Local News

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    Power 96 News Brief for Wednesday 09-15

    09/15/2021

    With flu season just around the corner and cases of COVID-19 increasing, experts at Mayo Clinic say it's time to schedule your flu shot.

    Both viruses cause respiratory illness, often leading to mild to severe or life-threatening symptoms in children and adults. People should be vaccinated against both Covid-19 and the flu.

    Last year because of the pandemic, fewer flu cases were seen because of taking precautions like social distancing and wearing face masks.

    But ahead of this flu season, those at Mayo Clinic say it is important to get your flu vaccine because sometimes you just don't have the symptoms for either illness.

    Individuals can get the flu vaccine and covid vaccine at the same time. It takes two weeks for the flu vaccine to be completely in effect.

    Minnesota House DFL leaders say Rep. John Thompson has now been removed from the caucus after finding himself in legal trouble and refusing to resign.

    House Speaker Melissa Hortman and Majority Leader Ryan Winkler released the following statement Tuesday night:

    "Rep. Thompson's actions, credible reports of abuse and misconduct, and his failure to take responsibility remain unacceptable for a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. It would be best for Rep. Thompson, his family, and the institution for him to resign. In the absence of a resignation, the Minnesota House DFL has voted to remove Rep. Thompson from the caucus."

    While Thompson is still part of the House, his expulsion from the caucus further isolates him and keeps him from certain meetings and resources.

    The City of Albert Lea will be spraying for mosquitoes Wednesday evening this week with Thursday as the alternate in case of weather. Spraying will begin at dusk.

    Freeborn County Public Health reported 40 new lab confirmed positive COVID-19 cases. Public Health also reported no new deaths, and 1 resident was reported as being newly hospitalized. 7 children under the age of 10 were included in the total of those who tested positive.

    The number of active cases within the county now stands at 144.

    Power 96 News Brief for Tuesday 09-14

    09/14/2021

    Plans are being set to expand the Blazing Star trail across Albert Lea Lake and connect to the trail from Hayward. There will be a public meeting outlining the details Monday, Sept. 20, at Edgewater Bay Pavilion, starting at 6:30 p.m. The informational meeting is hosted by the Freeborn County Trails Association.

    Parts of the plan include Repaving parts of the trail. and a second step in the plan includes Building a bridge across Albert Lea Lake and connect to the trail from Hayward. Step 3 includes paving the gravel section within Myre-Big Island State Park.

    23 year-old Colin Charles Belden, of Austin, is pleading guilty to sex abuse again. Belden was arrested back in April 2020 and charged with four counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and two counts of attempted first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a victim who was under 13 years old.

    Yesterday, Belden plead guilty to one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. His sentencing has been set for January 7, 2022.

    Authorities say Belden was already sentenced to 15 years of supervised probation in December 2019 after pleading guilty to one count of 3rd degree criminal sexual conduct.

    Pheasant numbers have declined by 25 percent from 2020, but numbers remained on par with the 10-year average, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources" annual roadside wildlife survey.

    Tim Lyons, DNR upland game research scientist, said, “While the decline from last year sounds significant, pheasant numbers are actually fairly good and hunters will likely still see plenty of birds when the season opens Oct. 16,”

    While down from last year, this year"s pheasant indices are on par with or exceed 10-year averages in all regions of the state.

    Weather and habitat are the main influences on Minnesota"s pheasant population. Weather causes annual fluctuations in pheasant numbers, while habitat drives long-term population trends.

    Freeborn County Public Health reported 36 new lab confirmed positive COVID-19 cases over the weekend. Public Health also reported no new deaths, and 1 resident was reported as being newly hospitalized. 8 children under the age of 10 were included in the total of those who tested positive.

    The number of active cases within the county now stands at 179.

    Power 96 News Brief for Monday 09-13

    09/13/2021

    Due to the high the high COVID-19 case counts within Freeborn County, Albert Lea Area Schools announced universal masking will be implemented for all staff and all students kindergarten through 12th grades starting today.

    According to an announcement on the districts website, the Administration will bring a resolution to the school board at their next meeting on Sept. 20 regarding the issue. That resolution will provide a COVID data target that the district will need to meet before being able to remove the universal masking requirement.

    Freeborn County currently has the second highest level of COVID-19 infections per capita in the state.

    Albert Lea's City Council will be in session this evening beginning at 7:00 pm in the Council Chambers in City Hall. There is expected to be a Resolution Calling A Public Hearing on Proposed Assessments For The Delinquent Water/Sewer Accounts and Miscellaneous Accounts Receivable. A resolution approving professional engineering services agreement with Bolton & Menk for construction management services on the central water tower construction project. A resolution amending the city's travel policy from a receipt based method to a flat fee method, and a resolution approving no parking signs - Eberhart Street / Columbus Avenue West to the Alley to facilitate better traffic flow and allow for larger trucks to turn.

    The Bridge Avenue Reconstruction Project is nearing completion for 2021. On Tuesday, September 7, the Hammer Road Intersection was closed and will remain closed for seven weeks. Drivers are to follow the signed detour that is in place. This is the final stretch of road to be constructed. Once it is completed, Bridge Avenue will be paved and reopened, with the final lift of bituminous paving to occur in 2022. Last week, crews closed the Hammer intersection and removed pavement, installed sanitary sewer and watermain up to Hammer Road, and concrete curb was placed near Eastgate.

    This week, crews are expected to Continue utility work at Hammer, install storm sewer north of Eastgate, and build the roadway section north of box culvert.

    Authorities say a vast majority of the Greenwood Lake wildfire in northern Minnesota is contained, one month after lighting ignited the blaze in the Superior National Forest.

    The U.S. Forest Service reported that the nearly 27,000-acre fire was 67% contained as of Sunday morning.

    Authorities say the fire is not expected to grow now that cooler weather is moving into the Great Lakes region.

    The Freeborn County Board of Commissioners will hold a study session on Tuesday Sept 14th at 8:30 am in the Freeborn Room at the Freeborn County Government Center. Commissioners are expected to review the final 2022 budget and hold discussions. Commissioners will meet with representatives of National Insurance Services and will review the 2022 insurance rates and discuss recommendations. There will be a presentation of a Joint Work Place Clinic with School District 241. Commissioners will also hear staff recommendations. The board will then hear ARP planning and wrap up with reports from the Highway Department to hear about MnDOT District 6 Planning and Construction Program Updates.

    Minneapolis police are investigating a homicide on the city"s south side Sunday afternoon.

    According to police reports, a man was found unconscious with an apparent gunshot wound in a vehicle parked in an alley.

    Authorities located the vehicle on the 2400 Block of 24th Avenue South around noon.

    Police say residents in the area reported hearing gunshots overnight but no witnesses have come forward.

    This case is under investigation and is the 66th reported homicide in Minneapolis.

    Power 96 News Brief for Thursday 09-09

    09/09/2021

    The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ethics announced Tuesday it is investigating Rep. Jim Hagedorn for the spending issues brought up last year.

    The Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee of Ethics released the following statement regarding Hagedorn:

    "the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Ethics have jointly decided to extend the matter regarding Representative Jim Hagedorn, which was transmitted to the Committee by the Office of Congressional Ethics on July 23, 2021.

    The Committee notes that the mere fact of a referral or an extension, and the mandatory disclosure of such an extension and the name of the subject of the matter, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee.

    The Committee will announce its course of action in this matter on or before Thursday, October 21, 2021."

    Issues were first brought to light last year when Rep. Hagedorn was listed as one of the highest spending member of congress.

    Ramsey County Attorney John Choi announced a new policy to end felony prosecutions that stem from low-level traffic stops.

    His office says the policy is designed to fundamentally change the use of traffic stops that are not initiated for public safety reasons.

    The attorney's office reports the new policy was developed in collaboration with local law enforcement, philanthropic leaders, county residents and national partners, such as the Vera Institute of Justice.

    Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association Executive Director Brian Peters issued the following statement Basically, the county attorney just announced his office won't uphold the law and won't prosecute those break it. That's absurd, and is a slap in the face to victims of crime. Ramsey County residents be warned: those that break the law won't even get a slap on the wrist—they'll get a high-five from the county attorney and be left to commit more, and more serious offenses. Reduction of crime and public safety for all should be our focus as the crime rate escalates—and this isn't it.

    Additionally, Allison Schaber — president of the Ramsey County Deputies' Federation — issued the following statement in response:

    Ramsey County John Choi's announcement that his office will enact a new county-wide policy to stop prosecuting cases that originate, in his opinion, as a "non-public-safety traffic stop" is another example of the Ramsey County Attorney's Office circumventing the legislative process to satisfy his own political ambitions. Choi is engaging in furthering the misnomer that valid traffic stops for expired registration, muffler violations, burnt out license plate lights, and windshield violations are anything less than legal stops that target activity already deemed illegal.

    Freeborn County Public Health released their long holiday weekend COVID report in which over a 5 day span saw 6 county residents hospitalized. 78 residents tested positive for COVID-19 over the reporting period which went from 4 am Friday until 4 am Tuesday. No new deaths were reported. 10 children under the age of 10 reportedly tested positive. The number of active cases is reported to be 179.

    Power 96 News Brief for Wednsday 09-08

    09/08/2021

    Officials in Albert Lea are investigating a garage fire that may have been intentionally set Monday evening.

    Fire crews were called to 714 Jefferson Ave just before 10 p.m. for a fully engulfed garage fire.

    The property owner indicated there was no one in the garage and it was locked and secured at the time of the fire.

    No other property was affected by the fire. The Minnesota State Fire Marshal"s Office assisted with the investigation.

    Officials said, "The cause of the fire is determined to be incendiary. The fire appeared to have started inside with a heat source introduced from the outside through holes where the siding had rotted away. "

    The Albert Lea Fire Department said the fire caused an estimated $20,000 worth of damage

    If anyone has information that will aid in the apprehension of the arsonists please call the arson hotline at 1-800-723-2020.

    The final day of the Minnesota State Fair saw 123,578 fairgoers walk through the gates, bringing the 12-day attendance total to 1,301,584.

    Labor Day's attendance was over 61,000 fewer people than 2019's record-setting final fair day when 184,740 people attended.

    Overall, fair attendance was down dramatically from the last five state fairs.

    The pandemic and multiple rainy days are both presumed to have attributed to the lower attendance this year.

    Former Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka is shedding his title as a state legislator, but he's looking to move to the executive branch in 2022. He's set to announce his run for governor on Wednesday.

    Last week, Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake, said he planned to step down from his post as his chamber's top Republican and would not seek reelection during the midterms. During a news conference at the Minnesota State Fair last Wednesday, Gazelka said he was "leaning towards running for governor."

    Freeborn County Public Health reported 28 new lab confirmed positive COVID-19 cases. Public Health also reported no new deaths, and no residents were reported as being newly hospitalized. No children under the age of 10 were included in the total of those who tested positive.

    The number of active cases within the county now stands at 180.

    Power 96 News Brief for Tuesday 09-07

    09/07/2021

    Albert Lea Fire Rescue and the Albert Lea Police Department are welcoming the community to come out and support a 9/11 remembrance parade that will be conducted through Albert Lea.

    Emergency service vehicles will follow a length route through the city route with lights and occasional sirens to remember all those who lost their lives to the tragic events on 9/11/2001.

    This year marks the 20 year anniversary and Albert Lea Public Safety never wants to forget.

    The parade will leave from the Fire station at 417 Newton Ave S at 11a.m. The entire route can be found on the city's website.

    Two children were pulled from Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis on Monday afternoon.

    The Minneapolis Fire Department said one child was 11 years of age, the other was 8. Both were originally unconscious and didn't have a pulse after being pulled from the water shortly after 3 p.m.

    CPR was started on both boys, and the older child eventually regained a pulse and was breathing, the department said. Both boys were taken to a hospital and remained in critical condition Monday night.

    No other details were immediately available.

    The Hammer Road intersection will be closed beginning today, for approximately 7 weeks as construction crews replace underground utilities as part of the Bridge Avenue reconstruction project. At this point, the detour route will shift and traffic will be routed to Plaza Street and Richway Drive. Traffic coming from the east on Hammer Road will need to use YH Hanson Avenue and Hershey Street or Sykes Street.

    Other work taking place this week as part of the reconstruction project includes watermain work between Glenview Road and Hammer Road, sanitary sewer work between Troy Road and Hammer Road and street light installation between the Goose Creek crossing and Glenview Road.

    The Albert Lea Area School Board will be holding a study session tonight at 5 pm in the boardroom at the Brookside Education Center. The board is set to move into a closed session to evaluate the performance of an individual who is subject to its authority.

    The Rohler Rink in Brownsdale caught fire Saturday night and has now been determined a total loss by the Brownsdale Volunteer Fire Department.

    The Brownsdale Volunteer Fire Department responded to a structure fire after 10:30 p.m. on Saturday at 316 Market St. SE in Brownsdale

    Witnesses reported flames were coming from the roof of the building.

    No one was inside the building at the time of the fire.

    The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Brownsdale Fire Department, Minnesota State Fire Marshal's Office, and the Mower County Sheriff's Office.

    Power 96 News Brief for Thursday 09-02

    09/03/2021

    The Freeborn County Driver and Vehicle Services office will be moving to a new location and be closed during the move.

    The offices will be moved to the first floor of the Historic Freeborn County Historic Courthouse. In-person services will not be available on Sept. 9 and Sept. 10. Online and dropbox services will not be impacted.

    In a press release, County Administrator Tom Jensen said, "The new location provides additional space, a more comfortable waiting area, as well as much improved access from the main parking area."

    "We apologize for the inconvenience this will cause. Any updates or changes to this closure will be posted on the Freeborn County Website at www.co.freeborn.mn.us"

    In-person services will resume at 8 a.m. on Monday, Sept.13, 2021, in the new location on the first floor of the Freeborn County Historic Courthouse.

    The Mower County Sheriff's Office has received multiple reports of copper theft and damage to wind turbines in rural Mower County.

    The turbines, owned by EDF Renewable Services, are located at 26255 680th Ave. Five turbines at this location were damaged and copper wire had been stolen. Eight other turbines have also been damaged and had copper stolen.

    The sheriff's office does not have a damage estimate for the five turbines that were recently damaged but the damage estimate for the other eight is estimated at $38,000.

    The sheriff's office said because of the high voltage the wind turbines create, removing any type of wire from them can be very dangerous.

    The Mower County Sheriff"s Office is requesting the publics' assistance on these thefts, if you see vehicles in the area of the turbines please call the Mower County Law Enforcement Center at 507-437-9400.

    Portions of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness are set to reopen on Saturday, forest officials say.

    The BWCA had been closed since Aug. 21 due to wildfires in the area, and the closure was most recently extended to Friday.

    In a video update on Wednesday, Superior National Forest Supervisor Connie Cummins said while some much-needed rain fell across the state over the past week, the forest remains under extreme drought conditions.

    Recent moderate weather conditions have given firefighters a leg up in the fight to contain the blazes.

    Freeborn County Public Health reported 11 new lab confirmed positive COVID-19 cases. Public Health also reported no new deaths, and no residents were reported as being newly hospitalized. One child under the age of 10 was included in the total of those who tested positive.

    The number of active cases within the county now stands at 144.

    Power 96 News Brief for Wednesday 09-01

    09/01/2021

    Albert Lea Area Schools website reported a lock down situation yesterday morning.   A 26 year old Rochester man was arrested after refusing to leave Albert Lea High School.

    According to a spokesperson for Albert Lea Area Schools, the man went into the high school at 8:36 a.m. Following school protocols, classrooms were placed on lockdown for seven minutes.

    Police were called and arrived at the school at 8:40 and the man was taken into custody.

    No one was hurt during the incident.

    The Albert Lea Police Department said the man was taken to the hospital for a mental health evaluation.

    Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz says he would consider calling off a special session planned next month if Republicans pursue a threat to remove the state"s health commissioner.

    Republican Sen. Jim Abeler, of Anoka, said at a rally against mask and vaccine mandates last weekend that he would like the GOP-controlled Senate to oust Jan Malcolm, who has led the response to COVID-19.

    Abeler and other Republicans have critical of Walz"s emergency powers and public health restrictions. The special session is scheduled in order to approve special bonus pay for essential pandemic workers.

    Mayo Clinic Cancer Center announced that it is following recommendations from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network that encourage cancer patients to receive a third dose of a messenger RNA COVID-19 vaccine. The Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are messenger RNA vaccines.

    If patients were vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, no third dose is recommended at this time.

    A 30 year old Austin man is now facing felony first-degree criminal sexual conduct charges for alleged abuse of a child that began when the victim was eight years old.

    Peter Mee of Austin is facing five counts of criminal sexual conduct.

    The court documents state that Mee began sexually abusing a girl when she was eight and it continued until law enforcement was contacted Aug. 26.

    Once placed under arrest, Mee immediately asked for a lawyer and did not make a statement.

    The City of Albert Lea will be spraying for mosquitoes tonight beginning at dusk with Thursday as the alternate in case of inclement weather.

    Freeborn County Public Health reported 47 new lab confirmed positive COVID-19 cases. Public Health also reported no new deaths, and 5 residents were reported as being newly hospitalized. Four children under the age of 10 were included in the total of those who tested positive.

    Power 96 News Brief for Tuesday 08-31

    08/31/2021

    Albert Lea's duck population is happy after the heavy rains washed vast amounts of Duckweed into Fountain Lake. The plant can be seen floating on the top of the lake and some residents thought it was an alge bloom.

    Many kinds of ducks consume duckweed and often transport it to other bodies of water. Duckweed colonies provide habitats for micro invertebrates, but if duckweed completely covers the surface of a pond for an extended period of time, it will cause oxygen depletion. These colonies will also eliminate submerged plants by blocking sunlight penetration.

    Duckweed is not toxic to humans or pets, in fact, duckweed is eaten by humans in some parts of Southeast Asia. It contains more protein than soybeans, so sometimes it is cited as a significant potential food source

    A guilty plea is entered again by an Austin man over the sexual abuse of a child.

    Yesterday, repeat offender Roger Conner, 29 of Austin, pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal sexual conduct. He was charged in December 2020 with sexually abusing a victim under the age of 13 years old.

    Conner was convicted of two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct in March 2016. The victims in those cases were also under 13 years old. Conner was sentenced in December 2018 to four years in prison. He was released on probation this February and arrested again on this latest charge.

    A sentencing hearing will take place November 19 in Mower County District Court.

    The former owner and CEO of a solar energy and thermal installation company has been charged with defrauding clients across Minnesota to the tune of more than $1 million.

    Michael Harvey, 41, of River Falls, is charged with "cheating" 53 clients out of more than $1 million by making "false promises" of installing solar panels via his company, Able Energy, in 2017 and 2018.

    He was charged following an 18-month investigation by the Minnesota Commerce Fraud Bureau, which also involved the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry"s Construction Codes and Licensing Division.

    Minnesota reached 300 traffic accident deaths before Labor Day for the first time in more than a decade, prompting state public safety officials on Monday to issue a plea for people to slow down.

    The state reported its 300th fatality on Saturday, which is the earliest the state has eclipsed that threshold since 2007, according to data from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety"s Office of Traffic Safety. There were 240 traffic deaths in the state at this time last year and the state did not reach 300 until October.

    Officials attributed 103 of the deaths, or about 40%, to speeding, compared to 78 at this time last year.

    There will be an open house for the presentation on The Albert Lea Municipal Airports master plan project this evening at 6 pm with the plan presentation at 6:30. The meeting will be held at the Albert Lea Municipal Airports General Aviation Terminal. Mead & Hunt (the City"s contracted consultant) will present an overview of the process and the work that has been completed to date,. Following the presentation, there will be project team members on hand to discuss and answer questions. Jim Hanson, the Airport Manager, City Staff and the Albert Lea Airport Advisory Board have been working on this project since 2019.

    Freeborn County Public Health reported 36 new lab confirmed positive COVID-19 cases. Public Health also reported no new deaths, and no residents were reported as being newly hospitalized. Seven children under the age of 10 were included in the total of those who tested positive.

    The number of active cases within the county now stands at 151.

    Power 96 News Brief for Monday 08-30

    08/30/2021

    There will be an open house for the presentation on The Albert Lea Municipal Airports master plan project Tuesday evening at 6 pm with the plan presentation at 6:30. The meeting will be held at the Albert Lea Municipal Airports General Aviation Terminal. Mead & Hunt (the City"s contracted consultant) will present an overview of the process adn the work that has been completed to date,. Following the presentation, there will be project team members on hand to discuss and answer questions. Jim Hanson, the Airport Manager, City Staff and the Albert Lea Airport Advisory Board have been working on this project since 2019.

    Minnesota State Troopers arrested 69 people outside Gov. Tim Walz"s residence in St. Paul Saturday in a protest against an oil pipeline replacement project, according to the Minnesota State Patrol.

    The demonstrators are calling for Walz and President Joe Biden to shut down the Enbridge Line 3 project that carries oil from Alberta, Canada and passes through North Dakota and northern Minnesota on its way to Superior, Wisconsin. The 337-mile segment in Minnesota is the last phase in construction.

    Protesters were booked into the Ramsey County Jail under several charges, including third-degree riot, disorderly conduct and felony threats of violence, patrol spokesman Lt. Gordon Shank said. Several buses were brought in to remove protesters from the street.

    The patrol said no injuries were reported.

    The Bridge Avenue Reconstruction Project is in full swing. This week, crews are expected to begin aggregate base installation and concrete work between Eastgate Road and Glenview Road. Other crews will start Street lighting work between Eastgate Road and Glenview Road and watermain and sanitary sewer work will take place between Troy Road and Hammer Road.

    Beginning next week, the intersection at Hammer Road will be closed beginning the week of September 6th. At this point the detour for all vehicles will be to use Plaza Street and Richway Drive. Traffic coming from the east on Hammer Road will need to use YH Hanson Avenue and either Hershey Street or Sykes Street.

    The closure at Hammer Road is expected to last approximately 7 weeks.

    As the construction continues, drivers are reminded to slow down through residential neighborhoods while following the posted detours.

    A homicide investigation is underway in the Dayton's Bluff area of St. Paul after a victim was shot and killed Sunday night.

    According to the St. Paul Police Department, the shooting happened near Seventh Street East and Mounds Boulevard, just west of the Metropolitan State University Campus.

    The next drive-thru Ruby"s Pantry will take place Saturday, September 4th from from 8:45 to 10 a.m. at United Methodist Church in Albert Lea. There are no income or residency requirements. A $20.00 fee will be collected on site as volunteers will load the groceries.

    The Minnesota State Fair started to rebound from a stormy first couple of days on Saturday, but attendance was still much lower than in recent years.

    Day 3 saw 129,984 visitors pass through the gates, the first time the Great Minnesota Get-Together surpassed 100,000 this year — the fair only dipped below 100,000 once during its last running in 2019. Saturday's mark was a 38% decline from the same day in 2019, when 209,105 people congregated at the fairgrounds.

    Inclement weather and concerns over a lack of COVID-19 precautions have cast a shadow on state fair numbers so far.

    Through the first three days, there have been 269,373 visitors to the state fair in 2021. There were just shy of 500,000 in the same time frame in 2019.

    Power 96 News Brief for Thursday 08-26

    08/26/2021

    A Mason City man connected to an August 23 shooting has been arrested.

    Jacob Patterson, age 21, of Mason City has been charged with Intimidation With a Weapon, a class C felony.

    On August 23, around 2:10 p.m., Mason City Police responded to a report of a shot fired at the intersection of 4th Street SE and Illinois Avenue.

    According to witnesses, a vehicle fired a shot into a vehicle at the intersection and then fled the scene. A second vehicle was also struck by the round.

    The shooting suspect was known to the caller. Following the initial investigation, officers were able to locate the suspect vehicle at a local residence.

    Officers were able to take Patterson into custody without incident.

    A 30-year-old Austin woman was injured Tuesday in a two-vehicle crash on Highway 14.

    The Minnesota State Patrol said Destiny Schroeder suffered non-life-threatening injuries during the crash in Owatonna Township.

    Authorities said Schroeder"s car was rear-ended by a Toytoa Tundra, driven by 55-year-old Janice Schultz, of Owatonna.

    Schroeder was taken to the Owatonna hospital for treatment.

    A judge has rejected a request by a gun owners group for a temporary injunction to require the Minnesota State Fair to allow permit holders to carry their pistols on the fairgrounds, ruling Wednesday that they"re unlikely to prevail as the broader case goes forward.

    Ramsey County District Judge Laura Nelson ruled less than 24 hours before the State Fair opens Thursday that the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus failed to meet its burden of proof that the fair"s longstanding ban on guns violates state law or that they have sufficient legal grounds to seek relief.

    Freeborn County Public Health reported 16 new lab confirmed positive COVID-19 cases. Public Health also reported no new deaths, and 3 residents were reported as being newly hospitalized. The number of active cases within the county now stands at 123.

    Power 96 News Brief for Wednesday 08-25

    08/25/2021

    Mayo Clinic Health System is implementing new visitor restrictions in response to increasing cases of COVID-19 in the communities it serves and is enhancing the availability of COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.

    Beginning Wednesday, Aug. 25, the number of visitors allowed in hospitals and clinics will be reduced to one designated visitor per patient

    This change affects hospitals in Albert Lea, Austin, Cannon Falls, Lake City, and Red Wing, Minnesota, as well as all Mayo Clinic Health System clinics in the region.

    Patients in Albert Lea and Austin will soon be directed to new locations for COVID-19 testing due to increased demand.

    The off-site testing sites will be open for appointments weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CDT and weekends from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. CDT. Beginning Sept. 4, weekend hours will also be 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to provide expanded access to testing.

    These testing clinics will be located at:

    Albert Lea East Annex

    This location on St. Mary Avenue will open Aug. 25.

    Austin 510 Building

    This location on Second Street Northwest will open Aug. 25.

    Patients can call 507-434-9929 to schedule a COVID-19 test in Albert Lea and Austin.

    Hy-Vee pharmacies are now offering flu shots with no appointment necessary.

    The grocery chain says drive-thru flu clinics will also be offered through October 30 at the company"s 275 pharmacy locations across eight states. Those flu clinics will be from 3 to 7 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays and 10 am to 2 pm on Saturdays.

    Hy-Vee says its pharmacists conduct a screening process prior to vaccination to ensure each individual is receiving the most beneficial flu vaccine for their health.

    Medicare and most insurance plans cover the flu vaccine at no charge.

    A Rochester man facing 60 various charges of possessing porn, most of which involve minors, has entered a plea of not guilty.

    26-year-old Arkady Pichurin appeared in court Tuesday morning where he entered the plea and demanded a jury trial. The trial date has not been set according to court records.

    The charges stem from a search of several of Pichurin's devices that began in December of 2020. The 60 charges span across five separate cases. Police believe he is not currently producing or sharing any child pornography.

    Freeborn County Public Health reported 49 new lab confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in a report that spanned from 4 am Friday until 4 am Monday. Public Health also reported no new deaths, and 2 residents were reported as being newly hospitalized. The number of active cases within the county now stands at 112.

    Power 96 News Brief for Tuesday 08-24

    08/25/2021

    A Mankato man has died after a UTV crash on Saturday, according to the Freeborn County Sheriff's Office.

    Right before 4 p.m. on Saturday, Freeborn County Deputies responded to a UTV crash in Wells, Minn.

    Derek Lindely, 30 from Mankato, was driving the UTV with 25-year-old Megan Lindely from Mankato riding along.

    They left the yard and lost control as he headed south on 632 Ave. in Wells, according to the Freeborn County Chief Deputy Todd Earl.

    The UTV rolled into the east ditch and Derek Lindely was thrown off and pinned under the UTV.

    Megan was not hurt and Derek received life-saving measures at the scene but died from his injuries.

    The University of Minnesota will require all students to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

    President Joan Gabel and medical school Dean Jakub Tolar issued a news release Monday hours after federal regulators fully approved the Pfizer version of the vaccine saying shots will be mandatory and students will receive an email in the next few days with instructions on how to confirm their vaccination status.

    The mandate is effective at University of Minnesota campuses in the Twin Cities, Crookston, Duluth, Morris and Rochester.

    The Austin Police Department reports that it was called around 9:30 am Friday about two vehicles chasing each other in the southeast part of the city. One of the vehicles, a white Chevy Impala with a broken rear windshield and a flat tire, was seen in the area of Main Street and 1st Avenue S.

    When an officer tried to pull it over, the driver of the vehicle sped off and parked by an apartment building in the 400 block of 3rd Avenue SE.

    Police say a man exited the vehicle and went into the apartment. The Impala showed signed of bullet damage and the Mower County Sheriff"s Office was called in to assist.

    A search of the apartment building, resulted in police finding Ryan Collins, 32, hiding behind a large speaker in the trunk of a car parked in an attached garage. Officers recovered suspected methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, MDMA (molly), two loaded revolvers, and a loaded semi-automatic handgun from the trunk. One of those guns had been reported stolen.

    Collins allegedly told officers he had been shot at by someone who suspected Collins of stealing from him. Police say Collins identified a white Porsche as the other vehicle involved in the chase.   Collins denied the drugs and guns found in the trunk belonged to him.

    Officers arrested Terry Heggs, 38 of Austin, in the 1000 block of 2nd Avenue NW on Friday and found a Porcshe on Saturday in a separate Austin location.

    Collins is being held in the Mower County Jail for fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle.

    Heggs was booked third-degree drug sales.

    The Greenwood Fire in northern Minnesota grew "substantially" on Monday, as strong winds fueled the fast-moving fire that is now burning more than 10,000 acres in Superior National Forest.

    Fire officials grew increasingly concerned early Monday afternoon when winds began pushing the fire east. The Lake County Sheriff's Office ordered additional evacuations, sending dozens of residents east toward Finland as the fire progressed.

    Officials expect much more favorable weather Tuesday and are also getting more resources — including manpower and equipment — to help fight the fire.

    Freeborn County Public Health reported 20 new lab confirmed positive COVID-19 cases yesterday. Public Health also reported no new deaths, and no residents were reported as being newly hospitalized. The number of active cases within the county now stands at 109.

    Power 96 News Brief for Monday 08-23

    08/23/2021

    The Bridge Avenue Reconstruction Project is still moving forward with crews installing watermain and water/sewer service installation between Glenview Drive and Hammer Road. Storm sewer installation between Glenview Road and Troy Road as well as aggregate base installation between Eastgate Road and Glenview Road. Crews also installed new street light bases between Richway Drive and Eastgate Road and concrete curb & gutter, sidewalk, and driveway installation between Richway Drive and Eastgate Road.

    This week crews will continue to install water and sewer service between Glenview Drive and Hammer Road along with water/sewer service. Storm sewer installation will continue between the Goose Creek crossing and Hammer Road while other crews will begin Aggregate base work between the Goose Creek crossing and Glenview Road. Concrete work will take place between Eastgate Road and Glenview Road. and Street light work will take place between Richway Drive and the Goose Creek Crossing.

    As the construction continues, drivers are reminded to slow down through construction zone for the safety of others, and the workers on site, as well as your own safety. Avoid using a cellular phone when walking or driving near a construction zone and slow down through residential neighborhoods while following the posted detours.

    Albert Lea's city council will be in session tonight. A work session will take place at 5:30 pm. The council will them move into a regular session of the City Council meeting beginning at 7 pm in the Council Chambers in City Hall.

    Keng Hang, 31 of Albert Lea, has been sentenced to two years behind bars, with credit for 430 days already served, for pleading guilty to third-degree burglary.

    In June 2020, Hang was arrested and charged with second-degree burglary and third-degree possession of methamphetamine. Hang was accused of illegally entering a vacant home on Stevens Street in Albert Lea and taking personal items, including checkbooks, clothing, and jewelry.

    The burglary was discovered when luggage which was also found to hold 10.7 grams of meth was found at Motel 6 containing the stolen property.

    Hang was identified as a person seen with that luggage.

    The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is closed to visitors for the next week as crews fight growing fires in the area, according to Superior National Forest officials.

    The area is closed so firefighters can “focus on existing fires or new starts without worrying about public safety.”

    The closure is effective immediately, and includes all lands, waters, trails, portages, campsites, canoe routes, and wilderness entry points.

    40 year-old Tonya Turvey of Austin is facing a felony charge for allegedly repeatedly going into Walmart and changing the bar codes in order to reduce prices.

    Turvey is facing a felony charge of ongoing criminal conduct.

    On at least three different occasions, authorities allege Turvey went into Walmart and changed the bar codes in order to change the price of items, and sometimes, Turvey did not pay for them at all.

    Turvey fled the scene when confronted by loss prevention.

    She is being held in the Cerro Gordo County Jail on $25,000 bond.

    The Minnesota Renaissance Festival is back and celebrating its 50th year as some events change up their requirements due to the pandemic.

    Roughly 300,000 people pass through the festival in Shakopee each year, and even with coronavirus concerns, organizers said ticket sales look good this year.

    Organizers said COVID-19 protection is up to patrons.

    Masks are not required at the festival. If you are not vaccinated against COVID-19, organizers recommend patrons wear a mask and socially distance.

    If patrons don't feel comfortable coming out this year, organizers said tickets will be honored in 2022.

    The festival runs on weekends through Oct. 3.

    Power 96 News Brief for Thursday 08-19

    08/19/2021

    A Clear Lake bicyclist was struck and killed in Cerro Gordo County Wednesday morning.

    The crash happened at 11:15 a.m., south of the intersection of 27th Street and Grouse Avenue.

    The Iowa State Patrol says a 58-year-old bicyclist from Clear Lake was riding south on Grouse Avenue and was struck by a pickup truck also headed south driven by Carroll Etchen, 94 of Clear Lake.

    The crash report says the pickup struck the bicyclist in the right-hand lane and resulted in fatal injuries.

    The identity of the bicyclist has not been released.

    Winnebago Industries, Inc, a leading outdoor lifestyle product manufacturer, announced Wednesday, that it will be shifting its corporate headquarters address from Forest City, Iowa to Eden Prairie, Minnesota, effective December 1.

    The company"s executive offices have been in Minnesota since 2016. There is no planned job loss as a result of the headquarters transition and this action has no physical implication on any manufacturing assets.

    Following the transition, Winnebago Industries will remain strongly rooted in North Iowa. The company"s Iowa operations will continue to be the manufacturing hub of Winnebago motorhome and specialty vehicles products and currently employs approximately 2,100 people with plans to add team members in the next twelve months to meet increased demand for Winnebago RV products.

    Freeborn County Public Health reported 7 new lab confirmed positive COVID-19 cases yesterday. Public Health also reported no new deaths, and no residents were reported as being newly hospitalized. The number of active cases within the county now stands at 78.

    Power 96 News Brief for Wednesday 08-17

    08/18/2021

    A Nebraska man charged with hitting and killing a woman with his vehicle in Mason City has pleaded not guilty.

    35-year-old Christopher G.S. Rathfon, 35 of Omaha, NE, is charged with homicide by vehicle.

    Mason City police said on June 8, Rathfon hit 62-year-old Dawn Merrick, with his pickup truck while she was walking out of Mills Fleet Farm.

    Merrick remained in critical condition at the hospital until June 10, when she died as a result of injuries sustained in the crash.

    According to court documents, Rathfon consented to a breath test that indicated a blood alcohol content of 0.255.

    Rathfon was initially charged with operating while intoxicated, reckless driving, and serious injury by vehicle.

    A jury trial is scheduled to begin on September 21 in Cerro Gordo County District Court.

    A Mankato teenager suspected of raping and murdering a toddler has been indicted on first-degree murder charges.

    Seventeen-year-old Lee Wayne Young Jr. was initially charged as a juvenile in the death of the 2-year-old boy, who was known to him.

    Young Jr was charged as an adult with 2nd-degree murder in June.

    A grand jury indicted Young Jr on 13 counts of 1st-degree murder, according to a document filed in Blue Earth County. The murder charges include counts for pre-meditation, criminal sexual conduct against a helpless victim, using force, and kidnapping. He also faces multiple criminal sexual conduct charges and one felony kidnapping charge.

    An omnibus hearing is scheduled for November 1 at 2 p.m. in Blue Earth County.

    Freeborn County Public Health reported 42 new lab confirmed positive COVID-19 cases yesterday. Public Health also reported no new deaths, and 4 residents were reported as being newly hospitalized. The number of active cases within the county now stands at 80.

    Power 96 News Brief for Tuesday 08-17

    08/18/2021

    The family of Erika Cruz has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a Rochester bar and the driver accused of being intoxicated when he crashed into the car being driven by the 18-year-old woman last February.

    According to the lawsuit, the family is suing the driver, Sterling Haukom, and Image of Rochester, Inc, which operates 63 Club near Broadway Ave S and 18th St SE.

    The lawsuit asks for more than $50,000 in damages. The exact amount will be determined during the trial which is expected in mid to late 2022.

    One claim in the lawsuit said 63 Club "unlawfully sold intoxicating beverages to Haukom when he was obviously intoxicated."

    made any unlawful sale of intoxicating beverages to Defendant Haukom or that any alleged unlawful sale to Defendant Haukom was a direct cause of the subject accident or the death of Erika Cruz."

    Haukom has been charged with criminal vehicular homicide and driving while intoxicated. He pled not guilty to both charges in late March. The criminal trial is scheduled to begin later this month.

    An Austin man who pleaded guilty to a felony 1st degree DWI charge in late June in Mower County District Court has been sentenced to prison time.

    47-year old Chad Lee Morgan, who was sentenced to 62 months in prison on a felony charge of DWI-operate a motor vehicle while body contains any amount of schedule I/II drugs-not marijuana in July of 2018 was sentenced to 65 months in prison for a felony charge of 1st degree DWI, refusal to submit blood or urine as required by a search warrant.

    Felony charges of 1st degree DWI, under the influence of a controlled substance and for fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle, plus gross misdemeanor charges for driving after cancellation, inimical to public safety and for 3rd degree damage to property in the case were all dismissed with Morgan"s guilty plea.

    Due to the continued spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 delta variant, Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin and Albert Lea have reinstituted visitor policy restrictions in inpatient and outpatient settings.

    All visitors entering Mayo Clinic will be screened for respiratory illness, and required to comply with social distancing guidelines and wear a mask for the entirety of their visit. Visitors who do not comply with these requirements will be asked to leave.

    A wildfire in northern Minnesota continues to spread remarkably quick, having more than doubled in size to at least 1,500 acres since first detected less than a day ago.

    The Greenwood Fire, located about 15 miles southwest of Isabella, Minnesota, was initially detected around 3 p.m. Sunday. Originally estimated to be a few hundred acres, the blaze grew swiftly amid the dry, windy conditions in the area.

    The fire is now thought to be at least 1,500 acres.

    Meanwhile, crews continue to battle at least 10 additional fires across northern Minnesota. That includes two other wildfires that broke out over the weekend between Warroad and Baudette.

    On Sunday Gov. Tim Walz authorized calling up the National Guard to assist and said in a statement, “The Minnesota National Guard"s additional support will be critical to responding to these wildfires and protecting the safety of Minnesotans and their property. I am proud that our Service Members have again answered the call to serve their fellow Minnesotans.”.

    Power 96 News Brief for Monday 08-16

    08/16/2021

    The District 241 School Board will be in session tonight at the Brookside Education Centers Board Room at 5 pm.

    The school board will meet to conduct the official business of the district including setting substitute teacher pay for the 21-22 school year. The board is also expected to enter into a contract with Freeborn County for election services. The board will also look for a resolution approving the transfer of funds from the General Fund to Food Services as well as set the off schedule employee hourly rate of pay. The board will look to approve a lease agreement between the district and Riverland Community College. Board members will receive reports from the Superintendent, other board members, teachers and the student board.

    A COVID-19 update will be delivered and the board will look for a Resolution for the adoption of health and safety measures for the 2021-2022 School Year.

    Since the COVID-19 Transmission rate is classified by the CDC as HIGH in Freeborn County. Beginning today, masks are required for service regardless of vaccination status in all City of Albert Lea facilities including City Hall, Public Library, City Garage, Fire Station, Police Station, City Arena, Senior Center and other city owned entities until further notice.

    The City of Albert Lea Engineering and Development Services Departments located on the lower level of city hall will be closed to the public for approximately the next 7 days. Employees will be working from home and available to assist you by phone. If you need help, call the Engineering Department 507-377-4325 or Development Services 507-377-4340.

    The Freeborn County Board of Commissioners is set to meet on Tuesday at 8:30 am in the Boardroom at the Freeborn County Government Center. The Commissioners will receive reports of the board committees and various departments including the Auditor-Treasurer who will be asking the commissioners to consider a resolution amending sale price of blighted parcels to the City of Albert Lea, and also consider a resolution approving sale of public use property to the City of Albert Lea.

    Commissioners will also hear from Public Works and Environmental Services before receiving a report from County Administrator Tom Jensen.

    Albert Lea Schools released its Safe Return to School Plan which includes strongly recommending mask-wearing.

    Albert Lea Area Schools says that they are committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for all of our students, employees, and the public we serve. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the following Safe Return to School Plan was developed to provide guidance to mitigate the potential for transmission of COVID-19 in our workplaces and communities.

    Albert Lea Schools says they require full cooperation among our administration, employees, students and families, and members of the public. Only through this cooperative effort can we establish and maintain the safety and health of our students, employees, and the community we serve.

    In the Safe Return to School Plan, Albert Lea Area Schools says that masking is "strongly recommended" for staff and students who are not fully vaccinated from COVID-19. Masking is one safety precaution in addition to daily check-ins, temperature checks, cleaning and sanitizing, as a mitigation effort to prevent COVID-19. They also say that masking is required on all school buses.

    The Bridge Avenue Reconstruction Project is still moving forward with construction activity last week consisting of grading the roadway and placed aggregate base up to Glenview. Crews also worked on sanitary and watermain work progressing up to Troy Road.

    Construction activity for this week includes Pouring curb & gutter up to Glenview. Crews will begin sanitary and watermain services up to Troy Road, and Begin storm sewer placement north of Goose Creek pond.

    As the construction continues, drivers are reminded to slow down through construction zone for the safety of others, and the workers on site, as well as your own safety. Avoid using a cellular phone when walking or driving near a construction zone and slow down through residential neighborhoods while following the posted detours.

    The Interchange Wine & Coffee Bistros owner Lisa Hanson, filed 4 separate lawsuits after being accused of being in violation of pandemic restrictions ordered by Governor Walz.

    On Friday, a Freeborn County judge dismissed the civil lawsuits against the State of Minnesota, the City of Albert Lea, Governor Tim Walz, and several others.

    A district court judge threw out all of Hanson"s lawsuits, stating in court documents that Hanson"s “claims lack merit; have been made in bad faith; and pose a risk to the rights of other litigants, the public, and the courts.

    Hanson"s criminal prosecution on nine misdemeanors for allegedly opening her business in defiance of Gov. Walz's executive orders is still pending, with no further court hearings currently scheduled.

    Power 96 News Brief for Thursday 08-12

    08/12/2021

    The City of Albert Lea has announced that starting Monday, August 16th, masks are required regardless of vaccination status in all City of Albert Lea facilities.

    The requirement to mask in City facilities includes City Hall, Public Library, City Garage, Fire Station, Police Station, City Arena, Senior Center, etc. until further notice.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the COVID-19 transmission rate in Freeborn County is “high,” the highest level of transmission.

    Albert Lea follows the cities of Austin and Rochester that have implemented requirements within the past week.

    The Austin Police Department is asking for the public"s help in locating Me"Darian “Solid” Ledale McGruder.

    The 27-year-old is wanted in connection to a homicide that killed 20-year-old Tyesha Tahne Gills on July 31st.

    McGruder is wanted for 2nd Degree Murder.

    If anyone has information on Me"Darian"s location they are asked to contact the Austin Police Department, 507-437-9400 or provide information anonymously through Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), or online at www.crimestoppersmn.org

    A body found near railroad tracks in Rochester has initiated an investigation.

    Rochester Police received a call Wednesday morning that a body had been found by train tracks in NW Rochester.

    Police said a person was riding their bike in the area and noticed the body and called police.

    Officers arrived shortly after 6:30 and located a body near the tracks at 5th St and 3rd Ave NW.

    Police said it appears the person was hit by a train but were not immediately able to tell if it was an accident or a suicide.

    An investigation is ongoing.

    The man charged in the deadly Buffalo clinic shooting made his first court appearance on Wednesday and has been found competent to stand trial.

    Gregory Ulrich will return to the courtroom on Sept. 21 at 11 a.m.

    Ulrich faces seven charges, including one count of second-degree murder.

    According to police, Ulrich walked into the clinic on Feb. 9 and started shooting. Investigators also say Ulrich detonated two improvised explosive devices while in the clinic. The incident ended with Ulrich surrendering to law enforcement. A woman was killed, and four others were hurt.

    Court documents allege Ulrich had an opioid addiction and at least one investigator believes that was the driving force behind the shooting.

    The Glenville Days summer festival is returning this year and will take place from Friday to Sunday. The event will feature many games and contests for people of all ages, along with food and live entertainment throughout the weekend.   

    Freeborn County Public Health reported 11 new lab confirmed positive COVID-19 case yesterday. Public Health also reported no new deaths, and 1 resident was reported as being newly hospitalized. The number of active cases within the county now stands at 59.

    Power 96 News Brief for Wednesday 08-11

    08/11/2021

    MercyOne announced Tuesday it will require all colleagues, physicians, and providers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

    “As a faith-based health ministry, we have pledged to protect the most vulnerable. Our patients and their families expect us to provide a safe environment for their care, and that includes being vaccinated,” said MercyOne CEO Bob Ritz.

    MercyOne joins more than 100 hospitals and health systems in the U.S. requiring employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

    Individuals who are not able to be vaccinated for strongly held religious beliefs or medical reasons will be required to apply for an exemption.

    An Albert Lea pleaded guilty to a felony check forgery charge in Mower County District Court and has been sentenced to supervised probation and restitution.

    43-year old Jason Alan Roe was convicted and sentenced on Friday to three years of supervised probation for a felony charge of check forgery, offer with intent to defraud.

    A 15-month prison sentence was stayed for three years if Roe follows through with the terms of his probation. Roe must also pay nearly $1,500 in restitution to the two establishments where he attempted to pass fraudulent checks.

    Two other felony charges for check forgery, offer with intent to defraud were dismissed with his guilty plea.

    Anyone who visits a city-owned facility in Austin will now have to wear a mask.

    The City of Austin posted on its Facebook page that Mower County moved into the high COVID-19 transmission rate on Monday as indicated by the CDC's COVID Tracker.

    As of Tuesday the city said "masks will be required in all indoor public areas in City of Austin owned facilities until further notice, regardless of your vaccination status."

    Despite the rising cases in Mower County, hundreds of people showed up on day one of the Mower County fair.

    Fair organizers say they will continue to monitor health recommendations, but in the meantime, people can enjoy themselves.

    From food vendors to the 4-H building to events like the tractor pull and demolition derby.

    The Mower County fair runs through the weekend.

    Freeborn County Public Health reported 18 new lab confirmed positive COVID-19 case yesterday. Public Health also reported no new deaths, and 1 resident was reported as being newly hospitalized. The number of active cases within the county now stands at 52.

    The City of Albert Lea will be spraying for mosquitoes Wednesday evening this week with Thursday as the alternate in case of weather.

    Power 96 News Brief for Tuesday 08-10

    08/10/2021

    Students across the University of Minnesota System will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine once it is fully approved by federal regulators.

    The update is a reversal of the system's previous decision not to require vaccines. The U of M said last week it would require masks for everyone inside buildings on campus and in outdoor spaces where social distancing is not possible.

    Once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gives full approval for the COVID-19 vaccine the shot will be added to the list of required immunizations for all students.

    Albert Lea's City Council approved a contract to replace the water tower that sits on the corner of Newton Avenue and Fountain Street. In a 5-1 vote, the city will award the $6.9 million contract for the construction of a new one-million gallon water tower in downtown Albert Lea to Phoenix Fabricators and Erectors LLC of Avon, Indiana. One other bid was received with a quoted price of 7.3 million dollars.

    1st Ward council member Rich Murray was the lone no vote, 5th Ward representative Robert Rasmussen was absent from the meeting.

    The Albert Lea Recreation Department is teaming up with local organizations to hold a Safety Night today at Morin Park from 4:00pm-7:00pm. The Parks Department will have bounce houses and yard games, the Freeborn County Sheriffs Department will hold a K-9 Demonstration and talk about boat safety. Albert Lea Fire and Rescue will hold a 12 and under combat challenge. The Albert Lea Police Department will conduct a bike rodeo and give CPR instruction as well as host McGruff the crime dog and Freeborn County Public Health will be on hand with COVID vaccinations.

    Food trucks and refreshments will be available for purchase. There is no charge for entry to this free community building event.

    Freeborn County Public Health reported 8 new lab confirmed positive COVID-19 cases yesterday. Public Health also reported 1 new death, a resident between the age of 95 and 99, and no residents were reported as being newly hospitalized. The number of active cases within the county now stands at 59.

    Power 96 News Brief for Monday 08-09

    08/10/2021

    The Albert lea Recreation Department is teaming up with local organizations to hold a Safety Night on Tuesday, August 10th at Morin Park from 4:00pm-7:00pm. The Parks Department will have bounce houses and yard games, the Freeborn County Sheriffs Department will hold a K-9 Demonstration and talk about boat safety. The Fire and Rescue Department will hold a 12 and under combat challenge. The Albert Lea Police Department will conduct a bike rodeo and give CPR instruction as well as host McGruff the crime dog and Freeborn County Public Health will be on hand with COVID vaccinations. THere is no charge for entery to this free community building event.

    The Bridge Avenue Reconstruction Project is still moving forward with crews installing sanitary sewer and watermain work between the Goose Creek crossing and Hammer Road. Other crews are grading and performing aggregate base work between Richway Drive and Goose Creek crossing, there are also crews installing concrete curb and gutter between Richway Drive and Eastgate Road. Those activities will continue this week along with the completion of the traffic signal at Richway Drive.

    As the construction continues, drivers are reminded to slow down through construction zone for the safety of others, and the workers on site, as well as your own safety. Avoid using a cellular phone when walking or driving near a construction zone and slow down through residential neighborhoods while following the posted detours.

    Tonight the City Council of Albert Lea will hold a work session beginning at 5:30 this evening in the council chambers at city hall. At 7 pm the council will move into a regular meeting of the city council.

    There will be a special joint session of the Albert Lea City Council and Albert Lea Township on August 10th at 6 pm to discuss a proposed orderly annexation agreement between the city and Albert Lea Township. This meeting is open to the public and will be held at the Albert Lea Township Hall located at 1508 Broadway Ave South in Albert Lea.

        

    The federal agency investigating the crash of a single-engine plane in a small southeastern Minnesota city says three people were killed when it crashed and burst into flames.

    National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Keith Holloway said Sunday that three people were on board the single-engine Mooney M20 when it went down Saturday in Victoria, a community of 7,300 about 25 miles southwest of Minneapolis. Officials said there were no survivors. The plane burst into flames upon impact and ignited a fire at a house adjacent to the lot.

    Officials say none of the people in the home were injured.

    Power 96 News Brief for Thursday 08-05

    08/05/2021

    Governor Tim Walz announced that Minnesotans can now submit their requests for a $100 vaccination rewards program at mn.gov/covid19/100. Minnesotans 12 years of age and older who have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine since July 30 can submit a request for a $100 Visa gift card. The form will remain open for submissions for Minnesotans who get their first dose until August 15.   Governor Walz will authorize up to $2.5 million in American Rescue Plan funding to start up the program, and at this time, this rewards program is limited to the first 24,330 eligible submissions.

    Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and metro prosecutors have announced the launch of a new unit to review potentially wrongful convictions through a partnership with the Minnesota Innocence Project.

    The partnership is funded by a two-year, $300,000 grant from the Justice Department and will be the first of its kind in the state to review the cases of people imprisoned for crimes they may not have committed.

    The Conviction Review Unit (CRU) will also attempt to determine frequent causes of wrongful convictions to prevent such cases and potentially identify who actually committed the crime in some cases.

    Freeborn County Public Health reported 6 new lab confirmed positive COVID-19 case yesterday. Public Health also reported 1 new deaths, and 2 residents were reported as being newly hospitalized. The number of active cases within the county now stands at 44.

    Power 96 News Brief for Wednesday 08-04

    08/04/2021

    An Albert Lea woman has entered a plea in a drug possession case.

    Athena Alizabeth Berg, 28 of Albert Lea, entered the guilty plea Tuesday to third-degree possession of drugs.

    Berg was arrested on January 14, 2020, after authorities allege that she caused a disturbance in the law enforcement center. Officers say Berg was apparently intoxicated and when she tried to drive away, she was stopped and methamphetamine and other drug items were found in her vehicle.

    Her sentencing has been set for October 22nd.

    Mayo Clinic has reinstated universal masking for the safety of patients, visitors and staff.

    Mayo Clinic says that due to the continued spread of the delta variant, they will again require all staff members, regardless of role and COVID-19 vaccination status, to wear masks in all Mayo Clinic buildings. That directive went into effect Monday, Aug. 2. Patients and visitors are already required to universally mask, and Mayo has decided to extend universal masking of staff at all locations for the safety of staff, patients and visitors.

    Freeborn County Public Health Department will be offering vaccines at the Freeborn County Fair that kicked off yesterday.

    The shots will be offered through Saturday from 4:30-7:30 pm inside the fair's Grandstand. No appointments are needed for the vaccination.

    All Olmsted County employees and visitors will be required to wear facial coverings in Olmsted County government buildings effective August 4.

    This requirement is going into effect because, Olmsted County has been classified as a county with substantial community transmission of COVID-19. Once counties reach that threshold, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Minnesota Department of Health recommend that face coverings be worn in indoor, public settings by all individuals – vaccinated or not.

    Freeborn County Public Health reported 18 new lab confirmed positive COVID-19 case yesterday. Public Health also reported no new deaths, no residents were reported as being newly hospitalized. The number of active cases within the county now stands at 43.

    Power 96 News Brief for Tuesday 08-03

    08/03/2021

    The woman who was killed in an early Saturday morning shooting in Austin has been identified.

    The Austin Police Department as identified the the woman killed Saturday morning as Tyesha Gills. Gills was 20 years old and had been residing Austin.

    Officers responded to a 911 call shortly before 2 a.m. Saturday about a woman who had been shot inside a residence on the 100 block of 10th Street NW.

    A warrant for a charge of 2nd-degree murder has been issued for Me'Darian Ledale McGruder of Austin.

    The 27-year-old is wanted in connection to a homicide that killed Gills on July 31. McGruder's whereabouts are currently unknown.

    An Albert Lea man who broke into the residence of a woman in Brownsdale thereby violating a domestic abuse no-contact order against him has been sentenced to prison time in Mower County District Court.

    38-year old Brandon Stanley Johnson who pleaded guilty was sentenced to 30 months in prison for a felony charge of violating a domestic abuse no-contact order. Johnson was also sentenced to 19 months in prison for a felony 5th degree drug possession charge that stemmed from an earlier incident. The two sentences will be served concurrently.

    The Minnesota Department of Health and the CDC are issuing a new classification system for when face coverings are recommended indoors to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

    Olmsted County has now reached the threshold for when those recommendations go into effect. Olmsted County, therefore, recommends that everyone wear a face-covering even if they are vaccinated in the following situations:

    In public, indoor settings in areas with substantial or high community transmission (which includes Olmsted County currently.)

    Where there is a high risk of COVID-19 spread or complications from COVID-19 infection, such as schools, health care settings, homeless shelters, and correctional facilities.

    If you are immunocompromised or at an increased risk for severe disease from COVID-19.

    Freeborn County Public Health reported 8 new lab confirmed positive COVID-19 case yesterday. Public Health also reported no new deaths, One resident was reported as being newly hospitalized. The number of active cases within the county now stands at 36.

     

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