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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Woman sues EPA over pesticide drift

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News Ellsworth, 54011
Pierce County Herald
715-273-4335 customer support
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

A Minnesota mom is among those suing the Environmental Protection Agency to force it to reevaluate potential harms of pesticide drift from farm fields and then act accordingly. Farmer and mother Bonnie Wirtz of Melrose was treated at the emergency room last year when pesticide sprayed on a nearby field drifted into her home. She said the exposure caused a severe reaction. The petition also asks the EPA to immediately adopt no-spray buffer zones around homes, schools, parks and day care centers for the most dangerous and drift-prone pesticides. 

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Food prices in Minnesota and nationwide this year are rising much less than expected and that's caused a major change in the USDA's food price forecast. Last year the ag department predicted price hikes of up to 4 percent because of the 2012 drought; early this year they took it down to two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half percent, but the current forecast is now 1.5 to 2.5 percent. Food price analyst Ricky Volpe says several factors went into the lowering of the forecast, including the fact that grocery store prices have not shot up as expected. 

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A 15-year-old Hawley girl died in a weekend fire at the family home. Rylie Efterfield died in the fire early Sunday. Her mother, Kristen Bonham, was treated for first degree burns and smoke inhalation. She and two other children were able to escape. Clay County Sheriff Bill Bergquist says flames were shooting 15 feet into the air when firefighters arrived. The cause of the fire is not yet known. The state fire marshall's office is investigating. Rylie's body is in the Twin Cities for an autopsy. 

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A body was found in the city of Hugo yesterday (Sun) afternoon and while few details have been released Commander Brian Mueller says they believe it is that of an elderly man who disappeared one week earlier. 75-year-old Ray Novakovic left home to take a walk last Sunday and never returned. Washington County Sheriff's investigators and the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office are working to make a positive identification and determine the cause of death. 

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Wayzata police now say that a home invasion that injured a couple Saturday afternoon in Long Lake was not a random attack, and they are still working to track down the three men they believe targeted the couple. Police say three armed men pushed their way into the home after knocking on the door, tied up the couple that lives there, and took them into the basement. It took the wife about 90 minutes to get free and call police. Both she and her husband suffered minor injuries. The thieves got away with their wallets, cell phones, and a 2013 Kia Sorento. Investigators say the men should be considered armed and dangerous. 

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An Owatonna woman was killed was killed when the vintage car she was driving encountered a mechanical problem and flipped over during a touring event in Utah. 51-year-old Karen Johnson was president of the T Totalers, a Minnesota-based Model T owner group. Police say there was a problem with one of the car's wheels, and it ran off the road and rolled over. The vintage car had no seatbelts and everyone was ejected. Johnson was killed, and three others were hurt. 

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Jason Schulte
Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 
(715) 243-7767 x243
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