Maple Lake Township man dies from accidental fall
On June 10th, Maple Lake Township resident Mike Wurm, 51, passed away from injuries sustained after accidentally falling while trimming trees at his residence.
Wright County deputies ascertained that Wurm was trimming limbs off a tree in his yard while standing in the bucket of his skidsteer, and his chainsaw lodged itself into the tree. Wurm, in an attempt to dislodge the blade, fell from the bucket of the skidsteer, and suffered a head injury.
He was transported to the Buffalo Hospital's ER, to be airlifted for further treatment. Wurm, however, passed away during transport. The Wright County Sheriff's Office suspects no foul play was involved in the incident.
Concerts in the Park to start June 28 and run until August 30 at Sturges Park
Concerts in the Park 2018 kicks off on Thursday, June 28, beginning at 7:00 p.m. in Sturges Park.
The events run from June to August, featuring a number of musical concerts and bands, sponsored by local businesses in their performances for the community. It promises to be a good time, with family-friendly music, and all the concerts are free of charge for anyone who wants to join in on the fun.
June 28 will host "Jonah and the Whales," singing a variety of rock music for audiences in Sturges Park.
Anyone wanting to make a donation to the event, and others like it in the community please contact the Buffalo Parks Department at 763-682-4132.
Highway 12 from Cokato to Howard Lake goes to one lane, starting June 25
Motorists who travel Highway 12 between Cokato and Howard Lake may encounter delays, as segments of the road are reduced to a single lane beginning Monday, June 25.
The lane closures will occur from sunrise to sunset, up to seven days per week, while crews replace guardrails at several locations.
Motorists approaching the daily work zones should slow down, be prepared to stop, and move over to give crews room to work safely. Motorists should also plan some additional time for travel, as delays are expected during peak travel times.
Crews will return in mid-July to resurface Highway 12 between Cokato and Howard Lake. More information on those lane closures will be issued as details become available.
The lane closures and work are part of a project to resurface and improve five miles of Highway 12 in Wright County. When complete, the project will provide a smoother ride on Highway 12 between Seventh Street E in Cokato and 13th Avenue in Howard Lake, extend the life of the road, upgrade guardrail and re-stripe a short segment of Highway 12 east of downtown Cokato.
For information on state road projects in Wright County go online and get updates at: www.mndot.gov/d3.
For real-time travel information anywhere in Minnesota, go online and visit www.511mn.org, or dial 5-1-1.
Buffalo City Council talks future downtown projects with community residents
By Rob LaPlante
Approvals for future city projects brought up questions and concerns from local citizens at Monday's Buffalo City Council meeting.
Roers Investments' application for a preliminary plat, PUD, and zoning district amendment for an 89-unit senior housing project located downtown was the main topic of discussion.
Council unanimously voted in favor of the preliminary plat, which City Planner Steve Grittmann made note that a preliminary plat is only for a lot layout, not the final document, which will be addressed at a later date.
The proposed development would include a four-story building, fronting the north side on Division St. East with minimal setbacks. The building would also include underground structured parking, as well as surface parking.
Green space, parking concerns and obstructed views were some of the main concerns addressed by some downtown residents during Monday's public hearing.
Council is hopeful that the development will spur further redevelopment in the downtown area. Roers Investments market study also showed significant need for senior housing in the community.
Council voiced its own concerns for another Planning Commission matter, but approved the application by Paxmar LLC for a preliminary plat for a 20-lot subdivision, located at 4th Street S., to be called Buffalo Pass Second Addition.
A variance is being requested to permit a 20-foot setback from a wetland rather than 30 feet on one of the lots. The property was approved for R-3 Single and Two Family zoning earlier in 2018. Plans have been updated since the Planning Commission tabled action at the May 14 hearing, including movement of a proposed trail and lot lines on the south end of the proposed development.
One council member voted against the approval, favoring a through street over the proposed cul-de-sac.
Annexation by Ordinance from Wright County for the annexation of 11 acres, located at 3700 Braddock Ave., into the City of Buffalo, was approved by Council. Annexation by Ordinance from TSM Greenbrier LLC for the annexation of 97 acres, located at Dague Ave., and 30th Street, into the City of Buffalo was also approved.
The public hearing voiced concerns about certain growth and development near the area and existing Buffalo Township properties, however, council reassured that annexation of the property will not create a burden on the city, and will increase the existing area's property value.
• Council approved the request for cousins, Maria and Nikki Schmidt, for temporary liquor licenses for upcoming weddings at Buffalo Civic Center. Maria's is June 30 from 4 p.m. to midnight. Nikki's is August 4 from 4 p.m. to midnight.
• A total of 31 residents were approved for appointment to be Election Judges. Training will be conducted to prepare for the Primary and General Elections.
• Donations received for the Flora program were made in the amount of $100 by Wright County Horticulture Society, $65 from the Rachel Nelson family, in memory of Arlyn Nelson, and $250 by the Scott Enter family.
• There will be no city council meeting on Monday, July 2 due to the holiday week. The next meeting will be Monday, July 16.
Monday's meeting opened with Mayor Teri Lachermeier thanking all those that made the Buffalo Days celebration a huge success.
"I got so many compliments," Lachermeier said. "The parade route, the carnival, and everything went smooth with no mishaps or complaints."
Lachermeier noted her excitement of the recent crowning of the new Buffalo Royalty, which features Ali Tokkesdal as Miss Buffalo, and Cecelia Miller and Gina Miller as Princesses.
28th Amendment campaign comes to Wright Co. Comissioners for discussion
By Miriam Orr
"Big money in government is a bipartisan issue which tells us that that money buys the ultimate speaking time, and those who have it have the loudest voice," Ann Burns of American Promise stated in her presentation before Wright County Commissioners at Tuesday, June 18th's meeting. She continued, "Billionaires and their funding are influencing policy far more than the American voice is."
Ann Burns, along with Mary Beth Noll, presented support for a 28th Amendment to the Constitution of the U.S. They were seeking a resolution of support from Commissioners, asking them to weigh into the issue in the Wright County community and be aware of the issues of big money in government elections.
Burns stated that there are two problems that reside in the area of big money. The first is the fact that millions of dollars, whether from private parties or artificial entities (businesses) has the largest voice in policy, and thus, influences politicians. The second shows just how exactly democracy is getting out of government: amending the constitution.
The call for a 28th Amendment begins with a Supreme Court ruling, starting in 1976, which made two underlying claims. One, that big money had a place in government by funding elections and campaigns, and two, that "artificial entities" were given basic human rights, and seen in the eyes of the Supreme Court just in the same way individual citizens are.
American Promise estimates that on average, since 1976, election campaign spending as increased tenfold, and that billions go into elections each and every term, and that is not even accounting for state elections, or elections at a local level.
"This is a bipartisan issue," Burns shared again, "that affects both Republicans, and Democrats, regardless of their political stance. The issue is evident that big money is used to overtly influence policy, and that if you aren't funding with millions of dollars, your voice is lost in government."
The American Promise movement stated that they "were against mudslinging and increased spending on elections, which influenced policy more than the American people, and also that they did not want the issues already existing to escalate. Burns stated that across the country, the movement has been rallying communities, and while they have enough attention to matter nationally, they still had much work to do to make sure the movement was taken to the federal level.
The amendment to the constitution, while not explicitly defined by American Promises' presentation, will undo much of the claims of the ruling made in 1976 by the Supreme Court, and ensure that the voice of American people is not lost under the demands of those made with big, industry dollars. Noll stated that with the amendment, representatives at a state and federal level will be compelled to communicate with the public more frequently, and will require they branch away from big industry's dollars and listen to the whole of their people.
Commissioner Charlie Borrell inserted his stance against the movement, concerned that the amending the Constitution would, further down the line, deprive citizens of the right to donate however much money to whichever cause in government they are passionate about, and would demean that funding.
Borrell stated that he was concerned that the new amendment would suddenly make the donations of private citizens, and their contributions to funding not only campaigns, but causes they support, irrelevant.
Commissioner Darek Vetsch stated his support for the amendment, more interested in the fact of giving local voice to citizens, verses industrial entities. He disagreed with Borrell, stating the by amending the constitution in this way, it ensures that people have a voice of dollars. He countered Borell's statement that this issue didn't seem fully bipartisan, stating that it was an issue on both sides, and not an agenda of one entity over the other.
In light of a request to pass a resolution, Commissioner Christine Husom stated her uncertainty on the matter. "I think this is a really big issue," she started, "and I agree that big money is an increasing problem, but I'm not sure that I know enough and am confident enough to make an informed decision on this today. I will abstain from voting for a resolution."
When asked, Commissioner Mike Potter expressed his concern of the lack of information regarding the issue, and its presence in local government. "I don't feel like this is necessarily a county issue and I'm afraid that when it gets where it wants to go, it'll get stuck in Committee at a federal level, and just for lack of a better term, die a natural death. I want more facts, more figures, and more time to think this over to make an informed decision myself."
American Promise reassured the Board that they would return with more information for the Board, as well as make efforts to reach out individually to answer questions, should the need arise. Vetsch made a motion to pass a resolution, though it died for a lack of second.
Auditor/Treasurer's Office: The office asked for the transfer of a tobacco license for Mid-Country Co-op, formerly known as Mark's Service, in Waverly. He also requeted the adoption of preliminary findings regarding a full system repair of County Ditch 10, where Matt Detjen explained that ditches, by law, required repair and oversight by the County, and that the ditch itself is just south of Howard Lake. Measuring approximately 10.6 miles of open ditch, the last repair efforts made on the area dated back to the 1980s.
"Doing nothing in this area really isn't an option," Potter explained, "Since we are the drainage authority for county ditches, the public should know that we are required by law to maintain these areas, and money is going into these projects because they are necessary concerns of the county."
Borrell spoke to the matter of state funding and grants given in the area of maintaining ditches within not only the state, but across the nation, and that such programs exist to help alleviate some of the mandated obligations, like ditch repair.
Also requested was the appointment of engineering firm I&S Group, Inc. to begin preparation of plans and specifications within nine months of the preliminary findings order, while also submitting a filed report in this area. All three requests of the Auditor/Treasurer's office were approved unanimously.
Sheriff's Office: Business Manager Shawna Athman, of the Wright County Sheriff's Office, along with Captain Sean Deringer and Lieutenant Matt Triechler, presented a plaque of recognition to Wright County United Way, for their donation of $5,000 to the Sheriff's Office. Athman stated that the donation will be used to further the medical training of deputies, who are often the first to arrive on scene to emergencies. On average per year, Athman stated that Office responds to approximately 4,000 medical calls.
Initiative Foundation: Carrie Tripp, Vice President, presented a recap of 2017's yearly activity report for the Initiative Foundation, which helps to provide necessary service to support citizens not only in a cultural aspect, but also in the area of basic need. Tripp stated that they accomplish this through a thriving grant process, which Wright County has been an active recipient of, and that in the unfolding of the year they hoped to increase efforts of grant advancement, while also working to advance generations of leaders, while providing training within the community. Commissioner Mark Daleiden thanked the Foundation for their consistent, hard work with the County, as well as their active presence within the community.
Highway Department: Highway Engineer Virgil Hawkins request the award of contract number 1805, regarding the 2018 Street Light Improvement Project be given to Design Electric, Inc. The low bid, made by Design Electric, totaled in the amount of $36,777.00, and was the only bid received during the open bidding time. The project will repair lights in Delano, along Hwy. 17, as well as Hwy. 75 in Clearwater.
Also requested was the award of contract number 1809, which includes the construction of a low-speed roundabout in Maple Lake, along CSAH 8, and south of Division Street. Bids were received on May 14, with the low bid coming from Landwehr Construction, Inc., in the amount of $619,390.68.
Parks and Recreation: Scheduled with Director Marc Mattice was a committee of the whole meeting in July, which will discuss the department's work regarding a number of different areas, as well as a presentation of completed projects. The meeting was set for July 9. Requested was the adoption of a sponsor resolution related to a Parks and Trail Legacy Grant application, which the Board approved unanimously. Also requested was the award of contract number 1810, regarding the paving of an off-road trail off CSAH 12, which Mattice said was currently over budget.
Mattice presented the option that to offset the increased cost, the County could move to reducing the 3 inch pavement to a 2.5 inch spread, which is cheaper. Husom stated her concern with this suggestion, as did Potter, who thought that the spread should remain at 3, as to not have problems arise in the future. Highway Engineer Virgil Hawkins spoke to the matter, stating that an engineering recommendation would be to remain at 3 inches preferably, though 2.5 could be managed. The Board elected to stay at 3 inches, and continue with the project.
Planning and Zoning: Sean Riley, Administrator, presented before the Board findings regarding amendment 18-2 to the Land Usage and Zoning of the Wright County Code of Ordinances, as well as the adoption recommendation, in addition to minor grammatical changes to amendment 18-4. Changes to 18-2 are in regard to Commercial property understandings, and clarify the need for conditional use permits to structures which fall under the ordinance.
Another fun and explosive Buffalo Days concludes
By Miriam Orr,
Despite the heat, this year's Buffalo Days was an explosive success for the city and the community, spanning from June 10 all the way to June 17, Father's Day. With temperatures in the high 90s accompanying the city festivities, as well as an array of fun events, it was no surprise that the carnival, food stands, and sidewalks were busy with patrons.
Sunday, June 10, kicked off the celebration at the Buffalo Municipal Airport, as well as the Sturges Park Band Shell with summer pop songs, performed by BCO. The airport hosted its fly-in breakfast, annual air show, and the Wright County Car Club held its yearly show, as well. Men, women, and children gathered to watch the dizzying acts of Mike Wiskus and Craig Gifford, both competitive air showmen, while enjoying the pancake breakfast fundraiser and looking at classic cars.
On Monday of Buffalo Days, Buffalo Royalty "chilled" at the library, where they passed out ice cream treats to the public, while the library launched the summer reading program with Magician Bob Halbook. Later, Royalty participated in the Royalty Banquet at Huikko's Bison Creek.
On Tuesday, ages young and old gathered at the Sturges Park Bandshell to welcome The Teddy Bear Band, and later, KRWC hosted its yearly Medallion Hunt, where audiences listened for clues on KRWC/1360AM. Congratulations to Jennifer Bacik, who won the hunt by finding the medallion at the new playground located by the Methodist church.
The carnival arrived in town on Wednesday, with sparkling rides and promises of games, excitement, and bright lights. For $20.00 an armband, patrons were able to ride an unlimited number of rides, including classics like the Ferris wheel and the Tilt-a-Whirl. Also on Wednesday, Buffalo Royalty took part in a local food drive at the Dairy Queen, where donations were accepted in exchange for a cool treat during the evening.
By Thursday night, however, the heat was stifling. Drizzling rain and a humid evening welcomed children and their families for the 6:30 p.m. Kiddie Parade, where characters like Spider-Man, Rapunzel, pirates, and fairies were all present to make their way down the walking path around Buffalo Lake from the library, finally ending in Sturges Park. Audiences watched the array of kids from food stands, the splash pads, and the sidewalks. And, earlier at the library, caricatures by Jenny Beck were a big hit, accompanied by the library's book sale. At Sturges Park, the Buffalo Sings amateur singing contest was a success, and congratulations to Second place winner Danielle Ruhr, and First place winner Sarah Burke for your hard work and wonderful performances!
KRWC was again at Sturges Park on Friday, which was busy with not only carnival-goers and audiences, but also many swimmers and beachgoers. Buffalo Lake was busy later in the evening, as well, as boaters, swimmers, and other members of the community gathered for 10 p.m. fireworks, which were explosive over the lake, and brought many cheers and a lot of applause, despite the warm night.
Approximately 400 kids attended this year's 23rd Annual Fishing Klinic For Kids (FKFK) event on Saturday, June 16 at Sturges Park and Buffalo Lake.
Numbers were down about half its usual total, but considering the weather, FKFK Founder Jim Wedell said the morning was a success.
"On a sunny day with bright blue skies, we're usually around 800-900 kids," he said. "But 400 is a tremendous turnout, considering it was a rainy and miserable day. At one point, you could barely see across the lake."
Some of the featured prizes awarded to this year's winners included: A total of 15 rod and reels from H & H Sports in Maple Lake; a total of 40 rod and reels from the National Professional Anglers Association, as well as NPAA t-shirts; Tackle boxes, rod and reels, and mug holders from Cabela's.
Wedell would like to thank everyone that contributed to this event, especially the sponsors.
With the rain falling throughout the day, Wedell especially wanted to thank all of this year's participants.
"The seminars were completely full," Wedell said. "That was the neatest thing for me. Normally when it rains, you have a bunch of empty bleachers. But people were sitting with their umbrellas and raincoats in the rain, all listening to the speakers. I have never seen that before."
The University of Minnesota's Raptor Center had the audience's attention while learning and asking questions regarding birds of prey in Minnesota. A large Bald Eagle was present during the lecture, where a professional handler shared facts regarding the birds in the state.
Later on Saturday, as skies cleared and the sun made an appearance, was the Buffalo Parade down First Avenue. Marching bands from around the state gathered to participate in the city's parade celebration, where audiences watched from heavily populated sidewalks and children gathered candy in a frenzy. Highlights of the parade included Buffalo's H.S. Marching Band, Buffalo Royalty, Fire Departments and Police Departments, as well as Buffalo's Mayor, among others. For the band competition, the Grand Champion was Milaca, which was also awarded the Best Drum Majors, Best Color Guard, and Best Winds sections.
For the position of First Place, Class A, was Lake City, and Second Place, Class A, was Benson. First Place, Class AA, was St Francis, which was also awarded the Best Drum line. Second Place, Class AA, was Sartell-St. Stephen.
To conclude festivities, Sunday hosted a community worship service at Buffalo Covenant Church, as well as a continental breakfast, where members within the community gathered together to worship and serve at the Sturges Park Band Shell. Also on Sunday was the Pigs and Rigs BBQ cook off and car show at the American Family Insurance and Smokin' Monkey parking lot.
Finally, starting at 6 p.m. was the Royalty Coronation, where 2017-18 Buffalo Royalty members Princesses Hannah Wallenta, Noelle Green, and Miss Buffalo Ashley Weber, relinquished their crowns to new Princesses Gina Miller, Cecelia Miller, and Miss Buffalo 2018-19, Ali Tokkesdal.
Buffalo endured through heat and rain this year for Buffalo Days, and despite the finicky weather, it was a beautiful time for the city's fesitivities. And, once again, as the community closes another year's Buffalo Days, we look ever forward to a coming year of growth, fun, and unity that makes Buffalo such a welcoming, special place.
So long, Buffalo Days. We'll see you next year.
Saddle up for the PRCA Rodeo this weekend, June 22-23
The 64th Annual Buffalo PRCA Championship Rodeo takes place this week at the Buffalo Rodeo Grounds. The rodeo ground festivities kick off Thursday, June 21 with Family Fun Night from 4-7 p.m. On Friday, June 22 at 7 p.m. is the first performance of rodeo action, followed by the final performance at 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 23. Each rodeo night will end with the Shane Martin Band performing live music in the rodeo grounds, free to attend with your paid admission. Tickets at the gate are $15 for adults, and $8 for children. Advanced tickets can still be purchased, $12 for adults, and $6 for children. Also, be sure to check out the rodeo exhibit at the Wright County Historical Society, which is running for the entire month of June. Pictured is a cowboy performing during last year's Saddle Bronc Riding competition. Visit www.buffalorodeo.com for more information, or ticket purchase. (Photo by Rob LaPlante)
Buffalo Days button winners announced!
Congratulations to the Buffalo Days button winners! Below are the winning numbers drawn for cash prizes: $500 is number 1126; $100 is number 225; $100 is number 296; $50 is number 354; $50 is number 304; $50 is number 429.
To claim your prize, please present your button to the Chamber, and you can contact them at 763-682-4902.
Good Neighbor Days in HL, June 21-24
By Miriam Orr
Beginning Thursday, June 21 through Sunday, June 24, Good Neighbor Days promises a good time for all ages – and you don't have to be from Howard Lake, either.
Most of the events will take place near Howard Lake's Fire Station, on 7th Avenue. New this year will be locations for the coronation and raffle drawing, which had usually taken place at the High School, though this year it will be held in a tent near the fire station, as the Herald Journal Reports.
Thursday will host a Queen's Tea, which begins at 2 p.m, as well as the Townie Block Party, beginning at 6 p.m. and running until 9 p.m. Highlights also include the introduction of royalty to the public, as well as the expanded farmers market. On Friday, a bounce house, bungee trampoline, and bonker ball will be present across the street from city hall and the fire station, starting at 5 p.m.
Also on Friday is the KRWC Road Show, starting at 5:30 p.m., followed by the Kiddie Parade at 6:15 p.m., which will begin at Troubles in Howard Lake. Participants are asked to arrive and prepare to line up at 6 p.m. The route begins at Troubles, heads south on 9th Street, and ends at the north exit of the fire station.
On Saturday, the 37th annual fishing contest will open at 7 a.m. at Lions Park, and runs until 8 a.m. Hosted at noon will be the fishing weigh-in at Lions Park. Also, the "Run for the Lakers" 5k will be held, with registration at 8:15 a.m. The race begins at Memorial Park at 9 a.m.
To conclude events, the Pee Wee Reese Baseball Tournament at Yeager Field will begin at 10 a.m., with the Grande Day Parade beginning at 2 p.m. To cap off Good Neighbor Days will be the crowning of the new Miss Howard Lake, beginning at 6 p.m., in the big tent near the fire station.
Music Jam at Dassel History Ctr., June 25
One of the summer music jams at the Dassel History Center will Monday, June 25, 6:30 p.m.
Bring your voice, guitar, fiddle, or other instrument and join the fun. All music styles and spectators welcome. Bring chord sheets, if available.
Jams will be the fourth Monday of the month through the summer. Contact the History Center for information, 320-275-3077, or at email@example.com.
Zambia fundraiser, June 24
Bridging Zambia will be hosting a Pancake Breakfast on Sunday, June 24 from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the Maple Lake Legion Club.
Bridging Zambia is a branch of Carol McBrady's "Action for Children – Zambia," and it is specifically designed to bring volunteers from the local area face-to-face with the children of Zambia.
The current need is to finish a housing project for the future volunteers who will come to work and stay on site at the farm. The current amount needed is $12,000.00, which will be used to purchase materials.
This will allow visitors to interact with the children, enriching all the lives of those involved. A free will offering is suggested.
If you are unable to attend, your tax-deductible contribution can be made online at www.afcz.org.
Buffalo Days, a week in photos