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Minnesota governor to visit Karlstad, Thief River Falls today

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton will be in Thief River Falls and Karlstad, Minn., this morning.

He will meet with local officials from the Karlstad area at 9 a.m. at Tri-County Elementary School.

It was just three days ago that a wind-driven wildfire destroyed 11 homes and about two dozen other buildings and forced the evacuation of more than half of Karlstad's 760 residents.

Dayton then will stop in Thief River Falls for a groundbreaking ceremony, scheduled for 11:30 a.m., for a traffic signal light and lane reconfiguration project along Minn. Highway 32 at Greenwood Street, near two of the city's largest employers, Digi-Key and Arctic Cat.

The groundbreaking will be at the construction site. However, because of adverse weather conditions, additional ceremonies will be indoors, at Ralph Engelstad Arena, according to Mark Borseth, the city's engineering services director.

City officials expect to open bids this morning for the project, which is estimated at $1.2 million.

The project also involves a railroad underpass on Greenwood Street.

The project is being funded by $400,000 from Minnesota Department of Transportation, $400,000 in state Local Road Improvement funds, $200,000 from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, and $150,000 in state Municipal State Aid funds.