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Wright County long-range transportation plan open house Thursday, Feb. 21

BUFFALO, MN – The public is invited to the Wright County long-range transportation plan open house from 4-6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21. The open house will be hosted at the Wright County highway department building at 3600 Braddock Ave. NE in Buffalo.

Wright County is hosting the second, and final, open house for the long-range transportation plan. The public is invited to stop by to hear about the outcomes from the planning process that has been ongoing for the past several months and share input regarding materials available that afternoon/evening. Staff from the plan-development team will be available to answer questions. The open house is a drop-in style, informal format. There will not be a formal presentation. Please arrive at any time during the open house, to find out information/ask questions about this important transportation planning effort.

Click here to see the open house materials prior to, and following the in-person meeting.

Please contact the highway department at 763-682-7383 or click here for additional information.

Delano man injured in crash in Buffalo

BUFFALO, MN – Two drivers, including a Delano man, were injured in a crash in Buffalo shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, a 2014 Ford Escape driven by Detta Juusola, 73, of Buffalo, was northbound on Highway 25 at the intersection of 17th Street when it crossed into the southbound lane.

A 2012 Peterbuilt truck driven by Kelly Huber, 59, veered to the right in an attempt to avoid the crash, but struck Juusola’s vehicle on the left side behind the front wheel, causing it to spin out.

Juusola was transported to North Memorial Medical Center with noncritical injuries.

Huber was transported to Buffalo Hospital with noncritical injuries.

Both drivers were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash, and alcohol was not a factor, according to the State Patrol.

Highway 25 speed limit increases following study

ST.PAUL, MN – The Minnesota Department of Transportation is increasing speeds on 5,240 miles of state highways – including nearly seven miles of Highway 25 between Highway 12 and the south side of Buffalo – based on the recommendations of a five-year study made available Wednesday. The speeds will increase from 55 to 60 mph.

All area highways were included in the study, with no increases recommended for Highway 25 between Watertown and Montrose or on Highway 12 anywhere east of Dassel.

Of the 7,000 miles studied, speed limits ultimately will be increased on 77 percent of rural, two-lane state highways, according to the final report. New speed limits go into effect once new speed limit signs are posted. Most of the signs posting the new speed limits are in place, with the rest expected to be up by spring 2019.

In 2014, the Minnesota Legislature mandated that MnDOT study all Minnesota two-lane roadways with a speed of 55 mph.

It is the most comprehensive study the agency has made in terms of miles studied and level of detail, according to Nathan Drews, engineering specialist in the Office of Traffic Engineering.

The study is also the largest system-wide change in Minnesota speed limits since the national maximum speed limit of 55 mph was included in President Nixon’s Emergency Highway Conservation Act bill in 1974. Later that year, the Minnesota Commissioner of Highways established an executive order about speed limits.

The $1.2 million study included collecting travel speed samples on each section of roadway and evaluating roadway geometrics and hazards to determine if a speed limit could be changed without affecting motorist safety.

The recommendation for a speed increase along each of these roadways considered the speed that 85 percent of motorists drive at or below, along with an evaluation of other factors; such as access points, shoulder width, vertical grades and crash history.

MnDOT has conducted before-and-after studies on many roadways that recently increased speed limits to 60 mph. There was no change in the overall 85th percentile speed from before the speed limit changes to after. The average speed of all drivers increased by 1 mph and the standard deviation, which is the measure of how spread out the drivers’ speeds were, reduced slightly.

“This means that, after speed limits increased, travel speeds at the locations sampled were slightly more consistent between each vehicle,” said Drews. “In other words, more drivers traveled at a similar speed after speed limits increased. This is a desirable outcome, but this change is very slight and may not affect the frequency or severity of crashes.”

This most recent study echoes results from the previous studies. From 2006 to 2013, MnDOT increased speeds to 60 mph on 1,550 miles of two-lane rural highways. Studies conducted to determine the impact of raising speed limits on those roadways found that the overall 85th percentile speed before and after the changes were the same, the average speed increased slightly and the variation of the speeds decreased.

According to Drews, a properly selected speed limit can potentially increase the safety of the roadway by creating uniform travel speeds for all vehicles.

MnDOT plans to study the effect of the changes over several years to ensure these roadways continue to operate safely.

Kittok named 2019 Delano Citizen of the Year

Joe Kittok, pictured with his wife, Jan, has been named the 2019 Delano Citizen of the Year by the General Federated Women's Club of Delano.

Joe Kittok, pictured with his wife, Jan, has been named the 2019 Delano Citizen of the Year by the General Federated Women’s Club of Delano.

DELANO, MN – Joe Kittok is being recognized as a longtime volunteer in and around Delano, as the General Federated Women’s Club of Delano has named him the 2019 Delano Citizen of the Year.

Kittok is a lifelong Delano resident known for volunteering with the Delano Sportsmen’s Club; serving as a deacon with the St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Parish; and being involved with the Delano Ministerial Association, Delano 4th of July Celebration Committee, and Delano Spirit of Community Commission.

He will be formally recognized at the GFWC Citizen of the Year Banquet Saturday, April 27, at the Delano American Legion.

For more on Kittok and the award, see the Friday, Jan. 4, edition of the Delano Herald Journal.

An additional story will appear in the Delano Herald Journal in advance of the banquet.

This post has been updated to include the correct date of the Citizen of the Year Banquet.

Delano Community Band, GFWC receive grants

DELANO, MN – The Central Minnesota Arts Board recently awarded $144,416 in support of 24 regional arts projects, including two in Delano.

The General Federated Women’s Club of Delano will receive $3,935 for the 2019 Concerts in the Park series, consisting of six concerts on Wednesday evenings during July and August at Central Park.

Delano Community Band will receive $1,924 for three free concerts, including at the Delano 4th of July Celebration and Old-Fashioned Christmas.

Organizations may apply for up to $7,000 with a 25 percent match requirement for any one project or combined projects in a grant round.

Funding for these grants is provided through an appropriation from the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the state’s general fund, and its Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund created by the voters of Minnesota.

Chase suspect is charged

BUFFALO, MN – A warrant has been issued for the arrest of the suspect who allegedly led law enforcement on a high-speed chase from Buffalo to Delano Nov. 15.

Jerrold Nagel

Jerrold Nagel

Jerrold Preston Nagel, 27, of Watertown, was charged with felony fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle Dec. 12.

According to a formal complaint, Buffalo Police Department officers were dispatched to the Walmart parking lot where a concerned citizen believed a male was injecting himself with controlled substances.

Officers made contact with the occupants of the vehicle, including the driver, who was identified as Nagel. According to officers, a needle was in plain view, Nagel showed signs of drug use, such as constricted pupils and rapid speech, and ultimately admitted to injecting controlled substances.

An officer reportedly ordered the occupants out of the vehicle, but Nagel declined and rapidly left the scene.

Officers pursued the vehicle with lights and sirens activated, with the pursuit proceeding south on Highway 25 through Buffalo. Upon exiting the city, the Nagel allegedly accelerated to about 120 mph.

Numerous law enforcement officers from other jurisdictions joined in, attempting to spike the tires of the vehicle several times.

The pursuit continued south on Highway 25 and east on Highway 12 into Delano, where Nagel allegedly turned into a residential area, abruptly stopped, and fled the scene on foot.

Attempts to locate the defendant utilizing the Minnesota State Patrol helicopter and K-9 were unsuccessful. The passenger in the vehicle was located, detained, and identified the driver as Nagel, who has two pending felony cases in Wright County District Court.

“A warrant is respectfully requested as the defendant’s ongoing controlled substance use and attempt to avoid apprehension pose a threat to public safety and indicate the defendant’s intention to avoid arrest,” according to the formal complaint.

If convicted, Nagel could face up to three years and one day in prison, a $5,000 fine, or both.