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Copyright 2018. All rights reserved. Wright County Journal-Press & The Drummer

Search warrant executed at massage parlor

By Miriam Orr

On Dec. 6, Buffalo Police Department executed a search warrant at Sunshing Spa, a massage parlor on 7th Street NE in Buffalo, just west of the Cenex gas station.

Buffalo Police Chief  Pat Budke issued an official statement: "On Wednesday, Dec. 6, the Buffalo Police Department executed a search warrant at a local business and seized records pending an investigation. No charges were filed, as further investigations remain open."

Two were arrested and processed in Wright County, were fingerprinted, and ultimately released.

Opening in Oct. 2016, the massage parlor known as Sunshing Spa has been in business a little over a year. While certainly not the first business offering massage therapy in the Buffalo area, there has been recent stir about the business - and those like it - at city council meetings. 

Chief Budk went on to say that while some city councils in the region have passed ordinances regarding this type of industry, Wright County currently has not passed any such ordinance, though it has been presented to the council in times past - such as when Sunshing Spa came to Buffalo in 2016.

Chief Budke went on to expound that a city ordinance regulating any type of business is difficult, as it requires a team of professionals to oversee such a regulation, and to make sure businesses which fall under regulation comply to the ordinances set in place. A checks and balances system requires an individual team that is capable of execution and also holding businesses accountable. It also begs the question as to whether or not ordinances like these would burden not only city government, but also the community as a whole.

Given the type of business in question, many times regulation and investigation of businesses puts victims back into jeopardy - whether it is intentional, or not. Ethics must be considered, especially when the goal of passing ordinances such as business regulation is to keep individuals safe and offer them other resources. It could be asked if regulation and putting victimized individuals at risk is worth it, which has been the concern of those who oppose the idea of passing ordinances before.

"Since the Safe Harbor act was passed, we have a team of individuals set in place to make sure that we see individuals affected by this type of business as victims and not necessarily criminals." Chief Budke said. "Our goals right now are not to prosecute the therapists, per se - our investigation is working upward from that, to see where exactly the level of prosecution should start."

"Safe Harbor", otherwise known as Minn.'s own Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Youth Act, inspired the Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act (S. 1733 / H.R. 3610) in Federal Legislation.  The Safe Harbor act changes Minnesota's approach to how prosecution and law enforcement handle individuals, who may be affected by jeopardizing industries - it sees them as victims, not criminals.

Contrary to recent belief, Buffalo Police have not officially closed the business, and claim that it remains open on 7th street while investigations are pending.

Execution of the search warrant began when it was suspected that the business was using online advertising on websites known to solicit illegal activities. With that information, BPD was obligated to look into the advertisement of services. To what extent the advertisements reached still is under investigation. It is unknown whether ties to Sunshing Spa are statewide, or national.

In Buffalo, this is the first investigation and arrest, which has been made regarding the massage business. Chief Budke commented that such an investigation is difficult to follow, since transactions for illegal activity are predominantly discreet and in cash.

That being the case, Chief Budke explained that, "There really are no solid records or history to investigate."

Furthermore, performing any type of police operation is also troublesome, as the goal is to keep victimization to a minimum. 

Victim cooperation remains the strongest approach law enforcement has on making progress. Chief Budke explained how victim cooperation further complicates matters, not only in the fact that it is not always complete, but defeats the purpose of the Safe Harbor law.

As of now, Wright County is looking for cooperation from the victims involved as to ascertain whether or not the operation is predominately local, or something more. There has been no prosecution filed as the investigation remains open, and Chief Budke commented that determining whether prosecution will occur on a state, federal, or local level currently remains unknown.


Top talent arrives on Holiday Train

Monday, Dec. 11 brought the arrival of Canadian-Pacific Railway's annual Holiday Train to Buffalo. Before its arrival to Buffalo, the train made a stop in Loretto before moving to Annandale. The train brought performers Terri Clark, Dallas Smith, and Kelly Prescott. The event continues to be a huge event for community food shelf operations. (Photo by Miriam Orr)

By Miriam Orr

Buffalo Food Shelf is pleased to report another successful, well attended - in spite of really cold winds - visit of the Canadian Pacific Railroad's Holiday Train. Rolling in with the train were performers Terri Clark, Kelly Prescott, and Dallas Smith.

Part of the Holiday Train mission is to encourage and build support of local food shelves, as well provide a musical concert at the train's stops.

Many local partners worked together to make the event successful, including: Santa, the Spirit of Joy Lutheran church 'Rejoice' singers, the Buffalo Lions, the Rockin' Riders 4H club, Boy Scout troop of Buffalo, KRWC Radio, Wright County Journal Press, City of Buffalo and City of Buffalo police and firefighters, and the Buffalo Food Shelf. 

The food drive netted the Buffalo Food Shelf 1,001 pounds of food and $916 cash, plus a gift of $ 4,500.00 from Canadian Pacific rail. The Buffalo Food Shelf would like to thank local businesses and those who donated, and, as always, remain grateful for the support of the Buffalo community.

Nick Knese Construction


Orr joins Journal-Press as reporter

Miriam Orr

Miriam Orr of Cokato has been hired as the news reporter at the Journal-Press.  She is succeeding Ed DuBois, who is retiring at the end of this month after 39 years in Buffalo.

Orr was home-schooled while her family lived in the Mora/Hinckley area.  She has a degree in Relational Communications and Christian Studies from Crown College, where she graduated Cum Laude in 2016.

She said it has been her dream since childhood to work for a newspaper.  (See her introductory column on the Opinions Page in this week's issue of the Journal-Press.)

DuBois started work at the Journal-Press as the sports reporter in 1978.  He has been the news reporter since 1983.


Landfill request withdrawn by Advanced Disposal

By Miriam Orr

Brought before the Wright County Board by Assistant County Attorney Greg Kryzer was the withdrawal of application by Advance Disposal Rolling Hills Landfill's request for a zoning change, which would allow an expansion. The matter was addressed during the Tuesday Dec. 12, 2017 Board meeting.

The request made its way to the County Board from the Wright County Planning and Zoning Commission back in Oct., voted 3-3 on the application for rezoning. It was referred to the county board without recommendation at that time, and has been under discussion.

A four-hour public hearing was held on Nov. 15 as the County Board held a meeting as a Committee of the Whole. Findings were drafted for denial of the request, and the Board was recommended to deny the change from General Agriculture to General Industry District.

The overall consensus from the public has been divided - there remains proponents who agree with the need for the rezoning, and those who oppose it. On Nov. 15, public comments reminded county commissioners of past ordinances and resolutions, which have been passed in the interest of preserving land, and that allowing a landfill expansion would be potentially infringing on those plans.

There were those who supported the expansion of a landfill, specifically individuals in the construction industry who stated having a landfill of this type, primarily for construction debris, in an area that is consistently growing residentially and commercially could perhaps be beneficial.

Knowing that the County Board would ultimately deny the landfill's request, Kryzer presented an official withdraw of application by Advanced Disposal. It states clearly that, considering the comments brought forth by the Planning Committee and County Commissioners, Advanced has taken the time to review the findings set forth by county staff and ultimately withdrew its application for rezoning.

In the formal letter of withdrawal, Advanced Disposal "is proud of its operation in Wright County", and will continue to remain committed to the county in bettering its economy.

Wright County Commissioner Mike Potter made the comment that eventually, another plan would be proposed and require new findings to be drafted, and that it would further tax not only the Board, but also the community, in time and resources.

The plan has previously been supported, as mentioned by Commissioner Charlie Borrell, that the rezoning is definitely needed in the community, and that it should be something in which our society tolerates.

Opposing the rezoning plan was Commissioner Christine Husom, who favors alternative ways of handling waste, which do not require encroaching on land-use within the community - especially by outside company's and sources.

At this time, it is unknown if Advanced intends to file another request.


Wright County Area Transit and Joint Powers

A proposal to join the Wright County Area Transit (WCAT) Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) was presented Dec. 12 by Commissioner Derek Vetsch, and was carried 4:1 with Commissioner Borrell standing to oppose.

The agreement states that those joined serve for the "purposes of coordinating service delivery and providing a funding source of Public Transit Service" through the Transit Board, which will consist of two elected officials from Sibley and McLeod counties, as well as WCAT, resulting in six elected members.

This Board will receive State and Federal Department of Transportation funding, for the purpose of providing public transit service.

From this JPA, it is projected that WCAT's 2018 local share of funds will be approximately 45%, rounding out to roughly $38,000 revenue, with capital operating expenses depending on government funding.


JPA for Midwest Regional Forensics Lab carried

Chief Deputy County Attorney Brian Asleson called for the authorization of a JPA to continue partnering with the Advisory Committee for the Midwest Regional Forensics Laboratory. Also included in the motion to authorize was the removal of "superfluous language" that was no longer relevant, and a name change from Tri-County Forensic Laboratory to Midwest Regional.

Asleson explained that this authorization would stand until 2022, and that each county's share in the JPA was determined by the current population. The revised JPA's shares will be determined 60% by population, and 40% based on lab usage between counties.  The Advisory Committee approved it in November.

The motion for authorization carried unanimously.


Resolution for county salaries/medical examiner appointment carried

Also on Dec. 12, a call for action came to approve the resolutions which would set 2018 salaries for the Auditor/Treasurer, Sheriff, and the County Board. Resolutions setting salaries for the Auditor/Treasurer and Sheriff were passed unanimously, as well as the resolution to appoint a medical examiner.

The resolution for the County Board's allotted wages carried 4:1, with Commissioner Mark Daleiden opposing. The commissioner's salaries is going up 2.5%, which is the same as county employees.


County's 2018 levy adopted

A motion to carry 2018's county tax levy was presented by Lee Kelly, the County Coordinator. Kelly explained that the levy, which was presented in Sept. 2017, had not seen any changes, and remained the same. It passed unanimously.


Misc. Items:

- Committee of the Whole was called for Dec. 20, at 1 p.m. regarding Highway Engineer Virgil Hawkins' 2018 plan to update Transportation. Also called for authorization were construction projects proposed for Highways 9, 38, and 18; the review of the major equipment budget, and the application for federal funding.

- Parks and Recreation Director Marc Mattice called for authorization, which would allow the department to apply for grants regarding Clearwater/Pleasant Park, Stanley Eddy Park Reserve, and Otsego Park for ongoing projects, and various other grant applications. It was not recommended by the Parks Department to acquire land near Robert Ney Regional Park. The motion was carried unanimously.

- Alicia O'Hare, Water Resource Specialist, requested the adoption of the resolution approving the water plan expansion, which has been extended since 2005. The Board recommended an update of population data, and approved it unanimously.

- Auditor/Treasurer Bob Hiivala requested for the approval of Wright County's Ditch 31 resolution, findings, and order to correct drainage systems, as well as a budget amendment for personnel additions. Also the Tobacco License transfer from Shag-Bark, Inc. to Riverview Liquorette (Otsego) was mentioned, and approved unanimously. 

- The Board of Water and Soil Water Resources motioned for authorization to a grant agreement, and an award of $141,298. Also called was the appointment of Paul Zabinkski to the Water Management Task Force (Lake Association) for three years, and the reappointment of Lynn Kissock to the Force (Mayors Association Rep.). All were passed unanimously.

- The Wright County Sheriff's Office requested a review of the Radiological Emergency Response plan, which was passed.

- Planning and Zoning recommendations for Chatham Twp., Franklin Twp., and Corinna Twp. all were passed unanimously regarding rezoning requests.

- A motion was passed to appoint Melanie Leckey (Clearwater) as Commissioner for District 2 Parks and Recreation  for a 3-year term.

- The board unanimously approved the replacement of an office technician in Health and Human Services.

- Motions were carried to renew Tobacco licenses for establishments in Alberville, Cokato, Delano, Monticello, Montrose, and Waverly. Also, acknowledgement warrants were issued between Nov. 21, 2017 and Dec. 5.

- An Employee Recognition Ceremony date was set for Feb. 26, 2018 at 10:30 a.m.

- Signature was authorized to release MCIT property damage claim 17PR0025 of $443,013.99 from Feb. 06, 2017 in regards to wind damage.

- The Memorandum of Agreement with Teamsters local no. 320 for county contribution to the 20108 Health Insurance plan passed unanimously.


BHM School Board debates course change proposal

By Miriam Orr

A proposal brought before the Buffalo Hanover Montrose School Board (BHM) Monday, Dec.11, consisted of proposition changes and course modifications for the upcoming 2018-2019 school year curriculum and catalog. Pam Miller, the Director of Teaching and Learning, in partnership with Mark Mischke, BHS' principal, presented the proposition for change.

Included in the proposal was a series of steps to ensure that reasonable consideration be given to all modification and perspectives brought before the council for a decision to be made at the board's next meeting Jan. 8, 2018. Each proposal has been considered by teaching staff and district leaders before submission and review.

Those received were eight new courses which would be additions to BHS, nine courses submitted for deletion from BCMS and BHS curriculum, and 10 proposed as modifications to courses, which already exist.

Of those submitted for consideration by the board, concern primarily fell with the deletion of nine "Enrichment" courses in Math, English, and Science, which by definition, are classes where students who take interest in rigorous coursework may enroll in a more focused and direct class after meeting qualifications and being selected.

Implementation of these Enrichment courses is achieved by assessing student data across a body of contestants, and selecting students who most qualify. Those who are not selected for these specialized courses continue in primary classes, until the next opportunity may arise for them to apply to the smaller Enrichment classes.

The proposition of deletion would be in favor of the student body as a whole, ultimately eliminating the Enrichment classes from the course catalog for the upcoming year. In place of this program, teachers would, in turn, assess their "heterogeneous" classes and identify those students that may desire a more direct and rigorous course schedule and those who do not - while simultaneously providing opportunities for both student groups.

This, Miller suggested, would eliminate the need for Enrichment classes. By providing equal opportunities for focused coursework to all students - regardless of performance - teachers create learning environments that provide students with the confidence of decision. By having the opportunity in class to pursue advanced subject matter, students decide whether they want to challenge themselves - which, Miller clarified, was what Enrichment classes currently provide. However, the new proposal simply removes the title "Enrichment", but not the opportunity for performance. It would be up to teachers and their assessment of individual students how those opportunities would be provided, says Miller.

While there remains some concerns with implementing the new proposal from teaching staff, Miller reassured the board that once the consequences had been fully examined and considered, teaching staff felt good about the course changes. However, the response from some members of the community in previous meetings was not so reassuring.

Miller explained that parents within the community had voiced concerns about the opportunities that students of the Enriched courses had already attained, versus those of students who had not been accepted in the program. It was suggested that some felt "left out" or that students could feel as if they had been denied an opportunity by removing Enrichment courses altogether, and that it was not entirely fair.

The implementation of the new proposal suggests that those students who feel as if they would be "missing out" by the removal of Enrichment courses will have the same opportunities and experiences that Enrichment courses offer currently, without having to meet qualifications or attend separate classes. Now, instead, classrooms will be "heterogenous", as Miller suggested - higher performing students will have the same opportunities to pursue advanced subject matter as their peers, and vice versa. Whether that be by extra assignments, advanced reading material, or different examinations would be up to teaching staff, says Miller. Execution could vary.

"I believe every student has the ability to pursue advanced subject matter," member Melissa Brings explained, "as long as they have the drive and opportunity."

Research and discussion will continue among the school board members in preparation for Jan. 8, when the matter will be presented again for decision.


New Levy passed

The certification of the 2017 payable 2018 tax levy was proposed before the school board during the Truth and Taxation discussion, presented by Gary Kawlewski, the Director of Finance and Operations.

The new levy would see a $14.86 million increase, which overall, is a 6.64% increase from the last levy in 2017.  The tax rate for the payable 2018-year is down from 32.85% to 32.45%, and overall district expenditures are $84.27 million.

Kawlewski reported that 10% of the school district's revenue stems from property taxes within the community, while the primary revenue is state granted at a staggering 85%. He commented that the district "heavily relies on funding from the state", but is comparable to other districts in the region.

The impact of the levy on various homes ranges depends on individual property values. Kawlewski explained that while many homes will be worth more with the upcoming levy, taxes from the school district would increase as home values continue to rise.


Polling location changes for elections not held on state-wide election dates

Anita Underberg, Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent and BOE presented what will become an annual resolution to ultimately change the location of school polling locations for elections not held on days the state establishes election sites.

Buffalo polling places, on elections not held on the day of state elections, will be held at Buffalo High School. Montrose's established site is the Montrose Community Center, and another is Hanover City Hall.

Written notice must be given to voters each time the location changes annually, at least 25 days before the date of the first election to which it will apply, per Minn. Statue 204B.16.

The resolution will be presented annually for consideration, and will require to be filed as certified with the county auditors to which it applies.


Misc. Items:

- Superintendent Dr. Scott Thielman presented information provided by the Minnesota School Boards Association regarding the issue of School Trust lands, intented to create revenue for schools. The proposition before the board calls for a resolution to be passed, agreeing to the exchange and purchase of said acreage in a "Plan B", which would ultimately lead to the Conservation Fund purchasing private land in St. Louis County, exchanging land for the School Trust Fund in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, and the U.S. Forest Service buying land from the Conservation Fund. The resolution was passed unanimously.

- The Policy review was read, regarding policy numbers 513 (Student Promotion, Retention program), 613 (revised graduation requirements), and 612.1 (development of policies regarding Title I programs).  Motion for change was passed unanimously.

- The student council report was given by Jack Oistad, who mentioned that RAVE (Respect and Value Everyone) Week made changes to include self positivity through theme colors.

- Donations totaled    $2,775.95 to various programs including BHS Herd Student Accounts, DES Staff, donations for the BHS Band trailer lettering, various donations to PES Read-A-Thon's, and DES.


"Proud Of's"

The school board extended their congratulation to: Wendy Whitmore, a BCMS Math teacher, who received the Middle Level Educator of the Year Award, which is presented and sponsored by the Minn. Middle School Association. 

Also Tom Bauman, BHS Activities Director, who received the "Why We Play" Leadership Citation Award, presented by the Minn. State High School League in partnership with the Superbowl 52 Host Committee.

To Amanda Kramer, District Controller, who completed the Minn. Assocaition of School Business Officials certificate program.


Board recognizes Vander Kooi's service

Superintendant Thielman recognized member Stan Vander Kooi's outstanding service to the school board with remarks to his suggestions, achievements, insights, and support to the district, and community, as a whole.



The upcoming Board Workshop is scheduled for Jan. 8, 2018 at 4:30 p.m, located at BCMS. The MSBA Leadership conference is set for Jan. 11-12, 2018, while the board meets Jan. 22, 2018 at 7 p.m. in the Boardroom at the Discovery Center in Buffalo.


New ice ushers in hockey season



With Buffalo Lake recently frozen, hockey enthusiasts are getting a jump on the season by clearing space on the ice to play. This photo was taken the morning of Dec. 11, as the sun was just beginning to rise over the lake. While the season for ice recreation has come full swing, it is important to be mindful that ice is unpredictable, so be careful out there.  (Photo by Miriam Orr)



County Parks Commission opening

The Wright County Parks Commission has an opening for an appointee from District 3 or 4. This person will represent the areas of Albertville, Dayton, St. Michael, Hanover, Otsego, Rockford, and Rockford Township.

Meetings are held on the second Monday of Jan., Mar, May, July, Sept., and Nov., at 6:00 p.m., most often at the Wright County Parks Department in Buffalo. The Commission is a seven-member advisory group to the County Board.

Please send a letter of interest to: Wright County Parks Department c/o Park Commission Chair, 3500 Braddock Avenue NE, Buffalo, MN 55313. Contact Marc Mattice at 1-763-682-7693 or marc.mattice@co. for additional information.


Montrose Days committee in need of help to continue annual celebration

At the Montrose City Council meeting on Monday, Dec. 11, the council learned that the Montrose Days Celebration Committee is in desperate need of four new board members, as well as more volunteers.

Councilmember Ben Kuehl announced that if the Montrose Days committee does not get the needed four new board members by December of 2018, the committee will be dissolved and the remaining funds will be either turned over to a new committee or returned to the community.

Kuehl, a member of the celebration committee said, "We need help. New blood is needed to run the Montrose Days celebration." the next Montrose Days committee meeting is Sunday, Jan. 14 at 7:00 p.m. at city hall. Volunteers do not have to live in Montrose to become a part of the celebration committee.


Storm water public meeting Dec. 18

A public meeting will be held on Monday, Dec. 18 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Buffalo City Center, 212 Central Ave., to give an opportunity for the public to provide input on the adequacy of the City of Buffalo's Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP).

A copy of the document will be available at the meeting.  The document is also available online at


You can be a Christmas Angel

Blanket drive grows and transforms into an annual Christmas morning delivery of joy for lonely seniors

By Ed DuBois

Around ten years ago, a local health care professional, Tennille Popelka, started volunteering at the Buffalo Food Shelf.  She wanted to make a difference in peoples' lives.  Not long after she started volunteering, she met an elderly patient who was very unhappy, and she was also mean and nasty.

Determined to help change the patient's outlook, Tennille made it her mission to "make her like me."

"After a month of her telling me to get out or yelling for a nurse that a kid was in her room, I still kept going back," Tennille recalled.  "I am pretty sure she told me I was stupid, a pain in the butt, annoying, and pretty much anything else along those line."

Tennille came to the realization that the reason the elderly patient was so mean was because she was lonely.  Looking into the problem, Tennille called several nursing homes and discovered that roughly half the residents are alone during the holidays.

Meanwhile, she continued her efforts to get the mean patient to like her.

"I would mail her a birthday card and send her a Christmas card every year.  She would always say, 'Stop sending me this crap in the mail,'" Tennille remembered.

However, somehow Tennille knew the patient was beginning to appreciate the kind gestures.

"After a few years, she finally liked me," Tennille said.

"I started wondering how many other older people were so lonely," she added.

The two were friends about four years.  One day, the patient visited Tennille on her birthday.

"She had two special brownies for me, and she sang 'Happy Birthday,' to me," Tennille said.

The patient who had become a friend passed away two days later.


Christmas Angels started

This experience helped inspire the start of an effort to provide some comfort and joy for lonely senior citizens on Christmas Day.  It is called Christmas Angels.

It began with a blanket drive seven years ago.  The blankets were given to nursing home residents on Christmas morning.

"To see the faces of the seniors at the nursing homes was the most wonderful feeling," Tennille said.

"One of my most favorite holidays is Christmas.  I cannot think of a better way to honor the holidays than to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives," she commented.  "When I stop and really think about all the people who have made a difference in my life, I am overwhelmed with how blessed I have been, but there has always been something missing."


Others joined the cause

The first time she went to the Food Shelf, she had a hopeless feeling.

"The first time I went, I left there and thought, 'I am never going back.  I cannot help all of those people.  I am going to pretend this does not exist,'" Tennille recalled.  "That didn't work.  I kept going back.  I was told I cannot bring anyone home with me."

Christmas Angels became her way to make a difference, and it became a way for many others to also make a difference as more Christmas Angels participants joined her each year on Christmas Day.

"In 2013, we collected enough blankets to give to every resident at Lake Ridge, Sunrise Assisted Living and all the patients at the hospital," Tennille said.  "Lake Ridge wrote a thank-you in the paper talking about how Christmas Angels made a difference."

Last year, 532 gifts were delivered the local nursing homes on Christmas morning.

Two years ago, Tennille asked the Journal-Press to publish a news item about Christmas Angels, inviting people to join the cause.


Students joined, too

"I could not have done this without the community, and my co-workers at the hospital are amazing," said Tennille, who serves a health unit coordinator at the Buffalo Hospital.

Her jobs includes making sure patients are ready for surgery.  She is a Buffalo High School graduate and was a member of the last class at the old high school (now the middle school).

Students from Northwinds Elementary School helped collect blankets last year, and this year, they are doing all the wrapping of Christmas Angels gifts.

Tennille mentioned that efforts are being made to match some of the gifts wrapped by students with their senior citizen pen pals.


Drop sites and needed items

The collection of gifts is underway at several drop sites.  They include: Cub Foods, Kids Haven, BankWest, Ryan Chevrolet, BJ's Deli, Allina Clinics, Buffalo Hospital, Stellis Health in Buffalo, Northwinds Elementary School, and Aadland Electric.

Items that are most wanted include: lotions, lip balm, pony tail holders, grippy socks, women's sweat shirts and sweat pants, and men's sweat shirts and sweat pants (from medium size to 3X).

Some significant private donations to Christmas Angels have been provided by Sue Hutchinson and Kyle Prodoehl, Tennille said.

She has emailed churches, day cares and businesses to ask if they would like to take part in Christmas Angels.

She said a handful of people participated in the first year.  They included hospital staff, her parents and her children (Jackson and Lauren), as well as families in her neighborhood.


Someone visiting

"So many do not realize how our seniors have been forgotten," Tennille said.  "When you think of Christmas, you think of little kids.  You don't think of elderly individuals who are trying to survive off very little each month.  I hope everyone can pitch in and help those who are in need in our community."

Christmas Angels help make sure lonely seniors have someone visiting on Christmas morning.

They are going to attempt providing a Christmas meal at the Golden Living nursing home in Delano.  Northwinds Elementary School students are providing artworks.

"If we pull this off this year, we will try it in other nursing homes next year," Tennille said.

During each Christmas Angels stop at a nursing home, "we mingle and talk."  Participants go from room to room giving gifts and greeting residents.


Someone does care

Tennille said faces light up as lonely seniors realize "someone does care."

"We don't want anyone to be forgotten," she commented.

The stops at the nursing homes last from about 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

"The kids (among the Christmas Angels) are dying to get home and open their presents, but there are no complaints," Tennille said.

They understand the purpose of the deliveries and the joy they provide.


Be a friend

If you know of a senior not in a nursing home who could benefit from a gift from Christmas Angels, please email Tennille at

"Life is fragile, and we never know just how long our own time on this earth will extend.  It is my hope that we would each take the opportunity to thank each person who makes a difference in our lives.  Be a friend, even when they don't want to be yours," Tennille said.


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