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BACK ISSUES: March 30 | April 6 | April 13 | April 20 | April 27 | May 4 | May 11
Copyright 2018. All rights reserved. Wright County Journal-Press & The Drummer


 

Student driver crashes into exam office during test

A 17-year-old driver from Monticello struck a building in downtown Buffalo on Wednesday, March 21, at approximately 2:00 p.m.
The accident occurred on the 10 block of First Avenue South, where the driver was in the process of taking her road exam at the driver's license exam station.
Police reports state that the driver "inadvertently put the vehicle in drive instead of reverse" during the examination, which led to the vehicle "lurching" forward, up over the curb, and struck the front of the building.
The impact of the accident left significant damage to both the vehicle and the building. The driver was not injured as a result, though the examiner, a 60-year-old woman from Buffalo, was transported to Buffalo Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Buffalo Police report that no one present inside the building was harmed, either.
BPD stated that currently there are no charges pending.

 


2016 Crow Springs murder update – two plead guilty

Edward Zelko

Shawn Benson

Justin Jensen

On a June day in 2016, 19-year-old Cheyenne Clough of Buffalo was pronounced dead by Hennepin County Medical Examiner, from assault injuries and four gunshot wounds. Hennepin County's Medical Examiner concluded that Clough's death was a result of homicide.
On June 5, 2016, five initial arrests were conducted near International Falls. Wright County Attorney Tom Kelly stated that two among those five were Callie Anderson and Natasha Brandenburger, and there was "no overt act other than them being with these individuals," and were not charged with aiding and abetting in the murder.
Arrested were Shawn Benson, now 22 of Maple Lake; Justin Jenson, now 30, of Maple Lake; and Edward Zelko, 27, of Buffalo.
Clough's body was found near Crow Springs Park on June 1, 2016 in Franklin Township, where she was unresponsive to EMS, and eventually airlifted to North Memorial Medical Center. Initial investigations concluded that Clough was assaulted on May 31st, and into the early mornings of June 1, and later passed away as a result of her injuries that Saturday, June 4.
The weapon that killed Clough was never recovered near the Canada Border.
On March 16, 2018, Benson pleaded guilty to second-degree intentional murder. He agreed to a 40-year sentence in prison, which is the statutory maximum, after admitting to shooting 19-year-old Clough. He is to be sentenced May 29.
Jensen, on March 16, plead guilty to aiding and abetting second-degree murder, through an Alford plea, in which he chooses to plead guilty based on evidence enough to place a charge and conviction versus outright admission. He is to be charged May 31, and guidelines call for slightly more than 27 years in prison.
Zelko is to make his plea on June 1, exactly two years after the death of Clough. He is expected to plead guilty to aiding and abetting second-degree intentional murder. The agreed sentence for Zelko is 30 years in prison.
Reports state that Jensen provided a .22 caliber revolver and ordered Clough's death. Reportedly, Zelko drove Clough and Benson to Crow Springs Park, where Benson proceeded to shoot her four times.
Delano Herald Journal reported that the case is not going to trial because many of the witnesses were "involved in meth culture," and the risk of factual uncertainties was high, as witnesses may or may not have accurately remembered information. Assistant County Attorney Brian Lutes stated not having to consider aforementioned testimonies "was a relief."
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


BCT to present "On Golden Pond"

Buffalo Community Theatre is thrilled to present its "touching, funny, and warmly perceptive show," April 13-15, and 20-22.
"On Golden Pond" by Ernest Thompson  follows the unsettled relationship of Norman Thayer and his daughter, Chelsea, while also exploring the difficulties of a long marriage, all while spending a summer at the family cabin on Golden Pond.
Performances for this show run April 13, 14, 20, and 21 at 7:30 p.m., while April 15, and 22 are 2:00 p.m. performances. Tickets for this show are $16.00 for adults, $13.00 for seniors ages 60+, and $8.00 for children and students. Groups of 15+ will receive $2.00 off.
Visit www.bctmn.org for ticket sales. Hope to see you there!

 


Hanover Historical Society to host antiques appraisal on April 7

On Saturday, April 7, at Hanover City Hall, the Hanover Historical Society will be hosting its Antique Appraisal Fair, a chance to learn more about antiques and vintage pieces. You can even bring an item to be appraised.
Admission is $1, and if you would like an item appraised, the cost is $5 for one item with a limit of two items per person due to time constraints. We cannot appraise firearms, dolls, jewelry, or large furniture pieces. Appraisals will be performed by Bonnie Lindberg and James Marrinan of Appraisal Specialists Midwest.
Doors open at 9:00 a.m. to view silent auction items with the appraisals running from 10:00 a.m. until noon. Free muffins, orange juice and coffee will be available.
For more information or to donate a silent auction item, call or email Claudia Pingree at 763-498-8435 or claudia@hanoverhistoricalsociety.org.
This event supports the work of the Hanover Historical Society whose mission is "Bridging the past with the future while preserving history and enhancing a sense of community."

 


Pheasants Forever banquet

Get ready to fluff your feathers for this year's Pheasants Forever banquet, slated for April 7, 2018. The event runs from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., in the Monticello Ballroom at the River City Extreem (3875 School Boulevard, Monticello).
This marks the 33rd Annual banquet for Wright County's Pheasants Forever. For questions and ticket sales, please contact Jeff Nylund at 763-807-8191 or jeffnylund@hotmail.com

 


District announces Carmen Tubbs as new principal as new principal for Northwinds Elementary

Carmen Tubbs

During the school board meeting on Monday, March 26, the board approved the appointment of Carmen Tubbs as the next Northwinds Elementary Principal. Tubbs will replace current principal Shawn Gombos who will retire at the end of this school year after having served the school for the last five years.
What made Tubbs stand out above the other applicants is her positive energy and her ability to see the strengths in others and build upon those strengths. She is highly student-focused and places emphasis on the social-emotional growth of all students.
Tubbs is currently the Wahpeton Elementary School Principal in Wahpeton, North Dakota. Prior to that, from 2011-2015, she was a special education teacher within the West Fargo Public Schools in West Fargo, North Dakota. Her strong background in special education makes her an asset to Northwinds since two district-wide special education programs are housed in the school.
"We are excited to have Carmen Tubbs join the leadership team here in BHM Schools," stated Director of Teaching and Learning Pam Miller. "Ms. Tubbs has a very strong mission and purpose—driving to raise the bar by challenging herself and others. She seems to always be looking towards the future and getting things done.
"We have found her to be excellent at multi-tasking and organizing people and resources (key skills for a principal). With her experience, we believe she will be a great fit at Northwinds," continued Miller.
Tubbs is grateful for the opportunity to be part of BHM Schools and her family is looking forward to joining the community. She says she (and her family) were drawn to BHM Schools because of the communities they serve and the ability to be involved and active within them.
She shares, "I loved being a teacher in the classroom, but when I decided to commit to administration, I felt I could have the most impact and use my skills to the best of
my ability by leading in a larger capacity. I chose to focus on elementary because I believe in early intervention. At this level, the excitement for learning and positive attitude is contagious, and I find that highly rewarding. As a part of my responsibilities, I believe in building relationships, communicating and staying up to date with the best practices in education."
Tubbs earned her B.A. in Elementary Education from Minnesota State—Moorhead, Minnesota in 2009. She went on in 2011 to earn her Masters of Special Education Strategist degree from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks and her Educational Leadership Masters Degree in 2014 from Minnesota State—Moorhead.
Tubbs will begin at Northwinds July 1, 2018.

 

Action Items—The Board Approved

• The board approved the bid from Versacon, Inc for the Buffalo Community Middle School 2018 re-roofing and masonry rehabilitation project. The successful bid was in the amount of $347,000.

• Seventeen students have been fundraising for a trip to Costa Rica and Nicaragua this summer from June 13-26. Over the course of two weeks, they will spend a portion of their time with host families. Students will be expected to speak Spanish the majority of the time while they are there to enhance the experience and immerse them into the language.

• The district has been monitoring for some time, the potential refunding of the 2019-2022 maturities of the $20,400,000 District's General Obligation School Building Refunding Bonds, Series 2008A. The bond issue was a refunding of the first refunding of the construction bonds for the construction of Buffalo High School. The remaining total of the bonds is $5,925,000.

Ehlers (the district's financial advisors) Senior Municipal Advisor Jodie Zesbaugh shared with the board that because of the current market conditions, the district will be able to refinance to a lower interest rate on the remaining bonds. Currently, the existing bonds have an interest rate of 5% to 5.125%. The new rate is expected to be 3%. The approval of this resolution to refund the bonds will allow the district to participate in the State of Minnesota's Credit Enhancement Program. This will allow the district to issue the bonds with the State's guarantee of payment on the bonds and credit rating. This will likely allow the district to get lower interest rates as a result. Zesbaugh shared the refinancing will save taxpayers $244,000 over the fiscal years 2019-2022. She shared that because of the district's diligence, these bonds have been refinanced in the past, saving district taxpayers several million dollars.

The date of the sale is scheduled for April 23, 2018 with a closing date scheduled for May 17, 2018. The sale results will be presented to the board for approval at the April 23 board meeting. The board approved the resolution providing for the approval of the sale of General Obligation School Building Refunding Bonds, Series 2018A and Use of the Credit Enhancement Program.

 

Report Items

• Buffalo High School Representative James Oistad reported that the council is getting ready for the last quarter of school that will begin after spring break. He said that they are beginning to plan for the second annual Bison Field Festival. They are also sending four students to go to the state student council meeting in April. The board asked him about the week of events at the high school centered around school safety and the national "walk out" day. He said that there were some mixed feelings about the events, but most students enjoyed the "walk in" and having an opportunity to talk to school and community leaders.

• Four Buffalo High School (BHS) students have qualified for the National Business Professionals of America (BPA) Conference/Competition in Dallas, Texas, May 10-13. Advisor and BHS Business Teacher Brenda Dingman said students will only miss two days of school and that they are working on their itinerary for the trip.

 

BHM is Proud Of:

• BHM students who participated in the Jump Rope for Heart program for the American Heart Association: PES - $6,450.00, MES - $5,810.00.
• Matthew Scherber, 7th Grader at BCMS, who is a semifinalist in the Minnesota National Geographic State Bee.
• BHS Culinary Team of Katie Dismang, Grayson Wubben, Leah Ramsey and Athena Schultz, who placed 3rd in the MN State Culinary Competition.

Donations/Grants/Awards
The district accepted donations totaling $13,258.75.

 


Wright on - Buffalo recongnized for 150 years as county seat on March 23

Friday, March 23 marked 150 years for Buffalo being the Wright County seat. Friends, citizens, and history enthusiasts gathered at the Wright County Historical Society (WCHS) to celebrate this honor, and pay tribute to the history of those many years.
Sally Stevens, Business Manager of WCHS, read an excerpt from the April 11, 1868 Northern Statesman's "Around Town" column. Written by a "special reporter," the piece highlighted an early Wednesday morning, where citizens, County Officers, and individuals alike rallied those around them to make the journey from Monticello, which then maintained the county seat, to Buffalo.
For a number of years, citizens had been voicing their concerns regarding Monticello and its unwillingness to provide centralized county services for the public. Those concerns ultimately led to the belief that Buffalo would be better suited as a county seat, as it was able to provide centralized service locations, as well as the promise of a new courthouse to house judges and court sessions and elected officials.
So the journey of Buffalo began, in so many words. Stevens read the Northern Stateman's article to members of the participating audience, and then offered the opportunity for questions and comments.
Of the overall event highlighted in the Statesman, Stevens commented, "This move wasn't made with fanfare – there were no photos, or videos. Not many people wrote about this event. We want to know what is supporting our history, for future generations, and moments like this from the Northern Statesman giving us the opportunity to preserve that for those who will succeed us."
 Mayor Teri Lachermeier was in attendance at the event, and commented, "We needed to rally the community to commemorate and celebrate this tremendous event in history," she continued, "It is great we are here acknowledging moments in history. I don't think many realize how truly important this history of Buffalo is to us as a community. It's truly an exciting time to see how far we've come!"
Others in attendance of this event were: Mike Potter, Wright County Commissioner; Larry Marquardt, WCHS Director; and Leander Wetter, a former WCHS President and current volunteer, with his wife Mary. Not in attendance was Martyn Dibben, who helped coordinate the event.

 


Platform Visionary

Buffalo graduate Danielle Norton to compete in Miss Minnesota U.S. International Pageant,
and the vision she brings

By Miriam Orr

For many, beauty pageants are all about the gowns and clothes, a chance to perform talent before thousands of observers, answer difficult questions under pressure, and a chance to win funding or scholarships to help fulfill their dreams.

Women across the world gather together to compete against one another for the chance to represent their community and society to the world, in a way that is both glamorous and challenging.

For Danielle Norton, however, beauty pageants present a platform for a message she is more than ready to share.

 

A girl and her dream

Danielle Norton is a Buffalo graduate, and currently enrolled at Anoka-Ramsey Community College, where she is pursuing a degree in Reconciliation Studies. Right now, she is in the process of transferring to Bethel University, where she will continue her degree and also begin considering adding Communications as a second major.

Norton is all about problem solving, and helping individuals solve conflict and bridge gaps between issues. Whether those issues are governmental, educational, or legal, a Reconciliation Studies degree will put Norton right in the middle of areas where communication is challenged and, in many cases broken.

While Reconciliation Studies is her major of choice, Norton has a vision for an area of society that is in dire need of intervention. Her vision of passion is elderly care, and bridging the gap that currently resides in the area of caring for the social engagement of the elderly.

"It is a huge issue that not a lot of people are aware of," Norton explained. "I've worked in the geriatric field for awhile, and I've seen a lot of depression in residents. There's very few visitors or friends or families that come in to talk with them and visit. It is truly heartbreaking. These people have lives and stories and tales that they have lived. They matter."

Her platform is called "Friends Through the Decades," where she believes that community members should rally around the elderly and bring interaction to them. Norton's campaign flier states, "I am committed to inspiring my generation to become engaged in the elder generation."

 

Pageant history

What better way is there to promote such a platform of inspiration than to compete in a beauty pageant?

With her vision and directed passion, Norton pursued her first pageant by enrolling in the Miss Buffalo pageant in June 2016 during Buffalo Days.

"I was drawn to this program because it's really community-based, and is about serving others, and that's something I'm all for." Norton explained. "It just shouts self-sacrifice and service."

She came to the program after her sister competed but was not crowned. After that, Norton really began to embrace the idea of the pageant process, and her mindset began to change as she explored investigating the role and its duties.

"It really presents the opportunity to put others before myself in the city that I grew up in," she said. "That is really special and not an opportunity many get to seize."

Norton was crowned the 2016 Miss Buffalo, and participated in the Minneapolis Aquatennial Ambassador organization, where she would go on to represent Buffalo to the surrounding communities and serve others.

"The highlights of the reign were definitely the parades, because those are always so fun!" Norton commented. "But, my favorite part was going to Cambridge, Minn., where we visited the nursing homes with other ambassadors across the state. Interacting with residents as ambassador royalty, and also as a member of the younger generation, was truly inspiring and touched me deeply."

Norton explained that the Miss Buffalo pageant is about poise, class, and an attitude of service. The clothes, gowns, and beauty aspect of it is only secondary, at least in her mind. While they are fun components of the experience, they aren't at the forefront of the position.

"I was really speechless when I was crowned," Norton shared. "I couldn't stop crying. It was so overwhelming and I was just so humbled, because I didn't think I'd win. I thought 'Wow, they really picked me!"

 

The future

Now even more inspirated and driven to pursue elder care, Norton submitted an application for the Miss Minnesota U.S. International Pageant, where she will compete for the Miss Minnesota position in the competition.

Of the pageant, Norton stated, "This pageant will promote platforms on a national level, not just communal. It focuses on characteristics like public speaking, communication, leadership, and respectability."

Norton stated that this pageant really gets down to the questions of what contestants are going to do to promote their platform, and their planning and organizational skills.

For Norton, her plan for her platform is to branch out through social media and really create a following of individuals, through ice-bucket challenges and the like.

"It's a lot like that ice-bucket challenge they did awhile ago for ACL research," she said. "Something along those lines, that's fun and engaging and brings awareness to the program."

She also wants to expound on her website to really get the ball rolling with her vision.

Norton is partnered with Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly's Minneapolis/St. Paul chapter, and would also like to promote them during her campaign, as she is sponsored by the organization and working towards bridging the social interaction gap between today's generation and the generations of yesteryear. She has been working with them since January of this year.

Other sponsor's of Norton's platform are: Lillians, Park View Care Center, and Rose Garden State.

Preparation for this event is challenging, as Norton has no idea how many contestants she will be competing against.

"I've really been working on my interviewing skills and walking in five inch heels," she explained. "It's a lot of working with pageant coordinators and hair and makeup to make sure everything is ready to go and the looks are established. This all requires meeting with your sponsors and expounding on your platform and your vision to really get things moving."

She stated that she is most nervous for the interview, and to prepare she is working with coordinators in a "mock-trial" type of practice, where she has the added benefit of working with those who have judged this competition in the past.

"It's a rare benefit to have input from professionals who have actually judged this competition and crowned girls," Norton explained.

As for what she is most excited about, Norton is thrilled to be able to throw her platform "out there" nationally, and really shed light on an issue that she fully supports.

"Selfless service is something I am really passionate about, and this is just an awesome way to get me to that point of where I can do this in a big way. Not only that, the entire 'glam' experience is just so much fun, too!"

Norton's competition will be April 28, in St. Paul. From this experience, she hopes to gain added maturity, communication skills, and leadership characterstics, as well as helping others and seeing progress towards the issue of elderly social interaction.

Currently, Norton volunteers at Park Side Care Center in Buffalo, and has done so for four years.

 


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