Updated: 05/29/2014 3:30 PM
Created: 05/29/2014 2:47 PM WDIO.com
By: Laurie Stribling
Summer doesn't just mean warmer weather; the summer months are the deadliest on Minnesota roads.
"People drive too fast," Holly Kostrzewski, Regional Coordinator for Toward Zero Deaths, said. "They're probably distracted and sometimes they forget to buckle up."
About 125 people showed up at Spirit Mountain Thursday for the Fourth Annual Toward Zero Deaths Workshop. People working in enforcement, engineering, EMS/trauma and education were there to collaborate on ways to reach their goal of no traffic deaths.
"That's the goal," Lt. Jason Hanson said. "It's a lofty goal, but it's the only one that is acceptable."
Crash statistics from last year were released Thursday. Officials said not much has changed, but that's a positive. In 2009, Minnesota saw 421 traffic fatalities and in 2013 that number is down to 388.
"The numbers aren't rising which is good," Hanson said. "We don't want them to go up."
Fatal and serious injury crashes dropped five percent over the last few years. St. Louis County saw 19 fatalities in 2013 and Koochiching County saw zero.
"It's hard to explain what we see to people," Randy Strohmeyer, with Gold Cross Ambulance, said. "What we try to provide them with is numbers and facts and hopefully that will change their behavior."
In the last decade, officials said the Toward Zero Deaths Initiative has made a difference.
"We've cut fatalities almost in half which is unbelievable," Hanson said.
Kostrzewski said St. Louis County is the deadliest in the Northland for alcohol-related fatalities. She said fatal crashes involving men often include alcohol or speed. She said women are more likely to drive while distracted.
Thieves Steal 2 Red Kettles in Hayward
Thieves have stolen two Salvation Army red kettles in Hayward in recent weeks, leaving the Sawyer County chapter with only three collection stands remaining to collect donations in the final week before Christmas. One kettle was believed to contain $300 to $400.
Sawyer Co. Homicide Charge Dropped
Prosecutors have dropped a homicide charge against a man in the death of his wife at a Sawyer County cabin after further investigation yielded more evidence. The charge against Cade G. Clark, 26, was dropped during a hearing on Wednesday.
Minnesota Joblessness Hits Lowest Level Since 2001
Figures from the Department of Employment and Economic Development show that Minnesota employers added 6,600 jobs in November. That helped lower Minnesota's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to 3.7 percent
Wisconsin Ranks 32nd in Private-Sector Job Growth
Wisconsin ranks 32nd in private-sector job growth for the 12-month period ending in June. The state Department of Workforce Development also reported Thursday that unemployment dropped from 5.4 percent to 5.2 percent between October and November.
St. Louis County Cracks Down on Smoking in Child Care Homes
Although most child care providers don't allow smoking in their homes already, St. Louis County created a rule to make sure it stays that way. On January 1st, all licensed family child care homes in St. Louis County will be completely smoke free 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regardless of whether children are present or not.