Final Buffalo Days weekend packed with activities and excitement

The 2016-17 Buffalo royalty began their reign last Sunday, June 19 at the Buffalo Days Coronation.  Miss Buffalo Danielle Norton (center) is posing with Princesses Deanna Armstrong (left) and Jordan Thompson (right).  (Photo by Ed DuBois)

By Ed DuBois

Summer weather arrived as the 2016 Buffalo Days Celebration finished with a weekend packed with family fun and activities, including: fireworks, the Fishing Klinic for Kids, the annual parade, and the Buffalo Royalty Coronation.

The fireworks show almost did not happen.  Chamber of Commerce President Sue Olmscheid said she was asked by numerous people if the show would go on as planned last Friday night, June 17.  "Are you going to call it?" she was repeatedly asked.

Rain was falling and lightning could be seen to the west, and then when the rain stopped, a powerful wind blew into the Sturges Park and the Downtown Commons from across Buffalo Lake.

A decision to go ahead with the fireworks worked out well.  With the first airbursts, the wind's intensity appeared to let up, and everyone who came to see the pyrotechnics saw a long, spectacular display.

Near perfect weather on Thursday evening, June 16 greeted families all along the Sturges Park lakeshore.  They came to see the Shockwaves Water Ski Team perform.  Shockwaves representatives estimated the audience was close to 1,000 people, Olmscheid said.  Later that evening, around 350 people enjoyed watching an outdoor movie, "Minions," at the Sturges Park Bandshell.

Throughout Buffalo Days, a carnival operated just east of the Bandshell, and Olmscheid said carnival representatives said they like the new location and said it felt more family oriented.  The carnival could again be located in Sturges Park next year.

Saturday in the Park, which included the annual Fishing Klinic for Kids, was well attended.  The estimated number of children at the Fishing Klinic for Kids was at least 850, organizers said, and with adults, the attendance total was up around 2,500 people.

On Saturday evening, the new Buffalo Days Parade route along 1st Ave. was lined with spectators.  The parade included numerous high school bands.



The grand champion band was from Alexandria.  Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg was first in Class "A," and Benson was second.

St. Anthony won the Class "AA" title, and Sartell was second.

(The hometown band traditionally does not enter the competition.)



The KRWC Buffalo Days Medallion was found by Shelby Manzio of Buffalo last Friday, June 17 around 9 a.m. in Sturges Park.  She and her dad, Mark Manzio, were searching, and Shelby's mom, Judy, was giving them updated clues by phone.  Shelby found the medallion in tall grass next to a post for a sign on the south end of the park.  She won over $1,000 in prizes and gift certificates.



The winning Buffalo Days Button numbers are: $500 - 1058; $100 - 483; $100 - 1158; $50 - 866; $50 - 178; and $50 - 1263.

If you won, please bring your winning button to the Chamber of Commerce Office, 205 Central Ave, Buffalo.



Buffalo Days traditionally ends on Father's Day with the Buffalo Royalty Coronation.

This year's candidate who sold the largest number of Buffalo Days Buttons was Jordan Thompson.  The candidate receiving the Community Service Award was Danielle Norton, and she was also named Miss Congeniality.

Norton received one more honor during the coronation.  She was crowned Miss Buffalo.

Two princesses were crowned, Deanna Armstrong and Jordan Thompson.

Norton's parents are Dave and Rose Norton.  Danielle enjoys golf and photography, and she volunteers at the Park View Care Center.  She has been involved with Students Stepping Up and Feed My Starving Children.

This fall, she plans to attend Anoka Ramsey Community College.

Armstrong, whose mother is Sheila Armstrong, enjoys dancing and being with friends.  She has been involved with Deck the Halls, making care boxes for families in third world countries and mission trips.

This fall, she plans to attend Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Thompson, whose mother is Charity Mealman, enjoys playing hockey and playing the violin.  She is a vacation bible school volunteer and has also volunteered for the Baby Animal Fair and as an Impact Leader.

She plans to attend the University of Minnesota, Crookston this fall.



All in all, Buffalo Days 2016 "was great," Olmscheid said.

She would like to hear feedback about the parade route and the carnival location from those who have opinions about them.  Perhaps send a message by Facebook.

Olmscheid thanks all the Buffalo Days volunteers, the City of Buffalo and the Buffalo Police Department for their assistance.



Coborn's, Inc. announces closure of Coborn's store in Buffalo on July 30

Coborn's, Inc. announced last Monday, June 20 plans to close its Coborn's store in downtown Buffalo at 205 First St. S.  The store will close July 30, 2016.

"As an employee-owned company, Coborn's strives to ensure the success of all our stores," said Coborn's President, CEO and Chairman of the Board Chris Coborn.  "This decision to close the Coborn's store in Buffalo was difficult and was not made lightly.  Coborn's remains committed to growth, with its newest store scheduled to open in Isanti later this summer."

Coborn's, Inc. continues to evaluate its portfolio of stores.  Upon reviewing the Buffalo location, Coborn's came to the "difficult but necessary decision" to close the Buffalo store on July 30.  With very limited space, and no room to expand, the Buffalo location cannot support the Coborn's brand promise that focuses on offering a wide variety of high-quality foods in both a service and non-service environment, according to a Coborn's, Inc. news release.

Coborn's employs approximately 60 employees at the Buffalo store, 16 full-time employees and 44 part-time employees, who have all been encouraged to stay with Coborn's.  Personal one-on-one placement assistance for roles within Coborn's is being provided.  Coborn's has more than 25 full-time and more than 75 part-time job openings available within a 35-mile radius of Buffalo.



Control of wild parsnip concerns County Board

By Ed DuBois

Wild parsnip and aquatic invasive species were major topics of discussion during the Wright County Board's meeting last Tuesday, June 21.

The Board also arrived at a rough estimate for constructing a new courts facility and directed staff to work on requests for proposals from architects.

Wild parsnip was particularly interesting to Commissioner Charlie Borrell, who talked about his efforts to control the invasive weed on his own property.  Contact with the weed can result in burning and even blistering on the skin.

Borrell said it is important to spray wild parsnip with an herbicide before the plant goes to seed.  He said the weed can be stopped "if you stick with it."

He added that mowing the weed after it has gone to seed will spread the seeds and result in more growth.  That's why he said it is important to spray the weed before it goes to seed.

The county's agriculture inspector, Erik Heuring, gave a report.  He said those who have wild parsnip on their property are given notices to control the weed.  When they are given pamphlets with information about the invasive species, they usually want to help control it.

One of the problem areas in the county is along CSAH (County State Aid Highway) 3 from the Goose Lake area to CSAH 37 in French Lake Township.  Other areas of concern are along CSAH 7 and CSAH 8, as well as along Highway 12.

Kerry Saxton of the Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) said wild parsnip might not ever be eradicated, but with the help of the public, the spread of the weed can be reduced.



Saxton provided an update on efforts to control aquatic invasive species (AIS).  About $40,000 has been budgeted for educating the public about zebra mussels, Eurasian water milfoil and others.  The weed treatment budget is $100,000.

The budget for roving boat inspectors is $130,000.  They are particularly concerned about keeping zebra mussels from spreading to area lakes.

Saxton provided information about grant applications for a possible filter system at Lake Sylvia.  The system would be aimed at keeping zebra mussels from spreading to Lake Sylvia from Lake John.  About two or three filter units would be needed, and they cost close to $500,000 each.  Saxton mentioned that Lake Sylvia might already have the beginnings of a zebra mussel infestation.



The Board looked over information about courts facilities that were constructed in recent years in eight other counties.  The information helped estimate the cost of a 90,000-square-foot courts facility in Wright County.  The estimate is around $33 million.

County Coordinator Lee Kelly has already been working on language for a request for proposals (RFP) from architectural firms.  Commissioner Mark Daleiden offered a motion to direct staff to complete the drafting of an RFP, and the motion was approved by the Board.



The Board approved a contract for a new roundabout at the intersection of CSAH 35 and County Rd. 134 on the east side of Buffalo.  Five bids were received, and the low bidder was New Look Contracting, Inc. of Rogers at $962,748.

The engineer's estimate for the project was $835,826.  The need for more than expected excavation work was the reason for the higher than expected bid amount, said County Highway Engineer Virgil Hawkins.  He added that an extra $100,000 is available for the project through the state.

Construction is expected to get underway in July.



The Board approved a resolution supporting an application to the federal government for development of a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) Plan.  The action includes creating an economic development district serving Benton, Sherburne, Stearns, and Wright Counties.

Wright County is committing $8,250 in matching funds during the first year, followed by $12,500 in the second year and $7,500 in the third year.  In the fourth year, it is expected that Central Minnesota Jobs & Training Services (CMJTS) will have a funding mechanism (with grant funds) in place to keep the CEDS Plan going.

Before the board action, a presentation was conducted by CMJTS and the Wright County Economic Development Partnership.  Benefits of the plan, such as employer services, grant locating, enhanced business expansions, and action plan updates, were described.

Wright County Board Chair Pat Sawatzke said an effort was underway about six or seven years ago to get a CEDS Plan started, but there was a struggle to find a home for it.  He added that CMJTS has found a good solution.  CMJTS intends to provide an office and support for a Quad-County Economic Development Coordinator to help find opportunities and write grants for businesses.

Commissioner Chris Husom, who services on the CMJTS Board, commented that CMJTS is very good at going after federal funds.  Commissioner Mike Potter referred to the CEDS Plan as another tool in the economic development toolbox.

Commissioner Charlie Borrell said he would like to see results, and he asked if an annual report could be given to the County Board.  Barb Chaffee of CMJTS said, "Absolutely."

Sawatzke express confidence that CMJTS will have no trouble handling the CEDS Plan.



In other actions, the Board:

* approved filling an opening for a highway maintenance worker;

* approved a resolution 4-1 (with Borrell opposed) for installing a traffic signal system at the intersection of CSAH 3 and Highway 55 west of Annandale;

* opened bids for a significantly large exterior lighting project and will likely award the contract next week;

* accepted findings and a recommendation from the Planning Commission to approve a request from Kevin Butcher to rezone about 26 acres in Franklin Township from agricultural use to agricultural-residential (A/R) use; and

* approved $315,631 in claims involving 232 transactions with 168 vendors.



Bear spotted last week in Buffalo near Target

A bear was seen in Buffalo last week near the wooded area behind the Target store.  Since then, the bear has apparently wandered away during the night.  (Photo courtesy of Mary Schuster)

By Ed DuBois

A black bear was spotted in Buffalo last week near the wooded area between the Target store and the Bentfield Mills Recreation area.

Buffalo Police Chief Pat Budke said officers checked the area to make sure the bear wasn't behaving aggressively.  The DNR (Department of Natural Resources) was consulted, and the police were told no action is necessary as long as the bear runs away when seen by people.  Young bears can sometimes get disoriented and end up in a populated area.  If left alone, they usually leave the area on their own during the night.

Mary Schuster at IntegriPrints, which is located near the wooded area on the south side of CSAH (County State Aid Highway) 34, said Chelsie Schmidt saw the bear running through the parking lot of Café Strada on Wednesday, June 15 shortly before 1 p.m.  The bear then ran past Schmidt's window at IntegriPrints and headed behind the building, where he was cornered by a fence with no where to go.

"He ran back behind Café Strada, where he climbed the fence, ran across the road and went into the wooded area behind Target just as the police drove past," Schuster said.

The Police Department posted the following message on Facebook, "BPD has received several reports of a small black bear being sighted within the Buffalo city limits in an industrial area.  The animal has run away from every witness and has shown absolutely no sign of aggression.  The Department of Natural Resources has advised us that this type of sighting is not unusual when a bear moves and then becomes disoriented after encountering city activity.  We are asking that anyone sighting this animal do not approach.  The DNR has further advised it is typical for such animals to leave the area after nightfall, when there is minimal human activity."



Back by popular demand, 62nd Annual Buffalo Rodeo begins this Friday

Rodeo action like this wild ride that took place last year is being offered at the 2016 Buffalo Rodeo this Friday and Saturday evenings, June 24 and 25.  Come and see pro rodeo at its best.  (Photo by Rob LaPlante)

Riding into Buffalo this week, the 62nd Annual Buffalo Championship Rodeo performances are taking place on Friday and Saturday, June 24 and 25.  Two full nights of horses, bulls, food, cowboys and cowgirls, clowns, music, laughter, and cheers are planned.

To get things started down at the Lester Daluge Sports Arena in Buffalo, "Rodeo Fun Night" is on Thursday, June 23.  The evening is full of activities suitable for the whole family, including the fan favorite, "Mutton Bustin!"  Admission is free, and just as a reminder, this is not a regular rodeo performance night.

Friday night will be the first night of the Rodeo, and you won't want to forget to wear your Pink attire.  It is "Tough Enough To Wear Pink Night," and you can enter the Best Dressed in Pink Contest to win prizes.

Friday and Saturday's performances will begin at 7 p.m., and you will find Davie Kimm, PRCA Rodeo Announcer, and Professional Rodeo Clown, "Backflip" Johnny Dudley, taking charge in the arena.

Davie Kimm grew up in the arena as he made his start as a contestant in the 1980s on the Minnesota High School Rodeo Team.  As he worked on roping calves, riding bareback and saddle bronc horses through the years, he earned his way into the National High School Finals Rodeo and later to the PRCA Great Lakes Circuit Finals four times in saddle bronc riding in 1987-89 and '92.  Davie's transition to being announcer came when he filled in for a no-show announcer.  Since then, he hasn't looked back as he made his way up the ladder working high school, college, and finally professional rodeos and bull rides throughout the U.S. and Canada.  He enjoys living out the dream of announcing in the PRCA and traveling with his wife throughout the year.  Because of his background in the arena, Davie is one of the most exciting and sought after voices in the PRCA and was recognized by the Women's Professional Rodeo Association by being nominated for the 2009 WPRA Announcer of the Year.

All the way down from the State of Texas comes one of the top talents in Pro Rodeo, "Backflip" Johnny Dudley.  Johnny has performed at rodeos across the U.S. from Alaska down to Florida using his amazing feature acts, off-the-cuff banter and big Texas smile to win over the crowds.  Before he made his way in the Rodeo circuit, Johnny served in the United States Marine Corps for eight years and then graduated from college with a degree in International Business.  He is continuing to make a name for himself as a Rodeo clown and barrel man as this year will mark his third appeared at the PRCA's All American Finals.  His likeable personality and quick wit will keep you watching and laughing until the night is over.

Don't forget to stick around after the performances for the band Mitch Gordon and the Unleashed Band.

Also, during the run of the Rodeo, don't miss out on the opportunity to have a hearty breakfast.  The Wright County Mounted Patrol Chuck Wagon Breakfast will be at the Buffalo Civic Center (next door to the Rodeo Grounds) from June 24-26, 7-10 each morning.  It is $6 a person, and children under the age of six eat free.

To buy tickets in advance to the Rodeo for Friday, June 24 and Saturday, June 25, you can purchase them online at  Tickets will also be available at the gate.  All events are held rain or shine.



Change in Highway 25 project begins June 23

Motorists who travel Highway 25 and Highway 55 in Buffalo should expect delays as a series of new, temporary traffic changes begin this Thursday, June 23, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).

Motorists should plan for the following:

Beginning Thursday, June 23 after 10 a.m., one-half mile of Highway 55 at Highway 25 will be reduced to a single lane in each direction 24 hours a day until further notice.

Highway 25 between Highway 55 and 14th St. N. is closed until further notice.  Motorists should follow the signed detour along Highway 55, County Road 12 and County Road 138.

Highway 25 between Third St. N. and 8th St. N. is closed until further notice.  New signed detours will direct motorists along County Road 35, County Road 12 and County Road 138; or County Road 35, County Road 12 and Highway 55.

More information on future traffic changes will be issued as details become available.

Access to local businesses and residences will be maintained throughout the closures.  Motorists should plan their travel, follow the signed detour or plan their own alternate routes.

The closures and detours are needed as part of a multi-year, multi-project cooperative plan between the City of Buffalo and MnDOT to improve mobility, safety and infrastructure in Buffalo and Wright County.  When complete in fall 2016, the projects will: reconstruct Highway 25 between First St. S. and Catlin St.; expand Highway 25 to four lanes between Highway 55 and 15th St.; reconstruct and reconfigure the Highway 25/Highway 55 intersection; upgrade signals and lighting on Highway 25 and Highway 55; replace the existing Highway 25/Eighth Street NW intersection with a roundabout; improve underground utilities while roads are closed for construction; improve pedestrian accessibility along Highway 25 from downtown Buffalo to John Ause Memorial Drive; and add turn lanes at the Highway 55/Wright County Road 14 intersection, south of Buffalo.

To sign up for project email updates, including notice of future traffic changes in Buffalo, or to download detour maps and get more project details, visit

To receive information through Twitter, follow MnDOT District 3: @MnDOTCentral.


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Buffalo Days '16

Water ski show, medallion hunt, park fun, parade, coronation, and more cap the week