CSAH 34 and CR 134 roundabout construction to make for Buffalo detours
The Wright County Highway Department would like to inform the public of a highway construction project that will begin in early August, 2018. The project location is the intersection of County State Aid Highway 34 & County Road 134 in the city of Buffalo.
The construction improvements will consist of the construction of a modern roundabout to improve safety and traffic flow through the intersection. It is anticipated that the construction work will last until late September or early October, weather permitting. You may have noticed some private utility relocation work taking place already around the perimeter of the intersection (gas company, cable, electric, etc.).
Fehn Excavating, Inc. of Albertville is the prime contractor that will be doing the work, along with some sub-contractors they have hired for some of the work. A posted detour route will be in place to direct traffic around the work zone.
Please follow the posted detour signing to navigate around the work zone, and we appreciate you adjusting your driving schedule accordingly.
The Wright County Highway Department asks your cooperation in this matter to ensure the safety of both the traveling public and construction workers. If you have any questions, please call 763-682-7383 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday.
Mayor and council seats open for Buffalo; Hanover and Montrose seek council seats for general election
The following seats will be open on the Buffalo City Council: Mayor, for a two-year term, beginning January 2019; council, for two Seats, four-year terms, beginning January 2019.
To run for Mayor or for a Council seat, you must file at the City Administrator’s office at 212 Central Avenue, Buffalo, during the period of July 31 at 8 a.m., through August 14 at 5 p.m.
In Hanover, there are currently two seats open for City Council which include Ken Warpula and Jim Zajicke’s four-year terms. Montrose City Council currently has two seats open as well, a four-year term currently held by Roy Henry, and another four-year term, from which Jill Menard resigned in May.
The following criteria must be met to file for the Mayor or Council seats: the candidate must be an eligible voter; the candidate has no other affidavit on file as a candidate for any office at the general election; the candidate is, or will be on assuming the office, 21 years of age or more; the candidate will have maintained residence in the City of Buffalo for 30 days before the election; the candidate must pay the $5 filing fee at the time of the filing.
For more information about filing, contact the Buffalo City offices at 763-684-5404 or e-mail Laureen at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information regarding Hanover may be directed to 763-497-3777; and Montrose, 763-575-7422.
The General Election is Tuesday, November 6.
Commissioners hear update on aquatic invasive species pilot program
By Miriam Orr
On Tuesday, July 24, Soil and Water Conservation District Water Resource Specialist Alicia O’Hare presented a regional inspection plan update before Wright County Commissioners, with representatives from the pubic present.
The regional inspection plan is in regard to the County’s pilot inspection program at Lake Syliva, in an effort to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS). The inspection areas, according to O’Hare, consist of on-site decontamination stations with trained inspectors, which help maintain the integrity of not only Lake Sylvia, but also lakes across the state.
The program kicked off in October, with a series of testing weeks, but now has been regularly implemented since the beginning of the year. The process, O’Hare suggested, is very involved. Mass quantities of data have been steadily accumulated, and handled, to keep accurate records of the inspection process.
Boaters which arrive at the lake are marked with a zip-tie seal, which indicates that they pass the inspection process, and are given a receipt to leave in the dash of their parked vehicle while they are boating. When boats come in, the “seal” is broken, pending inspection.
The issue of regulated inspection has been disputed across the County, with residents on both sides of the spectrum. While all agree that AIS issues are important and need to be properly dealt with, a great majority of residents dislike the idea of being mandated into inspections at Lake Sylvia, and other lakes across the area.
O’Hare reminded the public of neighboring Lake Koronis, which saw the removal of approximately 200,000 pounds of AIS plants last year, according to a member of the public. O’Hare reminded the public that the outcome of Lake Koronis is not what the Soil and Water Conservation District, or the DNR, want to see in Lake Sylvia.
O’Hare offered a data report regarding the results of Lake Sylvia inspections, so Commissioners and the public would be aware of the effort going into the program. Much of the data is required by Minnesota DNR, which was slow to approve the project to begin with, as the Star Tribune reported in March.
The program is extremely time consuming for representatives and staff, O’Hare explained in the beginning of her presentation. Since there is such an array of data that is gathered from every inspection, the processing of that data takes manpower – and, on top of that, local law enforcement puts in additional hours to help and enforce mandates and educate the public by patrols and responding to service calls.
“I am spending an extraordinary amount of time doing this,” O’Hare commented to the Board, “and I’m still trying to keep up. The data here is just huge.”
Approximately 2,562 inspections have been completed so far, estimated from data collected from 2016-present. O’Hare reported that there are multiple hundreds of hours that go into not only the inspections themselves, but also the compiling of data, and the oversight on the project. She also stated that in May there were 69 pilot-program violations, and that June and the first half of July saw around 80 violations. She attributes the increase to more water patrol hours, and that law enforcement is able to identify more instances.
Local law enforcement has dedicated approximately 114 hours, which equals out to about half of their time spent in water patrols. Wright County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Todd Hoffman explained that from the time a law enforcement officer is given the assignment, to its conclusion, that around 45 minutes is spent on issues regarding the pilot AIS issue – and, that if citations were to be enforced outside of this pilot program, that time would increase significantly.
Overall, inspections take about three to five minutes at the lake, which is consistent with the DNR’s own mandated inspections that they oversee themselves, and that the goal is always to educate the public, and not necessarily enforce punishment for violations.
Public survey of the process is gathered based on information collected from tag numbers, and whether or not boaters choose to take a survey. O’Hare said that erroneous seal numbers are ruled out of the survey through a sifting process, and that so far, there have been approximately 57 surveys that have been harvestable.
O’Hare stated that 43% of the reported surveys were in strong support of the AIS prevention, while only 39% opposed it. Those surveyed were divided on whether or not the process of inspection increased their knowledge, while half reported that there would be no change from their normal practices of AIS prevention. An overwhelming 72% of open-ended questions on the survey were extremely negative, and 39% of those surveyed said that the presence of mandated inspection would result in less use of Annandale lakes.
“It’s important to remember that this is merely a pilot program,” Commissioner Mike Potter reminded the public, “we don’t want a Lake Kornois situation on our hands. This is about informing people and taking steps to prevention, and ultimately, slowing down the process of AIS contamination in our lakes around the County. This is designed to weed out the challenges, so we can ask difficult questions and streamline this process.”
The Board agreed that the end result of the inspection program is to maintain the lake assets around Wright County, and that was echoed by members of the public, who spoke briefly of their support for this program. One notable speaker was Kevin Farnum, a resident of Stearns County, and the committee chair for AIS on the Lake Koronis Lake Association board.
“I just want to thank Wright County for being brave and stepping up to this task;” he commented, “you’re out front in this area, taking steps to hinder this process. The County is in a great position for being a regional model, and people are watching – I know Stearns County is, because we want to know how we can help in this process, considering we have Lake Koronis. We want to be a part of this process, so we can benefit from the outcome, and help streamline,” stated Farnum.
As of now, the program is active, though the fiscal operation of the pilot will be discussed in coming weeks to determine funding for continuation.
Auditor/Treasurer’s Office: Bob Hiivala informed that Board that the 2017 Annual Population Estimate from the state demographer’s office did not change from its previous estimates. The County rounds out at 134,365 reported residents as of 2017.
Matt Detjen presented a request to approve a bid for tree removal along County Ditch 22, which was estimated to cost around $60,241 with MSB Excavating and Tiling. The removal is necessary to begin the extensive repair process on the ditch, and will clear the entire buffer area of the ditch. The Board approved the request unanimously.
Another successful Wright County Fair concludes, with fun for everyone
By Miriam Orr
Another Wright County Fair has come and gone, as vendors and carnival workers move on to the next city in line, leaving Howard Lake in the rear-view mirror of trucks and trailers alike.
County residents welcomed the presence of Merriam’s Midway Show and a myriad of other fair attractions on Wednesday, July 18, when gates opened for business early at 8 a.m. Crowds flocked to attend what is perhaps the county’s biggest get-together - and as crowds got bigger, the heat grew as well, leaving a number of fair enthusiasts hot under the collar, so to speak. However sunburned and hot, attendees were not sore in spirits, as the fair maintained a steady flow of guests throughout its five-day run.
Many visitors braved even the rain that sprinkled its way over the fair for a few hours, while dutiful workers kept to their stands, animals, rides, and wares across the fairgrounds. Even the Grandstand events were strongly attended all week, despite the elements - families were all smiles as they left the arena, regardless of the weather.
While it was a time for summer fun and smiles, there were also tears shared at the fair as well, as Wright County bid farewell to the “Fairest of the Fair” ambassador program, which concluded its final year on Sunday, July 22. There were also reverent tears at the Military Program, where families and friends gathered together to honor those who serve, and have fallen in the armed forces.
See photos of this year’s Wright County Fair in the A and B sections, and also in the Sports Section. Be sure to look for full coverage story on how the fair managed changes this year, in a coming issue of the Wright County Journal-Press.
BCT’s final acts for “SPAMALOT,” July 25-28
“SPAMALOT” is long on laughs, but time is running short to see Buffalo Community Theater’s summer production. The musical is staged for its closing weekend through Saturday.
King Arthur declares: “God be praised, we have a quest!” and audience members are drawn in and taken along on the madcap adventure in this parody of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
Talent abounds on the stage and in the pit, which again has patrons remarking on the exceptional quality of another BCT production with comments like: “What a tremendous show!” (Merrilyn Tauscher). “A BRILLIANT production!” “Loved it! Great Show!” (Connie Krieg)
Monty Python fans will find many favorite “bits” and those new to the popular franchise will find plenty to entertain them as well. All in all, it’s a hilarious time with BCT’s “SPAMALOT” and, enmeshed with the fun is a positive message: “Always look on the bright side of life.”
The production runs Wednesday through Saturday, July 25-28 at 7:30 p.m. at Buffalo High School’s Performing Arts Center. Admission is $16 for adults, $13 for seniors 60 and older, and $8 for students/children. Tickets can be purchased through www.bctmn.org or at the theater box office beginning one hour prior to each performance.This Buffalo Community Theater activity is funded in part by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Central Minn. Arts Board, thanks to legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
Public info on Hwy 19 and 38, August 1
There will be a public information meeting for the County Highway 19 and 38 Improvements Project on Wednesday, August 1, from 5-7 p.m. at the City of Albertville City Hall (5959 Main Ave NE – Albertville, MN).
You are invited to attend a public information meeting to learn about proposed improvements on County Highways 19 (Labeaux Ave NE) and 38 (70th Street). A preliminary concept will be on display for your review and input along with visualizations of the proposed improvements and information related to roundabout operations. Project staff will be available to discuss design options and any concerns about the project.
The proposed project will include the following: potential intersection improvements to mall entrance, expand County Highway (C.H.) 19 (Labeaux Ave NE) to four lanes with center median and dedicated turn lanes, Reconstruct C.H. 38 (70th Street) to two lanes with continuous center turn lane, construct trails along both sides of road, install roundabouts at three intersections, C.H. 19 and 67th Street, C.H 19 and C.H. 38, C.H. 38, and Maciver Ave. Hope to see you there!
Party in the Park, July 26 at Sturges
It’s a party for everyone, coming on Thursday, July 26! Join the community as friends and family gather for free hotdogs, cookies, a concert, and an array of kids’ activities, all taking place at Sturges Park, in Buffalo.
The event runs from 5 to 8:30 p.m., in benefit to the food shelf - donations are also being accepted.
BPD’s Night to Unite slated for August 7
Come join the City of Buffalo’s 10th Annual Night to Unite event, slated for Tuesday, August 7, beginning at 6 p.m.
Night to Unite features neighborhood block parties that promotes neighbors joining together to celebrate community. A community event with the BPD will be taking place at Dairy Queen, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.; free dilly bars, popcorn, and a display of emergency vehicles will be on site for you and your neighborhood to enjoy.
To register your block party, please go online and visit www.ci.buffalo.mn.us/programs-services/ by July 31. For questions, please contact BPD at 763-682-5976.
All Star Clown Show, Sat., July 28
Don’t miss your chance for some family-friendly fun this weekend at the Buffalo Civic Center, with the All Star Clown Show putting on a comedic evening of fun!
Clown Pricilla Mooseberger will be gathering with all her clown friends in collaboration to bring you this event, which is the conclusion of Moose Camp. The Camp serves as a school to educate and assist those who are curious, passionate, new or old, to the art of clowning either professionally, or out of service. The event is free, and Pricilla describes it as getting “as close to a circus show as you can get!”
There will be lights, sound effects, skits, gags - the whole nine yards awaiting you and your family!
The event starts at 6 p.m., and marks the 22nd Annual performance of the All Star Clown Show.
Concerts in the Park, July 26 - August 30
Make sure to stay tuned into Concerts in the Park, continuing on every Thursday until August 30!
This event features a number of musical concerts and bands, sponsored by local businesses in their performances for the community. It promises to be a good time, with family-friendly music, and all the concerts are free of charge for anyone who wants to join in on the fun.
On July 26, make sure you swing in and watch the “Rockin’ Hollywoods,” who will pay tribute the 50’s and 60’s. Then, keep an eye out on August 2 for “The Everett Smithson Band,” who will play music of the Mississippi.
National Night Out in Watertown
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 505 Westminster Ave SW, Watertown, is sponsoring the 2018 National Night Out Event on August 7 from 5-8 p.m. FREE EVENT. Food, music, games, snow cones, bouncer, Watertown Fire Department pop-up splash pad on the street, K-9, Carver County Posse, Ridgeview Medical Ambulance are events all features on August 7, for your enjoyment!
Everyone is welcome!
“Fairest” of them all
The Wright County Fair, in pictures
By Miriam Orr
When you stop and think about it, there is truly something special to be said about a fair, wouldn’t you say? The joyous shouts of children enjoying rides, the mellow call of animals, and the delicious array of food,certainly makes summer memories for many fairgoers across the nation.
As the 2018 Wright County Fair comes to a close, we say goodbye not only to a County tradition, but a tradition that has lasted throughout the generations, and holds a very near and dear place in our hearts. For many, the fair this year in Howard Lake is a once-a-year occasion to bask in the summer sunlight with like-minded neighbors, and enjoy the simplicities most often missed in the rush of summer, like a sparkling glass of lemonade, or a child’s first opportunity to experience exotic animals.
Whatever your reason for taking part in the Wright County fair this year, we at the
Despite the changes that come with each and every summer in Wright County, the fair this year kept its same charm, nostalgia, and excitement, while also bringing joy to many, even despite a few rainclouds and swells of heat.
Farewell, Wright County Fair - we’ll see you next year!