Archive for Hot Topics

Howard Lake teen hurt in rollover crash

WRIGHT COUNTY, MN – A teenage boy from Howard Lake was injured in a one-vehicle crash in Wright County Saturday evening, according to the Wright County Sheriff’s Office.

Initial reports indicate that Gavin Kritzeck, 16, was driving a Buick Century south on Lathrop Ave SW in Victor Township shortly before 8:30 p.m. May 7 when he lost control of the vehicle, causing it to enter the ditch and roll. The Buick came to rest on its roof.

Kritzeck was extricated from the vehicle, and airlifted by North Memorial Helicopter to Hennepin County Medical Center. The extent of his injuries are unknown at this time. Kritzeck was the lone occupant of the vehicle, and the crash is under investigation.

Norwood will not participate in Crow River Valley League this year

WINSTED, MN – Officers of the Crow River Valley League have officially been informed that the Norwood Indians will not be fielding a baseball team for the 2016 season.

UPDATE: At Wednesday’s league meeting the following action taken:

• Norwood was granted a leave of absence, remaining a league member, with the issue to be revisited at the fall meeting.

• Each team is granted one forfeit win vs. Norwood, which is applied to the league standings immediately. This leaves the North and West division teams with an 18-game schedule, while the other Central teams have 17 games. Because of that, the tiebreaker process for ties across divisions was modified to use a runs-per-game calculation rather than total runs to allow for a difference in number of games played.

See more league info at

Legendary musician Prince found dead in Carver Co. studio

CARVER COUNTY, MN – Pop musician Prince Rogers Nelson, 57, was found dead Thursday morning in his Paisley Park recording studio in Chanhassen, according to a Carver County Sheriff’s Office press release.

Deputies responded to a medical call at the studio at about 9:43 a.m. April 21, and found Prince unresponsive in the elevator. First responders attempted CPR, but were unable to revive him. He was pronounced dead at 10:07 a.m.

According to the Star Tribune, officials had closed a stretch of the road outside Paisley Park by mid-day Thursday. Traffic had backed up along Highway 5 due to mourners driving to the studio to pay tribute with purple flowers.

A Los Angeles news outlet, KTLA 5, reported that Prince had been ill the week prior to his death, and was rushed to the hospital April 15 on his way back to Minnesota from two performances in Atlanta. According to the Star Tribune, a source reported that Prince had been dehydrated on the flight home.

The Carver County Sheriff’s Office, with the assistance of the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office, are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding Prince’s death.

Medical calls hit a high in Winsted

WINSTED, MN – In 2015, the Winsted Police Department responded to 185 medical calls for service – a number higher than the past 10 years, and possibly ever.

Medical emergencies have more than doubled since 2010, when police responded to 84 of these calls. Winsted Police Chief Justin Heldt noted in 2014 that, fortunately, all of Winsted’s full-time police officers are certified emergency medical technicians (EMTs), which gives them the skills to assist in times of crisis.

In total, Winsted police officers responded to 2,125 calls for service in 2015, plus 1,057 agency assists, 66 motorist assists, and 765 public assists. A total of 63 arrests were made.

Heldt told Winsted City Council members April 5 that drug calls are among the most concerning, because they often go hand-in-hand with other crimes, such as theft or assault. Nineteen drug complaints were reported last year, as well as 73 thefts, 26 domestic violence calls, three first-degree criminal sexual conduct calls, two fifth-degree assaults, and one fourth-degree assault.

Alcohol-related crimes are also a concern for local police. Eighteen driving while intoxicated (DWI) citations were issued last year.

Several other driving crimes were also reported, for a total of 911 violations.

“We issued 233 citations,” Heldt said.

Twenty-five traffic accidents occurred, 18 resulting in property damage. No injuries were reported.

The most common traffic violation was for parking (46 violations), followed by speed (33 violations). Other driving issues included no proof of insurance, driving without a valid license, possession of marijuana/drug paraphernalia in a moving vehicle, inattentiveness, texting while driving, seatbelt use, and more.

Look for more Winsted City Council coverage in the Monday, April 11 edition of Herald Journal. Click here to subscribe online or in print.

Grass fire extinguished near Howard Lake

HOWARD LAKE, MN – What started as a recreational burn in rural Howard Lake Sunday afternoon (April 3) quickly turned into a big swamp fire, the Howard Lake Fire Department reported.

Firefighters were called to the fire near 85th Street at about 3:05 p.m., and cleared the area about 2.5 hours later. There was no loss of property and no injuries, according to Fire Chief Daryl Drush.

“We estimate that the fire covered 20 to 25 acres,” Drush said.

Also responding to the scene were the fire departments of Waverly, Montrose, and Cokato, along with the Wright County Sheriff’s Office.

Drush noted that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) currently has a burning ban in place, and anytime there is less than 3 inches of snow cover, a permit is required for any fire that isn’t contained in a 3-foot fire pit.

Spring burning restrictions took effect March 21 for several counties, including  Aitkin, Anoka, Benton, Carlton, Cass (that portion south of the Chippewa National Forest boundary), Chisago, Crow Wing, Dakota, Douglas, Hennepin, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Pine, Pope, Ramsey, Scott, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd, Wadena, Washington, and Wright.

The mild temperatures and sparse snow cover this winter have resulted in an early snow melt, fire prevention supervisor Linda Gormanson noted in a March 17 press release from the Minnesota DNR. The warmer weather and spring winds dry the dead standing grass and brush, allowing them to ignite and spread fire quickly, she said.

Spring open burning restrictions mean residents are not allowed to burn brush or yard waste. Restrictions typically begin about two weeks after the snow leaves and remain in place until summer green-up occurs. This usually lasts four to six weeks.

In Minnesota, most wildfires occur during April and May, and more than 95 percent are caused by people. The DNR places restrictions on open burning during this time to reduce the number of wildfires during the spring fire season.

These spring restrictions have resulted in a dramatic decrease in the number and size of fires the DNR responds to each year.

Check for updated DNR restriction info here:

Firefighters responded to a 20 to 25 acre grass fire near Howard Lake April 3.

Firefighters responded to a 20 to 25 acre grass fire near Howard Lake April 3.

PHOTO GALLERY: Living wax museum at Winsted Elementary

WINSTED, MN – Click here for photos of the living wax museum at Winsted Elementary. Select photos will be printed in the Monday, March 28 edition of the Herald Journal.

“This is the first time we’ve done this,” third-grade teacher Amy Ohlemacher-Lonetti said.

To prepare, third-graders each researched a famous person, and prepared a report and a display. When the museum opened, costumed students waited quietly for visitors to press a “button” near their displays. At that time, the students would “come alive” by reciting a speech about their famous person.

Ohlemacher-Lonetti said the living wax museum was designed to give students an introduction to finding data and writing/speaking a report.

Students’ families and friends visited the museum March 22, many of them commenting how impressed they were with the performance.