Approximately 20 Army Reserve soldiers from the Willmar-based 825th Quartermaster Detachment were deployed to Kuwait on Saturday.

Their mission will be to provide water and fuel support to the military units in Kuwait. The deployment is expected to last nine months. A farewell ceremony was held at the Willmar Army Reserve Center.

Mark Brunswick



Minnesota marks 100th road death of 2016

Minnesota passed a grim milestone in April as it marked the 100th road death of the year.

The most recent name on the list is Diana Olson, 48, of Embarrass, who was driving near Biwabik in St. Louis County on April 12 when her car left the road and rolled multiple times. Olson was killed and her passenger was hospitalized.

The mounting death toll prompted the Minnesota Department of Public Safety to issue a plea last week for drivers to take care — particularly when it comes to distracted driving, speeding and driving under the influence. While most of the deaths this year have been in cars, accidents have also claimed six motorcyclists, 12 pedestrians and one bicyclist.

Last year, 411 Minnesotans died on the road — the first time the death toll had topped 400, according to the Department of Public Safety. Distracted driving contributed to 74 deaths, according to state data.

“How many times have you looked down at your phone, went too fast because you were late for an appointment, told yourself you were OK to drive?” state Traffic Safety Director Donna Berger said in a prepared statement. “Now ask yourself, is doing any of that worth dying for and leaving your loved ones with a lifetime of grief?”

Jennifer Brooks



Ten more cities get grants to be dementia-friendly

Ten communities in Minnesota have received $14,000 grants to become dementia-friendly.

ACT on Alzheimer’s, a group helping the state prepare for the increasing burden of age-related dementia, announced the winners last week. They are: Anoka, Arlington, Ely, Granite Falls, Litchfield, Pine City, Sartell, Chanhassen, Duluth and the West African community in Brooklyn Center.

Some are “just really neat-sized communities where you know there can be a tremendous amount of community engagement, just given the community size,” said Emily Farah-Miller, executive co-lead for ACT on Alzheimer’s. For example, Arlington, in Sibley County, has about 2,200 people.

The 10 communities join another 33 already working with ACT on Alzheimer’s. Projects have included educating employees to spot the signs of dementia and respond with respect and patience. The grants are funded by Blue Plus, the Medica Foundation and others.

Jenna Ross