Afternoon Minnesota News Briefs: Primary turnout at 11 percentMinnesota News
-- Voter turnout was light in Tuesday's primary elections in Minnesota. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie says eleven-percent of registered voters cast a ballot.
ST. PAUL - Voter turnout was light in Tuesday's primary elections in Minnesota. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie says eleven-percent of registered voters cast a ballot.
Ritchie doesn't think the early primary date was the reason for the low turnout. He says it doesn't seem to make any difference whether it's in September, August or June, it's about the races themselves. Besides a few local races, Ritchie says there weren't really any hot-button statewide races that generated excitement.
State Representative Connie Doepke of Orono is the second Republican legislator in Minnesota to lose their primary election. Mound City Councilman Dave Osmek edged Doepke by 100 votes in the Senate District 33 race Tuesday night. The seat opened after incumbent Senator Gen Olson of Minnetrista announced her retirement. Osmek will face DFL candidate Judy Rogosheske of Orono in the November election. Republican state Representative Steve Smith of Mound also lost his primary battle last night to Tea Party challenger Cindy Pugh.
Residents of the city of Battle Lake in western Minnesota have voted to establish a municipal natural gas utility. More than 81 percent of citizens voted "yes" on Tuesday's primary ballot question. The city will issue up to three-point-four-million dollars in general obligation bonds for acquistion, construction and improvements necessary for the operation of a natural gas utility.
After three failed attempts, voters in Wells in south-central Minnesota approved a bond referendum Tuesday to build a new high school in the United South Central School District. Superintendent Jerry Jenson says the old building was built back in the 30s and 50s and the plumbing and electrical work is outdated plus it's not wired for current technology. Nearly 60-percent of voters authorized close to $29-million to build the new school.
Nearly 200 Minnesota hospitals and nursing homes increased their rates of influenza vaccinations among their health care workers in 2011. The FluSafe program aims to get all eligible health care personnel vaccinated against the flu. In the second year of the FluSafe program, 197 health care facilities participated up from 136 the first year. State health officials say during the last flu season, 144 facilities achieved worker vaccination rates of at least 70 percent while 42 providers reached vaccination levels of 90 percent or greater.