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BUFFALO, MN – The Wright County Board of Commissioners adopted the following emergency declaration in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:
WHEREAS, Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019, commonly known as COVID-19, a respiratory disease-that can result in serious illness or death, is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is a new strain of coronavirus that had not been previously identified in humans and can easily spread from person to person; and
WHEREAS, the CDC has identified the potential public health threat posed by COVID-19, and has advised that person-to-person spread of COVID-19 will continue to occur; and
WHEREAS, Wright County has had a positive test for COVID-19; and,
WHEREAS, on January 31, 2020, the United States Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar declared a public health emergency for COVID-19, beginning on January 27; 2020; and
WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020 President Donald Trump declared that the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States constitutes a National Emergency; and
WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020, Governor Tim Walz declared a Peacetime State of Emergency to authorize any and all necessary resources to be used in support of the COVID-19 response; and
WHEREAS, the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Minnesota Department of Public Health recommend that any individual with confirmed COVID-19 should remain under home isolation precautions until the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to be low; and
WHEREAS, during this pandemic, it is possible that individuals who are not diagnosed with COVID-19 will be placed in quarantine to control or prevent further spread of COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, the necessary resources to respond to and recover from this pandemic will exceed those resources available within the County, and additional resources will be needed from Wright County, and state and federal sources;
Now, THEREFORE, THE WRIGHT COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS, REQUESTS, AND DIRECTS AS FOLLOWS:
- Under the authority given in Minnesota Statutes 12.29, declares that a local emergency exists within Wright County, effective March 16, 2020, with all the powers and responsibilities attending thereto as provided by Chapter 12, Minnesota Statute.
- Directs County departments to review ordinance and regulatory requirements, operations, civil and legal proceedings, events, and resources that can and should be adjusted or suspended, or to enact emergency regulations to support the residents of Wright County during the pandemic.
- Directs the Wright County Public Health Director/Community Health Services Administrator and the Wright County Director of Emergency Management to request and coordinate appropriate aid and resources from surrounding jurisdictions and the State of Minnesota, as needed.
- Declares, under Minn. Stat. 13D.021, that in-person meetings of the County Board of Commissioners and other public bodies under the County Board’s jurisdiction where members of those bodies have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are otherwise in quarantine or isolation in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are not practical or prudent because of the COVID-19 health pandemic and the emergency declared under Minn. Stat. Chapter 12 by Governor Walz.
- Orders that this declaration be given prompt and general publicity and that it be filed promptly by the County Clerk.
In addition, all Wright County government public counters – with the exception of the sheriff’s office, court administration, and court services/probation – will be closed until April 1. All departments will begin implementing telecommuting to the greatest extent possible. Furthermore, the commissioners requested that all nonessential committee meetings be postponed until April 1.
DASSEL-COKATO – The James Sewell Ballet, which was featured in today’s Enterprise Dispatch, has just been cancelled. The performance was scheduled for Sunday, March 15.
Further details will appear here as they become available.
A statement from Bishop John M. LeVoir of the Diocese of New Ulm regarding COVID-19 and Mass obligation
NEW ULM – Given the rapid spread of the COVID-19/coronavirus and to minimize the risk of contracting or spreading infection, I am dispensing the faithful from the obligation of attending Mass on Saturday evening or Sunday for the next three weekends (March 14/15; 21/22; 28/29) in the Diocese of New Ulm. If the faithful decide that gathering for Sunday Mass would constitute a risk to themselves or others, they have the freedom not to attend. However, Masses will continue to be celebrated in parishes in the Diocese of New Ulm as regularly scheduled.
A map of parishes in the Diocese of New Ulm may be found here: https://www.dnu.org/parishes-2
The Diocese has parishes in or near to the Herald Journal and Enterprise Dispatch areas. They are located in Winsted, Darwin, Silver Lake, Litchfield, Hutchinson, and Glencoe.
A more extensive statement from Bishop LeVoir to Catholics in the Diocese of New Ulm can be found on the diocesan website, www.dnu.org.
BUFFALO, MN – On a unanimous vote, the Wright County Board approved a resolution declaring the county a “Second Amendment dedicated county” Tuesday, making it the sixth Minnesota county to approve such a resolution.
There are two primary components to the resolution, in which the board “expresses its intent to oppose any unconstitutional infringement on the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.”
As part of its opposition, the county will “use such legal means at its disposal to protect the rights of the citizens of Wright County to keep and bear arms.”
Furthermore, the board “will refuse to directly appropriate any Wright County resources to enforce any mandate, law, policy, or any directive which unconstitutionally infringes on the right of the law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.”
The action followed receipt of a letter and sample resolution from five Republican state legislators who represent Wright County: senators Bruce Anderson and Mary Kiffmeyer; and representatives Eric Lucero, Marion O’Neill, and Joe McDonald.
A standing-room-only crowd of about 70 people attended the meeting, with many of them sporting “Guns Save Lives” stickers, and only one voicing opposition.
Sheriff Sean Deringer joined the majority in support of the resolution.
“I believe it is the Second Amendment that allows us to enjoy the other God-given freedoms in this great country,” Deringer said. “I will stand with you today and, as long as the good people of Wright County continue to elect me in, I will stand with you.”
Deringer said some people have taken to social media to speak for him on the issue. He encouraged anyone wondering where he stands on issues to call or email him, and he would be willing to speak with them.
He called the board room full of gun rights supporters “by far the safest room in Wright County” and said he takes pride in the fact that the county has more than 13,000 permit-to-carry holders.
Gloria Caballero, a retired deputy US Marshal told the board to “do what the citizens elected you to do.”
“After weeks of speaking with Wright County residents, it is clear that we the people of Wright County want the resolution passed,” Caballero said. “We also have the opportunity to be a leader. Other counties are watching this vote today. Let us use this opportunity to grow and to send a strong message to our lawmakers at St. Paul that senseless gun control laws that ultimately infringe on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens will not be tolerated.”
On the other end of the spectrum, John Dietering cited a Fox News poll from August 2019 that showed 90 percent of Americans in favor of background checks, 81 percent in favor of red flag laws to take guns from at-risk people, and 67 percent in favor of banning assault weapons.
“What we’re in short supply of is common sense,” Dietering said.
Before the floor was opened for public comment, Commissioner Darek Vetsch moved to amend the resolution to add the paragraph regarding the use of county resources, and that motion was approved unanimously.
Following public comment, Vetsch read a prepared statement in which he called the pursuit of happiness a key foundation of the country.
“That foundation is protected by our Constitution and our Second Amendment rights are a key, invaluable part of maintaining that foundation,” Vetsch said. “The effort here today is just one step we need to make as a grass roots effort to make sure that we continue to be cognizant of our Constitutional rights and to protect them every day, not just the Second Amendment, but all of them.”
Chair Christine Husom, a licensed peace officer, said, “It’s very reassuring to me to know that law-abiding citizens are out there and can help protect because peace officers cannot be everywhere.”
She added that she has studied Constitutional law.
“I know a lot of reasons why these rights were given to us, why we have the Bill of Rights,” Husom said. “It’s important that we stand up for them.”
Commissioner Charlie Borrell agreed with that sentiment, citing other countries where guns have been banned.
Commissioner Mike Potter suggested such an approach does not work, quoting Gene Wilder as saying “Do criminals obey the law?” with an inference that they do not.
“They’re not going to listen to it anyway,” Potter said. “How is a red flag law going to do anything? They’re going to violate it anyway. We need to make sure law-abiding citizens can protect themselves.”
Commissioner Mark Daleiden said he has a responsibility to protect his property, his business, and his employees.
“I stand firm that we all have our rights,” Daleiden said.
WRIGHT COUNTY, MN – The Wright County Auditor/Treasurer’s Office has announced that it will be open additional hours for those interested in absentee voting for the Presidential Nomination Primary (PNP) and township elections.
The PNP will be Tuesday, March 3 and the auditor/treasurer’s office will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29 and extend its closing time Monday, March 2 from 4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Township elections will be held Tuesday, March 10. Similar time frames will remain in place for this election as well, with the office being open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 7 and extending its office hours from 4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, March 9.
The who wish to vote early in either election can do so during regular business hours at the Wright County Government Center in Buffalo from now until the day before either election.