Montrose is now a Beyond the Yellow Ribbon community

It’s official. Montrose is now a Beyond The Yellow Ribbon community, supporting local service members and their families. At last Saturday’s ceremony were, front row, Montrose Beyond The Yellow Ribbon Committee members Frank Wilhelm, Lori Wilhelm, Melissa Gudvangen, Eve Hernandez, Tracy Gurneau, Kathy Jerde, Ben Kuehl, and Armando Hernandez, and back row, Committee member Wade Gurneau, Committee member and Montrose Fire Department representative Cory DeWitte, Wright County Commissioner Charlie Borrell, Montrose Mayor Greg Youmans, County Commissioner Chris Husom, Minnesota State Lt. Governor Tina Smith, Congressman Tom Emmer, State Representative Joe McDonald, Col. John Kolb, State Coordinator Annette Kuyper, and State Senator Bruce Anderson. (Photos by Doug Voerding)


By Doug Voerding

Montrose is now part of the Beyond The Yellow Ribbon network, an organization that supports the needs of people returning from military service and the needs of the families of people who are in service and away from home.

Last Saturday night as part of Montrose Days, a special ceremony brought together national, state, and local dignitaries with the Montrose Beyond The Yellow Ribbon steering committee to celebrate Montrose becoming the 213th city in the statewide network.

Lt. Governor Tina Smith said, “This has been a labor of love. It is a huge amount of work, but so worth it for the 400,000 veterans in Minnesota. You, here in Montrose, inspire us all.”

Work on the network took more than a year for the Montrose committee. Each month, a different aspect of the network was developed. Connections were made with Montrose businesses, churches, and organizations; area educational, social, health, and medical services; and other county organizations and services.

When service members or their families ask for help, the Beyond The Yellow Ribbon Committee makes the connections for the needed help.

Montrose Chair Melissa Gudvangen said that the Montrose Committee has already helped in a few instances including help with gas and gift cards for a service member whose child had been hospitalized. The group also put out a call for help building an accessory ramp for a service member’s home in Delano.

Gudvangen said the committee is working to assist with a request for a service dog for a veteran.

At the ceremony, Congressman Tom Emmer said, “We owe our service members so much. With this network, we bring them all the way home, helping them to transition back to the community. I am proud to be in a community that is committed to doing so much for our service members.”

“You provide a valuable service,” said Col. John Kolb, Chief of Staff of the Minnesota National Guard. “Service members are so grateful for what the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon network can and does do.”

State Representative Joe McDonald reminded the committee and all those in attendance that the work was just beginning.

Said McDonald, “It is a challenge to know who needs our help. Our service people are not the first to ask. When a loved one is away fighting for our country, their families do need our help. Montrose has great people who care for and love their neighbors. The work of the Beyond The Yellow Ribbon committee is very important to a community.”

Montrose Mayor Greg Youmans said, “I am blessed to be the mayor of a city that believes in giving. We can be proud of our city.”

Youmans, who is a service member and part of a service member family, talked about how families make their own sacrifices when a loved one is away from home in the military.

Said Youmans, “The military is the backbone of the greatest nation on earth. We stand united, and we have a duty to send a message to all who have served us. Thank you to those who are now offering a hand up.”

Also speaking at the ceremony were Wright County Commissioners Chris Husom and Charlie Borrell and State Representative Bruce Anderson.

After the ceremony, Smith said, “Beyond The Yellow Ribbon brings together the resources of great communities. It is not a state of mind, but a commitment to action.”

Signs will now be posted on the highways around Montrose with the Beyond The Yellow Ribbon Community designation.

Service members and their families are urged to contact the committee for any kind of help.

The best way to contact the Montrose committee is or through




New Montrose Ambassadors are crowned

The new 2015-2016 Montrose Ambassadors are Kayla Clark, left, and Carly Hansen, right, who received their crowns at last Sunday’s coronation ceremony. Kayla was also selected as Miss Congeniality by the other candidates. 2014-2015 Ambassador Tyanna Driver will represent Montrose in next summer’s Aquatennial Queen of the Lakes competition. (Photo by Doug Voerding)


Crops around the county are ‘good to excellent’

Corn and soybeans are reaching the harvest stage

The corn and the soybeans are looking good all around Wright County according to Ron Greder, a University of Minnesota Extension Service Educator in Wright County. This field was found south of Buffalo. (Photo by Doug Voerding)

By Doug Voerding

Generally, the condition of the crops in Wright County is good to excellent, as the harvest season approaches.

According to Ron Greder, a University of Minnesota Extension Service Educator in Wright County, it has been a good growing season.

Said Greder, “There is plenty of moisture to finish both corn and soybeans. The yield should be average or above average.”

Greder said that the moisture has been very adequate to exceptional at 80 percent and 84 percent in the subsoil.

“Moisture in most of Wright County,” said Greder, “is at 100 percent or above normal rainfall for the year.”

The southwest corner of the county in Stockholm and Victor Townships is a little drier with between 80 to 90 percent of average rainfall.

For the corn crop, 88 percent is good to excellent, while the soybean crop is estimated at 80 percent good to excellent.

The first cutting of alfalfa was “really good,” said Greder. The second alfalfa cutting was delayed a little by rain and some of that is still on the ground, but some Wright County farmers are getting a good third crop.

Now, at the end of August, some farmers say that they can still use daytime temperatures above 80 degrees with sunshine.

Recent cool weather concerns farmers as the growth of the corn and soybean slows, possibly pushing the harvest close to the first frost.



With school starting soon, now is the time for those immunizations

Welcome back to another school year. The Health Services Department at Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose Schools is excited to begin another year caring for and educating your children!     

Here is some information you may need to know before your child begins the school year.



According to the state immunization law, “All students must have a complete record of immunizations prior to attending school.” This applies to all students enrolled in any of the district’s schools as well as preschool or Early Childhood Special Education.

Students entering kindergarten must show evidence of having: 5 DTPs, 4 polio, 3 Hepatitis B (HBV), 2 MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella), and 2 Varicella (chicken pox) immunizations.

The varicella vaccinations are not needed if your child has had the chicken pox. However, it is now required by the Minnesota Department of Health to have medical verification of the illness.

In addition to the above, students entering 7th grade in September must also show evidence of: Tdap (usually given at or after age 11), MMR #2, Varicella #2, and Meningococcal (MCV) #1.

The immunization law mandates schools to exclude any student that is not in compliance with the requirements.

There are limited exceptions to this rule.  If you object to immunizations, a notarized statement must be on file at the school.

If you are unsure of your child’s immunization status or whether they are exempt from this law, please contact your health care provider or the licensed school nurse at your child’s school.



If your child will not be in attendance at school for any reason, please call the school attendance line. This information can be found on the school website at



Our medication policy is a reflection of the Minnesota Guideline for Medication Administration in Schools, published in January, 2005. This guideline was developed collaboratively by the Minnesota Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, the Minnesota Board of Nursing, and a statewide multidisciplinary work group.

Before medication can be dispensed in school, we must have the following items on record. These items must be renewed annually and whenever there are medication and/or dosage changes.

Prescription medications. A medication authorization form must be signed by a Health Care Provider indicating the reason for the medication, the dosage, time and frequency, possible side effects and termination date. Signed permission from the parent or guardian for school personnel to administer medication. Prescription medications must be brought to school in a pharmacy labeled bottle which contains instructions on how and when the medication is to be given. The pharmacy label must match the written order on the authorization form signed by the provider.

Over-the-counter medications. A signed permission from the parent or guardian for school personnel to administer medication. A provider’s signature is not required unless the medication is to be given in a manner other than indicated on the label. Over the counter medication must come to school in the original container. In some situations, students may be allowed to carry an over-the-counter medication when reviewed by the licensed school nurse and parent.

Aspirin or any product containing aspirin will not be given without a written order form the provider.

At the discretion of the licensed school nurse, signed orders from a Health Care provider can be requested.

To protect the safety of your child, health office staff will not administer any medication to a student unless they have received all of the required information as listed above.

If you have questions about this policy or other issues related to the medication administration in school, please contact your child’s school nurse/health office. All are listed below.


Get off to a good start

There are many ways to get your child off to a good start this school year. Here are some suggested back to school smarts.

Good nutrition: Eat meals together. It is a time for great food and conversation. It allows each person to find out how the day has been. Teach kids to make healthy choices for their lunches. Create lists of proteins, fruits, veggies and starches they would like to include in their lunches. Let them pack their own lunches by choosing one of the foods from each list.

Sleep is important: Kindergarten-aged children need about 11 hours of sleep, while older children require about 10 hours of sleep each night. Sleep deprivation can cause irritability, moodiness and can cause behavior similar to ADHD symptoms.

Save your back: Backpacks can cause back aches, neck aches and shoulder pain in children. Backpacks should not exceed 10-20 percent of your child’s body weight. Encourage your child to use both well padded shoulder straps to distribute the weight of the backpack more evenly.

Stay active and have fun.  We all know the importance of physical activity. Encourage your child to get outside and play, play, play. Think about doing things together such as entering local walks/runs.


Contact information

The Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose District 877 licensed school nurses are

Sue Thomson, RN, Grades PreK - 5 at or 763-682-8514

Karen Schultz, RN, Grades 6 - age 21 at or 763-682-8120, Nancy Halagan, RN, at or 763-682-8211.



Captain Jack is going to the state fair

Captain Jack, above with one of his owners Troy Biese, loves to have his back scratched. He is now on his way to the Minnesota State Fair. Captain Jack, a York boar owned by the Beise Brothers, Kenny and Dennis Beise of rural Wright County, won the contest as the heaviest hog in Minnesota, tipping the scales at 1080 pounds. Captain Jack, who is five-and-a-half years old, will be on view the entire run of the fair. For the contest, the Beises had to weigh Captain Jack at the power plant on Highway 55. After the fair, Captain Jack will return to the Beise farm. The Beises plan a guess the weight of Captain Jack at next year’s Wright County Fair since Captain Jack will weigh more, but will not be able to participate in the state fair contest again. The Beises will also be showing their Duroc and Hampshire pigs during the middle four days of the state fair. “There are not many hogs like this around the county,” said the Beises. “It’s an honor to bring Captain Jack to the fair.” (Photo by Doug Voerding)

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‘Doing what’s best for all kids’

AVID program at Buffalo High School raises expectations, prepares students for college,  helps all students succeed

By Doug Voerding

Teachers want to improve their skills in educating youth. Teachers are always searching for new curricula, new materials, and new methods of instruction, to make that instruction relevant to their students. And administrators are in tune with teachers, guiding teachers to the best practices for teaching today’s students.

Buffalo High School teachers and administrators are doing just that and have found a program that works, not only for a small group of students, but now for all students at Buffalo High School.

Three years ago, AVID, Advancement Via Individual Determination, was started at the high school with a small group of about 50 students.

Said BHS Principal Mark Mischke, “We had tried other programs, but we wanted something different. We wanted to start small to make sure this program would work for us.”

And work, it does.

Last spring, that first group, which had  for a variety of reasons, gone down to about 20, graduated. Now there are groups in all four grades, with 50 expected in ninth grade this fall.

This year, AVID curriculum strategies will be used in more and more classes at BHS, as more and more teachers are finding that AVID students are better skilled in study techniques.


What is AVID?

AVID is a curriculum of rigorous standards that is designed to prepare students for college, primarily those students who don’t necessarily have college on their radar for the future.

The goal of the AVID program is to smooth the way for students who have the potential for college, by providing the support and training they need to be successful in school, particularly in honors classes and advanced classes.

Developed by middle and high school teachers in collaboration with college professors, Advancement Via Individual Determination was started in San Diego about thirty years ago and is now found, not only around the United States, but also around the world. Many Minnesota schools have adopted AVID as part of their educational opportunities.


Who are AVID students?

An AVID student has academic potential with average-to-high test scores, a grade-point-average of 2.0 to 3.5, college potential with support, and desire and determination. Most AVID students have grades in the D+ to A range.

Students must apply to be in the AVID program and should meet one or more of these criteria: be the first in the family to attend college, be in a group that has been historically underserved in four-year colleges, be from a low income family, or have special circumstances, such as illness in the family, divorce, or tragedy.

At Buffalo High School, ninth and tenth graders can apply. Late in the school year, eligible eighth graders at Buffalo Community Middle School are recruited for the program.


How is AVID taught?

At Buffalo High School, social studies teacher Lacy Schramm is the coordinator of the program. She, math teacher Cassie Mix, health and physical education teacher Gerice Olson, and English teacher Joe Pokorney form the core AVID teachers. All have been trained in AVID by attending workshops and conventions.

The AVID curriculum focuses on five skill areas: writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization, and reading. All are skills that are needed for students to be successful in all of their high school classes.

The skills are sometimes called “soft” or “hidden” skills because they are not necessarily measured in academic classes. They are skills that academic teachers expect the students to know.

Those skills, however, do align with the Minnesota state standards as they are being intensively taught in the AVID classes by the four core teachers.

At Buffalo High School, AVID students, for one block of their day, are in the AVID class along with another class for the entire year. Students have their other required and free choice classes during the remaining three blocks

In ninth grade, students are in AVID with math teacher Mix, every other day with their science class. In tenth grade, it’s physical education/health and AVID with Olson. In eleventh grade, Schramm has the students for World Studies and AVID.

Generally, the AVID instruction in those important skills is every other day, opposite the regular class.

In their senior year, the AVID students have Pokorney for only AVID for the first half the year. Pokorney continues to meet with his AVID students during Bison Time for the last half of the year.


How does AVID fit into other classes?

While AVID appears to focus on a small group of students, other teachers are finding the way the AVID skills, writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization, and reading, are taught works in their classes, too.

Teachers are finding that AVID is about solid teaching strategies that have been proven effective.

As Mischke said, “What’s good for some kids is good for all kids.”

Teachers found that AVID students were, for example, more skilled in doing research, collaborating with their peers, and reading analytically.The four core teachers are now joined by 30 other teachers who have been trained to support the AVID curriculum in their own classes.

Said Mischke, “Every year, we listen and adjust. We make changes to fine tune the program. Our methods are unique to Buffalo High School, and we make it work for our students.”

This year Mischke said that all the Professional Learning Communities in the building would be focusing on aligning the AVID skills of inquiry and collaboration in all classes.

And Schramm said that this year on one day a month after school, teachers would be offered training in a single AVID topic that they can then use in their own classes.


How is the success of AVID measured?

Each year, AVID coordinator Schramm must provide evidence to the AVID organization about the progress of the students in eleven essential areas. AVID program staff are also available for consultations with Buffalo High School staff.

As teachers and administrators continue implementing AVID skills across the entire high school curriculum, all students will be better prepared to plan their futures, knowing not only that they can go to college, but that they are also ready for the demands of today’s work world.