Free home safety checks offered

MANKATO – Home Instead Senior Care, serving south-central Minnesota, is conducting free home safety checks in June as part of National Safety Month to protect the health and well-being of local seniors.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 20 million seniors, ages 65 and older, visit the emergency room each year. Nearly a third of these visits are injury-related, with many occurring in the home. However, almost half of all home accidents by seniors can be avoided according to a recent survey of emergency room doctors, conducted by the Home Instead Senior Care network

To schedule a safety check, call Home Instead Senior Care at (507) 550-1395 or visit to download free home safety checklist and other information about home safety for seniors.

Man faces third-degree drug charge

FAIRMONT – A Fairmont man, Kenneth Marquez Tuncle, 39, faces a third-degree drug sale charge for allegedly selling methamphetamine.

According to information from the Fairmont Police Department:

The Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force received information from an informant that Tuncle would sell him $180 worth of meth. A controlled buy was arranged.

Under police surveillance, the informant and an undercover officer met with Tuncle. After a few minutes of small talk, the informant handed Tuncle the $180, and Tuncle gave the informant a small plastic baggie, which the informant handed over to the agent.

The substance in the baggie tested positive as meth, and weighed 1.89 grams.

Tuncle has a previous controlled substance crime conviction from 2005, and is on felony probation for an unrelated case.

The maximum penalty of a third-degree drug sale crime is 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Grad student hurt in lab explosion

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – A graduate student has suffered serious burns in a lab explosion at the University of Minnesota that prompted the building to be evacuated.

Minneapolis Fire Department crews were sent to Smith Hall around 1:10 p.m. Tuesday. Crews arrived to find one person suffering from burns after a volatile chemical compound exploded.

Authorities say the grad student at the College of Science and Engineering was conscious with serious burns, and was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center. No other details about the student’s condition were immediately available.

Crews evacuated the building, monitored for hazards and sealed the lab. About 50 people were evacuated. The building reopened about 5 1/2 hours later.

The fire department says there was no fire or structural damage. The cause of the explosion is unknown.