Bison Fishing Forever fun
Joy is expressed by Helen Klemz (above) during a St. John's Lutheran Church of Buffalo outing on Lake Pulaski with Bison Fishing Forever (BFF). On Monday, July 24, a group from St. John's went fishing on the new BFF pontoon. The weather that day was outstanding, and the fishing was very successful. The the group caught 69 fish! For information regarding the Bison Fishing Forever program, please contact the Buffalo Community Center at 763-682-6036; trips are totally free with bait and tackle provided. Monday nights from 5-7 p.m. are reserved for veterans and their families, and Tuesday evenings from 5-7 p.m. are Community Center trips, open to everyone. Space is limited, so call early to reserve your spot. (Photo courtesy of Suzanne Kolbinger, BFF)
Lake Ida zoning change declined
By Ed DuBois
A zoning request involving Lake Ida property in Silver Creek Township was denied at the Wright County Board meeting last Tuesday, Aug. 8.
The request had been submitted by Mojo Wojo, LLC and asked that about 25 acres be rezoned from agricultural and S-2 residential-recreational shorelands use to an S-3 commercial-recreational shorelands district. The zoning change was sought to operate a recreational commercial camping facility, according to a county findings document accepted by the Board.
The Township Board was opposed to the zoning change, and the County Planning Commission recommended denial of the change.
The findings state the application does not meet the criteria established in the county code of ordinances. The findings also state the application does not accurately reflect the goals and policies of the community as reflected in the Northwest Quadrant Land Use Plan or any of the conditions in the county.
In two other planning and zoning matters, the Board accepted Planning Commission recommendations for approval of zoning changes.
A request from Steven Deruyter to rezone about 40 acres in Buffalo Township was approved. The zoning is being changed from agricultural use to A/R agricultural-residential use.
A request from Bruce Wholrabe to rezone about 38 acres in Chatham Township was approved. The zoning is being changed from agricultural and S-2 residential-recreational shorelands use to R-2a suburban-residential and S-2 use.
In other business:
Capt. Pat O'Malley, the county jail administrator, asked the Board to approve an addendum to the contract for medical services in the jail. He explained a new jail unit has been opened and the jail's inmate population is increasing.
The addendum will include 24 hours of RN coverage per week, an additional 2 hours of provider coverage per week and an additional 6 hours of mental health services per week. The cost increase for the services will be $93,800.
O'Malley told the Board the cost increase is being covered by inmate boarding revenue. There is no additional cost to the county.
If for some reason the inmate population decreases, the level of services can be decreased.
The Board approved the addendum.
In other actions, the Board:
• approved a schedule of meetings to work on the county budget for 2018;
• authorized the first step involved with rolling out the local options sales tax (.5 percent), which was approved earlier this year to help fund highway projects; the Board authorized signatures on an agreement with the Minnesota Depart-ment of Revenue for the collection of a transit sales and use tax (County Coordinator Lee Kelly said citizens with questions about the tax can best obtain answers by contacting the Department of Revenue.);
• tentatively rescheduled Aug. 23 committee meetings to Aug. 30;
• rescheduled an Aug. 14 Owners Committee of the Whole meeting to Aug. 15 at 10:30 a.m.;
• approved filling an office tech II position and a financial worker position in Health & Human Services, and an office tech II position in the Auditor-Treasurer's Office; and
• approved $952,096 in claims involving 269 transactions with 166 vendors.
Water tower overcoat and lift station bids accepted by city
Two city projects re-ceived approval of bids at the Monday, Aug. 7 Buffalo City Council meeting.
A bid for the lump sum of $1,950 from SEH was approved for Lift Station No. 20 Rehab. A bid totaling $150,700 from Maguire Iron, Inc. of Sioux Falls, S.D. was approved to overcoat the city's Water Tower No. 4, located near North-winds Elementary School.
Maguire Iron Inc. was the lowest of eight bids received for the project estimated to cost $250,000. Engineer Justin Kannas says the project includes a much-needed multiple overcoat blast. A few other standard projects will be done, as well.
Kannas added that the city currently has three other water towers that will also need attention in the near future. A typical water tower can last 15-20 years without routine maintenance. Water Tower No. 4 was constructed in the year 2000.
Both Lift Station No. 20 and Water Tower No. 4 are two of the projects listed in the city's Biosolids project.
General Obligation Wat-er and Sewer Revenue Bonds totaling $3.16 million are being used to help finance the costs of construction, improvement or rehabilitation of water and sanitary sewer facilities in the city. Other projects include: Biosolids Mainten-ance, Water System Man-agement Project and other Waste Water repairs.
Council approved the adoption of a preliminary resolution regarding the bonds, authorizing the city to accept a credit application fee of $500. Final approval is set for the Sept. 18 council meeting.
On behalf of Jake Schwietering, volunteer for CenterPoint Energy, a Community Partnership Grant in the amount of $2,500 was donated by CenterPoint Energy to the city's fire department for the purchase of several new Interceptor Fire-fighter Hoods. Buffalo Fire Chief John Harnois was present to accept the donation.
Donations were accepted by council in the amount of $500 from Olson Chiroprac-tic toward the Bison Fishing Forever program. A fundraising banquet held last July 15 at the Buffalo American Legion raised about $6,500 in donations. Dena and Barry Mansur donated $1,000. The program is now over the $50,000 mark.
The Toy Shop received a $4,000 donation through a grant by Buffalo Rotary. Monies are to be used for equipment needed at the Toy Shop.
The Buffalo Lions donated $500 for Night to Unite to the Police Department.
A $450 donation was received from the family of 90-year-old John Hendricks, who is currently in hospice care in Cumberland, Wis. Hendricks was born and raised in Buffalo. His daughter has written a book of memories on her father's early days in Buffalo and has donated this memory book to the Wright County Historical Society.
Candidates file for BHM School Board Election
So far, three candidates have filed for the Nov. 7 Buffalo Hanover Montrose School Board Election, Ken Ogden, Stan Vander Kooi and Bob Sansevere.
Those who would like to be candidates on the Nov. 7 ballot have until Aug. 15 to file.
Three seats are open for the election. Those who currently hold the three positions are Ogden, Vander Kooi and Sansevere.
The filing period for those who want to be candidates in the election began Aug. 1. Filing is taking place at the school district office.
I-94 from Hasty to Clearwater down to single lane overnight
Motorists who travel westbound Interstate 94 between Hasty and Clearwater after 7 p.m. will encounter construction crews, equipment and slow or stopped traffic as the road is reduced to a single lane overnight beginning Wednesday, Aug. 9, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).
The lane closures will begin at 7 p.m. most days of the week. No lane closures will occur before 10 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays. All lanes of I-94 between Hasty and Clearwater will open by 9 a.m. each day.
The overnight closures are needed while crews install new steel dowel bars along several test segments of roadway where the existing, 44-year-old dowel bars have failed. Crews will grind the roadway surface later this year; that work is part of a separate, larger project to improve the ride of I-94 between Clearwater and Monticello this fall 2017.
More information on future work and required lane closures will be issued as details become available.
For real-time travel information anywhere in Minnesota, check www.511mn.org.
Larson Building moves into former Wells Fargo drive-up facility
By Ed DuBois
Larson Building, a local construction contractor firm, had been renting office space near the intersection of Highways 55 and 25 in Buffalo. When the former Wells Fargo drive-up facility in downtown Buffalo became available, they jumped at the chance to make it their new home.
Company President Andy Larson, who lives in Buffalo, said, "We wanted something of our own."
"We liked the location," he added. "We wanted to be part of the community."
The facility is not your typical building. The relatively small amount of space inside the structure was a challenge to make it functional for the business. They went with an open-office concept with a conference room. In the future, they could expand. Larson said the structure was designed for a second floor. Outside, there is plenty of parking space. The interior is soon being decorated with art on the walls.
Planning is underway for a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house on Sept. 14.
Larson Building is about six years old. The company includes Larson, Senior Project Manager Mike Anderson and five in-the-field construction managers. They have worked on commercial sites, senior housing projects and churches. Local project sites have included: Whirltronics, LPG & NH3, Ekon Powder Coating, and the Wright County Heritage Center. Lately, they have been doing work on a new wine bar coming to Buffalo.
Hanover royalty crowned
The new Miss Hanover is Hannah Hochstedler, right, joined by Princess Meghan Cahill, left, crowned during the annual Hanover Harvest Festival. The festival was last Saturday, Aug. 5, and included a variety of activities and events for all ages. See inside for more photos. (Photo by Doug Voerding)
Full throttle right to the gate
Lawn tractor pull teams at the Wright County Fair love the anticipation, excitement and thrill
By Ed DuBois
Once you have started modifying a machine for a lawn tractor pull, the thrill of achieving a "full pull" and driving "right to the gate" begins to grow inside you. Evenings and weekends are spent working in the shop, and you are always on the outlook for a good deal on another used machine.
On the day of the lawn tractor pull at the Wright County Fair two weeks ago, Jesse Andreoff of Buffalo was a little late. He had driven that day all the way to Rush City to pick up two lawn tractors he had bought over the phone after asking the seller to start the engine of one of the machines while he listened. After driving back with his new purchases, he showed up at the fairgrounds in Howard Lake just in time to unload four lawn tractors from his flatbed trailer. He had owned two of them a while, and the other two had just been picked up after he paid $1,000 apiece for them.
Started in Waverly
A landscaping business owner during the warm months and a snow remover in the cold months, Andreoff was bitten by the lawn tractor pull bug about six years ago when he met Bob Hafften in Waverly while watching one of the lawn tractor pulls Hafften likes to host. Hafften, whose long beard makes him hard to miss in a crowd, is the organizer of the lawn tractor pulls at the Wright County Fair.
"I was telling Bob about a Massey Ferguson lawn tractor I had found during a landscaping job, and he said, 'Bring it out,'" Jesse recalled. "Well, I said I hadn't worked on it yet. He said, 'That doesn't matter. Bring it out.'"
So, Jesse joined the world of lawn tractor pulls and discovered the joys of sharing information and know-how, and enjoying the pursuit of a "full pull" and driving "right to the gate."
Roll bars and wheelie bars
He likes putting motorcycle and snowmobile engines in his machines.
Jesse's favorite machine is a Massey Ferguson he calls "Torque Wrench." It has a 550cc Honda motorcycle engine, and he has rigged it up with a big blue roll bar and lights in the hood. He has wheelie bars in the back.
He said he is always looking for another Massey Ferguson. He has several.
"I like the body style. It's unique. You see Cub Cadets all the time at the pulls, but you don't see very many Massey Fergusons," Jesse said.
Another favorite machine, which he calls Grasshopper, has a 650cc Kawasaki engine.
"My thing is speed," Jesse commented.
He is not happy unless he is going for the gate.
At the fair, he brought along his son, Evan, and his fiancée's stepson, Nathan Valley, to do some of the driving in the lawn tractor pull.
'Bob owns the pull sled'
A similar arrangement was happening with the Beckius Pulling Team. Brian Beckius of Buffalo was at the Wright County Fair lawn tractor pull with his daughter, Ellen, son, Victor, nephew, Austin Truenow, and niece, Olivia Truenow.
Brian said his first pull was in Waverly at one of Bob Hafften's events about 15 years ago.
"Bob owns the pulling sled," Brian explained.
The mechanism weighs about 5,000 pounds, and the weight gradually moves forward, increasing the pressure on the front skid, during a pull.
The Beckius Pull Team takes part in about six or seven pulls each summer. Some of the locations include: Waverly, Hanover, Forest City, Little Falls, Rice, and, or course, Howard Lake.
More and more modifications
Brian said he is the team mechanic. He pointed to a stock machine he had just tuned up and said it generates about 12 hp, but some of the power is taken by a hydraulic system. A similar machine generates a little more power because the hydraulic system was replaced with a manual stick shift system.
A red machine called "Hot Head" originally generated around 16 hp, and now that it has been modified, Brian was hoping for about 40 hp.
A big, yellow machine that was "stretched out" about ten inches has a Kubota diesel engine, which is turbo-charged and has a water/methanol cooling system. Brian was hoping for 100 hp with that unit.
Tires, gears and weight
Asked about the rewards of lawn tractor pulls, Brian said, "We go for bragging rights."
Some of the events offer trophies. Victor won a few in places like Little Falls and Rice, Brian mentioned.
The events that offer prizes usually have strict requirements, he explained. The machines must be "stock off the lawn" and you must use turf tires instead of the types of tires that dig into and grip the track better.
Some of the strategy involved with less restrictive events includes adjusting the tire pressure and gearing, balancing the weight of the machine, and trying different fuels. You also have to know when to speed up or slow down.
Jesse mentioned he once almost rolled his tractor when he did not let up on the throttle soon enough.
Boost from the turbo
Joe and Eric Point of Buffalo use aviation fuel in their machines. Joe said they "pretty much accelerate all the way unless we lose traction or something fails." He remembers one race during which a turbo bearing failed. They haven't blown an engine yet, but that's a possibility.
"The boost from the turbo puts a lot of stress on the engine," Joe commented.
Joe works for his dad, Russell Point, at Russell's Security. Eric is just starting high school. The brothers have teamed up in lawn tractor pulls about three years. They started with a stock tractor, "and then Joe wanted to modify one with a turbo," Eric recalled.
"Eric did pretty good (with the stock tractor), but I said we could do better with a turbo," Joe mentioned.
Regular fuel can pre-detonate
They built a machine together and are now in the process of building another one with more power. They try to prepare for the Wright County Fair lawn tractor pull ahead of time, but time passes quickly.
"We usually end up getting ready a couple of days before," said Eric with a laugh.
Their dad likes to come and watch.
Joe said their turbo was taken out of a Yamaha motorcycle from the 1980s.
As for the aviation fuel, Joe said regular unleaded gasoline can "pre-detonate" and cause a loss of power. Additionally, aviation fuel is leaded and helps lubricate the engine, he mentioned.
Joe and Eric use a box on the front of the lawn tractor to add weight and keep the front end from lifting too much.
"We want the tractor to run steady and level all the way," Joe said.
He and Eric take turns driving the tractor. They each get about three or four runs at the events. They have a good time.
All the pulling teams looked like they were having fun at the Wright County Fair lawn tractor pull. From getting their tractors ready to actually running them on the track, there was anticipation and excitement.
No wonder they keep coming back for more. Once you have experienced the thrill of going for a full pull and driving right to the gate, you don't mind spending evenings and weekends in the shop working on modifications, and you are also always on the lookout for a good deal on another machine.