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Next update January 26, 2018

BACK ISSUES: December 1 | December 8 | December 15 | December 22 | December 29 | January 5 | January 12
Copyright 2018. All rights reserved. Wright County Journal-Press & The Drummer


BHS cooking up some NFL excitement on Feb. 2 and 3

BHS Culinary team is off to the "Taste of the NFL" to assist celebrity chefs, Feb. 3. Picutred are (left to right) back row: Chef Mentor Brent Prepperneau, Katie Dismang, Leah Ramsey, Grayson Wubben, and Advisor Julie Mundahl. (Front, left to right) Sierra Garci, and Athena Schultz (Photo courtesy of Julie Mundahl).

Congratulations to the BHS Culinary Team, who will be participating in the  "Taste of the NFL" Super Bowl event, where they will assist celebrity chefs in the set-up, ingredient preparation, cooking, and break-down of food on Friday Feb. 2, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and also Saturday, Feb. 3, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. at the River Center in St. Paul.

Approximately 80 students from participating schools across the state will be honored with participating in this event. Students who are selected show a disciplined amount of skill, as the program targets quality characteristics for its profiled students. Characteristics such as dependability, maturity, teachability, and stamina, are actively sought out for participation with this program.

The Culinary Team includes: Katie Dismang, Culinary Team Captain, 10th grade, Hanover; Grayson Wubben, 11th grade, Buffalo; Leah Ramsey, 9th grade, Buffalo; and Sierra Garcia, 10th grade, Buffalo. The team is advised by Julie Mundahl, Culinary Advisor and FACS Instructor.


Council agrees to rezone property near downtown

By Doug Voerding

The Buffalo City Council on Tuesday, Jan. 16, unanimously set aside the recommendation of the Planning Commission and approved the rezoning of undeveloped property from R-2 to R-3. The property is located to the south of 4th Street South between 7th Avenue and 8th Avenue, east of downtown Buffalo.

The developer, Paxmar LLC, had requested the rezoning from R-2 Single Family and Two Family to R-3 Single and Two Family. The major difference between the two categories is that R-3 allows for 60-foot lot widths while R-2 only allows for 75-foot lot widths.

On Jan. 8, on a split vote of 4 - 2, the Planning Commission, which had looked at the zoning of the site at a previous meeting as well, had approved the zoning as R-2.

At the Jan. 8 meeting, the developer Paxmar LLC said that developing under R-2 would be difficult, as the 75-foot lot widths would make the cost too high for what the homes could be sold for.

A previous developer had proposed 16 lots under R-2, while Paxmar would propose 21 lots under R-3.

R-3 is a fairly new zoning category for the city and is designed to fit over existing neighborhoods and is intended for near the downtown area.

City Administrator Mert Auger told the council that R-3 zoning does fit with the city's 2016 goals of providing a variety of housing and more housing close to downtown.

Councilmember Eric Anderson said, "I don't want to overstep the work of the Planning Commission because they do excellent work, but I think R-3 is the best zoning for this property."

Since the council action was only to change the zoning, the developer will now be bringing back a preliminary plat for approval.

The council and Planning Commission have concerns about street configuration, increase in traffic, and the design of the south end of the property that includes a city-owned trail easement. Those concerns will be addressed with the preliminary plat.

Nick Knese Construction

Flora of Buffalo

The city is now accepting donations for 2018 Flora of Buffalo, a program that funds the purchase of flowers and plants that can be seen throughout the city in the summer. The city is seeking donations of at least $8000 total to cover those costs.

The council accepted these donations for the 2018 Flora of Buffalo: $150 from Noel and Mary Jo Snare, $65 from Janice Brown, $250 from Doug Schroeppel, $10 from Linda Kennedy, $65 from Rachel Nemitz and Dawn Wozniak, $130 from Beverly Jacobson, $100 from Mark & Patty Pokorney, and $50 from Patricia Spike.


Other action

In other action, the council:

• hired Clifton LarsonAllen of Buffalo to conduct the 2017 audit for the City of Buffalo.

• learned that 25,000 solar panels on 99 acres north of the city are now operating. No city money was involved in the project, but the city will benefit from the power generated by the panels. More information can be found on the city website.


Sun power in Buffalo, MMPA cuts a shining deal for solar power

In a release from The Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (MMPA), the orgranization has committed to purchasing 100 percent of the renewable power output from the Buffalo Solar facility.

The 7 Megawatt (MW) utility-scale solar facilities, located in the Agency's member community of Buffalo, Minn., have entered commercial operation and are now providing power to local homes and businesses.

Joseph Steffel, Utilities Director for Buffalo Municipal Utilities said, "We are excited to have this renewable power generation asset in our community."

The Buffalo Solar facility, comprised of more than 25,000 solar panels, connects directly to the City of Buffalo's electric distribution system. Power from the facility will help MMPA meet the Minnesota Renewable Energy Standard, which requires 25 percent of the Agency's energy to come from renewable sources by 2025.

Oncu Er, Senior Vice President for Avant Energy, MMPA's management partner said, "We plan to continue to invest in both renewable energy projects and clean, efficient, natural gas generation projects to meet the future energy and capacity needs of our member communities."

In addition to the power output provided by the Buffalo Solar facility, the Agency's renewable energy portfolio includes 122 MW of wind energy from the Black Oak Getty Wind Farm and Oak Glen Wind Farm, 8 MW of bioenergy from Hometown BioEnergy, and renewable energy purchases from other utilities. 

MMPA takes a long-term approach to power supply planning that includes assembling a diversified portfolio of owned and purchased generation containing both conventional and renewable resources. This approach allows the Agency to maintain flexibility in the rapidly changing electric utility industry.

MMPA provides wholesale electricity to its member communities who in turn deliver and sell that electricity to residential and business customers in their communities. The Agency is comprised of municipal utilities in Anoka, Arlington, Brownton, Buffalo, Chaska, East Grand Forks, Elk River, Le Sueur, North St. Paul, Olivia, Shakopee and Winthrop.


Correction for Jan. 11 issue

Thanks to members of the community, it has come to the editorial staff's attention at the Wright County Journal-Press that there was a spelling error in Jan. 11's edition of the paper, in that Sturges Park had been printed as Sturgis Park. Sincerest apologies to members of the family name, as we note this correction for future editions of the Journal-Press.


Hwy 25 accident serves up damage at Loaf and Ladle

Friday, Jan. 12, a 1991 Ford Expedition lost control on Buffalo's Hwy 25. Central Avenue's own Loaf and Ladle restaurant was one of the victims, resulting in a broken window, cracked mortar, and damaged siding. The driver suffered minor injuries, and was treated at Buffalo Hospital. (Photos by Miriam Orr)

The 1991 Expedition involved in the Jan. 12 crash first hit the Loaf and Ladle, then collided with the Nelson Lodge #135 and Flair Design's building, pictured above. Authorities say alcohol was not a factor in the incident. (Photo by Miriam Orr)

By Miriam Orr

On Friday, Jan. 12, at approximately 11:45 p.m., Dillon Hageborn, 23 of Delano, was southbound on Hwy 25 and 2nd Street NE (Central Ave), when he lost control of his Ford Expedition and crossed over the center lane.

Hagedorn struck a street sign and Buffalo's Loaf and Ladle restaurant, where one of the business' windows was entirely shattered, and its brick lining was cracked. Hagedorn's vehicle struck Nelson's Lodge #135 and Flair Design Hair Salon before it stopped, cracking the brick and damaging the front support.

Minnesota State Patrol handled the scene while BPD assisted, and Hagedorn suffered minor injuries and was taken to Buffalo Hospital for treatment.

Thelma Sonnenberg is a co-owner of the Loaf and Ladle, and commented on the accident, stating that co-owner John Pierson arrived on Saturday morning to find the window boarded up on the outside.

"John came in and saw that is was boarded up on Saturday morning," she explained. "They'd cleaned up glass from the window, but we still were picking it up during business hours. A lot of the plants froze because of the cold drafts coming in."

 Minnesota State Patrol is still investigating the incident, but does not think alcohol was a factor in the incident.









The Legend of Sturges Park: scary, or wary? Expert lectures at Buffalo library Jan. 11

By Miriam Orr

No one was quite expecting the turnout at Buffalo library on Jan. 11 as citizens of Wright County and beyond filtered in from the frigid evening dark. Chad Lewis, lecturer and pursuer of the paranormal certainly didn't expect it, having set up his presentation in a small room of the library.

When the crowd outgrew the small room, he decided to direct his presentation to the children's room, which provided much more elbowroom for the swelling crowd. Once the lights dimmed, however, you would've never known there was a crowd.

Chad Lewis has been studying the supernatural and paranormal since he was 17 years old, after being reared in Eau Claire, Wis., which just so happens to be one of three UFO capitals around. When studying psychology in college, Lewis decided to approach the paranormal, and study its affects on the public – and that's how he got his start.

Since then, Chad has been presenting all over the U.S., and has been venturing the globe in search of the weird and unusual. He presents approximately 120 lecturers a year, and has written numerous books on the subject of the paranormal. He has been approached by national television, appeared on a number of radio shows, and frequents colleges regularly to speak on his experiences and research.

 Lewis presented experiences from across the state of Minnesota; experiences which have taken him from the far reaches of the north to the deep south of the state in search of haunted spirits, witches, and creatures of legend. He spoke at length about a myriad of buildings across Minnesota which have been haunted, and presented the folklore and "happenings" behind each theory and situation. Some of the places mentioned were Palmer House in Sauk Center, Pipestone, and Star Lake.

Buffalo was in there, too.

Though only briefly speaking on Buffalo, Chad Lewis brought up the topic of the highly controversial Sturges Park, and how people had claimed to see dead animals, and names written in blood across the public bathroom, particularly in the women's room. Lewis hinted at a bit of history, starting with the legend of "Old Man Sturges," or, Alfred E. Sturges, who owned what is now Sturges Park back in 1903 before the city purchased the land in 1958.

"It's been said the figure of Alfred Sturges haunts the park today," Lewis commented, "People have claimed to see him walking around, and vanishing in thin air. I've checked out the park a number of times, and heard a lot of talk about it, though the history has yet to be confirmed."

On, BHS' news outlet, it was published that the legend of Alfred Sturges has surfaced as a result of a young man's boredom in the late 1980's, and has survived to this day.  However, controversy has created a rift between admission and suspicion as to whether the myth existed well before the 1980's or not.

Chad Lewis didn't admit to knowing the origin of Sturges Park's legend, but he did encourage citizens to check it out for themselves.

"I like to leave my findings up to the people," he admitted, "it's ultimately what you want to make of it. For me, what keeps me in this industry with such limited confirmations is the adventure, and the never-truly-knowing-for-sure aspect of this job. It's fun, it's scary, and there's always just enough to keep me guessing."

So whether or not you believe in the haunting of Sturges Park, there is definitely history there, mythical or not. According to expert Chad Lewis, who has been documenting his research in books since 2002, one can never truly be sure of the paranormal.

Perhaps it is simply just a matter of chance. Or, perhaps the truth is lost to time.  Regardless, it's a little too close to home, and Chad Lewis has just the right amount of material to scare you.

For more information on Chad Lewis, and to view his presentation schedule, go to He will be presenting in Cokato on Monday, Jan. 29, at 6:00 p.m.


Montrose Mobile Manor up in flames, Sunday Jan. 14,

The Montrose Fire Department battled a fire in the Montrose Mobile Manor last Sunday morning, Jan. 14. The homeowner escaped without injury, but the structure and two vehicles were a total loss. (Photo courtesy of the Montrose Fire Department)

Last Sunday, Jan.14, at 7:21 a.m., the Montrose Fire Department was called to a structure fire in the Montrose Mobile Manor.

Wright County Sheriff's Deputies were first to arrive on scene.  The only occupant of the structure had escaped from the residence and was lying outside on the street. Deputies, assisted by residents of the area, were able to help the occupant move further from the house to a safe location.

Upon arrival, the Montrose firefighters found the structure and two vehicles belonging to the property owner fully engulfed in flames. Firefighters were at the scene of the fire for approximately four-and-a-half hours to extinguish the fire completely.

The property owner was transported to a nearby hospital and treated and released a short time later. There were no injuries to firefighters at the scene of the fire.

The house and its contents and both vehicles were a complete loss as a result of the fire.  A neighboring structure and vehicle also sustained minor damage due to radiant heat exposure.

At this time, the cause of the fire is under investigation, and the identity of the property owner has not yet been released.

The Waverly Fire Department, Ridgeview Ambulance, and Wright County Sheriff's Office assisted with the incident.


Dean Lake Aeration coming?

The Dean Lake Improvement Association advises that it could be operating an aeration system on Dean Lake in Wright County, this winter.

The aeration system is used to maintain fish populations. Signs will be posted at the lake access and at the aeration site when the system is operating.

Testing of dissolved oxygen has begun to determine whether or not aeration will be necessary. If aeration is needed, it could begin in late Jan. or sometime in Feb.

Because of open water created by aeration, sportsmen, hikers, fishermen, snowmobilers, ATV drivers, and other should take extreme caution for the remainder of the winter.

If you have questions, please call 651-955-6441.


Upcoming library events for Buffalo

Tuesday, Jan. 23, the Friends of the Buffalo Library meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. Come and support the library, while meeting new people in the community.  

On Friday, Jan. 26, settle in for Family Movie Fun on the library's big screen. Light refreshments will be served. All ages are welcome , and there is no limit. Sponsored by Friends of the Buffalo Library. The event begins at 1:00 p.m.

For more information regarding upcoming library events, contact Amy Wittman, library services coordinator, at 763-682-2753.


Wright Co. gives notice on future


Notice is hereby given that Wright County will implement the use of Electronic Rosters at the March Township, State Primary, and State General elections in 2018 and for every election thereafter. 

Electronic Rosters are also commonly known as e-poll books or e-poll pads.  This new equipment will be used to check in registered voters and to register voters.  

An Electronic Roster will be available for demonstration during normal business hours at the Wright County Auditor/ Treasurer's Office at 10 Second Street NW, Room 230, Buffalo, Minn.  55313. Dates and times are forthcoming.

Notice is hereby given the twelfth day of Jan., 2018.


CSAH 3 project update

Jan. 12, 2018 - The first layer of bituminous was placed in the fall of 2017 . The remaining bituminous will be placed in the spring/summer of 2018 at which time the project will be completed. 

The placement of bituminous in 2018 will be completed under traffic, so no detour of traffic will be needed.

CSAH 3, is from State Trunk Highway 55 to CSAH 2, located west of Annandale and east of South Haven.

Work includes, but is not limited to the following: reconstruction of the existing highway, culvert installations to perpetuate drainage patterns, and relocation of privately owned utilities by various companies that are located in the highway right-of-way by permit (Wright-Hennepin Electric, etc.) Visit  under "Construction Projects" for more information.


Reading into Early Literacy

What is is, why it matters, and what the library wants you to know

By Miriam Orr

"Children are made readers in the laps of their parents." - Emilie Buchwald.

Emilie Buchwald, awarded author and Minneapolis native, says it best. After working as an editor, poet, award-winning children's author, teacher, and co-founder of the literary press Milkweed Editions, it is obvious that Buchwald is a qualified speaker towards the importance of early literacy in children.

However qualified, Buchwald is not the only Minnesota native that possesses passion for seeing children into the engaging world of literacy and reading. Another, more local face, shared her drive for early literacy in a quiet office that overlooks the Buffalo Great River Regional Library (GRRL) archives, one wintery afternoon.


Who, What, When, Where

Amy Wittman, the Buffalo library services coordinator, was more than prepared to discuss GRRL's literacy programs one wintery afternoon in early Jan. 2018. Sitting on her desk was a stack of materials, detailed with information from the likes of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), Minnesota Library Association, and others. She didn't hesitate to communicate the importance of early literacy in children right away.

GRRL, in the beginning of the new year, has been marketing their "Every Child Ready to Read" (ECRR) initiative, which focuses on helping children gain reading, literacy, comprehension, writing, and playing skills through the library in an effort to be prepared for school, and get children involved and passionate about reading again.

"The initiative has been going on for a number of years," Amy explained. "It started through the government, under George W. Bush, and the library started this approach in alignment with schools at a more local level."

Amy went on to explain that the child literacy program came after the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which was enacted by the 107th U.S. Congress in 2001, and stated that it was "an act to close the achievement gap [in students] with accountability, flexibility, and choice, so that no child is left behind."

ECRR was implanted a few years after, in 2004, with a focus on educating parents on how to help their children get involved with reading, which was a different approach for many libraries, stated Saroj Ghoting (New Foundland, Penn.), an Early Childhood literacy consultant for the program.  

ECRR is designed to help children understand the library, and what reading is, before they start kindergarten. "It's a new way to teach parents to read with their kids, and start playing right away," Amy suggested. "It's a way to promote interest and make kids comfortable in the library again."

The Association for Library Service to Children suggests that since parents are their child's first teacher, they should be involved in helping children prepare for school by being a part of early literacy, and exemplifying reading in the most natural learning environment for children – the home. By doing this, children become comfortable with education and knowledge, and learn skills well before they step into a classroom.


The importance

Why is early literacy important? Wittman explained that helping children get excited about reading, and giving them a head-start in preparation for school, builds confidence in understanding letters and books, and helps them build educational stamina.

"It's important for children to learn to sit and be ready to learn in a controlled atmosphere like school," Amy commented. "By reading with your child in the library, and bringing them to storytimes, you help them prepare for their education, and help them grow as people and develop characteristic traits."

Amy approximated that roughly 400 children are involved with the program across the GRRL branches. In Buffalo, there's roughly 25 families that have participated in the initiative, with anywhere between 30 to 70 children actively engaged with early literacy and Every Child Ready to Read.

"Families getting involved with their children in promoting literacy are hugely important," Amy says. "Parents reading with their children shows them that reading is fun, especially when Mom and Dad are doing it with them," she commented. "It also keeps parents involved with their kids, and aware of how their child learns and processes education."

In a 2000 study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), which is a  divison of the U.S. Department of Education, research found that children who are read to at home have a substantial advantage over children who do not. Twenty-six percent of children who were read to three or four times during the week by a family member recognized all letters of the alphabet. This is compared to 14 percent of children who were read to less frequently.

The study also showed that children who were read to frequently are also more likely to count to 20, write their own names, and read or pretend to read.


Early literacy, in action

Some of the ways to promote early literacy while reading with children involve playing, writing, talking, and singing. Each of these individual methods, designed to be incorporated into story time, help children process what they are learning and take hold of individuality in how they respond to knowledge. Playing, for instance, encourages children to express themselves and expand their imagination.

While Amy was explaining these methods, young families in the library were sitting among the shelves of books – in particular, the VenOsdel family.

Jessica VenOsdel, mother of three, was patiently sitting with her children just off in the children's avenue of books. Vivienne and Sam, her two oldest children, were sitting at either side of her, with Jonah, her littlest, on her lap.

They were reading "Wonder Woman," and Vivienne and Sam were enthralled. They were smiling and giggling with their mother as Jonah clapped his hands and crawled around his mom's lap, trying to turn the pages on his own, all while Jessica made all sorts of funny noises to keep her children interested, and characterized voices during the story.

While Sam was busy describing what was happening on each page, Vivienne was standing by patiently, watching pages and trying to read letters, all while another heaping stack of books waited patiently beside the family, promising more adventure with each title.


Buffalo's involvement

Amy has been working as a branch librarian for GRRL for 25 years, and has seen a lot of change in the system – changes like the Dewey decimal system, integration of computers, the expanse of informational research with the internet, and the massive volumes of information that has blossomed within society over time.

In Buffalo, GRRL has reached out to stay involved with Early Childhood Family Education, and local schools, as they too promote early literacy in children through their library systems and reading programs. A few early childhood programs, daycares, and other childcare facilities have also been in talks with GRRL regarding its reading programs, and Amy hopes to be able to expand their ideas, someday.

However, Amy says that amidst this all, staying in contact is key, and having an open communication line between schools and other educational centers remains one of their largest ways of promoting early literacy and helping kids prepare for school.

One of her personal goals in regard to the programs at GRRL are getting organizations in Buffalo involved, and trying to get more local funding for the library's efforts and programs through groups like the Rotary, Lions, and other local groups.

Other ways Buffalo has been involved with early literacy in children is by offering parents different ways to get books and reading into their kids' lives. One such way is through the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten, which is a program targeted for children from birth to five-years-old, and integrates communication between the library and children, by offering a log for parents to keep track of the number of stories they read with their children. In Buffalo, there are about 14 families that actively participate with 1,000 Books program.



Amy was generous with her events schedule, and didn't hesitate to explain the array of different programs the library has planned for Jan. and Feb.

Among those activities is a "Baby Bounce," where families explore songs, stories, and finger plays to help with pre-literacy in infants ages zero to 18 months. "Preschool Storytime" involves stories, songs, and crafts to build Kindergarten readiness in children ages three to six. This event, Amy shared, is one of her favorites.

"Watching kids do crafts about a story and get up and engage their bodies with what we're reading is so wonderful," Amy said, "There is little better than seeing a child's face light up as they're listening to adventures."

While not an overly new initiative, ECRR and early literacy is a timeless issue that will span well into the future.

Amy concluded that as families, and members of a community that educates children, it is a privilege to be able to teach our children to read with materials and resources that others across the world may not have access to. Also, that it takes a village to make a difference in a generation as they prepare for school across the ages.

For more information on GRRL and its programs, visit


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