Tricounty News

Enter the 2014 Monticello Photo Show

The Monticello Camera Club is currently accepting submissions for the 11th Annual Monticello Photo Show Saturday and Sunday, March 29-30 in River City Extreme’s newly remodeled banquet room.

Photographers of all skill levels are invited to enter, and information on submissions can be found at Entries are due no later than March 1.

Admission to the photo show is free, and everyone is welcome to attend and vote for their favorite entries.

For more information, visit, or call Bob Somerville at (763) 295-3179.

Yes, it was cold!

Sun dogs at dawn Monday morning, Jan. 27. Along Highway 15 near Kimball, it looks like a desolate, god-forsaken place. Add the 20-below temperature and about 45-below wind chill and it feels desolate too. What you can’t see w-Sundogshere are the many areas along Highway 15 that had 5- to 6-foot snowdrifts. The highway was closed for several hours Sunday afternoon after a 10-car pileup caused by poor visibility. Sunday afternoon, MnDOT pulled its plow trucks off the road until morning, and the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office asked everyone to stay off the road entirely. Schools in the area were cancelled Monday and Tuesday because of the bitterly cold temperatures and bad road conditions. Each district makes the call to delay or cancel school, and each will have to determine when those days will be made up. Staff photo by Anton Matua.

(The sun dog phenomena occurs when temperatures are very cold and there is moisture in the air. Sunlight is refracted off of ice crystals in the air to form a sort of parentheses around the sun. This can happen with moonlight, too, as moon dogs.)

Five Minnesota Guard members injured

Five members of the Litchfield-based Minnesota Guard 849th Mobility Augmentation Company were injured in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan last week (Jan. 20).

One man was airlifted to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. He was identified as Litchfield native Staff Sgt. Robbie Sheets. He was hit in the leg and back by shrapnel, and is expected to return to his unit in Afghanistan.

The four other members of the unit who were injured were not identified. They are recovering in Afghanistan.

One American soldier, Chief Warrant Officer Edward Balli, 42, of Monterey, Calif. was killed in the attack.


Meeker Memorial Hospital begins visitor restrictions

Meeker Memorial Hospital will implement visitor restrictions Tuesday, Jan. 21. Because of the prevalence of influenza (FLU) already this season and to further protect patients, staff and the community from its spread, it has been decided to implement visitor restrictions at MMH; the following are in effect until further notice:

• It is recommended that no children visit hospital patients.

• Birth Center: No one under 18 is allowed to visit at this time, with the exception of siblings.

• For anyone with symptoms like scratchy throat, fever, cough, body aches, etc., a mask is required to visit patients.

• All visitors must wash their hands or use hand sanitizer prior to and after visitation.

• There are “hygiene” kiosks with masks and hand sanitizer located in the center of the lobby and in the hall on 3rd Floor between the Inpatient and Behavioral Health inpatient units.

These restrictions are effective immediately and are subject to change.


Chemical explosion in Dassel

Monday, January 20, at 4:16 p.m., the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office, Dassel Fire Department, Dassel Rescue and Gold Cross Ambulance responded to Spectralytics at 145 3rd Street South in Dassel, responding to the report of an explosion in the chemical department. There were no reported injuries, however Gold Cross Ambulance was paged and the employees were evacuated as a safety precaution.

A chemical engineer at Spectralytics was pouring used acids into a 55-gallon waste container when a reaction occurred causing the sealed container to rupture. Spectralytics arranged for a private hazardous material company to remove the chemicals. There was no damage to the Spectralytics building or equipment. Spectralytics did suspend shifts until the cleanup is completed.

The Minnesota Duty Officer was contacted and advised of the situation.