HEADLINES FOR NOVEMBER 29, 2013
Enrollment could be declining a little, BHM School Board told According to Laura (Barta) Lindquist, BHM communications coordinator, Director of Finance and Operations Gary Kawlewski gave the enrollment projections for the 2014-15 school year. He said the district enrollment has been relatively stable over the last five years. However the next five years show a slight decline. The total resident population is growing, but last school year, 354 students open enrolled out of BHM Schools. Kalewski noted that most students go to Delano, Rockford and Watertown-Mayer. This number represents students attending another public school or home school students enrolled through a charter school. He was surprised to discover that the district is not losing people from the outlines of the district's boarder (as one might assume as they are closer to other districts) but rather students are open enrolling from within the Cities of Buffalo, Hanover and Montrose.
Kawlewski, along with the superintendent and board, expressed concern. Superintendent Scott Thielman assured the board members that efforts will be made to reach out to families to inquire about their decision to open enroll, and to help retain future students (and possibly attract others back).The projection from last year for this 2013-14 school year was 5,759, and the official Oct. 1, 2013 enrollment was 5,739 (loss of 20 students).
Kawlewski said the projections were off at the kindergarten level. This year, Kawlewski expects more of the kindergarten students will be retained because of the free, all-day, every day kindergarten option that will be offered beginning next school year.To determine projections, Kawlewski mentioned that the housing market, economic conditions, Wright County births, open enrollment, budget reductions, new programs (Quest, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), All-Day Every Day Kindergarten), and a variety of other statistics are considered.
Kawlewski explained there are uncertain economic factors that make enrollment projections difficult. Therefore, a conservative method of projecting enrollments will continue to be used. He reported that the enrollment projection for the 2014-15 school year is 5,703 students.
In other business:ANNUAL REPORT
Director of Curriculum and Instruction Pam Miller presented the 2012-13 BHM Annual Report on Curriculum, Instruction and Student Achievement. The report outlines BHM student test results on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments, Minnesota GRAD Tests, MAP Tests (Measures of Academic Progress) and other tests administered in the schools. It also includes the school board's goals relating to student achievement, the District/ Community Teaching and Learning Council members and the 2013-14 testing schedule. The report will available on the district's website at www.bhmschools.org.
Buffalo High School Student Representative Nick Swearingen reported working on RAVE (Respect and Value Everyone) Week, which will take place the last week in January 2014 and will coincide with a basketball game for breast cancer awareness.To help raise funds, student council members will be asking local businesses to make a pledge per point scored. They will also have bracelets and t-shirts for the event. PROUD OF
BHM is proud of:* BHS We Act Students who helped collect over 500 pounds of food for the Buffalo and Hanover Food Shelves through collections at BHS as well as Trick-or-Treating around the district on Halloween.
* Mrs. Skoglund's Kindergarten class who organized a UNICEF fundraiser for all students at Hanover Elementary and collected $1,103. This is the 20th year that Mrs. Skoglund's kindergarteners have collected for UNICEF.* Marci Bauman (BHS Math), Jessa Rakotz (BCMS SPED), Jenny Doimer (MES SPED) Pam Ramsey (TES 3rd Grade) and Jenina Rothstein (District Instructional Specialist) who were honored as Leaders in Educational Excellence by Resource Training and Solutions.
* Glen Hoppe, District Hearing/ Vision Teacher, who assisted a teacher in Connecticut by introducing him to the join.me app which allows a visually impaired student to stay in the classroom and visually access student information. As a result, the Connecticut Bureau of Education and Services for the Blind have decided to use the join.me app with all of their visually impaired students across the state.
Final readings of updated policies were approved in an ongoing review process.First readings of policies being reviewed were also approved.
The Board accepted donations totaling $16,117.
Buffalo Community Orchestra offering a sweet Christmas treat on Dec. 7
This year, BCO welcomes special guests from the North Ballet Youth Company of Rogers, bringing Tchaikovsky's ballet "The Nutcracker" to life
This year, BCO welcomes special guests from the North Ballet Youth Company of Rogers, bringing Tchaikovsky's ballet "The Nutcracker" to life
The Buffalo Community Orchestra, led by Conduct-or Erik Rohde, will spread Christmas cheer when they present their annual concert "The Nutcracker and Other Sweets" Saturday, Dec. 7 in the Buffalo High School Performing Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. The community-wide musical celebration is in its thirteenth year and draws attendance from a four-county area.
This popular holiday event features the Wright County Chamber Chorus with members of the Buffalo High School Choir, led by Director Michael Walsh, and the wRight Ringers Community Hand-bell Ensemble, led by Directors Sherilyn Burgdorf and Jill Starr.This year, a special treat awaits as BCO welcomes special guests from the North Ballet Youth Company of Rogers, directed by Breanna Dvorak, to bring Tchaikovsky's spectacular ballet "The Nutcracker" to life.
Following the concert, a reception will be held in the commons area.Tickets are available at the door the night of the performance. Ticket prices are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $3 for students. Children, age five and under, are admitted without charge. Please visit www.bcomn.org for more information. .
Handbell Ensemble preparing musical pieces for concert
Members of the wRight Ringers Handbell Ensemble (above) include: (front row, from left) Jill Norlander, Joan Johnson, Brenda Roberts; (second row) Lorraine Roush, Lisa McConnon, Mary Augustin, Sheryl Reid, Joyce Rolstad, Julie Johnson, Ashley Elsen; (third row) Jenny White, Mary Andrews, Sherilyn Burgdorf, Lyle Jans, Jill Starr,
and Jill Nauman. (Photo courtesy of Jill Starr)
Members of the wRight Ringers Handbell Ensemble (above) include: (front row, from left) Jill Norlander, Joan Johnson, Brenda Roberts; (second row) Lorraine Roush, Lisa McConnon, Mary Augustin, Sheryl Reid, Joyce Rolstad, Julie Johnson, Ashley Elsen; (third row) Jenny White, Mary Andrews, Sherilyn Burgdorf, Lyle Jans, Jill Starr, and Jill Nauman. (Photo courtesy of Jill Starr)
The wRight Ringers Community Handbell Ensemble will collaborate with community music ensembles in the Buffalo Community Orchestra's holiday concert, "The Nutcracker & Other Sweets."
The holiday concert is taking place on Saturday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center at the Buffalo High School.Individual pieces that wRight Ringers will perform include "Carol of the Bells," "The Holly and the Ivy," "We Three Kings," and "West Indies Carol."
The wRight Ringers members have been busy this fall recording a CD, which is ready just in time to add more Sweet Sounds of Christmas to this year's BCO concert. The CD will be available for $12 at the concert, as well as at Lillians of Buffalo, Buffalo Books & Coffee, or by visiting the wRight Ringers Facebook page.
Deck the Halls in Buffalo Dec. 7 From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., retail stores are offering holiday specials, treats and entertainment for your shopping pleasure.
Santa's friends will be strolling downtown as you shop. From 3 to 5 p.m., there will musicians, carolers, horse-drawn carriage rides, hot chocolate, cookies, and more in the new Downtown Commons area.A tree lighting ceremony and prize drawings are planned at 5 p.m.
Donation boxes will be available for the local Toys For Tots project and for the Buffalo Food Shelf.Everyone is invited to come on down and get into the spirit of the season.
Eleven fire departments help contain barn fire
Eleven fire departments helped contain and put out two barns that were fully involved last Friday morning, Nov. 22 on the 8200 block of 10th St. S.E. in Rockford Township.No one was injured, and all animals and machinery were removed in time, said Hanover Fire Chief Dave Malewicki.
The Hanover Fire Department was called at 4:37 a.m. Tanker trucks were needed to carry water to the scene. Fire Departments from Albertville, Buffalo, Delano, Hamel, Loretto, Maple Grove, Maple Plain, Monticello, Rockford, and St. Michael responded.Malewicki said they were able to keep the fire from spreading to other nearby structures.
The cause of the fire is not known, and, an investigation team is working on determining what happened.
Lilypads opens at Lakeview Mall
Fun and decorative things are abundant at Lilypads, a new store in the Lakeview Mall's northwest corner in downtown Buffalo. Darlene Kison of Buffalo (above) has partnered with Tanya Wasson of Buffalo (not pictured) to start the business, and items from a multitude of vendors and consigners include: furniture, antiques, jewelry, handmade greeting cards, homemade jams and pickled pea pods, and much more. They "aim for unique and different," Kison said. A Dec. 5-8 grand opening with coffee, food and prizes is being planned.Radio-Active Mobile Electronics opens
After 12 years with Best Buy, Doug Selle (center) teamed up with his son, Andrew Selle (right), who has 10 years of experience, and opened Radio-Active Mobile Electronics in Buffalo (across from McDonald's). They are posing with Jon Krugerud (left), who has known and worked with Andrew since high school. They all live in the area and offer both automotive and marine electronics, including: remote starters, radios, stereos, amplifiers, Bluetooth, security alarms, keyless entry, back-up cameras, and more. A spring grand opening is being planned.
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Ryan's six-month adventure
Hiker from Buffalo completes the 2,000-mile Appalachian Trail from March to August
By Ed DuBois
After wearing out several pair of hiking boots and losing 30 pounds, Ryan Whittaker completed a 6-month, 2,100-mile hike through 14 states as he arrived at the end of the Appalachian Trail. He had begun on March 2 in Georgia and finished on Aug. 31 in Maine. For someone who had grown up enjoying the great outdoors while hunting and fishing, the journey through America's eastern mountains was one of the big adventures of his life.
In 2009, he hiked the Colorado Trail for five weeks.
"But the Appalachian Trail was a bigger adventure. It is probably the most famous hiking trail in the world," the 2002 Buffalo High School graduate said.
He has a Geology degree from the University of Minnesota, Morris and a master's degree in Geology from the University of North Dakota. His work since college has included some roofing, as well as some summertime employment with the Three Rivers Park District of Hennepin County. He also worked on the Illinois State Water Survey, he said.
Before starting his next career move, he and his girlfriend, Collette DeNet of St. Paul, decided to take a break and go on an Appalachian Trail adventure. They had met at Morris.
Began in Georgia
Collette said Ryan set them both up with the proper, lightweight gear and weather protection. They started at Springer Mountain, located northwest of Atlanta, and made pretty good time, averaging 12-14 miles a day.
"Later, we were going 18-20 miles a day as we got in better shape," Ryan said.
A blizzard slowed them down for about two and a half days in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Many hikers chose to wait it out. About 16 inches of snow fell, and the temperature was around 20 degrees, which is very unusual in that part of the country.
Ryan and Collette decided to push onward. They were alone at first, but after a while they joined a group of about a dozen hikers.
Despite the deep snow, they were able to climb to the highest elevation on the Trail, 6,643 feet, at Clingmans Dome in Tennessee.
"We were stepping in each others footholds," Collette recalled. "When the clouds finally parted, it was beautiful. All the trees were covered with snow."
Ryan remembered a morning temperature of 25 degrees.
"The locals said it was the coldest morning of the year," he said.
Warm sleeping bags
Three-sided shelters are available along the Trail at an average of about eight miles apart. The shelters sleep from 6-12 people. Collette had a zero-degree sleeping bag, and Ryan had a twenty-degree model.
"As soon as we stopped hiking, I felt cold," Collette recalled.
She wasted no time getting into her sleeping bag, because once inside and zipped up, she was quite comfortable.
Some of the shelters had a tarp on the fourth side to help keep the wind and snow out. The shelters in the Smokies also had fireplaces. Other shelters along the Trail that didn't have fireplaces at least had a nearby fire pit.
The state with the longest trail segment is Virginia. Ryan and Collette enjoyed Grayson Highlands State Park in the southern part of Virginia. Wild ponies wander in the park, which offers "excellent views," they said.
Some spectacular photos were taken at McAfee Knob just outside Roanoke. A long, high ledge protrudes outward. Visitors enjoy sitting on the end while looking down at a big valley.
Later on Tinker Cliffs, hikers walk along the edge of a cliff, where the views are "stunning," Ryan said.
At Shenandoah National Park, which offers easier hiking on well-maintained trails, some hikers don't care for the abundance of tourists, but Ryan and Collette enjoyed joining the crowd. They also enjoyed the park's campgrounds, which offered drinking fountains and bathrooms, and they took a break from trail food as they visited diners serving burgers.
All the food they wanted
The trail food included: oatmeal, granola bars and trail mix, tortilla with peanut butter or Nutella, rice with salmon or tuna, summer sausage with instant mashed potatoes, and Ramen noodles.
"Hot chocolate was my favorite thing," Collette said.
They also drank powdered Gatorade in water or Crystal Light.
Plenty of Snickers bars were eaten, as well. They were good even when they were frozen.
"My favorite thing was being able to eat all I wanted. We were burning so many calories, we didn't have to be concerned about gaining weight," Ryan said.
He and Collette said a breakfast buffet at Shenandoah was "so nice."
They saw three black bears while hiking through the park. The bears ran off each time, and then out of curiosity, they stopped and looked back.
Insect encounters highlighted the hiking north of Shenandoah. In northern Virginia, Ryan and Collette entered an area where thousands of cicadas were buzzing.
"I thought we were coming to a power plant," Collette commented.
Meanwhile, they saw numerous signs warning about ticks and Lyme disease. Fortunately, they did not find many of the tiny critters during daily tick checks.
A train home
At about the halfway point along the Trail, Collette headed home. She and Ryan had agreed way back at the start that she would only go as far as she could.
Collette commented that the long hike up and down mountains was "really hard." At Harper's Ferry, located just west of the Washington, D.C. area, it was time to hop aboard an Amtrak train and go home.
Collette had hiked roughly 1,000 miles.
Before departing, she and Ryan took some time to see some Civil War sites and learn some Civil War history.
Where boots go to die
Entering Pennsylvania, Ryan picked up the pace and was covering about 20 miles a day. His best single day distance was 28 miles, he said.
That part of the Trail doesn't offer the best views, he explained, and the hiking was easier than it had been earlier.
He mentioned that he began the adventure with regular hiking boots. But he and Collette noticed many hikers were wearing lighter footwear called trail runners, which are lighter and breathe better than boots.
Ryan commented that while the hiking in Pennsylvania is easier, many paths are covered with small rocks, which are hard on footwear.
"Hikers like to say that's where boots go to die," Ryan recalled.
He also mentioned that the Appalachian Trail is part of the national park system. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), which is headquartered near the halfway point, oversees about 33 trail clubs with volunteers who help maintain paths, signs and shelters.
Ryan had little trouble finding his way and finding places to stay each night, but he did have some unpleasant experiences with mosquitoes in New Jersey. He called this the "low point" of the journey. New Jersey has many low wetlands, and that probably explains the abundance of mosquitoes.
New Jersey also offered a walk along a ridge that was "pretty scenic," Ryan said.
He saw about ten hikers each day. Due to rest breaks, he and the others kept leapfrogging all day. Ryan said seeing the same hikers over and over leads to conservations and getting to know each other. The casual assignment of nicknames follows. His nickname was Crush, which was a reference to Orange Crush soda pop and the fact that much of his gear was orange.
Notes are exchanged with fellow hikers on "trail logs" or notebooks provided along the Trail. Collette described this form of communication as "an old-fashioned Facebook."
One of the risks of contact with fellow hikers was possibly being exposed to a virus. Ryan and Collette heard about a virus going around early on the Trail and consequently tried to avoid other hikers when possible. Fortunately, they did not get sick, but they heard about others who did.
In Connecticut, Ryan met a man from Germany whose nickname was Ice Tea.
"We were always seeing each other. We were hiking at about the same pace. He became my hiking buddy to the end of the trail," Ryan said.
Ice Tea's real name is Christian Marks. He lives in Berlin.
Ryan said he often saw people on the Trail from other countries.
Christian told Ryan his English had steadily improved as he spoke to other hikers.
Back in forest
Ryan and Christian left the cities and towns of Connecticut and Massachusetts behind and enter-ed the Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont. Ryan said it felt good to be surrounded by trees again.
The White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire offered an entirely different kind of hiking. On many "straight up" paths, he had to use his hands to grab tree roots and rocks to pull himself along. Metal bars and woo-den ladders were installed in some places to assist the hikers.
Ryan enjoyed "phenomenal views" at Franconia Ridge.
"You can see 30-40 miles on a clear day," he said.
Just before the White Mountain National Forest, Ryan saw someone who looked familiar. "Are you from Buffalo?" he asked. He was talking to 2000 Buffalo High School graduate Erica Miller.
A BWCA with mountains
In Maine, the terrain is similar to the Arrowhead Region in Northern Minnesota. Ryan saw plenty of pine trees and beautiful, clear lakes. You might say Maine is like the BWCA with mountains.
At the Kennebec River in Maine, hikers are taken across in canoes.
The Appalachian Trail ends at Mt. Katahdin, and getting there involves a 4,000-foot climb to an elevation of 5,267 feet.
Interestingly, both ends of the Trail are summits, Collette noted, Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mt. Katahdin in Maine.
Ryan suggested that many people start in Georgia so they are in shape for the most difficult part in Maine.
Along the way in-between the peaks in Georgia and Maine, hikers meet many nice people, including other hikers and townsfolk. Ryan said he found the towns to be very friendly. Maybe it's because of the positive economic impact of so many hikers passing through and buying things. Some people in the towns offer to drive hikers to various places for shopping or sightseeing or anything they want to do.
Collette discovered a very pleasant aspect of hiking the Trail. It's called "Trail Magic," and it involves people providing food and beverages for the hikers.
"They are usually people who have hiked," Collette said. "Sometimes they leave signs telling where to find things like information, restrooms, showers, stores, etc."
Ryan and Collette said Trail Magic is a morale booster that makes you want to pay it forward for other hikers.
Few make it all the way
Perhaps it takes some magic to hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail. Only about one quarter of those who start actually make it to the end, Ryan said. He added that about one-quarter of those who start end up dropping out in the first 30 miles.
The Trail is not for everyone, and perhaps it is best not to attempt the 2,000-plus-mile trek unless you are a very serious hiker.
An elite hiker
Ryan certainly qualifies as one of the elite hikers. He said he would like to go on some more big adventures. A journey from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail could be next for him.
The "ultimate goal" for Ryan would be the "Triple Crown," the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail.
Accomplishing this feat would involve many new boot purchases, losing even more weight, meeting more people, and experiencing many more stunning views.
Ryan is all in for that.