In the year of COVID-19, it shouldn’t be a surprise that COVID-19 stories headlined the Sun’s website.
Five of the top 10 most popular viewed stories for 2020 revolved around the pandemic, which has touched all parts of the world, even Polk County.
1 and 2. Osceola Schools closed, visitor March 7 has COVID-19
The first COVID-19 case, which came into western Wisconsin. The Osceola School District held the annual Destination Imagination event March 7. Two days later, the School District sent out a press release that an individual who attended the event tested positive for the coronavirus.
“According to guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), spending time in the same indoor environment as persons known to have COVID-19 is considered a low risk of exposure to the virus. While the risk to others is considered low, we cannot know for sure that there is absolutely no risk,” the release stated.
The release went on to state, out of abundance of caution, the School District announced it was closing school the next day, March 10.
The story was so popular because it was the first local instance of coronavirus. Two different versions of the story were the first and second highest viewed story at over 8,900 and 6,100 page views respectively.
3. Eight arrested and charged in drug bust in Osceola (from October)
Eight individuals ranging in age from 25 to 46 were arrested as officers from Polk County Sheriff’s Department, Osceola Police Department and St. Croix Valley Drug Task Force executed a search warrant at 501 Saratoga Avenue in the village of Osceola. The drug charges range from possession of methamphetamine to being party to a crime.
4. Opinion column – “Politically correct or just incorrect” (from January)
Then-Sun editor Matt Anderson wrote in his weekly column about residents where he attended high school circulating a petition to remove the mascot, a Native American. That petition garnered 1,300 signatures, he said. A second petition to keep the mascot, led with almost 10,000 signatures. “Emotion takes precedence over reason when jumping into actions like this,” he wrote.
5. One dies in car accident (from February)
A press release from the Polk County Sheriff’s Department described an accident of a one-vehicle rollover on 220th Street in the town of St. Croix Falls. The juvenile passenger died at the scene while the driver was air lifted to Regions Hospital, where he later died. They were identified as Kegan Koshiol and McKinley Erickson.
6. First COVID-19 death in Polk County (from May)
Polk County Public Health reported May 19 a Polk County resident died due to COVID-19. In the news release, it states the individual was believed to have had a workplace exposure to the virus through employment in Minnesota. The individual was also reported to have had multiple underlying health conditions that made them vulnerable to the virus.
7. Polk County Board passes resolution on COVID-19 (from May)
Before the first death, the Polk County Board passed a resolution, which stated the County should begin supporting “the opening of business in a safe manner.” The resolution also stated “local communities in this rural area in the best position to determine for themselves, with the input of experts, how to safely and methodically allow businesses to reopen while keeping safety as a priority.”
8. Village of Osceola plans for a new Kwik Trip (from Nov. 2019)
The Village of Osceola Board approved the Kwik Trip developmental proposal during its monthly meeting. The new building is proposed to be south of Ridge Road and west of Highway 35, across from the municipal airport. The article states it hopes to be up and running by Nov. 2020 (opened up in Dec.).
9. Sheriff asking for public’s help in fatal accident (from July)
Polk County Sheriff’s Office announced they are looking for additional information on the crash that claimed the lives of Scott Brust, 58 and Lisa Swanson, 53, both of Cushing.
10. First COVID-19 case confirmed in Polk County (from April)
The Polk County Health Department announced in a news release it had its first confirmed case of COVID-19.