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28September 2021

Winona Middle School has Covid infections

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Winona Middle School has been identified by the state Health Department as having five or more confirmed Covid cases during a recent two-week reporting period. The school has 820 students in Grade 5 to 8. It will remain listed for 28 days even if there is no ongoing transmission, the Health Department said. No other Winona County school system has a school listed, including Lewiston-Altura and St. Charles. In Houston County these schools, like the Winona Middle School, are listed as having five or more Covid cases:

> Caledonia Elementary, 280 students in Grades PK-5.

> Houston5Secondary, 200 students in Grades 7-12.

> Spring Grove Secondary, 170 students in Grades 7-12.

28September 2021

WSU recognized for tree program

NEBRASKA CITY, Neb. – The Arbor Day Foundation recognized Winona State in the foundation’s Tree Campus USA program for the sixth year in a row. The program honors colleges for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation. The criteria are having:

> A campus forest management program.

> A tree advisory committee.

> A campus tree-care plan.

> A campus tree budget.

> An Arbor Day observance and learning projects.

Retired prof Jim Reynolds, co-chair for university’s Arboretum and Land Stewardship Committee, said the recognition is a tribute to the university commitment to environmental stewardship.

Arbor Day Foundation. Winona State is the only four-year university in the Minnesota State system to receive the Tree Campus USA designation.

28September 2021

Heating bills too much? State expands benefits

ST.PAUL, Minn. – Households eligible for the Minnesota Energy Assistance Program will grow to 600,000 this heating season, the state Department of Commerce announced. Last winter 116,000 qualified. There is new federal funding available, the agency said. Under revised rules, eligible are households whose income ranges from $35,000 for one person to $67,00 for four persons. Benefit are to up to $1,600 for energy bills plus up to $1,200 for past-due energy bills.

27September 2021

Minnesota high school scores

Soccer (girls): Rochester Lourdes Eagles 1, Dover-Eyota Eagles 0

Soccer (boys): Stewartville Tigers 4, Plainview-Elgin-Millville Bulldogs 1

Volleyball (girls): Lewiston-Altura Cardinals 3, St. Charles Fighting Saint 0

More scores  (more…)

27September 2021

Bishop returns to family for Covid recovery

RICHLAND CENTER, Wis.—Former LaCrosse Catholic bishop, Raymond Burke, has returned to his family for further recovery from Covid. The bishop, now a cardinal, was hospitalized August 15 and placed on a ventilator. In an online message Monday he said he was released from the hospital after 21 days. Burke, 73, described himself as recovering slowly. He said he still suffers from fatigue and has difficulty breathing.

Earlier: Cardinal Burke improving at hospital

Burke. Once a skeptic about Covid and preventive inoculations, the bishop himself came down with the virus.

27September 2021

H30 booked for Lutheran jazz fund-raiser

WINONA, Minn. –  The H30 jazz combo will jam at Faith Lutheran Church at 2 p.m., October 3, to raise money for the Lutheran Campus Center near Winona State University. H30, comprising Saint Mary’s music prof Eric Heukeshoven X and sons Max and Hans, has raised $4,300 for local nonprofits this year.

Dad and sons. H30 swings for another fund-raiser.

27September 2021

Driver incoherent, unconscious after wreck

WILSON, Minn. – A Minneapolis driver went off Highway 43 near the Interstate 90 interchange about dawn. A first-responder said that Brady Albright, 24, was incoherent in his car and then went unconscious. His injuries, however, were found to be non-life threatening at the Winona hospital. Alcohol was a factor, the State Patrol said. Albright was southbound on Highway 43 in a 2014 Audi A4 about 6:45 a.m.

26September 2021

College scores

Soccer (women): UW-Stout 2, Saint Mary’s 1

More scores  (more…)

26September 2021

Minnesota high school scores

Soccer (boys): Mankato West Scarlets 1, Mankato West Cougars 0

26September 2021

Wisconsin high school scores

Soccer (boys): Sparta Spartans 6, Fall Creek Crickets 1

26September 2021

Stevens Point solon declares for lieutenant governor

STEVENS POINT, Wis. — State Senator Patrick Testin, R-Stevens Point, announced his candidacy for lieutenant governor at the Portage County Republican Party fall rally. Testin said his role model is Rebecca Kleefisch, who served one term as lieutenant governor in the Scott Walker administration, both of whom lost office in 2020. Said Tetsin: “She was kind of the jobs ambassador for the state of Wisconsin. I think that’s the approach I want to take on, and then take it a step further.” Workforce development, he said, needs to to take a look at our workforce on create in-state pipelinesfor young people. Testin, age 33, is the first candidate to announce for lieutenant governor. Testin has been interim president pro tempore of the State Senate since 2021. He first went to Madison in 2016 in the State House.

Earlier: Kleefisch seeks rebound, this time for governor

Testin. Holds a political science degree from UW-Steven Point. From 2011 to 2014 managed a mattress store. In recent years he has been a sales rep for M Shiraz wine.

26September 2021

Corps closes damaged Gull Lake boat ramp

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Army Corps of Engineers, which administers the Upper Mississippi, will close the boat launch at Gull Lake, near Brainerd to reconstruct the ramp beginning Monday. The ramp will be closed about two weeks. The Corps said that heavy vehicles have worn away the surface, creating potholes. Also, the Corps said, propeller wash has eroded sediment at the end of the ramp and created a dangerous drop-off.

 To boaters: No power-loading at ramps

Gull Lake potholes. Misuse at Gull Lake boat ramp bear Brainerd has left deep potholes and at the een of the ramp a dangerous drop-off. There are alternate ramps on Gull Lake.

26September 2021

Three escape serious injury in Mazeppa wreck

MAZEPPA, Minn. – A Circle Pines man was injured in a two-vehicle collision at a Mazeppa intersection. Robert Barry Dickson, 56, or Circle Pines, was taken to a Rochester hospital. His injuries appeared not serious, the State Patrol said. Dickson was in a 2004 Chevrolet Express driven by Mary Jane Holmgren, 62, of Circle Pines. She was unhurt. The other driver, Robert Joseph Proctor, 37, of Mazeppa, in a 2000 Dodge Ram, also was unhurt. The accident about 8:30 a.m. The State Patrol said Proctor was southbound turning from First Avenue onto Highway 60. Proctor was eastbound in Highway 60.

26September 2021

Governor proposes drought aid to farmers

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Governor Tim Walz proposed a $10 million drought relief package for drought-affected farmers and livestock producers. The proposal includes $5 million in rapid-response grants for hardware like water tanks, pipelines, and water wagons, water hauling, wells, and irrigation equipment. Another $5 million would go to zero-interest loans.

26September 2021

Train survivor: “Like extreme turbulence on a plane”

CHESTER Mont. – A survivor of the Empire Builder derailment said it was like “extreme turbulence on a plane.” Megan Vandervest, of Minneapolis, was napping in the first car, a coach. She was jolted awake. But the car behind hers was tilted. The three cars  farther back had completely fallen off the tracks and were detached from the train. In all, eight of 10 passenger cars derailed.  Vandervest’s account suggests a mechanical problem in the third car, perhaps in wheel bearings. The locomotives did not derail, Nor did a baggage car or the coach in which Vandervest was riding or the coach behind hers.. Within hours, a Washington-based Amtrak go-team and also a National  Transportation Safety Board go-team were in Joplin to sort out what went wrong.

Front end intact. Locomotives and a baggage car and a coach remained on trails while everything behind disconnected and derailed. This view is from U.S. Hjghway 2.

25September 2021

Week’s summary: September 25, 2021

25September 2021

College scores

Football: Winona State 48, Mary 38

Soccer (men): UW-Eau Claire 3, Saint Mary’s 2

Soccer (women): Saint Mary’s 2, St. Catherine 1

Volleyball (women): UW-Whitewater 3, Saint Mary’s 0

Volleyball (women):Carthage 3, Saint Mary’s 0

ore scores  (more…)

25September 2021

Minnesota high school scores

Soccer (boys): Winona Cotter Ramblers 1, Kasson-Mantorville Komets 1

Soccer (girls): Winona Cotter Ramblers 6, Kasson-Mantorville Komets 1

Volleyball (girls): Zumbrota-Mazeppa Cougars 2, Mendota Heights Visitation 0

More scores  (more…)

25September 2021

Wisconsin high school scores

Volleyball (girls): Arcadia Raiders 10, Fall Creek Crickets 0

25September 2021

Montanans scramble to train wreck rescue

JOPLIN, Mont. – First-responders and local people climbed ladders to get into passengers cars of the wreck of the Empire Builder crack train to pull out survivors. Some cars were on their side, others upright but off the rails. There three deaths. The bodies were taken 50 miles to Holland and Bonine Funeral Home in Havre. Survivors were taken 10 miles to the Liberty County Senior Center or to hospitals, some as far 70 miles away. Ambulatory survivors put up at  the nearest hotels. There is no hotel n Joplin, population 160,  The train derailed just after sweeping through Joplin.

Earlier: Derailed Empire Builder carried 157 people

Eight cars derailed. Accident on single-track mainline just west of Joplin in Liberty County Montana.

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25September 2021

Derailed Empire Builder carried 157 people

WASHINGTON – Amtrak confirmed that 141 [assengers and 16 crew members were aboard the Empire Builder that derailed in Montana, killing three people. Amtrak did not release the destinations of anyone aboard. The train’s destinations included Mississippi River stops Red Wing, Winona and LaCrosse.

Earlier: Amtrak cancels trains blocked by Montana wreck

25September 2021

Amtrak cancels trains blocked by Montana wreck

WASHINGTON – The Amtrak train wreck in Montana has stopped both passenger and freight traffic, forcing schedule changes for passenger service between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest. Amtrak turned around a Seattle-bound Empire Builder train Minot, North Dakota, and the east-bound train in Shelby, Montana. This left a 530-mile gap in service in sparsely populated areas with normally scheduled stops in:

> Stanley and Williston, North Dakota.

> Wolf Point, Glasgow, Malta and Havre, Montana.

Until the wreck is cleared, new Chicago departures will turn around in Minneapolis. New Seattle and Portland departures will turn around in Shelby, Montana. There will continue to be Winona departures at 7:47 p.m. to Minneapolis but no father west. There also will continue to be Winona departures to Chicago at 10:11 a.m. but not from any points west of Minneapolis and, of course, not the derailed train.

No trains for a while. Amtrak cancelled service to three Montana and to North Dakota stops. For Malta, Montana, population 1,800, there is no air or bus service in and out town. Amtrak’s Empire Builder each day each direction is Malta’s lifeline.

Montana freight detour

The freight railroad Burlington Northern diverted some transcontinental traffic to a southerly route that connects Sandpoint, Idaho, and Billings, Montana, and then east on its own tracks into North Dakota. This is the former Northern Pacific mainline, now owned by Montana Rail Link. Amtrak has no facilities for the southerly route as an alternative.

25September 2021

When sunlight earns better than soybeans

STOCKTON, Minn. – A new solar array has been “planted” and is producing electricity in Stockton Valley up Garvin Brook from Minnesota City. The array is on former cropland that rotated between between corn and soybeans.

Sun shines on Garvin Brook. The view from bluff-climbing County Road 110. Image: Steve Lunde

25September 2021

Three dead in Amtrak derailment in Montana

JOPLIN, Mont. – The Seattle-bound Empire Builder passenger train, which departed Winona at 8 p.m., Friday, derailed in a barren stretch of track in northern Montana. Initial reports said three passengers were killed and 30 injured. Two locomotives were hauling the consist of 10 cars. Eight cars went off the tracks some skidding on their sides. The derailment about 4 p.m. near Joplin, on a 100-mile remote stretch between Shelby and Havre. The speed limit on passenger trains in the area is 79 mph, although slower speeds are specified when trains bunch up and where dandy-dancer crews are working the rails. The Empire Builder, listed as Train 7, begins its journey at the Amtrak hub in Chicago. The train goes to Minneapolis-St. Paul and then on the old Great Northern’ Hi-Line, skirting the Canadian border through North Dakota and Montana. The train splits in Spokane, one section to Seattle, the other to Portland. U.S. Highway 2 parallels the route. Because the trip is 1-1/2 days. Amtrak has four or five Empire Builders in operation, some westbound, some eastbound,  at any given time.

A legacy train

The Empire Builder is a long-distance train operated by the national rail service Amtrak. From Minneapolis-St. Paul to the West Coast it traverses the heavily trafficked Burlington Northern Santa Fe mainline as a guest carrier. BNSF controls trains on its system nationwide from a high-tech center in Houston, Texas. The train’s name, the Empire Builder, derives from the nickname of James Hill, who built the railroad and opened up the Pacific Northwest as an “empire.” The namesake train went into service in 1929.

In heyday livery. The Empire Builder in GN colors n 1950s.

Transcon route. The Hi-Line is the only remaining transcontinental rail route that connects the Midwest and Seattle.

25September 2021

Passenger hurt fatally in overturning Jeep

PINE ISLAND, Minn. – A Texas woman was injured fatally in a one-vehicle rollover two miles north of Pine Island. Ashley Elizabeth Gomez, 29, of Alvarado, was airlifted 25 miles to a Rochester hospital where she died. The State Patrol said Gomez was unbelted. She was in a 2017 Jeep Compass, which overturned on Highway 57 about 3:30 a.m. The driver, Maria Yaquyelina Ramirez, 33, of Mansfield, Texas, was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. A second passenger, Ciriaco Bautista, 32, of Alvarez, Texas, was unhurt. They were traveling south.

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