, along with multiple other metal items that appeared to have collected dust in the passenger compartment of the truck. The sergeant also noted Wray had fresh snow on his feet and pants, and observed that Wray was acting nervous.
The sergeant asked Wray to step from the vehicle, and a pat down located an LED light that could have been used to help obtain items from the building on Dague Avenue Southeast. A bolt cutter that appeared to have been used recently was also located.
The owner of the Dague Avenue property arrived on the scene, identified items in the truck as belonging to him, and confirmed he had not given Wray permission to enter the property.
The estimated value of the items was more than $500.
According to the criminal complaint, Wray stated, “I did take some stuff out of a barn.”
A deputy responded to the location and observed fresh footprints leading to the buildings on the property and a single set of tire tracks on the south side of the barn on the property.
Wray has been charged with third-degree burglary and possession of burglary or theft tools.
The burglary charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both; while the possession of burglary tools charge carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison, a $5,000 fine, or both.