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Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. Wright County Journal-Press & The Drummer


Terry Marsh, Lillian Sukut named 2017 Outstanding Seniors

Terry Marsh

(Photo of Lillian Sukut not available.)

Wright County's Outstanding Senior Volunteer Selection Committee, in cooperation with the Minnesota State Fair Board and the Wright County Fair Board, has made their selection of the 2017 Outstanding Seniors.

The 2017 Wright County Outstanding Senior Citizens are Lillian Sukut of Maple Lake and Terry Marsh of Buffalo.

The purpose of the program is to recognize that the senior citizen population is a very valuable resource to the communities as they continue to give back of their time and talents to the residents of the county.

The eligibility criteria for the Outstanding Seniors are that they are Minnesota residents and must attain the age of 70 by Aug 1.

Only volunteer activities after the age of 65, for which there is no compensation (except for reimbursed expenses), are considered.  The committee looks for leadership, diversity of accomplishments and the variety of services performed.

Lillian Sukut has been involved with a wide variety of volunteer activities.  Some of them include working with Maple Lake Senior Connections, Sams Quilting Club and Maple Manor Senior Building and Dining Site, doing whatever she can to help others.

Terry Marsh has been involved with many organizations performing volunteer work.  A few of the many groups he works with are Fare for All, The Shriners, Buffalo Police Reserve, Special Olympics, and Kids Wings, while giving time and his talents to help others.  A former Northwest Airline pilot, he managed the Buffalo Airport for many years with his wife, Susan.  His bright outlook and cheerful personality consistently help others feel good.

For nine years, he has served on the Buffalo Hospital Board of Trustees.

The Outstanding Seniors are recognized each year at the Wright County Fair.  This year's Senior Citizens Program at the Fair is taking place on Friday, July 28 at 1 p.m. on the Free Stage.

Nick Knese Construction


BCT celebrates 30 years with BCT Day July 23

Miss Andrew (left) and Mary Poppins (right) face off as Jane and Michael (center) look on in a scene from BCT's "Mary Poppins," which opens this Friday, July 21 at 7:30 p.m. in the Buffalo High School Performing Arts Center.  The performers are (from left): Jonah Schmitz,  Hope Schmitz, Ethan Pavlenko, and Jane Thelen.  (Photo courtesy of BCT)

Current show, 'Mary Poppins,' is 30th summer production

Thirty years is a long time span by most standards.  But it has passed very quickly for Buffalo Community Theater, the area's hometown theatrical company, and its participants over the years.

By best estimates, there are now over a thousand local folks who can claim "I've been in BCT."  In what roles?  We're not just talking about the starring roles, such as Tevye (in "Fiddler on the Roof") or Dolly (in "Hello, Dolly!").  Instead, on its 30th anniversary, BCT is celebrating all roles that keep the organization running strong: actors, of course, but also: stagehands, scenic designers, light board operators, musicians, painters, publicity organizers, ticket sellers, directors, choreographers, props-makers, costumers, stage managers, board members, lighting designers, construction crews, special effects creators, microphone managers, photographers, ushers, cast support volunteers,- and the audience!

BCT's website, bctmn. org, shows all of its 72 past productions, beginning with 1987's old-fashioned melodrama "There Goes the Old Ball Game."  The three founding members of BCT, Carol Moore, Mike Walsh and Erin Walsh, chose the show because it promised to be "low-cost and fun, with easy scenery."  In melodramas, the audience is encouraged to boo the black-moustached villain and cheer for the heroine.  Costumes were borrowed, volunteers recruited and District 877 Community Education oversaw BCT's modest initial effort.

Deemed a success, BCT was ready to proceed with plans for another show the following summer.

Over the years since then, growth has been steady on all fronts for BCT, from the scope of the productions to the numbers of volunteers and staff involved, to the organizational fluidity with which BCT is able to prepare for each new show (BCT now employs a part-time General Manager Zanna Joyce).

Along the way, as one might suspect, there have been countless funny, unusual or otherwise memorable moments.  In fact, it has been frequently suggested that BCT could write and stage a light-hearted play based on itself.  As a retrospective of 30 years of local community theater, here are a few of those unforgettable moments:

 

How Did They Do That?

BCT delights in amazing their audience with special effects when possible, including having onstage a working water pump that filled a bucket (Fiddler on the Roof), a 20 foot tall whirling tornado (Wizard of Oz), a huge splashing waterfall (South Pacific), a 6'7" actor flying over his bed (Fiddler on the Roof), a surprise of trapping the audience in a jungle of vines (Little Shop of Horrors), getting a chicken to run across the stage on cue (Into the Woods), and more. For details on how these were accomplished, you'll have to ask a BCT veteran!

 

The Theater Ghost

BCT's first home for summer musicals was the Discovery Theater stage, until the current high school auditorium was constructed. The old Art Deco-inspired theater is housed on one end of the school. Over the years various cast or crew members reported feeling uncomfortably "creepy," especially late at night, with reports of moving shadows or doors closing mysteriously. One summer BCT hired an East Coast scenic designer who was a former Buffalo High School graduate home for the summer. When he heard a cast member refer to Dewey, then legendary ghost, he began laughing uncontrollably. "Is that story still around? I started that ghost story when I was a student here!"

 

That Really Happened?

Yes, it probably did. Unlike poor Dewey, the invented ghost, THESE stories are all true:

The BHS Herd Marching Band did appear in BCT's summer production of The Music Man, marching into the theater from the lobby where they had surreptitiously assembled. With ALMOST 76 trombones and crashing cymbals, they marched and played their way up onto the stage for the finale of the show, much to the surprise and delight of the audience.

Beloved local musician Gale Holmquist, longtime pianist for nearly every arts group in Buffalo and a private piano teacher to many students, was talked into taking an onstage role with speaking lines for Stepping Out. The role? A jaded and sardonic pianist stuck playing for a weekly dance class of clumsy beginning adults. Her special acting challenge? After supposedly having too much to drink on one occasion, she had to lurch onstage, plop in front of the piano, and flawlessly execute part of Chopin's "Revolutionary Etude", one of the most difficult piano pieces ever written. The concensus? Gale "killed it!"

Well, why not a motorcycle onstage? Why not two? In BCT's "Vegas" take on the show Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, the Ishmaelites kidnapped Joseph on a pair of beautiful Excelsior Henderson motorcycles, revving up nicely for a dramatic and hilarious exit with the alarmed Joseph perched behind.

If it sounds like a real bagpipe player, it probably is. For Brigadoon's poig-nant funeral scene, the distant sound of a solo bagpipe coming closer was, in fact, just that. The bagpipe player hired for the show solemnly started playing outside the theater, then entered the lobby and processed slowly down the aisle to finish on stage as part of the funeral gathering, bringing some audience members to tears with the drama of the moment.

 

Happy tears, too

Chev of DelanoThere have been romanc-es over the years of BCT, from backstage proposals to first meetings that led to marriages. BCT has seen some of its earliest young BCT actors now returning with their children to appear in BCT productions (among others, Brad Elo and family in this summer's Mary Poppins). Children grew up in BCT- many actors remember back to when director-choreographer Erin Walsh and Music Director Mike Walsh's three then-small children tucked into sleeping bags in the corner of the theater while summer evening rehearsals stretched past bedtime, having no trouble sleeping through all sorts of stage shenanigans. The "Walsh kids", now grown, claim their ability to have no difficulty falling asleep is thanks to BCT.

...and Shakespeare!

One summer, BCT was unable to rent their usual school venue for their summer musical due to construction. A small group of BCT devotees banded together and decided to not let a summer pass without a BCT show. So with a $500 budget from DataSuccess, and calling themselves "The Shoestring Players", they staged the Shakespeare play A Midsummer Night's Dream at Buffalo Zion Lutheran Church, setting the famous work in rural Minnesota, and staying in budget.

But BCT is more than a collection of moments involving flying monkeys, tap dancers, trap doors, and Elvis impersonators.

BCT is, in fact, celebrating their FIRST 30 years. The next 30 years look ready to be just as bright and exciting as the first 30 have been. Buffalo Com-munity Theater would not exist without the middle of those three words- community. If you think you may be interested in a role with BCT, consider becoming involved in an upcoming season.

And in the meanwhile, please join BCT on BCT Day, Sunday July 23, after the 2 p.m. matinee performance of Mary Poppins at the BHS Performing Arts Center. At 5 p.m. that day after the matinee, BCT will host a free public reception and refreshments to help celebrate 30 magical years of community theater memories in Buffalo.

Performances of Mary Poppins are: July 21, 22, 26, 27, 28 and 29 at 7:30 pm, and July 23 at 2 pm. All performances are at the Buf-falo High School Perform-ing Arts Center. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for Seniors 60 and older, and $8 for students and children. There is a group discount of $2 off each ticket in groups of 15 or more.

Reserved-seat tickets to Mary Poppins are available online at buffalocommunitytheater.org or at the door.


Eight candidates entering Fairest of the Fair Coronation July 30

Madeline Clubb

Kalley Johnson

Isabella Kitzberger

Kendra Klima

Gabby Lindquist

Bailey Loch

Molly Pettit

Ashton Roling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eight candidates are entering the Fairest of the Fair Coronation at the Wright County Fair on Sunday, July 30, 3 p.m., at the Free Stage.

The candidates who would like to be Wright County Fairest of the Fair Ambassadors during the coming year are:

Madeline Clubb of Buffalo, Kalley Johnson of Howard Lake, Isabella Kitzberger of St. Michael, Kendra Klima of Howard Lake, Gabby Lindquist of South Haven, Bailey Loch of South Haven, Molly Pettit of Howard Lake, and Ashton Roling of Cokato.

Some information about each candidate follows:

 

MADELINE CLUBB

Madeline Clubb, daughter of Stacy Fisher of Buffalo, said she had a blast as a Buffalo royalty candidate last year and would like to represent the county in which she grew up.

She said she is very passionate at everything she does and likes to be involved with the community and making it a better place.

She has gone to the Demolition Derby the last six years.  She said it is a great event to spend time with her family and make new memories.

Madeline would like to travel the world and experience different cultures.

She would also like to impact the lives around her by giving back the community.

She has been dancing 16 years.  She likes crafts and baking.

Her community activities have included Relay For Life, and she has served as a residence hall association representative.

She has volunteered at a nursing home and made masquerade masks with the residents.

 

KALLEY JOHNSON

Kalley Johnson, daughter of Gary and Tracy Johnson of Howard Lake, said she would like to help people and make a difference.  A graduate from Ridgewater College (and Buffalo High School), she had perfect attendance in college and said she has a strong work ethic.

At the Fair, she enjoys seeing and feeding the livestock.  She also enjoys the food at the Fair.  Kalley experiences the Fair every year with friends and family.

She has a goal to earn a degree at Southwest State University in hospitality management.  She mentioned she would like to volunteer at an animal shelter.

Volunteer activities have taken place at Zion Lutheran Church, Feed My Starving Children and the Buffalo Food Shelf.  She enjoys athletics and the outdoors.  She also enjoys animals.

 

ISABELLA KITZBERGER

Isabella Kitzberger, daughter of Kevin and Carrie Kitzberger of St. Michael, said she would like to be a role model and enjoys volunteering for community events.  Her favorite event at the Fair is bull riding.  She mentioned she loves going to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

In parades, the Wright County float was her favorite when she was younger, and she loved the carousel at the Fair.

Isabella described herself as down to earth and compassionate.  She would like to be a leader.  She tries her best in everything she does, and goals include graduating from college on the dean's list, traveling to all seven continents and owning a successful business.  Her activities have included Business Professionals of America, speech and choir, among others.  She volunteers at the Maple Grove Hospital, plus Red Cross and a nursing home.

 

KENDRA KLIMA

Kendra Klima, daughter of Sara Napper of Buffalo, said she had a memorable experience as a candidate in 2013 and would like a chance to use her up-beat personality and leadership skills to help people and make them smile.

He favorite memory from the Fair was in the summer of the eighth grade as she walked through the animal barns, saw the exhibits, tried new foods, and saw all the fun things the Fair offers while spending quality time with her best friend.

Some day, she would like to own a clothing business and call it Kendra's Kloset.  She would like to be a public speaker at schools and spread awareness about mental health, bullying and that it is OK to speak up because you are never alone.

She enjoys the outdoors, as well as music, cooking, cleaning, and quality time with friends and family.  She is a thrift store volunteer and helps with events in her hometown of Waverly.  She also likes to express her feelings by putting her emotions into writing music.

 

GABBY LINDQUIST

Gabby Lindquist, daughter of Dan and Shannon Lindquist of South Haven, saw the coronation last year and decided she would love a chance to represent the Wright County Fair.  She said she would be a good ambassador because she is a hard worker and has an outgoing personality.

A senior this fall at Annandale High School, Gabby plays basketball and participates in National Honor Society, student council and Fellowship of Student Athletes.  She loves mentoring and hopes to be an elementary school teacher some day.  She has taught children in the Cardinal Kids Club, a vacation bible school and Sunday school.

She has experience as a Fairhaven Royal Ambassador and took part in many community activities.  She plans to become a Fairhaven Lions Club member.  She said she enjoys meeting people.

 

BAILEY LOCH

Bailey Loch, daughter of Steve and Toni Loch of South Haven, would love to represent the Fair and impact other lives, as well as her own, for the better.  Spending long, hot summer days at the Fair while enjoying the "crazy rides" can't be topped, she says.  The idea of people coming from all around the county to the Fair reminds her of a great big family reunion.

She recently served as a Fairhaven Royal Ambassador and enjoyed helping out at community events.  She has studied nursing and recently became a certified nursing assistant.  Her next step is to become an ultrasound technician.

Hobbies include running, basketball, hunting, fishing, and enjoying the outdoors.  She teaches at a vacation bible school in Kimball.

 

MOLLY PETTIT

Molly Pettit, daughter of Justin Pettit of Howard Lake and Rita Pettit of Hutchinson, grew up at the Fair, which has always been a highlight of the summer.  She always looked up to the Fairest of the Fair Ambassadors.  She would like a chance to inspire and serve as a role model.

The animals, especially the horses, have been her favorite part of the Fair.  She enjoyed going to the Fair with her parents one day and going with her grandparents the next day.

This fall, Molly will be a junior at the University of Wisconsin - River Falls, where she is majoring in psychology.  She would like to earn a master's degree in the field.  She works part-time as a gymnastics coach for younger gymnasts at Dassel-Cokato High School.  Molly has volunteered with the Miss Cokato Ambassador Program, as well as: the Cokato Library, the Cokato Food Shelf, Save and Share Thrift Shop, and Feed My Starving Children.

 

ASHTON ROLING

Ashton Roling, daughter of Todd and Paula Roling of Cokato, said she enjoys meeting new people and loves the Fair.  Some of her favorite memories at the Fair include the Demolition Derby excitement and an interesting encounter with a llama.

A Dassel-Cokato High School senior, Ashton works at a nursing home.  She hopes to earn a medical degree and plans to attend South Dakota State University.  She wants become an anesthesiologist and plans to minor in photography.  Some of her interests include helping people and mission trips.

 

(Thanks to the Herald Journal for sharing the above photos and information.)


Agricultural plastic recycling container dispersal Aug. 2 near Maple Lake

Due to the success of earlier dumpster dispersals in central and southeastern Minnesota, two additional events have been scheduled.   On Aug. 1, dumpsters will be distributed to qualified signed-up farms from a West Otter Tail County location, and on Aug. 2, additional containers will go out from a Wright County location near Maple Lake.

Free Recycling of Agricultural Plastics is now a reality for 1,000 farmers and boat dealers in Minnesota as of the end of June 2017, and that number keeps growing.  On Aug. 1 and 2, an additional 100-plus new recycling dumpsters will be dispersed by the Revolution Plastics Company at no cost to the participants who have qualified for the program in what is a revolutionary way to manage the deluge of unwanted plastic.  This program collects agricultural film plastics, commonly known as Ag wrap, bunker covers, silage bags, and bale wrap on the farm sites.  Several boat dealerships and marinas also received dumpsters for recycling the blue and white plastic removed from boats in storage.

These collection bins have been placed on a route to be emptied by Revolution Plastics at no cost to the farmers.  The dumpsters are each expected to collect 2,000 pounds of plastic per year.  This will mean that within the next year, at a minimum, 2,000,000 pounds of Ag plastic and boat wrap will have been recycled rather than landfilled or in some cases, possibly burned or buried on site.  According to Price Murphy, director of operations for Revolution Plastic, the company has 4,000 dumpsters in Minnesota and Wisconsin and is collecting 800,000 to 1 million pounds per week through the program.

Beef and Dairy producers throughout Central Minnesota are encouraged to sign up to get one of these free dumpsters by calling the Revolution Plastic Company at 844-490-7873 or emailing collections@revolutionplastics.com.  The only way to get on this program is through contacting the Revolution Plastic company, so call now to be on the list for these next events.

The Recycling Association of Minnesota (RAM) and major project partners, Stearns, Sherburne, Benton, Pope, Douglas, Otter Tail, Sibley, Nicollet, and Le Sueur Counties, along with Wright County, are very pleased to thank Revolution Plastics and to encourage continued signups for Minnesota farmers.  This is a huge step forward in managing these plastics in Minnesota, one which RAM and its partners have been working toward for more than three years.  Without Revolution Plastics, this program with on-farm pickup would not have happened.

The plastic collected through this program is washed, pelletized and remanufactured into construction film and garbage can liners.  These can liners contain up to 70 percent or more of recycled content material.  The turnaround time from the plastic leaving Minnesota farms to having it back here in the form of can liners can be as little as one month.  Currently, the Three Rivers Park District, Anoka County and the City of St. Louis Park have begun using these bags in their operations.  These bags are in use around the country in government agencies, counties, cities, hotel chains, sports stadiums, parks, hospitals, and any other private or public entities that buy in large quantities.

"To keep a system like the Revolution Plastic Ag film collection going long term, it's crucial to assure markets for the recycled material," says Brita Sailer, the Recycling Association of Minnesota (RAM) executive director.  With that in mind, RAM is working with Revolution Bag and the Cole Company to get these bags in place in Minnesota.

"This economically and environmentally sustainable program is truly a win- win situation with a great recycling turn around, "said Sailer.

Revolution Plastics, the Recycling Association of Minnesota and the consortium of Minnesota counties and partners, including Minnesota Milk, Land O' Lakes, First District Milk Association, MN Farmers Union, the MPCA and others, continue to urge farmers to sign up now to be considered for receiving a free dumpster at their farm.

Call 844-490-7873 or email collections@revolutionplastics.com.

For additional information on the Minnesota project, call Brita Sailer at 651-641-4560 or email brita@ recycleminnesota.org.


Fundraising underway for Maple Lake family after E. coli tragedy

Fundraising is underway for a Maple Lake family who lost one child due to an E. coli bacteria infection, and another young child is fighting to survive.

A Go Fund Me account has been set up for the family of little Kade and Kallan Maresh.

According to their Caring Bridge page, Kade, 5, and Kallan, 3, became very ill due to being infected.  Several of Kallan's internal organs were affected, and sadly, she lost her life Sunday, July 16, about a week after being infected.

Blood transfusions and dialysis are reportedly part of the health care Kade is receiving.  Family and friends are hoping and praying for his recovery.

WCCO-TV, Channel 4 reported last Monday, July 17 that Kade is receiving care at the University of Minnesota's Masonic Children's Hospital.

George Canas, M.D. with Kidney Specialists of Minnesota told the news station about the danger presented by a certain strain of E. coli to organs such as the kidneys.  Damage can occur when shiga toxins harm tiny blood vessels and the body's ability to transfer oxygen in red blood cells.

It is not certain how Kade and Kallan were exposed to E. coli.  One possible source could have been a petting zoo.  Another possible source in cases like theirs is unsanitary meat, produce or dairy products.  The State Health Department encourages washing hands often, or soon after contact with animals.  Safe food preparation is also encouraged.

Not all exposures result in serious illness, but in a case like Kade and Kallan's, exposure can lead to developing Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS).  Blood vessels can swell, starving organs of oxygen, WCCO reported.


WCAT encouraged by Board to consider stand-alone transit system for county

By Ed DuBois

The Wright County Board has decided to contribute $50,000 to Wright County Area Transportation (WCAT), along with encouragement to consider a stand-alone transit system in the county.

The funds are coming from the former River Rider bus service, which has been dissolved.  The funds can only be used for transit purposes.  The estimated total amount of funds from River Rider total $256,000.

WCAT, an organization of most of the cities in Wright County, had approached the county about providing $77,086 for the operation of the Trailblazer bus service, which serves three counties, McLeod, Sibley and Wright.

During a July 11 committee of the whole meeting, county commissioners expressed concern that Trailblazer and WCAT are not a good match.  The commissioners prefer a stand-alone transit system for the county.  They discussed providing some funding to WCAT, while retaining funds for future transit needs in Wright County.  Commissioners Mike Potter and Darek Vetsch were nominated to meet with representatives of WCAT.

The action to provide $50,000 to WCAT was approved during the Tuesday, July 18 county board meeting.

In other business:

 

LICENSE BUREAU

County Auditor-Treasur-er Bob Hiivala told the Board some frustration was anticipated as the license bureau in the County Government Center undergoes a computer system replacement project.  Dri-ver and vehicle services are limited throughout Minnesota from July 17-24.

Efforts are being made to inform citizens before they arrive at the license bureau counter.

Everyone in the state was asked to plan ahead and take care of license plate tab renewals and driver's license renewals well before July 17.

Online services will be unavailable until July 24.

Driver's license, permit or identification card renewal and application services are available; however, some offices may have different hours or will be closed.

The Wright County License Bureau Hours are: Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Thursdays 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

After July 24, customers should allow extra time for an office visit as everyone adjusts to the new system.

As always, customers need to bring all documentation required to successfully complete a transaction.

 

MAPLE LAKE

The Board decided to sign a petition to start a lake improvement district for Maple Lake.  The county has property on the lake.

The County Parks Commission is in favor of the lake improvement district (LID) proposal because an LID would work toward better water quality.

Commissioner Mark Daleiden expressed the hope that Wright County's signature is not the one that makes the difference be-tween a successful or unsuccessful petition.  If the petition is successful, the County Board will make the final decision on whether or not to approve establishing a lake improvement district.

 

COUNTY WEBSITE

Commissioner Daleiden reported the county website, co.wright.mn.us, has a survey regarding the ease of use of the site.  He invited citizens to fill out the survey.

Efforts have been made to provide more information on the site and make it easier to use.  These efforts have included making the site more mobile friendly.

Interestingly, Daleiden mentioned the number-one search request on the site is the jail roster.

 

MISC.

In other actions, the Board:

• discussed a proposed project for a safe walkway to the County Fair, plus efforts by the county and the City of Howard Lake to work together on the proposed walkway;

• authorized attendance at a Greater MSP Talent Deeper Dive event on Aug. 2 in Golden Valley (The event involves efforts to retain and attract top talent.);

• scheduled an Aug. 8 committee of the whole meeting at 10:30 a.m. to discuss an automation event and some ideas for using automation for some auditor-treasurer office functions;

• approved a 67-day temporary position in Health & Human Services to cover a maternity leave and intermittent military leaves;

• approved filling an office tech I position in the Auditor-Treasurer's Office; and

• approved $576,337 in claims involving 467 transactions with 266 vendors.


Even/Odd watering restrictions starting in City of Buffalo

The City of Buffalo started an even/odd watering restriction on Wednesday, July 19.

Program rules are listed as follows: Even number addresses are permitted to water on even days.  Odd number addresses are permitted to water on odd days.  Daily watering of produce and flower gardens is permitted.

To conserve water and prevent waste, please also remember the following guidelines: Make sure water is landing on vegetation, not on hard paved surfaces.  Water during early morning or late-night hours.  One inch of water per week is all your lawn needs to survive dry times.

"As we have all observed recently, we have hit a dry spell where we have not seen significant rainfall," a spokesperson said.  "At the same time, we are seeing significant increases in water usage, which has drawn down the regional underground water aquifer."

The city is implementing an enhanced water conservation program, which will continue until further no-tice to preserve resources for this community and the surrounding region served by the aquifer.

Please schedule irrigation systems appropriately for the new watering program.

If you have any questions or would like more water conservation information, please contact Chief Water Operator Cara Hesse at 763-684-5432.  "Thank you for your help!  Together we can preserve our precious resource ... water," the city says.


Walking for hope and help

Annual Northern Wright County Relay for Life raises money to save lives from cancer

Story and Photos By Doug Voerding

"I have been inspired by many people in my life," said Gary Miller, "people whose lives were cut short by cancer.  I had those people in my life for many years, but cancer robbed their children and grandchildren. They can only see pictures and hear stories. They will never have their own stories."

Miller, a community and family care giver and former Wright County sheriff, was honored as a hero of hope and presented the opening speech at the Relay for Life held at Sturges Park last Friday night, July 14.

"What we are doing is great because resources are always needed in the fight against cancer," said Miller, to kick-off the annual event.

 It was the 22nd annual fundraising event sponsored and organized by the Northern Wright County Relay for Life. Fourteen teams participated in raising money for the American Cancer Society. By the end of the event, the teams raised more than $17,000. The top three teams were: Ann's Knights, Celebrate Good Times, and Soaring Eagles.

The evening began with an opening ceremony and a first lap for cancer survivors and caregivers. While team members walked the course, several activities were available including demonstrations by the Annandale cheerleaders and the World Taekwondo Academy. Wright County Sheriff's Deputy Dan Cotton showed his work with his dog Chase.

At 9:30, all of the activity slowed for a quiet time as the luminarias were lit and walkers silently circled the course between the lighted luminarias. Each of the hundreds of luminarias, white bags with candles inside, honored and remembered individual family members and friends who have been afflicted with cancer.

This year's local Relay for Life Committee members were Breonna Carlson and Sarah Wiles, co-chairs; Lissa Weber, team ambassador; Amber Lemieux, recognition and sponsorship; Jessica Miller, activities and luminarias; Chad Wiles, entertainment; Linda Zahler, accounting; Judy Wadsworth, survivors and care givers; and Clayton Diskerud and Deb Hatanpa, publicity and marketing.

Many Wright County organizations and businesses contributed to the Relay for Life effort.


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