Recent Area News
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Sergeant Kevin Tussing, Northfield Police TZD Coordinator
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 6th, 2016
Pay Attention and Live: Extra Enforcement to Remind Drivers of Distraction Dangers
Northfield – Driver distraction can end peoples’ lives and turn the lives of those they left behind upside down. From family and friends to neighbors and coworkers, recent distracted driving tragedies include:
A New Prague school bus driver walking to get his morning paper was killed by a woman allegedly responding to a text.
A driver sending Facebook messages ran a red light, killing a father and his young daughter in Sherburne County.
A 20-year old suspected of being distracted lost control of his vehicle in Washington County, hit an embankment, went airborne and smashed into a car, killing a 22-year-old mother.
To enforce Minnesota’s no texting law, more than 300 law enforcement agencies across Minnesota will participate in the extra enforcement distracted driving campaign April 11th though the 17th, including the Rice County MOD Squad made up of the Northfield, Dundas and Faribault Police Departments, the Rice County Sheriff’s Office and the Minnesota State Patrol 2160 District.
“It’s not about how good of a driver you are. It’s about the five seconds you take your eyes off the road. Don’t risk it.” Says Sergeant Kevin Tussing.
“We need to develop a traffic safety culture that does not condone driving while distracted much like we have done with drunk driving.” Says Vernon J. Betkey Jr. Director of the Maryland Highway safety office.
We need people to Buckle Up, Hang Up, and have their Heads Up, that it all Adds Up.
Reducing distracted driving requires a unified effort in Rice County and in Minnesota to influence each driver’s choices.
The Devastation of Distraction
Preliminary numbers show that distraction was a factor in nearly 17.4000 crashes in 2015, resulting in 74 deaths and 174 serious injuries.
In a five year period (2010-2014), 328 people lost their lives and 1,138 people suffered life-changing injuries in distracted driving-related crashes.
During the 2015 extra enforcement distracted driving campaign; law enforcement cited 909 drivers for texting and driving in Minnesota, a 65 percent increase of the previous year (550).
Enhanced Law Targets Repeat Offenders
In Minnesota, It is illegal for drivers to read, compose or send text and emails, and access the web while the vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic. That includes sitting at a stoplight or stop sign. It is also illegal for drivers with a permit or provisional driver’s license to use a cell phone while driving, except for emergencies to call 911. This also includes people driving commercial vehicles.
Under Minnesota law, drivers face a $50 fine plus court fees for a first offense and $275 in fines, plus court fees, for a second and subsequent violations of the texting while driving law.
If you injure or kill someone because of texting and driving, you can also face a felony charge of criminal vehicular operation.
Make the Safe Choice
Cell Phones- Put the phone down, turn it off or place it out of reach.
Music and other controls- Pre-program radio stations and arrange music in an easy-to-access spot. Adjust mirrors and ventilation before traveling.
Navigation-Map out the destinations and enter the GPS route in advance.
Eating and drinking- Avoid messy foods and secure drinks.
Children-Teach children the importance of good behavior in a vehicle and model proper driving behavior.
Passengers- Speak up to stop drivers from distracted driving behavior and offer help with anything that takes the driver’s attention off the road.
The Rice County MOD squad works in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety. The DPS-OTS is the anchoring partner of the state’s Towards Zero Deaths traffic safety program. A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing and promoting safe and smart driving behavior. TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes – education, enforcement, engineering, and emergency medical trauma response. Sergeant Kevin Tussing
Hillmann gets Board approval
In a 6 to 1 vote last night, the Northfield School Board chose Dr. Matthew Hillmann to be the next Superintendent of Northfield Public Schools. Board member Margaret Colangelo voted no citing concern that he was the only candidate that applied, although she supports Hillman. He said this morning, “I’m really proud to have a chance to lead this world class organization. We’ve got outstanding people, working with kids every day and that’s the best thing we can do as a school district”. Hillmann anticipates meeting with Board members in the next couple of days to negotiate his contract. During the interview process Hillmann was impressed with the genuine desire of the Board to make sure there’s a focus on strong relationships between all the stakeholders including district leadership, building leadership, teachers and staff and the community and parents. He said those relationships must be maintained. Hillman praised retiring Superintendent Dr. Chris Richardson saying how grateful he is for his mentorship. Hillmann has served in the Northfield School District for seven years, currently as the Director of Administrative Services and previously as the Director of Human Resources and Technology. We’ll hear more from Hillmann coming up.
E. Cannon trail pulled and a payment questioned
The East Cannon River trail project was pulled from last night’s Northfield Council agenda and there were several voicing their frustration over the late hour in which it was pulled and no explanation of why. Interim Administrator CC Linstroth said that Dundas asked for more time to communicate with their Council. Nakasian wanted it on the agenda saying for the purpose of transparency to the public. Zweifel said the discussion they were having was enough. They voted 5 to 1 to remove the items. Mayor Graham added this morning that Dundas hasn’t had a chance to review it. Audience members were caught unaware of the late removal, they expressed support of an asphalt paved trail at the open mic. Graham says the project, with a paved trail, is coming in within budget. Of course, that depends on Dundas council, which Administrator McCarthy says they will discuss it at their meeting on Monday. Victor Summa asked about a $25,000 payment to the League of Minnesota Cities. That led Ludescher to amend the motion to remove it from the disbursements as he was unaware of a litigation settlement. The payment is being withheld until Council has more information. We’ll have more on this issue on Monday morning, when Linstroth comes in studio at 8:45.
Aerial platform yellow flagged
NAFRS Board Chair Glen Castore commented discussed the yellow flag received on the Aerial Platform Ladder truck. It was taken to Custom Fire for estimate. It will cost $43,000 to repair all of the hydraulics and another $12,000 for transmission work. At the same time, Castore says, there is an opportunity to buy a 10 year old truck for about $300,000. In their Capital Plan is to buy a new one in 2020 which would cost about $1.3 million. There’s a strong interest in buying the used truck. It will now go to the equipment committee for further investigation.
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Burnsville, Minnesota – April 5, 2016 – Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota ® (BBB) has received the first local report about an employment scam targeting college students nationwide. This scheme first came to the attention of BBB of Cleveland last fall, when they began receiving reports from concerned college students about possible employment opportunities from questionable entities such as Geneve Leasing Company, Worldwide Shipping Solutions and HYDROCK Inc LLC, which is the entity a University of Minnesota student recently reported has been in touch with them about a suspect job offer.
The U of M student recognized the posting from HYDROCK Inc LLC as problematic and some online research led him to a press release issued by BBB of Cleveland last November. A representative from that Better Business Bureau reports that in addition to the report from our region, they’ve received calls about this same scam from Ohio State University, Arkansas Tech and Arkansas State just in the last few weeks. BBB notes there is a legitimate company called Hydrock; however, they are located in England and are not associated with these questionable job offers.
“Many college students are looking for work to bring in money while they earn their degrees and others are looking for their first post-graduate job,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. “Fraudsters, unfortunately, know there’s opportunity for them, as well, which is why it’s vitally important for students to thoroughly research any employment offers they receive.”
Based on information submitted to BBB, a number of University of Minnesota students received emails from HYDROCK Inc. LLC claiming ‘the position will only require 4-6 hours weekly between Mon- Fri.’ The email further states that the position offers flexibility that allows applicants to choose their hours during the day to avoid conflicts between classes or other employment. However, as with most suspect job offers, scant details are offered as to what the position actually entails.
Bogus job offers have been victimizing job seekers for as long as there’s been a job market. Hopeful applicants typically run across these companies while searching for employment online or through unsolicited job offers after posting their resumes on job sites. While some of the scammers concoct business names, others mimic legitimate companies based here in the US or abroad. Addresses typically provided by the bogus companies either do not exist or are valid addresses at which the scammer is not actually located.
People should always be leery of situations where they receive a check upfront, as this is not how legitimate job offers take shape. In particular, avoid situations where you’re asked to deposit a check and send funds back to the ‘employer’ or unknown third-parties. You should not have to pay for an employment opportunity. Job seekers should also watch out for offers to take part in reshipping schemes. Many times, individuals accept these positions not knowing they’re participating in illegal schemes to reship merchandise paid for with stolen credit cards out of the country.
In some cases, fake employment ads or phony job offers are nothing more than attempts to gather the personal information of job seekers for the purpose of identity theft. You should never provide your Social Security number – or sensitive personal information – to any company until you’ve interviewed with them in person, vetted both the business and the offer thoroughly, and formally accepted the position.
“There are definitely red flags people should be looking for – such as being offered a position without so much as a job interview,” added Badgerow.
Other warning signs of potential employment scams include:
- The position involves transferring money or reshipping goods
- The company is or claims to be located in another country
- The position does not list education or experience requirements
- The offer promises significant earning potential for little effort
- Emails contain grammatical and typographical errors
- Company claims to be in business for many years but their website was only recently created
Job seekers are encouraged to contact BBB in regard to suspect job offers or to research businesses where they’re seeking employment by visiting www.bbb.org or calling 800-646-6222.
The mission of Better Business Bureau is to be the leader in building marketplace trust by promoting, through self-regulation, the highest standards of business ethics and conduct, and to instill confidence in responsible businesses through programs of education and action that inform, assist and protect the general public. We are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Contact BBB at bbb.org or 651-699-1111, toll-free at 1-800-646-6222.
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