The Princeton Union-Eagle Community newspaper of Princeton, Minn. Thu, 20 Nov 2014 23:21:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Committee asks city to support street enhancement proposals Thu, 20 Nov 2014 23:21:09 +0000 Joel Stottrup / Union-Eagle Kelly Guptil, in the downtown on Nov. 13, with the intersection of First Street and Rum River Drive in the background. Guptil hopes for the downtown to receive enhancements that would make visitors and shoppers feel more safe in driving and walking there.

Joel Stottrup / Union-Eagle
Kelly Guptil, in the downtown on Nov. 13, with the intersection of First Street and Rum River Drive in the background. Guptil hopes for the downtown to receive enhancements that would make visitors and shoppers feel more safe in driving and walking there.

“To calm the visitor’s experience.”

That is what Princeton business owner Kelly Guptil is suggesting certain downtown enhancements, which she is pushing for, would do.

Guptil, owner of Louise’s Basement in downtown Princeton, is co-chair of the Downtown Committee, a subcommittee of the Princeton Area Chamber of Commerce. She said her committee has been encouraged by the Minnesota Design Team’s downtown-enhancement suggestions when the team visited the city in September. The team, which consists of artists, architects and planners, goes to cities to learn about the communities’ strengths and weaknesses and then offers improvement ideas.

Guptil asked the Princeton City Council Nov. 20 if it would support the Design Team’s suggestions for enhancements, including sidewalk bump-outs at certain intersections, trees planted in certain spots to lead the eye toward the Rum River, in-street pedestrian crossing signs and removal of the downtown’s wrought-iron fence.

The wrought-iron fence stands along the sidewalk on the east side of Rum River Drive for two blocks in the central business district. The Design Team suggested that as part of removing the fence, there could be space dedicated in the mall parking lots for activities.

Council members, after hearing Guptil’s presentation, said they would take her suggestions under advisement.

Because Rum River Drive is owned by Mille Lacs County, the county’s public works director, Bruce Cochran, has worked on seeing if the county could get government grants to fund downtown street enhancements.

Cochran submitted a letter of interest to seek federal grant money through the Transportation Alternatives Program. The intersections he said he has in mind for bump-outs are along Rum River Drive at Second Street (both north and south) and at First Street, he said.

Richard Baker, county economic development coordinator, and County Commissioner Genny Reynolds, Princeton, have been supporting the bump-outs idea.

Guptil’s written presentation to the council mentions a large number of accidents that have occurred on Rum River Drive in the last 10 years and said they included several hospitalizations and one death. There was one motor vehicle-pedestrian fatality at the intersection of Rum River Drive and First Street, though it occurred 12 years ago, according to Police Chief Todd Frederick.

State records show 29 crashes at First Street and Rum River Drive from 2004-2013, according to Frederick. He noted that a six-block area of the downtown had 107 crashes during 2004-2013, of which 92 were motor vehicle only, eight were pedestrian related, one was bike related and six were classified as other. There was a motor vehicle versus pedestrian accident in each of 2010 and 2011 resulting in minor injuries, he said.

“All our group is asking is that the city support the county’s application and work with the county to see that it happens,” she said. Having the bump-outs would “calm a visitor’s experience to the downtown,” she said. “It would make the downtown more inviting. It would welcome people to use the public parking across the street (at the mall parking lots).”

The goal is to make the downtown “more enjoyable, calmer, walkable,” Guptil said.

Guptil added that it is not her job to come up with the funding, and that she feels that having government make such improvements “is why we pay taxes” and is “what a city is supposed to do.”

Guptil mentioned three other priority projects:

• In-street crossing signs in the middle of crosswalks on Rum River Drive from Third Street North to Sixth Street South. The double-sided, 12-inch wide by 47-inch high signs are flexible to lie flat when hit and to spring back upright when released, and can have fixed or removable bases.

• Remove the wrought iron fence with the purpose of physically connecting the two shopping center parking lots with businesses on both sides of Rum River Drive. Some vegetation maintenance could be reduced by installing etched or terra-cotta color stained concrete, according to the Design Team.

• Tree plantings along the sidewalks on both sides of Second Street North from Steven’s Restaurant and the Sherburne State Bank parking area on east toward Riverside Park. The Design Team suggested this could be the first phase of developing a promenade with a porch in the area behind the north mall.

Guptil also said the Downtown Committee is recommending that various groups and advisory boards work on other proposals. They include installing brackets on utility poles on part of Rum River Drive and First Street to hang flower baskets, building a bridge to connect Riverside and Riebe parks, research how other cities handle sidewalk snow removal in front of businesses, research how to enhance entrances to the city, look into how to better connect the city’s parks to each other, and promote the town’s businesses.

“My customers say this town looks tired, unkempt and uncared for,” Guptil said. She then recalled how Mayor Paul Whitcomb in his recent campaign for re-election stated his support for the Design Team ideas. “I’d challenge him to continue that support and use the gift (of the Design Team ideas) we’ve been given,” Guptil said.

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Learning from disaster: Medical center, emergency services use mock shooting as a teaching tool Thu, 20 Nov 2014 23:19:22 +0000 Joel Stottrup / Union-Eagle Princeton firefighters carry a mock victim out of the main lobby of Fairview Northland Medical Center in Princeton on Nov. 12 as Princeton Police officer Jason Cederberg, right, and a Sherburne County deputy, in back next to the pharmacy, stand guard as part of the disaster drill there that evening.

Joel Stottrup / Union-Eagle
Princeton firefighters carry a mock victim out of the main lobby of Fairview Northland Medical Center in Princeton on Nov. 12 as Princeton Police officer Jason Cederberg, right, and a Sherburne County deputy, in back next to the pharmacy, stand guard as part of the disaster drill there that evening.

It was a little after 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12, and Fairview Northland Medical Center was becoming a hub of activity.

As part of a disaster drill that included a mock shooting, a man walked into the hospital pharmacy and tried to pick up a prescription.

The man failed to have the appropriate identification to pick up the prescription drugs and that made him very upset.

The situation escalated, and the man, as part of the drill, “opened fire” with a handgun.

Police officers arrived on scene within minutes and in the next four minutes and 21 seconds, the shooter was located in a public restroom, where he was shot and killed.

There were 10 victims in the shooting drill, including three who died from their injuries, said Princeton Police Chief Todd Frederick.

“Our goal was to create a realistic event,” the chief said.

Learning what to do during a disaster such as the mock shooting is very important to the hospital, said Fairview Northland’s Jolene Henning.

“We need to be familiar with what we need to do,” Henning said. Major tasks included putting the hospital in a lockdown mode and providing triage as part of the process of determining the physical condition of the shooting victims.

So two times a year the hospital’s emergency management team hosts a training exercise. The Nov. 12 mock shooting was one of those.

The medical center has policies in place, Henning said.

A drill such as the mock shooting gives hospital staff the opportunity to see the policies and procedures put to work in real action, she added.

And like all training opportunities, there are triumphs and challenges.

“We learned some things we do really well and identified some things that need improvement,” Henning said.

Those things — both the good work and the shortcomings — were discussed in a post-exercise debriefing and will also be addressed in an after-action report by the medical center’s emergency management committee.

As part of the disaster drill, hospital staff was joined by members of the Princeton Police Department, Princeton Fire & Rescue, Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Office, Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office and North Ambulance.

“It was good that we could incorporate multiple agencies,” Frederick said.

In addition to brushing up on their emergency response team skills, they were also able to experience what it is like to work under one radio system. The exercise afforded the opportunity to test the strength of radio reception in the many far-reaching corners of the hospital, Frederick said.

“It was a real good training, and everyone worked well together,” he said.

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Vrchota memorial bench to be used during concert series Thu, 20 Nov 2014 23:16:25 +0000 Joel Stottrup / Union-Eagle Carol Swanson and Jeff Hedmen with Swantec stand next to the Vrchota memorial bench that they had just delivered to Mille Lacs County Historical Society President Barry Schreiber at the depot museum in Princeton on Nov. 13.

Joel Stottrup / Union-Eagle
Carol Swanson and Jeff Hedmen with Swantec stand next to the Vrchota memorial bench that they had just delivered to Mille Lacs County Historical Society President Barry Schreiber at the depot museum in Princeton on Nov. 13.

An approximately 5-foot long, light blue steel bench with musical notes and the name Vrchota laser cut on it has been delivered to the Mille Lacs County Historical Society depot museum for use during Princeton’s Tuesdays in the Park concert series each summer.

The bench was manufactured by Swantec Manufacturing of Baldwin Township as a memorial to Tom Vrchota, a local insurance agent who died of heart disease at age 48 on Sept. 22, 2013.

Carol and Jay Swanson, owner of Swantec, worked on the project, with Carol doing the design. She and Swantec fabricator Jeff Hedman delivered the bench to Barry Schreiber, the historical society board president, at the depot on Nov. 13.

Attendees at a Tom Vrchota memorial concert that was put on in July this year as an extra concert in the Tuesdays in the Park concert series got to see  the bench at that time. But it was not fully completed then.

Vrchota’s widow, Jessie Vrchota, said that the bench turned out “perfect” and that Swantec, which donated time for the project, “did an amazing job” of designing and manufacturing the bench.

Colleagues of Vrchota donated money to make the bench.

The musical design seen in the bench reflects Vrchota’s love of music and his having a band that regularly played at the Tuesdays in the Park concerts.

He played guitar and sang what Jessie Vrchota described as a blues-country style of music.

“It was something he could do for the community,” she said.

Jessie Vrchota, who sang with him in his band, said that Swantec had a connection to Tom Vrchota. Jay and Carol Swanson’s son Carl was in the same grade as Tom and Jessie Vrchota’s son Austin Feero, and they played football together. Their varsity football team went to state and the two graduated in 2013. Tom Vrchota and Jay Swanson became good friends during that time, Jessie Vrchota said.

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Mini-Dazzle is  Nov. 29 Thu, 20 Nov 2014 23:14:24 +0000 Princeton will kick off the holiday season with its annual Mini-Dazzle Parade at 6 P.m. on Saturday, Nov. 29. The Parade route will extend along First Street at the Mille Lacs Historical Society’s Depot Museum to downtown and Rum River Drive. Floats will be judged this year, with the top four being presented cash prizes. The parade this year is being presented by the Princeton Block Party Committee.


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Shirley A. Sanborn Thu, 20 Nov 2014 23:13:21 +0000 Shirley   A.  Sanborn

Shirley Sanborn (Foss), age 86, of Andover, Minnesota, died November 18, 2014.
Preceded in death by loving husband, Marvin and eight siblings.
Survived by children, Sonee (Paul) Bergquist and Dale (Vicki) Sanborn; grandchildren, Grant, Blake and Grace Bergquist, Ryan, Noah, Connor, Logan and Taylor Sanborn; siblings, Warren Bud (Marlene) and Leland Speed (Debbie); numerous nieces and nephews; many other relatives and friends.
Memorial service will be held 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 22, 2014 at Constance Evangelical Free Church, 16150 Crosstown Boulevard Northwest, Andover with visitation at the church one hour prior to the service. Private interment Morningside Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred.
Arrangements with Gearhart Funeral Home (763) 755-6300.

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Princeton Police Report: Nov. 10-16, 2014 Thu, 20 Nov 2014 23:08:49 +0000 The following incidents were reported to the Princeton Police Department between Nov. 10-16. The times printed are when a complaint was received, not necessarily when it occurred. The report was compiled by Jeff Hage.

Monday, Nov. 10

4:18 a.m. Numerous items were taken from a vehicle on 16th Avenue N.

5:22 a.m. A vehicle on Highway 169 slid off the road near the First Street overpass. No injuries were reported.

12:57 p.m. A vehicle was stuck on an unplowed street in the 100 block of Sixth Avenue N. Officer helped in pushing the vehicle.

1:13 p.m. A vehicle was stuck in the roadway, blocking Northland Drive. Vehicle needed to be towed.

1:45 p.m. A truck struck a Bobcat on First Street and Rum River Drive. No damage to either vehicles.

1:53 p.m.  A vehicle was stuck on an unplowed street in the 200 block of Second Avenue N.

1:56 p.m. A vehicle was stuck on an unplowed street on Sixth Avenue N.

2:30 p.m. A male on First Street at 10th Avenue fell while walking to his vehicle. He had a cut on his nose. Refused medical treatment.

4:27 p.m. A car was stuck in the road on Ninth Street, blocking a snowplow from getting through.

Tuesday, Nov. 11

2:36 a.m. A person left the hospital and was trying to walk to Milaca. Officer gave person a ride home to Milaca.

3:24 p.m. The possible theft of a power inverter was reported in the 700 block of Rum River Drive.

8:38 p.m. A pickup truck struck a lamp post on Highway 95. The post fell across the Highway 169 exit ramp.

Wednesday, Nov. 12

8:05 a.m. Responded to an accident on 21st Avenue. No injuries reported.

12:45 p.m. Scam alert. A person with an alleged Middle Eastern accent called a person claiming to be the IRS and stated the person owed $5,000 in back taxes.

8:18 p.m. Participated in training drill at Fairview Northland Medical Center.

Friday, Nov. 14

1:37 p.m. A routine search of the middle school using the K-9 unit was conducted.

10:16 p.m. A 24-year-old female was cited for shoplifting on 21st Avenue.

Saturday, Nov. 15

12:03 p.m. A juvenile was cited following an accident on Rum River Drive.

4:15 p.m. A crash was reported on Sixth Street N. No injuries reported.

8:46 p.m. Medical response at the ice arena. Child transported to the hospital by ambulance.

Sunday, Nov. 16

1:08 p.m. An accident was reported on Rum River Drive at 10th Avenue N.

5:09 p.m. A property damage complaint was made on 21st Avenue.

10:12 p.m. An accident was reported at the ice arena. No injuries reported.

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Sherburne County Sheriff’s Report Thu, 20 Nov 2014 23:07:58 +0000 Arrests:

Noelle Elizabeth Bauer, 22, of Princeton, for DWI.

Brady Joseph Josie, 20, of Zimmerman, for a Sherburne County warrant.

Dean Lloyd Rychly, 28, of Zimmerman, for a Wright County warrant.

Incident reports:

Nov. 8: Leonard Reed, of 116th Street NW in Baldwin Township, reported that his residence had been burglarized. Among the items taken were a water heater, water faucet, sump pump and pulley. The estimated value of these items is $1,090.

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County Board Briefs: Nov. 4, 2014 meeting Thu, 20 Nov 2014 23:06:48 +0000 The Mille Lacs County Board of Commissioner conducted the following business at their Nov. 4 meeting. Written by Joel Stottrup.

County attorney transition

The board approved an organizational development services worker through the county’s Employee Assistance Program to “encourage a smooth transition with the new incoming county attorney.” County Attorney Jan Jude will be leaving the office at the end of this year because of losing her re-election bid. Joe Walsh won over Mille Lacs County Assistant Attorney Mark Herzing in the Nov. 4 general election. Commissioner Tim Wilhelm, who made the motion to approve the hiring, said he wanted a report to the board in December on the cost of the transition assistance.

Elimination of position

The board approved elimination of a law clerk position that was vacated when the person in it, Brian Wold, was promoted to become an assistant county attorney in the county attorney’s office.

For foster care

The board approved a request from the Community and Veterans Services Department to purchase approximately 27 gift baskets at $35 per basket to give to the county’s foster care providers as a token of appreciation for their work.

The board also approved the department’s request to fund the provision of holiday gifts at $30 each for the county’s approximately 110 child/adult residents in foster care.

Public works report

The board received a report on the Public Works Department’s work, revenues and expenditures for 2013. Its expenditures tally shows the department having spent $655,573 on snow and ice control, $182,242 on right of way maintenance, $342,201 on engineering, $4 million on construction, and $3,242 for building and equipment capital outlay.

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School district to have 10-year $11.45M maintenance plan Thu, 20 Nov 2014 23:05:44 +0000  

With the Princeton School District planning for the start of constructing a new K-2 school, two individuals have been working on how to keep the district’s buildings maintained long term.

The two planners are Keith Barlage, the district’s building and grounds coordinator, and Ryan Hoffman, with the district’s construction consulting firm, ICS. The two presented a 10-year maintenance plan to the School Board Nov. 4. Hoffman said the goal is to be proactive and not have the district on a “roller coaster of referendums” to come up with money when maintenance needs back up.

Hoffman and Barlage made a spreadsheet estimating that if the district were to complete deferred maintenance, plus meet anticipated maintenance for fiscal years 2016 through 2025, the cost will be close to $11.45 million.

A maintenance plan has to be a working document that can be altered as the years progress because unexpected things can happen, Hoffman said.

Planners can get a pretty good “shot” at budgeting maintenance for the next three to five years, but anything beyond that gets more into estimating, Hoffman said.

Hoffman added that if mechanical systems in buildings don’t get maintained enough, they become like at South Elementary where “wholesale change” would be needed if the building had a long-range future.

(South Elementary, whose original core was built in 1954, is going to be replaced by the district’s planned new elementary.)

The long-range maintenance plan projects that the middle school will cost the most in maintenance over the 10 years, at a total of $3.92 million. Next highest for maintenance is the high school, projected to cost $3.65 million, followed by the district offices/early childhood education building at $2.25 million, and the grades three through five North Elementary at $1.46 million. Only $164,400 is anticipated for the planned new primary school in that time period.

Mechanical systems are the costliest in the plan for the entire district, with estimated total maintenance at close to $5 million, followed by exterior building envelope maintenance at close to $4 million.

Hoffman said the school district doesn’t have $11.45 million, or about $1 million to spend each year for the 10-year period, so the district will have to plan for how to come up with the funding.

At the end of the 10-year period, the district’s school building roofs should be in good shape for a long time, Hoffman noted. Sections of roofs have been redone in recent years, with one of the latest being a section of the district’s office building.

According to Hoffman, the district’s roofs have a 40-year warranty.

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Shooter: Sister was mean to Dad Thu, 20 Nov 2014 23:00:49 +0000 An 18-year-old man allegedly shot and killed his teenage sister Friday, Nov. 7, because she was being mean to their father.

Luis Nahuel Rosa, of St. Cloud, has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder after being accused of killing his 16-year-old sister, Hennah Nicole Rosa, in a mobile home northeast of Milaca in the Rum River State Forest. He is being held in the Mille Lacs County Jail on $500,000 bond after making his first appearance in Mille Lacs County District Court on Wednesday, Nov. 12.

Hennah Rosa was shot twice from the back, according to a criminal complaint filed in Mille Lacs County District Court. A fatal gunshot struck the girl in the shoulder, went through a lung and struck her aorta, which caused her to bleed out on the floor of the mobile home, which was being used as a hunting camp by members of the Rosa family. A second shot struck Hennah Rosa in the elbow.

During an interview with an agent with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Luis Rosa admitted to loading and firing the suspected murder weapon. He stated that he shot Hennah Rosa because he was tired of the way she treated their father.

Luis Nahuel Rosa,

Luis Nahuel Rosa,

Mille Lacs County deputies responded to a 911 call about 11 p.m. Nov. 7 to find Hennah Rosa lying face down on the floor of the mobile home in a pool of blood. Hennah Rosa was found with a knife in her hand.

Fernando Luis Rosa, 47, of St. Cloud, the father of Luis and Hennah Rosa, told authorities his daughter had “gone crazy” and went after his son with a knife.

Fernando Rosa told deputies that his son had gotten stabbed with the knife in the stomach. A deputy and first responder looked at the alleged injury to Luis Rosa and stated there was only a scratch on his stomach, and not a stabbing or puncture wound, the complaint states. It was noted that the injury on Luis Rosa’s stomach appeared to be older in nature because there was some yellowing of the bruises around the scratch.

But the account of the stabbing conflicted with that of two other witnesses, who said they never saw a knife at the scene. What they did see was Luis Rosa choking his sister and threatening to kill her, the complaint states. Then, one witness said, a “click” was heard, followed by four gunshots. The other witness collaborated the account.

The shooting unfolded during an argument between the two siblings, the complaint states.

Fernando Rosa and his daughter were allegedly arguing over a malfunctioning heater in the mobile home when Luis Rosa intervened in support of his father.

Hennah Rosa allegedly told her brother to “shut up” because the argument was none of his business. Luis Rosa responded by going over to Hennah Rosa and choking her, the complaint alleges.

Fernando Rosa, in his statement, never mentioned the choking incident addressed by the two witnesses, the report states.

Fernando Rosa stepped in and tried to separate his fighting children.

That’s when Luis Rosa allegedly said, “OK, OK, I’m done,” a witness account states. Luis Rosa then allegedly grabbed a black pistol and said, “I’m going to kill you, bitch.”

The witness stated that Luis Rosa then fired the gun at his sister. Hennah Rosa was running away from her brother as he was shooting, according to a witness report, but then turned and fell. When she hit the ground, Hennah Rosa was “moving like a fish out of water,” the witness stated. She was lying face down.

Following the shooting, Luis Rosa allegedly said, “Dad, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.”

During the course of the investigation, authorities learned that Luis Rosa has behavioral and mental health issues and is known to have outbursts, the complaint states. Luis Rosa also has been diagnosed with pervasive development disorder, which has some similarities to autism, the complaint states.

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