Memorial Day ceremonies planned across county

Memorial Day ceremonies will be underway in most Wright County communities next Monday morning, May 25 in honor of those who served our country in the military.

The ceremony in Buffalo is taking place at the American Legion Club, and the guest speaker is State Rep. Marion O'Neill of Maple Lake.

A short parade begins at about 8:45 a.m., followed by a ceremony in front of the building, weather permitting.  Along with a keynote address, the event traditionally includes music by the high school band, the placement of flags during a roll call of deceased veterans, the placement of a wreath, a rifle salute, and a gathering afterward inside the building.

A list of the area ceremonies follows:



St. Michael American Legion Post 567 has scheduled Memorial Day services in Albertville, St. Michael, Hanover, and Greenfield as follows: 8 a.m., St. Albert's Church in Albertville; 9 a.m., St. Albert's Cemetery in Albertville; 9:35 a.m., St. Michael South Cemetery; 10:15 a.m., St. Paul's Cemetery in Hanover; and 10:45 a.m., Salem Lutheran Church Cemetery in Greenfield.

These are tentative times and could vary 5 or 10 minutes either way.

Everyone is invited the come and take part in the Memorial Day observances.

A brunch will be served at Salem Lutheran Church following the services in the Greenfield cemetery.



The Memorial Day parade starts at 10 a.m. and will travel from the middle school to Chestnut St., down Main Street to Pleasant Lake, where a ceremony with a rifle salute, "Taps" and flowers on the lake will take place.

The parade will then continue down Highway 24 to Woodlawn Cemetery for another program.  Annandale Mayor Dwight Gunnarson will be the keynote speaker, and the Annandale Community Band will perform.

Following the program, the Boy Scouts are conducting a flag retirement ceremony at the cemetery.

The Boy Scouts are also hosting a breakfast in the Annandale Municipal Park pavilion from 8 a.m. to noon.  Veterans are invited to eat free.



The Memorial Day program starts at 8:45 a.m. with a short parade to the front of the American Legion Club.

The guest speaker will be State Rep. Marion O'Neill.

The Buffalo High School band traditionally provides music during the ceremony, which also includes the placement of flags during a roll call of deceased veterans, the placement of a wreath, a rifle salute, and a gathering afterward inside the building.



Cokato American Legion Post 209 will begin its Memorial Day ceremonies with a rifle volley and flag raising at the Watson Cemetery on CSAH 4 east of Cokato Monday, May 25 at 7:30 a.m., and then at Veterans Memorial Park at 8 a.m., reports the Enterprise Dispatch.

A parade is taking place in downtown Cokato at 10:15 a.m.

The Legion welcomes all individuals in the local area who are currently active duty military, members of the National Guard and members of military reserve units to join them in the parade. The line will form at 9:45 a.m. on the south side of Cokato Elementary School.

Following the parade, a presentation will take place in the Cokato Elementary School auditorium and will feature the D-C High School band, the Litchfield Area Male Chorus and an address by Donald H. Walser of Hutchinson, a veteran and a retired attorney who served as the legal adviser for the state American Legion organization.



Parade participants are lining up at 10:15 a.m. outside the Delano American Legion Club, and the parade will start at 10:30 a.m.  A brief stop on the bridge will be followed by a march to the city park.

The guest speaker is Wright County Sheriff Joe Hagerty.

Music is being provided by Delano High School's band.

Following the ceremony in the park, everyone is invited to lunch in the Legion.



Members of American Legion Post 145 will assemble in the St. James Lutheran Church parking lot at 9 a.m. and then march to the city cemetery, where a program will begin at 9:15 a.m., reports the Herald Journal.

The invocation will be provided by Jesse Bunker, USN, retired. Legion Commander Jeff Carpenter will give a welcome, followed by the raising of the flag.  The guest speaker will be Sgt. Andrei Stolyarchuk, USMC, retired.

The Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School band will play musical selections.  Jean Schmidt and Loren Zander will hang memorial wreaths, followed by a roll call of deceased veterans by elementary and middle school students.

A rifle salute is planned, and "Taps" will conclude the ceremony.

Refreshments will follow at the Howard Lake American Legion.



The line-up for a parade begins at 9:30 a.m. outside the American Legion Club in Maple Lake.  A program starts 10 a.m. at the community park in the middle of town.  The guest speaker will be Mike Yanish, Wat-Kim-Valley POW-MIA coordinator.  In case of rain, the program will take place in the Legion Club.  A potluck lunch in the Legion begins at 11:30 a.m.



Ceremonies are planned at 9:30 a.m. in Hillside Cemetery, 10 a.m. in Ellison Park and St. Henry's Catholic Cemetery and 10:30 in Riverside Cemetery, where the guest speaker will be Monticello Schools Supt. Jim Johnson.  A Monticello High School wind ensemble is providing music.

A parade begins at 11:30 a.m. from American Legion Post 260, 304 Elm St.  The parade route includes 3rd St. W., Locust, 4th St. W., Elm St., and ends up back at the Legion.

Lunch for parade participants is being provided at the Legion.  Others are being asked for a freewill donation.



The Memorial Day observance in Montrose begins 10:30 a.m. at Wright VFW Post 1901, 300 Zephyr Ave. (near Highway 12 on the east side of town).  The lawn will be covered with close to 400 crosses.  The guest speaker is Roger Stoick of the VFW post in St. Michael.  Montrose Mayor Greg Youmans is also speaking.  The Buffalo High School Band is providing music.  Boy Scout Caleb Gilson is being thanked for his Eagle Scout project, the installation of patio blocks around the flagpole.



Rockford's Memorial Day Parade starts at 10 a.m. from the Rockford Middle School, with Navy Services at the Crow River, followed by Memorial Services at the Elmwood Cemetery with Pastor Jon Rhodes from Our Fathers Lutheran Church of Rockford, plus the Wright County Sheriff's Colors and Rifle Squad.  In case of rain, services will be held in the Rockford Community Center at the high school.  The Rockford Lions will serve their famous pork chop dinner starting at 11 a.m. in the Riverside Park - Lions Building.  A pie and ice cream social is planned at the Ames-Florida-Stork House from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  All area residents are invited to attend and march in the parade.

For information, contact Lion Eric Lloyd at 763-226-1195.



The Charles Claessens Post 305 Legion and Auxiliary Unit in Waverly will be conducting Memorial Day services at Railroad Park on Monday, May 25 at 10:30 a.m.  The keynote speaker will be Kenneth Hausladen, a former resident of Waverly who now resides in Hastings.  Musical selections from the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School Band will also be part of the program.  The public is invited to join the Legion and Auxiliary members that morning to honor those who have paid the ultimate price to ensure our freedom.  Personal comfort items for VA Medical Center patients can be dropped off that day at the fire hall.



Hundreds of Boy Scouts coming to Buffalo Airport for Camporee

By Ed DuBois

For the first time, the Buffalo Airport will be the site of a massive Boy Scout gathering later this month.  As many as 700 Scouts and adults are coming to the airport for a spring 2015 Aviation Camporee from Friday to Sunday, May 29-31.

Both the airport grounds and the nearby rodeo grounds will be used for camping, and a full schedule of aviation-related activities will be taking place.

Security will be important to the Boy Scouts of America.  Wristbands are being issued, and they will be checked to be certain those at the airport that weekend are supposed to be there.  The Camporee is not a general public event.  Wright County Sheriff's Explorers are helping with security and traffic control.

Jake Twaddle, Crow River executive with the Northern Star Council (Boy Scouts of America), said three camporees are planned each year at various locations.  The events have themes, and "they bring people together from the entire district," he commented.

For the Aviation Camporee at the end of May, the Crow River District is partnering with the Ventureres from the Lake Minnetonka District.  Buffalo Airport was selected as the site because it is centrally located, it is large enough and its aviation fuel prices are among the lowest, Twaddle explained.

Greg Thomes, the president of the local Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) chapter, is making arrangements for a flight simulator activity.  About nine local pilots are making hangars available for the activities.  West Metro Aviation and D'Shannon Aviation are among those providing hangar space.  Scouts will be able to earn merit badges by taking part in the activities.

Many aviation-related schools, businesses and military representatives (as well as NASA Glenn Research) are setting up information booths.

Chris Fredrick, airport manager, said the City of Buffalo is making the airport available at no cost for the Camporee.  In appreciation, the Boy Scouts plan to sponsor one of the Concerts in the Park this summer (a $1,500 expense).

One of the Camporee activities will be a Saturday evening presentation by World War II fighter pilot Marv Dahlgren, 90, of St. Paul, who has relatives in Maple Lake.  He flew Corsairs off the USS Bennington in the South Pacific.  A drummer in the ship's band, he later performed as the Principal Percussionist with the Minnesota Orchestra, taught at the University of Minnesota and owned Dahlgren Drum Shop in downtown Minneapolis.

 Skydivers are performing for the Camporee's Saturday morning opening ceremony.  Young Eagles flights are being provided by the Lakeville EAA chapter.  Helicopter rides are also planned.

Pilots are being treated to pancakes cooked by the Boy Scouts.

A drone display is planned, and a radio-controlled aircraft activity could take place.  Aircraft, including two Stearman biplanes, will be displayed, as well.  Historic aviation flyovers are also planned.

Altogether, the hundreds of Boy Scouts coming to the Buffalo Airport at the end of May could be in for a high-flying good time.



Tornado sweeps through Kimball

Severe weather arrived in Central Minnesota last Saturday, May 16, and a tornado damaged the high school football field in Kimball, the St. Cloud Times reported.  The National Weather Service said the tornado touched down briefly around 8:30 p.m. and uprooted large trees, damaged some roofs, hit an equipment shed at the high school and twisted and crumpled the newly refurbished football scoreboard while scattering debris all over.  (Photo courtesy of Shane Vashro)



Volunteers for massive June 26 drill wanted

Wright County Public Health is seeking 200 adult volunteers for a drill on Friday, June 26.  Public health will be testing their ability to provide antibiotics to the entire county population in an emergency.

In a two-hour period, from noon to 2 p.m., volunteers will go through a mass dispensing clinic set up at St. Michael-Albertville High School.  The exercise will help local public health agencies practice plans developed for just this situation.

This event is in conjunction with a statewide drill involving the entire Twin City metropolitan area.  Multiple counties across the region will be involved with the exercise at four sites including Wright County.  Public health agencies participating at the Wright County site are: Wright, Sherburne, Isanti, Chisago, Mille Lacs, and Hennepin Counties.  Over 100 public health staff will be participating in roles from greeters, screeners, supply staff, ushers, medical dispensers, and command officers.

People of all ages, 18 and over, are needed.  The volunteers will go through the mock clinic as if they were receiving antibiotics for an illness.  On the day of the drill, registration is at 11:15 a.m. with lunch provided before a short orientation.  From noon - 2 p.m., the volunteer actors will go through the mass dispensing clinic set up in the high school gym.  Each person will be given cards saying what their health status is and go through the clinic several times portraying different types of people by age and health status. The intent is to give public health staff the opportunity to determine what type of antibiotics would be dispensed depending on the health condition a person has, if they are adult or child, if they have allergies, etc.

Register today to see Public Health in action.  The Wright County website main page has a link to register on-line at or call Terri at Wright County Public Health to register by phone. 763-682-7516.

The St. Michael-Albertville High School is located at 5800 Jamison Ave. NE in St. Michael. Additional participants come from Wright County Health and Human Services, Wright County Sheriff's Office and Emergency Management, the Minnesota Department of Health and St. Michael-Albertville High School.  Partial funding is provided by a grant from the Minnesota Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for Public Health Emergency Preparedness.



State's 2015 Century Farms include three in Wright County

The Minnesota State Fair and the Minnesota Farm Bureau are recognizing 222 Minnesota farms as 2015 Century Farms.

Three of the farms are in Wright County, the Piram Family Farm, Buffalo, 1915; the Nordlund Farm, 1889, Cokato; and the Beaudry Farms, 1911, Otsego.

Qualifying farms have been in continuous family ownership for at least 100 years and are 50 acres or more. Century Farm families receive a commemorative sign, as well as a certificate signed by the State Fair and Minnesota Farm Bureau presidents and Governor Mark Dayton. Since the program began in 1976, more than 10,000 Minnesota farms have been recognized as Century Farms.

Information on all Century Farms will be available at the Minnesota Farm Bureau exhibit during the 2015 Minnesota State Fair, which runs Aug. 27 - Labor Day, Sept. 7.  A Century Farm database is also available at



Drive-through lane planned at Caribou Coffee

By Rob LaPlante

Each of the matters approved at the Buffalo Planning Commission meeting on Monday, May 11 were approved by unanimous vote on Monday, May 18 at the Buffalo City Council meeting.

A Conditional Use Permit (CUP) and Variance were issued at the address of 1487 Pulaski Road where Kelly and Melissa Lynk reside. The Lynk family is requesting to expand its living area, as well as additional garage space. Concern from neighbors say the proposed Variance of the existing yard could potentially block views of Lake Pulaski, however, council member Paul Olson stated: "There are no guarantees on views with property," he said. "I know it sounds harsh, but when I bought my lot, I could see Buffalo Heights Golf Course and all I can see now are a couple houses. Unless there are easement agreements, views are never guaranteed."

Both the planning commission and city council were in favor of CUP's for a CUP and Zoning Text Amendment for Buffalo Food Shelf and CUP at Buffalo Covenant Church. Buffalo Food Shelf is seeking a Zoning Text Amendment to expand on their existing property on the west end of the building on 12th St. NE. Buffalo Covenant Church is seeking an expansion.

One change was made to the original CUP proposal brought forward to the planning commission regarding Caribou Coffee/ Einstein Bagels. A designated drive-through lane was later added that city council approved in favor of the original proposal that would have created stacking and traffic problems as well as drain system problems on the west side of the parking lot.

A patron at the planning commission meeting took the podium at the city council and expressed his pleasure over the updated proposal.



A bid for a tanker truck, which is a vehicle designed to haul water from the city to townships, with an estimated cost of $265,000 was approved by council with Buffalo Fire Chief John Harnois' request to replace an outdated 1983 version that he says is worn out. "The top speed is 45 miles per hour and we've had a lot of maintenance issues with it," he said.

Chief Harnois also explained the Buffalo Fire Department received a rating of four in the latest Insurance Service Organization (ISO) Rating Change. ISO ratings are on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the worst, one the best.

"We improved from five to four and we're almost a three," explained Harnois. "Four puts us in the top 10-percent in the state. This will make a big difference in our home insurance rates."



Council accepted the offer of $3,375 for the sale of a 2008 Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. Buffalo Police Chief Pat Budke said the vehicle needs new rotors and has mechanical problems. A bid of $2,500 was made on Craigslist, but Budke said a cashier's check in the amount of $3,375 was later offered which is higher than the trade-in value of $3,275.

Budke also relayed good news as all city locations tested for the compliance check for the underage sales of tobacco and alcohol passed at 100-percent.



A donation to 2015 Flora of Buffalo program was accepted by council in the amount of $65 from David and Margaret Randel. City Administrator Laureen Bodin estimated a grand total of $8,800 in donations with a goal of reaching $10,000.

The resignation of Apprentice Lineworker Ryan Sampson, who elected to move to Moorhead for personal matters, opened the door for council to approve the hiring of Matthew Zipp. City Administrator Merton Auger explains that Zipp is a young recent college graduate from St. Michael who is the right person for the job. "He's dependable and focused," Auger said. "He loves the area and wants to stay close to his family. If hired, he would be willing to move to Buffalo."



* Andy Hayes of Hayes Public House has the approval to amend the ordinance for Sunday growler sales.

* A feasibility study to blacktop Carling Ave. NE, which sits in Buffalo Township property, to the city limits of 21st St. NE were approved with the recommendation by council member Teri Lachermeier that Buffalo Township Board also looks at upgrading the road leading to Buffalo Food Shelf.



Council member Olson's environmental moment suggests that lawn mowers avoid blowing grass onto city roads, as old grass in gutters and the street eventually ends up in lakes, resulting in green water.

Also, with the lack of bees in the news, Olson suggests to visit the DNR website and search "annual plants" for a list of native plants to help save the environment.



Wright County honored at recent Governor's Safety Award event

By Ed DuBois

During the Wright County Board's meeting last Tuesday, May 19, Tim Dahl, the county's risk manager, told the commissioners that the county has been recognized for superior performance in workplace safety and health.  The honor was presented at the Governor's Safety Awards luncheon on May 7 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Wright County is one of 267 employers to be honored through the awards program, which is coordinated by the Minnesota Safety Council.

In addition, Dahl presented on the topic of "Managing Safety Resources: A Look at How Cities and Counties Implement Safety Programs."

"Employers like Wright County know that safety isn't automatic," Paul Aasen, president of the Minnesota Safety Council, said in a news release issued by the county.  "It takes attention, dedication and continuous effort to protect their employees."

"Wright County is committed to providing a safe environment for employees and visitors to our facilities.  We are honored to be recognized by the Minnesota Safety Council for our continuous improvement efforts in the areas of safety and risk management," said Lee Kelly Wright County Coordinator.

During the board meeting last Tuesday, Commissioner Mark Daleiden expressed thanks and congratulations to the county employees for their help with avoiding safety problems and earning the award.

Since 1934, the annual Governor's Safety Awards program has honored Minnesota employers with exceptional safety performance. Applicants are judged on several years of injury data as it compares with their industry's national statistics, and on their progress in implementing a comprehensive safety program. Winners are recognized at three levels:

* Meritorious Achievement (157 winners): Incidence rates that are better than the industry average for at least three years, and a score between 50 and 74 on a 100-point safety program evaluation scale.

* Outstanding Achievement (79 winners): Continuing improvement and/or a continuing outstanding record with incident rates that are 51%-90% better than the industry average, and a score between 75 and 90 on the safety program evaluation scale.

* Award of Honor (31 winners): Incidence rates at least 91% better than the industry average, and a score between 91 and 100 on the safety program evaluation scale.

Wright County received an Outstanding Achievement Award.

The Governor's Safety Awards luncheon is part of the 81st Minnesota Safety & Health Conference, coordinated by the Minnesota Safety Council. The conference is the oldest and largest gathering of workplace safety and health professionals in the region. The Minnesota Safety Council, founded in 1928, is a non-governmental, not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in Minnesota by preventing unintentional injuries ("accidents").

In other business:



The Board named the low bidder, Springsted, Inc., as the bond adviser for the county's public works project.  The County Board is anticipating a project cost of about $17 million, and at that amount, Springsted would be paid $17,000.



The Board approved participation in the state's Agricultural Best Management Practices Loans (AgBMP) Program, which offers a three-percent interest rate for practices that prevent or solve water pollution problems.  The county will be able to act as a local lender for the program through an assessment process.



In other actions, the Board:

* approved the addition of one sheriff's deputy position for an increase in patrol contract hours;

* approved $2,301 for a wall addition project in Human Services Center;

* scheduled a closed session on May 27 for a Security Committee Meeting;

* approved a property tax abatement for a Cokato area couple to correct a clerical error related to the value of their property.

* approved $309,505 in claims involving 351 transactions with 192 vendors, and discussed ways to better determine true costs for buildings and departments.



Want to share your best storm photos?

With the severe weather season upon us, the Journal-Press invites those who would like to share their best storm photos with our readers to send them to Ed DuBois at

If we receive more photos than space allows, we will try to pick out the most interesting and dynamic images for publication.

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From Vietnam to Legion commander

Pat Miller's military service and involvement with tributes to other veterans span almost 50 years

By Ed DuBois

A fixture among American Legion officers at the annual Memorial Day ceremony in Buffalo, former Sheriff's Deputy Pat Miller helps honor those who served the USA in the military.  His own service to his country took place during the Vietnam War.

He is quick to point out that he was not directly involved with combat in Vietnam (and he has great respect for those who were).  His service in Vietnam involved carrying out clerical duties at bases in the central highlands.  He was on duty in places such as the Bien Hoa Air Base, an old Marine base called Phu Bia and Camp Evans near Hue.  Although he was not involved with the fighting, there was potential harm just being there.

He recalled being transferred to a division that went to liberate Khe Sanh.  The base where he worked was mortared and rocketed once a week, he said.

His worksite was near an ammo dump, an airport with Cobra and Huey helicopters, the division operations center, and a fuel dump.

The office workers were fond of saying, "Long, short or wide, it would land on us," meaning they could be hit if the enemy missed their intended targets.

"The ammo dump was hit on Ho Chi Minh's birthday in 1968.  Ammo was cooking off for a couple of days," Miller said.  "Once in a while, an artillery shell or something in there would shoot straight up in the air."


Shells sounded like trains

That was the year of the Tet Offensive, which involved many attacks in various places by North Vietnam leader Ho Chi Minh's forces.

Miller remembers the USS Missouri, one of the largest battleships ever constructed, was offshore firing its 16-inch guns at land targets.

"At night during the A Shau Valley campaign, shells from the 16-inch guns of the Missouri sounded like a railroad train passing overhead.  The guns fired three or four hours a night for about two weeks," Miller recalled.


From Benson High School

Serving on the other side of the world was quite an experience for a young man about a year out of Benson High School in Minnesota.  He was the oldest of ten children.

He studied a year at the community college in Willmar and then joined the Army.

"I enlisted because I was going to be drafted.  The secretary of the draft board was a friend of my mom," Miller explained.

He enlisted on Oct. 9, 1966 at the Federal Building in Minneapolis.

After completing his basic training at Fort Benning, Ga., he went to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. for clerical school classes.  However, the classes were full, and he was placed with a clerical unit for the post.  His duties involved passing on mail to soldiers who had gone ahead from the post for their next assignments.


'Placed on the levee'

In six months, he received orders to serve in Vietnam.  The orders arrived in a message box at the office.  "Placed on the levee" was a term used by the soldiers in reference to such orders.  The phrase is likely related to a French term, "levée en masse," which can be used to describe a mass mobilization of soldiers.

Miller was able to spend 30 days at home before reporting to the army terminal in Oakland, Calif.  He was sent to Bien Hoa Air Base, and then he was assigned to service with the 1st Air Cavalry Division.  His work involved printing orders.  The office where he worked had two A.B. Dick mimeograph machines.


Twelve on, twelve off

He was in Vietnam one year, from October 1967 to October 1968.

The printing unit included about 25 soldiers.  When Miller was sent to Camp Evans, he was among 9 printing staff members at that location.  He remembers his work schedule was "12 hours on, 12 hours off, 7 days a week."

I worked the night shift for a long time.  I would get off at 7 a.m.," Miller said.  "I slept to 1 or 2 p.m.  There was a PX (post exchange or store) at An Khe, and I could go to a Salvation Army site.  But the EM (Enlisted Men's) Club (which included a bar) did not open until after I went to work."

Nonetheless, he was able to enjoy a drink when he wanted.

The public at home in America often heard about drug use in Vietnam, but Miller said he did not see much of that happening.  Marijuana was used, but it was not widespread, at least from what he observed.


Entered law enforcement

When his year in Vietnam was finished, Miller went home.  He mentioned he served for a time at the army terminal in Oakland before finishing his term in the military.

Once he was back in Minnesota, he returned to school in Willmar and earned an associate's degree in Law Enforcement.  His first job was with the Paynesville Police Department, and after a year and a half, he was hired in Wright County by Sheriff Darrell Wolff.  He was a patrol deputy, and he also worked in the office, which included some time as a radio dispatcher.  Toward the end of his 15 years with the Wright County Sheriff's Office, he worked in warrants and transports, he said.


Married almost 50 years

Miller will be married to his wife, Marilyn, 50 years in 2017.  Their wedding took place about a year after he was in the Army.  They had met in high school during Senior Skip Day.

Marilyn has worked as a cook and waitress.  For about 20 years, she served as the county jail cook supervisor.

Marilyn and Pat have a son, Patrick, who lives in Big Lake and has been a supervisor with Fingerhut's customer service division in St. Cloud for many years.


Legion commander

As a member of the American Legion Post in Buffalo, Pat has served as the Legion commander.  The big wall of officer photos at the Legion Club indicates he served as the commander from 2004 to 2006.

He said he has been active with the post in Buffalo 25 years, since 1990.

There is little doubt he will once again join other Legion officers as they conduct the 2015 Memorial Day ceremony on Monday, May 25.  Out of honor and respect, he has become a fixture at the event.