Homecoming royals crowned at BHS

The 2016 homecoming king and queen were crowned at Buffalo High School during a coronation last Monday evening, Sept. 19.  The new queen is Allie Swearingen (left), daughter of Jack and Joy Swearingen, and the new king is David Hanson (right), son of Bruce and Ann Hanson.  See more BHS Homecoming photos on the School News page inside this week's issue of the Journal-Press.  (Photo by Ed DuBois)



City of Buffalo candidate forum next Tuesday

The Buffalo Council and Mayor Candidate Forum will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 6 p.m. in the Buffalo City Center, 212 Central Ave., in the City Council Chambers.

Every candidate present will be asked prepared questions from Buffalo Area Chamber of Commerce President Sue Olmscheid.  There will be a time limit for each candidate to answer each question.

The forum will be televised live on the city's cable channel, Charter 180, and then at various scheduled times between Sept. 27 and the date of the General Election, Nov. 8.

The candidate for mayor is Teri Lachermeier, and the candidates for two city council positions are Steve Downer, Linda M. Kittock, Carla Krueger, Joe Volk, and Jameson Wakefield.



Vikings kicker visits elementary school students in Buffalo

Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh talked to students at Parkside Elementary School in Buffalo this past Tuesday, Sept. 20 about the importance of being physically active (both for your body and for your brain) for a lifetime. PES was one of a few chosen schools in the state to have a Vikings player visit through the "Fuel Up To Play 60" initiative.

Parkside Elementary students spent part of their Tuesday afternoon with Minnesota Vikings Cheerleader Jessica Bjore (above, far-left), Viking kicker Blair Walsh (above, back-middle), and cheerleader Kerry Anne (above, far-right). Walsh (also pictured in the other photo) ran through a few football drills with some of the students and answered a few questions.  Bjore is a 2004 graduate of Buffalo High School. (Photos courtesy of Laura (Barta) Lindquist, Buffalo Hanover Montrose communications)



Three die due to Carver County house fire

Three people died due to an overnight house fire last Saturday, Sept. 17 in Watertown Township.

A call for the fire department was received around 2:20 a.m., according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.  A mom, Tia Nustad, and her children, Tyler, 11, and Layla, 3, perished, according to WCCO, Channel 4 TV.  Tia, 33, had made it out of the burning structure and was rushed to the Hennepin County Medical Center, but she did not survive.

Friends said she was a great mom and a sweet lady.  A Go Fund Me page for the Nustad family has been set up.

The cause of the fire was being investigated.  The home was fully engulfed when the firefighters arrived.

The home was located on the 11000 block of County Rd. 20.



City Council addresses BYHA leases, 2017 budget and levy

By Rob LaPlante

An approval at the Monday, Sept. 19 Buffalo City Council meeting at the City Center allowed an agreement to lease the concession stand and pro shop at Buffalo Civic Center and Peterson Rink to Buffalo Youth Hockey Association (BYHA).

The current agreement, according to Parks and Recreation Director Lee Ryan, will allow a lease partnership for a three-year period, expiring Aug. 31, 2019, that will have two rental fees totaling $15,000 per year.

The first payment of $7,500 is due each year by Sept. 1.  The second is due by March 31 of each year.

The city is still responsible for providing plumbing, electrical, water, and sewer services.  BYHA is responsible for basic damage to equipment.

Ryan explained that the lease agreement is a bonus for the city.

"The benefit is they can do more hours than we did," Ryan said. "We averaged about $8,000 per year in revenue the past eight years."

One concern from council was no set schedule was appointed to BYHA for dates to assure concessions would be open.

With more volunteers and hours available, Ryan assured the council that high school hockey games, figure skating events and other major events should not be a concern.

BYHA scheduling will still be under the discretion of Ryan.

"There shouldn't be any issues with concessions not in operation during major events," Ryan said. "But they will have a three-strike approach."



A preliminary certified city tax levy proposed in the amount of $7.3 million for 2017 will take effect with one final approval at the end of the 2016 calendar year.

The 2016 city tax levy totaled $6.5 million.  An increase from $2.9 million in operating expenses in 2016 will raise to over $3.6 million in 2017.  Street and Police Department budgets totaling over $4.3 million, along with the Parks Department nearing $1.07 million, are the major factors in the operating expense increase.

State aid from road construction projects and the city's general funds make up the gap in the 2017 proposed levy.

The Council also approved a preliminary HRA (Housing and Redevelopment Authority) tax levy totaling $212,259.

The preliminary levies can be adjusted downward but cannot be increased after this date.



With the city soon switching next calendar year from Waste Management to Randy's Sanitation, council member Paul Olson emphasized that homeowners take note how much waste/recycling they go through.

"Take a good look at what you're doing with your recycling and garbage," Olson said. "Do you really need the size container that you have?  Do you need something bigger?  You will be afforded the opportunity this fall to choose what size container you need."



Wright County truth in taxation event Nov. 29

By Ed DuBois

The Wright County Board has scheduled a Nov. 29 truth in taxation meeting, which will begin at 6 p.m.

The Board approved a draft 2017 budget and a draft levy last week.  At the board meeting this week on Tuesday, Sept. 20, County Auditor-Treasurer Bob Hiivala presented a report on August revenue and expenditures.  He said expenses are close to budget, and just about every category is in the appropriate range.

The Board typically votes on final approval for the annual budget and levy after the truth in taxation meeting.

In other business:



The Board honored Jo Carpenter, the county jail's program coordinator, who is retiring.  Jail Administrator Pat O'Malley said Carpenter was one of the first four corrections officers hired by the Sheriff's Office in June 1988.  She became the program coordinator in December 1989.  O'Malley said Carpenter is known throughout the state for her work and the many programs she offers for the inmates.

Carpenter said Sheriff Darrell Wolff "took a chance" when he hired the first corrections officers to do the work that deputies had been handling in the jail.  She stated it has been a privilege to serve, and she is proud to be part of the Sheriff's Office, which has a solid reputation in the state.

She appreciated the recognition at the board meeting and mentioned she served with four sheriffs.

She said the Sheriff's Office keeps getting better.



In other actions, the Board:

* authorized signatures on an addendum to a Local 49ers memorandum of agreement of April 2015, extending their ability to work four consecutive ten-hour days per week to Sept. 30, 2016;

* received an update on County Ditch 38;

* approved a repair on Joint Ditch 14 in the Cokato area and will share the cost with Meeker County;

* reviewed progress on issues at the newly constructed Highway Department Building, where the main issue is a roof problem (which is being corrected and paid for by the roofing company);

* approved a service agreement with Dakota County for a "One-Shop" permit system, which is expected to be more efficient for both customers and Highway Department staff;

* approved retaining Kevin Casserly and Dwight Dahlen to perform appraisals for tax court purposed in regard to valuation appeals on a commercial property in Otsego and a bank property in Otsego;

* reviewed the county's public works deferred maintenance and remodeling project and discussed plans for getting roof bids and quotes on other aspects of the project; and

* approved $443,435 in claims involving 222 transactions with 127 vendors.



Pink Street Party illuminating downtown Buffalo Oct. 6

A downtown party with a purpose, the eighth annual Pink Street Party, hosted by Buffalo Hospital Foundation, is taking place on Thursday, Oct. 6 from 4 - 9 p.m. in Buffalo.

The event is taking place on Division St. from Central Ave. to 1st Ave., and on 1st Ave. from Division St. to 2nd St.  The party will honor, support, celebrate, and remember those who have experienced cancer, in all forms.

"We all know someone who has experienced cancer.  Pink Street Party is our way of bringing our community together to show support and remember those who have faced cancer," says Karla Heeter, director of the Buffalo Hospital Foundation.

Community members are invited to sponsor a string of lights that will illuminate downtown Buffalo throughout the month of October.  To learn more about tributes and honoring someone you know, visit

Local vendors, food trucks, live music, community organizations, and many more will be at this fun event, which supports the Buffalo Hospital Foundation's mission to provide exceptional care close to home.

This year's raffle prizes include: a $1,500 travel voucher from Country Travel, a $500 Cub Foods gift card and a $250 Holiday gas gift card.  Raffle tickets are available for $10 each and can be purchased at the Buffalo Hospital Gift Shop or by calling 763-684-6800.  A drawing will be held during the Pink Street Party Lighting Ceremony on the patio at BJ's Deli.  All proceeds will support the Buffalo Hospital Foundation.

New this year, the Pink Street Party will feature two live music performances.  Enjoy a variety of classic favorites and modern hits with Crows Feet as they rock out on the patio at BJ's Deli from 5 - 8 p.m.  A second location for tunes will feature Tap-house, playing classic/ alternative rock.  They will be located near the splash pad and will be performing from 4 - 8 p.m.

Interested in becoming part of Pink Street Party?  The Pink Street Party draws a huge audience eager to see what our vendors and sponsors have to offer.  Look for more information and sign up at


click to see

feature photos

Still busy at 94 years old

Ralph Ordorff saws, paints and decorates all day, and he loves it

By Ed DuBois

For 94-year-old Ralph Ordorff of Buffalo, there is no such thing as retirement.  He says he doesn't even know the meaning of the word.  He has seen too many people pass away too soon after they had stopped working.  So, even though he suffers from conditions for which powerful painkillers have been prescribed, he keeps himself busy throughout each day doing something he loves.

He has worked on sawing and painting about 60 bigger-than-life animal figures over the past few years, and many of them now decorate his place overlooking Lake Pulaski.

"I love it," Ordorff said.  "It isn't work.  It's fun."

He had seen similar displays in the past.  He decided it was something he could tackle.

"I had to do something.  I could have sat in a rocking chair and wondered, 'Am I going to die today or tomorrow.'  You gotta stay busy," he declared.


Keeps his mind off it

With neuropathy in his feet, plus arthritis in his hands, arms and shoulders, it's not easy getting started in the morning.  After several knee operations, he doesn't get around very well, either.

He has an expensive pain pump implanted near his left hip, but he is not pleased with its performance.

"It hasn't done 20 cents worth of good," he growled.

Three different pain medications have been tried in the pump, which has a tube to deliver the medicine up the spine toward the head.  He said one of the medications was fentanyl.

"Fentanyl killed Prince, but I'm still going," Ordorff said with a smile.

Sometimes the pain tires him out.  He said he often works an hour and then goes into the house to rest for an hour.

"I don't think so much about the pain when I am working," he commented.


Polka dancer

Ordorff has been very active throughout his life.  Up until about three years ago, he was polka dancing at the Medina Entertainment Center regularly.  In fact, he appeared now and then on the Molly B Polka Show (Charter TV, Channel 138), he said.

After one of the all-day filming sessions for the show, the next day, Ordorff was at a Maple Lake senior dance for three hours, he recalled.

He misses the dancing, but he still gets over to the Monticello Senior Center once a week for euchre (card game) tournaments.


Grew up on a local farm

Back in Buffalo, most days continue to be filled with more sawing, painting and displaying animal figures.

He grew up just a mile or two east of his present home.  He was born Sept. 5, 1922 on a farm between what is now Buffalo High School and what is now the Buffalo Township Hall.  His parents were Frank and Augusta Ordorff.  His grandparents, Jess and Dorthea Ordorff, had come to the USA from Germany.

As Ralph was growing up, several Ordorff families owned farms throughout the area east of Lake Pulaski.  The farms included about 1,100 acres altogether, Ralph estimated.  He mentioned that the farm operated by Ted "Tater" Ordorff included what is now Pulaski Shores, as well as the site of today's Buffalo Township Hall.


Schoolhouse education

Ralph went to school through the eighth grade.  There was a one-room schoolhouse located about half a mile south of today's Buffalo High School.

"I didn't learn a thing," he said.  "All I did was play ball and wrestled."

After his school years, he helped his dad on the farm.  He farmed most of his life and milked his last cow in 1985.

But farming wasn't all he did.  After being elected to the Buffalo Township Board, he served as a township official 41 years.  He also worked 12 years maintaining the township roads.  For a while, he was the chairman of the Wright County Township Officers Association.

Ralph bought his present farm in 1948.

"The farm was for sale.  It had 101 acres, and I bought it for $19,000," he recalled.


Steer mender

One of his favorite memories on the farm involved a brown Swiss steer that had a broken leg.  The odds of treating the leg successfully were not very good, but Ralph worked on bending a pipe to match the shape of the leg.  He then strapped the pipe to the steer's leg and kept the steer in a pen while the leg mended.

"When I took the pipe off the leg and turned the steer loose, it ran and bucked like a rodeo bull," Ralph happily said.

Another favorite memory involved a custom pulling tractor he and his son, Danny, built in 1973.  With a beer keg for a fuel tank and a 400-cubic-inch Chevy engine, it performed surprisingly well and won a big trophy at a local tractor pull.


Loves animals

These days, his attention has shifted from livestock and tractors to moose, bears, elk, deer, etc.  He has been improving his painting techniques, and a small, old hand-broom works great for adding some texture in the paint to create a surface that looks like fur.

"I love wild animals and shorthorn cattle," he commented.

"If I had been a drifter, I would have bought a big cattle ranch in Colorado.  But I'm too much of a homebody," he added.

Throughout his many years in farming, his family provided plenty of help.  Likewise, he had some help with his art project.

He expressed thanks to family, friends and neighbors who provided some assistance.

He now invites you to come and see his animal figures.  He lives on Pulaski Rd., along the south end of Lake Pulaski.

"Drive by and see it," he said.  "Bring the whole family."